“A giant visits the river source”

Just discovered something new about me and writing – I do it more when I’m cold!

Sant Pol de Mar
Sant Pol de Mar

It’s hot here in Barcelona at the moment, so I may try and do more of my writing on the balcony on breezy days and in the shade, rather than in my room. because even with the window full on open, I get too hot to think and go all dopey. Considering this is early May, this doesn’t bode well for July…. last year, I lived in a cool marble palace, so I survived the summer. This year…. not so much.

Anyway, the task I set myself last time was to take a long and heavy Sestina poem about a river, and make it something shorter and snappier. I considered doing a Sestina myself, but one of the inherent difficulties with the form is that it means the poem has to be six and a half verses long. It lends itself to a story progression, rather than a series of dialogues on the same theme, which this river poem was. The writer’s choice of the word “current” to end lines was a particularly troublesome one. Look at these, taken from different verses:

“Wildlife from all worlds visit my current”

“Another day, another hour just me and my current.”

“Photos capture my good and bad current”.

“The banks contain my stronger more powerful current”

and

“My temper can flare and exaggerate my current.”

Maybe in the not too distant future I’ll write a poem in which I try to redeem the poetic value of the word “current”. Wish me luck.white flower river

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What I actually have for you tonight is a poem I wrote this evening on the theme of rivers. But rather than restrict myself to following the style of the first one, I’ve taken it off in a different direction. I wrote a second one that is like the original, but in a different voice. Just re-read it, and it’s a pile of steaming bilge, so I’ll hold on to that one for now.

This one is a first draft – I’ve not slept on it yet, so I’m sure it’s packed full of flaws. Enjoy.

“A giant visits the river source”

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A giant visits the river source

once a year, walking in the hills,

and when he cries, the water swells

and when he laughs, he scatters flowers –

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big bright flowers with no name

that gracefully dance downstream.

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I wait for happy years with reverence,

my shore solemnity meets his joy.

In sad years, I swim in the murk

and dip my feet to the bottom.

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Come back this weekend for a finished short story!

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