Words by c.z.robertson

Thameslink poetry

2005-03-22 22:30:06 GMT/BST

Here's a poem I wrote some months ago, called "Beneath Cloud-Ragged Skies":

A face that's as cold as the midwinter air
all framed by a fall of frost-silver hair.
Her skin is as pale as the snow that lies
over frozen ground. Her icy eyes
like clear, cold pools beneath cloud-ragged skies.

This was inspired by a woman who I used to see on the Thameslink train every day when I was working in Borehamwood. She doesn't know that she inspired this poem. Which is probably for the best, since poetic licence quickly took over from truthfulness. She didn't really look half so cold as this poem suggests.

If all you've seen of my poetry is this (and for most people it will be) then it won't be immediately apparent but I think I need a new set of metaphors. All my poems seem to use weather and seasons. There are other things in the world.

As an aside, I probably should've asked her out instead of writing poems about her.

eleni - http://planewalk.net

2005-03-23 19:45:31 GMT/BST

I am trying to remember one other poem of yours I read. In fact, I was trying to find it in ICQ history, but for some reason I can't. There must have been a line about summer sun, though, or something like that. So you probably have a point.

Ever thought of taking it from this stage into something surrealistic? It's possible to warp what could be a familiar picture into something quite intriguing to imagine. I don't know. Perhaps it wouldn't quite fit here.

I wonder what (or what kind of person!) would induce you to gather all these cold/icy pictures concerning her appearance.

As for asking her out instead of writing poems about her, here's an interesting bit: Yesterday we had a Modern Greek Literature class -- 19th century poetry, heavy romantic influences. There was a love poem we (fortunately rather hastily) read. It was loaded with pretty unbearable clich㩳 Worse still, to give you an idea: near the end it even expressed the hopes of the poet that he and his loved one would be eventually together, and that when he died, she would still love him and take after his grave. As for the person itself: The lecturer pointed out that the woman described here has a pretty idealised, ethereal substance (in the poet's words, she's pretty much like an angelic (sexless) creature). This complete idealisation might initially contrast with women's restricted social position in the 19th century, but in fact it's not a contradiction. As mentioned, the specific woman in the poem is described like an outwordly creature, with no mention to her thoughts, her actual bearing, her actual characteristics. It's like she serves like an object for the love the poet is experiencing. In this sense, such an expression is pretty narcissistic, focused on what he feels, rather than on the person itself.

I found that to be extremely interesting. =)

colin_zr - http://rtnl.org.uk

2005-03-24 07:05:35 GMT/BST

To be honest, I'm not much of a surrealist. Though I suppose if you do have a good stock of metaphors then things can get pretty surreal without even trying. (Look at any Donne for evidence of that. "Our eye-beames twisted, and did thred / Our eyes, upon one double string" for example.)

As for what sort of person would inspire such a thing, bear in mind that this is filtered through a) not actually knowing the person, and b) the desire to make a good poem (regardless of my actual degree of success). I certainly wouldn't be able to write a good poem that said "there's this person, and she looks very beautiful with her peroxide-blonde hair, though it does have the effect of making her look very formidable and unapproachable, but she's probably a nice person once you get to know her..."

I'd forgive your poet for writing about an idealisation rather than a real person. It's much harder to write about a real person. You've already got two masters when you write a poem. Firstly you need to fit everything into the rhyme and rhythm of the poem. Secondly you need to create something with dramatic impact. Truth is a distant third after those. And, of course, love is usually about idealisation rather than reality. And added to that, it should be pretty clear by now that practicing a relationship and writing about it are mutually exclusive activities.