Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Four today only

Surely the world's scariest Santa? He beckons but his wink has ceased to work! Sit on his knee, anyone?

Poet at the Wheel

“I'll throw a poem”. The clay,


cut from the earth in elastic slabs,


beneath my feet incognito

before being


to tread a higher existence.

Polar attraction. We make do,

with sedimentary action until the earth yields

a finer particle to weigh and wedge.

I extrude the shape all nature aspires to and drive it down again,

slip fingered, thumb ridged parings, off centred

and the whole thing spins out of control like a mad dervish.

Broken back.

Cheese wire and flick

of the wrists clears the wheel

for the next attempt.

A second clod is kneaded.

Thump and lift,


and wedge again.


like a drunk

on the wheel to reel another


Its form rises within the wings of my hand, twin encouraged

I press my will, imprint it. Drawn, compressed,

raised and razed and sponged and my foot lifts off the pedal.

I made this.

“I think it's perfect”, I say.


wire in hand, splits my poem piece,


out its heart and says, “you're right,

it was, now throw another just the same”.
This is where I'm at - writing everyday in the must-be-nuts-to-keep-doing-this way that I do, all the time reminding myself to write better and find a more creative way to fall. It is humbling, and necessary.
My thanks to everyone who has offered guidance and advice - I appreciate it - even when it stings - and I do put it all into practice.
My son is two*; I'm struggling to find blogging time but I am still reading and visiting blogs and, most importantly for me, I am still protecting my writing time. Poetry for the last few months. Several per day some days (four today), always trying to find the perfect metaphor; the this-is-how-I-see-this-share-my-view-point way; did anyone else even notice that?; and other forms of autopsy with gentler tools.
Merry Christmas to those who believe and/or celebrate (including those hypocritical atheists such as myself who keep the tree and the pressies and say it's for the kids blah, blah but really we love the rituals!) Happy holidays to everyone else.
*For those of you who have experience of toddler boys - you know they should come with pads and crash helmets! I salute you! For those who have no experience of them, I laugh, I cry, I pity, I envy you.

PS apologies for my apostrophe sin - tis the season. It's the least abhorrent of my recent typing errors...tell you that one later....thanks, t'other Rachel.


steven said...

rachel - i've been through the experience of toddlers three times. it doesn't get easier. it doesn't get any less amazing! i lost my art for the duration of my children's childhood and envied those artists who somehow managed to paint and sell even while apparently bringing up little ones. but it comes back when it's ready - and happily there i was - waiting!! steven

steven said...

oh and happy christmas rachel. less of an afterthought than it might appear!!! steven

Lori said...

What a great poem, Rachel. So much to read into it. I like the sharp and minimal language too. It looks like you are working hard. And I am sure you know that you do not need to worry, because even the wheel is never just a wheel. It will take you somewhere -- which won't happen to some of us who don't get inside the damn wheel already.

Talli Roland said...

What a wonderful collection of words.

I hope you have a relaxing and restful Christmas!

Rachel Fenton said...

Steven, thank you. I'm struggling to even reply to your supportive comment as my son is making a convincing argument for cuddles over comments. He has a point! There are so many things i want to write - ideas out growing their tiny cage. All in good time. And no, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Merry Christmas to you too.

Rachel Fenton said...

Lori - get inside the wheel! C'mon, just throw yourself at it, no time to think speed. I'll make sure you don't fly off like a dervish! (Or maybe that would be good...)Thanks for all your support. Merry Christmas/happy holidays.

Rachel Fenton said...

Thanks so much, Talli. All the best for your projects in the New Year, too. Merry Christmas/happy holidays!

Kass said...

Enjoyed the poem so much.

We bloggers all seem to want a higher existence, not necessarily recognition, but a reason for our striving. This poem speaks to me of that.

Christmas joy to you too.

Rachel Fenton said...

Thank you, Kass.
Striving is the core of it, yes.

I'm enjoying your poetry very much right now. It's interesting how one poem can take on other meanings and interpretations by being positioned alongised another poem. Some of yours I had read in singularity and been moved by them but they are speaking to me in another way now. I wish you kindness to yourself this Christmas.

bielby said...

'other forms of autopsy with gentler tools' is a great metaphor

Andrea said...

