I’ve sapped this scene of all there is to write;
nothing more to draw from its sketchy frame.
Anything left to say is said in spite
of inspiration; lyric’s lilt is lame.
Woman in the corner shuffles her stuff,
skuffles by my table, and then she stops:
“Oh, you’re a poet” she says. Sure enough
she wants to chat, she hovers, then she props.
Her life’s story starts with George: “That Bastard”
who left her in ’89; battered wife
left to pick up the pieces, a discard
who’s deal it is to share – trouble and strife.
. Rhonda Sewell – the woman of seven wells.
. Well connected to Bradman – so she tells.
To the reader: With trepidation I engaged with Rhonda. She had broken my creative bubble and had entered my preciously guarded meditative zone. She was not one to regard my space as sacrosanct. Disarmed, I surrendered to her nomadic narrative. As her story unfolded it became clear she was in transit. Rhonda rode the Australian train system sharing stories with strangers; coast to coast she lived her own anthology.
To the poet: Check out “Travellers by Rail” where long-time traveller Rhonda Sewell states: “I love the SunLander because you can buy bacon and eggs for breakfast on it… you can’t get that on a plane. And the only thing you can see on a plane is the bloody clouds” http://www.railpage.com.au/news/article-4325 Need the poet say anymore? I think not.
From where I sit, I watch a public stage;
a cast of shadows with seasonal script.
Impromptu cameos that shall not age;
characters unrehearsed and unequipped.
A festival of snippets with short parts;
segmental sentences: subjects with verb.
Animated motion that stops and starts
with poignant pause that says: ‘do not disturb’.
All this against a backdrop, a theatre
of railings and stairs, overhanging trees,
falling leaves, broken bench, urban litter;
props, stage props; a scene full of properties.
. No better stage than that that has my gaze.
. No better tale than that before me plays.
To the reader: “All the world’s a stage …” [from Shakespeare’s As You Like It (Act II, Scene VII)] is a soliloquy that lays-out the seven stages of life; in not the fondest of terms. At each stage there seems discontent, a lament of one sort or another, based upon a jaundiced world-view. At every st/age we do struggle, we do grizzle, and we do bemoan our circumstances… but in sum, most of us can find a moment of reflection that retrieves a fond memory … I for one enjoyed 3, 13, 23, 33, 43, 53 and life goes on!
To the poet: “Life’s but a walking shadow…” [from Shakespeare’s Macbeth (Act V, Scene V)] draws similar conclusion; announcing “a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage…” will tell a tale the signifies nothing. And so forlorn, this poet observes that same stage with a view to catching the occasional glimpse of happiness, a rare moment of idle pleasure, alongside an illusive act of compassion. Not so invisible… you just have to look!
Never under-estimate self-interest:
a motivating drive that self-rewards.
Take note, observe the well-feathered nest,
lined full of comforts; as pleasure affords.
Don’t take for granted self-interest’s desire;
don’t be gullible or slow to your feet;
don’t be surprised by what Self will acquire;
don’t be the lender who has no receipt.
Take heed, be ready, keep track of the score.
Self seeks advantage, full measures the gain.
Take nothing for granted, rest not assure,
Self seeks indulgence; treats else with disdain.
. Indulgence of self at others’ expense.
. A cruel investment … a social offence.
To the reader: Possession brings them pleasure and reassurance. Put crudely, their conniving motivation is greed. They are the players who want more than is their fare share; cunning manipulators that contrive a self-serving solution. The psychology of greed would find its origins in an unresolved, deep-seated, sense of lacking… ‘poor me’ seeking restitution; ‘poor me’ retrieving what I’m owed.
To the poet: In the writing of a poem like this there has to be some emotional investment in its authorship. In its composition, it has to express annoyance and disappointment; some skin in the game. As I put pen to paper, I draw upon genuine feelings of frustration to validate my argument, to test its impact and authenticity. In its reading, I need to recognise those same unclaimed investments… the emotion must be raw and real.
