Friday, 4 May 2018

Bedtime Stories - a poem for my Dad

Bedtime Stories

I didn’t really like the books
my Dad read to me at bedtime,

those James Herriot vet stories
all hedgerows and country lanes,

but I loved the sound of his voice
like icy water over river stones

and I loved the weight of him beside me
on my bed not my sister's,

emanating warmth through those
resonating words falling from his mouth

chapter after chapter
night after night.

-I'm still not sure what makes a good poem. Just like any writing - fiction, opinion piece - there are some poems I immediately love, some I stop reading mid-sentence and others I have absolutely no idea what is going on or what as a reader I'm meant to feel (not that I would ever admit).

I wrote this poem quite a few years ago and read it aloud during the Glenn Colquhoun poetry class at Wanaka Autumn Art School 2018. BTW my favourite poem of Glenn C's is "To-the-girl-who-stood-beside-me-at-the-checkout-counter-of-Whitcoulls-bookstore-in-Hamilton-on-Tuesday" It's a truly beautiful love letter to a stranger.

Glenn's comments on my poem (or pome as he calls them), 'Bedtime Stories' were,  "I'm tearing up ... It's a spectacularly beautiful poem ... It gives you a thump in the chest ... it rings true ... it asks for help ... " He also referred to its 'poetry problems' he said that he felt the words emanating and resonating were too meaty and should be simpler. But I cannot think of another way of describing how the timbre of a man's voice reverberates through a small child when they are sitting close by. Can you? Jane x

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