A Surprise

In an unusual development, “Feather in the Wind” is complete! A little history: I was approached by a record label in December 2017 about creating a release for their catalogue. I was, in theory, a good fit given the nature of my work, a blend of music and poetry, something the label itself explored through experimental music inspired by English haikus.

The proposal was interesting to me because I had never attempted a haiku1 before, and so I enthusiastically composed a sketch which I would then set to music. “Feather in the Wind” was the result, an English haiku describing the descent of a swallow feather through the air.

For whatever reason, I heard nothing further from the label, and thus decided to add the sketch to my poetry collection with a second verse composed in the same style2. As I revised the draft yesterday, I found it in a highly finished state with nothing to add or alter. This was surprising; so used am I to agonising over a poem, I needed a day to take it in!

I continue then (with a sense of disbelief) to “A Rhebok!”3, inspired by a brief but memorable encounter with Pelea capreolus, a rarely seen antelope indigenous to this region. Amusingly, the sighting occurred in December 20174, the very month the label approached me.

Poetry Publication Progress (2019-08-10)

  1. A poem with three lines: five syllables in line one, seven in line two and five in line three.
  2. Thereby corrupting the concept of the haiku proper, which traditionally has one verse. I have since split the poem into two haikus: “Feather”, consisting of verse one, and “Wind”, consisting of verse two. I have also updated the “Poetry Publication Progress” list (which constitutes a draft of the collection’s table of contents—or “litany”, as I like to think of it) to reflect this change.
  3. Previously, “The Rhebok”.
  4. I made this Facebook post at the time.

A Return

I wrote recently about my adulthood struggle with the effects of emotional neglect in childhood that have brought me in recent times to the point of near mental collapse. Needless to say, this experience—an episode decades in the making—has of late occupied much of my emotional and intellectual life as I attempt to deal with resurfacing trauma and grief1, diverting my attention from working on my poetry collection.

I have, however, reached a point in my recovery where the verses are calling to me once more, and I am excited to return to writing. “To a Swallow III”, the third in what was originally conceived as a trilogy, was to be next in line for development, but having read it today, I see nothing in the sketch that has not already been explored in “Swallows!” (originally “To a Swallow I”) and “To a Swallow” (originally “To a Swallow II”).

I shall, therefore, turn my attention to the next sketch in the queue, its working title “Feather in the Wind”2.

Poetry Publication Progress (2019-08-09)

  1. A process in which Running on Empty by Jonice Webb with Christine Musello, How to Raise Your Self-Esteem by Nathaniel Branden and a willingness to (continuously) confront paralysing fears have proven tremendously helpful.
  2. The feather in question happens to be that of a swallow.

Finding the Perfect Word

Finding the Perfect Word Copyright 2019 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
Word variations for “To a Swallow” line 18.

Finding the perfect word for a line is like picking the perfect blossom for a flower arrangement. The right flower depends on a variety of factors: amongst others, its significance, shape, size, colour, texture, perfume and impact; and so does the right word.

One must consider its definition (literal or figurative), connotations, evocativeness, rhythm, sound (for example, its alliterative power) and composition (spelling or letters)—in fine, its ability to complement, enhance and complete the poetic bouquet so as to eloquently embody and convey the theme.

What is more, in a traditional poem, this is true for every word—in every line. Traditional verse is a delicate composition of the written and spoken word—not an amorphous outpouring of thought or emotion; it requires every ounce of ingenuity from the poet to bring into being, even in its simplest incarnations.