Spent last evening with invisible thread.
Beneath a crocheted installation,
a gossamer of words were spun and said.
And so wove the night, an incantation
of elevated thought, lifted to a lilt:
hoisted on updrafts of spinnakered air.
As carried by a cello, music spilt
in generous play; danced without a care.
Awash with mood, a manuscript of lines
described the evening and caressed the night.
Suspended hours – hung – as Art designs:
poised in proportion for fanciful flight.
. Spent last evening with invisible thread;
. an entanglement of thoughts, it could be said.
To the reader: It was the gentle ambiance I remember. My home-town (Canberra) was celebrating its Centenary Year with all manner of auspicious events and occasions. One of which was the launch of a book: The Invisible Thread. An evening of ‘light’ entertainment: readings, interspersed with musical interludes. The invisible thread by nature has an unseen presence; nonetheless, it’s strong with connective pull by association.
To the poet: In 2011, I wrote a sonnet (TG-S51) on the same theme. It’s interesting to compare the two. The first unravels the concept of ‘thread’ as an object; the second is much more metaphorical in tone. The second sonnet (TG-S220) plays with a thread’s connective symbolism. Both string together a short narrative. By way of footnote, a few edits (recently applied) gave this sonnet some extra tug.
Sadly, the remains are but frailties:
crumbling pillars and collapsing pylons;
fragile columns; diminished faculties;
cancerous concrete; corroded irons;
frayed exposure; unravelling dimensions
stripped of the scaffold that prevents collapse.
Footings, as anchored to loose connections,
probabilities reduced to perhaps.
Platforms of understanding turned on edge:
uncertainty – an awkward intrusion;
short-term remedy – with no long-term pledge;
a mortarless mix – dust and dillusion.
. Crumbling columns collapse; ruins remain.
. No rhyming couplet can loosen the strain.
To the reader: Dementia is a cruel affliction. The brain retires its function and loses its grip on day-to-day realities. Learnt routines are no longer spontaneous, simple sequences are interrupted and confusion increasingly describes the state of mind. As problems compound there’s a step-down effect; delusion and dismantling go hand-in-hand; finally, connections become tenuous and recognition becomes featureless.
To the poet: My father is suffering the slow decline of dementia. In the beginning stages he would read my sonnets with editorial license, holding on to rules but glossing over nuance that could no longer catch his attention. Years on, the crafted string of words are meaningless. His highly analytical brain has lost its refined capacity to decode and decipher. And so, I write about him; the subject of my thoughts.
In pursuit of perfection’s guarantee
we chase that which is better than the best.
Nothing could not “ten times the better be”
as steadied, then readied, for Time’s cruel test.
All the world’s treasuries do not stand still;
those with gold glint, with crystals shimmer.
Those animated vaults of potential
are the genesis of hopeful glimmer.
Flushed with abundance, they lack not any
of the comforts that come with fortune’s care.
That which is ‘one’ finds itself with ‘many’
and so on, ten times, produces an heir.
. Ten times the merrier, ten times the wealth.
. Ten times the better, through sickness and health.
To the reader: The idea of abundance sounds agrarian to an urban ear. As a man of his time, Shakespeare was an advocate of reap and harvest, stack and store; his reference was a time of uncertainty. Ten times the better be… seems his ideal solution to a number of problems. The simple model derives sufficient resources from a stash of plenty. It’s about making the most of what’s available, to ensure today’s waste or laziness is not tomorrow’s sorrowful regret.
To the poet: In a few of Shakespeare’s sonnets he refers to ‘ten’ as a number of good use and satisfaction. Ten times the better be for all manner of circumstances; from procreation (WS-S6) to imagination (WS-S38) for happiness (WS-S37) and amusement. And so began my sonnet (TG-S217)) about over-reaching for the sake of abundance; ever the need for surplus … just in case.