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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.