Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I spent the best of last night working on a poem about Baby P - the gorgeous wee toddler who was horrifically abused and murdered by his mum, boyfriend and the boyfriend's friend.
What a nightmare, it gave me nightmares most of last night.
I completed a first draft of the poem which I was happy with but in the end I couldn't post it and have completely wiped the poem. I couldn't bare to read it. I'm never again going to write a poem about something so horrific.

I never realised how fully involved I am in my poems, I know that sounds like a daft thing to say. I think part of it is my love of sound repetition in poems, be it rhyming, internal rhyming, assonance, alliteration etc. This means I find it relatively easy to memorise a number of or chunks of my own poems - the sounds get stuck in my head and, like an annoying song, parts of my latest poem can clog up my brain for days. I couldn't deal with having that poem on my mind for days, spent hours in bed last night trying to block it out so I could fall asleep. So the poem got deleted. I think its the only poem I've ever deleted, still have all my early poems which I can't bare to look at because they're so badly written but I wouldn't ever get rid of them (just keep them well hidden!!).

Talking about sound repetition in poems, here's one of my very favorite classic poems by T.S. Eliot:


Red river, red river,
Slow flow heat is silence
No will is still as a river
Still. Will heat move
Only through the mocking-bird
Heard once? Still hills
Wait. Gates wait. Purple trees,
White trees, wait, wait,
Delay, decay. Living, living,
Never moving. Ever moving
Iron thoughts came with me
And go with me:
Red river, river, river.


swiss said...

that's a toughie. writing about stuff like that can mess with your head! plus, once you're done, what do you do with it? we live in a country where carol ann duffy doing a poem with a knife in it is dodgy! lol

Sorlil said...

much more than I thought it would. the duffy poem was a scandal wasn't it!
I did once write a poem about a female suicide bomber which I tried to read when I was invited to read some poems on local radio but the guy cut me off on the second sentence and shoved on a song - said he was afraid he'd lose his radio licence if he allowed me to read such a controversial poem!

Jim Murdoch said...

I rarely write about current events. I did write one about the funeral of Diana, not a very good one, but I was struck by how many flowers died that week as if somehow that made things better.

As for remembering poems, even before my memory went up the Swanee I couldn't do it. I'm quite jealous.

Sorlil said...

"I was struck by how many flowers died that week" - jim, you really crack me up!

Chris said...

Do you ever find one of your poems being used as a prayer by someone else? This has happened to me - very moving.

Having just read your revised version, I think it too beautiful to worry about retaining it. If flowers spring out of evil, there is a kind of redemption there, I think.