The scale of a human life is the speed of the 100 metre sprint. Evolution of this planet is a marathon. It has to be this way so us humans understand the earth which in turn makes us understand ourselves.
Imagine it being the other way around! Evolution being superfast and mountains happening in seventy years or river's changing course in sixty years or even months. But us humans living for tens of thousands of years. We could not comprehend the world or meaning of life. It would be too fast for us considering the length of our time. When you look back at your life most of it will be quite the same, day in day out. We cannot have huge experiences everyday of our life.
Poems grow when ready. Plant a melon seed, mint seed, cucumber seed and a salad seed. Put them in a row in a tub. As the weeks go by they will be in different lengths of growth. Poems are the same. Some take longer than others. Allow poems to come to you.
Two weeks ago I had to put down my best friend. My dog, Jasper. He gave me so much that life doesn't feel the same. It may never feel right ever again.
But it's another reminder that our time on this planet is a lit match. We have no idea how long our time is but we sure know that there's a bottom that we are burning down to. Don't fall into the trap of thinking you are here until retirement. My dog was healthy and only 8 1/2. Five days earlier he had been running around a field.
Find that passion you love and grab hold of it. At least you can say you have not been swallowed up by money or work issues. There's far more rewards to life if you find yourself before you burn away.
A poet is only what they do between poems. We're life detectives. Never turn on the OFF button because you are not writing poems. Between poems is where we're at our most important state of mind.
Agreeing or not agreeing with what I have put on these Wandering pages doesn't matter. All I am trying to do is tickle your thought process for you to find who you are as a human, poet, writer. You can choose to be whatever you want in this life. Be yourself and see what happens!
A few days on the coast and my mind is free from the everyday stuff we all have to deal with. I said the other week that life is too short not to be happy. I am one of the worst for letting things get to me. It does no harm in reminding my own mind that life is too short. Whether you hate work, your home, family, school, college or where you live, just remind yourself of the things you love the most. They are always there. In wait.
Every human being deserves a chance to live, a voice, a chance to be themselves. Any source of belief that constrains these things is not worth following. No God can be happy that there are humans on this earth being put down because of their skin colour, sex, age, political stance, or creed. If there is a God (s) that agress that people should be punished then they are to blame for the state of this planet.
Swifts are getting ready to fly back to Africa. They linger on fields, catch as much food as possible, teach their off-spring how to hunt and fly. They have done their job of creating more life at this end of the earth. Now they must leave. They have made the most of their four to five months in the UK. If you're having a bad week try and remember the swifts. One day you will have to leave this place. But what will you betaking with you?
If you live your life slow, life is fast. If you live your life fast, life is slow.
When you write a poem ask yourself what can you do to improve the sentences.
For example - I walked to the window
watched a blackbird in a puddle
heard the rain on the glass
and a robin flew by.
A very basic poem. I have a routine of 'Stand on the dial and turn' this gets me seeing this poem from a different angle.
I ran to the window
saw a blackbird shake off a puddle
as the clouds scratched at the glass
and a robin helped spin the earth.
This is a quick example of changing your words to make them more powerful. Why did he run to the window? A blackbird had the puddle in his feathers and shook it out. Maybe scratched isn't the best word here but the clouds are doing something to the glass, not the usual rain. Any movement helps spin the earth so this explains the robin. When you redraft say to yourself 'Spin the dial' see where it takes you....
For me there are four pillars for being a poet/writer.
You should aim for one of these things everyday. I know it's tough and many people have busy lives but being consistent with these four pillars will do more for your work than anything else. You have to time-manage your life. I have had all sorts of work problems, travelling to work, being out of work, no money, mental health issues, bad luck in general these past four years, but I have always found a way to keep going.
YOU CAN DO IT.
Trees grow fruit every year. They entice creatures to eat the fruit to give the seeds inside a chance to find a new home. Nature wants to spread all the time. It has no reason to stop. Knowing if it does then life will stop. Every creative thought you have allow them to spread.
The good seeds will flourish. And you will keep on growing.
Write down the names of poets you have read. I mean the poets you have read by at least one collection. If it's leass than 100 you need to read more. A 100 poets will give you variety. An award winning chef doesn't go to other restaraunts and only eats the desert. I am not on a 100 but my aim is to achieve this over the coming months.
The jackdaws are taking this years young to the sky. Flocks of them will be busy over villages, fields, parks and woods. They never give up. Each year they flick up off the branches and take their black wings to a sky that is the same age as the one from last year and a decade before. Everything is repeated except the human life. That is why being human is special. But being a jackdaw is even more special.
