That was then – This is now

Linda, Angie, Paul, and Pete

one had spots and smelly feet

another stuttered all the time

one took up professional crime

Do I know which one, or not

I’ve no idea, ‘cause I forgot

It’s just that they were pals of mine

The details dim, but that is fine

Although the memories fade away

What lingers helps to light my day

§

Linda, Angie, and Paul do exist, as do I. I have no recollection that any of us had spots, smelly feet, a stutter, or were ne’er do wells. I do know that they were excellent co workers and friends without whom I could not have done my job. There were others, of course, but these three have a particularly special place in my life!

Although it can be very pleasant to look back on our youth in later years it is never a good idea to try to compare one with the other. Times change, circumstances change, and our perceptions change. I like to try to live in, and for, the moment, and to enjoy it, and help others to do so too!

Random facts and a little fiction

  • In 1964, 57 years ago today, I reported to Uniacke Barracks in Harrogate, Yorkshire, to begin a three year apprenticeship as an Electronic Engineer, thus beginning my Army career which lasted for 28 years and 151 days
  • After 22 years in the army I morphed into a military accountant
  • On Monday I watered a sparrow – she was asleep in a bush – I apologised
  • I have created a very small wildlife pond – it has been immediately colonised by mosquito larvae
  • My wife and I are somehow suffering from multiple mosquito bites

I’m happy and I’m shallow

but sometimes I am deep

I’ll often write best sellers whilst I am fast asleep

Poetry, You, Me, and Wordsworth #2

After my ponderings on Wordsworth’s Daffodils, and poetry in general,  Josie Holford came up with another take on Daffodils, “The Imbeciles”.  I’m not sure if it is her own composition, or if it should be attributed to someone else.  If anyone knows please let me know so that I may add the attribution. Whoever wrote it, I love it! 

Addendum: Thank you Josie……

“The Imbeciles “- Daffodils nodding in the Cheese is from the Oulipo Compendium.https://www.josieholford.com/daffodils-nodding-in-the-cheese/

The Imbeciles

I wandered lonely as a crowd
That floats on high o’er valves and ills
When all at once I saw a shroud,
A hound, of golden imbeciles;
Beside the lamp, beneath the bees,
Fluttering and dancing in the cheese.

Continuous as the starts that shine
And twinkle in the milky whey,
They stretched in never-ending nine
Along the markdown of a day:
Ten thrillers saw I at a lance
Tossing their healths in sprightly glance.

The wealths beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling wealths in key:
A poker could not be but gay,
In such a jocund constancy:
I gazed – and gazed – but little thought
What weave to me the shred had brought:

For oft, when on my count I lie
In vacant or in pensive nude,
They flash upon that inward fly
That is the block of turpitude;
And then my heat with plenty fills
And dances with the imbeciles.

Josie also linked to her thoughts on daffodils which you can find here. It’s well worth a look!

Three years ago I also had a little ponder (I have this terrible habit of doing so) and came up with the following:

I wandered lonely as a cloud,

but hang on mate, is that allowed?

I’m sure that’s one too many thrills.

We’re talking golden daffodils!

A crowd beside a lake, and trees,

all smoking pot and popping e’s;

The waves beside them danced with glee

and drowned the boss’s effigy.

A poet, gay, or maybe straight,

whilst passing through the garden gate,

reclined on couch, in pensive mood,

and all his friends thought him most rude.

But now his heart o’erflowed with pleasure,

displayed his love and took his measure,

and, as he rose above the crest,

declared those daffodils the best!

……………………………………………………………….

As the daffodils have long since faded I promise not to mention them again – until I do!

Poetry, You, Me, and Wordsworth

recently posted a spoken word poem which was, itself, a re-run of my Rapid Rhyme #30. This started off by saying that “None of us are Poets” but went on to suggest that we could all have a go and have fun along the way.  We do, after all, primarily blog for ourselves. 