That santa is a little unsettling! Merry Christmas. I like it when you pop back into the blogosphere - esp with an excellent poem :)

Rachel Fenton said...

Thanks, bielby. Thanks for stopping by, too - Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays!

Rachel Fenton said...

Thanks Andrea - hey, who do you reckon had the whole red riding hood thing going on first - little miss off to visit grandma, or this dude? I think I'd accept advice from a wolf over this fella! "NOw what would you like for Christmas, dear?"
"Well Santa, I asked for a big hungry wolf, and here he is, thanks!"
- "Yom, yom.."

Really glad you like the poem - I wrote it as a means of trying to explain the poem writing process to a friendly blogger.

Happy Merry holiday with a new year at the end/beginning!

Andrea said...

Hehe _ I think little red must have been the first, or at least she wears it the best! Was just reading about lapland in a magazine and it was talking about how the finnish santa was originally really frightening and demanded food from children!

Rachel Fenton said...

Haha - brilliant. But looking at this guy - did we really need the proof?!

I have some stuff on Father Christmas somewhere..I told you how I tried to argue that Santa was Hamlet in an undergrad paper didn't I?...I blew it when I also tried to suggest he was an alternative metaphor for the holy trinity...anyway...moving on...made my lecturer laugh out really loud in seminar though - worth it to bring a sparkle to his eyes!

Andrea said...

You haven't! Sounds great. I wish I had been witty in undergrad years. I was usually just terrified to speak up in class - ha ha! Not the case in later years ;)

Thomas Taylor said...

I'm a toddler survivor too. Happy belated birthday to your son, Rachel, and I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas full of well-deserved ritual and presents:)

Ps. I'm rubbish at commenting on poetry, but I always read your poems, and always take something away from them. Thank you!

Rachel Fenton said...

Andrea - better late than never with the outspokeness! Bravo for you!

Rachel Fenton said...

Thanks, Thomas! Or should that be comrade? My son thinks it's fun to climb up the book cases! And he is obsessed with diggers - he has this move where he stands on hands and tip toes and raises one leg up with tilted foot - that's his back hoe digger move! All very bonkers!

Merry Christmas and all the trimmings to you and yours, too. Thanks for reading!

Penny said...

Happy Christmas, Rachel and be consoled. I have doen toddlers three times, we all survived, and one of the toddlers was Thomas!

Rachel Fenton said...

Many thanks, Penny - have a great day yourself, and get your feet up after all your preparations!

Well, I can only hope my wee man turns out as well! Mind, it must have helped Thomas having the equivalent of a Blue Peter presenter for a mum!

Dave King said...

There is nothing to compare with the must-be-nuts-to-keep-doing-this approach. Keep doing it, we are all the beneficiaries.

Teresa Stenson said...

Hi Rachel - well that Christmas thing has been and gone, but I hope you and your boys had a lovely one.

I'm in awe of your consistent creativity - refreshing and humbling it is.

Rachel Fenton said...

Dave, speaking of - I ended up working on a novel over the last few days!

Thank you for reading, and happy New Year!

Rachel Fenton said...

Teresa, Christmas always seems to be going on somewhere else but this year was the first that I went out on Christmas Eve and did last minute pressie shopping and it was actually nice to get caught up in it all. I made it my mish to spread last minute calm - easing tension in the queues, telling unwanted jokes etc...I got the stockings of two poems while I was out, too, just need to fill them now!

Thanks for reading and for all your support - you're quite the inspiration yourself, missus!
Wishing you all good things for 2011 x

Anonymous said...

Late again to comment. This fellow hypocritical atheist has been too bound up in his own struggles to post with kids rolling and tumbling all around. No excuse: others manage!

A wonderful sustained metaphor of a poem, Rachel. Loved it. What a zen master of a teacher s/he was.

Rachel Fenton said...

Always better late than never, Dick - good of you to come by this way! They do manage, but HOW? I need the answer to that secret! I suspect it is also the key to smugness!

Thanks - my pottery teacher was very zen! And very talented. I plan on returning to pottery as a hobby when my kids are older. I miss it. But of course, my poems are never about what they're about.

Best of everything for 2011, Dick. Thanks so much for reading and for all your comments and excellent criticism/feedback.