Using the Source Material of Others


If you’ve ever read a poem, a short story, an article or a book or seen a play, a photograph or a painting so evocative that you thought, “This should be a movie,” then you’ll know it’s often the first step towards the creation of something new and wonderful yet familiar and comfortable. Regardless of where the idea begins and where it ends up, after that first step there are several more that will help ensure that when using the source material of others, you do so with honesty and respect. Continue reading

The Last Great Shame – Song Lyrics


Verse One
A girl wading out to sea
Praying there is no baby
And hoping she’ll be able to forget
A guy bragging to the boys
Didn’t leave her with a choice
Left her with bruises and a threat

Verse Two
And now she has finally guessed
Nothing more than second best
Nothing less than worthy of his hate
She can’t forgive the violence
So she balances her silence
With a blood red circle round the date Continue reading

Poetry Spotlight On Christina Rossetti


Although I am a more dedicated fan of modern poetry, Christina Rossetti (along with William Shakespeare) is where I diverge from this dedication. Virginia Woolf in “I Am Christina Rossetti” wrote, “Yours was a complex song. When you struck your harp many strings sounded together… A firm hand pruned your lines; a sharp ear tested their music. Nothing soft, otiose, irrelevant cumbered your pages. In a word, you were an artist.” (I had to include that because it is poetry in itself as much as an ode to a poet.) Continue reading

Sessions With The Shrink – Song Lyrics


A quick note on these song lyrics: I had bought a new computer which came with a pre-installed voice recognition program. I had to read a bunch of words to train the computer to recognise me specifically but even after all that work, it still struggled to translate what I was saying into the headset onto the page. In fact, a lot of it was gobbledy-gook. I took some of the gobbledy-gook phrases and turned them into these song lyrics because I thought they had a certain poetry to them, even though they often made no sense.

The phrase “What can I say?” was what I had to say when the computer when it was struggling and I was struggling. I incorporated that, too, and obviously that is what the reference “I thought at least a machine would understand” means. Continue reading

Book Review: Twentieth-Century Russian Poetry


Published in 1993, and therefore missing seven years of potential inclusions, Twentieth-Century Russian Poetry is nevertheless an impressive contribution to my poetry library. Translated into English so a non-Russian reader like me can still appreciate it, it encompasses several difficult periods in Russian and world history including World War I, the subsequent revolution, the Stalinist years, World War II and the later Soviet years.

The big names in Russian poetry are all here: Anna Akhmatova, Boris Pasternak, Wassily Kandinsky (yes, he was a poet as well as a painter), Vladimir Nabokov (of Lolita fame) and hundreds more I’d never heard of. The two poems I’ve chosen to showcase here are reproduced in their entirety because they are as perfect as poems get and I would hate to be responsible for interfering with that. Continue reading

Counting – Song Lyrics


Verse One
One true love and I thought that you were mine
Two sides to every story but you were at her shrine
Three in the bed and I was the one pushed out
Four times I saw you with her to make me doubt
Twenty years old when I let myself get caught
A lifetime of misery in the lessons I was taught
Fourteen diamonds in the ring that kept me chained
Too many stories I believed when you explained Continue reading

Book Review: Postcards from Planet Earth


I’ve decided to make May a month of poetry and song lyrics (mine and others) so instead of the traditional book review you’ve come to expect on a Monday, today and all the Mondays in this May will be devoted to books of and about poetry. I’ve selected collections and poets that have struck me and stayed with me long after I read them and if you haven’t read or heard of them before, I hope you’ll find something new that strikes and stays with you.

Today’s selection is a collection of poems called Postcards from Planet Earth. If it sounds familiar, it might be because it made it onto both My Top Ten Books –Then list and My Top Ten Books – Now list. Continue reading