Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Another Epiphany or ... before I cremate this poem

As mentioned in my update post I did find the last two pieces of poetry I was working on quite difficult. Not in the sense that the writing didn't flow out of me, the draft below came together in one sitting and I think the rhythm and other sound elements was the reason for that.

No, what I found was that during subsequent revisions (which only made this piece worse if you can imagine that) was that something felt off.  Something that I couldn't put my finger on.  Read on and I let you know what I realized at the end.



It rises,
a monolith
of red arkose
and if a rose
and not a rock
we’d be tempted
to brush off
the importance
of a name.

Naming things
possesses them
whether by
and for one
man or more
a name gives
power over
thought and story.

And what is
story, but tales
of passion, glory;
a song, a book,
a record of
everything that
shook our lives
and made us.



No. Naming
is the first
salvo shot
the first stone
slung, the first
break of bone
in a battle
fought in a war
long forgot.

And if you
should think
a flower free
to smell just
as sweetly
whatever name
we chose -
remember too
we’ve fought wars
between those.


So my epiphany was that although there was a nice rhythm and sound elements that I found appealing (perhaps too appealing) I allowed myself to be dragged off by those elements and distracted from the subtle to the grandly moralistic/didactic.

Pretty much anybody could have written this piece, it hits you over the head with the concept that names are important.  The only real bit of interest is in the first stanza and a much subtler and more personally relevant poem could have been written around this kernel of an idea ie Ayers Rock/ Uluru.

So the lesson to myself is that as a poet I should focus on the small and the subtle and let that speak/suggest much larger ideas/themes.  Or if this isn't the case i.e. compression of ideas in the Tardis like abilities of the poem then at least I will have and distinct and crafted creation, something that comes alive in a reader's head.
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