We need poetry more now than ever. Poetry slows the world down. The reason for this is it wants you to realise yourself. The senses are triggered by poetry, or being a poet. Our lives have become so fast that we forget the slowness of the earths seasons, geology, weather, tides, erosion, and all the other things that make this planet unique. The world we live in today is a false impression of what is really happening. Everything seems to come off a conveyor belt so we get into the routine of life goes on and it lasts forever. But this Coronavirus has shown how fragile our world is. When animals become extinct there's no store on eBay you can buy more off, the change of weather will be not be undone by an app. What we see is false. Poetry brings reality into the world by showing you your own connection to this earth. We are charged by it, inspired by it, grown from it. There is no planet earth 2. Coronavirus is a hint of what may be in the future, the immediate future. The false world of consumerism is about to end. Find poetry and you will end it first.
I have said before you can never 'Catch' poetry. It something that alludes us. You can try and grab it like the when you swipe at the wind. There may well be some in your hand, but like poems, it leaks out. Poems leak. That's why they change. They are never settled. Hence, I am going crazy! Ha.
When you write a poem you want the reader to stay with your words. try and make those words sticky, a glue substance, so the reader stays to the page. If your words are like ice how fast will the reader read those poems? Glue their eyes to your work!
These past few weeks Anxiety and Depression have hit me. Coronavirus has been very tough. The lockdown even tougher. Depression is eating away at my mind. Yesterday I saw depression as a jigsaw creating a picture in my brain. That's what depression is, a picture that does not exist and the jigsaw is as big as you allow. Depression builds the picture to give you a falseness you start to live with. You need to break it up. This is what I am doing with my Life Journal. I am doing the things I enjoy, and each activity breaks up the jigsaw. One day soon my view will be reality again.
I believe when we are born we are a released seed out of its shell, and await our passions to help us grow. But over time many fail to find this and so build up a new shell that encrusts who they could become. This shell prevents them developing as people and they walk the same routes their whole lives. You do have a choice though to break down this encasing. This is where I seem to be today, and have been for a few years. Slowly breaking down what I had built. I am finding who I am with profoundness as I age.
As a society we are shackled to language. Idioms, proverbs, cliche's, local twang, gossip, work, family, news, and all sorts of other ways to talk keep us chained to words. This has a huge effect on ourselves. When you watch a profesion at the highest level,and you see the successful people in that area, they have a language suited to that way of life. They have broken free of everyday speech and followed their own passions. For example, a chef on Master Chef the Professionals, the words they use are nuanced to that area and their success grows through those sentences. If a person does not find a way to live they become shackled to the local dialect. Hence, reading books is a big investment for a human being. As a poet it's great to talk about poetry and what it has done to my own life. Meeting like minded people help release you from the sentences that are around you. We grow with words. The more you feed yourself the more you see.
Find a stopwatch or use the one on your phone. Put it in and place it in your pocket. Do your best to forget about it. When you pull it out later see how long it has gone for, stop the time.
Now ask yourself 'What have you done in that time period?' or 'How have you behaved?' because that time on the stopwatch will never come back.
We all have dreams, goals, aspirations. It is part of who we are, but some are more driven than others. Imagine yourself as a small fish in a pond, but beyond this pond is the sea. You sense it's there, your mind tries to enter it, but because you have not seen the sea it appears as a vast emptiness to your beliefs. Now, you may say as a poet, I want a collection, or I want to be published in two of the top magazines in the UK. This is great, but what happens is, that dream floats around your pond and your dreams are gauged by this small thing. It's not what you see in your pond that you should aim at, it's what your mind does not see in the big body of water across the sand. Reach out into the emptiness.
What you are today is only what you have become from the experiences of your own life.
During your life what you put into your brain is the same as what you put into your shopping basket. Let us say for every one pound spent is a decade of life. I may have six pounds, someone else may have nine pounds and another person may have eight pounds. We go down the aisles, place in what we can with our money. When we get to the till we scan everything and see what we have brought with us into death. The people around me may have had more money to spend, but does that mean their baskets are better than mine? Be aware of what you are putting into your basket and spend wisely.
