Poetry Workshop

Evolution

The train’s stuck somewhere. Maybe a sign,

time to sit back, pick dirt from your nails,

watch the guard impale himself on the public.

Can’t tell them where to go, what to do while they

wait.  They’ll get in a state about

missing the Queen, The Tower, Big Ben.

Just what to do then?  Think about life?

Wine, cheese, low fat spread,

our Daily Bread.

Examine the sky, the thunderous clouds.

(Thoughts gain pace, increase momentum).

Look for the train, look along the track.

There’s only one way forwards and its always back….

…to the beginning of time

when the world went BANG

and the amoeba began

to divide its cells which then

became man.  And he took the planet,

held it in his hand.

Said ‘I am the Word.  I am the Man.

This is my world.

I’ll do what I like.’

He strung earth on the gantry between mars and venus.

Chuckled at the desk toy, hoped God could see this.

He had created part one of the Bible.

Now games were the key to man’s survival.

But he was left with ennui; he wanted an ending.

He swung earth in his fingers and, condescending,

said, ‘All services for London are suspended.

Come back tomorrow, I might play with you then.’

 

©Jacqui Thatcher 2014

 

Although written some years ago, the above poem is a good demonstration of the drafting process.  It was developed  through many drafts, much conversation and frequent phone calls to a variety of people who support my writing.

First off, I think, when you are involved in any creative process, the most important ingredient is to have some trusted support.  Go out of your way to find someone who will support and not destroy you!

Where did the ideas come from?

There were two inspirations for this poem.  The first of course was my own attitude to the world.  I was, and have often been in my life, a bit of a protestor and a bit of a ranter.  I want the world to be a good place; I care about equality, diversity, humanity. I care about animals and  I care about the environment (though sometimes not enough).  And yet all I see is the world turning its back on good practises.

And the second inspiration was my son’s interest in rap when he was younger. There is a verbal energy in rap that really appeals to me; I might not have a ‘street language’ but I recognised the urgency that of the rhythm and rhyme, an energy that is needed in protest.

The first draft

Evolution

On the bridge, the train’s down the tracks.

I can hear the rails bump ‘Jump Jack Jump!’

over the bridge, onto the line,

anticipating the end of time.

But out of the station a voice begins to moan,

‘No 10.43, something’s been thrown onto the track.’

This short delay puts everything back..

…to the beginning of time

when the world went bang

and the amoeba began

to divide its cells which then

became man.  And he took the planet

held it in his hand,

said ‘I am the Word.  I am the Man.

This is my world.  I’ll do what I like.’

He GM’d the seeds; the food tastes rotten.

And Dolly the sheep, she ain’t forgotten.

And Dolly the sheep, got herself cloned.

They’ll use her bones, freeze the marrow,

To cure disease; man should be pleased.

He’s the master, like God decreed, of this disaster.

So what’s left, oh yeah, there’s more

to destroy.  Like the weapons of mass destruction.

Never found Saddam’s: a government corruption.

“We apologize for the temporary disruption.

It’s time now to go back to the programme.

To decide on the fate of the 10.43.  It’s

not for off-peakers like you and me

to say who’ll push that button.  Tony?  Cherie?

Or perhaps a global community?

It ain’t the world, the Word, the Man.

‘Cos there’s a train coming.

BANG!

Although I loved the first draft of this poem, and I was very protective of it, that never stopped me listening to my supporters.  And they felt that, after a rush of concrete images, it got too big and general.

It takes a lot of work to change your ‘baby’, your creation.  It takes a lot of strength to walk away from a first draft and later revisit it.  And it needs time to let the emotions settle.

But eventually, there comes a time when words from the poem creep into your night times and a next draft is formed.

The second draft

Evolution

The train’s stuck somewhere. Maybe a sign,

time to sit back, pick dirt from your nails,

watch the guard fail to communicate with the public.

Can’t tell them where to go, what to do while they

wait.  They’ll get in a state about

missing the Queen, The Tower, Big Ben.

Just what to do then?  Think about life?

Wine, cheese, low fat spread,

our Daily Bread.

Examine the sky, the thunderous clouds.

(Thoughts gain pace, increase momentum).

Look for the train, look along the track.

There’s only one way forwards and its always back….

…to the beginning of time

when the world went BANG

and the amoeba began

to divide its cells which then

became man.  And he took the planet,

held it in his hand.

Said ‘I am the Word.  I am the Man.

This is my world.

I’ll do what I like.’

He GM’d the seeds; the food tastes rotten.

And Dolly the sheep, she ain’t forgotten.

And Dolly the sheep, got herself cloned.

(That business went bust,

ashes to ashes, dust to dust)

Ah, well they’ll use her bones, freeze the marrow,

To cure disease; man should be pleased.

He’s the master, like God decreed, of this disaster.

So what’s left, oh yeah, there’s more

to destroy.  Like the weapons of mass destruction.

Never found Saddam’s: a government corruption.

“We apologize for the temporary disruption.

It’s time now to go back to the programme.

To decide on the fate of the 10.43.  It’s

not for off-peakers like you and me

to say who’ll push that button.  Tony?  Cherie?

Or perhaps a global community?

It ain’t the world, the Word, the Man.

‘Cos there’s a train coming.

BANG!

Onwards to draft 4

You can see the poem starting to resemble the final draft even as early as this 2nd draft.

And with tweaks here and there, and many conversations later, I got to the 4th draft which begins to look like the final version.  There were just two problems left to deal with.

Line 3 became:  watch the guard fail to nanny the public.

and line 10:  examine the sky, the cumulonimbus.

For me line 10 just sounded a little pretentious in a poem that I felt was quite earthy.  So it had to go or change in some way.  And it was only a simple change to ‘thunderous clouds’.

And line 3 just wasn’t right.  And then I saw something on a TV programme; somebody was impaled on some railings (which was absolutely hideous, but that’s another story!) but it seemed to be just the right word and so line 3 became:

‘watch the guard impale himself on the public’

And so the final draft was born!  Thankfully!

 

Do you have a poem that you would like help to workshop?  Have you got any questions about writing that you would like to be discussed here?  Please get in touch; there is a whole community out there waiting to be helpful!

 

(The poem, Evolution is © Jacqui Thatcher 2014.  You may reblog on this site)

Advertisements

Please share your thoughts, hopes and dreams!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s