Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My Very Own Sestina

Well, it took longer to create than a haiku would have taken, and it covers more ground, with many more words. 

A fortnight of my life went into the writing of this complex poetic form. The sestina certainly isn't for cowards! It's a good way to play with words though, and I enjoyed it all immensely. I'm using poetry to keep my brain ticking over and making connections, and so warding off dementia. I hope it's working, and continues to work!

This poem has been through a short critiquing period, and I now feel ready to share it with the larger world.  January has been an amazing month of poetry for me, with at least one poem written every single day of the month.

I've met some lovely poets and great people, and I've taken my critiquing skills, and poetry writing skills to a higher level. And the best thing is, I did it! I met the challenge of writing a new poem every single day!

So here is the sestina I wrote and posted for Month of Poetry 2012 :

A Way To Get By

Every day I think, I’ll make a list,
but it doesn’t happen again, I forget things.
Everyone forgets, I shouldn’t worry,
as I look for what’s forgotten this time, and search
for what I need, hoping the rest will follow.
I’m struggling with my disease, that’s the truth,

struggling to find a way to live, a truth
that’s truer than any half-forgotten list.
There’s methods to try, ways to slavishly follow
so I can relax and not stress about things.
It would be pleasant not to have to search,
if I could spend more time on fun, not worry,

and with what I’ve got I feel that endless worry
may try to become my new, unwanted, truth.
I’ll deal with it myself, and hope the search
by others for help, ends up on government’s list
of the many needed items, medical things
that can lead to a cure and better times to follow.
There are diets and exercise regimes to follow,
healthy food and working out end worry,
to some extent, when you’re busy doing things
and trying your best to locate an inner truth.
Worries about living can go lower down your list
of things to do to live your life. The search

for bad things can move on and become the search
for better ones. There’s many paths to follow,
and when the one you’re on turns bad, list
the benefits, if any, and the things that worry
you, look with care and thought and find the truth
that comes when you bring mindfulness to things.

If you can take a broader view of things,
you might be able to get over the painful search,
the daily mess of stuff obscuring the truth.
Find a life that works, with rules to follow
that leaves you free but means you needn’t worry
about what’s on or isn’t on your list.
Work on all the things that matter, follow
the rules that ease the search and stop the worry,
but understand that Truth’s what counts, not List.

© 2012 Carolyn Cordon

Friday, January 27, 2012

Death Comes As The End For Us All

The poem below had its beginning is a blog comment I made to a friend's post. His words spoke directly to something inside of me, and I immediately felt what I had to write. 

The same friend left a comment on his blog, which challenged me to take my initial poem further.

The poem below is the result, and it comes straight from my heart and mind. I encourage you to go to John Malone's blog post and read the words that started it all.

Life’s end…

To the dead man down by the sea,
thank you, for the sad tale of your lonely
ending in life brings my own family even
closer to my heart. And it makes me glad
my father’s life ended as he was cared for
by workers who truly did care. The
differences between the two deaths
are stark, one a family man who ended
his life, loved and mourned by many,
the other, mourned perhaps, by none.

I mourn the passing though, of this
unknown and possibly unloved man.
For me, he will stand in for the universal
unknown poor man, one who struggles
through life in his lonely way. They cope,
or fail to cope, these people, and are
ignored by the multitude. In his passing
though, this one man stands in the place
of the many. I pay tribute to them all,
the people, unloved and unmissed, those
we try to forget. They each lived their life,
and played their part, in society’s
everlasting drama.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Celebrating 26 Years of Happy Marriage!

I write poems for various reasons, this poem came about this morning after I read a Facebook comment. The person offered congratulations for my wedding anniversary, I immediately knew I wanted to write this poem.

The commenter is a fellow Month of Poetry 2012 poet, and I'm thrilled to have been prompted to write this. This is a happy, happy, joy, bliss poem, and there should be more of them in the world!

Thanks for 26 good years, here’s to the next 26!

Twenty six years of wedded bliss,
fights may be there, but sealed with a kiss -
arguments not lasting more than a day,
it’s worked for us, it’s our marriage way.