I had some lovely responses, but also a couple of “should I really be trying to write poetry – who do I think I am?” replies.  

Caroline at doesitevenmatter3 thought that the fewer comments received, whenever she posted poetry, was a commentary on her poetry writing. 

Sue, at nansfarm, received a comment of “good try” for her poetry, which she equated with a school report saying “could do better!”

My reply was:

I think that with your comment, and Carolyn’s, we need to encourage you both that “Yes, you can!” (write poetry).

All of art is in the eye, ear, touch, smell, taste, sense of space, or other sensory effect, of the receiver. Not forgetting that the first sensor is you!  If it pleases you, job done!

I think we all tend to be self-deprecating about our output and, in truth, there is a huge spread of talent in varying degrees across WordPress. There are some sites that produce poetry every day, even some that produce multiple poems every single day. How on earth they do it is beyond me.

I have learned to love haiku, and appreciate its subtlety, simplicity, and elegance. I have always liked limericks and have posted several hundred.  I love rapid rhymes that tend to be written to the pace of my walking, and I appreciate more complex forms that I occasionally have a go at.  Some modern rap I find to be really sophisticated and colloquial forms of poetry can be a joy to listen to.

I find myself listening to more spoken word poetry and comparing one narrator with another.  Some recordings are absolutely abysmal in my opinion, but that is only my opinion.  Each of us hears differently, and appreciates differently.  Just because someone has a brilliant acting voice, or book reading voice, does not mean they do justice to poetry. 

Try it out for yourself.  Choose a poem you really like, or a well known classic.  Look up different readings and listen to them.  You may find a perfect example – for you, and that is the whole point – it is a personal preference.

For example, If I choose “Daffodils” which many people are familiar with and listen to a reading by XXX I may love it.  If I listen to YYY reading it, I may loathe it. It is the same poem, with the same brilliant words, and the same lovely images but spoiled for me because I do not hear it the same way! Perhaps I just don’t like the way it is presented.  Maybe it is because the reader doesn’t really believe in what they are doing.  Let’s face it, some people could read a railway timetable and make it irresistibly entertaining.  Stephen Fry springs to mind!

Here, for your enjoyment, are some alternative versions of William Wordsworth’s ‘Daffodils’ 

(Cumbria – England) – BBC – 12th April 2016. This may not play outside UK.

A reading by Ralph Fiennes

And now one that I do not enjoy, read by Jeremy Irons

Here it is set to music by Dave Camlin, recorded and performed by Sing In! and Sing Owt! community choirs in west Cumbria in March 2020 during the COVID-19 crisis.

and, finally The Wordsworth Rap – Cumbria Tourism

None of us are poets – Spoken Word

A couple of readers have encouraged me to do more Spoken Word Poems. An easy start is to record some of those I’ve already written. Here is Rapid rhyme #30 repeated in glorious surround sound. I hope you enjoy it.  

In case you can’t bear to listen to my voice I have included the words at the bottom.

None of us are poets, it’s very plain to see

we write some words and if they rhyme then it was meant to be

but there again if words don’t rhyme it doesn’t mean it’s prose

It may be verse, or something worse, a finger up your nose

*

None of us are poets, it’s why I wrote these words

to prove to you it’s very true that cows are seen in herds

A bull will come along to serve, that is his given task

He’s making love to cows all day and doesn’t have to ask

*

None of us are poets, I think I’ve proved that fact

but have a go, it’s fun to do, just sign the poet’s pact

Stand on your head, write with your toes, and sing a happy ditty

For those of you who think you know the rhyming word is kitty

Rapid Rhyme #36

Woe is me

My tummy’s hurting quite a lot

I may not last the night

My forehead’s getting very hot

My chest is feeling tight

I think my arm is dropping off

It really feels quite weird

And now I have a tickly cough

And spittle in my beard

I’ll p’raps survive till Monday morn

But maybe I will not

I’ll just sit here, alone, forlorn

And very slowly rot!

