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Sunday, 9 November 2008

The Golf Club Maker

Two things have exercised me this week: I have been trying to update my blog - and what an exercise that turned out to be! It seems I had an older version and had first to update from Templates to Layouts, a move which lost me all my previous customising. Furthermore, the HTML which was fine on the old version will not do on the new. Apparently I need XML - of course I do, fool that I am, I should have realised that!

My other occupation has been trawling through old poems and drafts. In the process I rediscovered the benefit of putting poems away for a while. And also, I believe, discovered the elusive factor I was fumbling for in my previous post. (Yawn, yawn) It was not sloppiness, but lack of courage. It happens that during the course of its development a poem (or any other work, I guess) is likely to acquire words, phrases, lines - whatever - in which you have invested much of yourself. You are heavily committed to them. Sometimes (even!) they may refer back to an earlier word, phrase, whatever, that has long since been removed, but they hang on like plants that have had their roots cut away, trying to send down new. The subconscious editor says No, this should go, you know it! And you do, but it's bad news - like knowing you should see the dentist, but what the hell! Does that make sense?

Well, anyway, here is one I prepared earlier! A complete redraft of a poem put away for quite some while:-

The Golf Club Maker

Maker and player, golf clubs fashioned much
of what was truly him. Blade light in hand,
he'd feel for contours that the grain had planned;
the ball responding to his putter's touch
would follow lines he'd part-divined. He'd scotch
excuse with: Bunkers son, just life's soft sand!
All life was raw material, the land-
scape and the clubhead in the wood. The catch
was that the way you shaped them would shape you.
Then came war, Dachau, darkness, and he knew
the days of nature's probity had gone.
Silent now on truth, his famed persimmon -
and he himself as hushed, no more to say;
yet still he'd let the dumb wood have its way.

32 comments:

Rachel Fox said...

You rhyme really well here. Probably my favourite of the poems you've posted (that I've read anyway).

Dave King said...

Rachel,
Thanks for that. It's my favourit, too - at the moment, the last one always is!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Hope this works, Dave. I have booked myself in as a follower. The last three or four comments before that had been rejected - so here goes.
I like this poem - I like the rhyming scheme and the form and the last few lines certainly made me think.
Good luck with the new format.

Dave King said...

Weaver of Grass

Much thanks for that. My end of the widget has registered you as a follower, so fingers frossed!

Mad Bush Farm Crew said...

Hi Dave, Thanks for dropping by on my blog earlier. I've just been reading your posts. What incredible poetry you write and the images blend in brilliantly with your words. Great blog. I'll be clicking the "Follow" link definitely. All the best and I like the Golf Club Maker the words say it all. All the best
Liz

Cloudia said...

Bravo.
Most poetry leaves me cold - because I love real poetry so much: Rilke, Richard Wilbur;
and today in your post I read a richly grained piece that is beautiful in word & in emotional truth. Appropriate for remembrance / veteran's day - but not trumpeting that. (Your subtlety a fanfare of a sort to the discerning)
Simple. Profound. Pleasurable.
Your words about putting a poem away for a while also marks you as a wise writer. There is a Japanese principle (name forgotten) of doing just this: stepping back from one's creation . . . to allow the infinite . . .to breathe on your creation, and on you, Poet.
As of today I am a follower of your blog, Sir. ALOHA from Waikiki-

christopher said...

New to your blog, came in from Lucy and Box Elder. I like what I see. Thanks. I agree with Cloudia. Most poetry on the internet is worse than doggerel which actually can be good in the hands of a master. Your poem is in a whole 'nother universe, and I love it when a rhyming poem doesn't seem forced.

Sorlil said...

I really like all of this, dave. You've worked the sonnet to the strengths of the form without the form seeming to dictate the poem. Very nicely done!

Janice Thomson said...

I enjoyed this too Dave. The subtle reference to the change the war wrought in him was most profound - and haunting. This was a great piece of writing.

Sarah Laurence said...

