World Poetry Day 2016
It’s Harmony Day in Australia, but it’s also World Poetry Day, something I felt compelled to write about as a lover of poetry.
I have a few favourite poets, but I also love reading and writing poetry in general. I adored the poetry we studied in high school, even though many people hated it. That’s one thing I want to achieve out of World Poetry Day – educating people that poetry isn’t all about rhymes, it’s not all about love or sadness, and that it can be a way to freely express yourself. There is such a stigma around poetry being ‘lame’ and ‘boring’, when some of the world’s best poets have inspired people, and written pieces that resonate with people.
Although I adore the work of T.S. Eliot and Gwen Harwood, the work of modern poet Lang Leav is exactly the kind of feeling every teenage girl – heck, not only that, but people of all ages – has felt through love and loss. She has brought a new, appreciated vision to poetry since her debut bestseller Love & Misadventure.
It is hard for me to pick a favourite, but I particularly like this one:
Sea of Strangers
In a sea of strangers,
you’ve longed to know me.
Your life spent sailing
to my shoes.
The arms that yearn
to someday hold me,
will ache beneath
the heavy oars.
Please take your time
and take it slowly;
as all you do
will run its course.
And nothing else
can take what only—
was always meant
as solely yours.
My favourite poems by T.S. Eliot were The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and Preludes, while my favourites by Gwen Harwood were The Violets, At Mornington and Water-Music (which was published under the name Gwendoline Foster). Water-Music was the inspiration for one of the old designs on my blog, circa 2010.
Gently on the slipping stones
moves the swift unfolding flood.
Ribbed with dusk, the stream intones
requiem for restless blood.
All the overtones of day
vanish in the sounding tide.
History dissolves away,
I return to Adam’s side.
Sleeping in a twisted root
lies the subtle enemy,
still the bright and bitter fruit
hangs untasted on the tree.
Empty, perfect swells the dream
in its bubble-skin of sleep:
gathering upon the stream
are the tears mankind will weep
when I bite the world apart,
show the sweet corrosive core
and the sorrows at its heart
salt their bread for evermore.
I don’t just like famous people. I love seeing the work of amateurs or regular people writing. My friend Josh struck me years ago with his poetry. His two contrasting pieces, Pessimism and Optimism, were a real work of art.
My own poetry
I have written a lot of poetry over the years. I’ve always published my poetry eventually, but there are some pieces that remained on paper that I never got around to publishing on my blog. There are also a few that have been private pieces, given to someone as part of a gift – and so I don’t feel right sharing them.
I have written a few different types of poetry, with my most common style being emotional free-verse. I have written a couple of humorous ones, and others with deliberate rhyme. Fairy Dust is a poem I recorded myself reading out loud, and has my favourite poetic technique of enjambment (when a line runs on to the next line where there is no punctuation). I do believe poetry should be read out loud, and if not, I always read it as if my own voice is reading it to me.
Some of my favourites that I have written
- Epistolary (2010)
- where the heart is (2010)
- girl (2012)
- Darling (2013)
- Fairy dust (2014)
- eight bells (2014)
- Silver glass (2014)
- Forever sunshine (2015)
How I write poems
No one has asked me how I write poems, but I usually don’t proofread them. I more often write them on paper than type them up. I feel like once a word is on the page, that’s it, I don’t want to take it back. My pieces of paper tend to have very little error-correcting.
For me, writing poetry actually started out as a hobby to tame my streams of consciousness. I was a huge, huge daydreamer in school, I got extremely distracted when I studied at university, and every time I was distracted, I resorted to writing poetry.
Given the amount of poems I wrote in 2015 (five including one I wrote on a Valentine’s Day card for Nick), compared to having written almost one every week throughout university, I guess you can say that writing poetry helped me to focus on other things. Or I suppose you could say I got less bored, and more busy?
I was thinking of writing a poem for today, but I don’t feel like poetry should be coerced… I’ve decided to close with a poem that has never seen the light of day.
The edge of dreams
4th May 2015
In greyer days we have seen the patience no one knew,
and on a weary night past dusk the clouds turned purple too
but we knew.
You and I knew.
We had both been there too,
showing world a horizon that glistened sapphire blue,
as we let go,
as we now know,
as I pictured a starlight that would take over the night
and we, as they followed, we could tell
that only a morbid darkness would know us so well,
then to the bad dreams, I said good night, when really, it was just farewell
and all the skies we used to fly through knowing all angels go to hell,
coming back, beyond the edge of the universe, where we put bad dreams to sleep,
knowing they were the ones that we had chosen to keep
before letting go and realising that was only for the weak.