Friday, December 24, 2010

A Christmas Ode from Ross

'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

And the children lay sleeping, all tucked up in their beds,

Dreams of their Christmas day loot, dancing through their fat little heads.

Mum and Dad sat up worrying, having been desperate all day,

'Cos to pay for their Christmas, a credit card bill they'd now have to pay.

It seemed a good idea at the time, all the food and presents they'd bought,

But when the bailiff comes calling, it's off to the bankruptcy court.

Upon the night breeze, from a long way away,

Hark - hear the sounds, it's the bells of a sleigh.

Gasping with amazement, everyone rushed out into the cold

And to their surprise, Santa showered them with gold.

When I say gold, I'm afraid that I really mean lead,

You see old Santa's gone mad, gone quite queer in the head.

The sleigh flew on by, the reindeer all puffed and tiring

While Santa leaned out, with a machine gun a-firing.

"Take that ya greedy bastards", he was heard to scream out,

And laughed at the corpses, lying there all mangled about.

But alas for poor Santa, he then slipped in the dark,

For as usual he was drunk - yes as pissed as a fart.

He fell down toward the roof, down through the chimney he fell,

Into a fireplace blazing bright, like the flames down in hell.

His whisky laden breath, the sparks did then ignite,

And with a roar he exploded, the flames lighting up the dark night.

So that's the end of my tale, my sad story's been told,

And it's a sign of the times, that Santa's paranoia took hold.

I had a moral to relate, when I began this grand fable,

But I forget what it was, so I'll just say ..........

Have a Merry


and a Happy New Year!!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

There was a young addict...

There was a young addict called Haddock
Who went to get high in the attic
But the hit that he got
Was a hot heroin shot
And now Haddock the addict has had it.

(it sounds better than it looks)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The science of the pool table

National Science Week was back in August. As part of this, submissions had been called for a poetry anthology with the theme of science. The organisers showed distinct taste and wisdom in ignoring all three of my submitted poems as they were utter rubbish. However I found myself doing part of the hosting duties for a function in Canberra as part of the national launch of the resulting three chapbooks. I also found myself down as one of the readers as part of the 'entertainment' for the evening.

Needing something appropriate for the theme and in an attempt to be 'entertaining', I penned the following in a few minutes the day before. It seemed to go over fairly well.

The Science of the Pool Table

The bar, it had fallen silent
Wagers, there were a stack
Only two balls upon the table
The white cue ball and the black

I picked up my pool cue
As the butt drooped from my lip
And while I stared down at the felt
I asked 'anyone got a tip?'

Izzy Newton on his bar stool
Rubbed his head the apple had swollen
Downed the last of his schooner
And said 'Remember my laws of motion.

For every action that occurs
There is an equal reaction
So to drop the black into the pocket
The right force will make it happen.'

Pythagoras, he wasn't having that:
'He has to know how far to hit 'em
And for him to work that out
He needs my bloody theorem.'

So I calculated all the angles
And gave the ball a weighted smack
But instead of winning the game
I fouled the white in off the black.

My opponent Einstein he took my money
and declared in tone so negative
'Don't worry about losing again my friend,
Cos everything is relative.'

Sunday, June 6, 2010

How the poet needs to observe

The origins of this post are in another of my blogs, Words by Ross:

I have not posted in here for some time now. In part this is because my own poetry writing has lagged somewhat of late with other things going on, not least of which being a return to having a 'real' job.

One of the advantages of my new job at the Belconnen Arts Centre is being able to see and interact with artists of different types. The Centre's Director actually introduced me to one painter who is also a volunteer at the Centre, as having an arts practice of my own as a writer. I have to admit to being somewhat embarrassed by that description as I do not consider myself an 'artist' as such. I am nowhere near being at that level.

