Ancient and Modern

The Halesworth WriteTypes group of writers meet every Tuesday in the de Argenteins café/bar in Halesworth, Suffolk.

Write Types

The venue is a quaint property in Halesworth’s Thoroughfare and appropriately named the Ancient House and is now de Argenteins, named after an historic family from the area, a ghost of which is said to still haunt the establishment.

Members of the group have published novels, short stories, poetry and academic works, as well as plays performed at the annual local INK Festival: https://inkfestival.org/

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Hope springs eternal

Towards the end of last year I posted about my experience of undertaking a “Secret Sentance” at the Creative Writing Group I attend (see also Secret Sentence – update (1) , Update (2) ). It was one of the infrequent occassions on I wrote prose rather than poetry. Being rather pleased with the result I sent it off in early February to Short-Story.me for their Flash Fiction thread and forgot all about it till this morning when my inbox alerted me to the fact that they published it! Working Christmas Again. 

So, all you budding writers out there,  Have Patience and Never Give Up!

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Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on Pexels.com

Poetry in Public

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I was invited to an open mic night last weekend to read some poetry as part of an all day festival. I suppose I should have made more enquiries as to how many people were attending and how many had agreed to stand up and read poetry.  It’s not that I’ve not done this sort of thing before, but it’s nice to know what sort of audience you are going to be faced with; and with that knowledge, select the type of poetry you are going to read.

As it turned out, I was one of only five who had signed up to read, and, having been introduced to the organiser and others taking part, it then left it far too late for me to back out.  The event went well and I think the few poems I read were fairly well received.  But in future I shall ensure I find out a little more about what is involved before I commit.

Anyhow, the first poem I chose was one I may have posted on this blog in the past, but which I have rewritten and expanded a little.

 

Neighbourhood

I’ve lived many years in this neighbourhood

and I wear it darkly, tightly

over my ears to quiet the arguments,

pulled low to keep me to myself.

I sleep in my neighbourhood for safety

behind four sealed walls of solitude,

a comfort from coldness.

 

My neighbourhood is a mix of fabrics:

real or imagined, most from overseas,

but all I can afford. Shrinking with time,

parched in wordless bigotry, this space

encloses me as a succubus would.

My will is worthless.

A terse postscript to unrequited ambition.

 

My neighbourhood has gathered grime

over time, and I fear the future.

Doors would open and close

with symmetrical insincerity,

offering glimpses of life’s GIFs.

A half century of ‘what ifs’ and ‘if only’:

mantra of all those lonely souls.

 

 

This neighbourhood now shows its age,

threadbare, see-through skin

and a thinly disguised idea

of what it once was or tried to be.

Change lifts print from the page,

where white space cannot restore

or replace the past.

© Wally Smith 2019

 

 

 

Speed Poetry

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Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

 

A poetry workshop which I attend on Saturday mornings has a format that is quite interesting and intense. The two guys (local poets) who facilitate the session will read out a poem or two and, depending on the theme or idea of the particular pieces, will then give five minutes or less for each of us to produce something along the same lines.

I was pleasantly surprised at how the brain and creative juices can be motivated in this manner.

Herewith a few of my efforts from yesterday (unedited!).

Writing about the best time and the worst time of day:

Morning  (Best)

Sunrise and already up.

Tea made.

Walking on dew-damp grass,

exploring the sweet air,

listening to bird chatter

and planning, as steam slowly drifts from the mug,

what to avoid doing during the day.

 

Late  (Worst)

Past midnight – tired;

mired with the lacklustre

of a flustered, frustrating day.

Bed-bound with thoughts

that still hound of the undone,

unfinished…

The list goes on.

 

Then a poem about a piece of punctuation:

Apostrophe

The apostrophe has become a catastrophe.

Errant, inordinate and commonly current.

It isn’t where it ought to be

and inserted where it shouldn’t.

You mustn’t have a possessive without it,

but the obsessive merely appear to flout it.

Thrown as a decorative sign on vendings;

‘Tis not always attached on word endings.

It’s that’s what’s a sign of the times,

but isn’t too bad when making rhymes.

Unseasonable and unreasonable

Most Februarys that I can remember have been four weeks of typically winter weather: snow, ice, frosts; and even on sunny days, a chill that penetrates to your bones. However, what we (that is the ‘we’ of residents in the east of England) are currently experiencing is an unseasonably mild spell of weather.  Temperatures are much higher than where they ought to be. Now, whether this is a symptom of global warming or just a freak wiggle in the Atlantic jet stream drawing warm southerly air over the country, is something for the experts to debate.  All that currently concerns me is the length of the grass on my lawn which is far too wet to cut, but which continues to grow in these mild conditions.  The weather was recently a subject prompt in my local writing group, and rain just happened to be at the forefront of my mind.

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Rain

Rain, incessant rain,

smothers the simpering town.

A steady downpour

ships another cloudfull,

catching the unprepared,

unumberella’d

inside the former shelter,

its panes all smashed the night before,

no doubt between large bouts of beer:

crystals of glass adorn the floor.

A whirling wind whips up the rain,

and through the liberated pane,

assumes a horizontal plane,

racing round the huddled group,

chasing plastic cups

and lids,

and litter left

by little kids,

down into a gurgling gutter.

All at once the downpour ceases

and leaves an unexpected sweetness,

a buoyant freshness in the air

across the glistening streets.

© Wally Smith  2019