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…
I’m living in a renovated dream.
Walls come tumbling down before my eyes.
Rose-coloured glasses wash away the theme
of ‘tangerine trees and marmalade skies’.
Gone is the porter, that plasticine man.
Gone from his station of gainful employ.
Gone is the dog-mouse with rice-paper plan.
So too the drummer, that blue-eyed boy.
Gone are those characters, lucid and bright.
Gone with the pictures on ‘green-pepper walls’
with ‘everything emptying into white…’
Gone from my reaching; ignoring my calls.
. I’m living in a renovated dream.
. Devoid of pattern, of colour and scheme.
To the reader: Through my teenage years I was drawn to lyrics that conjured-up slightly distorted visual images. Masters of the art (John Lennon, Cat Stevens, etc.) wrote convincingly between believable and plausible lines; avoiding a shift onto tracks of complete nonsense. As in vector-distortions the original image is never lost, simply stretched to entice attention. As in camouflage, clever-mimicry replaces the truth. As in this sonnet I’m living in a renovated dream…what is that?
To the poet: In some forms of deception the skilled-expert successfully arrests disbelief. The magician, the con-man and the poet all use the same ploy of managing expectation. Within bounds, an audience will allow a degree of contrived replacement. As long as the augmentation doesn’t break too many rules that contortion (otherwise that mistake) is overlooked; enjoyed as different.
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.
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…
And so we go about our daily chores,
adding and subtracting along the way.
Consuming and then replenishing stores.
Earning our keep, converting work into pay.
And thus, we spin the mill, our daily grind;
with mundane achievements barely listed;
rarely noticed, granted but never signed.
A backdrop for all our needs insisted;
and this, if named, would be our daily bread.
It’s what we do given functional sake;
it’s the substance that lies beneath the spread;
it’s the sliced-up loaf, not the iced-up cake;
. By what means is this day improved?
. By all means, in many ways manoeuvred.
Tim Grace, 1 December 2011
To the reader: Without monotony the human spirit can deal with routine pressures. If the grind is productive we will happily put our shoulders to the wheel. In physical terms, the mechanics of ‘return on effort’ can be expressed as a mathematical transfer of energy in a closed system. In philosophical terms, motivation is the lever; its efficiency improves with recognition and reward.
To the poet: I’m currently reading a book about how the Beatles wrote their lyrics. As described, some were inspired and others simply milled themselves into processed vinyl; through a ‘Hard Day’s Work’. Without the daily grind, without the hack-work, there was nothing to nurture the beautiful moments of lyrical inspiration penned by John, Paul; and occasionally George. A Beatles’ Album, with its highs and lows will outstrip a ‘best of compilation’ … if inspiration is the measure.