Monday, September 17, 2007

Boundary Marks

I had no time last week to write anything for this month’s Guardian Poetry Workshop. Until last night.

The idea was to pick a proverb, twist it, and write a poem incorporating both the twisted proverb and seven out of ten words provided by John Hartley Williams. I opened a can of Stella Artois and wrote a draft inside twenty minutes. The workshop instructions said I should “allow your work to cool off for a couple of days and take a fresh look at it.” So I watched a BBC TV drama with my wife over another can of Stella Artois and about 11pm went through to the computer again, gave the poem a stiff twenty-minute revision session, and posted it to the Guardian.

The poem is absurd. It revolves around a narrator who keeps moving a boundary mark to gain land for himself, despite his dead mother’s advice that this is wrong. His neighbour gets wise to him. However, the neighbour has no sense of direction and when he tries to move the boundary mark back, he often moves it the wrong way. Frustrated, he gets his brothers in to help, but they drop the boundary mark and it rolls down a hill. The narrator is pleased, as now the entire hill is his. The mother’s ghost isn’t happy, but that’s not going to bother this narrator!

So another barren month down at the Guardian for me, I think…

6 comments:

Frances said...

I think the idea of dropping a boundary line so that it rolls down the hill and the whole hill becomes yours is wonderful. No negative thoughts allowed. I'm sure this will be your lucky Guardian day.

Thanks very much for linking to my blog.

Sorlil said...

ha sounds a lot more interesting than my lame effort of a woman who thinks she can mend the world's ills through sewing!

Colin Will said...

I can't get myself enthused about this month's workshop. Admittedly I've been busy, but I've looked at it a couple of times and thought, meh.

Rob said...

Well, I like JHW. Anything can happen.

Mending the world's ills through sewing isn't a bad idea.

The twisted proverb dea was a good one, but having to use the words seemed a bit artificial. Having said that, it forced my poem into odd turns that I wouldn't have thought of without the discipline - which may or may not have been a good thing...

Cailleach said...

Aren't all the GPWs a little like that anyway? Sometimes they agree with you, a little like a cheeseboard, or sometimes you're not in the mood. The length between the posting and the closing date didn't allow much time for mulling though! I bet you do make it in this month :)

Rob said...

I'm rarely worried whether I make it. I mean, it would be nice. But as long as I had fun...