Thursday, 7 September 2017

Late Home

By the time I get home they’ll be sleeping,
I wonder what they are doing now.
They are laughing with their mum, getting bigger,
Giving those hugs that complete me somehow.

Maybe they’ll get upset because I’m not there
And didn’t give them a kiss goodnight.
Did they wait up for a little while?
Did they want Daddy to hold them tight?

I’m trying to show them right from wrong
But I think they teach me more.
If I was half the person they think I am
Then I could do anything, I’m sure.

My boy has a heart of gold
And the world should live in his mind.
My girl is fierce and wonderful
And thoughtful and naughty and kind.

He started school this week with his uniform,
How do I keep him small?
She was looking for bees and scraped her knees
But was brave after her fall.

I wasn’t there.
By the time I get home they’ll be sleeping

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Twisted Spire

If time can bend my shoulders
Each new second, piled up boulders,
That cast my body in a fire;
As a cruel and twisted spire.

When it breaks me to my knees
And I beg for mercy, 'please!'
It calls at me, 'You Liar!'
I am a cruel and twisted spire.

Upon others backs I ride,
I dare not stand alone - I hide.
My face wrinkled ill and dire.
I am a cruel and twisted spire.

Twisted Spire

Those moments that define us,
Shape us, move us and design us,
They mould us in the fire
I love you
You twisted spire

And those marks that shape our soul,
That break us down, but make us whole,
Those imperfections that conspire
To make you
You twisted spire

We have been cut to our core,
You rise, different from before,
More beautiful than prior
More than you
You twisted spire

Against providence you face
The scars of time you own, embrace
A strength that all admire.
I love you
You twisted spire

Friday, 9 June 2017

Painters and Poets

You dropped a picture onto the floor
That one you painted by the window -
I fell into it and into me.
Then I stood,
I stand.
Then I march.
For the painters and poets.

On your orders I stand.
I march.
The world is not fair so I march.
The painters and poets are with me and we sing;
For all that we are worth we sing.

I have cause - you gave me cause!
We grow together with the painters and poets
And we show what it could be.

We suffer as all people suffer
But you gave us strength enough to care;
To help.

At the river we gather and wash our hands.
We clean them of their shackles
And see each other for the first time.

You become me, my decisions, my thoughts and dreams.
I don't want to fight it.
I'm scared and you hold me
Without knowing the power that you have.

The painters and poets follow you,
Are protected by you.
But you don't say a word.

Oh for the painters and poets.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Lyrical Challenge

I've been doing a bit of thinking recently about the difference between lyricists and poets. I know there is a difference but I haven't quite found the right way to articulate it to myself. Those of you that have followed these blogs (thanks Mum) will know that I have been guilty in the past of being a little snobbish when it comes to poetry and certain writers. Well folks that has changed for 2017!

You see... I get moved by poetry. Moved in a way that is difficult to explain and all the more powerful because of that. I don't, however. get moved by music - I know, strange right? And it's not because I'm emotionally turned off or anything in fact I consider myself very much in touch with my emotions - yes I'm a crier!
 My wife can listen to a song and be taken somewhere that I've never been able to go. When Becky listens to the Beatles she is heartbroken, elated, aroused (probably) and in love all in one moment.

Historically, my thinking was that it can't be the lyric because they are just poor excuses for poems. Very often there are lazy or, even worse, forced rhymes that need to be manipulated in order to fit the structure. Lyrics fall in that space between a well structured poem and a free poem. Both are fantastic but I often found the middle ground a bit, well... how would one say it.... bleh!! (That's right in a post about the importance of words I'm using the word 'bleh'!) Or so I thought....

There is a raft of lyricists who don't even sit with musicians and they can create some of the greatest songs in the world. Songs that will cut people (like Becky) in half. The words must be important.

In times like this I like to set my brother (Chris) and sister (Shel) a challenge. Below is a poem/lyrics that I have just written. I'm asking them to make it into a song
a) because they are talented musicians
b) and most importantly, I like to publicly mention how cruel my little sister was for kicking me out of our band just because I hated singing in front of people and would get hideously drunk before our performances in front of 7 or 8 people.

