Friday, 6 September 2013


When we were in France recently I took some photographs of the Hummingbird Moth. I say some photographs; I took lots, trying to get that perfect shot. I find that I become obsessive once I get the camera out, always taking one more photo in the hope that it will be the one.

Obvious link now to writing poetry, I believe that you have to keep on writing to get better. Not just writing but re-writing and revising. I have dwelt on this at length in previous blogs and offered tips on how to improve your skills.

Today I want to start off with a revision of last week’s poem:

The Case for Fracking

The situation at the party has got desperate.
It’s that point in the evening when even that green liquid,
You bought on holiday ten years ago,
tasted once and put to the back of the cupboard looks enticing.
You know you should just drink water,
go to bed, await the inevitable hangover.
Deep down you realise that this dubious liquor is not a solution
but that does not stop you,
experience does not deter nor sense call a halt.
You do not taste the first glass, so you pour another.

We will all regret it in the morning…

Over the last seven days I have continued to worry at this poem. I have changed the colour of the liquid, messed about with the length of the lines and tried taking words out. I am thinking that this poem is as finished as it will ever be. I know I have the ability to look at poems, even when they have been collected in a book and think, I could change that line…

Here is another work in progress that I began in France.

Cherry Picking

We forsake the robust spheres,
the not quite ripe fruit for those
closer to the sun,
with structure compromised,
dark sweetness that longs to tear its skin.
We balance on ladders, pull
branches towards us,
are willing to take risks for such rewards.

Stained mouthed,
sticky fingered,
we leave

with talk of taming the tree come winter.

What I was trying to achieve with this poem was a sensual picture of ripe cherries that are bursting with taste, sweetness, that are like nothing else. Not sure it works. What do you think?

This last poem is based on our journey through France. We had hired a car, but there was no map, only an old photocopy, many generations reproduced that I suspect came from an atlas. We knew the direction we wanted to go and as my wife had a compass app on her phone we just drove. I wrote this poem along the way.

Today navigation is by compass, a finger is traced on an nth generation photocopy of a page from an atlas, so I steer the car through a national park, we will lunch where we may.

This last line is a reference to the fact that restaurants only open between 12 and 1.30 pm, there is no long Catalan eat when you want vibe the other side of the Pyrenees. 

Have a good weekend.

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