Friday, 17 June 2016


I have been revising poems with an eye to publishing a fourth collection. As Dennis Grieg pointed out in a recent guest post, the amount of poetry sold is minuscule. It is thanks to such intrepid souls as Dennis that there are avenues available to poets at all. Thank you Dennis.
The first poem this post has benefited from being left fallow for over a year. When I came to look at it once more I could see clearly where it wasn't working. I had not been satisfied with the overall poem which is why it went back into the drawer, but now I think it works.

Shakespeare was right, the old bastard.
He knew a thing or two about people.
Problem was I could never cut through those words
until it was too late.

When I did him at school, too briefly,
meaning was an eel
slipping through green fronds in murky water.
Even A-level left me unmoved- so your man has left you,
there are plenty more, just go out and find one.

All this time I was stoking the fires of my own downfall,
not that I saw it like that.

These days I can read the plays,
make sense of that language,
feel for the predicaments the people find themselves in,
all much to late for such insight to be of any use to me.
This is the original version.
I have played about with the line breaks as well as line endings. These I found to be a little random in the first draft giving the poem a staccato feel. 
OK, the photograph is of Vincent rather that Bill The Shake but this blog has never mastered the art of relating image to content.
In this second revised poem I have, I hope, managed to clarify the narrative.
You can read the original here.


An improvised library lesson.
Old books, a random collection,
grown over more time than my life.
Yellow postcard, typed questions,
the e lower then the other letters.
All the facts we were told are in this room

I couldn't find what I was looking for,
it was the books that were dumb,
I knew the answer as soon as I saw the question.
I walked up to Mr. Farr, all tweed and fag ash,
pointed in the direction of the nature books
and told him a bee dies when it stings.

I gambled on his laziness,
but not him stopping the class,
and announcing no one had ever found
that fact in these books before.
It was fair, he said, to give credit
where credit was due.

This was the start of my career as a liar.
I leave you with a live set from Hurray For The Riff Raff.

No comments:

Post a Comment