I have said before, progress is horizontal. Not vertical. If it's horizontal then at some point it will come back around. And that means, back to the basics. Or we could say being horizontal means you never leave the level of the basics. Where as vertical progress means you start to look down at the basics and start to think you are above them. Whatever you do in life, always remember the basics.
A block of marble is sent to an artists studio. They look at what they can do with the marble, search for an idea, plan it, chase it, achieve it. The marble is sculptured into something only the artist could see within the rock. That marble became the Venus De Milo. When you write a first draft of a poem you have just bought a huge block of stone. The tools us poets use are the poems we have already read. The more you read, the more you shape.
I may be very wrong on this thought. This week I have had serious depression. It's been horrible. I had a day where I was close to breaking down as I walked the dog. It was horrific.
But today, 14/06/2020, I feel fine again.
My thoughts are along the idea of - most people on this earth have had back pain. It may last two days, two weeks or two months. Over time you learn that somethings ignite this pain off. With experience you also realise this back pain will subside.
Is the depression I have had this week, similar? In terms of something has triggered it and over the week I have waited for the pain to subside. I said to myself in the middle of the week, hang in there and it will get better. I have no idea what has caused it. With Anxiety I know the triggers and try my best to stay away from them. This is something I will keep my thoughts on as I go through my life. I have been off work this week, but why would depression hit me when I am off? Is the restrictions from Covid-19 the trigger?
You cannot live everyday. It's impossible. But what you can do is try to be you everyday. Being yourself is when you get the most out of your days.
For me to live everyday I would have to be in Snowdonia all the time. This is not possible for me. So how do I try and be me each day I wake? A life journal or diary is a great way to keep you being you. Be aware of who you are.
Life does not start in secondary school. It does not start when you are 18 or 21. It does not start when you begin work or college. It does not start when you move home. It does not start with marriage, mortgage or having children. None of these things bring automatic happiness.
Life starts when you find out who you are and live by it. I am a poet. But I did not know this until my mid-thirties.
Years ago I had a job that was not the best place to work. At the time I did not realise how negative the place was. Over the years it got even worse. I look back at all the arguments, back-stabbing, bitching, negative comments, slurs, arrogance, bitterness, jealousy, hate, sexism, ageism, bullying and other moments that are worth forgetting. None of it got anyone anywhere. We all suffered. I am not going to apologise for the way I was or how I reacted to some. But what I am going to do is prevent it happening again in whatever place of work I am. They were some of the worst people I have encountered, and I was, at times. in my worst condition as a human. Looking back over your life and seeing where things were not good is only good for your own future.
So many things determine your days you must never look at others and think you're better. Are you aware of your own - genetics, hormones, personality type, diet, sleeping pattern, environment, stress levels, mental health, physical health, money problems, addictions, relationships, social life?
All these things will be on someone's mind each minute of their day. It only takes one to be out of place and the whole lot suffers. This could then make that person feel - low, depressed, stressed, impatient, angry, upset, moody, grumpy, negative, bitchy, quiet,
up and down, fed up, lost, and whatever else. Spend a week monitoring yourself and how you are and how people are with you, then use that evidence on how you treat others.
I believe if you surround yourself with positivity you gain that energy and it shapes who you are. Life is incredibly short. I have spent years lost in negative emotions. Hours upon hours scrambling through a maze of sludge. Most of my twenties were a mess, my late teens depression hit, early thirties I got hit by anxiety.
What happens is you allow these things to dictate your life. As I have aged I have learnt to do my best to keep doing positive things and talk to happier people. Motivate your energies and see where they carry you, like a thermal in a wind.
Shedding skin shows you nothing is permanent. Keep going, never give up. Change is always there waiting.
