Poetry Practise

poetry-720610_1920

 

This article contains amateur poetry written in verse (barring the two short ones at the end). I’ve wished to write poetry for quite a long while now, and being part of the BTSB crew gives me the opportunity to actually publish it, as well as the chance to review it at a later date.

Of writing poetry, I have the following to say. Firstly, it is surprisingly difficult. I had four major points to consider; rhythm, metre, rhymes, and general expression of what I wanted to say. For me, I feel as the rhythm was the most difficult aspect (it remains far from natural in what I present in this article) – perhaps this is felt by other ESL speakers and writers as well. Secondly, writing poetry feels weird. I constantly felt like I was, in an indescribable way, pitting myself against someone or something. Lastly, whilst I thought trying my hand at poetry was extremely enjoyable, sometimes I felt like abandoning it all and writing an article about something easier and, more importantly, less personal.

The short verse-snippets in this article tell of the lives (usually in a mocking tone) of the Nine Worthies, a set of heroes named by 14th century French author Jacques de Longuyon. The Nine Worthies include the following characters, listed in order of appearance in this article; Hector of Troy, Julius Caesar, Joshua, King David, Judas Maccabeus, King Arthur, Charlemagne, and Godfrey of Bouillon. Alexander the Great is, of course, the 9th Worthy, but I opted not to write about him at this time.

In my poetry, I thought it wise to allude to the KJB and Shakespeare’s works to show off what I had read before. Likewise I found it difficult to resist the opportunity to include puns and wordplay. Unfortunately, these factors might make understanding what I aimed to say difficult – and therefore ruin the poetry. This is somewhat ironic, as I have always thought that reading amateur poetry was annoying specifically for this reason. With that being said, I had fun in trying out poetry, and hopefully you, the reader, might be inspired to give it a go one day.

 

Here we lay our scene, played by writer lone,

accompan’d by nine Princes of ages lost.

Set betwixt mind and map, in realms unknown;

wherein man meets Human, at an untold cost.

Should thou seeketh sorry savoury purpose

for wit-working writ in this-like domain,

know thus: it is jealousy of sweet corpus

given life by Poets born nevermore again.

Righteous removal of hatred and hope

mine noble effort doth aim to achieve,

purposing to will a will: graciously cope

with thine deficits, and thyself not deceive.

An unjoyous task be an unsightly view,

howbeit combined, us ten may our sins subdue.

 

 

Down in the deep darks of Underworld dwelleth thou now, paragon.

Once-worsted warrior, won by Worthy wrath, answer I: wert thou war’s pawn?

Virtue or Vice, venture we to weigh, be Man’s grim glory-greed by nature:

opinions oppos’d ought to cull, ere culling come their feature?

Heracles-hatched held thou not, as title; heroic deeds were-

thy toil to Troy’s tale. Thus, live in legend, lacking mine rage to incur.

 

 

Follow we hence an Ancient with another,

driven to decimate this well-Worthy rank

with cruelty akin to that conferr’d by brother

and heavy heir, whose heart in happy jealousy sank.

Then fall, res publica! no father, mother,

no dictator can truly-taught treachery thank;

bloody betrayal will any bond-breath smother,

right-rooted trust from former-friends’ souls yank.

 

Thy death promis’d propagators prosperity,

power war-won, and Divinity dismal:

most bounteous boons by bandit-business.

Follow’d annihilation of austerity;

th’estate of august Athens’ heirs, turned abysmal-

thy life and reign tainted, by want of wiseness.

 

 

Now after the death of Kaiser, our words spin

backwards in time, speaking of asp y Nun-son,

whose deceitful deeds Worthy-worth, held by his kin-

worth the while, deems only I, of being justly undone:

the tribes of th’Twelve would without thou have won.

O Clandestine conqueror; ill cit-servant;

thy victories aptly amount to Cain and one.

In viperous Vices wert thou fervent,

epithets of these Worthy, bestowed by the observant.

 

 

Comes next not Nero, but an other

of his kind; a sonorous song-writing King,

whose fiery feud with fiendish Foe slayed tother.

A Man hosting Heavenly heart, with offspring

of Greatness well-deserving; to this cling,

since thy sovereign sling better never brought.

Saviour-spawning for, honour thy memory we ought.

 

 

Writ or sang, may be songs of gallant heroes

which here world hath witnessed manifold-

many ascrib’d fame, some reduced to zeroes;

thy name thine ruin foretold, fair friar of old.

Holofernes himself hesitated,

in revealing thy nature and natural-name.

Designated traitor, art thou ill-fated

to suffer the slings and arrows of defame?

Revolting as thine atrocious acts are,

take in this: from Iscariot’s vile will art thou far.

 

 

Dragon-descendant boast thee thy title, bear king;

Lord of the castle, Protector of a table-

grandeur and chagrin both did thy knights thou bring.

Lo! of their fearsome feats tell many a fable.

In stories, yea, unmatched remains thy glory,

as testament to power of the auditory.

Without contest, likewise was fair thy Queen,

whose affairs arduous were deemed obscene.

Fine a match in matrimony; thou and her!

save there a sea of spears had between thee been.

Myth equal the merits of eager exertion, Sir.

 

Tedious tales of warlocks, and Knights Green

may – perchance – fail to entertain those keen.

What is fiction? but display of smoke and air;

as Revels are ended, what remains on Scene?

Myth equal the merits of eager exertion, Sir.

 

 

Emperor.

mannered King

conquering, uniting, governing.

Inviolable, untouchable a ruler.

Father.

 

 

Of Bouillon hail thou, good God-Fear,

King of Jerusalem! oh dear!

Renouncing the title,

thought our man vital;

but he died after a single year.

 

Confessions of a dreamer turned opportunist

Photo by Inka Vappula
Photo by Inka Vappula

Photo by Inka Vappula

For many a job in the creative field, be it photography, screenwriting or clay animation, is the dream. Earnestly chasing THE dream, and then having the success story featured in a chic online publication–possibly the height of accomplishment. In the social media age, the odds of succeeding are greater than they’ve ever been. The experts and the creative are the winners in this media-crazed society of ours, the nine-to-fivers ambitionless slacks.

My dream has been to write. In my wildest daydreams I saw myself sitting in a neighborhood café, sipping on a double shot Americano while drawing up an article from my recent trip to Greenland. In my slightly more moderate dreams, I imagined myself walking into a grocery store and picking up dinner, knowing that my words had paid for every item in the basket.

Last fall my dream became a reality. I was ecstatic.

“What do you do?” someone would ask me.

“I write,” I’d answers with shivers of excitement running all the way down to my toes.

For my first paid article I interviewed two café-owners. These ladies, a food-journalist and a photographer, had changed career paths in their fifties and now ran a stylish neighborhood café that smelled of homemade bread and locally roasted coffee. Naturally, I assumed opening a place with such a cozy feel must have been a realization of a lifelong dream, but when I inquired about it, the answer was a resounding “no”.

“It was never our dream to own a café,” they told me.

“So many people make the mistake of following a dream,” one began.

“And then two years down the line they give up, because running a café is rarely about pouring coffee in a frilly apron,” the other finished the sentence.

Following a dream is a mistake? Never! I thought, as I was still high on my own dream’s fruition into reality. But didn’t take long for reality to crash full-steam (and quite mercilessly) into my pink-hued daydreams.

Before, my words were free. I wrote when inspiration struck and never steered far from familiar topics. There was time to mold sentences into all sort of funky shapes, to play with the clay. But when I began to writing for a living, every word became heavy with expectation to please other people enough for me to have at least two-digit numbers on my bank account. What’s more, I was no longer the determiner of my own subject matter.

Instead of the pretty little café of my daydreams, I found myself downing a second beer at eleven o’clock on a Monday night, frantically trying to finish a seven-page article for the following morning. Or desperately dialing and re-dialing the number of an overloaded CEO, “I just need thirty minutes of your day, please sir!” Words, my favorite creative outlet, became a product I was responsible for delivering on a tight schedule. A dissonance settles in when a cherished art form becomes a source of income.

The comfort is that with experience the burden to deliver weighs a little less. But the collision of my dreams with reality knocked the rose-colored glasses right off my nose. A dream is by definition something unattainable, a perfected image. There might be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but more of than not, all you find is a cow, apathetically munching on tuffs of grass. A creative job is still just another job. Like any other job it’s going to feel like hard work, and it’s bound to suck balls from time to time. The cover stories that worshipfully endorse the contemporary ethos of living on a passion often fail to include recounts of how those dark bags found a permanent place under the eyes. That’s a shame, because the glorification of creative jobs leads to tunnel vision. And so, viable job opportunities, where one’s talents would be put to good use, can easily pass by. Some passions and creative endeavors are too precious and serve better purposes than that of paying the bills. They are worthwhile even without the price tag.

I’m going to keep writing, because I feel this chapter of my life still has something to offer. I want to see what’s on the next page (and also, starving is really not my thing). Come summer I’ll have time for words that are mine alone and that’s a thrilling thought. But in terms of the distant future, nothing is set in stone anymore. The glasses have come off and I’m ready to grab hold of any opportunity that comes my way, even if it never featured in lengthy Dreamworks production. I like embracing reality, and when life asks me what it is that I want, I say, “I’m not sure, surprise me”.