Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Beware poetry by Sandra Horn

          The thing is, I did a daft thing a few weeks ago.
          It seemed like a good idea at the time, as these things often do. I had a great splurge on tidying up, editing and then sending out a bunch of stuff: poems, picture book texts and opening chapters of novels.
          I felt good for about half a day, then less good, then ghastly as the first rejections came in. You know the drill: It Is All Over. I Am Finished. Perhaps I Was Only Ever a One-trick Pony.
          However, rejections were only the start of it. Then came the silence. The waiting. Waiting for deadlines, for the requisite number of weeks/months to go by until 'if you haven't heard from us by...you can assume you won't, ever'.
          That's when the Slough of Despond sucks me in, and in order not to sink into the murk entirely, I read more poetry. I read it in bed before I get up. That's the mistake. It fills my head up with whirling words. I can't even have a shower or a pee without the *benison of hot water, tant pis (I can't help it, I tell you!).
          * I don't know where this came from; it's not mine. And anyway, it's archaic.
          This morning, it started with Emily Dickinson: I started early, took my dog. Who would have guessed that's where Kate Atkinson got her title from? It's a very odd little poem anyway but it got the word-whirling started. Toast-bread-flour-grain. Rain. Is marmalade a metaphor? What for? Does anything rhyme with orange? Florence, if you're drunk enough. Can a porcelain bowl be 'tense as a new-laid egg'? That is mine, but I have no confidence in it. What rhymes with avocado? Bardot (as in Brigitte); sardo (as in pecorino); hard, oh! (as in unripe).
          Noctilucent. Bioluminescent. Apogee. Azimuth.
          There's an Alice Oswald-invoking spider in the hall. The garden spawns Eilean ni Chiulleanain-invoking midges. Dandelion clocks - oh, Norman Nicholson! And I haven't even had my coffee yet. It's bound to start producing similes. Dark as. Hot as.

          The poetry has robbed me of the wee bit sense I had (shamelessly borrowed and adapted)
          Perhaps I should have had a cold shower...


                               the dinosaur gave them each a colourful balloon

9 comments:

Chris Longmuir said...

I think this is probably the first time I've been glad I'm not a poet, don't understand it, don't read it, don't write it. So I'm not bothered with poetic words whirling around in my brain - murderous ones, now that's a different story!

Bill Kirton said...

Rather than individual words, similes, images or expressions, it's rhythm that does it for me. The original is glorious but the rhythm then infiltrates my thinking and applies itself to the most mundane things, to the extent that I find myself needing to add words to complete the rhythm. I think it's my version of Obsessive-Compulsive Behaviour. The Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold. What a beautiful day, not a tiny bit cold. See?

Sandra Horn said...

Me too, Bill!

Susan Price said...

Thank you, Sandra and Bill, for giving us stolidly unpoetic types an insight into poet life.

madwippitt said...

loved the words. you can kind of swirl them around in your mouth, and savour them in your mind before allowing them to tumble forth.

Kathleen Jones said...

Lovely Sandra. You nailed it! Poetry is like getting drunk on words.

Reb MacRath said...

Well done, Sandra. My vote for a rhyme with orange would be 'or inch'.

Okay. Back to my room and thoughts of Byron as the world's first rapper. (Intellectual/hen-pecked you all)

Lydia Bennet said...

good to see some poetry on AE Sandra, yes images do stick in one's mind and are great gifts. (However they can also be from novels.) Dandelion clocks bring to mind for me that lovely Shakespeare lines 'golden lads and girls all must as chimney sweepers come to dust' as there's a theory chimney sweepers was also a name for dandelion seeds which do look like sweeps' brushes and are ephemeral.

Nick Green said...

Poets are definitely born, not made. I wonder if it's a very mild and controllable form of schizophrenia (or perhaps not so mild in some cases, like Blake). If I recall my Latin correctly, I think the words for 'poet' and 'seer' were interchangeable. A poet was a prophet, and vice versa.