Wednesday, 20 March 2013

A poem, that'll show 'em

So, I was reading the new "Poetry Bus" Magazine yesterday (see last post) and I read the piece near the back written by Dave Lordan on rhyme. I really enjoyed it. He writes about rhyme in its widest, biggest sense and I liked the range, the open-endedness, of the piece (I urge you to read it... get the mag here... quickly now). The article reminded me how much I love rhyme... of all kinds really... but I know that, personally, I have a special fondness for the simpler stuff. There was a point in my life when I could have become an intellectual perhaps but when it came to it I just turned the other way*. I like simple things, simple pleasures, simple sounds. I guess it means some people think I'm an eejit but mostly I can live with that! And I know the argument goes that lots of people do end-rhymes badly... but then lots of people do everything badly and that doesn't stop us trying to do all those things... like sing... or cook... or have sex... or whatever!

And so... blame Dave Lordan, a little, for the poem below. I don't write much poetry just now so it feels good to work the old muscles now and again. To begin with the 'New' and 'Old" were 'New Poet' and 'Old Poet' but then I realised the subject was really wider than that and not just about poetry writing. Like so many poems this one is about all kinds of things... and there's more than a hint of Dr Seuss to it too, I think.

Everyone is the best ever

New and Old sitting by a tree,
Talking, talking, endlessly,
New barks out “How can this be?
Why is everybody ignoring me?”

Old takes a moment to serve reply,
Surveys the scene, the tree, the sky,
Finally proffers without a sigh,
“What are you saying, to whom and why?”

New is irate and loses cool,
“That should be obvious to a fool,
I'm what you need, a brand new school
Just listen to me, as a general rule.”

Old is sleepy, thirsty too,
Tired of talking, needs the loo,
Happy just to see the view,
The tree is green, the sky is blue.

But “Listen, listen, I can rhyme!
I can talk in double time!
I’m not afraid to social climb,
Everyone should hear my chime!”

New continues, into stride,
Puffed and pumped with precious pride,
“Hear the magic, I'm the guide,
Life’s exciting, what a ride!”

Old is fading, quite a sight,
Doesn’t really like to fight,
Shields the eyes to block the light,
Lies right down and breathes “goodnight”.

New is angry, loudly so,
Wails at Old “Not yet, don’t go!
Who will watch me, see me grow?
Who will tell me what you know?”

No word from Old, the soul is free,
The stories gone, so suddenly.
Too late, too late, we see the tree,
Too late, we want it endlessly.

RF 2013

*One of my other favourite bits of the new Bus mag is the Robert Frost 'roads' reference on page 6 ("fuck it, I'll take the bus/And that has made all the difference").


Danish dog said...

You're quite right, Rachel! One has to play to one's strengths. I'm also much more comfortable with simple poetry.

This is good work, I'd say.

In the first stanza both lines 1 and 4 have five beats as opposed to the four beats of all the others.

So, instead, you might consider: "New and Old sat by a tree" and "Why's everyone ignoring me?'"

I'd also suggest a slight change in the first line of the final stanza.

"No word from Old, the soul is free," to "No word from Old, whose soul's now free,"

Rachel Fox said...

No, no... it has to be 'sitting'... then it's like the old K-I-S-S-I-N-G rhyme! Same with 'everybody'... it makes it more like a children's rhyme... and the well-known sound of "why is everybody always picking on me". The beats work for me when I read it aloud... guess it depends how you talk and what your references are.

The 'soul's free' you suggest is too many 's' sounds too.

I do appreciate your comment but I have never pretended I blog in any sort of 'poetry workshop' sense. I know some people do but usually when I post something I've been over it fairly thoroughly in terms of beats (for my ear). Now, if I post something that's completely incorrect... a factual mistake.. that's something else!


Rachel Fox said...

Like I once posted a photo of one poet (S.Sassoon) and said it was Robert Graves. Or was it the other way round... whoops!

The Solitary Walker said...

Yes, the meter is just a rough guide, it's the sound in the head and when read aloud that matters. The rhythm of speech and of the heart.

Now just off to cook a bad meal while whistling badly before having some bad sex.

Rachel Fox said...

Careful you don't hurt that leg again, SW!

Danish dog said...

Right you are, Rachel! More wind to your sail!

Rachel Fox said...

Cheers DD.

The Bug said...

I love it! I've rhymed somewhat successfully a handful of times since I became an adult - it's hard to do it without sounding like a greeting card. Your poem is NOT a greeting card (although its sentiment probably should be on a card, I think).

Sometimes I feel like Old (these whippersnappers better watch it!). And sometimes I feel like New (but this way is so much better!). Really I think we should all just drink a cup of tea (or beer) under the tree & have a party :)

Rachel Fox said...

Yes, I specifically didn't make it 'young' and 'old'... partly because it started off as about poets and 'new' poets can get going at any age. But like you I am one foot in new, one foot in old... maybe we all are (whatever our age!). It was prompted by lots of things - conversation with poets, family thoughts, the neverending fights over who is right. And I agree.. the party is the thing.

The Solitary Walker said...

Good God, would you believe it, I just hummed 'Land of Hope and Glory', ever so gently, and I nearly put my shoulder out! (Or perhaps it's the painting and decorating I'm being forced to do.)

Rachel Fox said...

Humming! You crazy fool - such daredevil behaviour!

Peter Goulding said...

Ah, a poem after my own heart but more depth than anything I could try. Delightful!

hope said...

Music to my ears..cause I read it out loud. ;)

A Cuban In London said...

Beautiful. Simple and beautiful. Many thanks. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Greetings from London.

Rachel Fox said...

For the encouraging noises... I thank you. I hope the "loo" didn't put you off Hope. I know when we were in the U.S. it used to make some of our relatives laugh ("who is this Lou?") etc.

hope said...

No, sounds much better than it's American version, "The John". :)

I hang around enough British Ladies at work that such words sound...normal to me. :)

Rachel Fox said...

I should think some comedy/folk singer somewhere has already written the Ballad of Lou and John (or John and Loo)...

Janie said...

I thought the poem about Old and New was about methods, fashion, life - trying to find a faster, easier way to do/create/accomplish something, when in reality, the tried-and-true always works. both need each other.

Rachel Fox said...

It totally could be about that!

Rachel Fox said...

Poems know more than poets... almost always!