Thursday, November 27, 2008

I rewrote the Baby P poem, less detailed than my original version. Found I couldn't start any other poems until I got this one out of my system.

First draft

Child

The field has drowned and turned

(post removed)

12 comments:

Roxana said...

sorlil, it's beyond me how you managed to write this, and do it so beautifully and avoiding any shrill overemotionality. It's very good.

James Owens said...

"His eyes are the colour of fists" --

perfect and heartbreaking. I don't think I can be the same as I was before I read this poem. Lots of other fine things, too, especially, as usual, beautiful sound work.

Be glad that you returned to this, even though it is painful. Some poems require what can only be described as courage.

Colin Will said...

A memorable poem, Sorlil. I'm very impressed.

Jim Murdoch said...

This is effective, evocative. I'm not sure I'm competent to comment on the content but I would make a suggestion as to formatting: try indenting the italicised lines. I pasted the thing into Word and it makes it easier to read. Keep the italics though. I also made the last two lines a stanza in its own right.

Sorlil said...

hi roxana, thankyou, that's very nice of you to say so.

hi james, thanks for your encouragement, it does feel a bit risky to write this kind of poem.

hi colin, thanks for reading, that means a lot to me.

hi jim, thankyou and thanks for your very helpful suggestions.

Roxana said...

I've just had to come back to it. you know, it reminded me dimly of something, and now I think I know - Trakls "An den Knaben Elis" [if I had to name just one poet for my dark selves, then maybe Trakl would be the one]. you can find a translation here, if you don't know it:
http://www.literaturnische.de/Trakl/english/seb-e.htm#totheboyelis

maybe I am wrong, but I see a certain similarity, the same bodily fragmentation, the reintegration with nature, the mythical figure of the boy.

I agree with James, it's hard not to be changed by this.

Sorlil said...

thanks so much for that link, roxana. I'd come across the name but not read any of his work, I'm really blown away by the poems on that page!

Frances said...

The line 'He has learned to be quiet' sent shivers down my spine. I agree with Roxana - I don't know how you did it, Sorlil.

Chris said...

This is so good. I'd like to think further about the 6th line - something about the rhythm? But it's a deeply moving piece, and a subject I'm scared to tackle as I wait for the birth of my second grandchild.

Sorlil said...

hi frances, thankyou, I'm glad it worked for you.

hi chris, thanks,I'm glad you think so. Thanks for your point about line 6, I'll have a look at that.

Rachel Fox said...

I think you're brave with this poem in many ways. I agree with Frances that the 'learned to be quiet' line is the stand-out line for me. For me a lot of the rest is almost too beautiful for the subject matter...but then you're better at beauty than I am, perhaps!

Your own boy is similar age isn't he? It can make these horrible cases feel very close to home sometimes. They are always going on somewhere. So many of them. So much cruelty.
x

Sorlil said...

thanks rachel, I know what you mean, I was afraid of over-poeticising and thereby undervaluing the seriousness and horror of the abuse.

My son turns 2 on Monday (we had his birthday party today - ahh the busiest day in motherhood but my very first effort of cake-baking actually turned out pretty well which I'm over the moon about!).
But the Baby P story does feel horribly close to home, just afraid of how much more abuse there is out there that we don't hear about.