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

An Oral, Aural, Adventitious Allegory

This week’s #writephoto is

Steps – Image by Jemima Pet

The Steps of Life

(I was intending to add an audio file, but WordPress doesn’t want to play today so I’ll try later — AND HERE IT IS!)

Reflecting on the steps of life

and bridges crossed 

and all the strife

I find my thoughts are narrowed down 

to ponder why the heavenly crown 

which, meant to rest on saintly head 

came to rest, alas, instead

imperfect, soiled, and even cursed

on Satan’s brow

.

As I cross the ancient way

a mere eight steps

at break of day

I wander, wondering, what to do

I think, perhaps, that you do too

Why be concerned? Why take this stance?

Pause awhile and take a chance

It matters not the bubble’s burst

What say you now?

.

So carry on, increase the pace

traverse the void

and boldly face

whatever life can send your way

no matter what your foes may say

you’ll surely triumph o’er life’s ills

you’ll use your guile and all your skills

to salve the hurt and quench the thirst

This is my vow

A to Z of Nonsense

Arbitrary avenues, bellicose bends

Cantilevered caverns, dangerous dens

Every single episode could easily expose

Fancy if you will and gather all the goes

Hurry to the harbour, investigate the Ids

Jump every jerrycan kissing all the kids

Leap over lanterns, many then some more

Nicking all the neaps and offering an oar

Picking up some peppers, quacking in a queue

Running rings around us stirring up the stew

Taking turns to tamper, urging we undock

Voting for the vampires and cooking with a wok

Exiting excitingly yawning yet again

Zeds and zoos and zany clues adds zest we can’t explain

Thin Skin – A linked limerick

Such a marvellous thing is my skin

It helps keep my blood and guts in

It keeps the rain out

But now there’s no doubt

It is getting increasingly thin


Maybe I’ve just turned a page

It’s a battle my body must wage

I develop strange hues

And so easily bruise

It’s something to do with my age

Now I’ve started you may not be able to stop me!

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!