Saturday, 4 September 2010

The river bus

No preamble this fact no rambling at all - straight to it!

The Poetry Bus prompt from Pure Fiction is here. My poem... which at least vaguely fits the bill... is below (and the photo above is also only vaguely connected to the poem too... it's just a vague week... apparently).

All change, all the time

Standing in a river, fishing for minnows
You watch and you tense and your love is a weight
Further and further, your face is a picture
You're scared of all swimming, of danger and fate

All change

Thrown into a staffroom, with screaming and upset
Your mouth whispers hurt and your eyes are down low
It's harder and harder, your face is a picture
You wait for the end of this particular show

All change

Travelling elsewhere, faster and faster
Flying and reaching, forgetting to phone
You keep yourself busy, your face is a picture
You won't make a fuss, never frown, never moan

All change

Back from the flights and the featherweight fancies
Holding a baby and calling it you
You smile for your life and your face is a picture
People were always that thing that you do

All change

Caring and cleaning and being each other
It comes to an end when the story is done
Your eyes remain closed and your face is a picture
It's over, today, people die, rivers run

RF 2010

Bits of song lyrics fall out in my poems all the time... and it won't be a secret to many up-to-date Scottish folk fans that a bit of my last line here came out of this song (and once it was in, I couldn't really take it back out now could I?):

That song comes from the excellent 2008 album 'This Earthly Spell' by Karine Polwart. That album also features the lovely song Polwart wrote using Edwin Morgan words - 'The Good Years'.

Other posts you might want to read:

My Edinburgh in August tales of art, poetry, food and very little sleep are here.

Lots of quotes from Zadie Smith's 'Changing my Mind' are here. And while we're on the subject you can read the whole of one of her essays online (here). It's about TV comedy and fathers and it's well worth the read.

See y'all on the Bus (other poems going up now - here).



Rachel Fenton said...

"Standing in a river, fishing for minnows" that line....

Hadn't heard of that song either, thanks - interesting combination of thoughts...

Rachel Fox said...

I do have a photo more directly related to that line (line...only just got the pun!) ... didn't post it for a whole host of reasons though. I thought it might be a distraction.

Totalfeckineejit said...

I love the opening lines...'Standing in a river, fishing for minnows
You watch and you tense and your love is a weight'...class!

I like the repeated 'all change'too.
Nice one Foxo!

Titus said...

This rolled over me and took me places - there is something vague, in an all people, all times, way about it. Intense as well, which sounds like a contradiction.
And this line is brilliant;
"You watch and you tense and your love is a weight"
I may have to come back and read this again, it's touched me.

Titus said...

Bah! TFE just beat me to that line...

Rachel Fox said...

Many votes for the minnows and the weight, then.

Touched, Titus? It could just be lack of sleep...

Helen said...

This is lovely Rachel ... 'all change' fits perfectly.

Jinksy said...

The river of life, and no mistake...

The Bug said...

Is is bad that I now have the Circle of Life song in my head? This was a compact biography - beautifully written!

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks you three. And no problem with the 'circle of life' Bug. I have a whole section of poems on my website called that! Though I'd have to say that they are not my favourite Disney songs as such...they can't touch the Jungle Book, Aristocats etc.

NanU said...

A wonderful poem, Rachel, filled with intriguing pictures.

Niamh B said...

Very beautiful Rachel, and yes the all change refrain works very well throughout, I got a sense of acceleration, and a great deal of experience.
Your mouth whispers hurt and your eyes are down low - it's gorgeous and heart felt, lovely.

Rachel Fox said...

Some of you say the nicest things. Thanks.

Rachel Fox said...

I can't decide whether it should have a last 'all change' at the end, by the way. Any thoughts on this appreciated... I might read it to an audience tonight and see how it feels then.

Carolina Linthead said...

Dear Rachel,

Your poem seems in harmony with the very familiar Norman Maclean quote:

"Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it."

I find your poem haunting, perhaps because I am haunted, and I love it all the more for this. Thanks for sharing with us!

Rachel Fox said...

Great quote, CL. And haunting would make sense... my Mum only died a few months back and she died in this house (where we still live). This week I've even been sleeping in her old bed! I've been through the ever-tearful stage and right now I think I'm just sorting it all out in my head... as much as you can anyway.

Pure Fiction said...

I like this a lot, particularly the last two or three verses.
The last line is brilliant, so I'd weigh on the side of leaving the refrain out.

Batteson.Ind said...

"people were always the things that you do"... such an excellent line!... and that ending.. just a killer!

Rachel Fox said...

You were right, guys. I read it at an event locally tonight and as I got to the end I knew that the last line was enough... and the place to stop.

Peter Goulding said...

On the surface, a simple and pleasant poem but dig down and there's a lot of stuff in there. My kind of poem.Not sure about the 'people were always the things that you do' line - is the tense right?

Rachel Fox said...

Strictly speaking I suppose it should be 'did' not 'do' but I think it's OK for these reasons - because that's the saying 'that thing that you do' (title of a film in fact), because the tenses are played with in the poem quite a bit anyway (gerund for one person, present tense on the whole for someone else who is really dead already), because it rhymes, because...poetic licence. There are times when words are changed round (order-wise) for rhyme that I really don't like but this has a few other things going on other than just the cause of the rhyme.

There rests for the case for the defence!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Love that poem Rachel - think it is my favourite.

Rachel Fox said...

Your favourite what Weaver? Your favourite of mine?

Dick said...

What a great pairing, Rachel. You really need a tune for this solemn contemplative piece.

And the Karine Polwart is gorgeous. Thumb piano: what a stroke of genius!

Rachel Fox said...

I guess I'll wait and see if someone else wants to give this poem a tune...

Karen said...

I agree with Titus! I can truly relate to this one and enjoy the lyricism of it, too.

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks Karen.