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Poem 7 - Meanwhile surely there must be something to say...

The seventh draft poem for Matthew Sweeney's Guardian Unlimited workshop, taking a line from a W.S. Graham poem to inspire drama within your work (and push you out of your comfort zone):


Meanwhile surely there must be something to say
of what we had: the way we met as friends of friends
at a polite party nothing short of dead, the day we
headed to the coast and kissed and laughed and slept

on the beach, the same penchants for Marmite and BBQ
crisps, all this we could talk about before we sign this,
for instance, for instance… the way we made love in your bed,
my bed, our bed, the way we… the way we… made love. Had sex.

Comments

Katy Murr said…
Good starting line, isn't it - one can't help but wonder what went before. Fabulous trick.

I like the 'way', 'day' rhymes: simple and wonderfully aiding cohesion. Apt place for pause/ break after 'slept', too.

Best part? The change in language, from what was once repeated, (reassured?) as having 'made love'. How people trick and lie to themselves...

Sounds like someone about to sign divorce dealings.
Rob said…
Nothing like getting to the essence of things, eh? Good, subtle build-up through the poem to the two-word punchline.
Ben Wilkinson said…
Thanks for the positive responses, Katy and Rob. I've taken this poem and the latest one down as I'm thinking they could form something quite good with a bit of editing.
Matt Merritt said…
Liked this one too, Ben, but I wonder whether the "for instance, for instance" should be reworked. It sounds very close to a line from Simon Armitage's To His Lost Lover.
Ben Wilkinson said…
That's very true, Matt, I wasn't properly aware of that until you pointed it out, but it did feel nigglingly familiar. What to replace it with, that's the question... or is it happy enough in dialogue with Armitage's poem, or is it too much of an (albeit accidental) rip-off?
Matt Merritt said…
I think I'd change it, although what to is tricky because I like what it does.
I'm always doing this - the trouble is it's rarely something you've read recently (and which you're aware of trying to steer clear of) that lodges in your mind.
Ben Wilkinson said…
I think I've cracked it, Matt, what do you think?

[..]

on the beach, the same penchants for Marmite and BBQ
crisps, all the stuff we could talk about before we sign this;
how it felt when we first kissed, the way we made love in your bed,
my bed, our bed, the way we… the way we… made love. Had sex.
Matt Merritt said…
Yeah, definitely. That works.
Ben Wilkinson said…
(I think the main worry was losing the half rhyme with this, but kiss works pretty well. Although the repetition of 'for instance, for instance...' is a nice touch, which is what, as I now recall, makes Armitage's poem so good.)
Ben Wilkinson said…
Thanks for your thoughts and help, Matt, much appreciated.

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