I ... entered the poem of life, whose purpose is ... simply to witness the beauties of the world, to discover the many forms that love can take. (Barabara Blackman in 'Glass After Glass')

These poems are works in progress and may be updated without notice. Nevertheless copyright applies to all writings here and all photos (which are either my own or used with permission). Thank you for your comments. I read and appreciate them all, and reply here to specific points that seem to need it — or as I have the leisure. Otherwise I reciprocate by reading and commenting on your blog posts as much as possible.

7 March 2015

Reductions

Experimenting for dVerse Meeting the Bar.  A great method of revision! I wasn't happy with the originals. I'm better pleased with the new versions.

Grass


Always, for me,
the smell:
new-mown
after rain.

The window,
drops running down.
A few inches visible
the other side of the path.


  Original (July 2011):

  ‘Grass,’ he says. 
  ‘What does that word 
  make you see?’ 

  Always, for me,
  it’s the smell:
  new-mown grass
  after rain.

  What I see
  is the window,
  rain running down
  and just a few inches
  of visible grass
  on the other side of the path.


 ******


 Unmasked

 Helen demands,
 ‘What beasts
 inhabit my garden?’

 A marmalade cat
 sunning its upturned belly
 shifts its rump,
 flips onto paws.

 It stands, a tiger
 with orange stripes;
 flexes painted claws
 deep red with sparkles.

 An amethyst hangs
 centre forehead.
 It lashes its tail and snarls.
 A flash of sequins.

 Cubs shelter
 behind its flanks —
 a female ready to hunt;
 a drowsy male.

Helen, domestic and wild,
fierce to guard her children,
dances and flashes her belly.


   Original (May 2005):

Helen demands to be told
what fabulous beasts
inhabit my garden,
what masquerading friends
adopt fantastic disguises
to surprise me so.

I do not garden well or often.
Anything might appear
among the luxuriant weeds
and the long grass of the lawn.

I spot a marmalade cat
sunning its upturned belly —
nothing strange about that
(although it isn’t mine).

A sinuous wriggler,
it shifts its rump
and flips onto its paws.
Oh! when it stands, I see
it’s a tiger with orange stripes.

It flexes painted claws.
They are deep red with sparkles.
An amethyst hangs
in the centre of its forehead.
It lashes its tail and snarls;
I catch a flash of sequins.

Two cubs are sheltering
behind its flanks —
a purposeful female
ready to hunt,
and a younger, drowsy male.

Well, Helen, which of my friends
is both domestic and wild?
What magickal sexpot
dances and flashes her belly,
or passionate matriarch
is fierce to guard her child?

Oh, and while you’re there in my garden,
I hope you might plant some veggies
and give me a hand with the weeds!

                              (After seeing the original of this poem, my friend Helen informed me that  she had a ginger cat, and that one of her spirit familiars was a tawny tiger, neither of which I knew at the time!)

20 comments:

  1. ha. i love the cat one...i am a cat person...and my cat is a nut...
    but in the reduction, i can see it very clearly...and good on the mom
    ready to protect...though even being a lazy man,
    i would protect mine.

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  2. Yes I agree with Brian - the reduction of the cat one makes extremely cat like, somehow the economic movement of the cat is clear in your words.

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  3. Wow your skill at reduction is displayed prominently here! I really enjoyed what you've done with both pieces and am so happy you joined in our experiments.

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  4. I also tried reduction but did not post my old (unreduced) poem. Maybe I should do it.

    I really like your reduced version of Grass. It is exactly why I like grass.

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    1. I think it adds to the interest for readers; however it is the new poems we really want to present, if we think they are better. (Smile.)

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  5. oh i love the smell of fresh mown grass... nothing that speaks more of summer like that scent.. you have me longing for summer with this one.... sigh

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  6. I love the newly trimmed words and could see using this process again, smiles ~

    Love the smell of newly mown grass and the marmalade cat ~

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  7. I like the reduction better in the second in the second poem. How nice that the prompt gave you the opportunity to revise old poems.

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  8. Love the cat story. The first poem is also good, expressing beauty in a few words.

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  9. Well expressed.
    Even I love the smell of grass after it rains!
    Cat poem is interesting :)

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  10. The first poem brought back strong memories of the smell of freshly cut grass coming through my grandmother's window. Lovely.

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  11. I love both. Somehow, I understood the revised versions better after reading the originals. Some of the pieces seemed to fit better after reading the second half. Beautifully penned. :)

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    1. Interesting! I would like the new versions to be fully comprehensible in themselves. Perhaps I must work harder when I use this technique again.

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  12. I like how the shortened poems still retain the essence of the originals. Very nice.

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  13. I like the grass poem in the condensed version, as it gives the substance of the longer one in a few well chosen words.

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  14. Refreshing to read of grass when mine is deep under the snow. Daylight Savings Time brings us closer to Spring and the smells of newly-mown grass and rain.

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  15. very fine work both - grass reminds me of my childhood and my attempts to mow our yard over and over throughout my youth.

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  16. the reductions are very tight and worked well... the 1st was my favorite (I'm allergic to cats so I got cat-envy reading the 2nd... smiles). I really dug the simplicity of 'Grass'

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  17. great reductions. I especially enjoyed the first one...I could almost smell the wet, fresh mown grass.

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  18. I'm not a cat person, so I gravitated to your first poem. It is really amazing how the reduction makes it so crisp, clear and visually strong.

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