Bastardised poetry

When I was a child I wanted to be a poet. My nickname within my family for several years was the poetess.

Unfortunately, I wrote abysmal poetry.

When did I first realise this?

I cannot remember. I know that I tried hard and often to use the biggest words I could imagine. It did not matter that my poems made no sense, the words needed to impress. That was all.

I chose two central themes to follow, the first religion, the second nature.

Here is an example from the first category. I remember it well. For some reason I rote learned it.

I am almost ashamed to write it down here, but in honour of the past I shall.

Confession wash me white as snow
Confirm my mortal frame
Ring and water, holy quarter
Make my heart to love again

(Two lines are missing here, which for the life of me I cannot remember)

Parents grace shall win the race
To bring us up the Lord’s lane.

You see what I mean? It makes no sense at all.
A poem, cringe worthy, even for a ten year old, which must have been about my age at the time I wrote it.

More recently I tried again. I cheated. I used a piece of prose and a poet friend converted it into the look of poetry.


The crack in the wall
is widening. It extends
from the top corner of my room
beyond the cornice, and runs down
the wall at an angle, disappearing
somewhere behind the filing cabinet.

The crack in the wall
in my writing room started
months ago, at the height
of summer, when the drought had reached
its worst in ninety years.
The doom mongers tell us
we will never see rain again.

I do not believe this.
Each morning I wake
and imagine the sound of rain
on the tin roof of the veranda.
Each night, especially on nights
when grey clouds have gathered,
I imagine the rain
will be there by morning.

But the rain does not come
and the crack gets wider.
It tests my optimism,
it tests my endurance.
I dare not look too often
for fear of changes.
Even without looking I know
fresh tributaries are running out
of the central seam and this morning
when I brave a quick glance
I am sure it is getting wider.

I have never taken a ruler
to measure its length.
How did it start?
A hairline fracture in the plaster
above the window sill traveling
a raggedy path to some nondescript point
where it starts to widen and becomes
a thick Texta line creeping
its way down the wall.

Last year the roof was leaking,
this year the walls are cracking.
Drought or flood.
There’s always something to panic us.
World War Three I call it.
My life is dominated by domesticity.

I think I shall stick to prose.

2 thoughts on “Bastardised poetry”

  1. When is it chopped-up prose and when a poem? The age-old question. In other words: What is poetry? Needless to say I could write screeds on the subject, in fact I have. To save me time (as some woman has just sent me an awfully long e-mail and an audio interview to listen to) can I refer you to the following posts:

    Do you break, jam or snip?

    What does mean mean?

    It's a poem becasue I say it is

    What does a poem do?


    Breathing life into dead poems

    My personal opinion of you piece is that it is poetic rather than being a poem. It focuses on an interesting extended metaphor but peters out a bit at the end. It shows promise.

  2. "makes no sense"

    none of The Best Poetry does.

    visit blog. He is in Melbourne, and published, and very friendly ( he loves Percy Grainger and I met him when I did a Percy post).

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