Friday, 26 November 2010

Dana Bug's Bus – home sweet sonnet



I've been working on two blog poetry things this week - Mairi Sharratt's Simultaneous Blog Experiment (due to be posted at midday on Saturday our time - that post of mine now here) and, of course, everybody's favourite - the Poetry Bus. I'm posting my Bus poem now, a bit early, rather than get it all mixed up with tomorrow's Experiment. For this week Dana gave us three Bus options (here) and I chose the second one:

"In the movie 'The Hunt for Red October' Sam Neill (swoon) plays a defecting submarine officer. During a quiet moment in the film he tells Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin) that he has always dreamed of living in Montana. SPOILER ALERT FOR A TWENTY YEAR OLD FILM! He dies before he makes it to the United States. Made me cry. Write about the place you dream of living someday. Or if you’re lucky enough to already live there write about home."


Thinking about this task (walking the dog – where I do my best thinking) I had all kinds of things coming into my head (for a start the poem/song "I vow to thee my country" - not even sure where I know that from... maybe primary school... maybe Charles and Diana's doomed wedding service... how timely... ). And then, because I'm reading faber's new edition of Shakespeare's sonnets just now (and I mentioned that on the Bus last week – here), I decided that I wanted to have another go at a sonnet for this task. After all sonnets are so often about love and this is a task about love too, in its way. I have old sonnets here and my “Happy New Hope” one on a postcard (buy now for the 2010/11 festive season!) but here is today's brand new one (and an audio version here):


Trying for home


Let's picture a country that's worth fighting for
A land we can treasure and still want to share
Where no-one can buy themselves higher than law
Close your eyes tight, you might see it, somewhere
With healthcare, sound housing, wide spaces of green
And the money to keep it all ticking along
Kind teachers, prime time-off and nobody mean
To dream a fair home, is that so very wrong?
We count what we're missing and wish it weren't so
The waiting, the pushing, the steal and the con
We know most of all there's a good way to go
That the seats are all full and the engines turned on
We try to find the place hidden from sight
We worry that it's only there at night



RF 2010


As with last week's villanelle you will notice that this poem is the height of low fashion (awash as it is with end-rhymes). What can I say - like old Will S, I just prefer my sonnet efforts with end-rhymes – though that's not (of course!) to say that I think all lines in all poems should end in a rhyme (no, no, no... variety is the key to all good things... is it not? Why, yes it is!). Getting good end-rhymes can be tricky (I had to fiddle with this poem till my brain boiled) but overall I figure something like... if they were good enough for WS's sonnets then they are certainly good enough for mine.

Anyway, hope to see you all on the Bus at some point and don't forget the simultaneous blog experiment thing (including the chance to hear my Spanish accent... a once only offer) is now here.

x

27 comments:

Peter Goulding said...

That's quite a classical sonnet, like something Robert Graves would do. And don't worry about unfashionable - I've been unfashionable for years!

The Bug said...

You know, I'm adopting this poem as my political battle cry - you've summed up my philosophy so nicely here. Is it a pipe dream? Probably - but I think dreaming is good for the soul.

And I like the form a lot. I used to be a rhymer, but somehow lost the ability to rhyme & not sound like a Hallmark card. Every now & then something breaks through, but I'm usually dissatisfied. This one does NOT sound cutsie - it's exactly right.

Rachel Fox said...

Yes, I was fashionable briefly (not as a writer...) and it was pretty horrible in fact. It attracts shallowness like nothing on earth!

And Bug... I know rhyming can be dangerous (and easily go down to cheesey town, as it were) but I still like to try. I really enjoy it!
x

hope said...

The rhymes helped add to the flow of this one.

And I so agree with the sentiment!

120 Socks said...

A very heartfelt and moving poem Rachel. Good aspirations!

Totalfeckineejit said...

Villanelles ,sonnets, rhymes, whatever next!

I can picture such a land and I'm wondering does one actually exist, or are we just shooting for the moon?

Dick said...

Watch out, Billy Bragg - you may have coined a new 'New England' (Scotland and Wales)! Begging for a tune and a big, brassy backing.

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks for reading... anyone wanting to add a tune... be my guest! Billy B... you out there?
x

Titus said...

Oh, would that it were so.

And sonnets, surely sonnets can't be old-fashioned as well?! They're just a perfect, and very varied, form.

Rachel Fox said...

No, I don't think sonnets are old-fashioned in themselves... but they way I do 'em is.
x

Helen said...

There is a wonderful flow to your sonnet .. sweet and dreamy.

Rachel Fox said...

Yes, dreams indeed. Shame really.
x

SouthLakesMom said...

During the Cold War I had a friend who asked in class, "what is so important that we can't just say, 'here' and give them what they want?"

And someone in the back of the room said, "Just ask Adolf..."

It would be nice though...I think sometimes we just have to soldier on being the best citizens we can of the country in which we find ourselves, and hope that our small acts of kindness will inspire others to do the same.

I like the sonnet form. I may have to try that someday! Most of my rhyming is left over from the "Dr. Seuss" days though so I'm not sure how THAT will sound!

Rachel Fox said...

Dr Seuss rhymes are brilliant! In fact a Dr Seuss sonnet would be marvellous I think.
x

Jinksy said...

Where no-one can buy themselves higher than law

And doesn't that say a mouthful...

Rachel Fox said...

Talk about daydreaming...
x

Kat Mortensen said...

Very timely sonnet and I think the final couplet is most effective (puts me in mind of Karen's current poem about night-driving).

Kat

Enchanted Oak said...

I read your sonnet, then went in the kitchen to make a sandwich, and the thought came as I spread the mayo: Poets, with their dreams and heartaches, have had a crucial role in preserving our humanity for as long as history itself. Thank you for being part of that important voice, Rachel.
If someone could write us a tune, you and Dana Bug can sing the words, you play the piano, and I'll beat the drum, which is all I'm good for musically speaking. We could perform as the Poetry Bus Trio on international stages, with an intro provided in rhyme by Peter G. and closing commentary by the Eejit hisself in his take-no-prisoners style of word-association rant. Perhaps if you and the Bug sing loud enough, we could have the entire Bus ensemble singing softly in the background as a Shakespearean chorus.

Enchanted Oak said...

I'm going to run over and suggest this to TFE.

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks Kat (and good link).

As for the PB band, EO, it'll have to be Argent on the piano... I'm pretty rubbish on there!

x

Lucy Westenra said...

What's wrong with end rhymes? Writing to a "form" is a much better test of your ability as a poet than sprawls of "free verse"

Rachel Fox said...

End-rhymes have been very out of fashion... but I think they are clawing their way back.
x

MuseSwings said...

Wonderful sonnet! Blissful dreaming about something that should exist but exists only in our dreams!

Propellerhead said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rachel Fox said...

Thanks MS. I'm living in sonnet world just now!
x

Cad said...

I'll vote for end rhymes, any day...

Rachel Fox said...

Yes, I think we've had enough of a break of them now! They can come back - welcomed with open arms...