The Centre currently has an exhibition entitled Earth Connections, as a celebration of Earth Day. One of the exhibits is a an electronic piece, a looping slide-show of images of a river. I was able to speak to the artist, Karen Williams yesterday. She explained that the images all came from one small stretch of the Molonglo River. As we talked, I began seeing things in what she was showing me. While still images, they were all of movement, either water in movement or reeds flattened by flood waters. Images of things started to appear to me as they had appeared to the artist. This wavering line of froth and bubbles looks somewhat like the head and neck of a swan. That particular bubble in the midst of a ripple is an eye peeking out at you.

As we spoke, I was struck by the fact that as a kid I used to look at things and see images within them, such as faces in whorls on a piece of polished wood. As an older adult, I seemed to have lost that form of observation. It was a salutary reminder that as a writer, I need to look not just at the immediate surface but what is within that surface or below it and what occupies negative space around an object. That form of looking at things then informs, influences and inspires.

As an aspiring poet, I am reminded that to create poetry, I need to look deeply, to see things that may lie beneath the surface. I like to think that I did that to a degree with my poem, Earth Beat. I now want to go out with my camera and journal, photographing, writing, observing and thinking, all to see what is beneath the surface of things around me, using this to inspire more verse.

Monday, April 5, 2010

I am in love

I have fallen in love - with Emily Dickinson's poetry. I keep coming across lines in her work that resonate so strongly.

This is my letter to the world
that never wrote to me

Such heart-aching loneliness echoes through those words. The words of someone lonely, isolated. That is probably why I feel such a closeness to her work. Dickinson eventually became an recluse. I have felt like that all too often, wishing the whole world would just leave me the hell alone.

While I have a number of her poems in anthologies and some that were available off the Internet, I decided to investigate an anthology of her poems. I found one earlier today - selected poems. It seemed to be quite an accessible work, roughly comparable to Sylvia Plath's collected works in the same series by that particular publisher. Then I saw her collected works - about three times the size. I had not realised how prolific she was, and by her death, none it published.

That ginormous anthology is too much for me. For now I think that I shall continue to enjoy and study the few that I already have.

Those two lines would also make a beaut intro to a novel.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

tanka - some observations

While I have not posted here in quite some time, I have still been exploring poetry. Admittedly not as much as I might like but between having a life (of sorts), building my freelance portfolio, taking on editing work and pursing matters for several organisations I am heavily involved with, that has left me not that much time. And of course, the world comes to a stand-still on Thursdays evenings for me to watch Law & Order: SVU.

I recently submitted some tanka to the tanka journal, Eucalyptus. These were rejected but I was given some advice on why they failed to capture the editors attention, along with some suggested reading. Like a good little swot, I have been doing some of that reading and have come to an important realisation.

The tanka that I submitted were little more than observing and telling, rather than drawing a reader in by their emotions. Intellectually I knew that this needed to be done, but utterly failed to do so.

I was also fixating on the strict technical form of 5-7-5-7-7 syllable counts per line respectively. But I now realise there was a flaw to my approach. That structure reflected the original Japanese structural approach. But within the original Japanese, this structure also reflected the structure of the language itself that significantly differs from English. The individual Japanese sound units tend to be short and of equal length. That is not the case with English which has far greater use of polysyllabic words, varying length of syllables, with both stressed and unstressed syllables. Again, intellectually I knew this but yet again, I failed to appreciate the significance of that point.

As English has a significantly different structure to Japanese, it becomes decidedly difficult to strictly emulate a structure that reflects a language whose sound units are so different. For that reason, to obtain the same poetic effect as intended with tanka, we need to relax inhibitions on going outside of that strict regime of 5-7-5-7-7.

What I had done was to slip quietly back into my left-brain, anal-retentive, analytical mode. Of course, being a banker-cum-accountant-cum-economic-statistician, that is not entirely unexpected. Yet it is poetry that has helped me not only realise the limitations of that mind-set, but helped me to develop much more abstract thinking than in the past. Those left-brain shackles are still there, although somewhat more rubbery than in the past.

I shall have to study these matters further and start experimenting more. But, alas, for now I had best get to work on an editing job I want to get finished.