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Sunday 26 February 2012

The River : three poems

These for dVerse PoeticsSculpting a Poem. I have chosen the option to write a poem then chip away at it as a sculptor might at a block of marble. - My phraseology. Do go and see for yourself.

The river

is a living thing,

a sculptor reconfiguring

all that would contain it: limestone landscape,

flood plain, poetic metaphor.

We see it bide its time, this thing

that Eliot called a strong brown God.

We see it watching, waiting,

swell and shrink,

breathe in and breathing out

until one quite precise and vital moment

when it catches us off guard

and breaks its banks to overflow

and inundate the land.

Its first magnificent creation is destroyed

along with all that man has made.


The river,

living thing, creative force

hand of an unseen sculptor,

reworking limestone,

finding shape and metaphor.

It bides its time

does Eliot's strong brown God,

it watches, waits,

inhales, exhales.

It swells and shrinks,

then catches us off guard

to overflow its banks,

rejects its first creation

to start again.


The river

creative force of nature

spirit, carves limestone

into metaphor

bides its time,

is Eliot's strong brown God,

that swells and shrinks,

breathes in and out

then overflows,

catching us off guard.

We thought it finished

when it trashed its work

to start again


Elephant's Child said...

Love it in all three incarnations. Thank you.

Claudia said...

very cool idea...both...using the river in a sculpturing way, re-defining itself over and over again without needing hands to form it and then the chiseling on the poem itself..nice..

The Weaver of Grass said...

I like these Dave - living as we do in an area which is dominated by two rivers (the Ure and Swale) which flood regularly and stop the traffic - I really relate to your interpretations.

Rachel Green said...

What a clever idea, and beautifully executed.

Madeleine Begun Kane said...

Wonderfully done!

kaykuala said...

Clever way of chipping off the masterpiece, Dave!


Ravenblack said...

I liked it that you posted the three versions, thanks for sharing. It really becomes stronger and the images and metaphors more focus as the poem is being chipped down. I like the last three lines of the 2nd version a little more than the last one with its focus more on what the river does rather than what the observers think. The river breathes with life and strength -- great read.

rch said...

I love playing with words and trying to use them economically so enjoy the whole post, but I really like the first best, have a nice day.

poetrydiary said...

I think these get better and better - it would be interesting to keep going until you feel you've gone too far...

Brian Miller said...

it does gain more focus as you chip away at it...well played good sir in the form and in the metaphor as well...

Manicddaily said...

A very interesting idea to re-tell in three versions. It seems to me that this is still in progress. I think it works, but might be open to some revision to pick and choose even a bit more of what's repeated and refined, only because the repeated sections are quite long, and it may be useful to streamline, as it were, even more. This is just a thought because I think we all write poems that are on the long side-- understandable when blogging because we are posting very quickly after creation.

I do think it works, as is, but also that the idea is so strong that you haven't finished with it. I love the idea of sculpting limestone to metaphor. K.

Scarlet said...

The river poems are a great metaphors to use. I think its a challenge to capture and try to sculpt it in our hands. And I like the ending line..to start again ~

Unknown said...

What a great idea, to show the river and poem as process, poem becoming its object of reflection. Heraclitus said you can't step into the same river twice. Interesting how your poems reflect this simple but profound truth. I've always been fascinated by rivers, flooding, and the origins of civilization. From the Tigris and Euphrates to the Nile, rivers and their regularities as well as their chaos shape us so intimately in who we have become as beings. Then there's the Amazon! What a behemoth, shirking off pretense to civility!

Laurie Kolp said...

Amazing what a little sculpting can do... which I know is very hard. I'm impressed, Dave!

Ygraine said...

I love all three, but the middle one is my favourite.
It evokes such vivid images of a river in full flow.
Wonderful :)

hedgewitch said...

Really interesting, David. I do this a lot with my poems--in your case though, each one is almost a different beast--and I can't really pick one over another--the first one seemed excellent, discursive, conversational, the second, forceful and mysterious, the last one declarative and emphatic--all clear and effective shots of the subject matter. I often think of my first scribblings as 'notes' they're so basic--not so here. Excellent writing, much enjoyed it.

Yousei Hime said...

