A Life Of Fiction CXXXII

For those of you new to this WordPress site, this site is about me and my writing – and a little about my role-playing, as well. It gives readers a chance to sample my work; and gives me the chance to say a little about the genesis of each novel, or about the process of writing in general.

 

Another day, another poetry collection (or two): I keep on writing poetry. I keep posting it on little read corners of the internet, on some of the poetry forums of which I am a member. I keep putting out my poetry collections on Kindle.

Some people might ask me why I bother, if hardly anybody bothers buying my poetry. But if only one person reads my stuff and enjoys it, then it is better than none. And that one person might tell somebody else that they have found some interesting poetry, and the people reading my stuff will grow.

I won’t kid myself by saying great poetry. I don’t think that Penguin will ever publish a compilation of my verse. I will not have my name sat next to that of Auden or Frost. But I have read a lot of poetry by people of whom you probably have never heard, and here and there you do discover gems. My hope is that, somewhere in the words poured out of me, there might be the odd garnet or tourmaline. Maybe, one day, my words will be diamonds glinting in the dark.

Until then I will keep writing poetry, I guess, hoping to produce some verse which will stand the test of time. Or, failing that, to at least amuse somebody for a short while.

This first poem is from the completed collection, The Late, Late, Late, Late Poetry Show.

 

The Other Place

 

The white plain, desolate; a bitter place

Lost in the vastness of some other space;

Where mortal souls are few and far between

Stranded stragglers wander, ghosts unserene,

Then fade away, becoming points of light

And join up with the others of the night.

 

And Dante walks upon that farthest shore

Composing words unsaid forever more.

 

The sea has gone, and never will return

To these bleached sands where dead men rue and yearn.

No Mistress rules these lands saved for the lost;

Her palace disrepaired; a desert frost

Clings to the fallen stones; the pillars lie

Like dead men fallen from the sky.

 

And Dante walks upon that farthest shore

Composing words unsaid forever more.

 

All her angels are fled or fallen down

Or lying dead among shed feather down

No new dawn will break this twilight land

This is the end, you must all understand

The realm from which no letter’s ever sent

A land where hopes and dreams are rent.

 

And Dante walks upon that farthest shore

Composing words unsaid forever more.

 

This second poem is from a collection which is a work in progress. The collection, when it is completed, will be released as Murder Sonnets. If Nick Cave can do Murder Ballads then I can do Murder Sonnets.

Sonnets are quite often on the theme of love. But I decided to subvert the form, doing poems on the darkness which lies in a murdering heart.

This poem riffs on the theme of Lizzie Borden. I have used a fair bit of poetic licence: we don’t know for sure whether Lizzie Borden did kill her parents, or whether it was somebody else. After all, she was found not guilty at her trial (yes, she was a real person).

 

Forty Whacks

 

A spark blinks off my precious little axe;

I sharpen it upon the spinning stone,

So it will slice through skin and flesh and bone:

It’s time to give the old man forty whacks,

And make him pay for all his nightly crimes,

Those visits each and ev’ry dreadful eve,

Those steps I feared, and so must cleave

An ending to those dark and painful times.

I swing and swing and swing and swing and swing

And blood spurts out until he’s chopped in half

And all that I can do is laugh and laugh

For is this not a very funny thing?

And now I gaze in awe at what I’ve done

And think of giving mommy forty-one.

 

This third poem is from a collection called Twenty Four Poems. These are all poems which I wrote in collaboration with my brother. They were written in the pub, usually while we were drinking. They were all written exceedingly quickly, and they should be seen as something which are a bit of fun, rather than something very serious.

For most of the poems in Twenty Four Poems my brother would write one line, and then I would write the next, and so on, until we decided that the poem was complete.

 

Busker

 

Old pennies spill from older hands,

As manna in the Biblical lands,

Falling down to the busker’s hat.

Do we approve? of the beggar sat;

His only art, an out of tune song,

Disharmony; so get you along

And join him in his plaintive trill

To raindance grey cobbles and thrill

New York tourists who think it ethnic art

From the mother country’s true heart,

But he only learned it three days hence –

And that’s why he’s only got ten pence.

 

Finally, here is a poem from Modern Haikus, a work in progress.

 

Cuckoo

 

The cuckoo hatches.

He kicks out the other eggs;

And gapes his beak wide.

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