Others might do ‘married’ differently,
but last night we toasted our anniversary.
Our bond is working, far as I can see -
life’s mostly sweet, for Graham and me!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Writing Better Poetry

Do you think you're incapable of writing poetry? I don't agree. I think you're just looking at it the wrong way.

When people begin to learn how to do something, they don't expect to be experts straight away. They might have lessons first, then practice it, and they will slowly get better at it.

If they're really keen to improve, they might get further lessons, masterclass lessons perhaps, with a person who is acclaimed in the particular thing. I'm thinking here of a broad range of things - tennis, running, painting or cooking. It might take a while, but learning your particular thing with an expert can begin to make you an expert too.

Most sensible people don't think they're going to be expert at their thing right from the beginning. So why do so many people write off their ability to write poetry before they've even really begun to write it.

Well known poets worked for many years before they were accepted as being great. Some of them were never really acclaimed until after their death, after years of writing poetry.

So if you think you can't write poetry, why not give yourself a chance, and find someone who may be able to help you. You don't need an expert, sometimes just having a poetry partner, someone who perhaps is also trying to learn, can be enough. You can share your poetry and think about what works well and what doesn't work so well.

If you do it this way, you may eventually begin to see ways to write poems you feel proud of. It truly can be that simple. In most towns there are courses or writing groups, where like minded people meet to think about poetry and write it. If you can find such a group, you'll probably surprise yourself, and find you can in fact write poetry.

What a fine thing that would be!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Playing the Pokies Game

I have conflicting thoughts about the current political argument going on regarding pokie machines. I'm certainly away of the fact that there are people who have huge problems with losing too much money gambling on the pokies. I'm sorry for these people and their families. I hope they find help to cure them of their addiction.

But I like playing the pokies, I find it enjoyable. Every now and then, if I'm at the local hotel and I have some spare cash, I might take a drink and sit and play the pokies until the money runs out. I always use up only the spare change I have, or get five or so dollar coins in my change. Once that money's gone, that's it.

Sometimes I take home more than I arrived with, sometimes I don't. Either way, I enjoy myself. I might have a chat with any other gamblers there, or chat with my hubby if we're gone there together. I feel connected with my community when I'm there. Most of the time, I already know the other gamblers there, because we're all members of the same community.

If may be different if I was somewhere different, somewhere away from my other life. I've never felt like gambling more than my spare change, and certainly never more than ten dollars. I don't go very often either, never more than once a week, and it's not unusual for many weeks to go past without a session on the pokies.

Gambling was part of my early life. My father was a harness horse trainer, my older brother his reinsman. Once I was 18 I sometimes bet on a horse. My father's gone now, but my younger brother maintains the racing connection, as an owner. Sometimes I'll place a bet on one of his horses, sometimes they win, sometimes they lose, it's all part of the gamble.

So, that's my gambling story, I'm prepared to spend some money to possibly win some more. But the way I look at it, it's spending money to go to a concert, or a sporting match. You pay the money to have the fun. If you can't afford it, you don't do it. It may be I'm missing something there, but I don't see dangers in gambling as such. Properly regulated, gambling can be a fun for of entertainment.

I've written a poem about the pokies, read it if you wish, and please, leave you comments on this vexing issue.

Pro Pokie Poem

Husband and I at the pub
a drink each and five one dollar coins.
Put the coins in then press the button,
enjoying ourselves, no need to rush.

The lights and music come on, I forget
the pollie’s arguments and we just sip,
chat and push buttons, win or lose,
it doesn’t matter, we’re having fun.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Finding Poems Wherever They May Be

Different poets have different ways to find new poems. Some rely on their muse to drop by every now and then, and drop some words and hints that may become a poem. Others dedicate a certain amount of time every day, and struggle with putting words together to form a poem.

In the past I've tended to let my muse come and visit whenever it can, and been thankful if I can write a poem eventually. This month  though has been different. This month I signed up for the Month of Poetry, run by Queensland poet Kathryn Apel.

For the Month of Poetry, which is running for all of January 2012, Kathryn asked poets to decide whether they were prepared to sign up to submit one poem every day of January, or otherwise, sign up to submit a poem occasionally.

