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.
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