intentionally left blank

Wondering what to write – and, indeed, wondering whether I actually would manage to get whatever I wrote posted as the phone company have let me down – I remembered the “Thing That Must Not Happen” as described in Dorothy Sayers’ Murder Must Advertise:

Now, when you see in a newspaper a blank white space, bearing the legend: “THIS SPACE RESERVED FOR SO-AND-SO LTD.,” it may mean nothing very much to you, but to those who know anything of the working of advertising agencies, those words carry the ultimate, ignominious brand of incompetency and failure. So-and-so’s agents have fallen down on their job; nothing can be alleged in mitigation. It is the Thing That Must Not Happen.

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on a theme

Although all the images in this post have something in common, I’m not sure that they are, strictly speaking, variations on a theme. That, I think, would imply that the theme had been chosen and the photos taken to illustrate it.

What really happened was that I was looking through the mass of photos I have taken recently trying to find connections: it was a post hoc selection, not premeditated.
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lowering the tone

After writing the not nice post yesterday about offensive poetry, it was time to choose some poems to take along to read at the open mike at the bookshop.

I’ve written before about points to consider when choosing poems to read in public, but as everyone in the neighbourhood is still talking about the complaints received about “rude and offensive naughty poetry and song”, I felt I should try and find something to suit the mood.
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not nice

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post inspired by the words “poems are hard”, which appeared on a local pub chalkboard. It’s not just the poems themselves that are hard, though: it’s even hard to get people to agree on what poetry is.

Some people think that poetry should deal with the big issues of Life, Love and Death, others that it should be all kittens and flowers, sweetness and light; some think it should make us look at familiar things and occurrences as if they were new; others that it should make the personal universal; some think it should have structure and be carefully crafted, others that it should rhyme, others that it should be written “from the heart” and therefore anything goes.
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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.
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no change

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.
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perspectives

Regular readers will probably have realised I rather like dandelions.

Well, not just dandelions, but catsears, hawksbeard and coltsfoot, and all the other wonderfully named, bright, yellow composite weeds with flowers like the radiant suns that dot the pages of children’s picture books.

I like the seed heads, too, with their downy parachutes counter-balanced by tiny elongated seeds.

Which probably explains why there are so many of them scattered across the pages of this blog. Perhaps not as many as there are on the wide green lawns in the park, but plenty, nonetheless.
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