Communicates with influence; he does,
he states it as it is – impressively.
He situates a phrase; gives emphasis,
he waits – delivers it expressively.
He orchestrates his audience; at ease,
he waits for sense and sensibility.
He situates a pause; an awkward tease,
he baits the line with sensitivity.
He modulates his tone; to rise and fall,
creates an uplifting draft – wafterly.
He contemplates what might be possible;
skates the surface, and nurtures novelty.
. He agitates his company; he stirs,
. he celebrates the mix – as it occurs.
To the reader: Tangles can be fun to unravel. I remember, as a child, finding balls of discarded fishing line on the beach. A mess of sand and tackle, endlessly wrapped in coils of knotted nylon thread. The business of unravelling had little purpose to it. I was learning that through frustration you could find satisfaction. Within most things we do, there’s an opportunity to play with ideas; to craft creative solutions – for pleasure’s sake alone.
To the poet: It wasn’t until late in the editing process that I stumbled on why this sonnet was proving a stubborn beast to massage into shape. I’d forgotten that the “Oh, so clever poet!” had decided to apply an extra set of rhymes to the beginning of each line. Something he thought might have been fun to do but later regretted. Upon reflection the extra-effort has probably detracted from the final outcome; and so it is.
Let go of your dependencies; let go.
Let go of what has gone forever more.
Cut free of insecurities; and so,
lay claim to your capacities. Be sure
that what you have, you have in all good faith;
all good faith, that underwrites the absence
of certainty. Believe in what you have.
Believe in the goodness of good intents.
Take hold of opportunities; take hold,
take hold of that which offers more to come.
Seize the moment; as the nettle. Be bold
in your intent; for pluck outplays a strum.
. Let go of insecurities; and so,
. become an opportunity to grow.
To the reader: To be a free agent assumes a level of independence that few of us have license to acquit. Over time we accrue a host of responsibilities, dependencies and expectations that nail us to the floor. Up and leaving is not so easy. Before departing on a free-spirited journey there are things to do. Leaving behind a trail of unfinished business is hardly inviting a warm welcome upon your return. Sure, let go, but take good care … of things before you leave.
To the poet: Strength of message can be bolted to a sonnet. In this free-flowing lecturette I’ve assembled a few commonly known phrases; then, replaced any expected conjunctive using a generous spray of repetition. The repeated elements, through the creation of emboldened space, establish room for emphasis. I’ve not repeated the message, simply repeated the pattern surrounding it.
A window partitioned into nine squares.
The top three frame the sky with loftiness.
A summer-haze gives rise to grand affairs;
a cathedral of blue with gold finesse.
Three black umbrellas, from central casting,
flank the populated panes; overhang
a series of light lunches, short lasting
courses: round plates, round tables; ying and yang.
A long list of legs fill the bottom panes
with passing trade; pedestrian traffic;
litany of litter and gravy-stains;
a base-load of footsteps; demographic.
. Plain-glass windows with horizontal stretch.
. Nine squares, three rows… a panoramic sketch.
To the reader: Window frames define space. Some selectively give border to a scene; while others set no limits to a vista. Either way, a sheet of squared glass delineates one view-point from another; inside from out; here from there. This invisible but very physical medium is a lens through which we look out upon a passing parade.
To the poet: Another observational sonnet. In most cases, my poetic outlook is uninterrupted, I see through the structural frames of reference to focus on a scene of interest. In this case, I was obviously struck by the window’s pre-defined partition of the visual arrangement. One large window; a tessellation of space: nine squares, three rows … a panoramic sketch.
From that which lies about us we construct
plausible solutions; scenarios
that help explain what life, by chance, has plucked
as this day’s harvest of ripe curios:
people, events, time and place alongside
those artefacts, those things that decorate
this impromptu muddle; unqualified
mess – by chance an entanglement of state.
What lies about us is about us strewn.
A momentary arrangement that becomes
itself revealed as a glimpse; and so soon
becomes the fresh source of infinite sums.
. We are in pieces, patched together, wrought
. of all things about us; in loose contort.
To the reader: I’m a constructivist; intrigued as I watch organic plasticity contend with constant adaptation to non-organic obstacles. Without adaptive agility, existence is a fragile and brittle proposition. At the centre of my own survival guide is a stoic statement of resilience: things change and people adapt. Every heart-beat, every breath, is designed to extend or improve engagement with time and place.
To the poet: Poetry and fluid mechanics have a lot in common. Both seek to understand and/or harness the nature of flow. Fluids, just like poems, derive their character from internal and external forces that influence their dynamic state. The 1960’s hit-song ‘Poetry in Motion’ is a great example of syllabically static lyrics interacting to create the effect of a constantly rolling wave.
‘If’ is temperamental and hardly worth
the effort it requires to hold it still.
‘Then’ is non-committal, swings back’n’forth
then comes, then goes, then pendulums at will.
In separate states ‘they’ push’n’pull apart;
good order suffers – everyone’s confused.
‘Then’ makes a mockery of a clean start.
‘If’ takes liberties (not to be excused).
What if/then in union these two are brought
to heel; made to see reason; in a sense?
What if/then, as bridled, these two are taught
to harness the logic of consequence?
. Then good reason will support a good guess;
. therefore, what follows will also impress.
To the reader: If/then logic is a basic tool of computer programmers. Coded scripts embed consequential actions that take place according to if/then decision-making processes. Evaluators use if/then sequences to unravel cause and effect relationships. And, our socio-cultural institutions apply If/then statements to establish and reinforce behavioural codes of conduct; law and order. Without a logical connection between ‘if’ and ‘then’ the two stand at odds and create confusion.
To the poet: The sonnet relies on a sequence of nested references that by association resonate with a reader’s interest. To engage curiosity, a loose level of ambiguity creates intrigue; and to add a twist, many sonnets feature what is known as a volta. The volta provides a turning point at which the direction of the poem changes; moves towards some form of resolution. In this sonnet the volta consumes the final quatrain; setting up space for the answer which comes in the final couplet.
“I don’t want no more than my deserve.”
So said the swindler with generous grin.
But he knows, full-well, his ball has a curve;
a rubbery bounce with plenty of spin.
One Man’s Profit – is another man’s pain:
the working title of this swindler’s guide
to self-help manoeuvres that leave no stain;
with ‘cover-up advice’ from the inside:
– cover them tracks as you leave the station.
– cover your backs with an alibied trail.
– cover them assets, spread the location.
– cover your bets either side of the rail.
. Cover your costs on a ticket to ride.
. Help yourself hints for the sneaky and snide.
To the reader: Deception is a disposition not restricted to the human condition. Nature is a master of bluff and mimicry. The management of perception to favour selection and procreation is a vital survival strategy across all species. The swindler (that master of deceit) hoodwinks unsuspecting victims; using a suite of refined but very dubious tactics. Deception is an elaborated lie … a cunning plan; a clever trick!
To the poet: Some poetry works well in sonnet form. The strolling rhythm suits the observation of life in passing: the rise and fall of emotions and the ebb and flow of time’s dispute with destiny. That same pulsing rhythm struggles with simple banter. Being a consistent and truthful rhythm it struggles with contrived hesitation. The application of too many tricks stretches belief and weakens the integrity of a sonnet.