I remember doing a similar update last January – painful but rewarding. Perhaps poems, like fine wines, need to age.

Dave King said...

Weaver of Grass

Thanks for that. The new format seems to be working well, as far as I have gone with it - it's the next step that worries me.
Thanks for being so persistent. Much appreciated. I have alerted blogger to the difficulties...

Dave King said...

Mad Bush Farm Crew
Welcome. Really good to have you dropping by, and thanks for taking the time out to comment. Enjoyed my visit to you.

Dave King said...

Cloudia
Welcome aboard and my thanks for taking the time out to comment. And for such generous comments. All feedback is helpful.
I much anjoyed my visit to Comfort Spiral.

Dave King said...

Christopher.

really good to have you visiting. Much appreciate the time out to comment. Very helpful.

Dave King said...

Sorlil

That's a really nice compliment. Much appreciated!

Dave King said...

Janice
Again, a very generous comment, much appreciated. Thanks for that.

Dave King said...

Sarah

Difficult to know sometimes when to stop redrafting! Good to have you visiting - and commenting. Thanks.

Mary P said...

I have a huge pile of notebooks which are such a joy to look through and pick up on old thoughts or techniques that I have experimented with. It is out bottom drawer - a diary almost - which is so essential from not only a progression point of view but also from those words or feelings that so quickly become superseded but still remain valid. I hope you find many more of your past poems that inspire you.

maeve63 said...

Extraordinary poem! I really love this one. It's very deep and beautifully written. I felt like I sank into the words and drifted through a new world.

Fiendish said...

Exquisite. I love that the real heartwrenching element of the poem is kept almost to a footnote. It keeps the whole tone and outlook in focus. Gorgeous stuff.

SweetTalkingGuy said...

Brill! Love the way you stick to the form and break the sentences and even the word land-scape to make the syllable count.I've tried writing sonnets but get so frustrated, you carry this so well!

Dave King said...

Mary P
Thanks for that. I guess my pile will not be quite so extensive, me being not quite so prolific, but I do know what you mmean.

Dave King said...

Maeve63
That's a really lovely comment. Thank you so much.

Dave King said...

Fiendish
A really very much appreciated comment. Thanks.

Dave King said...

SweetTalkingGuy

Yes, I do know how frustrating sonnet-writing can be. Occasionally I have beavered away at one before deciding that the form was unhelpful for that particular subject. Wished I could have realised that much earlier!

Dick said...

This is a very fine poem, Dave, so well conceived and executed. Very difficult to manage economy of line and a rhyme scheme too, but this works triumphantly. An altogether impressive achievement. Are you submitting stuff for publication? If not, why not?

Anairam said...

This is a beautiful poem! It sent shivers down my spine. I have just seen the film Die Fälscher(Counterfeiters) and it kind of reminded me of that same idea - that the things you shape, in turn control you, or limit your options. I am confused by persimon though - is it the same as persimmon the fruit? Will you explain the reference for me, please? (I hope you don't mind, but for me this is a fantastic opportunity - that I can actually speak to the author of a poem and seek clarity!)

Robin Starfish said...

Powerful poetry, Dave, and so masterfully placed. A punch in the gut at "then came the war, Dachau, darkness..." Deeply moving.

Dave King said...

Dick,
Thanks for the very supportive comments. I have not tried to place any poems for publication. Not being very prolific - or, dare I say, fashionable - I have been happy to settle for posting them on the web, thinking that the time and enrgy used to submit them could be better spent writing.

Dave King said...

Anairam
Very gratifying comments, for which much thanks. Yes, you are correct, persimon is a typo. I had not noticed it, but it should have been persimmon. Not the fruit, though, the hard wood of the tree from which the fruit comes. During - and, indeed, just before - the war, it became the most common wood from which the clubheads were made. Its grain and the way it polished-up contributed to its popularity. I should have included an explanation.

Dave King said...

Robin
Thanks for that. As I said to Anairam, very gratifying.

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