Saturday, 30 January 2010

News and heavy metal


First, the news...

Details of the next poetry & music event I'm organising are now up here. Go and have a look – it's all very exciting.

And speaking of poetry Dominic Rivron put up a poetry challenge thing last week (see how good I am with language...'thing'...so unexpected...) and I've been working on it a bit this week. I struggled with it to be honest – at one point I started to just hate words which is a totally new state for me...where poetry is concerned anyway...but it seems to have passed for now. The task was to go and listen to the track 'Ghost Road Berlin' over at this myspace page, to write as you listened, go away, fiddle a bit and then post the results. And my goodness have I fiddled! The music/sound on the track is fairly sparse and that was part of the problem I suppose but Dominic likes that kind of thing and I like him so I'm willing to give it a go. Here's the piece I came up with.


Heavy Metal


Deep in the ocean in an old diving suit
An aquatic astronaut with no sky to see
Dull boots on my feet to weigh me low
I'm waiting

Hanging by a rope to nowhere fast
Adrift for dead and falling by degree
I see no-one and the sea sees me
I'm looking

It could be an ocean or a giant's swimming pool
How would I know - no clues on me
Day upon day filled high with brine
I'm tired

Harsh metal noises – clunks and scrapes
I hear all wrong and I cling to free
My head rattles hard in its helmet jail
Still waiting


RF 2010


Go gently.
x

p.s. Photo above was looking out towards Scurdie Ness, by Montrose on 1st January this year.

43 comments:

Rachel Fenton said...

I really like this - I feel like this, a lot... too much too loud noise, clang, clang, batang, and it's too close.....your poem captures this feeling brilliantly.

Love the imagery and the word play of the diving bell...

Jim Murdoch said...

On the whole I like the shape of this and the pace you have to read it all. The one world I tripped up on was 'brine' - if he was in brine, a) how would he know inside his suit and, b) it would have to be the sea because to be brine requires, by definition, large quantities of salt, far more than you'd find in a swimming pool. I know I'm being pedantic but that was my gut reaction to the piece. I had a friend once who nipped my head because I showed him a poem where I said a bus was fuelled by petrol whereas it should have been deisel.

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks Rachel. Sounds like you get what we used to call (on LSD and other harsh drugs) 'metalhead'. I had it for a few years off and on. Maybe that's partly where this poem came from. Maybe it's why I don't listen to music like the page Dominic chose!

Thanks Jim - I did think about that brine question but kept it (unusually for me) partly because I just liked the high and the brine together (brine makes me think of 'Bedknobs and Broomsticks' for a start). The swimming pool came in and out (kept changing my mind) and in the end I just couldn't think of anything I liked better. And I suppose in a rather pathetic defence I could say that there are saltwater swimming pools sometimes. There's one in Enid Blyton's Malory Towers, for example. Real world? What real world?

I'm not sure I'll do anything with this poem. We'll see.

x

Titus said...

Eek! Had to scroll down quick to avoid your poem, as I've listened, but not written yet! See you on the morrow. I'm following the link though...

Rachel Fox said...

For me posting stuff on Monday morning is just really inconvenient (hence the early post).
x

Sorlil said...

I like it! It's you but also a little different than usual! The 'It could be an ocean or a giant's swimming pool' line made me smile.

Rachel Fox said...

That line probably underwent more changes than any other. Still not sure really...though your reaction (a smile) is good...stops it being just too miserable.
x

Niamh B said...

It's not too miserable at all, tho the "music" is fairly bleak, I'd say the metalic-ness will be a definite theme. Nice poem.

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks Niamh. Maybe it is just miserable on the inside...sometimes.
x

Rachel Fox said...

Plus I only listened to the music once...I didn't go back and listen to it again at all. If I had the poem might have been more miserable!
x

The Weaver of Grass said...

I have done something to post tomorrow Rachel but unfortunately I couldn't listen to the piece so have done something from the title. I spoke to Dominic yesterday and he said that his aim had been to see what kind of thing people wrote just from listening to the same piece of music. However - I think that to do this he would have to let us listen to a piece without a title, because to my mind the title sets a train of thought going in the head. I shall post my piece in the morning however.

Rachel Fox said...

I didn't really pay much attention to the title of the piece this time, Weaver (though in the case of that Hiroshima piece a while back it was certainly true that knowing the title would have influenced how you heard the piece). There was so little to this task's piece...I did find it empty. Unlike the ocean...which is full...hmmm.

x

Totalfeckineejit said...

Haven't had a chance to listen and do yet, so dont want your done to influence my not yet done.When I've done doing my doings I'll pop back to see what doings you've done.

Rachel Fox said...

Ah, I see my good with language thing is catching.
x

Dick said...

Brine and all, this really fits the bill, Rachel.

Dominic Rivron said...

It was worth all the fiddling!

I should add, I didn't actually like the music very much myself - I was just struck by its visual quality. I think that can often be the way with good film music: it lacks something, because it's not intended to stand alone.

Thanks: I'll put a link to it on my blog in my ghost road berlin post.

Poet in Residence said...

Well, I'm in a quandry now. And tomorrow I must post you something.

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks, Dick. It's a lot better than it was a few days ago anyway!

Dominic - is it film music? I didn't read any of the page at all. I thought it was more of your experimental business.

Why the quandry PiR? I will mail you today too.

x

Poet in Residence said...

I got the impression with Dominic's 'thing' that you'd need a poetic lift. But no, I've made my final choice. There's no going back!
cheers,
Gwilym

A Cuban In London said...

