Tuesday, 6 April 2010

National Poetry Writing Month, Day Six

Today's Read Write Poem prompt is:

'Many people collect favourite images, whether as memories or posters, sketches or computer files. Pick one such collection of yours – a stamp collection, a postcard book, a file of photos – and rifle through it until something catches your eye. (If you don’t have such a collection, try putting a word – any word – into Google image search or flick through the website of an art gallery.) Once you have an image, begin to interrogate it for poems. Ask: Who or what in this picture could speak? What would they say? Why is this image meaningful to me? When I look at it, what am I remembering? How does this image make me feel? Which of my moods is easiest to find in it? Where would I want to display picture? Who do I want to see it? Collect the answers to your questions as a hoard of words or phrases. Scatter them across a blank sheet of paper, then check for patterns. What rhymes? Where is there alliteration? Is any rhythm apparent? Patterns might suggest a form for the poem.'

I first saw this in the Tate last year for the Turner Prize show and was completely mesmerized. But have been staring at this image*

on and off for hours and all I've managed to come up with it this:

Black Alphabet by Lucy Skaer

A pen and ink army sent
to take down every word
of history.

Feel our smooth weight
between your fingers,
they say.

Put us to your paper
and we will do the work,
leave us to it.

We were made for the job
so you don’t have to
do it.

Relax, have a beer,
we’ll take over now,

*Image found at http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/features/women-at-work-as-the-older-generation-of-ybas-grows-up-a-new-set-of-female-creators-is-taking-over-1777991.html?action=Popup&ino=3


briarcat said...

that's a great image. looks more like stubbly whiskers to me

Alesa Warcan said...

I don't drink beer, but I'll have pomegranate juice and rest tranquil under my quilt while the quills do quility work of recording history...
Since it seems many people are doing poems it might be fun to see several people posting poems on the same image.

Pat said...

Not only did that make me feel it - in a tactile way - I found it a happy, reassuring poem.
'All I managed to come up with'
You are good at this and can afford to believe in yourself more.xox

Lori said...

Love the poem! Not a sorry effort at ALL...

Wish it were true though... "put us to paper and we'll do all the work"

Terri Light said...

I love that quill pens could have a mind of their own. But it is also slightly terrifying. Great words and an interesting image.

Eryl Shields said...

Briarcat ~ it does look rather like stubbly whiskers.

Alesa ~ that would be interesting, indeed.

Pat ~ do you think so? Thank you.

Lori ~ but then where would we writers be?

Terri ~ I think it is really quite terrifying: let the mechanical pens do the writing while the writers relax with a drink? No thanks!

Kass said...

That's funny. I thought they looked like knives, but I think your take on it slices more to the point. Very nice.

J. D. Mackenzie said...

reminds us that all poetry is political. Isn't your poem what so many of our governments are telling us? Sit back. We have things taken care of...

flaubert said...

I like your take on this with that photo. Well done!

estherpoyer said...

I liked your poem, good balance - it has something about it political and it has a shard of humour that takes the edge off (no pun...) and letting the reader in. Thanks. Best wishes.

estherpoyer said...

I liked your poem, good balance - it has something about it political and it has a shard of humour that takes the edge off (no pun...) and letting the reader in. Thanks. Best wishes.

angryparsnip said...

when I first saw the Art Piece I thought feathers then the new grow in the Prickly Pear but I think your image of quills is spot on.
I could relate to this poem.

I can tell your having some fun with this project as I did with my month.

Katharine Whitcomb said...

That's a fascinating sculpture! I love the first image.

Eryl Shields said...

Kass ~ they do look rather like knives and they remind me, also, of elegant limbs. Glad you liked it.

JD ~ that is exactly what I was thinking as I wrote this. Thank you for understanding.

Pamela ~ thank you.

Esther ~ thank you, too.

Parsnip ~ the piece is based on Brancusi's 'Bird in Space' but recast in coal dust and resin and multiplied. I took my cue from the title 'Black Alphabet' and had to really think about why she had called it that.

There's nothing like pushing yourself is there? Are you still drawing regularly, if not daily?

Katharine ~ it really is, I was quite taken with it when I saw it in the 'flesh' and looked at it for such a long time I worried I was drawing attention to myself!