Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Friday, 29 May 2009

A sense of touch

Rock climbing
Let you and I decode this wall of Braille
Which hides its clues in its rugosity
A ciphered invitation to prevail
Against the sullen pull of gravity.

Probe fingers test the nature of the holds
From edges that release a grateful bite
To hanging shallow spoons on polished folds
Where faith and friction are the keys to height.

Below, those self-same holds now yield to feet,
A changing notion of security,
From hands that pull to legs that, driving, beat
The weighty torso’s dead proclivity.

The rope’s symbolic link from waist to soul,
A nylon thread of voice that simply tells
Of sharing, unity and safe control,
Hangs motionless above the bedlike fells.

Now - on this barer face - the mind reacts
To heightened thoughts of flight and rustling air,
While scanty touch of hand and feet distracts
The will from this, our self-inflicted dare.

But here’s a move that cannot be reversed
The crux that separates two points in time
I take the step that leaves the past dispersed
Embrace the new and justify the climb.

NOTE Amateurish and, even sadder, obvious. But then I was a fearful and incompetent climber too. The aim is to move on to freer, idiomatic, even slangy verse which does not rhyme. The problem then will be to distinguish between my prose and my verse.

(left) What happened next?

Downey Engineering of Pontrilas say the prototype of this revolutionary device will cost £20. However, we're shortly off on holiday so the R&D phase is some weeks hence.


marja-leena said...

I answer to that question, you decided on the new paint colour, the blue one perhaps.

Bon voyage, happy holiday!

herhimnbryn said...

Re the paintwork.................
You decided that 'Ladies in Lavender' was just so NOT your colour?

Barrett Bonden said...

M-L/HHB: A trick question. The answer's nothing. However, it will happen while we are on holiday - kitchen, utility room, downstairs loo. Neither Mrs BB nor I are any good at choosing colours; left to our own devices we default to pale sage green. Luckily we had an artist staying with us for the Hay Festival and she painted three of the squares from samples we'd haphazardly bought - all mushroom- related, all far too dark. She recommended the light one, Pale Damask. Another intellectual crisis surmounted.

Plutarch said...

You, despite all your misgivings and doubts, have written what is unmistakeably a poem, and a good poem. In particular the last three stanzas are admirable in the sense that they should be admired. You have chosen a subject close to your heart and one which you understand; and you have communicated your feelings about it in a style which is entirely your own.

Barrett Bonden said...

Plutarch: I appreciate what you say, and needed it. I was depressed by the gap between what I'd said and what I'd wanted to say. But it's a subject I can return to - and must. Thanks.

Sir Hugh said...

I have rock climbed quite a lot and thought the poem captured the spirit of this sport which usually confounds the non particpator. The poem perhaps has more chance of conveying the motivation of the climber to those uninitiated than prose or verbal explanation.

An element not included in the poem is the often egotistical delight in achieving something harder than one's companions have.

Barrett Bonden said...

Sir Hugh: Perhaps because that latter experience rarely happened to me.

Dissatisfied with the above I am writing another on "Why climb?". It will be too long to post so I'll email it for scrutiny.

Lucy said...

I love that poem, I think it's your best, and I do like your style very much, it's dry and ironic and self-deprecating, but there's some great images in that too, makes me feel all tense!

I'd like to have had a job thinking up the names for paint colours, poring over swatches and getting creative...

Barrett Bonden said...

Lucy: Thanks for that. Especially "tense". I was a lousy climber and that adjective describes my state of mind during most climbs.

As to colour swatches, etc, there's an open blog waiting...