It's a very meditative piece, and almost a world apart (in my view) from some of your other poems. I loved the slow pace ('Hanging by a rope to nowhere fast') and the uncertainty - 'It could be an ocean or a giant's swimming pool
How would I know - no clues on me'. Many thanks, loved reading it.

Greetings from London.

Rachel Fox said...

Now I understand PiR! I thought you meant a quandry about what to write for Dominic or something!

And Cuban, thanks very much. Some of my poems do really pop out made (and I never see that as a weakness or a laziness...I see it as a blessing!) but there are the odd ones (like this) that really take their time coming together in any way. Doing this I felt like a kid in an exam...changing things desperately at the last minute before handing my paper in! And there is a fair bit of kids stuff in it too...I know the 'no clues on me' is an echo of Disney's Pinocchio ('no strings on me'). All these bits come in somewhere!

x

Poet in Residence said...

Apropos Dominic's thing - I started thinking about someone being run over by a truck and then hearing church bells in the distance just before he died - I just got so bloody depressed I just couldn't go on with it.

Rachel Fox said...

Yes, and I dreamed last night our dog was drowning in the waves and I couldn't reach to save her!

Look what you've done to us, Dominic!

x

shug said...

wow some line up. Well done, Rachel.

Titus said...

First, thank God, I feel as if I might have listened to the right piece of music after PiR's comment. And you've got a lot of ocean too.

I really liked this. It's a strong, clear image to start, and then

Hanging by a rope to nowhere fast
Adrift for dead and falling by degree

is very good.

I have no problem with the brine - there's a sea-water swimming pool at Cliftonville, Kent, too, very similar to the Malory Towers one.

And the last verse really nails it,
I especially liked

I hear all wrong and I cling to free
My head rattles hard in its helmet jail

Wasn't an easy one though, was it?

Rachel Fox said...

Shug - it's my first time without you! It's going to feel kind of weird...shugless. You never replied to me about StAnza...are you off to flog books? I won't be there Sat but will be there Sunday (briefly) and maybe Thursday.

Titus - yes, it was tough. I had one of those 'I can't write, I can't think, I don't know any words' weeks with it. This week I might write a nursery rhyme or something.

x

Rachel Fox said...

Plus (on the brine) where would giants go shopping for chlorine? They'd need so much.
x

Titus said...

Exactly. That's why they stick to salt water ones.

shug said...

Did I not reply? Sorry. Don't think I'm going to Stanza this time. More shuglessness.

Rachel Fox said...

Maybe next year they'll finally see the light and invite you properly!
x

Rachel Fox said...

And I wouldn't go every year if it wasn't quite so close to here.
x

Poetikat said...

What do you mean, "Go gently"??? For whatever value my opinion holds, I thought it was very good. I like the "giant's swimming pool" notion. I think the best line for me was, "I see noone and the sea sees me". That certainly conveys the isolation.
It's hard to be true to what you hear and your initial impulses and still toy with the piece to make something good.
I listened to it, wrote it and posted in the sum total of ten minutes. Whatever that means.

Rachel Fox said...

I was more like 10 hours...well, not quite.

Thing is I really don't put anything up on here until I'm pretty sure I think it's finished or gone as far as it's going to go (and I know there's that quote about poems not being finished but abandoned...in fact I think I've seen it on your emails Kat...but I don't feel that way about my own work at all). I write a poem (however long it takes...sometimes ten minutes...sometimes years!) and then it's finished and then people can read it if they want. Hence I wasn't happy about putting this up until it felt something like done to me...and done was putting up quite a fight this time! On Saturday I was considering just emailing Dominic what I'd done but not making it any more public than that...then a few more words changed and I was OK with the poem after all.

When I say 'OK' I just mean that...I didn't think it was spectacular but I thought it was OK to head off on its own. I don't mind being confused about my poems...I just don't like them to feel unfinished or like they're not working to the best of their ability! That probably sounds weird.

As for the 'go gently'...it meant about a hundred different things (and certainly not all connected with the poem). You know how it is.

x

Rachel Fox said...

Now that was a rambling comment!
x

Uiscebot said...

Hmmm, Interesting response to the Ghost road piece. I never woulda went underwater with it, but it's brill. It felt kinda playful to me! Something to do with the subversion of submersion maybe.

Rachel Fox said...

You know how it is...as I listened the picture that came into my head was one of those old diving suits. And off it went.
x

swiss said...

those old diving suits will do it for me! nice one!

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks Swiss. I'll be a poet yet.
x

Totalfeckineejit said...

There was the sound of the sea in there somewhere wasn't there? Good work Foxo

'Hanging by a rope to nowhere fast
Adrift for dead and falling by degree
I see no-one and the sea sees me..'

Is a great poem all by itself! I see myself in that.(shivers)

Totalfeckineejit said...

Ps brine is fine, in my humble bumble.

Rachel Fox said...

Cheers, friend. And 'adrift for dead' is my favourite bit certainly. I'd almost put together another book just to have that as the title!
x

Argent said...

Your poem had a lovely rythmic feel to it. I loved the image of the diving suit under the sea. You got loads more out of that piece tham me I think.

Rachel Fox said...

I think maybe I used it more as a diving board than anything. (Boom boom.)

But thanks. Give it a tune if you like. I'm always up for tunes.

Speaking of which...and it's linked...I've been listening to Corinne Bailey Rae's new album 'The Sea' today. Some great tracks.

x