I know how JK Rowling must have felt…

I know how JK Rowling must have felt…

 

when she first heard the musical score to her Harry Potter film.

I’ve always wondered how it must feel to not only have your novel published, or to have global success, but to hear an orchestra play the theme tune encompassing the landscape and emotions of your story.

As a fan of the Halle Orchestra, I’m always moved when I hear John Williams’ “Hedwig’s Theme” and its magical melody cut through the reverent silence of The Bridgewater Hall. To be the author of the story and hear the music must be of another dimension entirely.

But now I have had a brief glimpse into this emotional experience.

This morning, as I drove into work, I turned on the CD player and listened to a track composed in response to a poem I wrote entitled “Wild Horses”. The ludicrously talented surrealist painter, composer and polymath Mark Sheeky has composed, performed, illustrated and created the CD “Music Of Poetic Objects” and there on track 6 is my lowly poem transformed into captivating music.

Earlier this year, my poetry group Write Out Loud based at Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery, collaborated with the resident Art’s Guild and with Mark, to create an exhibition of Ekphrasis Towers. Put very simply, the poets wrote poems based on objects they had a special attachment to, the sculptors and painters of the Guild then created works of art based upon the poems. The poets then wrote more poems in response to the sculptures and paintings thereby building a “tower”. Finally, Mark selected objects and poems to compose music to.

I was honoured when one of my poems was selected and also intrigued to hear what Mark would produce based on feelings evoked by the poems “condensed and re-expressed” When I was handed the CD with its beautiful cover artwork and booklet pages, I was amazed at its elegance, although this shouldn’t have been a surprise.

Write Out Loud had previously been asked by Mark to take part in his 21st Century Surrealism Exhibition. We wrote poems based on Mark’s paintings without knowing the title or inspiration for each piece. We wrote “blind,” if you like. This was our first venture into Ekphrastic poetry as a group and an experience that generated such excitement and enthusiasm we knew we would have to explore the activity more. Mark’s artwork is so dramatic yet sensitive, so bold yet with woven with intricate subtleties, it was a pleasure to study his work in such detail. Having the freedom to express emotions generated and imagined backstories to the origins was incredibly liberating and inspiring.

So although heard through my modest car speakers, whilst embroiled in a hellish commute, rather than sitting in a luxurious orchestral hall, time stood still and I was held captivated. The traffic melted away, the grey tarmac disappeared and for that brief 5 minutes a Savannah sunset appeared with hooves thundering across a desert plain, dust flying and hearts beating. It was a dream come true, an ambition realised as my thoughts transferred to another and were expressed anew. Definitely an “other-world” experience. Mark I cannot thank you enough for the pleasure you have brought.

I look forward to future collaborations which I do hear whispered within the Art Gallery halls…

zebra stampede

Wild Horses

A wind borne scent triggers primal instincts.

Survival screams through constricted veins

hooves thunder, pulses race

legs tangle in the stampede.

Disembodied by adrenaline they run

across the Savannah Plain

aware if caught, they may ascend to the next.

A black and white dust cloud rises

against a burning umber backdrop.

Wild horses pray

this sunset wont be their last

 

Music Of Poetic Objects by Mark Sheeky is available from his website via this link: Music Of Poetic Objects

For more information about Write Out Loud please visit their website @ write out loud

Special thanks also to John Keane Ekphrastic Towers Exhibition Curator for “herding cats” whilst gathering poems from the poets and to Katherine Rosati of Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery for her endless energy in coordinating events.

 

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The Fickle Hypocrite

It’s Day 30, the final day of Napowrimo, 30 poems in 30 days. I may have let a few slip, I was busy living so I have experiences to write about. I’ve enjoyed the challenge and I’ve hated the challenge, I’ve found it easy, I’ve found it difficult. The objective of writing every day has been achieved and I feel better for it. My grey matter has been exercised and stretched.

