Blog 6- The art of writing poetry

What did you learn from this week’s lecture with Judith Beveridge about writing poetry?

A poet is someone who brings their attention to the moment and sees things that others cannot. They open us up to seeing things by expanding our consciousness. They allow the reader to see and understand the things that cause us joy and suffering, and the role and purpose of our existence on earth.

Throughout history, poetry has been the most powerful form of exploring deep spiritual questions. Spirituality is seen as broader than Religion and the breath acts as an interpreting spirit. Poetry allows us to see how we gather intellectually and emotionally with the world.

Poets always find ways to say things that are different. Judith Beveridge, for example, describes the sound of tinkling yachts as “the little shovelfuls of laughter children scatter on the grass.” Judith finds an array of ways to describe such an ordinary sound, showing the reader how images open up to other images, like how music opens up to new ideas. She is able to make the ordinary seem extraordinary. Poetic language is the only type of language that gives us the world through the word, and it is through form and rhythm that a poet will be most convincing. Poetry is also a language that is more musical than any other.

The poet needs to be holy in small things and the poet’s eye needs to make the familiar extraordinary. The Anglo-Saxons called a poet a scop, which is someone who imparted shape onto the formless. Through the works of Judith Beveridge, we can see how appropriate this title is, as she effectively imparts shape onto an object (a yacht) that we would immediately assume as formless or ordinary.

In order for a poem to be successful, it has to come from the poet’s own life. It has to touch the psyche at a communal level. Poetry is shown to be the vehicle for transmitting the story, values, and experiences of different people. We can see this through Francis Webb’s ‘Five days old’, where he not only explores the inner nature of this child but also his own. Webb opens us up to the immensities of life and meditates upon this child and how it is expanded upon his consciousness.

Poetry is important because it reflects the emotions and character of society. It allows us to pay closer attention to the world around us and shows that nothing is really irrelevant. To conclude, I will leave you with a quote that I believe beautifully sums up the meaning of poetry. “Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.” – Carl Sandburg

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Blog 5 – A Message To Meg

Write a letter to Meg in “Down at the Dump” telling her what you think about her relationship with Lummy.

Dearest Meg,

May I just begin by saying I am awfully sorry to hear about your Aunt Daise. It is never easy losing a loved one and I know your mother hasn’t been overly supportive during this time. Please know that I am never far away if you wish to talk.

Now I do not mean to pry, but a little birdie informs me that you have been hanging around that Lummy boy. It is not my duty to reprimand you, nor will I tell you how to live your life, but I would like to impart upon you some words of wisdom. Your mother does care for you Meg, however, she also cares greatly for appearances. Do not allow her superficial views to sway you from following your heart.

I remember one evening when you knocked on my door, the freckles upon your face glowing with anger and you proceeded to tell me how you “hated boys with white hair.” Your words were so passionate that behind all the anger, I saw buried deep within your eyes a sense of vulnerability. So, Meg, I am writing to tell you that in order to truly care for someone you must make yourself vulnerable. Don’t cover your feelings the same way your mother covers those ridiculous plaster pixies with plastic from the rain. Embrace the change in weather!

I heard you have taken an interest in writing poetry, I think that is wonderful! Daise would be very proud to hear of such a thing. Allow the poetry to clarify your feelings. Write to understand.

With all my love and best wishes

Lili

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Blog 3- A Sonnet On Self-love

Charles Harpur’s love sonnets to Rosa are a model for all love sonnets. Using the style and structure of a Harpur sonnet, write a love sonnet to your own beloved! Can you create images as fiery as his!

The sea of self-hatred, it floods and pulls you in

As we fold ourselves away on the higher shelf

Taught to love others, but how, when we can’t love ourselves?

To rot in self-hate and to shed our own skin

If God saw how we treated ourselves, well she’d call it a sin.

The most difficult confession I have ever made

Was standing in front of the bathroom mirror, telling myself that I had to change

The sea gets deeper, the thoughts grow louder, but you also get stronger

And I hope that one day, you no longer view your body as a gaol cell, but instead

A radiant sunny garden with daises that thrive

Burn away the thoughts that cause you dread

And be effervescently happy in simply being alive

I love the sound of vulnerability reminding me that

If winter has the courage to turn into spring, who says I can’t bloom just the same?

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Blog 1-Safety Bay

It’s nostalgia I taste every time the sea salt kisses my lips.
Reminding me of the time when dad’s shoulders seemed like the highest place in the world and stealing chocolate biscuits from the cupboard was my greatest sin.

Together we sat, watching the pelicans float in the wind.
We could hear the seals shuffling their big, brown bodies through the sand and see the dolphins playing like children so close to the shore, we swore we could touch them.

The sea breeze felt cold as it caressed my face. I closed my eyes and swore I could feel your icy hands holding me, cooling my sun-kissed skin.
I hear the quiet crashing of the waves as the water greets the shore like a houseguest.
I trace the footprints you left behind in the sand and they lead me back home; to Safety Bay.

When you left, I thought the Bay would too.
But as the sun begins to submit to the moon and her orange rays tickle the water’s surface one last time, I see you there. Your silhouette sparkling as you dance in between the islands along the horizon’s edge.

***

Above me a pelican floats, I hear the shuffling of seals along the sand and see the dolphins playing childishly near the shore and I realise, nostalgia never tasted so sweet.