Write on paper, write on clothes,
Write on cards, magazines, windows,
Write on coasters, receipts and skin,
Write on fucking everything.
He’s deep in thought, lunch on his lap
Reading work by Ezra Pound.
“I’ve not a clue
What it’s about
But I like the way it sounds.”
Years ago I found my co-worker reading some poetry outside of the office on his lunch break. I asked him later in the day what he thought of Ezra Pound and he couldn’t tell me anything. He just said he likes how it sounds. Sometimes, it doesn’t have to be about the meaning at all. Poetry is music!
A forger of thoughts, he burns his paper
With a pen that spouts red flame and fire.
His wax mind of wick igniting his trick
That will never go out or expire.
Veteran tastebuds of smoke
And tar and soot and phlegm.
Barry brought bratwurst,
Can’t smell or taste or hunger them.
But Mum makes Welsh cakes
And I fuckin’ love ’em.
Our conductor, name tag and tie,
Marker pen baton, spouting, spy
Every bee who’s half asleep, lie,
And brave the morning allegro.
His cuffs tight, mouth flapping,
Coffee clerks begin tapping
Square minds, overlapping
To print, report, file, (don’t) retort.
Harmonising phone calls,
Thin colour, cold walls
Our people thrive, enjoying all
The music of the office.
Fingers dance, alphabet synergy,
Listen to our Prophet, margin your
Ambitions to reach that scatter point
Target. It’s written in permanent (don’t th)ink, just sign here.
There’s something orchestral about the 9 to 5 office job. I’ve been both fortunate and unfortunate to have experience the lifestyle and despite the time not entirely being enjoyed, there was harmony and rhythm to it all.
The wolf howls in the pup
As he trods with the pack.
Flesh and bone and blocking bouncers
Send him crying back.
The Maasai Beauty
Wake with the new sun
A vertical horizon
The sun wax drips south.
Clouds neighbour skyline
Brave fig trees fight gravity
Streams flow arcanely.
Kenya dawns with grace
The lions prowl the Mara
Ten clicks for water.
Strong as Rocks
I’ve read my fair share of poetry and I’d love to have started all over again. Firstly, to relive that first read, that first personal discovery to a great piece of writing. Secondly, there’s hundreds of poets I’ve explored and I know, because I didn’t write them down, I’ve forgotten. However some other poems and poets I’ve not only not forgotten but their work has been ingrained in my mind, for various reasons. Their works often pop into my head and I wanted to share some that might do the same for you. There’s quite a variety:-
- Vultures by Chinua Achebe – it’s about love and how it exists universally, in good and bad people and animals. The imagery has stuck with me since I read it when I was much younger, and the Commandant is a person I’ll never forget.
- Slough by John Betjeman – a poem about the dull town of Slough (which is just outside London, for those who didn’t know.) It was featured in the The Office television series (UK) and the meter is brilliant. It’s perhaps the most powerful opening verse to a poem I’ve read and epitomises Betjeman’s feelings for the town.
- When I Have Fears That I May Cease To Be – John Keats – a fear that I feel everyone has, deep inside, that we may never be able to finish what we started, or achieve what we hope to accomplish before our time is over. The opening image of the pen ‘glean[ing] [his] teeming brain’ has never left my head. Whenever I begin to write, I imagine this pen absorbing all my thoughts and ideas and spilling them out onto the paper (or keyboard/screen, etc.)
- Today – Frank O’Hara (below) – I only picked up this poem recently and it’s already made it’s resonating home in my head. It’s about how anything can be poetic and anything can be the focus of poetry. It’s reminded me not to make light of anything. Nothing is boring – it’s the way you portray it in writing. And that final line is brilliant – they’re strong as rocks!
Oh! kangaroos, sequins, chocolate sodas!
You really are beautiful! Pearls,
harmonicas, jujubes, aspirins! all
the stuff they've always talked about
still makes a poem a surprise!
These things are with us every day
even on beachheads and biers. They
do have meaning. They're strong as rocks.
I hope you enjoy these poems - they have had great influence my writing.