I don’t know why I’m posting these really. Certainly not because I claim any merit for them. Still, as with NaPoWriMo, the exercise of writing to a time limit is quite interesting, I think. The need to get something written makes you work with material that, rightly or not, you would normally have rejected out of hand. And the poems have a habit of wriggling away from you in the process of being written.
Writing poetry is always a kind of negotiation – between what you intended to write about, what you can get to work as poetry, and what emerges in the process of writing. Speed-writing just exaggerates that process and leaves it undigested on the page.
It doesn’t help that I’m out of practice. I’m sure if wrote a quick sonnet every day for a fortnight they’d start getting a bit slicker. This one took me 25 minutes. I made a point of doing it in (almost entirely) proper IP this time.
Somewhere a man is lying on a bank
of grass, watching the swallows overhead.
All he can see is blue; the green and dank
entangled grass and thistles round his head
cannot impinge upon his dreams of flight.
He thinks of nothing, but simply follows
the swoop and flicker, finds himself as light
and dancing as the flightpaths of the swallows.
It tempts, that casual riding of the air,
it seems to hint at better ways of being;
we want to know that simple empty grace.
But still, remember if you stop and stare;
to see just one thing is to be unseeing.
We need to feel the thistles at our face.