April was Poetry Month and a fellow poet suggested having a go at writing a poem a day for the whole of the month. I'd like to share one of these poems and its genesis with you.
When I am in need of inspiration I often find it helps to start with a random list of words. I find these in all sorts of ways, from newspaper articles, flicking through books etc. This time I flicked through a copy of a poetry title I have just acquired Dark Film by Paul Farley, itself a brilliant read. From this I gathered the following words:
I started by doing some notes:
Caught in a downpour, my ears filling with water, the allotments flooded, the chimneys shooting flames, I'm soaked, I'm boiling, I'm bitter. The floorboards creak as I cry.
Then another burst of rambling:
always a downpour
never an up pour
not possible, not unless time is moving backwards
and actions are being reversed
ears are aching, ears of corn in fields
swallowing smoke. soaked in a downpour
Pretty much nonsense and then something clicked and I moved on to thinking about taking refuge from the downpour and who I might be with with and what we might find.
During the downpour,we take refuge
in your grandpa's allotment shed
and rummage for what we can find:
a jar of boiled sweets, a few
squares of bitter chocolate,
a miniature bottle of rum.
We are thirteen. We consume it all
sitting on the warm floorboards. You say:
"We'll never have this day again"
and lean in for an awkward kiss."
I hear myself saying
"You've got beautiful ears". Outside
the factory chimney belches smoke.
Copyright Susan Jane Sims
When I sat down to write I had no idea what I would write, however the list of words, Paul Farley's lovely urban poems and my own memories led to the above poem which I am pleased with. The discipline of having to use particular words I think give it a quirky feel, particularly the beautiful ears.
If you have been inspired then do consider sending poems in to Poetry Space Competition 2013.