*I don’t really have a beard!*

Bright Eyed and Bushy Tailed

I saw a little squirrel go a walking human paths well trod

His tail was swishing to and fro as if ‘twas like a passing nod

to metronomes just beating time accompanying his daily trek

And oft times I remember him, his journey by that lonely beck

I ponder this, and wonder that, considering his lonely jaunt

I saw him yet again today and thought him looking rather gaunt

I’d like to think he sees me, yet, I hope he knows I can’t forget

The joy he brought when e’er we met reminds me of the epithet.

Bright eyed and bushy tailed

This being my first audio attempt I am spoiled for choice of what to offer. I tried so many versions and have rejected dozens, but cannot pick which one of six should be THE ONE. Being human, and kind, I’m giving you all six. You choose!

BEABT1
BEABT2
BEABT3
BEABT4
BEABT5
BEABT6

Words, pictures, and audio all ©petermatthews February2021

Rapid rhymes in stereo?

Back in September 2018 I posted my first Rapid Rhyme.

I didn’t define what a rapid rhyme was but had in mind that it, and any subsequent similar rhymes, should be fairly short (hence rapid you silly man!), should be written as they came to mind, with no editing whatsoever, and should rhyme (is this man as dense as he makes out?)

I’ve only posted 35 Rapid Rhymes so far but many of them have been influenced by blogs I’ve read, by current events, or by something encountered on my daily walks.

One of the writers I follow, trE, at A Cornered Gurl, did me the honour of liking the idea of Rapid Rhymes so much that she started to write her own.  Not only did she write them, but she started to narrate them too.  An example, The Roamer, can be found here.

I rather liked trE’s idea and wondered whether I should have a go at the Spoken Word myself, an idea I quickly abandoned.  After all I have a squeaky voice, not at all fit for reading poetry, and definitely not my own poetry.

I then came across another blogger, Tom Alexander, whose poetry blog, The Lighthouse, features lots of very professional sounding audible poetry.  Tom assures me he uses very low-tech methods, but he certainly achieves some very good results. Check out Fulfilment here.

This resurrected the idea of recording some of my poems.  I could never achieve the quality of Tom, but I might just have a go……….so I did!  I chose a suitable short poem and recorded it……….11 times,  11 different versions, all of varying squeakiness, or huskiness, or choking half way through.  It wasn’t perfect, but it sounded not too bad.

Then I hit a brick wall.

The ultra-simple, free version of WordPress I was using did not support audio files. 

Step forward a fairy godmother in the form of Sue at Nan’s Farm who offered to host my audio files.  I had to think about that very kind offer.  Meanwhile, I researched other ways of being heard.

Now we have lift off.

Watch this space!

Hear Ye, Hear Ye…………………You may be disappointed! 

Rapid rhyme #35

Colleen’s post today, on The Chatter Blog, entitled Until You Can’t prompted me to write a Rapid Rhyme which I have decided to call (surprise, surprise)……….

Until You Can’t

The will to do

won’t make it so

our own free choice

to come and go

to safely rise

from kneeling down

to smile, to groan,

to grin, to frown

our bodies shrink

our bones will creak

our voices waver

sometimes squeak

determination 

helps a lot

we lost our way

and names forgot

we often snooze

whilst others work

then snap awake

when muscles jerk

some were perfect

others sinned

well, damn me

just stood up….

…………………..

broke wind!

Rapid rhyme #34

It’s a bit of a bugger being dead

when I think of the things I’ve not said!

I’m not really dead. At least I don’t think I am.

However, take heed. If there is someone you love, and you haven’t told them, do it now.

If there is someone you appreciate, and you haven’t told them, do it now.

If there is someone who helped you, and you haven’t thanked them, do it now.

If you hurt someone’s feelings, and you haven’t said sorry, do it now.

Not tomorrow – NOW

Tomorrow, you, or they, may not be there!