A Natural Stamp

A Natural Stamp

The strength of argument is undermined
when a salient point is overstressed.
For combative sake, such is underlined;
brought to fore, emboldened and overdressed.
At front of mind keep things staid and subtle.
Let the main point grow from a single source.
Hold back on highlights, their shine can scuttle
gentle persuasion (a more useful force).
Let the shape of things assume a pattern.
By design, logic itself will unfold
its grand plan; and in good time, unflatten
that which by rights should have its credits told.
. Let the emphasis be a natural stamp.
. Let the logic of truth light its own lamp.

© Tim Grace, 18 October 2012

To the reader: Fashion often begins as a bold statement that gains mainstream approval. Singularity becomes popularity. The norming effect absorbs distinction. Peaks of interest wane; become mundane… we simply lose interest in the fad. Used sparingly, boldness is an effective attention grabber; useful in assembling interest, drawing a crowd and gaining focus. Overused, it’s a crude and ugly device.

To the poet: “Are all things to be boldly underlined?” Impacts can pack a punch and leave a lasting impression; as in a bruising affair. Then again, there’s a lot to be said for the subtle approach that through imperceptible gradations alters a line of thought or a chain of events. In poetry, novel nuance is equal to brazen boldness; our good-readers are alert to ambiguity; they’ll stop without a red-light flashing.

A Natural Stamp

A Natural Stamp
Picture Source?

Forged or Forced

It’s not that these are different: so unlike
that resemblance must be forged or forced
from two extremes. It’s not that hard to strike
agreement; one that’s logically endorsed.
The fear of difference is a sad disease,
a limiting malady; one that’s stoked
by judgement (prejudice) and jealousies:
stoked by greed; too easily provoked;
too easily given voice of reason;
dressed as patriotic (us not them).
As contrast sees many, difference sees one.
It’s from a single cell that many stem.
. Be not divided by difference, delight
. in contrast, sing of all things bold and bright.

© Tim Grace, 7 October 2012

To the reader: When an image is drained of definition we can manipulate its balance to achieve a better effect. Toggling the tonal quality adjusts the play of light and colour. Too much light and the image is saturated with colour. Any over-compensation risks distortion. The trick is to graduate changes with care so that shadows, lines and temperature strike a natural pose.

To the poet: In any act of distortion, there’s a point at which an adjustment disagrees with reality; the exaggerated affect stretches belief. Over-emphasis is the literary equivalence of photographic saturation. In concluding a sonnet there’s a risk of rising to a climactic couplet, a crescendo of pretentious agreement… “sing of all things bold and bright” may have met the tipping point?



To a point...

To this point…

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.

© Tim Grace, 6 October 2012


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!


To a point...

To a point…
Picture Source:

Offer Strength

Better so to listen…

. better so to listen, gentle of ear,
. it’s their voice, not yours, that will make things clear.

© Tim Grace, 5 October 2012

To the reader: The soft-counselling of a friend provides a safe place for disappointment and sadness to speak its voice. In the resolution of loss or grief there are moments when wise-words are best left unspoken. In these moments, the broken-hearted and the grief-stricken seek nothing more than reassurance. Their healing process begins with the confirmation of a companion that cares enough to listen. In time, the spoken response will be appropriate… save that for later.

To the poet: “Should they be blurred to favour tolerance?” Between writing and interpreting this line of thought, I think I’ve softened the tension between tolerance and suspended judgement. The need for restraint in criticism has been replaced with a more general statement on responsive listening. I’ve not really answered the question: “How much lee-way does intolerance deserve?”

Offer Strength Offer Strength
Picture Source: