One last surprise has come from yesterday’s excursion: a new poetic sketch! Whilst assembling the entry posted earlier, I wrote the title for the “The Klein Rivier at Klipdrift”1 video. Amused by its alliteration, I could not resist composing a little verse about the river where I often stop to admire the speedy swallows in summer and the slow waters in winter!
Klein Rivier (pronounced “cleyn Ruh-feeR” with a trilled “R”) is Afrikaans for “little river”, and Klipdrift (pronounced “clipdRift” with a trilled “R”) combines klip (“stone”) and drift (“ford”), the Afrikaans equivalent of “Stanford”.
The page above shows the current state of the first direction1 for “Mist from the Mountains”.2 In the top half, you see rows of words and lines that attempt to generate ideas for the theme (for example, how to describe the fog), resulting in a shapeless nebula of possibilities. From these, I extracted the rough stanza variations you see in the bottom half where the familiar shape of a poem slowly emerges. This direction will have one quatrain which I shall eventually come to after many more pages like this one.
As always, highlighted black text are those lines I am actively developing and grey text are notes (for example, a reminder as to why I chose this word over that one, or what shortcomings there may be in this line or that one); a forward slash separates variations of the same stanza and coloured letters help me keep track of words (namely their sounds3, literary alliteration, visual alliteration4, and frequency of use5). All this is of little interest I am sure but such is my numbingly meticulous nature!
There is, of course, a preceding page with the initial draft that spawned the three directions, as well as two subsequent pages with variations I have already written for directions two and three.
“And everywhere that Mary went…”
Words similar in shape and letters (I made this one up, I fear): The peasantplucked a pheasant.
For example, I make a significant word red the moment it appears more than once lest unwittingly I repeat it too often—it is easy to lose track of the obvious even in so short a poem when one is rapt in the writing process.
I am working on the first direction of the “Mist from the Mountains” poem. Counting the number of words I have written thus far, I come to just over a thousand. Far from settled on any particular variation to develop into a final draft, thousands more will be written. Some will emerge from existing lines, others (I hope) whispered by the Muse. By comparison, the final draft for this direction (a quatrain in Iambic trimetre) will amount to about twenty words!