Chris and Shel... enjoy (also anyone out there is blog world who fancies putting music to this feel free)

When I wake before the Sun
And feel you lying there
When shadows make your body
And the moonlight isn't fair.
I forgot to remember to forget you
Maybe I wish I had never met you.

For a moment I can see you
I breath in and you breath out
Then dawn, and you are gone again
And the World just turns about.
I forgot to remember to forget you
I'm not sure I really want to

Ghosts pass me throughout the day
It is they who see through me
I walk and walk without direction
In a mist I follow truly
I forgot to remember to forget you
Maybe I  need something to hold on to.

- Don't fuck with my lyrics (that means you Chris!)
- You can add a middle 8
- If you want 'I forgot to remember to forget you' to be a bridge then add a chorus
- 1 week to get the song finished


Monday, 5 December 2016

At the Point of Madness

At the point of madness,
Where people dare not tread,
I live, if just, to live with you
And those words we never said.

At the point of madness
My answers question me.
And all that has gone before
Coalesce in ruinous levity.

At the point of madness
I'm overwhelmed by thoughts
Of love and life and hope and loss;
Of everything and nought.

At the point of madness,
Where people dare not tread,
You waited so I could find you.
In the madness we were wed.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

They Matter to Me - Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Robert Browning 1812 - 1889 and Elizabeth Barrett Browning 1806-1861

I am, at present, suffering from a form of writer's block. I know what I want to say to my wife, but when I try to put pen to paper it becomes; at best cumbersome, at worst cliche and one dimensional. How can this be when I love her so much that I'm quite sure that she doesn't exist?
The premise of what I'm trying to write is that I don't love her because she is so beautiful, frightfully intelligent, hysterically funny, kind, etc etc she is all of those things and much more... but I love her because I love her - even if she was none of those things..... I know what you are thinking, 'Peter it's time to give up poetry!' And you may be right!

I am,obviously, embarrassed that I can't find the perfect words to tell Becky what I feel. And I make terrible excuses to myself like 'this is the plight of the poet though Peter. Poets are searching for the perfect way to say something and are never satisfied.' Bollocks! Can you imagine being Shakespeare and not being satisfied with Sonnet 18? I bet the moment he finished it, he couldn't wait for Anne to read it - knowing full well it was perfection, knowing that every single letter was exactly what he wanted to say.

This leads me to my favourite couple of all time.... and a lesson in how to put your feelings on paper.

For those who don't know, Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning were both successful poets in their own right before they met. The year 1845 had barely begun when Robert first seen Elizabeth's poems and without ever having met he knew that he loved her completely, In fact on 10th January 1845 he wrote the worlds greatest love letter...
January 10th, 1845
New Cross, Hatcham, Surrey

I love your verses with all my heart, dear Miss Barrett,--and this is no off-hand complimentary letter that I shall write,--whatever else, no prompt matter-of-course recognition of your genius and there a graceful and natural end of the thing: since the day last week when I first read your poems, I quite laugh to remember how I have been turning again in my mind what I should be able to tell you of their effect upon me--for in the first flush of delight I thought I would this once get out of my habit of purely passive enjoyment, when I do really enjoy, and thoroughly justify my admiration--perhaps even, as a loyal fellow-craftsman should, try and find fault and do you some little good to be proud of hereafter!--but nothing comes of it all--so into me has it gone, and part of me has it become, this great living poetry of yours, not a flower of which but took root and grew.........
I do, as I say, love these Books with all my heart-- and I love you too: do you know I was once seeing you? Mr. Kenyon said to me one morning "would you like to see Miss Barrett?"--then he went to announce me,--then he returned... you were too unwell -- and now it is years ago--and I feel as at some untoward passage in my travels--as if I had been close, so close, to some world's-wonder in chapel on crypt,... only a screen to push and I might have entered -- but there was some slight... so it now seems... slight and just-sufficient bar to admission, and the half-opened door shut, and I went home my thousands of miles, and the sight was never to be!

