Loosely Applied

Loosely Applied

Concrete construction, designer’s despair:
over-tended landscape, sharp and severe,
too much exactness, preempted repair;
nothing left to chance, exhausted idea.
Made to resemble somewhere else but here:
rectangled, circled, and ratio-ed square,
hint of something made transparently clear,
a misguided homage belongs elsewhere:
‘belongs’ – a possessive that’s made to adhere…
‘constrained’ – a caught-yard of rarified air…
‘suffocated’ – short of depth, too austere…
‘made to measure’ – overly shaped with care…
. The golden rule, best considered a guide;
. a general frame that’s loosely applied.

© Tim Grace, 25 August 2013

To the reader: Great garden designs have an inner quality, a core-strength, an integral thread of inspiration that leaves no doubt about intention. Design has to be a deliberate response to a problem; but more importantly, an authentic and appropriate remedy. The application of a fixed design solution (as in the golden ratio) provides some scaffolded security but overly applied strips away the virtue of design’s natural curiosity; design is an applied art – then a science of sorts.

To the poet: A poet can fail his own test. As a sonnet written about the over-applied rule, this one goes near to proving the point. A truly responsive design will be so responsive to its context that a distinction of cause and effect will be hard to determine. The environmental need and its fix become one-and-the-same. Nature is the best of all ‘fixers’ it’s also the best of all ‘mimics’ – naturally!

Loosely Applied

Loosely Applied
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Elliptical Stance

Elliptical Stance

An elliptical stance; a solstice night;
remnants of Autumn; blanket of leaves;
haiku syllables; captured sound and sight;
severe frost; white footsteps; icicled eaves.
Snippets, half-formed, in the absence of heat;
cold-fusion; liquid air; saturated;
frozen to a frame; cameos compete.
A fragile balance, equally weighted;
naked trees strike a pose in silhouette;
ghostly shadows dance to a druid’s drum;
the pendulum must pause to pirouette;
for that which passes tells of that to come.
. That which tilters must surrender to time;
. so be the season, the reason and rhyme.

© Tim Grace, 22 June 2013

To the reader: In temperate zones seasons swing with a contrast of moods. With reduced hours, Winter days make-do with what little warmth the sun has to offer. Long-nights, without a store of heat, settle quickly into a frigid chill. In the cold depths of night a frozen moment rearranges water particles into crystals of ice. The dark-theatre is austere, stripped of animation; made still.

To the poet: A lifeless sonnet, descriptive of a cold suburban landscape. As much imagined as it is observed. Small snippets of observation, transitions, staggered frames; brittle connections. The relationship of water and ice in-part describes the sonnet’s internal structure as crystallised. There’s a fractured feel to the poem, which at any moment could shatter in to parts.

Elliptical Stance

Elliptical Stance
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What business has science in beauty’s art?
Is beauty to be studied, laid out bear,
exposed, analysed, to be pulled apart;
interrogated crudely, hair by hair?
I have heard ‘beauty’ many times expressed:
“… as more than a sum of parts considered.”
I’ve heard ‘beauty’ in ratios addressed:
“…nothing more than balance, so configured.”
Beauty’s been the subject of cruel compare,
the victim of insult; likened to tart.
Beauty’s been the envy of those who care
more for head and hand than they do for heart.
. Beautiology – a science absurd,
. let bells and folly tell the truth preferred.

© Tim Grace, 16 June 2013

To the reader: The probing eye of science has long had its sights on beauty. For thousands of years the mother of science has been measuring beauty’s ratio in an attempt to identify ‘that’ alluring attraction. Beauty’s design can be artfully mimicked; incorporated into works of architecture and landscape; appropriated into fashion and ornamental crafts. Beauty, if it must be measured, reveals effortless carriage of its own perfection… a natural effect.

To the poet: Unpacked, this sonnet has some interesting design features. The three stanzas are quite different in structure but stand side-by-side in logical agreement. As three debaters, they present their case in defence of beauty’s natural stance. The first stanza questions intent, the second speaks its doubt, and the third interrogates the motive; of what the final couplet calls ‘beautiology’. All in all a well rounded debate.

Beautiology Beautiology
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Monarch's Nurse

Monarch’s Nurse

You are the keeper of a chrysalis.
The holder of a butterfly in wait.
Do you appreciate her emphasis;
sensitivities; condition of her state?
Are you in touch with her proclivities?
Are you conscious of her fluttering?
Do you attend to her necessities?
And, will you offer her your nurturing?
You are the hand-maiden, the Monarch’s nurse,
her companion; attentively involved:
as she ponders… as opener of her purse.
as she shudders… as closure is resolved.
. You are the hand-maiden, the Monarch’s nurse;
. holder of pleasures, and opener of purse.

© Tim Grace, 8 June 2013

To the reader: Butterflies are beautiful insects. Through stages they reach a climax of interest and intensity. The chrysalis represents a middle-stage of development when the caterpillar has pupated into a protective tissue awaiting release into its adult form. The natural wonder of an opening cocoon represents an exposed stage of life; sensitive and vulnerable. With patience and nature’s encouragement the butterfly emerges; and so completes its resolution.

To the poet: Metamorphosis. Between two stages, the chrysalis assumes a vulnerable condition; a position of suggestive anticipation. And that’s the art of poetry. Between two ideas there’s room for emergent play. Words, by association, influence interpretation; and so, meaning is subtlely adjusted. The level of cryptic subterfuge is a matter of choice; too subtle and the game is lost.

Monarch's Nurse

Monarch’s Nurse
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Enough of Words

Enough of Words

Not all that I write is to be read, you see.
Lift your eyes from this page. Enough of words.
They talk of freedom; speak of liberty.
They are tethered, tarred and feathered. As birds,
these words are clipped; pressed into pagination.
Nothing more than flightless words, all a-flap
with instinct; pinions of agitation.
Unwitting conscripts with wings under wrap;
press-ganged, enlisted into servitude,
perched on parchment and anchored to the page;
gripped too tight, stripped of height and altitude,
flattened, compressed of colour, dressed in beige.
. Heavied with the weight of purpose words die,
. They can not sing, they can not dance; nor fly.

© Tim Grace, 14 April 2013

To the reader: The beautiful lyrics of John Lennon’s ‘Across The Universe’ relate to transcendental expression. The lyrics’ relationship to meaning is through soaring imagery not literal comprehension. The song has been crafted to fly. As an aerodynamic masterpiece the internal arrangements are light with adherence to rules that overcome gravity with blissful ease.

To the poet: John Lennon’s recollection of writing ‘Across The Universe’ is instructive in understanding the uplifting power of poetry. The song began as a grounded response to being caged; captured and contained. Through a meditative process, it seems the lyrics became cathartic; they transcended his pent-up anger and delivered instead a peaceful state of mind.  Until his next rant, at least…

Enough of Words Enough of Words
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2. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Across_the_Universe#Composition

Amplified Invasion

Amplified Invasion

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.

Amplified Invasion

Amplified Invasion
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