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.
© Tim Grace, 4 May 2013
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.
© Tim Grace, 1 May 2013
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.
© Tim Grace, 26 April 2013
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.
Artobiography – the self-exposed.
Personal revelation on display:
persuasions, curiosities disclosed;
individual leanings that swing and sway.
Privacy – an open exhibition.
Voyeurs at large, a see-through medium,
en masse titillation; imposition;
pastiche motif; pretensions on parade.
A synthetic construct, superficial,
skin-deep patina, costume masquerade;
disguised reality – artificial.
. What of art that it adores expression,
. and yet, so crudely ignores discretion?
© Tim Grace, 31 March 2013
To the reader: Exhibitionism or exhibitionist – an empty distinction. The expose of self as art. The narcissist, an introspective voyeur on public display. Made naked for self-amusement. Inside-outside. Flesh-coloured drapes on see-through windows. Shock therapist using auto-simulation as creative medium; seminal concept becomes revelation. Artobiography – a crude craft on revealing canvas.
To the poet: Inspiration for this sonnet was a documentary on avant-garde art. The various vignettes portrayed a series of self-absorbed indulgences. Confusion over purpose was laid bear. A naked clambering for notoriety; easily achieved through public shock. Nothing more than a sideshow curiosity laying claim to creative space. As a writer, I can appeal to a reader’s instinct for novelty… the forbidden and perverse are easy grabs.
It’s clear to you, I am an open book;
an easy read with all my plot laid bare.
All of me is gesture, betrayed by look:
a tilt of head, a glance of eye, and there
am I revealed… all parts of me are script.
In truth, then, I am nothing more than stage;
all of me is theatre, so well equipped
to assume a role, animate a page
with action, to be read by likes of thee.
So well trained in delivery of lines
I believe myself impromptu; falsely,
to be playwright of my own designs.
. Every thought is preceded by an act.
. It’s from gesture that meaning we extract.
© Tim Grace, 23 March 2013
To the reader: At the sub-conscious level, we have social receptors that monitor the quality of our relationships. Our senses collect an array of information; this quantum undergoes neural processing before translation into an appropriate response. Our brains filter out what’s unnecessary and appropriate what remains as useful to the circumstance. That filtering process isn’t invisible. There are many cues that provide evidence of subtle subterfuge… to the astute, we are an open book.
To the poet: The success of this sonnet relies on how well it portrays an impromptu script. The poem’s plot sits (more rightly flits) between two layers of consciousness. The reader (you) is encouraged to scrutinise the writer (me) for signs of ingenuous intention. I am betrayed by give-away gestures that make me nothing more than a scripted actor; a fake, from an open-book masquerade.
An amplified invasion so disturbs
the peace; a cavalcade of decibels
on drill: marching the streets, pounding the kerbs.
Exploding sound-grenades and mortar shells.
A wall of sound, invisible to touch,
yet so capable of prickling the skin.
Audible ferocity; far too much
to absorb – loud and deafening din.
A relentless, raucous calamity;
no definition, a cacophony;
no room for nuance, blunt audacity;
no conduct befitting a symphony.
. To turn down the volume is sound advice,
. Those who cannot hear pay a heavy price.
© Tim Grace, 4 March 2013
To the reader: Walked past a bar in Bondi… note to self triggers idea for sonnet: “Loud defines itself as big and bold; amplified beyond a normal range of tolerance. And that’s the point – tolerance. Loudness has a relative setting calibrated to a social context. There is no right or wrong volume but there is an appropriate volume. Big and bold is admirable to a point; beyond that point it becomes demanding and intrusive.
To the poet: Walked past a bar in Bondi… loud noise obliterated social exchange. There’s a pleasure in writing from experience. The non-contrived foundation establishes a convincing script. Chances are an authentic narrative attached to a real reaction will resonate with others. And so it was, that evening in Bondi, I was ambushed by an amplified invasion of noise; grabbed without consent.