Above and Below

Above and Below

Invisible Elephants


Poetry Treasures in a Car Boot


I love car boot sales.

English dictionaries generally define the car boot sale as “an event in a public place where people sell their unwanted possessions, often from the back of their cars.”

Yes, that’s correct. People empty their unwanted rubbish from their house, load it into the back of their cars, drive to a big field, where they pay to park, then sell the rubbish to people who flock to buy it. What could be more English?

The car boot sale originated in Canada and was brought to the UK by an English priest in the 1970s. He experienced a car boot sale whilst visiting North America and saw it as a great way to raise money for his church.

Since then the car boot sale has become a bit of an institution in the UK and, during the summer months, I like nothing better than wandering around car boot sales in search of poetic treasures.

Trawling the boot sales, I will uncover something providing an idea or prompt for a poem. An old magazine, an old picture, an overheard story detailing where a family heirloom originated, followed by the pain and sorrow in having to part with it.

On my last visit to one, a few weeks ago, I discovered a poetry book titled

Poetic Motivations:17


Does a Poem’s Title Matter?


At the weekend I was out walking when nature gave me one of those gifted moments set-up for poetry. As I walked past the village church the sun illuminated the church clock. It was 6.30 a.m. and the sound of pigeons echoed from the bell tower. A murder of crows hopped around the churchyard. From notes and a number of drafts the following poem emerged.

Six-thirty a.m.
Pigeons sing from the belfry,
Crows bounce on gravestones.

After a few days of pondering I am struggling to give the poem a title. I have come up with a number of possibilities; Stone the Crows, Church Disco, Birdsong. None of them seem to fit. This brings us to the focus of the blog, does the title of a poem matter?

When you write a poem do you start with a title in mind, or does the title come to light when the poem is either in progress, or written?

It is a mixture for me. Sometimes I think of the title first and write the poem around it. For example, I recently read a collection of articles from a digest where one of the articles was titled, Biography of a Wasp. What a great title for a poem. (This one is an in progress).

On most occasions I start the poem from a prompt, observation or experience and the title can change numerous times whilst writing. I also find that when I pick up a poem for drafting, after putting it aside for a while, the title seems inappropriate and changes.

As a reader of poetry it is sometimes the title of the poem that draws me in, but on most occasions the author of the poem and the poems content and subject area are more important. With certain poems I struggle to connect the title with the content, but isn’t that one of the joys of poetry?

Perhaps I should take a lead from Shakespeare and, like his sonnets, number my poems from 1-154.

What are your views on poem titles? Do you have any suggestions for my untitled poem?

I would welcome your thoughts.

Poetic Motivations:15


Lost Summer


Autumn’s Poetic Joy


Summer is officially over in the UK.

Writing this blog and looking out of the poetry den window, the leaves and vines on the trees are beginning to lose their summer green and turn yellow. The lavender bushes are in their final bloom and bees are collecting the last remnants of pollen.

Autumn is a wonderful season, cushioning the warmth of summer into the cold of winter. It has influenced many poets and poems. Some of my favourite Autumn poems include, To Autumn by John Keats; Matsuo Basho’s Haiku – Autumn Moonlight and Autumn Journal by Louis MacNeice.

In 2000 I spent three weeks in New England during The Fall. Driving through the woods and forests of Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire, shrouded in red, brown, yellow and gold is an experience still vivid in my memory. There is something magical about the energy in the autumn transformation that makes you want to pick up a pen and get musing.

Gold and brown leaves fall.
Shadows at dusk lengthen as
A winter sleep nears.

If you want to read more poetry about Autumn, then the site at Famous Poets and Poems has a good selection.

What inspires your poetry in the Autumn months? Do you have a favourite poem describing Autumn?

I would be pleased to read your thoughts.

Poetic Motivations:14

Poetic Motivation14

New Dawns

New Dawns