Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Attics Of The Mind

Our unusually warm weather over the last few days has guaranteed that my thinking processes plummeted to virtual zero. Inspiration suffered under an 82º blanket. By about half past seven in the evening, once the sun moved off the patio doors, I could at least contemplate a quick whizz around Blogland. And what did I find? Many people posting old, faded photographs, many others talking of packing /unpacking boxes, storing parts of their lives, not always quite certain why. Others were telling stories of earlier times, as though they had already unpacked a 'virtual reality' box from the recesses of their minds and were looking at events the same way one might flick through a photograph album.

For some, I think the recollections were almost a way of saying goodbye to the past and looking forward to the future, while with others it made me feel they were holding on to parts of their lives best forgotten. With all these ideas gleaned from minds all over the globe, I thought I might try writing something this morning, while the temperature was a little more conducive to creativity.

It's not often I approach writing in a logical way. I usually get an idea that makes me grab the nearest pen or pencil and scribble frantically, in an almost indecipherable scrawl, to get a string of words down because I like the sound of them, or because I can see where they might lead. But if, like today, I only have a vague idea, then uppermost in my mind it's the rhyme and metre I decide upon first. OK, I would go for iambic pentameter in sonnet form, I thought. Next, I still needed one line to start me off... 'a photograph from childhood, long ago' had a swing to it...
Then the rhyme scheme takes over, and already I'm hunting for a word that will fit with 'ago', and jot down a selection at the side of the page.

Because of the almost nostalgic and and sometimes regretful tone of some of those Blogland posts I'd read, I wanted to capture that mood in the poem that was under construction. This is where the attic of my mind began unloading it's own dusty boxes, as I searched for words or feelings that would combine into a cohesive whole. Half an hour with the pencil got me as far as eight lines, and I transferred to the computer, where it's easier to move things around quickly. At that point, the beginning was 'A photograph...', but seeing the onscreen version, I wanted more lines before this point. It wasn't long before I had decided what they should be, so here it is folks, open to criticism. At least you will know how it came into being...

Voyage Of Discovery

Another box; a dusty treasure trove
of keepsakes hoarded over many years:
a trinket: letter: token of old love
forgotten, washed away by gentle tears:
a photograph from childhood, long ago,
where memory's encapsulated shades
of black and white, now faded, serve to show
in frozen movement, youthful escapades
among imagined fantasies galore.
Oh, then we could be masters of our fate,
before we knew what life may hold in store,
before we realised, it's soon too late
to captain yet another ship. We sail
against prevailing wind to no avail.


  1. Great post, super poem. I must say I envy the way you can produce scripts apparently at the drop of a hat. Well done, you.

  2. This is lovely, though sad.
    I must admit I had to look up what a 'iambic pentameter' was.
    It is always good to learn something new each day, so I will try and retain this nugget of knowledge. I have been wondering how I can introduce it into an everyday conversation with Hubby! lol... He is so good at English grammar though, so he won't be foxed.

    Love Granny

  3. It's a fine poem although on the mournful side, which is also fine.

    I wouldn't consider 82F stifling, but it is getting up there. It all depends on what you're used to, I guess. I'd certainly have the AC on at that temp, but I don't imagine that AC is exactly ubiquitous over there.

  4. Oh, how marvelous of you to take us through the construction, the voyage of your mind. And judging from its content, it is a reduction of the chatter in blogland for sure.

  5. Love the poem. Like reading about days gone by.

  6. Glad to find that I am not the only one who is shot to pieces in the hot weather. I feel like sitting in a darkened room all day with a cool drink and a good book. I don't seem to come alive until evening.

  7. Huzzah! Three cheers for Penelope!

    Of course there is that little matter of lines 3, 4, and 7 being iambic tetrameter (4 feet), not pentameter (5 feet), but no's still a wonderful poem.

  8. Yes as we get older we have things to pass on and lots of keepsakes and memories. It almost made me cry when my son told me he puts no value to what I do and will throw everything away one day. Things I collected for my family and grandchildren I wanted to pass on.The young put no value on.
    Unlike myself that keeps her Dads hat and Moms broken glasses because family history is valued.
    It's only when you have lost everything that you begin to miss it. Then people go back and wish to find the family tree.:)

  9. Thank you for sharing how the poem, a fairly good one, came into existance.

  10. Fantastic!!! I love this one...and greatly admire your skill with iambic pentameter!!!! And this captures perfectly the way we all feel about our childhoods! Wonderful! ~Janine XO

  11. Thanks for spotting them, RWP - have now revised said lines, hopefully to your satisfaction?

  12. I do like the revised lines better now that the meter has been changed. But you should write poems to YOUR satisfaction, not mine!

  13. A watery voyage is the best metaphor for this, as we're all sloshing about in our own oceans of memories. And funny, isn't it, how we approach them differently. Good one, Jinksy.

    AH, eidt fro nooen.

  14. Lady's Life. How right you are! I have my Dad's letter to my Mother that he wrote from his demob camp in Weymouth, describing his experiences in the WW1 trenches. And the shrapnel the docs dug out of him. And the cap badge and medals of an uncle, who did not survive.

    Jinks . . the poem is v. accomplished. Only one word sticks out a bit - "galore" Don't know why, but I don't think it sits well in this fine poem.

  15. Doctor FTSE- please see distinguished origins of galore, a word which I happen to like!

    1660–70; < Ir go leor enough, plenty (ScotGael gu leòr, leòir), equiv. to go, particle forming predicative adjectives and adverbs + leór enough (OIr lour)


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