In true hypocritical and fickle style, after two days of ranting and protesting about form, I’ve attempted a Haiku. No doubt the purist academics will point out where I tried and missed, (the last line may be a scandalous 6 syllables?) but that’s never stopped me doing what I want. I’ve also written the same poem in my “unclassical” way. The prompt; “a poem that is quite short, and that doesn’t really try to tell a story, but to quickly and simply capture an image or emotion.”  (and yes I told a story because I am a storyteller)

I Dream of Devon (Rickety Haiku)

 

Steam train whistle blows

Sea breeze, tugging kite, baked sand

Rockpool discovery.

 

I Dream of Devon (My Way)

 

Steam train whistle

Sea breeze

Tugging kite

Baked sand

Cool drink

Rockpool discovery

Melting Ice cream

Carefree laughter

Salty kisses

Devon

 

Poetry Unleashed

Day 28 of NApowrimo – 28 poems written and the end is nigh…today’s prompt was to write a poem about poetry “try your hand at a meta-poem of your own”. Here is my rant about archaic rules… I may even publish a second because I’m completely fired up, but for now here is

Poetry Unleashed

Who applied mathematics to literature?

Who dared degrade lines to a vile number count?

Who callously ripped out the soul to insert regularity?

Iambic Pentameter you are a satanic curse infecting creativity.

You leave me cold, my blood stilled.

You bind my hands and feet with rigidity.

Your condescending eye watches over my choice of phrase.

Know that you are not welcome in my world of dreams,

my moments of emotional outpouring.

My self-analysis has no need of your stuffy laws.

When I lower my defences to release pent up anger,

remorse, heartache or hurt, revealing scars

never before uncovered,

when I flood the page with deep sentiment,

boundless praise of nature’s beauty,

when I proclaim my love of the one I adore

or worship my children, professing eternal gratitude

for being so blessed,

do I need your calculated condemnation?

Do I need your bony finger pointing out inconsistent

decrepit

syllable counts or misplaced emphasis?

No! Close the door on your way out!

You are old and decrepit, redundant and impotent.

You shall not haunt my page. Be gone.

Lie down in your cold grave and let the living write poetry.

Shenanigans

You wouldn’t believe it but it’s true!

I’ll tell you, but don’t tell a soul

Mr Black and Miss Pike, as brazen as you like

They were seen late entering her home

 

I’ll tell you, but don’t tell a soul

Mrs Parker at 43 told me

They were seen late entering her home

They came out looking dishevelled and guilty!

 

Mrs Parker at no 43 told me

She heard it from Hugh at 22

They came out looking dishevelled and guilty!

but you must keep it between me and you

 

She heard it from Hugh at 22

Said it’s been going on a month, maybe two!

but you must keep it between me and you

You wouldn’t believe it but it’s true!

street-corner-gossip-bert-hardy.jpg

Dust

A shirt is shaken, sprawled over a board.

Her smile is fixed, eyes glazed

hours pass by as the iron runs.

Life evaporates with the steam.

The corpse is well turned out,

the headstone reads “she kept a tidy house”.

 

Dust piles upon dust

falling layer upon layer

dancing on sunbeams in shafts of light

piercing silent rooms.

Bed clothes lie ruffled.

breakfast pots sit in the sink.

 

No-one cares they run through fields

climb over styles

gather mud on their boots

eat picnics on blankets

whilst the tap drips into a bowl

waiting, waiting, waiting.

 

Wind-blown hair, sun burnt skin,

smiles light up the meadow,

birds chatter along with laughter

on the breeze, the dandelion clock

sends parachutes to mark the hours

of this endless day.

fun in fields

How Could It Be?

How Could it Be?

 

I see you now and again across a restaurant

the red of your jumper catching my eye,

the blue and white check shirt pulling at the sleeve of my attention.

When I look up, of course, it’s not you

How could it be?

 

I see you in the hospital waiting room hunched

in an uncomfortable plastic chair.

I see the top of your head through thinning hair

still carefully combed

when he looks up, of course, it isn’t you

How could it be?

 

I imagine I hear you nod your approval

over my shoulder as I read a well-constructed poem

or exceptional piece of literature.

