ALCHEMISTS OF WORD

I thought I’d put a face to the name, about 3 yr ago, both kids now as tall as me.

I hope as you read this, the moment finds you well.

Over the last few weeks there have been several enjoyable discussions both here on ‘Voices’ and also ‘The Go Dog Go Cafe’. Topics have ranged from song lyrics to what defines poetry and the use of the term Poet. It is this last subject ‘ can we call ourselves poets’ that has relevance to this post.

I’ve purchased two embossed leather journals, one is to keep my own work in, the other called ‘Alchemists of Word’ I’m slowly filling with my personal favourite poems, everything from Blake to Baudelaire. As I was doing this I suddenly realised that the poetry books I read the most are anthologies of various different poets. I have in my collection ‘Poet specific’ books ‘the complete works of Byron’ for example but rarely if ever have I come across a famous or celebrated published poet whose work I’ve enjoyed completely. So far, just to illustrate the point I have chosen 2 of Byron’s, 3 of Thomas’s, 3 from Wordsworth etc.

So what’s the point ? Well this is in contrast to the work of many of my fellow poets here in our online poetry circle. I can say with complete honesty that I derive as much pleasure from reading their/your verse as I do from published poets and, more to the point, consistently, not just odd piece.

I’ve stated my opinions and beliefs many times and shall refrain from acting like a ‘stuck record’ on this occasion. Several Poets have graciously allowed me to use their Art, so I have selected some of my favourite lines and poems in the hope you’ll understand and agree with my bold statement. There are so many poets out there that I’ve limited myself to those I interact with most . The comment I make after each one is my personal opinion, nothing more nothing less. I do not see myself as an academic or self-styled Poetry expert, I seek neither to teach nor preach . I am just a bloke who’s loves creative writing and though my praise may seem both excessive and flowery, the reality is simply that’s how I rock and anything I say is the absolute truth.

( You should hear me trying to describe to the Chef a dish no longer on his menu ” a jus of such delicate delight it could only have been a stock made from orphan tears and flavoured by the scent of rose shaken from a Butterfly’s wing !”……………… Errr, that’ll be the gravy pal !)

So without further waffle, may I present the Art of Lynn Burton – Colorfulpen.

Wash It All Away

As the ink runs dry
a steady plunk, plunk, plunk
pulls me from the drought
in my head.
The kitchen faucet drips.
I thank your carelessness upon leaving,
elated even as I let it drip
a few more times – plunk, plunk, plunk.
I turn it off, overwhelmed
by the flood of joy
that washes
over me in a steady stream.
The words start to filter through.
A storm suddenly brews
on the tail end of a shadow dance
between the wind and trees.
I start to write
while listening to music
but certain songs only remind me of you;
headphones halfway to my ears, I stop.
I don’t want to be reminded.
The rain…
The steady, comforting rain drowns you out.

The scene setting in this piece is tremendous and reminds me of a film Noir . The clever use of detail, the way ‘he’ has left the tap dripping enabling the subject to symbolically turn off, briefly, thoughts about his leaving. However the conflicting emotions of this kind of situation are further explored when an actual storm (returning doubts, confusion) arrive. Music designed to drown out the hurt, in a cruel twist of fate, happen to be songs they shared. Notice the headphones are ‘halfway’ to the ears suggesting that she’s not completely content he’s gone but knows it’s for the best. Finally, she gets a break and the rain’s hypnotic rhythm allows her to get absorbed in her writing.

Lynn enjoys strict form and challenges and I love her amazing word painting and unique, beautiful and magical descriptive phrases.

 

The Art of Diana – The Wandering Armadillo

Summer

come lay by me
withered grass bed at our backs
blue sky under our feet
grab me, when I say I’m falling ….
and we’ll laugh like children
for I meant “for you”
and you thought
“into the blue”

on this late August eve
while the  lazy bumble bees hover nearby
we listen to the frolic of breezes
playing leaf rustle games,
and feast on the plump blackberries
staining lips and fingertips

and
I am heavy with the season
heat, and longing

I’m new to Diana’s Art but her words grabbed my attention immediately. Diana has the ability to convey her word Art with the lightest touch. It is the difference between rainfall and snowfall, both have great impact yet achieve by different methods.

In this piece, the first section sets the scene, two people relaxing in the sun. But take another read and notice the first line ‘come lay with me’, straight away I think “one of them at least has strong feelings. This is then confirmed in the most personal and endearing way when he thought she’d said ‘falling into the blue’. Laughing like children suggests, along with ‘into the blue’ a nervousness, insecurity perhaps because they’re two close platonic friends suddenly feeling more for one another. To me this is also portrayed in the second section. This is full of simple yet incredibly effective imagery. The adoption of child like traits such as getting covered in ‘plump’ blackberry juice, the frolic of breezes and rustle games make this a highly erotic verse. I’m left wondering is it the breeze that’s frolicking and what exactly is a leaf rustle game ?

Reading too much into it, not according to the last line.

I love Diana’s effortless prose, the way she somehow sprinkles words of beauty and creates a piece of Art of such depth.

