17/03/2014

Stop Making Sense

Apparently #poetry must be first and foremost about the meaning.

I mentioned yesterday that Saturday had been spent fruitlessly trying to expand on ideas, first lines, snatched couplets, scraps. One such idea, was to experiment with music in order to find new rhythms. As much as I, and the literalists, like Mary Berry, and no doubt I could become the new Pam Ayres (and before you say I am a great admirer of Ms Ayres, I Wish I'd Looked After Me Teeth sits alongside snippets of Shakespeare, Tennyson, Owen, Betjamin and McGough of instantly remembered poems) were I to bang on the iambic drum, two phrases to a line, four lines to a verse, end rhymed (sometimes wittily) - that's poetry people would say - I'd rather see how far I can stretch myself.

One of the ideas floating around on Saturday was Eric Satie, Gymnopedie No 1. The abandoned beginning in my notebook reads...

 hoping, waiting
waiting
softly opens the promise of spring
watching, listening
waiting

What rhymes with spring? Actually the problem was not the rhyme, it was the sickly sweet kitsch of the ideas I piped onto the paper. It may have been the music, which is beautifully lyrical, haunting, but more important it has simplicity - which my ideas did not. It doesn't try to do anything, it just is - unlike my ideas. Music also doesn't have breathing spaces - ok music for instruments you blow do. And more importantly for the process, music progresses from a theme, making subtle changes along the way - in a way that poetry does not.

So there I am with with my pen, listening to, rewinding the utubez, listening to, getting lost as to where exactly I am in the music, allowing the video to influence the choices, rewinding, fighting mortal combat with kitsch; until I gave up.

And all the while the poem I really want to write is about that odd conversation I had overheard in the Oxfam shop.

So picking up on that theme, I began

Bracked moon fusted season ginnel
legged ferret man oozles ghinwetched
fur claws popping eyes Midnight Children

fight for sweets loin twacted parated the fly
damn thou blarting saith the ferry mimling
tell for as point

The missus wasn't impressed, the kids rolled their eyes. I went back to the ashtray and the teacup.

Then it struck me. Instead of transcribing the music into sense, transcribe it into words.

After Satie No 1
wholping - misking
wholping
misking
now/softly postles the wangsle of spring
now/misking - spraiting
wholping
misking
now/surely frurtles in echo will sing
- now - yon -

gone/misking
misk;ing
mis:king
mis/soon sunlight will fagret on field
gon/wholping/
in field in the daylight fuldargret will yield
yon spraiting
the day
comes
lonely for someone who called in the night - night

night

wholping - misking
wholping
misking
now/softly postles the wangsle of spring
now/misking - spraiting
wholping
misking
now/surely frurtles in echo will sing
- now - yon -

gone
gone
misking - misking
welcome this bolgram to bless all our trees
spraiting
trees spread misvulgam and sweeten the breeze

soft

warm.

The next problem was how to indicate the punctuation of the music, thus the dashes and slashes. Plus there are half cords (probably not the correct technical term) which are indicated in the text as 'now'.

At which point the literalists are weeping, 'what happened the poet who gave us Mary Berry? He is lost to the world of expressionist post modernism." To which I reply, "What? What? It has structure, rhythm and rhyme. What's the problem?" (Ok this is an internal dialogue).

And so, for those in the cheap seats, I translated it into English.

After Satie No 2
hoping - waiting
hoping
waiting
     softly opens the promise of spring

waiting - sighing
hoping
waiting
     surely blackbirds in echo will sing

     - now - yon -

   gone

waiting
waiting
sighing
     soon sunlight will flourish on field
hoping
     field in the daylight earth treasure will yield
yon - sighing -
      day

   comes
lonely for someone who called in the night - night

   night

hoping - waiting
hoping
waiting
   softly opens the promise of spring

waiting - sighing
hoping
waiting
   surely blackbirds in echo will sing

     - now - yon -

   gone
  gone

waiting - waiting
    welcome this west wind to bless all our trees
sighing
   trees spread in blossom and sweeten the breeze

      soft

    warm.

After stripping out the dashes and slashes, and some of the extraneous words, I decided to use space and spacing to fulfill the function of punctuation.

What was pleasing, to me, is that the expressions of spring are simple, not kitsch, and everything they would not have been had I not been through the process of stop trying to make sense.

A reverse V-effect if you will.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cue random photo to lighten Facebooks load....