Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Old Man Recovery

All the songs I have sailed
All the drinks I have sank
All the pubs I have ship wrecked ashore
All the alcoholic moonlights.
I have left them all behind 
for the harbour of Sober. 


Jim Murdoch said...

I’ve read this over a few times now but I’m struggling with the rhythm. It begins with a strong and appropriate beat: da da DUM, da da DUM / da da DUM, da da DUM / da da DUM, da da DUM DUM, da DUM. And then I get a bit lost. It’s ‘alcoholic’ that’s the wee bugger here. I can’t quite cram it all it. I feel like I have to read the fourth line double-quick to get it in. Would ‘drunken’ not suffice? Maybe not—I feel the need for another syllable: ‘All the DUM da da moonlights’. Also ‘Sober’ at the end. I keep wanting to read it SoBURR. That said I like it.

McGuire said...

I wondered about that too Jim but I think the rhythm works well, the temptation to make it rhyme was strong but I subdued it.

You are forever editing my posts, do you do that to other people you read? I do appreciate that time but often wonder if you are simply telling me 'yir not quite good enough mcguire, here is a wee hand...'


Jim Murdoch said...

No, Colin, I do it with everyone. Only one person’s ever objected vociferously and that was about five years ago. She said if she’d wanted a critique she would’ve asked for it. So I apologised and never went back there again. People don’t criticise my poems so much but I’m fine with it when they do. I wish they’d do it more. Colin Will asked on Facebook a few days ago when we knew when a poem was finished. I said, “When my wife says so.” I was being half-facetious half-serious. She doesn’t often ask me to change something but if she does I’ll look again at a piece. The last poem I handed her she said was a bit “purple”, not my usual style, but we agreed to differ on that one; she didn’t hate it but she didn’t love it. I’d’ve preferred her to love it but what the heck.

People seem terrified to be critical online. Jessica Bell noted that when she pointed out how many 5-star reviews her poetry book got—a disproportionate number; it made her distrust them. I’ve just written a review of a friend’s book and Carrie’s knocked it back. I think she thinks—and probably quite rightly so—that I feel I need to be extra honest with my friends so I can’t be accused of favouritism. It’s a hard call.

Now as far as whether your poetry is “good enough” that’s for you to decide, not me. I’m entitled to an opinion and that’s all you’ll get from me. I may well not be your ideal reader but if I tell you I like something then you’d better believe it. I used to comment on this girl’s site but we tended to rub each other the wrong way and we’ve both backed off. Mostly I thought her poetry was amateurish and then I read this one which was absolutely brilliant and I told her so. And the one thing she can be absolutely sure of is that I thought that was a brilliant poem. I’ve been writing poetry for forty years and I’m not sure I’ve written three or four brilliant poems; probably not even that. As far as am I’m concerned Larkin’s only written one brilliant poem. I’m hard to please. Basically I hate most of the poetry I read or if I don’t hate it it does nothing for me. I like most of your stuff. Some of it I like a lot, like ‘Pancakes’ but I’ve yet to read a brilliant poem by you. I think you have it in you which is why I keep hanging round waiting to see what you come up with next.

But I’m only one person. Many years ago a young girl asked me if she should get married. I mean, seriously. All I could tell her was why I got married but what I did say to her about advice was this: Listen to everyone and then do what you want to do. Opinions are only that. I see you’re making friends online and getting noticed so you’re doing something right. Keep doing it.

McGuire said...

Thanks for that, Jim.

Nice to open the window and shed some light on our dialogue on this thing. I don't mind your comments, always helpful, but often wonder what angle you are coming from exactly. I am open to criticism and guidance...I am quite self-depricating and aware that what I write is a mixed bag of dreadful, playful, and curiosity. So, i hear you about being open to criticism, it is only words afterall, why shouldn't we tear apart the entire edifice and start again, all the time