When we have strangled virtue at her birth
When evil thoughts are all that we can find
And we cannot take a draught of cheerful mirth;
Escape from this black prison of ithe mind.
Too friendship and esteem have been foregone
And lone as buzzards circling are our hearts.
Remembrance of past joys will rately come
We feel from us the last friend will depart.
When wickedness draws down our minds to die
And hatred seems to cloud the very sky
When we won’t look to see the geese fly by
When all we do is moan and weep and sigh
Then let’s remember all we have not lost;
Knot firm our souls till this dark grief has passed
Poems are shorter
Shorter than a novel is.
Still – no one reads them.
Except for the ones
Written inside Birthday cards.
And we remember
That poor lady of Shallot
And also repeat
Nursery rhymes and stories
For little children.
You see thy don’t know
It’s poetry,.Goood heavens.
That is not for me.
Mary was in the bijou teal colored kitchen of her detached house making a jam sponge pudding when the doorbell rang.She wiped her hands on her new purple trousers because she didn’t want to dirty the clean towel.She found Dr Rosa Benchez standing nervously outside shivering
Come in ,Mary cried.Would you like a cup of tea? You need to sit by the fire and get warmer
I’d love that, Rosa said politely
A few minutes later they were sitting looking out of the bay window watching a blackbird sitting on the fence eyed by a cat friend called Insolent Jones.
May I talk to you,Mary? I have got rather more agitated than ever before.I am wondering if I need counseling or maybe shooting,she joked.
OK,said Mary cautiously.Has anything unusual happened ?
Yes, my sister has had her driving license taken away because of some big panic attacks she had crossing the Humber Bridge.
She got out of the car and screamed,Help! That was dangerous with so much traffic
She is furious and says we live in a Nazi state and is writing to the Times.
Well, it can happen,Mary said,but when she has learned to deal with the attacks she can re-apply and get her license back.Simple things like not eating and being tired can bring that on so I have heard.And fear of fear,too.
As well as that,Rosa said,my sister in law has got a recurrence of cancer and is going onto some new drug-type chemo.My brother is very distressed and so is she as it was unexpected.
And my fiance Prof. Charlie Blogge has broken off our engagement with no reason.I can’t think of any at all.Shall I éver trust a new man?I guess I could marry a woman now!
He said I can keep the ring which is a blue sapphire ,supposedly, but when I had it valued they said I was mistaken and you can buy them on amazon for £57 and less.So she took off the ring and hurled it into Mary’s coal fire where it looked very nice as it got hotter and hotter glowing like a lighthouse off Portland Bill in a sea storm or a banger about to explode
Good grief, said Mary.No wonder you are agitated.We may have to phone Dave the bisexual paramedic available on the NHS 24 hours a day.Or we could have our hair permed instead.
Which of these events bothers you most,Rosa? She continued gently.
It is my own feelings that worry me most.I woke up feeling very sad and nervous and wonder if I am having a breakdown.Then I feel worse as I turn it over in my mind trying to decide what to do.Then I get up and get some food into me and think it all over again while drinking tea.
Well, you know it is normal to feel sad, anxious or distraught when bad things happen,Mary told her.
But most people look happy when I see them in the shops,Rosa shouted angrily
That is because being outside they put on a mask.They could be feeling worse than you.Anyway, why bother about that?We are all different.Some people think I am very calm but they don’t see me when I’m not
So what do you do? Rosa asked her nervously,twirling a golden ringlet around her finger as she watched her engagement ring melt in the fire.
I don’t do anything,Mary said.This is one of the fundamental errors in our society that action is needed for so many things and especially when we feel negative feelings.But it’s usually part of life.Things pass.
I pretend I have a big round box inside me and I let the anxiety live in there nice and cosy until my mind has absorbed and dealt with the pain.Once my box was quite small but it has grown bigger now and so it has room for mad or bad feelings.I do little tasks and listen to music.Then if I feel really bad I listen to Leonard Cohen and tell myself,he had it worse.But he made money out of it! Not that you can make money out of yours. though it’s worth musing about
Well,Rosa replied.Thank you,Mary.I am glad I am not the only one who feels so awful sometimes.I shall try to get a box like yours.
You are welcome,said Mary jovially.Come round on Sunday for tea.Emile is out but he loves to see you.
The women hugged cautiously and Rosa went out looking less cold and nervous as she bravely carried her box of troubles along with her though it was invisible to the people passing by
Finally, after you’ve taken the time you need to get a little perspective on your own writing, go back to your poem with your “editing hat” on. Because the creative act is generative and the act of editing is critical, it can help to break those two processes apart and tackle them one at a time. Edit carefully and without judging your own creativity. When critiquing your own writing, always strive to be the generous and sensitive editor that you would be for someone else.
Sometimes writing better poems isn’t a matter of learning more technique or doing more thinking. It’s a matter of NOT thinking. Dig deep to let your subconscious do some writing, and your poetry will grow.