Being disciplined starts with the stone in the shoe. So many of us ignore the stone. We think it will jump out and leave the shoe, or bore a hole to escape. The stone is a niggling issue slowing us down and being a pain in the arse. The stone now starts to show on our faces. We carry on walking doing our best to ignore the annoyance of a stone in the shoe. Then we stop and search for it, turn the shoe upside down and wait for it to fall out. We should have dealt with it straight away but ignored the issue. Our discipline failed. If you find yourself ignoring your work, finding excuses and whatever else to prevent you achieving your goals. Then it starts with the stone in the shoe. Until you deal with the smallest of issues straight away the big things will always trouble you.
It's not the light that shines through your window that matters, it's the shadow behind you when you stand into the light that does.
If you could live yesterday again, tomorrow, what would you change? Whatever you answer is who you wish to become, but are scared too.
You can pour water into a jug and fill it whole. The water is happy to sit inside being a jug. Or you can put ice cubes in and have gaps still left to fill. If you're going to shape yourself into something new make sure you allow the change to take place and allow yourself to feel the drips. It will take time but you will get there.
Certain are the people of their own views that they harden up before their joints. And the spirit comes to a halt before their own steps.
Being rich inside and poor outside is the perfect balance. The people who are the opposite to this are the reason the world is in constant struggle.
The trouble with the world is this - If all humans had one acre each and that was our own land and we relied on it to live and survive, the planet would be in a much happier position. The fact that a vast amount of people only live in small areas and have no say on anything else is the reason we don't care or see it as our obligation to fight for planet earth. We seem to assume people ie councillors, politicians, environment people, naturalists, business leaders, and others, will look after every acre. We all need an acre each to feed us, to educate, to profit, to grow, to become spiritual, to feel ownership, to take part, to become, to be together.
Redrafting Poetry is the same as fixing your roof during a storm. You have a hundred nails to hammer down to keep the roof safe, and each one has to be put in for the roof to be secure. It's a constant battle with one hundred mile per hour winds and a million raindrops. But you keep on going. Redrafting is the same. The emotions I go through redrafting is far more than the effort of writing a poem. A first draft is the easy part! A poet is only as good as their redrafting skill. Keep hammering those nails down!
It's not who you can be in life, it's breaking the shell to release someone you never thought was there. So many phrases that lead you to be someone you can see, but never a thought of finding the person you are blind too.
With each waking hour you expose yourself to the ticking of a clock. You should aim to tick the clock yourself. Not allow it to drip by in your ears.
People can say whatever they want about me. All they are doing is seeing a picture after it's been painted. We can all have an opinion on that. The bit they haven't seen is how I have mixed the colours to become who I am today. Only accept words from people close enough to you that have noticed how you painted your own picture.
Be you. Every second of every day be yourself. If someone does not like that then move them out of your life. All plants have a certain set of conditions for them to become their best selves. If you need to move away from an area to find what suits you, go for it! Life is too short to be punished by shade if you're a full sun person.
Some say 'Live your life!' What does this actually mean? It's more important to be yourself. Once you get into this habit your life will be lived anyway.
When I redraft poems I start off with a quick sweep. Then I leave it before coming back with a hoover. After this, it's polish time, then a surface cleaner. We have a breather before I come back with an air freshener. It takes different stages to find the poem you want. Ripping it up straight away leaves me gasping for air.
You should read every day. As Poets we invest our lives in words as a Banker does with Bonds and Shares. If you cannot read every day then you should be asking serious questions of who you want to be in life.
As I have gotten older I have realised everything I own is worthless. Only what I have built inside is worth keeping and fighting for. Have a look around your house and ask yourself 'WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO ME? Declutter the world around you. We all hold onto things that gather dust. There is a spiritual awareness when you start to move away what you don't need. All I have is clothes, books, some Classical Music cd's, binoculars, kitchen ware, exercise equipment, and a shaver! I do have a mobile, phone but that's more for podcasts when I walk, than being an actual important need.