“The Muse” is a four-line stanza celebrating the rural landscape that surrounds me. Having developed the lines over the past few days, their focus has become less its power to inspire and more the sweetness of its tranquil atmosphere. Consequently, two new ideas for the title have emerged: “The Silvan Still” and “Quietude”. “Silvan”, though it conveys my meaning and alliterates beautifully in the poem, is not a word natural to my vocabulary and so I am loth (how comical that “loth” is) to use it. I shall mull over it in the days to come and see what is best for the poem.
In art, a little perseverance often produces a lot of wonder. On the verge of abandoning “The Muse”, a flash of inspiration rescued the draft from the bin.
The minimalist aesthetic expresses—and therefore betrays—nothing of those who adopt it. It is a non-statement, a refusal to answer painful questions about the self. The smooth monochromatic surfaces subdue a soul desperate to reveal itself, but terrified of doing so.
On this winter’s morning in the Overberg countryside of South Africa, the low peaks of the Small River Mountain range are laden with sunlit clouds; and in the gentle valleys at their feet, mists enshroud the hills.
I fail to see the point of “poetry” that can only be described as prose impersonating verse. Splitting a few deadpan sentences into separate lines and giving them a whimsical title is an insult to the art form.
Sometimes, one must refrain from using certain sounds—vowels and consonants—here, so that they have the maximum impact there. Of course, much depends upon the nature of the thought one wishes to express: a gently musing one may benefit from a succession of similar-sounding words because the alliteration creates a soothing effect, but to construct a climactic moment—a line that culminates in a crescendo—the sounds that produce the pivotal words must be unique.
Celebrating “To a Swallow”
I spent the past few days in that sweet period after finishing a work when one savours its completion, reciting over and over the lines that have consumed one for weeks.
Revisiting “The Robin-chat”
Presently, I am revisiting a verse from an earlier, completed poem—“The Robin-chat”—which it seems to me I can improve.
Composing “The Muse”
I have also made a start on developing the next sketch in line—“The Muse”—a verse acknowledging Nature as the source of my poetry.
Discarding “An Exaltation”
In addition to this, I have removed from the collection “An Exaltation”, a sketch repeating ideas I have already explored thoroughly in other poems.
This week, I saw the most interesting thing: the Malachite Sunbird bathing itself not in the birdbath, but the dew-drenched leaves! It must do so, I think, for its long tail feathers. Wonderful! (I have photographed the Malachite Sunbird on many occasions, for example here.)
Hurrah! “To a Swallow” is at last complete!