It can be strange seeing a beautifully crafted poem on the page, or being performed with wit and nuance; it can seem as if it has appeared from nowhere, ready-formed, but of course this isn’t the case. OK, sometimes the words travel from brain to page via pen and need relatively little editing. Other times, not so much…
I’m aware this isn’t exactly a revelation – we all know there’s work behind any finished piece of writing, art etc – but a friend and fellow writer recently told me they were amazed at how I got ideas produced straightaway in near-final form. My thought was “usually I don’t”, hence this post. The one in the photo, Stone Meadow (the fourth title I tried) started as an image of delivery riders swarming like bees when I saw them from the bus. This was pretty clear in my head, but getting it into the form I wanted – not so easy. Colours and shapes changed, lines came and went, reappeared and were expunged once more. I even had to go on a field trip to check something at the location – that usually isn’t required. But, the next draft was pretty close to what I wanted, and the third – well, that was the one I was happy with. It’s now on the wall at the Pride of Place Project in Southampton, along with pieces by Angela Chicken, Dan O’Farrell, Issa Loyaan Farrah and others.
So, is it worth it for one fairly short poem? Of course it is! Apart from the joy of creating which is never a chore (or a painful birth, to stretch the analogy with a cliche), it’ll become part of a performance set shortly, and hopefully a publication further down the line. Here’s a snippet as, like the cyclists who inspired it, I:
stretch crank-sore limbs,
and rest upon the polished metamorph