It’s Saturday and, as usual, I’ve spent half the day wondering what on earth I’m going to write on the blog.
Not having had any major new insights or flashes of inspiration, let’s continue from last weekend, when I said that I was trying to choose which poems to read at an evening where the theme was change.
I didn’t find it a very easy task and reckoned that it would be much easier for the writers of fiction: even I know enough about plotting to be aware of the common story structure that sees the protagonist undergo a transformation, but that really can’t be applied to poetry.
I spent some time thinking about the things I associate with change: progress, transformation, evolution, metamorphosis, change of perspective and point of view… and finally decided that, yes, I had lots of works that would suit: after all, when I don’t have any new ideas, I go back to old pieces and re-write them, or base a new piece in English on someone else’s Spanish original, and I have plenty of poems that are essentially different takes on the same subject, or views of the same place at different times.
In the end I had far too many options and was still shuffling pages and making final decisions when I sat down to listen to the first readers of the evening.
The first piece I read ties in with the theme because of its reference to progress and also because it is a transformation: it was written as a challenge where we were given song lyrics to use as a jumping off point.
(You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone)
Despite our protests – and we did protest:
24 hour sit-ins, coverage on television, letters
in The Times – but still, despite all this, the council sold
that plot at the top of Paradise Lane. George says
a multi-storey carpark on the edge of town will ease
congestion in the High Street, but I reckon
we should take a wider view.
I always do my bit for Mother Earth. I buy
organic at the Eco-drome – it’s not much more
than twice the supermarket price. I’ve told George
he’ll miss it when there’s only Granny Smiths
and Golden D’s; we have to take a stand
although it means we can’t afford
his favourite brand of whisky now.
I’m afraid that George resented my participation
in the Tree Camp; I know he wasn’t sure
I ought to give the house key to the Organiser,
but it meant we all could use a decent loo
and bath from time to time. He doesn’t see
you can’t do press conferences thick with grime
from squatting in a nest at 40 feet. (And as we live
so close, it was ideal for charging laptops, mobile phones
and digicams.) Still, that’s all over now.
Even the environmentalists agreed
the elms were too far gone to save.
Last night, while I was busy swotting up on killer bees
for Mr H’s talk – it helps if someone in the audience
has done their homework and can start the questions – George
went out. He didn’t tell me where, which is unlike him,
but I heard the door slam and a car start. (He must have called
a taxi, though he knows we should use public transport.)
The meeting was a great success. It went on rather late
so we went straight to Women’s Poems by Candlelight
at the Recreation Ground, stayed up to greet the dawn,
then fair-trade coffee round at Maxine’s. Of course he’d gone
to work when I got home. I hope he isn’t late tonight:
I want to tell him all about the ‘Underpass or Bridge?’ debate
– they say a bridge is safer after dark, but haven’t thought
that hedgehogs can’t climb metal steps…
It’s odd, you know; the house seems very quiet today.
As I also mentioned last weekend, some poems work better read aloud than others, and this monologue-style allows for a semi-dramatic reading that helps to keep the audience involved. Of course, if the protagonist of a poem was expected to undergo much in the way of character development or transformation, it probably wouldn’t work as well.
And now, after so much text, perhaps there should be another photo.
First, some less than perfect granny smith apples:
And now a bee, though not a killer bee, I hope: