I am a dreamer. I dream often and regularly remember bits, if not all, of the fantastical tales and crazy adventures I have during slumber. The weird and wonderful worlds I inhabit whilst sleeping can be a rich source of inspiration for my writing whilst awake, and I keep a note book beside my bed to jot down anything I want to hold on to. Sometimes when I look back at them my night-time scribblings make no sense at all, but once in a while when I check my notebook I am amazed at the insight or poeticism I find there.
A few days ago I had an unusual dream, even for me. Instead of being in the dream, playing ny part, I was an observer. And as the scene played out before me it wasn’t live action it was a black and white cartoon, all rough drawn and jiggling. I can only remember a very small part of it but it was such a striking visual images that it inspired a poem.
I can see myself in the corner In a small stark patch of light All couched and folded inwards In a world of black and white
The darkness that surrounds me Is slowly pressing in The fear of it constricts my chest I feel it chill my skin
But flickering, and glorious A white light comes to shine And rages ‘gainst the darkness In this corner small of mine
So sensing something easing I dare to lift my head And see the light expanding And catch a glimpse of red
I can see me in the corner In a growing patch of light All couched, but less uncertain In a world of colours bright.
Sometimes I am quite deliberate in my poetry writing. Sometimes when I start to write a poem I start with just a phrase or couple of lines and have no idea where it is going to go. This was one of those poems, it wasn’t really until I reached the last verse that the pieces fell into place.
I took my lover to the sea Where I made him beg to marry me I grasped the heart he proffered me And flung it hence into the sea.
I took my lover near the sky And made him look into my eye And swear to love me til he die Then I did poke him in the eye
I took my lover atop the hill And begged to know if he did still Love me for sufficient thrill, I threw my lover down the hill
I knew my lover was not true And felt the sting of trust eschewed I did what I had to do To heal the heart he’d rent in two.
After a good start to this year I got a bit distracted and didn’t write anything for a while. This week I suddenly seem to have found my mojo again. I have been writing lots. From odd lines that will eventually develop into full poems, to snippets and phrases I have just jotted down to insert in a future poem, to a rather random short story. They are mostly first drafts still and will need a bit of tweaking before I share them, except for the one I am sharing now. I was playing around with different poem structures and with increasing and decreasing syllables and this was the result.
It were true
That which you say
Statements of great love
Pretence of devotion
The words by which you deceive
The lies that you exhale
Carry me away
On clouds of hope
But like rain
It’s always easier to write when on holiday. The combination of more time and being generally more relaxed, with visiting new and interesting places helps the creative flow. We have visited Portpatrick a few times now, finding out about ships wrecked on the rocky shore line, and how it served as a version of Gretna green for couples who caught the boat across from Belfast. The ferries no longer come into Portpatrick, the little bay and harbour could not cope with the large ships required these days, which now dock at Cairnryan a little further north. Instead Portpatrick remains a picturesque little coastal village – a beautiful unspoilt spot away from the hubbub of much of modern life; a great spot for a relaxing break. It was only yesterday as I walked down to the sea, that I noticed the extraordinary number of chimney pots on the buildings around the bay. I found myself a comfy large rock to sit on, gazing out at the sea, and wrote this poem.
The chimneys of Portpatrick That stand above the bay Stretch up heavenward to the sun That shines on us today How long they’ve stood there watching I really do not know They have seen the waters rise They’ve seen the tide ebb low.
The chimneys of Portpatrick Have stood there oh so long They’ve heard the ocean raging Witnessed her waves so strong. And in the still calm moments That come both day and night Know the peace just hides from view The ocean’s fearsome might
The chimneys of Portpatrick Stood solemn as the waves Threw boat, then boat against the rocks And not all souls were saved The lighthouse stood as warning It’s light shone through the night The brave and daring lifeboat crew Risked all for stranger’s plight
The chimneys of Portpatrick That witnessed so much woe Also saw such joyful days Saw lovers come and go Across the sea from Ireland Where family disapproved Wedding vows they came to say Their lasting love to prove
The chimneys of Portpatrick Stand cold and smoke no more Yet still we come to visit This bonny stretch of shore And while we swim the waters We drink, we eat, we play The chimneys of Portpatrick Stand proud above the bay
Sometimes I write poetry because I am inspired by something. It may be an event, an emotion, something I have seen or somewhere I have been. Sometimes I play around with words and phrases, just enjoying the musicality of the english language. There are plenty of poetry prompts to be found on line and sometimes I like to use these as they can be a bit more of a challenge as they may involve writing about something that I really don’t feel inspired by, but it is these kinds of things that I think help exerecise the poetry part of my brain and, I hope, develop my skill. Today’s inspiration comes from the “Word of the day” on one of the writing sites I visit. The word is burglarious.
Creeping through the darkness with burglarious intent The band of cunning rogues on their wicked way they went. Slinking through the village under cover of the night Anyone who saw them there would surely get a fright
This motley crew had just one aim, they would not be deterred Tales of wealth and riches to this hamlet them had lured And finding that the stories they had heard might just be right Decided that it would be worth their while to try one night
Plans had all been made with care, the details checked so well Each knew what they had to do, they knew to never tell. Whispers of encouragement between them were exchanged If they could pull this off their lives forever would be changed
So upon the place they crept, each one would play their part They clambered o’er the wall unseen – made a promising start. But that was when it all went wrong for suddenly the light Detecting hidden motion hence shone piercing through the night
“Who goes there?” Called a gruff voice from a window way up high “Tell me what you’re doing here, also tell me why?” Blinded by the sudden light erratically they ran They’d thought the place was empty, whoever was this man?
The bunch were not the smartest, all sense now flew from their heads They scattered panicked ‘cross the lawn, trampled the flower beds. And then the scrape of metal bolts, the squeak of door flung wide The snarling, barking dogs flew out, their quarry they espied
But as they fled, little they knew that worse was yet to come, The man stood fuming at the door and cocked his old shot gun Terrified the gang all fled back o’er the wall they went Back home to rue the day they had burglarious intent.
I have soared through cerulean skies Catching my breath on the peaks of mountains With the warmth of the day on my face I have watched the clouds unfurl their stories before my greedy eyes. I have inclined my ear to the music of ravenous thunder My feet have danced to the beat of the rain. I have tumbled in the arms of the ocean as it rolled out it’s lofty promises to dry in the midday sun. And when skies grew inky cold I set my course by the whims of the wind And hung my hopes on the shining stars
In a world that abounds with infinite possibilities You Are my truth.
Inspiration can come at any time, and in any place, which is why I never go anywhere without a notebook. I also have a transcribing app on my phone so I can speak ideas into it while I’m on the go. That proved quite useful last week when inspiration struck on the walk to work. It was only 2 lines at the time, but I spoke them into my phone and forgot about them, until today. As the kids are now back at school this is the first day I have had to myself in a while, so I have got out my notebooks and phone to look at what I have scribbled down in the last few weeks, and see what I can do with any of it.
The two lines that came to me on the way to work last week have evolved into the following.
The moral of my little tale I hope to be made clear
I tell it as the sun descends as night is drawing near.
I do not wish to cause a fright, but wish it to be known
That anywhere you go round here you’re never quite alone.
So heed my warning, heed it well, hear now all I say
Or you may never see again the brilliant light of day.
The all pervading presence of the life from days gone by
Will not allow the innocent to pass unhindered nigh
I speak of old and ancient tales that logic would decry.
The stuff of myths and legends long unseen by living eye
Of creatures from an evil hand with purposes so bleak
Of voices from enshrouded mouths, that wail and howl and shriek
Let none here mesmerise you, they seek to captivate To lure you in until you find, retreat is now too late So turn around, take no more steps along this errant path Flee, make haste, take flight unto the warmth of home and hearth
The moral of my little tale, I pray has been made clear
I tell it as my hope descends, my end fast drawing near.