Saturday, 29 May 2010

The Poetry Bus and the cheeky halves...

I'm off out Montrose Music Festivaling here this weekend (see last post) so I'm putting my homework up now. Bill set us a really fiddly task this week!

First we had to find or write a sentence. I was reading this book:

so I took a sentence from its first page. The book, by the way, was a birthday present for my Mum (for her last birthday in April this year). Mum was a big fan of Rose Tremain and asked for this, her latest novel, after reading about it in her favourite 'Independent' newspaper. When it came to it Mum was already ill by her birthday and not up to reading the novel but I did start reading it aloud to her once I realised there probably was not going to be a time when she got her reading eyes and brain back. Even reading aloud didn't do the trick though - she just couldn't concentrate on more than five minutes fiction at a time once she was unwell, plus the book was kind of gloomy for a 'final days on this earth' scenario. In the end I gave up on it and switched to reading her selected articles from the paper and bits of Shakespeare (she loved that – she shared Shakespeare's birthday and always was a fan).

Once she died the book 'Trespass' just kept looking up at me though (and calling out 'finish me, finish me'). So I did. It's dark and brooding and all about people in families who treat each other badly - I quite enjoyed it.

Anyway, the sentence I picked for the exercise was this one:

Mélodie is ten years old and she's trying to eat a sandwich.

Once we'd chosen our sentence we had to cut off its second half and give it some new endings. Here are a couple of mine as example:

Mélodie is ten years old and she is hungry.
Mélodie is ten years old and her feet are sore.
Mélodie is ten years old and she likes the feel of music.

Then, with as much extra fiddling as we liked, we were to make the new endings into a poem. I didn't change much about my new first I tried to get a poem from just the new endings but that was all a bit flat so I did add a little word here and there. Here is the poem I came up with (and at the moment managing to produce anything at all feels like an achievement). I fear I am losing my sense of humour a bit and I kind of hate poetry too just now. I suppose this all will pass...or not.


she wants to find a book that tells her everything
why she is hungry
why her feet are sore
why nothing ever happens

but no-one is listening to her
and the globe, as always, seems small in her hands

she likes the feel of music
to swim in sunshine
the sound of Russian
a slip of solitude

she knows what passion is already
left to herself, she'd drink jam from the jar

RF 2010



Rachel Fenton said...

It's your best poem yet - in my wee opinion. And the last line - makes me want to give you a big hug. I love it. It moved, saddened and then lifted me. Beautiful.

Rachel Fox said...

Oh Rachel - you're just a love and a half. It's funny this has Mum in it and the girl in it...and me a bit too of course...and none of us.


Rachel Fenton said...

Hugs x

Eryl said...

I utterly love the last sentence.

Enjoy your festivalling, X

martine said...

I like the way you have captured something subtle about the children's random concerns and how the things that go through their heads have no connections to an outside viewer. I liked the idea of 'the sound of Russian', I love listening to foreign languages.
I am so sorry that you are feeling so despondent, I think it is important to let yourself grieve and not expect it to pass quickly, just allow yourself to be sad and don't feel obliged to cheer up for anyone else.
with much love

Rachel Fox said...

Yes, M, it would be odd if I wasn't grieving at all! We were very close, me and Dad died years ago and I was very much the baby at the end of the line. Plus we lived in the same house for last six years!


Totalfeckineejit said...

Pain =poetry. That's the bottom line.
Like Rachel F says, one of your best.
The globe is small in all of our hands.

Rachel Fox said...

I can't really see why a couple of you like this so much more than others of mine...but then it is hard to judge our own work. I hope it's not just that you feel sorry for me with the grief an' all...

I suspect if I read this poem by someone else I wouldn't like it at all! Best not psychoanalyse that too much I think...


Bill said...

I, too, think it's a really good one. I like the loose ends, the suggested possibilities - and that globe.

Emerging Writer said...

Yes it's a lovely poem, a different air about it than some of your others.
I remember being terribly upset when a relative of mine stopped watching the soaps. What's the point, she said, I'll never know what happens.

Dick said...

A triumph arising from such fiddly origins, Rachel!

Niamh B said...

I think the poem has a really interesting structure to it, the voice is different in the italics, and the last line is pretty much a killer! I'd drink jam from the jar if it was liquidy enough! And the name works really well with it too.
sorry you're not liking poetry as much at the moment... fair play for still getting on the bus, and hope the festival was good!!

@ctors Business said...

Hi Rachel, this left me with goose bumps.
a slip of solitude
I find this peom really soleful, but my favourite lines sum it all up
"a slip of solitude"
"left to herself, she's drink jam from the jar"

Peter Goulding said...

Yes, agree, the last line is a chiller, expertly constructed and deeply personal (not always a combination that is successful)

Batteson.Ind said...

seriously enjoyed this.. and felt quite moved by your introduction... sorry for your loss.
I love that end line.. "she'd drink jam from a jam jar" is completely intrigueing and could go so many places.. love it!

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks for all these comments - very encouraging, they are.

I find myself using more and more italics, Niamh. They are my new best friends, I think.

Interesting that you like the solitude bit Gwei Mui...that was my only 'cheat' (i.e. I added it in wasn't one of my sentence endings). I just felt the poem was missing something...and that was it. I haven't really a clue why 'slip'...slipped in. I like it though.

And Watercats...yes, a change from whisky from the jar, eh?


Titus said...

Rachel, this is immense. Not a word wasted, superfluous or out of place. Stunning writing.

Ormy said...

Out walking of late with the cats of water, they brought me to a bus. The bus pulled up here and I stopped a while to read. I liked it a lot, Melodie, the feel of music, the sunshine swimming and all the rest.

I was compelled to begin at your beginning. See my blog for what followed:

Thanks for the words.


Enchanted Oak said...

I sometimes find that the poems I write when I am at my weakest and my intellect is drained are the poems that touch my readers most. You subject is a child, and there's a child-like simplicity here.

Kat Mortensen said...

Really liked this one Rachel. The "slip of solitude" and the jam jar were the best bits for me.


Marion McCready said...

Really enjoyed this, love that last line.

Argent said...

I'm with the 'last line' crowd, although the whole thing is a compact little gem.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Beautiful stuff Rachel - it conjures up Melodie very well. Lovely that you should choose a sentence from the Rose Tremain - good that you are reading it. Love to you. Hope you will jump on the bus next Monday when I am driving - I have just posted this week's challenge.

Rachel Fox said...

I thought I'd responded to some of these already...seems not! Thanks everyone, for reading this and for your comments.

Dr. Jeanne Iris said...

I love the independent, inquisitive spirit of this 10-year-old, and you capture it well, here, Rachel.

Rachel Fox said...

Well, I have a 10 year old in the house, Jeanne! Something to study...