Monday, November 30, 2009

A Beatific Bard I Am Not

By Devon Rhodes


I list to port
Sailing upon unfamiliar seas
Without a compass.

Silken threads bind.
Insecure in my security,

A feathery touch doesn't reach
Yet leaves a bruise.
A scar.

A brand.

Marked invisibly within,
Anonymous, I move among the hordes

Recognition is impossible.

With a stretch of flesh
The impermanent grafts,
Never to sunder.

A crack.


Pain is fleeting but irrevocable
As I move beyond

Creation degrades.

Hull is breached,
She is boarded
By a fated foe.


Capsize complete,
The impact inevitable.

Awaiting salvage.


I have a very organized mind for the creative sort. I drive with a bird's-eye view map in my head, I'm equally at home with literature and accounting, and although I love the blurred edges of Impressionism, I am comfortable, happy with its definition of images, boundaries.

Anything abstract takes me right out of my comfort zone. I like to be able to clearly label things, have organization in my world.

When it come to either reading it or penning it, poetry makes my heart stop...not in a good way. Too open to interpretation, too vague, too few rules. Now, I'm sure that someone who is an afficianado of poetry will tell me there are rules, however my mind can't wrap itself around them or easily sense their boundaries. They are not readily apparent to me, and my mind revolts when I try to read it.

Even my sample above, to my mind, came out more like a draft of an idea than poetry. Time and again, I had to restrain myself from breaking into prose. I tried my best to feel my topic and take the process seriously, but I felt silly writing it, and even more silly putting it out there for others to read and roll their eyes over.

I love the idea of free-flowing thought and truly admire those who are able to express themselves in this manner.

But I ain't a poet...and I know it.

Historicals are a different matter. I absolutely love to read a well-done historical, of any subgenre. And I aspire to write one someday. However the attention to accuracy, the placement of things and events, the language and vocabulary, all overwhelm to make it seem a daunting task.

Every time I attempt one, the littlest details pull me right out of the story.. Was that even a word back then? What did they call underwear in that period? How did you address someone of that rank again?

Before long I've lost my thread amongst the minutiae. Harrowing to say the least, especially for someone who writes by the seat of their pants often as not.

But I do love the craft of historicals done well, and I haven't given up all thoughts of attempting one.

My guest blogger this week, Ava March, has a beautiful historical style and voice which effortlessly pulls the reader back into the Regency period, whether in her Ava m/m novellas, or what I call her "hot het historicals" as Evangeline Collins. Sigh. So wonderful.

A published historical by Devon? One day, I hope.

Poetry? Not so much.


  1. Devon,

    I'm with you on the poetry deal. It's not something I write, although I enjoy making up silly little songs for my girls. Maybe I could be another Sandra Boyton or Shel Silverstein? But the serious stuff, I've not had the interest to try it.

    I read a book of poetry recently, written by a school teacher about his experiences in the class room. Some of those poems had me dying of laughter. That's a talent I truly admire. As for your poetry, I say don't give up just yet. Your piece today has potential. Like any other form of writing, it just takes practice and the desire to do it ;)

  2. Hi Devon!

    I've tried writing poetry but I've never been any good at it, even though my offering for this week will turn otu ot be a poem. Hoo-boy.

    But poetry is a good thing to practice, even when you think its awful and you don;t want anybody to see it. It helps teach sensitivity to sound and language, and that's always a good thing. I don;t know if this is true for you or not, but it seems like people freeze up on poetry when they think they have to show it to someone. If you tell yourself its just for you, its not so hard. That's my opinion anyway, and actually the poem you started with - you were going good!


  3. Organization is a lovely thing, isn't it? I'm not one for poetry either. Like you, it was something I was never able to wrap my head around. But I think you did a bang-up job with your poem. Very nice indeed :)

    And thanks for the love! ;)

  4. Hi, Devon,

    I used to write lots of poetry. No one really taught me how -- I guess it was just all the rhymes that my dad made up for us as toddlers.

    Anyway, poetry is not necessarily abstract. In fact the best poetry (imho) uses concrete images to evoke emotion. As one famous poet wrote (W.H. Auden?)

    "A poem should be palpable and mute
    as globed fruit"

    As for historicals, I'm with you there. I love a good historical but writing one is just exhausting. I've only written a couple of historical shorts--the research took as least as long as the writing itself!

    Great topic this week!


  5. Hi Helen, maybe that will be one of my New Year's resolutions, writing exercises, including the dreaded P word. My poems for my kids come out sounding either like Dr. Seuss or a Top 40 hit. :)

  6. Hey Garce, yes, it was actually not a bad process when I sat down to work on my offering. I had a vague idea which eventually coalesced into my tandem themes of life experience and the process of a shipwreck. I'm sure I could have improved upon it given some time and thought. Maybe I will...

    Looking forward to your poem!

  7. Always have love for you Ava! And aw shucks for the compliment on the poem, you of all people know the background on this one...

    I'm looking forward to your take on Saturday! Thanks for agreeing to guest post!

  8. Hi Lisabet! When I commented that someone would likely tell me that there are 'rules', I was thinking of you! ;) There is beautiful poetry out there that can fix an image or scene or mood quite clearly in the reader's mind. Amazing the legacy that those talented wordsmiths have left for us to enjoy. I seem to remember a poem that you posted a while back, while I can't remember the topic, I do recall wistfully wishing I could be that creative.

  9. Devon,

    I'm currently teaching poetry.

    There are rules and so many it makes me thankful that I write fiction, where the rules are less restrictive.

    If you ever fancy trying some, google the form of the 'cinquain.' It's chunkier than a haiku and the results can be astoundingly beautiful.

    And, if you're ever left doubting the quality of your own writing, look up William McGonogall ( the world's WORST poet.



  10. Ash, I'm impressed with the very thought of you teaching poetry. I had no idea, ugh, now I'm wondering what your grade would be for my lame effort above!

    Thanks for the suggestions! I love going off on tangents when I hit a bit of scene break paralysis. :)


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