In a possible fit of madness, I signed up to write and submit a new poem every day. This has been an interesting exercise, I've never committed to such an intensive writing challenge before. I've always been happy when a poem happens, just flutters by for me to grab and hold. As a consequence, usually I only manage one or possibly two new poems every week.

When I signed up for this Month of Poetry, I wasn't sure if I was capable of managing it, but I hoped I was. As it turns out, I've been able to find a new poem easily most days. On some days I've even written more than one new poem. This is something I'm proud of.

It hasn't been easy, writing some of the poems, and I don't claim they're all masterpieces. One of the great things about doing this challenge though, is that once a poem is posted to the website, the other people involved can critique each poem if they wish to. I've had some extremely valuable tips and ideas for some of my poems, which I've used to edit my poem to make it better. It has been an wonderful group of people who truly want to help create fine poetry.

The other great thing about this is that it's a closed group, requiring a password to access the poems. This means, as far as I understand it, that the poems on the website would not be classified as 'published', making them eligible for submission to publishers or competitions that require unpublished poems. 

With the need to write a new poem every day, I've been finding poems all over the place, writing about my own health issues, my family life, my dogs, responses to images and my own comments written on Facebook, or blogs.

I've written haiku, sonnets, ballads and free verse. Some of the poems are posted on this website, and have received further comments. Some I consider to be practice poems, with no merit beyond keeping my fingers moving to produce lines, with little artistic merit. They were not a waste of time, they were words that needed to be written, perhaps, to make room for better words in later poems.

Anyway, the poem here is my poem for today, 20 January. It received some favourable comments on the Month of Poetry website and I like what it says, so I'm posting in my own Poetry Website. 

The story for this morning's poem goes like this - I wrote a comment on John Malone's Facebook page as I was having my coffee this morning. I liked what I'd written so much I copied the words I liked and pasted them to a blank word doc, then wrote some more words, and played with it all. I liked it enough to post it to the Month of Poetry website.

Then I left it to collect thoughts from others. I had another look at the poem and decided it would be better in two verses. I made the change, and now I'm happy enough with the poem to put it here!

Feel free to read it and leave a comment here! 

Enough time

Every moment in life
is a poem, waiting
for the poet to see it,
think on it,
be with it,
and write down the words.

Every life has enough time
for writing poetry –
you have the potential
for as many poems
as you have moments
in your life.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Poetic Forms - the Sestina

I had a thought today, that it might be fun to write myself a sestina poem for my poem tomorrow. Then I looked up the rules for the sestina. I'm afraid I got scared and chickened out.

I've taken a look on Google, trying to find something that may encourage me to at least think more about the form. I found some guides that didn't interest me, even though they did a good enough job of explaining the intricate rules. They just made it seem boring, to try to write one. Then I found these instructions.

They made the process seem amusing, and clever. So perhaps I'll have a proper look tomorrow, and begin working on suitable words to use for a sestina. But for tomorrow's poem, I think I'll pick something simple like a bit of free verse.

Writing poetry can be as simple or as difficult as you like. I often find myself writing rhyming verse, particularly if I'm writing something amusing. But some of my serious verse has been rhyming too. I find the poem seems to reach out and tell me which form to use, once I've begun writing it.

I'm sure that isn't going to happen with the sestina, it's too structured for that. Tomorrow's poem will be something simple, I think.

Once I've written and posted my poem for tomorrow though, the sestina may serve to keep me amused for part of the day! Have you ever tried a sestina? If you did, I'd love to hear about the experience!

Friday, January 13, 2012

My Life Gives Me Poetry Themes!

As I've written previously on this blog, I'm currently committed to writing a new poem every day this month, and posting it to the Month of Poetry website.This has been going well for me, with at least one new poem every day in January.

I find I'm noticing things more, every day things that might usually go unnoticed. In my quest for a new poem every day, I'm becoming more mindful. This is a good thing. I took a look outside a couple of minutes ago and noticed one of our hanging plants is flowering again. The dwarf bouganvillea is lovely at the moment, with its new bracts gleaming fresh and orange/pink along the branch.

