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Benjamin

Thinking aloud..

8 posts in this topic

When asked how long she'd pricked her 'raggy' rugs;
Grandmother smiled and said: “Ooh! Donkey's years!”
Charred crocodiles of logs spat from the hearth:
Dragons and snakes, flickered on parchment walls.
And life was filled with colour, warmth and light
That raised a chuckle when she told a tale..
The Fat Mayor  and his Cock-a-doodle Hat:
Squashed!!  By his 'put upon' pet elephant.
Comeuppance from the mightily oppressed:
Contained within her mesmerising  yarn..

My morning percolator's bean-fed wraiths,
Disperse in fragrant wisps of minutiae:
That forty days of rain may come again.
That destruction and creation, are the left
And right hand of some ancient cosmic force.
And I--  who store smidgens of many things
Which took a lifetime in the gathering;
Confess, none of them help me to explain
Want and Starvation to a nascent  child,
Whose thoughts are owned by all things digital.

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Another well crafted piece. As for meter, the blank verse is right there, and the stanza break serves to juxtapose the past with the present.

I think I've detected an underlying theme in several of your works, that of the speaker's own generation's youthful world view (modified by its experience) compared and contrasted with the newest generation's projected outlook. Many of the world's problems may very well be the same (e.g. hunger/plight of the poor), but in this case the childhoods of each (speaker and nascent child) seem to be privileged, or at least to some degree removed from those problems. In the case of the former, the layer of insulation is represented by grandmother's hearth and stories, her presence/involvement in the child's life. In the case of the latter, it probably comes down to material advantages provided by the parents and a sense, whether actual or illusory, of always being "connected" as expressed by "all things digital." Cultivation of the imagination versus "owned" thoughts (the implication: by others).

Tony

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Hello Tony.

Many thanks for such an insightful review.

Most writers (of anything really) are advised to stick to things they're familiar with. I try to balance 'interesting and informative' where possible with 'entertaining' forms of expression. The older one gets however, the more perspectives shift and the pool of experience changes into a sea of wondering; for there are always more questions than answers, that stretch over the horizon. I have witnessed so many things: from growing up in post war austerity, where food was rationed until 1956; where many lived in back to back Victorian gas-lit terraced housing, with an outside privy and a single cold water tap.. To the great strides in technology, health, education and social attitudes. I can recall conversations with people who were born in the 19th century. My grandmother figure for instance: synonymous with a little old lady teacher called Miss West, who read to us children, wonderful tales with colour plate illustrations, that sparked a child's imagination in drab times. I first watched t/v in a community centre room in June 1953 (The Coronation).  It stood on the floor and had a 9inch screen with rounded corners. The endless black and white parade of horse guards and the pomp of an outmoded empire, did not register with children, who were more concerned with the ensuing street party-- and missing out on the sunshine outside.

Perhaps we are all such children: constantly masked from what the future holds. Our world turns constantly-- yet polarises the 'haves' and 'have nots' as never before; while one kind of empire is superseded by another.

Geoff.

 

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Hi again, Geoff.

3 hours ago, Benjamin said:

... Most writers (of anything really) are advised to stick to things they're familiar with ...

I read recently in a Guardian article how a musician had interviewed an artist who had stated that all artists only have one idea --

"I interviewed Marina Abramović on the radio show, and she said all artists only have one idea, except maybe Picasso had two, but he was a real exception"

-- and I tend to agree ... at least when it comes to myself. I may try other subjects from time to time (though not often), but I always come back to the same theme, the same ideas from the same "place," and it brings to mind a topic I posted a while back: "Where's Your 'Place?'" My poems all seem to come from the same "place," one idea that I can't get out of my head.

Quote

I have witnessed so many things: from growing up in post war austerity, where food was rationed until 1956; where many lived in back to back Victorian gas-lit terraced housing, with an outside privy and a single cold water tap.. To the great strides in technology, health, education and social attitudes. I can recall conversations with people who were born in the 19th century. My grandmother figure for instance: synonymous with a little old lady teacher called Miss West, who read to us children, wonderful tales with colour plate illustrations, that sparked a child's imagination in drab times ... Perhaps we are all such children: constantly masked from what the future holds.

My sister, a school teacher, recently took part in some continuing education where the participants took a little survey, something to the effect of "Was your upbringing privileged?" There were questions like, "Did you go to summer camp?" and "Did you speak another language?" Based upon several of my sister's answers in the affirmative, the results of the survey concluded that her upbringing was in fact privileged. My siblings and I came from a modest, middle class home. We never wanted for food, shelter, heat, clothing, or necessities, but some of the neighbor children had more "stuff." Looking back now, I see how much of a struggle it must have been for my parents to provide these basics for our family, but we, the children, never felt it, any want, struggle, or poorness. And even with the ordinary hardships, my parents still managed to take us to Estonian summer camp in Canada where we were immersed in culture, bought us musical instruments and music lessons, and provided us with college educations and other meaningful experiences. How they went without! Without the motor homes, motor cycles, snowmobiles, cruises, and vacations that some of the other neighborhood parents obtained for themselves while their own children got but "stuff" almost like some afterthought. It comes down how one defines "privilege." The neighborhood kids may have had more designer clothing and "stuff," but because of my parents and how they were with us, my sisters and I were privileged. At least that's how I see it now.

Tony 

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Hi Geoff,  I really enjoyed this, the rich images float from line to line.  It was a feel good poem for me.  I felt at home in this warm space you create from the past. And even the coffee felt welcoming.  Nice one.

~~Tink

 

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Thanks Tink.

  My first stanza is written  in the past tense and meant as a reflection of how the world was presented to a child. The second stanza written in  present tense, is that of the same child, now a grandparent-- musing  of how very much the times have changed. Geoff.

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That is how I understood it, I'm right there with you.   I too come from that past and I have embraced the digital world of my grandchildren.  It has helped me stay connected to them.  Much of it joyful but also there are those serious moments.  It is a different world in some ways much better but so much has been lost and in some ways the new world is much worse. 
 

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Whose thoughts are owned by all things digital.

A chilling contrast Geoff - a contrast to the imaginative world conjured by firelight - minds chained by technology.

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