11 October 2012

Poemoholic

Plaque on a railway bridge - The Monsal Trail, Derbyshire
After all these years, I have finally come to admit that I have an addiction. Yes folks, I’m Mr Pudding and I am… I am a poemoholic. Been writing poems since I was six years old and I’m still writing them now as I approach sixty. Okay, I don’t write poems every day but the addiction is always lurking in the background – like a skeleton in the secret cupboard of my mind. They surface from time to time and I’m sorry, okay? Sorry that some of them have forced their way into this humble, everyday Yorkshire blog. I just can’t help myself – I’m an addict.

I realise that some regular visitors to this blog are almost anti-poetry and if they had a poet living next door they’d probably laugh and point at him/her as he/she walked by. It would be more embarrassing than living next door to a pervert like Jimmy Savile. Your house value would surely plunge.

On a few occasions, comments on my poems have revealed this antipathy towards poetry with some correspondents suggesting I should lighten up or as Neil from “The Young Ones” might have muttered, “Heavy man!” But we poemoholics will protest that one of the main purposes of poetry is to peel away the skin of human life and go for the jugular, to root around in the attic until you find what has been hidden. The oft-times superficial and jolly poetry of Edward Lear or Pam Ayres should not be dismissed – it has its place - but to me that’s not real poetry, it’s more wordplay… entertainment. Real poetry should connect with the reader and make you think and the words it employs should sometimes sing to you like music. I’m not saying I always reach that goal but like other poemoholics, I try.

As an English teacher, I frequently encountered youngsters who automatically moaned when poetry was on the day’s menu: “I hate poetry” etc.. I would often point out that they liked songs which are simply poems set to music and when loved ones die we will invariably fall back on poetry – at the funeral service or in newspaper announcements. Poetry is in nursery rhymes and football chants, advertising copy and greetings cards and it’s in the rhythm of everyday conversation – the language we choose, our turns of phrase, how we try to describe our experiences.

I turn the clock back over fifty years. I’m up in my bedroom writing a rhyming poem about an imagined hero who presses on through the mountains, crosses gushing rivers, slays dragons and battles through snowstorms to reach his goal… There, it’s done. Excited, I thunder downstairs. My family are about to settle down for their Sunday tea and I’m seven or eight years old and I say, “Listen! Listen! I’ve been writing a poem!” They go quiet and they listen as, pleased as punch, I recite the juvenile poem to my loved ones. I finish, close the little blue exercise book and wait for their reaction. They burst out laughing – it’s infectious. My mother has tears of laughter in her eyes and I redden with a mixture of puzzlement and anger before storming back upstairs where I stay, refusing to come back down for my tea. I bet Walt Whitman never got that reaction – nor Alexander Pope nor e.e.cummings. But as you know, it didn’t put me off. I’m still a poemoholic and I’ll most likely die one:-
Here lie the bones of Yorkshire Pud 
Who often erred 
But tried to be good 
Afflicted by the poetry disease 
He could never find a life of ease
Long Dale, Derbyshire - the inscription reads
"The road up and the road down are one and the same"

12 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mine'll be:

    Here lies Tom,
    who the Lord,
    through His grace,
    accepted into his arms,
    a compassion for which,
    those of us left,
    shall remain forever grateful.

    Either that or an HSE notice stating 'No naked flames within forty yards'

    Some of my best friends are poets, by the way

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  3. It is considered especially funny by some immature people, mostly U.S. teenagers, to say, when someone inadvertently makes a rhyme in everyday speech:

    You're a poet
    And don't know it
    But your feet sure do show it
    'Cause they're long fellows.


    I don't know enough about your feet to comment on them.

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  4. I agree with you YP. Your poems as previously are thought provoking rather than rhyming. I liked that tombstone quote about the road up - Dave

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  5. I'd like you to post that poem that your family laughed at - oh go on, do....

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  6. HIPPO Are you sure you'll even have a grave? After all, they'd need to dig a bloody big hole for a hippo!
    RHYMES WITH We have a similar rhyme here:-
    I'm a poet
    But I don't know it
    Every time
    I speak in rhyme
    DAVE HAMILTON If you click on that picture you should see that some of the carved words are in reverse - like mirror writing. That's what really caught my eye
    JENNY You -----! I don't have that poem now. I was seven or eight years old at the time but:-
    In Wrexham town there lived a lass
    Who drank red wine from a beer glass
    In her street she became a feature
    Known as Demob Happy Teacher

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  7. I definitely misread that title. I was expecting a confession that you were addicted to the works of Edgar Allan. Either that or an avid collector of guzunders.

    I'm not one of those who hates poetry, but I can't say I'm a big fan either. Mostly they leave me cold, but every now and then one will really touch me. I suppose I need to get in touch with my inner poet.

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  8. My friend claims to be a poemoholic.
    When he's up, he's up, which is quite systolic;
    When he's down, he's down, sometimes with the colic;
    All in all, he strikes me as hyperbolic.

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  9. There once was a blogger named Pudding
    Who wrote metrically of clouds that were scudding
    His words were dactylic,
    Anapestic and lyrical
    But I'm stuck for one rhyming with pudding

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  10. Without art, Earth would be ... 'eh?'

    With poetry, Earth becomes ... 'o, therapy'



    ReplyDelete
  11. Shooting Parrots:

    His words were dactylic,
    Not at all imbecilic,
    His mind like a flower was budding.

    or try a slant rhyme in the last line:

    His mind did his poetic bidding.


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  12. SHOOTING PARROTS This could be the start of your new career as a travelling bard. Dressed in minstrel clothing you could circulate round south Manchester and Stockport pubs, enlightening the plebs with your linguistic artistry.
    RHYMES WITH PLAGUE I know you are already a convert of the Poetry religion and need no persuading. So pleased you didn't use "alcoholic" in your clever ditty....You wrote a half-finished poem about Shootie - I shall do the same soon. Thanks for the idea.
    KATHERINE I tried but just didn't "get" your second one. Please explain. Is it because the planet is shaped like a big "o"?

    ReplyDelete

Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.