Well, these Poems were to be--and this true thankful joy and pride with which I feel myself. Yours ever faithfully Robert Browning

Yes, they lived happily ever after - of course they did! They are the royal couple of poetry because, through their continued writing, they were the closest we've got to documenting true love!
As an aside - after the initial letter Robert struggled with the same message as me. He would tell Elizabeth that he loved her from his core, not for her attributes or genius etc... Elizabeth said it herself;

If thou must love me, let it be for nought 
Except for love's sake only. Do not say 
I love her for her smile ... her look ... her way 
Of speaking gently, ... for a trick of thought 
That falls in well with mine, and certes brought 
A sense of pleasant ease on such a day'— 
For these things in themselves, Belov├Ęd, may 
Be changed, or change for thee,—and love, so wrought, 
May be unwrought so. Neither love me for 
Thine own dear pity's wiping my cheeks dry,— 
A creature might forget to weep, who bore 
Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby! 
But love me for love's sake, that evermore 
Thou may'st love on, through love's eternity.

Robert got it right in the end.... maybe there is hope for me yet.
They matter to me because they matter to all of us. They say what we haven't the talent to say, but have the depth of emotion to feel.

Monday, 22 August 2016

They Matter to Me - Arthur Conan Doyle

Arthur Conan Doyle (1859 -1930)

'Imagine writing the most famous character in literary history. What a burden it must be. What a sad state of affairs when people don't give your other work the time of day and you are trapped in this character - who increasingly means less to you and more to others. Of course I will read Conan Doyle's other works and rejoice in its variety and the freedom that it gave him.' - was what I should have said when my brother asked me; 'Have you ever read any Conan Doyle that isn't Sherlock Holmes?'

What I actually said was, 'why would I bother reading anything other than his masterpiece, what a fucking waste of time. Come on Chris (brother's name) you are better than this.'

Unbeknowest to me my brother had bought me a bunch of Conan Doyle books for my birthday and was going to give them to me the following week.
This came to light a week or so after my birthday when he apologised for my late gift as he 'had bought some Conan Doyle books but gave them to a charity shop after our conversation.'  - I think we can all agree that he is a dick?!
If you happen to be one of my usual (nearly) 10s of readers you will note that I have form in offending people when it comes to literature. But my brother got me back. He didn't mention to anyone what had happened until Christmas day when he relayed the story to the entire family and as everyone shook their heads at me he went out to the car and produced the offending books. He had been to the charity shop and re-bought the exact same books for me - twice! My embarrassment seems to have made the double purchase well worth the money.

Since I read The Speckled Band in year 8 English I have been a fan of Sherlock Holmes. And there in lies the problem - I was a fan of Sherlock Holmes, not Arthur Conan Doyle. I gave no credit to the wonderful mind that created him, instead I fantasised about becoming him. Of course I did, we all do. There is a reason why he is the most loved character in all of literature. Sherlock Holmes is the part of us that sees the world differently and allows us to scoff at the rest and their blinded view. Sherlock Holmes is so important he has become real - a celebrity, and therefore we pour affection onto him instead of where it belongs.

Plagued with guilt from my brother's present, I read The Lost World. And wouldn't you know it.... I really enjoyed it! (He's still a dick)

Hmmmm.... maybe it was Conan Doyle that I liked after all. I re read the collection of Holmes stories and found that I love how Conan Doyle writes. The elegance of his sentences, the depth of the language he uses and plots that he can narrate are nothing short of incredible. I can't begin to imagine what the world would have been like if the idea of Sherlock Holmes had fallen into other hands.... the wrong hands!

If you are interested in fiction then I implore you to read as much Conan Doyle as you can. Let Sherlock become a part of your life and let Conan Doyle become the orator of it.

Arthur Conan Doyle matters to us all - perhaps we don't give him the credit for it.

Side note
Oh how I wish he could have ended it all with The Final Problem. Every word contained within the adventures, up until this point, is perfect. Some of the magic fades in the collection The Return of Sherlock Holmes as you can almost feel Conan Doyle's lament in writing it.