Poetry Practice: Day Eight

So my poetry practice continues, where now into the second week, and still I hope to continue upon this path. I am going to start introducing mandatory elements into my daily practice poems, just to liven it up, and stretch myself technically, and emotively. I will cover these in more details in a post later, laying out what I intend on doing.

That being said, it is possibly that I won’t be posting for a few days as I go away, however I will try to avoid this, as I really like keeping to a poem a day, and will be writing them, so it is only a minor hassle to fathom a way to post them.

Anyway, onto today’s poem – as I write this, I haven’t started writing the poem, this is coming straight out of my head and into the pages of this blog. No preparation, or hesitation.


The Gifts of Poets Gone

As I lay here, on the backs of giants,
Poetry forebearers that carried the skill into art,
Whose tireless efforts, and many a sacrifice,
Have given me today,
The bed upon which I lay.

By which I mean the literary warrants,
The rules, tempers, and heritages they impart,
For which I am able to add my words, spice,
And never say nay,
The words my mind may.

As I lay here dwelling in fragments,
Of poetry past and present, musing my part,
I have yet to play, indulging my vice,
I suffer no defray,
It will be words day.

©, Jonathan Lawrence 2009

I think this poem is relatively clear, and it’s source easy to identify (see my last blog post), it is also something I genuinely believe and hold dear. Though I am a pale imitation of their art, their skill, and their lives, I am no less beholden to them for the gifts they have given that have led me to where I am.

Where I imitate there style, where I borrow from their prose, I hope they would be flattered, and hope they would appreciate my gratitude.

Poetry Season on the BBC

It’s always great when poetry gets media focus, it is one of the great things about the BBC, and definitely something that proves the license fee is needed. I doubt advertisers would have any interest in poetry – look what happened to Richard and Judy, that was a ratings winner, it’s book club was a major influence on the book charts, and still it was booted to some random minor Sky channel, and then promptly retired.

The BBC is currently running a poetry season (no doubt the appointment of the new Poet Laureate, and the positive media coverage, with hits on the new story on the website, helping influence the idea). Last night Griff Rhys Jones was on a program on the Beeb called “Why Poetry Matters”, haven’t had chance to watch it yet, but will do this afternoon. Here’s the program description from iPlayer:

Griff Rhys Jones makes a passionate and personal plea for poetry, exploring how verse has the power to enlighten, entertain, stimulate and seduce.

Griff dissects Keats with Simon Armitage, views a line-up of poetic dandies with Andrew Motion and encounters an experimental poem made from a dozen beach balls. He celebrates W.H. Auden’s Night Mail with a team of railway drivers, takes a Shakespearean masterclass with Nick Hytner and is thrown into the bardic bear pit at a poetry slam.

If you’re in the UK you can watch it on iPlayer, the link is http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00kmtyn/Why_Poetry_Matters/

I’m watching it as I write this, some amazing poetry readings, and some wise words as to the importance, and impact of poetry among society. I may write  a proper review of it later.

There’s also a whole Poetry season website here:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/poetryseason/

I’ve been going through it today, and it’s well worth spending some time on. I did get caught up short though, they’re doing a vote for the Nation’s Favourite Poet, and I figured “Oh yeah, ace, I’ll have a bit of that!”, as you do, only to find myself torn over the choices. I’m intending on doing a post at some point in the future to explore my love of various poets, so I don’t want to spoil that in this post. However, let me just cover the poets on whom I am torn, and briefly why.

Continue reading

Poetry Practice: Day Seven

Well I’m now upto a week of writing daily poetry, it’s going pretty well, I even managed an extra one on Monday – however it was so bad, I dare not let the rest of the world see it.

Today’s poetry practice is brought to you by 12Seconds, the short video blogging site to which I just signed up. No idea what I’m going to do with a 12 seconds account, I’m not exactly photogenic, and my voice isn’t great – but for 12 seconds, who cares? It’s a bit of fun. Anyway, it’s the inspiration for today’s poem, and I’ve even done a 12 second version for 12Second, which will add after the poem itself.

12 Seconds…
“12 seconds you’re on Mister Legend”,
“Who me? I’m just well me”,
“It’s your 12 seconds Mister”,
“Erm, what do I say?”
That woman with the camera,
She looked at me funny,
And then just laughed,
“You’re 12 seconds is up Mister Legend,”
She said, with an impish giggle,
Indeed they were,
12 seconds flies by,
My 12 seconds of fame,
Good bye.

©, Jonathan Lawrence 2009

[12svideo id=”167600″]

Video of me doing a 12 second version of this poem.

Poetry Practice: Day six

As part of my aim to enter some poetry competitions, I have been practicing writing (hopefully getting better along the way). Today (Tuesday19th May) is day 6, so here’s today’s poem:

On Tom Welling

In regards to Tom Welling,
I’m reliably informed,
The actor of Superman to be,
Is hotness to the core,
His love for fellow man is to be admired,
His humility in the face of fame,
Well shames even the fameless.

A story telling,
I am impressed by his Clark,
Across fandom it has stormed,
I’m told the love he portrays,
For villanous Lex Luthor,
Will be a thing of a legend making,
That isn’t the in my rules of the game,
I just love the hero making I guess.

