Friday, 18 January 2013


And after the rain, the snow…

Yes, today it’s snowing, and as you can see from my photo, the bamboo in my garden has wilted under the weight.

Today’s title comes from an old Irish song. My favourite version is by Anne Briggs and you can listen to it here. There are many versions of the song, which I think is traditional. Anne has such a beautiful voice, here is a video clip that I may have posted before. As she gave up singing in the 1970’s there’s little footage of her.

Today though I do not want to solely sing the praises of a great singer. Before the snow came I was thinking of having a title about reworking/revision, because that is what this post is about.

I probably sound like a record with a stuck needle, for all of you old enough to get the vinyl analogy, but revising your work is essential. I’ll give you an example recently I posted a couple of poems that I thought at the time were complete. You can read that version here.


I suppose it is fitting that we
arrived only a hundred years ago
just in time in fact to see it properly
before the heat we generated to take us there
and all the hot air we spoke about the place
started to shrink it down
rendered frozen water into tears

here where the snow ran red
as admundson slaughtered half his dogs
just to ensure he reached the pole first
as if it mattered

now we weigh up our chances of grabbing
the slowly revealed resources

once the ice sheets were beautiful
they will be again when we are gone

I have to thank Chrissy & Liz, the two people in my rather informal poetry group for their help in polishing these poems. What do you think of the changes?

The second revised poem was first posted here. This is the latest incarnation of it.


A flatpack of language awaited each of us;
Good to go; make sense of it as you will.
The pathways it creates
as it scoops thoughts from our brains,
shapes information, says it out loud.

It’s no wonder wars start and lovers turn to haters.
But words are all we have,
cobble them together as clearly as you can,
then hope for the best.

As you can see there are differences in the two poems from how I had originally presented them. I think they work better now, do you?

The secrets are revision and sharing with sympathetic people. Constructive feedback is as valuable as platinum. Join a group and learn to give as well as to receive.

I’ll leave you with a couple more photographs.

Have a good week. I have Liz Lawrence playing in my sitting room as part of her sofa tour of England, more about that next week.


  1. I actually love all versions you wrote on both of these poems. Each has its own special character. The imagery is brilliant on all of them!!

  2. Hmm. As Jo said, I like both versions of your poems--though my impression is that the ideas are a little bit clearer in the second.

    Love the photographs, as always.

    1. Thanks Golden Eagle. I am trying to make the poems as clear as I can. Glad you liked the photos.