Beach at Night

So, I’ve JUST posted, but as I feel I’ve been neglecting this old blog, I’ll post twice. To get fully up to date, scroll down and read “Eloy” first. Or second. Whatever, you crazy whimsical creature.

You know how, for a year and a bit, I’ve been living with a family? Oli, Angela, and the adorable Liliana Seeley, who is now nearly 4, and author of such fine works of fiction as “Coconut Together” and “Dog This Big – A Tragedy.” I’ve tried a couple of times recently to get her to help me write a new story…. no success yet, but I’ll try again later this month.

I can’t right now, because, you see, I’ve moved out. Temporarily. I’m living with my friend Jo, who you may remember from this poem (wow. That’s 4 links back to my own poetry now. Talk about blowing your own trumpet). She lives outside Barcelona, in the little town of Casteldefels. It’s half an hour by train to one of three central Barcelona stations, one of which is a 5 minute walk from work. The town itself, from what I’ve seen tonight, wandering around, is gorgeous and smells fresh and natural, which is a nice change from BCN. It’s no distance from a train station, and even nicer, it’s one block away from the beach! And what a beach.

I’m here for a trial run. 3 or 4 days, see if I can survive living with Jo (she’s a little…. dramatic), and then back to the Seeleys for the rest of the month. We’ll see how it goes.

Anyhoo, walking on the beach in the dark, looking at the stars, reminded me of another old poem by me, only I’ve not posted this one on the blog before. It’s set in Mauritius.

Southern Hemisphere

Away from the music, drinks and decking
I strolled the quiet beach barefoot
with my neck craned back –

just letting my feet pad down a path
between cool waves and the supple sand,
listening to the tide –

Where a plough had been for all my life
my vision traced a scorpion’s tail
and strange stars spread to the dark horizon

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and my heart gaped wider to fit
all the new space in

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but it wasn’t big enough.

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“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!

“Beach Pebbles” and Audience Participation

Good morning good morning. I’ve got several projects underway, but unfortunately, none of them is near enough to comletion yet. Since I’m about to go out and relax on the beach all day (don’t worry, I’m taking my notebook!), I thought I’d post this old one. It’s one I’m very fond of, but there’s one line I’m not completely happy with.

I’m confident this won’t shatter me totally, but here’s a challenge for you, the reader. Try to guess the line I’m unhappy with, and if you can, give a reason. Post in the comments. And if I’ve told you before what the “bad” line is, then send me a message or something somewhere else. You’ll spoil the fun.

Hopefully, it’ll be an exercise in going back over a work I was comfortable with and making it BETTER – so don’t hold back.

Beach Pebbles

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Beach Pebbles

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I realise it has always been this way,
The bill is handed over me, to you.
Directions given that I understand,
but given to your face, which blankly nods.

He’s taller, someone says;
it’s more than that,
as on the beach, we peck for
the smoothest stones.

The light is fading
but we don’t notice.
The chill wind forgotten,
cool sunlight on your face.

Unstudied, casual, your arm
curves with the stone
– the little discus takes aim
and rises over crashing foam

and patting, patting, defying,
its spinning curve lifts
Against all nature, flying,
cresting the next white drift,

then gone.
A skill I have never possessed,
We laugh at the sinking failure
When I follow in your steps.

Listening to your smiling eyes,
Your silhouette between, below
the setting sun and blue horizon,
I face the truth that there is
something comfortable in your shadow.

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