Thursday, 12 January 2017

Prompt 12 - Hello Bright Sun - When Poetry Is A Collapsed Jelly

Writing from a prompt found at

Greeting: Write a story or poem that starts with the word “hello”.

I've been finding this difficult.  I'd write a story but that would probably magically extend to 2500 words again and while that's no bad thing it's not a thing I have time for each day.  So I've attempted a kind of poem again.  Free verse.  It's not been going well.

I tried this.  It's awful!

Hello bright sun, sudden warmth
Hello fair spirit, faithful one
Bringer of hope in each new day
Deliverer of life, perpetual promise.

Gazing on extravagant green pastures.
The slow descent of glaciers
Cloudy ice, white snowfall
The blue-green surface of seas whose depths
Even you cannot reach.

At that point I gave up.  The sun shines on the mountains and the sea.  So what?  I'm sure with enough time I'd find some pretty imagery but I could see that it wasn't going to go anywhere.  From the first line it's like collapsed jelly.

So I tried again.  Keeping the first three words.  Scrapping the rest.   This failed poem would have been about the coming of dawn from the first light of day to the point at which the sun just rises above the horizon.  That was my intent when writing those first three words as the light gathered outside my window.

Sunrise at Cullercoats, 27 December 2015
This replacement poem is also pretty awful.  It's better than the first but still awful.  It's also too much of a list and though Walt Whitman got away with writing lists I don't think I have that privilege.  And you know what?  I don't mind.  The point of this exercise isn't to write like Andrew Motion or Maya Angelou.  It's not to produce a poem that will leave people awestruck as they read.  The point of this exercise is this:  To write.  To enjoy writing.  And through the process of writing slowly improve.

Hello bright sun, friend to all,
Inclusive, impartial, you sing to us.
As we turn here below, we come and go
While your song remains the same.

You sang to the white men building empires
To the black men in chains, bound fast.
To the KKK and the men they lynched,
To freedom fighters and fascists,
In belief that all deserve a melody.

You hold out your hands in peace to all the
Grey suited bankers, proud in their wealth;
Grey places inside dreamers and hypocrites;
Grey spectra of ambiguity, paradox, passion.
Grey homeless faces, hopeless eyes;
The greys of those who care but can't help;
The dark, occluded grey of those who won't.

Hello bright sun, our mother, our lover,
Birther of home, giver of tomorrows.
Star of example, the peaceful reconciler.
One holy explosion, one billion year inferno.
One world, one race.
One hope:

That six degrees of separation become none,
That persecuted and oppressor,
Underclasses and fatcats,
Meet under your eyes' brilliance
And realise they are all made of stars.

Poetry is an art form.  As yet I have no appreciation of the art.  Neither do I have skill or an awareness of technique.  I believe that I'll see improvement this year.  This morning, having typed most of the above, I attended a writers' group here.  For each of us there, writing from the prompts given produced interesting material.  I also received a few tips about poetry for which I am grateful.  And several more ideas to play with if I ever have the time and energy for supplemental wordplay.  What I wrote about The Growling Man could be turned from free written prose into a poem.  What I wrote about Jesus would get me excommunicated.

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