©, Jonathan Lawrence 2009

I was struggling a bit today, didn’t think I would make it for poem of the day, but hils came up with this idea, in response to my plea on Twitter. Now I do love Smallville, even as people are struggling with it – I think it’s been better, but since watching the most recent episode, initially I thought I was more disappointed than anything else – but once my super random brain kicked in, I’d formulated at least a handful of brilliant points, and ideas where it could be going when it restarts in Autumn.

Anyway, this is a short poetic tribute to the shows main star, Tom Welling who plays Clark Kent, the Superman in the making.

Hope you enjoy.

Music to Write To

I’m always on a quest for the perfect playlist to write to – but damn it the writing music keeps changing.

I love poetry and writing, and their sibling the song is no different (storytelling is the parent to me), they’re all capable of evoking something within us. Sometimes they evoke the writer within, helping to unlock my core creativity.

I find that what music I’m listening to affects what I’m writing, I noticed this during last year’s NaNoWriMo, I was in one of those places where I was banging out a few hundred words an hour, and actually progressing towards target. When I read back over my words, there was a pattern, I’d had Pachelbel’s Canon in D on repeat, (equally a crap and great piece of music in one – perfect writing music though),  my writing had taken on that structure, from number of words per sentence,  to roughly where the capitals were placed, and as I read it through, you could kind of feel Canon behind it. You have to be careful though, I would imagine if you’re half way through  a 75,000 word novel, and feel of the writing suddenly changes, that’s going to make it seem disjointed.

Continue reading

Poetry Practice: Day five

As part of my aim to enter some poetry competitions, I have been practicing writing (I’m a touch rusty). Today (Monday 18th May) is day 5, so here’s today’s poem:

Sleep Protector

Lie down in velvet shadows,
Find warmth in the heavy presence,
Wrap yourself in the love we share,
Feel our protection from the darkness,
I will be there for now by your side,
You need not fear this deep night,
As we rest in peaceful slumber,
Enjoy.

Rise in caramel illumination,
Flood awareness flood to your senses,
Find your way out of your downy care,
Avoid realising your profound cureless,
In your dreams to yourself you lied,
Found comfort away in the fright,
I’m a figment in the dream of forever,
Sorry.

©, Jonathan Lawrence 2009

This is a really sad poem, it starts off sounding romantic, but it’s almost unreal. A couple go to bed, nice and romantic, but only one talks, sooths, the other offers no reaction, but to fall asleep. My intention was to invoke the feeling of a night guardian, he stands watch over our fateful sleeper.

I don’t know about you, but I long for that – it’s almost a magical romantic ideal. Which the second verse reveals is the truth. I would feel a prodound sense of loss at realising this dream wasn’t real, but can you be sure can you? The figment apologised – which to me, says that maybe this phantom protector is real, but gone when you awake.

Primrose Valley, Leeds – My Childhood Playground

I’ve just been on a glorious walk, went on to Primrose Valley in Leeds. Ever since I was a child, it’s been a magical place. Even now, despite the efforts of the council to tame it – it’s still magical.

That said, I was puzzled to find: Primrose Valley with Bailey May 09 00040.jpg

Now, I’ve lived in this area (on one side of Primrose Valley or t’other), for about twenty years. In all that time there were rumours about the council wanting to build houses on there, however there has always been strong local opposition to this.

The council went as far as to stop maintaining it (or so it seemed, I’m sure they would say otherwise).

So when I saw that sign, what first came to mind was bulldozers raking over my childhood memories, memories of football, rugby, laser tag, even school (I went to Crossgates Primary School – for my sins), and other childhood hi jinx. It’s a terrifying thought.

You may be asking what’s this got to do with poetry, or literature, technically it doesn’t much. It’s one of the places I used to write though,  and a place I’ve written about plenty of times. It’s somewhere special to me. I’m going to re-post one of those special stories at the end of this post.

Anyway, back to the point (yes I digressed, and that’s the subject of my latest poem), it turns out, I don’t need to be worried.  I put on my detective’s hat, and tracked down what was going on – despite English Partnerships being co-opted by Homes & Communities Agency, they appear to planning some kind of restoration and care work on the fields. Okay, yes I spent about three hours working all this out, but most of the documentation is from 2006, it’s just taken that long for bureaucracy to kick in and do something.

There’s very little on the Leeds City Council website about it – but I guess it’s been so long since it was announced it’s just slipped well down the relevant  results.

It makes me happy that it’s safe, makes me happy that one of my childhood memories remains intact, even as others vanish and warp out of recognition.

I mentioned before that I have an idea for a new poem – I’m going to be writing it there, in good old fashioned ink and paper. Though, as a matter of respect  for the maintenance and improvement of my beloved valley, I’m going to obey that sign (if I’d found out  that they building on there, I would have happily risked being arrested in protest).

If you’d like to see some more photo’s of my walk out across Primrose Valley, follow this link to more, including Bailey, our three year Yorkshire Terrier, oh and me (I’m the one with the ginger goatee, and bandana on – he’s the silver haired little dog, trust me)  – Primrose valley with Bailey – May 09

Anyway, as promised here’s one of my old stories, written back in December 2003 (I’d like to think I’ve improved as a writer since then – however it’s a story that means something, so I don’t mind exposing it):

Oh and I won’t bore you with the real history of Primrose Valley just yet – I’ll save that for another time.

A Journey into an Old Land

Continue reading