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Friday, 3 April 2009

revisiting, visiting, visitor...

First the final (?) version of my March 13th post Title Anyone in answer to which I received an abundance of riches in the form of suggestions for a title and also editorial advice, all of which I have considered. In some cases I have taken the advice as given. More often it has led to a process of thought which has resulted in changes, possibly which the person who gave the advice might not recognise. But still, without the suggestions I would not have arrived at this version. I will not deail them, but my thanks to all - plus my apology for sticking with the title that I originally had in mind.


Tunnels of the Mind

Still there, the hidden door
beneath the tree stump's
ivy skirt. Enough to roughly shake
the child awake to free the man -
an old, discarded corner
of my inner landscape lighting up.
A sat nav for my visiting.

Perfect concordance: intersections,
tunnels of the mind, an ancient roof-fall,
stones - all harking back
to peopling my secret land
with supermen and supreme
heroes, warriors with special powers
to save the world.

Still there, still hidden
from the adult world, extant
in reverie. Repackaged, dark.
Sleep slips the willing tourist in
who once was architect. Rewriting
memory, it is a palimpsest
of limpid sheets rewriting me.

The population change
unnerved me for a while.
Is it because I'm old
the soldiers all have gone,
left children here to waft the smoke
from air-polluting torches?
I leave it now to them to save the world.




and here I give the original, untitled, version for comparison:


Perfect concordance:
tunnels recalled from childhood, tunnels
extant beneath the garden. Visited
of late in star-bright darkness,
most recently last night,
then twice the week before,
and four more nights that month.

Still there, the hidden door
beneath the tree stump's
ivy skirt. Enough to roughly shake
the child awake to free the man -
an old, discarded corner
of my inner landscape, lighting up.
A sat nav for my visiting.

Steered by it unerringly,
each crossing known,
each excavation harking back
to when I'd peopled them
with supermen and supreme
heroes, warriors with special powers
to save the world.

The population change
unnerved me for a while.
Is it because I'm old
the soldiers have moved on,
left children to waft smoke
from air-polluting torches?
I leave it now to them to save the world.





Visitors

Jeff showing us around
the school where he taught science.
Playtime and he's taking us
to see his Science Club.
Boys, everywhere we go,
are mobbing him:
excited cries of Sir! Sir! Hi ya sir!
Then crashing through a classroom door:
Ned. Come and see, sir! Come and see!
We go.
Beside a glass vivarium, two crane flies
copulating. How....
absolutely natural!
croons Jeff...
Two daddy longlegs - Ned's
face decomposes: What? A daddy
and a mummy longlegs, no?
he asks.
No, both are known as daddy - but
Jeff gets no futher. Wow!
That does it then!
Ned
stamps with venom on them both.
Aint 'aving none of that
round 'ere!
he cries.





Dawn. The pigeon comes
and scatters bread across the lawn.
At dusk he's here to peck it clean.





P.S. and P.P.S. to my last post. Some of you, I know, will be interested to learn that John Cage's 4'33" (1st movement only) is now being offered (in America) as a free download.

In today's Independent an interesting article on the newly refurbished Whitechapel Gallery. Can be read here. Unfortunately, the rather impressive images do not seem to be available on line.

31 comments:

Tom Atkins said...

Tunnels of the Mind resonated with me - the lines "The population change unnerved me for a while" in particular. Strong words.

Karen said...

I love the title and its incorporation into the poem, but I wish you'd post the original here so we could see its evolution. I like looking back at my many drafts to see how I've arrived at the final. (Although, like the artist who sneaked a stroke in the gallery, I never feel they're finished.)

Great depiction of the school, too. Great ending!

Derrick said...

Hi Dave,

It is like visiting an old friend with just a few changes around the place. I like the revised version and my previous familiarity helps a lot.

Also enjoyed your school poem but hope Jeff managed to convey to Ned the need for greater compassion, in every sense!

Tabor said...

Tunnels of the Mind took me back to a place in my childhood in the Rocky Mountains where I also saved the day many times. Nice.

Shadow said...

'tunnels of the mind' is perfect! and this line... 'Rewriting
memory, it is a palimpsest
of limpid sheets rewriting me' is nothing short of brilliant. i went and re-read the first draft, and this one is infinitely smoother. well done.

and lastly, your description of dawn is stupendous!

