Thursday, 18 September 2008

Quiet, please

I have been posting a lot lately. I think of myself as quite a well-balanced person these days (you should have seen me before!) but maybe I'm still some distance from that...maybe I am still more obsessive than on a level, more manic than mellow. I mean, look at me now...I could be getting ready to take Small Girl to school...making myself look...tidy like some women do (how do they do that?). Instead, I am typing...half-eating breakfast...ellipsis fever, as ever.

Anyway, this will not be a long post - I just fancied putting a poem up this morning. So here's an old poem...ten years old or so. It is one of my favourites and interesting to me because it articulated how I would write poems (and why) from quite early on... before I really understood what I was doing! Hah! How about that! I always think the poems know better than we's really strange but somehow true, I think. And all this from the person who believes in nothing!

I thought of this poem because of discussion in the comments in the last post with Barbara and Colin, in particular. I do like discussion with good people. There are so many morons in the world...selfish bores, nasty, bitter little people who refuse to smile...I haven't given up on any of those people (yet) but I much prefer it when I find the people who will think, who will discuss, who will add something to other people's lives not just take, take, take...

Which reminds me - the word 'bark' in this poem...when I wrote it I was living in a grotty small flat in Leeds. My neighbours in the next building (horrible people) left their huge dog alone all day and it barked and barked and barked. I was going through a long, drawn-out agoraphobic phase (oh and claustrophobic...I think I've mentioned that before!) and I was stuck there, crazy as hell, listening to this damn dog. I did go and tell them about it once...their response was fairly typical...a loud, growled “what do you want us to do, have it's fucking tongue cut out?” (Excuse the swearing – it's there for realism). I was not up to dealing with aggression in those days. I went home and cried for about two weeks. Then I moved. I moved in with my beloved (a wise choice!).

This poem is in my book – right at the front. It's a brave little thing. I think the whole putting out a book is brave too – no publisher to back me up, no publisher's name for people to see and say 'oh, it must be good, so and so has put it out'. No. It's just me. (Well, me and him indoors who's good at all the stuff I'm not!).

Here's the poem -

A little sh

Words speak
For me
They even sing
Or bark
It's nothing
That I have
No voice
For words
Will bring
Their own
Sound in

RF about 1997


Anonymous said...

Rachel - lovely. 'For words will bring their own sound in'. I think I can relate to that. When I try to write, I very often don't have a clue what I'm doing (which is probably obvious from the 'poems' I end up with) but there are times when, whatever happens, it seems right enough to me and the words will 'bring their own sound in'. Trembling, I ask that you have a little look at a handful of the words I have up at my 'poetry' blog at Any tip or handy hints most welcome. Thanks.

By the way, Mrs. bear seems to prepare for the day in much the same way as you - one hand on the kids, another on the computer, checking her e-mails etc.

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks SB. Mrs Bear - how lovely that sounds. My Small Girl would love that. She's too young yet to read this blog though. She still thinks Mummy is perfect! (I have tried to tell her the truth but she won't hear it!).

My thoughts on other people's poetry...I'll look but I'm not sure how helpful or otherwise I'll be...


Frances said...

I love the idea in this Rachel. If anything, I'd like to see it a tiny bit longer.
I can imagine how difficult it was for you at home listening to that dog. I'm so glad you've been able to move on from that. Its extraordinary how anxieties can take a hold.

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks Frances. I think I have extended the idea in other poems too. I write about songs, singing, music...a lot! And also about we all try to do it in our own ways.

hope said...

Okay, I never did a review of your book [oddly, I never feel "literary" enough to do stuff like that] but this poem was my absolute favorite!

I don't know if it's the brevity or the simple truth of how words and I work together, but as someone who writes, I'd say you hit the nail on the head. Succinctly, even.

As for doing more than one thing at a time...we can't help it. There's something in that X chromosome which renders women genetically incapable of sitting still for long periods of time and doing nothing. ;)

By the way, sent your package out on Tuesday.

Rachel Fox said...

Glad you like this one, Hope. I like to try and say a lot with very little sometimes...that's my kind of challenge!

As for not being 'literary' enough to review a book...that is one of my least favourite features of the people feel afraid or cautious to say what they think in case someone laughs at them or sneers at them. I guess that's partly why I write things like that last post about visual art (something I am far from an expert in). I think it's important that we feel free to have a try and talk or write about all parts of the arts, whoever we are, wherever we are. It is interesting to read what the more erudite and scholarly writers have to say but that's never the whole picture and, for me, none of the arts should be closed shops ('you're not allowed in - you haven't been practising your verb conjugations'). Open all hours, no admission fee, no purchase necessary...that's more my kind of place. I'm such a hippy...well, kind of an uptight hippy...but you get my meaning...

hope said... I have to go home, re-read and post something which sounds neither cowardly nor as if I'm puckering to buss your arse. :)

Another genetic mutation, I fear, is that "Southern girls" are raised to avoid hurting people's feelings. Doesn't always work, but we're taught it nonetheless. It's why we tend to say, "Bless his/her heart" at the end of sentences in which someone has done something absolutely's polite code for "Idiot!"

Then again, my sister and I were raised under the same roof and she has NO problems telling people what she thinks, whether she should or not. :)

Rachel Fox said...

No pressure...only if you want to review it. I was just rambling/ranting...maybe I should invent rantling to cover it properly!

As for 'bussing my arse'...well...what on earth is that?


hope said...

I like "rantling". Call the dictionary people for next year's newest word.

As for the other, it was the polite version of "Kissing your ass". :)

Jim Murdoch said...

Interesting. When I read the poem I assumed you meant 'bark' as in 'bark orders'. So now I know.

Rachel Fox said...

I think once 'bark' dropped into its place I liked it because it is really the odd word in there, the loose cannon, the slightly uncomfortable what-the-hell-is-that moment.

I like your 'bark orders'...and in fact one of the things I (personally) like most about words is quite how many meanings and nuances and all sorts you can see with just a few words. You see - paintings...who needs them!


Ken Armstrong said...

It's too late now but I know a good answer for those awful neighbours of yours (from times gone by) and their awful barking hound.

My answer would have been 'yes'. Funny how us writers always think up the clever response after the event. :)

Enjoyed the poem, it's in a book I proudly own.

Rachel Fox said...

They were as rough as arseholes (yes, that's a technical term). They probably would have cut my tongue out without flinching...then I really would have had no voice to moan about (or to not moan about...).

Dick said...

Brief but punching way above its weight! My favourite kind of poem.

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks Dick. I've done book/cd swaps with lots of other writers/musicians...if you fancy joining in send me a mail. Same goes for all readers. Not that buying my book is a bad idea either...

Fiendish said...

I love poetry about words, and this is a pretty brilliant example. Beautiful as ever.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I like the simplicity of this poem - the short lines, the simple words - I agree that "bark" does add just a touch of dissonance to it. But the more I read it and think about it the less simple it becomes. I love it.

Rachel Fox said...

All your positive comments about this poem are much appreciated for many, many reasons...too many to list!