Friday, 14 August 2009

A rose alone

Our folk club was back to work this Tuesday just gone. The guest was Michael Marra (who I've written about least once) and I've posted a poem about and a clip of him on myspace this week. He really is the bee's knees, the cat's pyjamas and any other 'my goodness, he's fantastic' expressions that you'd like to come up with. Great writer, great singer, great showman (in a strangely quiet and gentle way).

I read two poems in the middle slot (as usual) – the summer one I posted back here and one other. The latter is a poem I wrote last year and have done nothing with up to now. I did give it some explanatory introduction at the folk club this week but as I was saying the words I was thinking 'I wish I hadn't started on this tack...never mind, too late now...' So I'll not do that again. Here it introduction...just on its own. As it should be, perhaps.

Lonely rose

In amongst the pairs
And the busy, bright crowds
There you are, lonely rose
Soft and proud, blooming strong

You hold your layered head
So high, ever ascendant
Petals may escape
But you elect not to see

You have heard that wild flowers
Grow sweeter, more popular
You know that they are having
Warm moments in the sun

But you prefer not to dwell
On their freer, briefer, pretty lives
Full beauty's your target
Crowning colours, stately stems

And it's onwards, always upwards
For you prickly, funny, cut-off rose
You have fought for your place
But been fair, in your way

RF 2008



Jim Murdoch said...

Have you thought of saying something after reading the poem instead? Let the poem speak for itself and then talk about about it. You might want to try that. I wonder how many people hearing 'Lonely rose' heard that first line as 'In amongst the pears'? My brain being mush that's actually how my brain interpreted it and I had to start the thing over again. (Oh, and just to prove my brain is mush, I typed 'much' and had to fix it.)

Rachel Fox said...

If I'm doing a bigger slot I do talk about poems after reading sometimes, I suppose. Then the talk is more of an ongoing, floaty monologue-type-thing but at folk club I try to keep things fairly succinct (as people are there for the music not me). There it's two poems with not too much talk. I say 'not too much' but sometimes I probably talk quite a lot. It depends on reactions partly - if people look to be interested I probably carry on more (and if they laugh...well, then there's no shifting me..). They are a very generous audience all things considered (mainly in the sense that I try all kinds of poems there and they never shout 'get off').

As for 'pears'...I like that! An extra gardening reference!

One reason I'm posting this now is that anyone who was at the club who wants to go and look me/the poem up can do it here. I know people do do this because they sometimes tell me afterwards. It's a nice feeling (someone liking the words enough to go and have a closer look/read). I never get tired of that feeling!


The Weaver of Grass said...

Interesting poem Rachel - I felt it could be seen in its entirety as a metaphor maybe for a person. (I am reminded of Blake's Rose thou art sick here). I do agree with Jim Murdoch about introducing a poem - maybe your listeners would think of something quite different from what you are suggesting. In our writers group there seems to be a need for everyone to introduce what they are going to read - often by apologising for it!!

Rachel Fox said...

Yes Weaver, this poem certainly started out as a piece about one specific person. I referred to that in the introduction on Tuesday but probably won't again as I think it was a bit of a distraction (for me as much as anyone). Like most poems it ended up being 'about' all sorts of things anyway so telling people its origins is probably unhelpful in this particular case. Some poems really benefit from a good introduction though (as do some songs). Michael Marra (referred to in the post) is a master of the song introduction, for example. I may just have to rethink this one's intro. Maybe the pairs/pears confusion will end up being part of it...


Titus said...

I seriously like the poem, and it's about one woman for me, introduction or not. I don't think it needs one, or any exposition after, because it's a stong piece of writing. Bravo.

Rachel Fenton said...

How interesting - I too thought it was about a person; a woman, specifically...a lovely gentle feel to it, it alsmost has a soft scent...

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks you two. I suppose a rose poem would almost have to be about a woman (if about a person)... wouldn't it? Though now I type it I like the challenge of one about a man...

I'm glad you both find some good in the poem. I couldn't make my mind up about it for a while and that's one reason it sat left in the file doing nothing up till now. The rose is such an overused image...I didn't really want to get into writing about roses but it just happened - the right words for the subject in mind.


Ken Armstrong said...

Naw, yer all wrong. The Rose poem is about me, striving for perfection, always getting cut back... Thanks Rachel, I'll nail it my wall... or forehead. :)

Rachel Fox said...

Great Ken - a rose you are indeed!

hope said...

Having to follow Ken, this will sound so unoriginal. :) But here goes.

Because my favorite rose is a climber called "Don Juan", I thought of your rose as male, standing proud and tall, silently trying to attract the world's attention.

I wonder if Ken will stand silently tall if you nail that to his forehead? :0

Rachel Fox said...

Interesting! Thanks, Hope.

Kat Mortensen said...

I saw a young woman, finding her niche, getting rooted. A bit of pride, but it's taken some time to reach that place.
I could picture her so well.
No comment necessary - open to interpretation.


Crafty Green Poet said...

I think introductions can be unnecessary,

interesting poem,

Crafty Green Poet said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rachel Fox said...

Thanks Kat - interesting that it feels like a young person to you (it is anything but...). Except maybe there is something ever young about the person in mind!

Thanks Juliet (CGP). Maybe I should have sent it to you for Bolts of Silk. I haven't sent anything recently and in fact I haven't sent any poems out anywhere for ages. Just had my mind on other aspects of the whole business...


Dave King said...

I don't think I'd have needed an introduction to that poem. It speaks ably and elegantly for itself. I would be interested to know what you said, though.

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks Dave. I don't really want to repeat that introduction - especially not in any 'written down as record' form! Basically I just referred to the person who started me off on this poem (a fairly obvious huge detective work required) and I wish I hadn't in this case. Every poem is different. Or I suppose it should be.

Eryl said...

I never introduce my work because I don't want to influence people's own thoughts, and because if one of my poems needs to be explained I don't feel I've done my job properly.

For what it's worth: I saw an older lady, very much a lady, clinging onto her position as the world around her changes. Choosing not to look too closely at herself for fear she may discover she is ridiculous.

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks Eryl. I enjoy the introductions a lot of the time...but then I've always liked talking! I am learning though that there are times for them and times for silence. I like silence more and more the older I get!

Rachel Fox said...

I thought more about the introduction thing last night...I think partly the way I tend to introduce poems is linked to the fact that I read at the folk club so much (it's where I first read in public, it's where I still read most regularly). It is very much folk club tradition to introduce each song - tell its story, talk about the writer maybe, talk about the history - and that is a very important part of a folk club (passing on stories and information and ideas) so I suppose I have picked that up to an extent. On the whole I like doing it and think it works for me but with this one poem I wasn't happy with the information I gave out...and I will be rethinking how I present it another time.


Dick said...

Always tricky talking into a poem. The danger is of breaking the great 'show, don't tell' protocol. But you know what you're doing and can read the situation so I'm sure you've got it sussed.

Great poem. I love the last two lines.

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks Dick. Such a little word 'fair'...and yet there's so much in it!

Rachel Fox said...

Plus of course breaking protocols is one of my favourite pastimes.