 

The Art of Roland – Roland’s Ragbag

Revelations

I’m reluctant to reveal
The way that I feel
It’s not a big deal
Less said, soonest heal.
NO …
Revelations are not for me,
I’m a secretive person, you see.
And I of course know
That you reap what you sow.
So for now I’m a sceptic,
More than a little dyspeptic.
It may be divisive to say so,
But I just don’t like hubris or ego.
You can say that I’m bitter
‘Cos I’m not a transmitter.
Not allowing myself to be smart
I bury my sins in my heart.
That’s the best place for litter,
Not on Facebook or Twitter!

Roland and I are ‘Tykes’ . A Tyke is nickname for a Yorkshireman. So there are some similarities in childhood experiences that are derived from spending our formative years in that northern land. Roland has considerable knowledge of the poetic arts, I’ve a feeling he’d disagree with this so I’ll add in comparison to me. He can write free form or strict form, in any style, producing pieces both erudite and beautiful with ease. The above poem is typical of the style of his I enjoy the most . I call it ‘Northern style’, a purely personal and made-up title that refers to the humorous, clever, observational verse often penned by poets from the north of England. Such poems often contain gritty political or social commentary .

In this piece, there is a very descriptive personal voice describing himself, almost self-deprecating. Notice the simple rhyme scheme which effectively drives the poem along at the same time creating a conversational feel both typical of the style. I love the last bit making reference to social media and it’s effect on society.

I would love to hear this recited in a dour Yorkshire regional accent.

 

 

The Art of Davy – Inside the mind of DavyD

dawn of the rulesmith

hands wring. there is
no sound of bells
only the swish of red pens
scouring for rogue syllable.

can a flame be forced from a candle ?

can emotion be measured in a breath ?

The answer does not lie
amongst academic musings
but in a heart, daring to journey
and connect with it’s soul.

Davy, also from the north of England, this time Cumbria lives and breathes poetry. He is very active in the Go Dog Go Café, on his own site and every Friday on a local radio show. Davy is master of the Haiku, though traditionalists would no doubt argue the finer points of his pieces are missing, if it’s 3 lines and 17 syllables of beautiful, enigmatic prose ? Yep, Davy writes Haiku.

He also writes intriguing free form prose and it’s an example of this I’ve chosen. The above is related to question of free/strict form, what is a poet and poetry/academia. Can emotion be measured in a breath ? No, emotion can’t be measured, can a flame be forced from a candle ? No, but it can be snuffed out. This short piece, under a veneer of beautiful prose demands thought, leaving us in no doubt poetry is Art from the heart not algebra.

I just want to mention Charlie – Charliesays

Charlie is away and I needed his permission to use his Art. But he writes unique, powerful free form that reads like a runaway train. His beautiful prose is accented by repeated word motifs, tempo changes, sudden twists and compelling themes.

I hope he’s back writing soon.

Thank you.

17 thoughts on “ALCHEMISTS OF WORD

  1. Nigel I really liked the honesty & the earnestness that you exhibited in your post thanks for sharing a lovely post. You have a lovely family, may you all be blessed with eternal bliss & happiness 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. First, I just want to say I love that photo. What a good looking group! Second, thank you, Nigel, for your constant encouragement, kindness, and thoughtful insight regarding my poetry. It means a great deal. Reading your poetry is the light of my day. I enjoyed all of the pieces you shared here. I’m thrilled to be among some really great talent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Lynn, we seem to be very similar souls and everything I’ve said is 100% true. I wanted to give our community some confidence, inspiration and the kudos it deserves . We are poets in every sense of the word . I love Keats, Shelley and Byron but boy did they write some crap ! hee hee.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No doubt of how genuine you are, it’s refreshing and much appreciated. I’m thankful to have connected with such a like-minded soul. You bring something really special to the community, Nigel.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Now that’s a lovely family Nigel! So nice to meet you officially like this.

    And as for the article, I’m overwhelmed and grateful for your kindness. This is a first for me, ever, so my head is spinning and at the same time I’m ever so grateful. In your kindness just know, that if my blog was to end tomorrow it all would have been worth it. I’m grinning from ear to ear
    😌

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nigel, what a wonderful and thought provoking post and I am honoured to be used as an example with so many excellent poets to choose from. I am in agreement with you. I regularly buy poetry books and poetry collections but find many equal if not better poetry within this poetry circle. I include your poetry in this. I have had more pleasure from your sonnets than any of old Will’s 154 and some of your comedic poetry is on a par with many more famous poets. I think we should get an old trawler and all start a pirate poetry station. Thanks again for the mention and the excellent post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m so pleased by your comment Davy, it was really your post on GDG that prompted the piece. I just wanted to inspire and encourage our community, to say you may not be published but you are a poet . Lynn and Diana have just written pieces I feel up their game even more. It’s a shame Charlie was away, he’s a rare talent also.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I will have a look at their sites Nigel. I think publishing poetry books may becoming a thing of the past with social media. There are some great poets around who the publishing houses would never touch.

        Liked by 1 person

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