Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Poems with Matt's Help

At our diocesan clergy conference we have the wonderful Matt Harvey as poet in residence. In workshop he taught us the Norse art of kenning - describing a physical object in terms of its properties, abilities, attainments or effects. So the sea becomes the whale-road; blood is battle-dew.

This allows you to write a descriptive piece where the identity of the thing being described can be a riddle; a slow reveal. My first effort, slightly refiined and re-ordered this morning is:

Wake-up bomb

Sleep's sworn enemy
Dawn cheek slap
Mainly future compost
Vitamin transport device
Controlled acid attack
Ornamental bowl-filler
Cowardly citrus
Big brother to that pipsqueak lemon
Best wild but
Tamed by sugar

Secondly he demonstrated biographical poetry. Statements about your past build up a picture of who you are today. This could be very long but editing it to a few lines makes the gaps interesting. So mine is work in progress but:

I come from...

A Victorian house with a derelict top floor
An untidy play room and an accusation that I break everything
A family where university hadn't yet happened
Reading on the bedroom floor to be nearer the disappointing electric heater so
Under an eiderdown

I come from...

Grandma's mantelpiece ornaments
A punch in the face on the way home from school
Aunty Brenda lived with us
Don't you have an Aunty Brenda?

I come from...

A garden with two apple trees as goalposts
And a potting shed full off disuse but playful possibility
Creativity launched by broken garden tools re-imagined
And the garage had a pit

I come from...

107, Oakfield Road, Selly Park, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England, Europe, The earth 3rd planet from the sun if this book should chance to roam box its ears and send it home

I come from...

A house with no music
But they bought me a piano and let me paint it blue

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great poetry. Keep writing. Tells a beautifully honest, somewhat poignant story.