I hear your slow and deliberate consideration;

“Hmmmmm, yeeeeessss” but it isn’t you

How could it be?

 

Six years have passed.

Your presence hasn’t waned as one would expect it to

like a receding shadow or fading bloom.

You are as real to me now as you were in life

though I cannot choose to visit you,

only treasure the glimpses I am gifted;

at the concert hall, the bookshop,

in the armchair.

 

Day 18 of Napowrimo and the challenge was to write an elegy of your own, one in which the abstraction of sadness is communicated not through abstract words, but physical detail.

This poem is about my Father-In-Law who never seems too far away, even now.

 

Dear Deer

Come close my dear,

and I will tell

the tale of a dear deer

(with a tiny tail)

who sadly didn’t fare too well.

He died at the fair

when he decided to try

a new fur dye he’d seen.

Flowing around the unique horn

of a unicorn was

a rainbow mane,

unicorn hair

when along came

a bare-faced bear

who had an aloof air,

(perhaps of a heir bear).

He added too much dye

and I declare!

It burnt the dear deer’s eyes!

You see, the no-eyed deer

he could not see

so ran and ran

and damn,

he ran into a dam,

that broke,

he choked.

For four hours he tried

to survive….

When he finally passed

we sang for hours and hours

hymns for him

that dyed dear deer

of ours who died.

hymns

Day 14 of Napowrimo saw a challenge that I had to read up on to understand;

write a poem that incorporates homophones, homographs, and homonyms, or otherwise makes productive use of English’s ridiculously complex spelling rules and opportunities for mis-hearings and mis-readings.

I hope I have achieved the objective?

From there to here

I am of hard cobblestones

that broke developing bones

of damp bricks and dense drizzle skies.

I am of the baggy grey sock

that slumps down the leg

and is constantly hitched up.

I am of skipping ropes tied

to flaky paint lampposts

of hot buttered toast suppers.

I am of backyard washing lines,

coal holes and metal bin lids.

I’m of children home by lamplight

and Grimm Fairytales.

Of job centres and blue collar jobs

and paydays prayed for weekly.

Now, I’m of tidy semi,

tarmac roads, motorway hell

of clinical 9-5 desk job

office politics, niceties, pleasantries.

I’m conditioning brilliant white socks,

limiting lightly buttered whole meal toast.

I’m central heating and condenser dryer.

I’m of assessed, measured, compared,

evaluated, tracked and monitored kids

and censored fairytales.

It’s Day 11 of Napowrimo and the prompt is to tell of where you are from and where are you now. Please excuse the poor punctuation… this is written on the hoof as always.

Goodnight

If the music never ends

If no-one call time 

If the sun never sets

If the clocks don’t chime

If the tides don’t ebb

If the moon doesn’t beckon

If we never say goodnight 

I will believe in heaven 

 

Day 6 of the Napowrimo challenge is to write a poem of possibilities.

Compass

Compass

 

I wandered lonely as a cloud

My compass buried beneath the earth

He was my North, my South, my East and West

 

The last grain of sand tore him from my grasp

through the hourglass out of reach

I wandered lonely as a cloud

 

From our first encounter

until our last

He was my North, my South, my East and West

 

Without him I had no left or right

No above, no below, no soul.

I wandered lonely as a cloud

 

I roamed alone over hill and stone

no destination, no meaning, no goal.

I wandered lonely as a cloud

He was my North, my South, my East and West

 

Today’s Napowrimo challenge was playing with format; write a poem that incorporates at least one of the following: (1) the villanelle form, (2) lines taken from an outside text, and/or (3) phrases that oppose each other in some way.

I chose to take lines from William Wordsworth’s “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” and WH Auden’s “Stop All The Clocks” in a villanelle poem. My opposites are wandering aimlessly and the points of a compass (slightly tenuous, perhaps!).

I’m really enjoying the stretch of the challenge and encourage everyone with a love of the written word to join in and have a go, even if you capture your poems in secret. Enjoy.