It seems though that my body has decided to give me things to write about as well. This is not such a good thing! Last night I had another trip and fall. There was alcohol involved in the night, but not enough to have caused the incident. It's my body not doing its job right, or perhaps me not taking heed of the signals from my body, that caused it.

Anyway, it doesn't really matter. The important thing is that when I switched on the computer this morning, I had something new to write about!

A mostly un-iambic sonnet

Sprained ankle after trips and falls
And now I know a cause -
I’m regressing to childhood thanks to MS,
I’m overly dependent on walls -
Gravity become the most damaging of laws
But I keep my mind intact as I physically regress

Furniture too has become my friend
Walking stick a needed adornment
And now I’m damaged and resting until
My current damage will finally end.
If I keep to current conform-ment
With doctor’s orders of ice and keeping still,

I hope to end this pain that visits
When I exceed my bodily limits.

Did I mention I have MS (Multiple Sclerosis)? No, well, I'm not saying my disease was the only reason I fell, but it was certainly a contributing thing...

Feel free to leave a comment, I adore feedback on my poetry! Good, bad or indifferent, please tell me what you think.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Another Day, Another Poem

It's the eleventh of January as I write this post, and I've posted eleven new poems to the website, one a day.

I've written more poems than that though, inspiration seems to be reaching out and hitting me far more than usual. I think this is because I'm open to it, and actively looking for more things to write about. What happened this afternoon is a case in  point.

You find inspiration for poetry in the darnedest places! I had a doctor appointment today to excise a lump on my forearm, which may or may not have been pre-cancerous, in the opinion of my team of medical advisors.

So as my doctor was preparing the site we chatted about various things, as a way to keep me calm and untroubled about the huge needle he was painfully jabbing my arm with, perhaps. One of the various things we chatted about was poetry.

I told him the two limericks I've written (they're the only poems of my own I've managed to learn off by heart.) Doc then insisted I write a limerick for my medical procedure, mentioning him and Margaret, who was helping.

Being the person I am, I of course wrote the poem when I returned home, lump removed and dressing in place.

I've mentioned this on my Facebook page, which is where most of my life matters are mentioned. I didn't indicate that my medical team which sound super high tech, is actually my GP, a friend who's a nurse, and my uncle who used to be a GP up until about thirty years ago. They all know their stuff though, and I willingly decided to go ahead with the procedure.

If I hadn't done that, then I would never have written this limerick, because it wouldn't have happened. So, thanks doc, here it is (he wants me to give the clinic a copy so they can put it up on the wall) - Fame!


Patient had a lump on her arm
It was deemed it might cause her harm.
Helped by the worker,
who wasn’t a shirker,
Doc excised it as he turned on the charm!

Monday, January 9, 2012

A New Poem, to Post or Not to Post?

Actually, I've made the decision already, but it's quite an important thing to think about. If a poem is put on a blog, that counts as being published, unless the blog is a closed one. If a poem is published, it becomes ineligible for many poetry competitions, and some publishers are interested only in unpublished material.

I considered these issues briefly, and the outcome is that I will publish the poem I wrote today, on my blog. The reason I made this decision is that I already have a good idea of what else I wish to do with today's poem, and it won't matter whether or not the poem has been previously published.

I've received some interesting comments on the poem from others which leads me to feel my ideas for it's future are good ideas. I'm not saying it's a fantastic poem, but it is certainly a poem others have connected with in good ways.

I've re-edited the poem since I posted it to the Month of Poetry site, and I feel it's improved because of the editing. So here it is for you to read and comment on - good, bad or indifferent, I'd like to know your thoughts.

Life Screens

TV is a barely heard soundtrack
to my online life -
images seen or missed
voices heard and misheard,
as the world reveals itself
on my PC screen -
my lifeline in the battle
to retain relevance in the face
of ongoing disability.

Facebook has people from childhood
re-met and ‘friended’ many years on.
Triond has articles on everything
one could ever imagine,
there are ways to make money,
spend money. Also online are places
to connect with those who have lived
and learned about the same things,
and sharing adds to the knowledge of us all.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Poem About Oscar, the Escape Artist Who Didn't Escape

I wrote this poem for my poem for day 8 of my Month of Poetry. The idea for this poem came to me as I was writing a response to another poem on a friend's blog. http://mistakenforarealpoet.wordpress.com/2012/01/05/on-goolwa-beach-audio-visual/#comment-149

This poem that started me thinking isn't about dogs or a dog, but it uses 'dog' as a metaphor, and the poem is also set out, cleverly, in the shape of a dog.

