WARNING: This blog is how I draft my verse and you are advised not to sit on it while the paint is still drying.

100_0127

The poet during a recent visit to Great Britain. The historic engine makes a good backdrop. I’m a bit historic myself.

Why this blog?

This is where I draft and store my poetry. Realistically, it is probably the only place where it will ever appear. I don’t understand why published poems get published these days. In my opinion they fail according to these criteria:

Level of difficulty: ZERO
There are no formal constraints like rhyme and meter.

Intellectual engagement: ZERO
Obscurantism has been substituted for formalism. Otherwise there would be no distinction from prose. The result is that poets these days rarely present coherent arguments.

Emotional engagement: ZERO
Emotions cannot be developed or explored without coherent arguments.

Level of ambition: ZERO
According to the above criteria, poems these days are just vague murmurs and there can be no Miltons or Shelleys. In fact, poetry journals and competitions merely serve communities of poets. Mediocrity is the ideal they strive for because it is where everyone meets on equal terms. I hate that sort of poetry. I make the effort to master the basic skills, speak clearly and aim some day towards creating a significant work. That approach is too old fashioned now to receive encouragement or recognition.

Who am I in real life?

Short answer: Mind your own business.

Long answer: I worked twenty years as a school teacher and I am now dedicated to personal pursuits, including creative writing and classical studies. There is a bit more info about me on this blog somewhere.

Why shaved?

Short answer: Why not?

Long answer: Poetry these days is the dying relic of Romantic Poetry, emphasising emotions genuinely felt. It differs from its historic roots by presenting the emotions of ordinary people being ordinary. Formal structures are seen as too contrived and poets tend to avoid them. Poetry however is always contrived and the avoidance of contrivance is like ‘designer stubble’, the morning shadow cultivated for an uncultivated look. I don’t like it because it is so fashionable, or maybe because it is so contrived.

stubble

I like rhyme and meter, just as I like a clean chin. I have some talent in developing structures and I like to ponder things, not just feel naturally. My work mainly looks back to Metaphysical Poetry but it includes other styles and not all of it is rhyme and meter. I am not utterly historic or totally clean. Some mornings I shave late, some days I wear a false beard. Occasionally I grow a faint moustache. The shaved chin makes everything possible.

 

THIS MONTH’S SAMPLE

proteus

PROTEUS COMPLAINING

I don’t like what you tried to do
what you did
Xerxes did before you
lash the sea
lash the sea out of spite
flog that elastic strength
into the submissive firmness of a road
or at least you tried to.

I will not wear the patter of your hobnailed boots
I will not be the highway for your loot
I will not lie down
I will not surrender the curve
the playful arching of my back
the wiggle-room waves crave
in the great sloshing to-and-fro turmoil
inside the heart’s barnacle-covered cave

I am my own man not yours.

Whatever I choose to be
form I take
representation of my will
light flung hung on the ceiling
bouncing around barnacles
in a great guffaw of mirth
being free
no stone-sucking barnacle I
am by nature’s law the man I am.

I am my own man not yours.

So should the wind trip along the wild tongue 
of water
roaring from the sky’s throat
 I shall explode from my cave
and skud along 
the white-whipped surf without a boat.

I am my own man not yours.

 

 

What else should the reader know?

Short answer: Good question!

Long answer: I intend to self-publish my verse in book form when and if I succeed as a novelist. I am close to finishing a novel set in the middle ages, co-written with my sister. Copyright? Help yourself to these poems. All I require is some notification, accuracy in copying and some attribution. All pictures here were chosen as free images. If I have used one of your copyright pictures – it was an accident!

I enter poetry competitions now and then but it is mainly for the perverse satisfaction of being rejected by the critics I reject. However, I conscientiously remove submitted poems from this blog during competition, hence there are gaps in the record here sometimes. You will find some poems here that formulate my experiences as a contributor to Wikipedia. How can an encyclopaedia be a good topic for poetry? Because it is such a bad encyclopaedia.

 

PREVIOUS SAMPLE

hiding-crab

THE CRAB
The prey of any larger thing
That flies or swims or walks,
I run sideways in armour plates,
My eyes lookouts on stalks.

Huge and malformed, my fists express
My hatred of the land.
It offers me no refuge but
These barren rocks and sand.

Huge and malformed, my fists express
My contempt for the sky.
What earthly use is all that space
To those who cannot fly?

Huge and malformed, my fists express
My disgust at the sea.
How can I love a think like that
That made a thing like me?

Yet none is better formed than I
For grabbing and for holding
Small morsels drifting round the seething
Edge of a devil’s cauldren.

 

 

 

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