This post is something cheerful for January...a happy tale about another of my older poems and how it recently had a trip out (and even a moment or two in the sun).
Quite a few years ago now I started putting poems straight onto my website (well, I say "I"...obviously this is the royal "I"...i.e. me and the ever-faithful/marvellous tech support). I didn't put absolutely everything up on the site but I did put quite a lot of poems (about 200 at last count). I split them up into various different sections (by theme, loosely) so any casual passers-by could find their way around and not be put off by just a HUGE list of poem titles. The sections are: circle of life, distress and recovery, little poems, love, modern world, occasions, other people, Scottish interest, seeing and believing, songs and singing, wild years and writing (if you're interested).
The ones I put up are all still there though mostly they're poems I wrote between 1997 and about 2007. More recently I've just had other priorities (this blog, the book, the postcards) and so I haven't kept updating the site (if I had it would be more like 300 poems by now). I know putting poems up (for free) on a website isn't the way everyone would do it (I know, for sure, that it is not the proper poetry way to proceed) but it seemed like an obvious thing to do to me. After all I want people to find the poems...and when I say "people" I really do mean anybody (and the internet is about as accessible and anybodyable as it gets...so far). So I put the poems up there and then I got on with everything else (more writing, some promoting, more writing and so on). And there they sat – mooching, daydreaming, possibly even picking their noses (and by now you might be wondering where I'm going with this ramble...).
Well, one poem that is up on the site (and has been for a while) is a love poem called 'Don't squeeze my shoes' (stored in the 'love' section, suitably enough). Here it is:
Don't squeeze my shoes
A love, like shoes, must feel just right
Not too loose and not too tight
Not too high or far too low
And if you're young have room to grow
It must look good with any clothes
It must be kind, not pinch your toes
It must last well and not wear through
It must be just the thing for you
The style you choose, however strange
Must show ability to change
To cope with rains and frosty morns
To help you dodge bunions and corns
Your love must fit and not break banks
It must not always expect thanks
It should be happy being there
The chosen one, the happy pair
I wrote it a few years ago (and can't even remember now what prompted it really) but I do know I read it once at the folk club and then put it away because I figured I'd probably never be able to do much with it. For a start it rhymes in that straightforward bang-bang way that I like to play with now and again (and therefore it doesn't stand a chance in most poetry competitions, journals and so on). Also it is, I suppose, a bit sentimental (and heck, that's crime of the century in Poetry World...cause for angry cries of 'Hallmark' and so on...) but I have thought about this and, you know, I have written plenty of bleak, fragmented and hopeless poems too so I don't see why I have to be limited in this particular direction. Finding true love is a big deal and it really is something to be happy about (and indeed possibly even sentimental if the mood takes you). Plus I like bits of this poem (the 'however strange' is the key to it I think...you wouldn't get that in a greetings card). Anyway, there it was on the site for a couple of years - feeling a bit unloved perhaps...and waiting...
...waiting for a person called Jennie, apparently. Jennie bought some of my postcards (and my book, I think) at the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh some time ago. She liked them (hooray!), she bought more cards (double hooray!) and presumably at some point she went cruising around the website too (I've never met her so I'm just guessing). Then at the very end of 2009 Jennie got married (to Brandon) and guess which poem they chose to have read out at their wedding? That's right...my shoes one! And just think how happy it was to be set free from cyberspace after all that time...and even better they carried on the theme and had a lovely photo taken of their shoes on the big day:
Thanks to their photographers Edinburgh-based Blue Sky Photography for the above (and there are other pics here for any photography/wedding junkies amongst you).
Now didn't I tell you it was a cheerful story? Thanks Jennie - for reading and for giving this poem a life of its own.
p.s. Anyone who knows which TV series I got the poem's title from...maybe I'll find you a prize. Don't worry though, reader - I promise not to marry you!
San Juan and Masca
2 hours ago