If I died tomorrow at the age of 39 and whoever is waiting on the other side asked 'Have you always been a good man?'
I would have to say 'No'
This hurts to admit. I need to be more consistent.
When I write a poem I never use a dictionary. I believe I should use the words my tongue knows, not a book. This will make the poems to me, original, fluent, real, and mine.
If I was to say something to my younger self tomorrow it would be this - For all the people you have met, for all the people you have known, experienced, for all the people you have spoken to or listened to. None of them are superior. No matter what they are in life, job, academia, money, house, physical dimensions, no one has been a superior being. When you're young you're brought up on certain types of people being better than others, or certain types of people being worse.
None of it exists. Some people are luckier, some people are more driven, some people have a more stable mind, some people have a better start, some people have more will, some people have a better balance of hormones in the body than other's.
Never devalue who you are. Everyone has weaknesses.
You can achieve.
Once the first line is lit the pen goes to wherever it needs. I cannot control the pen. The ink is a river on the page. When it wants to gush it will, or turn another course, it will. If you can explain where these things come from you're in for a very long life. Let the pen lead your way and be proud of where it takes you.
I have said before 'It's not about using beautiful words, it's about making words beautiful'
I will stick with this for the rest of my life.
Redrafting poems is like plate spinning. You have to get the balance right....or your work will crash.
If someone asks me 'What's the most important book you have ever read?'
I will always reply 'My last one'
Reason - It's a platform for my next one. A chance to realise where I need to improve and get a better collection next time round.
I am not a better poet today than five years ago, but I am a better writer. You need to separate the both. There's no harm in reading books on writing to improve your skills. Why hold the brake when your pedalling uphill anyway?
When I write a poem at first it doesn't seem to be mine. When I redraft it it then becomes me. But if I go months without reading it and then see it again, it seems to be by someone else again. That's how crazy poetry is.
Don't look through other people's eyes. Look through your own.
You have two people, one who has high levels of Serotonin and the other with low levels. They both enjoy life, even be contented. But because of the chemical difference we perceive them to be different. In school these are the sort of things we should be taught. They help us understand each other's moods. I do believe I have low Serotonin but this doesn't mean I am down because of life. I enjoy the world I live in. I have accepted some things, had to fight other's, picked myself up and enjoyed the good times. You cannot look at someone and say 'They are moody, miserable, grumpy' just because they don't fit what YOU want. You may be lucky and have higher levels of Dopamine, Glutamate, Norepinephrine. It's hard sometimes not to judge, but we should have the knowledge that we're all built differently. It might change the meaning of perception.
When standing in a house you can only look through one window at a time. Someone else may be looking through another window. Accept people's views. Not one way can suit all. Tolerance is a virtue. Acceptance is a virtue. use both when talking to friends, family, work colleagues, etc. If you're always right then you're living the perfect life. Is there such a thing?
How we live on the outside reflects the inside of the body.
We need wind. It moves things around. Spreads seeds, scents, clouds, rain, and storms. The wind is integral to moving the earth. Arguments are the same as the wind. We may hate the noise, random gusts, and damages, but, when things calm down, we should realise we have moved in another direction. This may be for the better.
Go to a recently harvested field look at the stalks left behind. Now this is what a poem may be. We know what the field had been before the harvest, now we see it only in a hint. When we think of a poem to write we have seen something to trigger this off, but when we have come to do this all we have is a hint. A poem is a hint of what you experienced. Turn that hint into whatever you like. That's the fun part.
A poem is written only in the past, but it's the future where we have seen it.
I will always be temperamental. My mind seems to be running along a river bed that is a million years old. In places it's smooth, in other's it's rapid, at times bumpy, then a gurgle. I have no idea why except the thought that our own minds are in the rivers of the world. Flowing through the trenches they have made. I cannot imagine a river that always has one pace, one volume. We will always have our days like a river. Don't build any dams, keep it pushing forward.
There was a time, and not so long ago, that redrafting scared me. I did not know what to do with my work. I was like a wind lost in the mountains. I had no inclination where to take myself to next. These past few months this process has settled inside me. I now look forward to it. Carving out the poem that is hidden/lost inside this block of ink. Weeks later I come back and add a word or take one out. Nudging the poem into a new suit. Give it a new look.
A poem needs to settle on the page, whether that's a notebook or word doc on a pc. You have to sit back and let the words gather themselves in their new positions. You remember in school as a child and we had the task of putting glue on card, then blowing sand over it to create a design. See it as that, you are blowing the poem into a shape you designed. The thing is, the design is not something you can see yourself (that's the mystery of poetry). So you have to keep blowing. Shake off the excess later and see what you have left.