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.
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.
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.
To this point, there’s a statement of intent:
the sending of a message; the promise
to commit; it’s this sets the precedent,
this then becomes the line of sight, from this
all else is judged upon delivery.
Against what’s known, what’s been, new things are judged:
held account; tested for transparency;
valued for clarity … dismissed if smudged.
The purity of truth is honesty:
revered as the path to enlightenment;
it’s the well-spring of possibility;
a straight approach without impedement.
. For those who are driven by conviction,
. be not distracted by contradiction.
To the reader: Up to a point, most of us can hold opposing points of view without losing face or sleep. The internal debate over right and wrong, good and bad is instructive. Occasionally, gaps widen and curious differences become stark and polarised. Through choice, we abandon one idea for another and our personal conflict is resolved. Through good government, mature societies can do the same: we live with contradiction but not hipocracy.
To the poet: “Is the line concise on contradiction?” Unpacking, then reassembling a ten-syllable sequence created for poetic effect is a bit of a stretch; for reader and poet. On the way to a logical conclusion there are many distracting alternatives; rhyme being the most significant. As one rhyme demands another the margin of error widens and the meaningful target becomes less and less a possibility. You can feel it happening… but like bike and tree there’s a fatal attraction to disaster!
He came, he went, he left her with the baby.
Then (as though hardly-done) he moped his lot.
The burden of self-pity said: “save me,
I am lost – stripped of cause and future plot”.
And what of the mother with child in arms?
In receipt of half the chattels, just things
stuffed in a bag: no niceties, no charms.
A bag full of feathers, nothing like wings.
Who knows what the child was thinking. He smiled
from beneath an Easter bonnet; no blame,
no shame; a child’s forgiveness reconciled
to bear the burden of his parents’ frame.
. Children – forgive them for they do not know;
. forsaken of the gifts that you bestow.
To the reader: It had obviously been a long day of angry disputation. This was the moment of uncoupling. A dreadful determination to unpack the family. She had taken their child to a family restaurant and was awaiting the father’s arrival. He arrived with a plastic bag of bare essentials. With remnants exchanged, the child (from beneath an Easter Bonnet) glanced between the two… later … the father sat alone; weeping in a pool of self-pity.
To the poet: The second of two sonnets that reference arrival and departure. “He came, he went” with no conclusion. His legacies include an onerous gift in wrappings of self-pity. And so it is we often feel confused and bereft… the victims of choice. The April message of Father and Son was an influence on both sonnets. But neither makes extended reference to Easter; just enough to draw upon its key themes of forsaken and forgiven love.
Once upon a time I presume he danced,
for there was rhythm in his shuffling gait.
I suppose there was a time when he chanced
to skip the pavement, to jump the fence, skate
upon thin ice; I presume this was so.
I suppose that once upon a time he
could run like the wind and swivel on snow.
May be once, this was how he used to be?
How he used to be, before age took hold
and shortened his strides into steps; weathered
then withered his reach; proceeded to fold
him into segments… with all parts severed.
. In this man there are vestiges of truth.
. Hidden in his shuffle is this man’s youth.
To the reader: The shuffle of elderly folk is rooted in the tentative first steps of childhood. Without momentum the ageing-frame hasn’t the balance to sustain a full-stride between steps; it’s lost the confidence to fall forward. In our prime the ability to walk is translated into the rhythm of life; through dance we skip; through sport we skate; as through time we scurry. Without stretch, and pace to match, we compensate … we walk with two feet not one, we shuffle.
To the poet: The strong structure of this sonnet descends into an awkward shuffle. It begins with stride and then falters. Beyond the first stanza, short-repeats struggle to complete a full line. Temporary anchors are scattered throughout. Stop-start phrases need backward attention. Through heavy compensation the sonnet’s rhythm is lost. In poetry, physical structure is as much a tool as any other literary technique; a poem is built as much as it is written.
When the rose of last year’s love was not replaced,
she whispered “I loved you” and shed a tear.
She closed her eyes and through her memory traced
his pattern; she imagined he was near.
Filled heavy with acceptance, her tear swelled,
wet her lashes and rolled upon her cheek.
This tear was not wept, this tear quelled
the weeping worry; no mourning did it seek.
There was no need for other tears to flow.
Tenderly, and for just a moment brief,
she held this tear and then she let him go…
gone to soul; to find comfort and relief.
. A lover’s loss is not for time to keep,
. It’s far better kept where the soul is deep.
To the reader: I remember watching a Twin Towers documentary, describing remnant lives, a decade after the attack. It was clear that many emotional towers had taken devastating hits and were still struggling to rebuild any semblance of structural strength. Gradual resolution of the inexplicable loss of a loved-one, an intimate partner, is a torrid journey of repair; never complete … when the weeping is done, enduring, endearing Love is forever expressed in a single tear.
To the poet: … and there ends my deliberate set of love poems; some about Love, others for Love, and a few in Love. Shakespeare wrote of Love as both spirit and soul. As spirit, Love is an attractive energy that fuels our motivation to intimately bond. As soul, Love is a figmented expression our passionate desires. Blessed with Love (spirit and soul) we are granted the human condition; ever challenged to balance on the one-hand energy and on the other passion; the humours: dispositions, preferences, propensities, and temperaments.