Friday, 4 September 2015

THE DANGEROUS MAN SPEAKS IN METAPHORS

A rewrite today. You can look at the previous version here.
I was not happy with the first drafts prose style. I felt it needed to be show more and say less.

Four herons fillet, feast.
Clack, craw, pick over bones.
Proclaim themselves kings.
Mock the slow humans,
whose catch they elegantly steal.

Those very fishermen who yearn for the river's riches,
as if their bounty was not enough.
The dangerous man speaks in metaphors:
This is how to sift a river's riches:
start at it's mouth;
your wooden trawl a French kiss,
all rooting tongue that spares no secret.
Dam the high narrows upstream,
deny passage to life returning from the sea.
Only think of water as power.

There is profit in his words
-but not for you or yours.
Once the river has been strip searched,
its bed disturbed and left unmade,
there will be nothing.
We, the few who remain,
plumb the dirty stream in search of anything.
Does it work for you?
This second poem I wrote this week. The idea came from the phrase the river returned. I think the idea had come from watching a history programme about a vanished city from prehistory that is thought to have been made uninhabitable following an earthquake that rerouted a river through its centre.

Stronger than ever the river returned,
to rage through my city.
She had gone to the market to buy cloth,
then white horses break on the walls.
Water beats clay brick.
We could not staunch its flow,
so looked to the priests for reason,
then questioned their inevitable response,
that places sin ahead of geography.
Sunken mosaics silt over, await rediscovery.
My hearth will now never spark into flame,
nor will my heart.
I shoulder my bundle, walk towards the mountains.
You could argue that the narrator would not know that the river had returned, to him it would have been this catastrophe but I like the phrase. Time to leave it in the drawer for a while.
I leave you with Beth Porter & The Availables singing Salty Water.

4 comments:

  1. I always find it interesting to rewrite an old work. I think our perspectives slightly change over time which gives our writing a different flavor over time. I really like the rewrite.

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    1. Hi MsMariah
      Glad you like the new draft. It may change yet. Sometimes I think that poems are never completely finished.

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  2. Like novels... they always develop as you rethink your ideas...

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    1. That is very true Carol. I think it is the only way to work. Until recentlt I would not show work in progress but for some reason, these days, I rather like the idea of charting my progress.

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