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

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Idle holiday thoughts

The pool was more or less a bagatelle
Despite its pumps and pipes and ad-hoc stock
A cheapjack blue within a rough stone shell
Shabby costume jewel of Languedoc.

Ten metres long, a mere half-dozen strokes
Of breathy crawl to carve a hand-strewn wake
Each length an overtaken drain evokes
The body’s needs, imagination’s brake.

But pools – all pools – enclose an inner space
That holds the swimmer like an ambered fly.
Seen from within the water’s silvered face
Casts back a diamond’s faceted reply.

A gesture from a bubble-beaded hand
Reaching to launch more bubbles from below
As active forms from this unlikely band
Of prism-managed light in cut glass show.

Between these metal plated surfaces
The inner pool takes gravity head on
Suspends the swimmer in near weightlessness
The hinted ecstasy of mass foregone.


The Crow said...

A paen to the joys of the pool! I especially like the imagery from this passage: "A gesture from a bubble-beaded hand
Reaching to launch more bubbles from below..."

"A cheapjack blue..."; "holds the swimmer like an ambered fly," all beautifully turned phrases that linger on in the mind, spiraling off into other images, other poems--nascent, budding, ultimately withering.

You are a natural at this, I think, Friend BB.

Barrett Bonden said...

I appreciate your response - any response. However there's a certain amount of irony in your last sentence. If I'm a natural then it's something born out of long, long periods spent looking off into nowhere, conscious of the sweat running down my back, aware that the cupboard is bare and may be bare for hours and/or days to come, being dragged back to a line I thought was OK and finding it wretched, wondering where it will all end, etc, etc - in fact as natural as natural childbirth. However it's encouraging to receive a reaction that quotes my own stuff. Quite flattering, really. And from a true big-game hunter.

The Crow said...

Friend, I didn't say, nor do I think, that what you do is necessarily easy, simply because you have a natural talent for putting together just the right words. What you do is like the sculptor who takes a block of stone or wood or clay and works steadily, consistently and -- yes, often bruised or bloodied by the process -- to fashion a fine work of art.

There is something in you, RR -- like Lucy's and Marja Leena's eye with their cameras -- that subconsciously envisions the end 'product' when confronted with the jumble of thoughts and feelings that is the raw material of poetry, and turns all of that into something beautiful...maybe in spite of yourself, but there it is, for all of us to see and enjoy.

I don't have Joe's learned, well-read appreciation of poetry and all its nuances, forms, et cetera. What I do have is a sensitive heart that is affected by what others say in their chosen art forms. I may not understand why a piece affects me the way it will, but not knowing the whys and wherefores does not lessen the experience for me, nor devalue what I perceive as beautiful. And sometimes I gush, when a more sober personality might say, conservatively, "Well done, old boy; well done." Well, hogwash with all of that!

Would you feel better if I just leave a stone?

Barrett Bonden said...

Oh no, not a stone. I've always worried about that practice, perhaps because at an impressionable age I read a short story which climaxed when the central character "passed a stone". The associations are horrifying.

I apologise for my carelessness. I should in fact have unequivocally relished what you were saying since - I assume, I hope - you were suggesting I'd managed to keep the sweaty blankness of the writing process out of the poem. For which many thanks. I loved your sign-off in which you simulated Brit talk. In fact you don't gush, you articulate enthusiasm - quite a different matter. No stones, now.

The Crow said...

I saw nary a drop of sweaty blankness in your poem. I saw a man who enjoys swimming for a myriad reasons, not just as exercise or for keeping his body cool. I saw a man who lived as one with the water, ever mindful of his limitations and the dangers inherent, but who, nonetheless, was having a helluva good time. I saw that, and felt it through your poem. Precisely what poetry is supposed to do, in my book.

It works well, Friend.


Lucy said...

Isn't Crow lovely!

I've often felt I wanted to write about being in a swimming pool, but haven't had the first idea how to approach the subject, this hits the spot for me too. I specially like:

But pools – all pools – enclose an inner space
That holds the swimmer like an ambered fly.
Seen from within the water’s silvered face
Casts back a diamond’s faceted reply.

I like the complementary colour of amber with the blue pool. In fact I just like this altogether...

Barrett Bonden said...

The Crow/Lucy: Omigosh. I'm not sure I can handle this. Say I'm weary, say I'm sad, say that health and wealth have missed me, If you want a reason, add... Humble thanks anyway

The Crow said...

"I'm not sure I can handle this."

Sure you can, Big Boy!