Tuesday, November 24, 2009

window, doves, enchanter

Posted by PicasaDressing up.
There are nearly always ring doves in the area of The Grove behind Christchurch. Last year there were two, now there are four. This is I suppose their territory. The soft grey of these birds is as gentle as a misty morning.
The wind is behind me as I cross The Grove this afternoon. If I were a ship I would be scudding before it. In front of me the leaves race as though "from an enchanter fleeing".
Oh, and Qartsilluni has just published my poem on the theme "Words of power", which I submitted back in September. It is odd but satisfying to me, if to nobody else, to hear my voice droning from the speaker. I can't help feeling as we used to say "chuffed".


marja-leena said...

I read your poem and heard your voice at Q yesterday, and felt transposed into your home for a few minutes! Lovely work, Joe!

Roderick Robinson said...

I set out to listen to your poem, determined to dispute your choice of "droning". And, of course, I was quite right. But it was a very minor triumph and your triumph is rather bigger. That is a magnificent, hypnotic and inevitable piece of writing with long lines that walk slowly but with absolute confidence. It completely transcends the artificiality I imagined I saw in Brewer's description of the format. I'd like to draw in a quote but before I'd committed the first to memory it was supplanted by another clamouring equally for celebration. I hung on to "estuaries of sleep" but since I cannot check it without losing what I've written here I'll have to assume I got it right, and if I haven't then you've turned me into a poet. Another wonder is the reaffirmation that poets are the best readers of their own poems. We've joked about this in the past but your voice tolled an insistent bell and I emerged astonished. Should I be? It doesn't matter; I remain astonished.

Lucy said...

I loved 'estuaries of sleep' too.

I'm not always convinced that poets are the best readers of their own poems, sometimes they sound a bit flat and weary, driven by some kind of modesty or embarrassment, I think, to play down what they've written. But Joe's voice and tones are always just right. You sound as if you should be on a book jacket!

Anonymous said...

gosh, hugely impressed and envy the skill so poorly inherited by this child at least. Josh is starting an intensive course in touch typing with a woman who specialises in helping dyslexic children escape the straight jacket of not being able to write and spell easily. I have to go to the early sessions with him so that we can understand the approach and how to help him between lessons. The first couple of lessons I almost wept because I identified so much with the frustrations and challenges the kids have and you never know with the help that did not exist for me as a child maybe he will learn not to fear words.

Roderick Robinson said...

Just recently I've been making a complete fool of myself and I hate like hell to get into a difference of opinion about poetry with Lucy. But it's that flatness, even weariness, that seems so persuasive. The reader standing back from histrionics, unwilling to add anything, desperate to let the words emerge as words without any spin. At the time my mother bought Eliot reading The Four Quartets there was another celebrated version by the actor Robert Speight. Almost everyone seemed to think Speight had done wonders with the verse but to my mother (and many years later, to me) it was no contest. Come to think of it, Eliot droned. And come to think of it Eliot and his verse seemed two sides of the same coin. Suffering from le snobbisme de naissance I cannot take Northern accents. But then Northerners anyway act up their birthright. Enough. Enough.

Unknown said...

Thank you for comments. It is always helpful to know if an experiment has worked and in a way every poem which sees the light of day is an experiment.

I heard a bit of the Eliot recording the other day. I still think he reads his own stuff well, as it should be read.

That flatness and weariness is quite common when poets read their own stuff perhaps because they think that the words should be enough in themselves and can do without added histrionics.

Pippa, you probably inherited your dyslexia from me and so Josh too. I still can't spell as readers of this blog know only too well.

The Crow said...

I read your poem for myself before listening to you read it, Joe. While I appreciated the words I read, your voice gave them a different cadence, different rhythm. Your poem took on a defferent, better life than when I read it to myself.

You should be feeling chuffed. Fine work.

(I'm dyslexic, as well, and if it weren't for spell checker, it would show more in my typing, too. However, learning to type has helped me tremendously to overcome the slip of the hand. Someone told me once that dyslexia was an indication that the brain worked faster than the hand could keep up with, which he considered a good thing, overall. I think it is like putting a slow driver in a fast car, mismatched energies.

Best wishes to Josh, who will do very well, indeed. I wish I had learned to type long before I finally did. Might have saved me a lot of aggravation and embarrassment when I was younger.)