I liked each one until I read the next one. I love this process. I remember reading some of Tolkien's drafts. It feels like we catch glimpses of genius.

Thank you for visiting and luring me back for a very good read.

stu mcp (hate & hope) said...

Really nice to see these words get 'sculpted'. Nice to see your thought processes and refinement also. I think the end product works very well indeed- nice words my friend!

Tommaso Gervasutti said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tommaso Gervasutti said...

"The river is within us, the sea is all about us;"

Thank you Dave for reminding me of these lines and The Dry Salvages which have never left me since I was twenty.

Windsmoke. said...

I can relate to Eliots "strong brown god" as our own Yarra River which courses through Melbourne is called the upside down river by us locals because it seems the river bed is on top and not down below where it should be :-).

Victoria said...

I'm hard-pressed to single out which one I prefer. But it was fun to see how you worked through the process. Which one do you like best?

Frank Watson said...

Interesting to go through the drafts of the poem and watch each one become more precise and powerful. Really illustrates the sculpting process, of nature, the hand, and words.

Mary said...

Impressive, Dave! Well sculpted.

Lisa said...

You sculpt and resculpt, just like the master. Beautiful poems.

Misterio Vida said...

i wish i could write like you then definitely i would have written a poet about Dave King - the poet who think and dream in poetry :)

haricot said...

I like to see any river, and your words attract me as if I'm seeing one now.

Dave King said...

The Elephant's Child
Much thanks .

Thanks. Must say I really enjoyed this one.

The Weaver of Grass
Yes, thanks for this. I do love water - rivers, seas, lakes, whatever. I hadn't realised your rivers were the Ure and Swale, though. I had them out East, running into the Humber!

Thanks for saying so.

Good to have your comment.

Hi, and a warm welcome to you. It's really good to have such an informative comment. Thank you so much for it.

Thank you for saying this. It is interesting - and helpful - to know how others think.

Hi, Good to have you visiting and to have such thought-provoking comments. Thank you for yours, I shall give it some consideration.

Thanks for this. I think I more and more favour the spare, but it's good to hear.

Thank you so much for your detailed comments. I too see it as a work in progress, feel that there is more that could be done to it. I originally conceived it as one poem and thought the three sections might be successively slimmed down (worn away) by the action of the river. It was too ambitious for the time I had available. It might be too ambitious. Full stop. Streamlining, though, does have attractions to it. Thanks again for such a valuable input.

Thanks for this comment. Much appreciated.

Much thanks for this. The quote from Heraclitus strikes me as profound and apt - and I have often toyed with attempting something on the Amazon - and the Orinoco. Thanks again.

I guess we just have to keep chipping away! Much thanks for this, Laurie.

Thanks. yes, I think I would choose the middle one also. I might start again with that one.

Thank you so very much for this. I am fascinated by the characteristics you find in the three poems. You may have read in mine to Manicddaily that I had conceived the post as one poem, but couldn't bring it off. Interesting, too, your note on your drafts. My first is often just that: notes or facts that I have collected. I write them down in some rough order to see what they suggest.

A warm welcome to you and thank you for this great response. I think we cannot always know the good that such comments do.

stu mcp
grateful thanks for this. I find it most encouraging.

You have just sent me back to the work. I am flattered that I reminded you of it, but thanks.

That's fabulous. I didn't know that, of course. Fascinating!

Thanks for this . I think I'd have to say the second.

Blue Flute
I am really encouraged by your words. Thank you so much for them. Good to have you visiting.

Much thanks.

Hi and welcome to you. Thank you for your valued comment.

Wow, not sure what I've done to deserve this, but I do thank you for it, most sincerely. really good to have your company.

That's good. Thank you so much.

Dave King said...

Thank you so much. Sorry I missed you earlier.

Gerry Snape said...

Dave ..the middle one really speaks to me in a way that the other don't...though I like them also...will read all again and try to work out what it is that grabs me in the middle poem.

hyperCRYPTICal said...

A wonderful sculpt Dave - love all three but adore the original!

Anna :o]

jabblog said...

I like each of your verses but I find the third one really striking. It's spare and tight and leaves room for the mind to wander its infinite possibilities.