My poem, Come Leaves Burst, appeared in the Daily #Poetry yesterday.
It was rather thrilling.
At which point, I suppose, I could indulge myself with a speech, thanking all those who without, and about how these small victories mean so much to me because of the years of isolating illness and the callous disregard endured by the disabled.
But I won't.
Instead, I will speak of generosity.
In theory, I should be selling my book - The Blue Book - I should be battling it out on the social media, mutually backslapping, having a non-opinion on everything to get my signature seen, singing the Lego song, 'Everything is Awesome' to get 'likes', the dreaded 'like', that badge of acknowledgement cunningly wrapped in dismissal. And having successfully built enough 'likes' to get sales, to gain further 'likes' in the form of stars, which in turn generate further 'likes', to get more sales, to get more... ad infinitum... until such point as the more feared 'one star' appears, reversing the social contract; now, dislike becomes the fuel of the 'like'.
Well, we know what it's like.... dull.
I started with the best intentions to join in this game. Well I did until I ran into a poem written by someone else. And, another, and another, and another, and so on, until I forgot all about the exchange of money, preferring the exchange of ideas.
There is of course a version of the 'like' game that can be played within this too. It's more of a 'like' exchange than a currency of business. One gives the 'like' - in repentance of reading or thought - to gain absolution for your, naked, trembling poem - let's face it there is something intimate about a well written poem.
As I am the hero of this narrative, you are expected to take it as read that this little game is not one in which I indulge. Frankly because it is not... why would I?
Why? When such wonderful pictures are being painted, heartstrings pulled, mirth prodded, would I read the first two lines, hit the like button, and post the invisible link to my own masterpiece?
Surely any rational person would do as I; read it for sense, read it again, test the language on my tongue, feel the breath, focus on the interesting or puzzling sections, weigh the tone, examine the structure, admire the tricks, etc. And having formed an opinion of what is there, and perhaps what is not, enter the reply box and share.
God forbid, that this might lead to a discussion, a deeper understanding of the work by the critic and the poet. Heavens, there might be an alteration, maybe to the poem, maybe to the critique. And by St Michael - OK I was stretching for a heavenly sentence opening, and somehow found M&S - another poem.
Hence, the chiming of the bell marked generosity.
It's a rather rewarding process, if at times a struggle.
For example, when the poet has confused drowning with depth of meaning, usually accompanied by the words 'death', 'pain' and a gloomy first line. I am not sure when poetry became a metaphor for self harm - Sylvia Plath has something to do with it - but unfortunately it is not hard to find them. Seeming legions of woman (and some men) sublimating razor blades for pens and keyboards, chopping the English language into tight, inelegant, boxes of blackness, paraded as great art, but in reality demonstrating little more than they couldn't think of anything else to write.
Or the social commentators trapped inside red dialectic lines. The poem acting as an inquisitor, narrow, pinched, beyond reproach, seeking out the devil's mark.
Or the clairvoyant, who knows the reaction - every reaction, no matter how diverse.
Or the funny fellows, comic men and clowns in private life.....
But no matter. I'm just pleased that someone liked my poem enough to use it.
I'm not sure about that picture though....
Cue random picture for the Facebooks bikini contest....