comfort reading

Somewhere in a lock-up unit in Spain, in a box surrounded by other boxes filled with books, is my copy of The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge.

It’s a simple, moral story of love and truth, where faith and magic work together to set the world to rights; It’s also one of the books I turn to when I’m in need of comfort. (At least it was before I had to leave it in storage and it will be again, I am sure.)
Continue reading “comfort reading”

a rose is a rose is a rose

Wednesday was the 21st of June – the solstice and the start of summer. Which means today is the 24th – Midsummer’s Day and as good a time as any to post more photos of roses.

tumbling pink roses Continue reading “a rose is a rose is a rose”

creative grit

The guy at the pub is right: poems are hard.

Sometimes you have a great idea – the tiny bit of grit with potential to grow into a beautiful pearl – but however much you turn and tweak and worry it, it seems to refuse to gather form and realise its potential.

When this happens, all you can do is put the notes to one side and let your subconscious go on working while you get on and do other things.
Continue reading “creative grit”

sporting blues

The first time I posted the poem 21st-century pugilist to the blog, I didn’t really have the right picture, so it was accompanied by a photo of the wrestler, Stan Roberts.

Now, though, I have a photo of the statue of Randolph Turpin, the boxer, so I think it’s a good time to re-post the poem, which was written in Spain around eight years ago:
Continue reading “sporting blues”

clichés and coincidences

Novice poets are frequently warned about clichés; sometimes, though, it’s hard to know exactly what the people doing the warning have in mind. Is a cliché the same as an idiom? Is it just a common collocation of words? Can a single word be a cliché?

(In answer to that last question, I’ve posted several times in the past on the subject of “forbidden words” in poetry.)

The thing about clichés is that they mean the writer hasn’t done more than scratch the surface. And for poetry that matters a lot more than for some other types of writing.
Continue reading “clichés and coincidences”

getting down to work

Wondering what to write to accompany yet another photograph of flowers, I searched through the blog for the word “rose”. The search also picked up words where “rose” is a substring – rosemary, primrose, arose and prose.

By chance, then, I came upon a post from 2012 called poetry, prose and politics, which contains the quotation from Mario Cuomo, former governor of the state of New York:

you campaign in poetry but you govern in prose.

Continue reading “getting down to work”

wings and things

I’ve said before that I’m not fond of birds, but they are a recurring theme of my poetry. I don’t, however, have many photos of birds as they so seldom stay still long enough to capture on film. (Hmm… I don’t suppose we capture anything on film anymore if we use digital cameras, so maybe that phrase must be considered an inelegant variation.)

I do a little better with photos of bugs and insects as they often seem less bothered by the approach of a camera lens and will sometimes sit still for hours on the same flower head.
Continue reading “wings and things”