Aniket said...

While this one is a lot more refined and composed. I still very much like the raw feeling of the first draft too. May be its just me.

The title dwells in the latest version perfectly.

I loved "Dawn" too. We kind of do that often too, scatter bit of things in life, and then try and go back to pick them up.

anthonynorth said...

You've done a good job there with the revision.

Jim Murdoch said...

It's amazing how a couple of changes can make all the difference. I especially like "palimpsest of limpid sheets" - good choice of words here.

And, as far as your daddy longlegs poem I should point out that in Scotland crane flies are all Jenny longlegs so maybe it was a Scottish visitor. Either way they were still probably fornicating.

willow said...

Tunnels of the Mind fit it perfectly. Good choice, Dave. I like the tweaking you did.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I do like the second version much better Dave. It is interesting how much advice from other bloggers helps, isn't it. You don;t necessarily take the advice but it leads to a train of thought which leads to changing something.
Love the idea of 4'33" being down loaded - my son went to hear it performed somewhere up here some time ago and thought it was fantastic - me I'm not so sure - as far as Cage is concerned I am never sure whether or not The Emperor's New Clothes is appropriate.

Snowbrush said...

I liked the abbreviated version as it loses nothing important. I have no idea what a sat nav is, something to do with navigating, I'm sure, maybe a GPS term?

Loved the daddy-long-legs poem.

Tumblewords: said...

Nice tweaks - I like what you've done with this!

Jeanne said...

You kept my favorite line -- yay!

And, I love the new one about the pigeon. (I have a weakness for internal rhyme schemes.)

ELAINE ERIG said...

The tunnels are great, see again or resee the best!

Dave King said...

Tom
Thanks for that: useful feedback.

Karen
No sooner saked than done, I hope you'll notice!
Thanks for the suggestion and the comments.

Derrick
Thanks for all that and, yes, Jeff did take Ned aside for a few quiet words.

Tabor
Sounds interesting...

Shadow
Many thanks for all that. The comments are very reassuring.

Aniket
Interesting observation, which I shall tumble around in my mind, and who knows what will emerge. Thanks for the comments.

anthonynorth
Welcome, thanks for the visit and thanks for stopping to comment.

Jim
Helpful comment on the first poem, for which much gratitude.
Jenny Longlegs, eh? I did not know that - mind you, I doubt he would have approved of two Jennies!

Willow
Thanks a lot for that.

Weaver of Grass
I'm with you on The Emperor's New Clothes. Many thanks for the other comments.

Snowbrush
Thanks for the feedback. A sat nav is a device for navigating (cars, boats any sort of vehicle) by means of readings from a satellite.. Sorry, I should have put in a link for that.

Tumblewords
Thanks greatly.

Jeanne
I'm very pleased I kept your favourite line. (Maybe it was mine, also!)

Elaine
Hope so! Thanks.

Conda V. Douglas said...

I always enjoy the comparison and contrasting of earlier/later versions of poems. Useful too, to see the difference and how well the later poem works. And loved the daddy longlegs poem, although felt very sorry for the poor things.

dianne said...

Beautiful poems here Dave, especially the two versions of 'Tunnels of the Mind', so much thought and depth. ♡

Maggie May said...

I also appreciate the layers here, the depth of your thought and the care with which you place the words.

Dave King said...

Conda
Yes, it can be fascinating, I agree. Thanks for the feedback, which is always useful.

dianne
Welcome to my blog amd my thanks to you for stopping to comment.

Maggie
Many thanks for such generous remarks.

jinksy said...

The second version has brought your words into sharper focus - as though a twist of a camera lens has produced the best shot.

Dave King said...

Jinksy
Thanks for that - a very telling analogy, if I might say so! Sorry to have been so tardy in reply.

SweetTalkingGuy.. said...

Hi Dave, I really enjoyed reading 'Tunnels of the mind' It is a rare privilege to see the evolution like this - and the wonderful workings of your memory, rewriting, reinventing... so creative!

Visitors is dead good, right up my street!!

John Hayes said...

Excellent revision-- I was wrong about that first stanza after all-- oh, well, I like being a maverick I guess. This starts strong & ends the same. Well done.

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