It all got me thinking about one of the dogs in my life, a schnauzer bred by my husband Graham and I. This lovely dog had a habit that could have killed him, but his death came when his habit could have saved him, if he could have got loose.

Poor Oscar, and poor Oscar's family. A fine dog gone, but never forgotten.

No escape

The gene for escape was born with him
lurking in his DNA.
Show him a fence, he had to try it,
try himself, prove his ability.
Leap and run
was his private joy -
he loved his home, but he loved to roam,
it was his need, his greed.
He had to see what was out there
waiting for him.
The house was a safe place though -
he couldn’t escape from there,
so when the fire jumped the walls,
leapt into the house
there was no escape for Oscar.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I'm a Poet, I Wrote a Sonnet

Hello, this is the sonnet I wrote for my Month of Poetry challenge. There are many people around Australia and beyond trying to write a new poem every day for the month of January 2012. They then post their poem to the Month of Poetry website.

So far I'm keeping up with the challenge - I've written a new poem every day, and duly posted it to the website. The quality of my poetry is a little uneven perhaps, but at least I'm keeping up. This is all about Quantity first, and hopefully Quality will come!

Anyway, here's the Sonnet I wrote. It's far from perfect, but it follows at least some of the rules for a Shakespearean sonnet.

Changing times
Your working life slowed by broken shards
Of good intentions and easy promises shattered -
It’s plain to see the dole queue’s on the cards
And the wrenching loss of love and things that mattered.

You hadn’t seen the crisis looming dark,
But some had seen and wondered how you’d go
If times were lean with prospects turning stark -
Your money scarce and hunger a pain you know.

Would you learn the ways of those you once disdained
And find a different way to show your worth?
The golden path that gleamed for you is stained -
If you want to move on, regroup and find some mirth -

Laugh at the things you’d done and said before,
take quiet instead of brash and love it more.

So that's my effort, not perfect, and please, if you can see any way to improve it, leave a message! All feedback is gratefully accepted.

I wrote this and posted it to the Month of Poetry website for Day 5 of the month. This has been a fun challenge, and so far I'm keeping up with the posting of a new poem every day. So here's the sonnet I wrote, it may not be perfect, but at least it's written and posted.

If you have any thoughts on how to tidy this sonnet up and make it better, please, please, please leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Changing times
Your working life slowed by broken shards
Of good intentions and easy promises shattered -
It’s plain to see the dole queue’s on the cards
And the wrenching loss of love and things that mattered.

You hadn’t seen the crisis looming dark,
But some had seen and wondered how you’d go
If times were lean with prospects turning stark -
Your money scarce and hunger a pain you know.

Would you learn the ways of those you once disdained
And find a different way to show your worth?
The golden path that gleamed for you is stained -
If you want to move on, regroup and find some mirth -

Laugh at the things you’d done and said before,
take quiet instead of brash and love it more.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

My Month of Poetry, Day 4

I've been writing a new poem every day in January and posting them to a website that was set up for people to do this. It's been challenging but fun, having to produce a new poem every day, and remembering to post it on the website. The poems posted there have been terrific. The poem I did today is, I feel, the best one so far.

It's not finished yet, needs some tweaking perhaps. Any feedback is most welcome!

This poem needs a title, any ideas?

Raucous birds, madly careening
through the sky. Challenging
cars to catch them, dipping past
in front with a wing wave
that says, ‘up yours’.
The saddest sight is the pink
and grey bundle lying still
on the road, matted with blood.
A flock of mourners are nearby,
still challenging the cars…

I live in rural South Australia, and it always makes me sad to see birds who’ve lost in the battle against the car. Death is all around, but there’s much life around too. Watching the birds always brings me happiness. I have a seat on both my back and my front verandas, and I love to sit there and commune with Nature when I feel the need.