I have a folder with maybe an hundred poems in it; most of them were written between 1994 and 1999 and covered the span of time from GCSEs to my final year at University. In the last thirteen years my poetic productivity has died to a trickle. I have lost my way a bit. I feel embarrassed by the panting romanticism of the early stuff and the technicolour emotions and tangible intimations of immortality that fueled my late teens are not as keenly felt as I approach my mid-thirties.
When I was at school, I was surrounded by poetry. There were three of us in my A level English Literature class where poetry was inescapable, there was an annual poetry prize, there was even a Dead Poets Society and there was a library with a well stocked poetry section. With some friends and some support from the English department, I started a small literary magazine called “Apex”. These days I have to fight to make space in my life for reading poetry, let alone writing it, but there has been a modest output. Here’s one I wrote for a friend a few years ago:For James there’s a person i know i could be theres a woodsman and a soldier in me a weather beaten soul that’s rarely seen i know he’s there because he’s been in my dreams there’s a monk called brother somebody who leaves his cell to cross the sea he doesn’t fear and he doesn’t flee but stands on the weatherdeck scorning the lee i have felt his anger and desire to be free his feelings and mine always agree his indian name is strong-man-going-boldly god’s breath must be in him or he couldn’t breathe a strong man this woodsman must be to fell the hulk of my family tree a bold soldier too and armed to the teeth gallantry and loyalty stirring beneath his bayonet gouges mediocrity and the monk steps out on a distant beach salt on his lips that are burning to preach and he speaks of my soul and who i could be
More poetry postings from this blog can be found here.
- A Piece of Poetic Advice (bethala.wordpress.com)
- Poetry should be subversive | Simon Armitage (guardian.co.uk)
- That “Poetry” Moment (turnapagewriteonpaper.wordpress.com)