There’s a field of sunflowers, fertilised
with blood and bone that’s fallen from the sky.
A forensic crop, to be scrutinised
for every seed of truth; felled from on high.
There’ll be a harvest of human debris,
a reassembling of the scatterings.
There’ll be an inquest into tragedy
with assessment of its smatterings.
And all of this… and all of this for what?
A crime scene, rich with humanity’s loss.
A battle field, a war zone; someone’s plot
eternal, and ‘they’ couldn’t give a toss.
. Scatterings – the source of recovery.
. Smatterings – the course of discovery.
To the reader: Civilian passengers and crew, on MH17, were victims of a missile attack. Aircraft and human debris landed in a field of sunflowers in Ukrane’s disputed territory. Embattled circumstances surrounding the crime scene created a forensic nightmare. The inexplicable nature of the horrific attack was worsened by a lack of responsibility or remorse shown by those who perpetrated the crime.
To the poet: Looking back on my draft, this sonnet was written in one session without much editing required. At the time of writing, there was a pervasive sense of frustration being expressed by nations seeking compassionate resolution. Without reserve, the sonnet depicts a wantonly wasteful tragedy… highlights the futility of war.
I am nothing but myself without you.
You are the key to every lock I own.
To say you are my everything is true.
Without you I am never more alone.
You are my Spring, you are my Autumn-flush.
Without you I’m a Winter-plot unkempt.
You are my Summer – every flower’s blush.
Without you I’m a year that wasn’t dreamt.
You are my awakening; my morning would
be nothing but the softest dew at dawn.
You are my sketch, that pictures me as good.
Without you I’m an image never drawn.
. You are the life in every day I live
. You are the gift in every thing I give.
To the reader: Love is an ingredient that confirms completeness, enriches purpose and satisfies our intimate desires. We nurture partnerships through love’s tenderness; it’s love that cares about a broken heart, it’s love that freshens an exhausted soul, it’s love that brings joy to adult affairs. Love’s generous abundance is in endless reserve; love replenishes love; love’s gift is love.
To the poet: The first quatrain is tentative, the second a bit soppy; and the third, hopeful of a climax. The final couplet provides the post-literal summary. When ‘love’ becomes an object of attention it resists exposure; love is shy and reserved in nature. Love is rarely captured without damage. Like a butterfly… most beautiful in flight.
A dispossessed poet has no address.
Vagrant wordsmith finds himself lost for words.
Sunday morning solitude. More or less
a Waste Land. Quarters apportioned in thirds;
fractional allotments… absurdities.
Occupied tables, multiples of six,
or four, or two. Disputed territories.
Unilateral remedies, far from fix
an awkward treaty. Spaces between lines
become expansive; attract attention.
Diplomatic remedy realigns
position; puts possessed in contention.
. A poet in the margins, far from lost,
. far from desolate; has his words embossed.
To the reader: Rhyme-inducing comfort zones are hard to find, and even harder to keep; context is everything. For years, I’ve sampled cafe cuisines in pursuit of an ideal writing ambiance. For the most part, a hotel’s ‘breakfast room’ seems optimal. As a large enterprise, hotels usually offer an affordable option of ‘tea and toast’. With passing trade, the regular change of clientele constructs an interesting sense of community; notable but not obvious.
To the poet: If you’re outwardly observant and inwardly conscious the creative mind looks after the assembly of a poem. Once the mind is located and in-flow with the general gist of a theme it will mix and match its contribution of frames and reference points. That’s all very well, and easier said than done; practice and discipline are critical components of the process – and that presumes a conducive space to write. Conducive means interesting but non-distractive.
A banquet of sound, black vinyl, white noise;
orchestrated decibels, perfect pitch.
Deconstructed platter, good taste, good poise;
just desserts, justify a burning itch.
A scratch which turns attention; an etude,
a miscellaneous menu, so fresh.
Glass onions, savoy truffles; naked; nude;
raw numbers; rare cuts; marinated flesh.
A selective sampling of time and place;
a harvest of life without hunger’s haste.
The sensibility of course not race;
an appetite is best expressed through taste.
. Prudence and elegant sufficiency;
. a sprinkled modicum of decency.
To the reader: Upon return from India, the Beatles set about creating what was to become known as the ‘White Album’. A collection of songs representing every facet of their creative interests. The double album contains an impressive sampling of music from their vast library of interpretive styles; showcasing the Fab Four’s prodigious versatility, emphasising their status as independent ‘Apple’ artists. The album is inwardly and outwardly referential; highlighting a new level of consciousness… paving the way for new things to come.
To the poet: The White Album Concert was an Australian initiative. Some of our most talented rock-musicians were drawn from their day-jobs to recreate the entire album; live-on-stage. The ‘project’ was dauntingly brave; the result was brilliant! Following the concert, dinner was eaten at “4Fouteen” – a Sydney restaurant specializing in ‘nose to tail’ cuisine; again, a banquet of eclectic tastes was consumed. And so, fully inspired, I wrote this sonnet…
Mid-Winter, where I live, is wet and cold.
The place is bedraggled. A season spent
of warmth. A blanket of tarnished gold
leaves. Fallen reminders. Disappointment.
An inclement pallet in shades of grey.
Overcast sky, wet-washed to the streetscape.
Sodden concrete canvases. Damp display
of seasonal swing. Long months of cold, that shape
the calendar with frosted panes of glass.
Clouds, condensation, vaporous and sheer.
A diaphanous depression; won’t pass
without the shudder of a cold veneer.
. Mid-Winter enjambement; more or less
. a shift of emphasis, a change of stress.
To the reader: My home town is Canberra; Australia’s capital city. It was designed by Chicago’s renowned architect: Walter Burley-Griffin. He and his wife, Marion Mahony, incorporated into Canberra’s layout their social, political and environmental philosophies. One hundred years later, this small city nestles into the seasonal landscape reflecting its democratic origins; relying on thoughtful design for inspiration through social unease, political tension and Mid-Winter drudgery.
To the poet: …and that’s the thing about poetry. It’s a built environment. Full of ideas. Full of plans that require on-site adjustment. Poetry is a social experiment. An engineered interpretation of life’s possibilities; real and imagined. Poetry describes and discovers the shape and form of itself and its subjects. In the cold, poetry shivers; it feels the bite of winter winds, the grip of frosty nights and the slap of frozen rain.
There’ll be ample time to talk of wonders;
but for now, you have the gift of eyes and ears.
Silence speaks as loud as lightning thunders.
Save those unspoken thoughts for coming years.
As for now, take note: watch the world unfold,
watch the patterns change and the colours dance;
watch the hand shake, the foot step, the toe hold.
Recognise yourself in a friendly glance.
As for now, listen: hear the change of tone;
hear the rhythm, the pitch, the count of three;
hear the heart beat, the ear drum, the jaw bone.
Make yourself ready for the change of key.
. Two eyes, two ears, but just one mouth for each.
. There’s much to be said for the gift of …
To the reader: It’s not that babies can’t vocalise; it’s more the point, they can’t speak. And all for good reason. The receptive senses of hearing, seeing, touching, tasting and smelling need time to grasp the rituals of living. In this sensory world, babies communicate reactively; using spontaneous gestures that display their simple understandings of the comfort continuum. Our physical glossary precedes our emotional vocabulary.
To the poet: Our first language belongs to the body. And I suppose through body-language we can express the sentiments of any poetic theme or form. Words are just subsequent translations of abstracted notions the brain has previously rehearsed; remnants of an internal theatre. Before speech performs its reductive act, let the first scene be one of mental gymnastics … creatively dance within …hold that thought.