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Monday, 6 August 2012

What to write?


What to write
when I've no idea
what to write?

What to write
when the words I write
do not see eye to eye?

Who can I ask
what I should write,
and who might know?

Good souls abound
with great ideas
for written words.

But the words themselves
might have some thoughts.
Old hands at this,

they've been around,
know where they fit
and how they sound,

how apt they are
in any milieu
for any theme.

Choose a word
or choose a theme
and they'll fall in

one by one
or in twos or threes
choosing themselves -

and watch for the nudge
or the friendly wink
conscripting a friend -

who'll say what you think,
and all with the roles
of troops we'll send

to alien lands
with foreign tongues,
giving little thought

and only a few
standing orders,
rules of engagement

and a rule of thumb,
but never a word
on how to survive.

We lose their trust
with unfeeling ways
and wonder why

they've deserted us
and where they've gone
from our lonely pens.

17 comments:

The Weaver of Grass said...

I think it is called 'writer's block' Dave - I suffer from it sorely from time to time.

Brian Miller said...

no...there is no such thing as writers block...just write...just look and write....it does not have to be good...you just gotta write...ha this is like the opposing view of mine today...smiles

Gerry Snape said...

I regularly give up!! then along comes something unexpected and away I go. I'll keep reading if you keep writing Dave!

Daydreamertoo said...

I'm with Brian. No such thing. Just got to keep writing even if every word is crap or doesn't make any sense. Love what you did with this though :)

Mary said...

I agree with Brian! Smiles.

manicddaily said...

Very clever. I do think if one can get a bit unconscious about it, the words will do the work. It is so lovely to think of them setting out on a trek. k.

Dulcina said...

Excellent, Dave.
When you don't know what to write about... write about it!
In the desert, people must know how to survive, getting potable water and juice from cacti or digging into the dry sand, inventing mirages out of dust.
Words are never lazy, they are waiting for us pen in hand.
Again, excellent, Dave.

Eileen T O'Neill ..... said...

Dave,

I empathize with you so much. When one realises that there is 'no reaction' to the thought process, then that is a very scary moment.
I often take a step back and find a book, or a search through a box of old photographs and it is amazing just what can prompt, the thoughts to return.
Best Wishes Dave and do not worry:)
Eileen

cloudia charters said...

your heart for the living words
reminds me of a favorite Rilke poem. He had the heart of a true word lover - writer; as You do


Wishing You a Sweet Week
with Aloha from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral
<(-'.'-)>

> < } } ( ° >

kaykuala said...

You've said it, I've felt it and solutions abound. Dave will certainly be there with his gems!

Hank

ds said...

Oh yes, the words themselves do have thoughts (and they are generally right). So long as we do not become unfeeling towards them...perhaps it is writer's block, or perhaps it is the words seeking new guises.

haricot said...

Difficult question for me, Dave.
But I trust in the power which are in words themselves, and words lead us for the next word...

Jim Murdoch said...

The last poem I wrote was about this. I learned recently that a friend of mine has died. I stumbled across her obituary and this made me very sad; she was the first girl I ever loved. I desperately wanted to write something down but whenever I’ve been faced with a similar situation—e.g. the death of my parents—perversely the words refuse to come and anything I’ve ever written has been mediocre. Only later—years later in the case of my mum—have more appropriate words arrived in their own good time. One of the stanzas in my latest poem goes:

        I want to trade this hurt for
        words but it’s complicated.
        So few words are suitable
        still I feel it’s expected.

There was another poem from many years ago:

        Unable to find words angry enough
        yet still needing to write,
        he resorted to scribbling wildly,
        and ended doodling:
        boxes within boxes.

I don’t think there is anything worse for a writer than having the need to write but not the words. And yet we all recognise how inadequate words are. What’s wrong with just feeling hurt? Why do we feel we have to trade in our feelings for words? Because we want to pay tribute? Because we want to record the moment for posterity?

The poem I wrote for my friend took my about ten days to write. Unusually for me I worked on it for an hour or so every day until it was word perfect. I still find it artificial, constructed but it’s the best I can do for now.

Dave King said...

The Weaver of Grass
Yes, I was writing mostly about writers' block - which I think is a matter of running dry of good ideas.

Brian
Absolutely. My thought exactly. Oh dear, it wasn't meant as an opposing view.

Gerry
Nicest thing any one has said to me this morning! Thanks for.

Daydreamertoo
Agreed. Not sure where I went wrong and misled everybody!

Mary
Me too!

Manicddaily
That also is it exactly. The other side of the coin. It's cutting out the editor that's the tricky part.

Dulcina
Ah, bless you, you have restored my faith in me!!

Eileen
Yes, that's it. As Brian and Daydreamertoo said, just write - anything, what ever comes to mind. It may start as bin loads of rubbish, but it won't stay that way!

Cloudia
Wow, this is in danger of making me a little big-headed. But thanks!

Hank
Too kind. Much thanks.

ds
Yes, not being unfeeling towards them is the important bit!

haricot
Well, you have the main thrust well enough! Thanks.

Ygraine said...

Welcome to my homeland Dave!
I seem to be stuck here with no means of escape at present.
So good to have your company! Hehehe :D

Dave King said...

Jim
I can relate 100% to your difficulties writing about thoe close to you who have recently died. It was a long time before I could write anything about my dad, and then not about his death. I still have not written anything about my mother, though she died many years before him.

I like very much the opening words of the first stanza you quote:
I want to trade this hurt for
words

and find the stanza from your earlier poem even more impressive. It seems to me to have insight and a great heft of truth behind it.

I have a quote in my notebook to which I keep returning. Stupidly, I didn't note down the author!
The poet's eternal paradox: words are not good, but they are all we have, nevertheless, the more we are able to dispense with them, make them redundant, the nearer we get to poetry and the more we are able to say.

A Cuban In London said...

Well, they haven't deserted you, have they? Words, I mean. :-)

Greetings from London.