The poet’s art must be learned. The techniques of versewriting comprise a real craft, and a major preoccupation of any poet must be the development of his skill in handling them. Francis Stillman’s advice may not be terribly fashionable today but for me the language, structure and musicality of poetry are the elements which make this such a powerful and emotive art form. There are many different poetic forms but for my own efforts I wanted to ensure that I had an understanding of the great traditions of versewriting that have so inspired me over the years and try to be true to that tradition. Through writing poetry I seek to reflect the techniques and skills of poets who have had the greatest influence on my own writing from the dramatic verse of the earliest classical writers, the magnificent poetry of the seventeenth century, the Romantics of the nineteenth century and modern poets like Ted Hughes and Philip Larkin, while remaining relevant and interesting to contemporary readers. You may like to visit my website www.neilwest.me and my collected works 'Nation in a State' can be downloaded there for free. If you would like my children to wear shoes you can buy a copy from www.lulu.com :)
Dignum Laude Virum Musa Vetat Mori* The first rays of light crept hopefully about Casting their prying fingers in and out Of long night time shadows, forcing them To slink like nocturnal beasts revealed Into remote corners and crevices unseen As day followed night the light fell full length Upon a dusty window pane shut tight Made grimy by neglect and marching time It struggled and yet finally did pass through To cut the dusty gloom inside a house No better than its neighbours and no worse The cheerful light laid bare with no remorse The shabby living room of this small house A patterned woollen carpet, faded in the sun The patchy threads had been much walked upon And battered furniture antique in style Old newspapers left yellowing in a pile Upon the mantelpiece a clock had ceased To count the passing hours long ago An ashtray was the only souvenir To indicate this house was still a home It lay full gorged upon the butts and ash Explaining why the peeling walls were stained And in that sealed room the air was stale A fine layer of dust had settled gently upon The back of an old armchair, its back to the door Still looming in the fast receding shadows A gnarled hand grips each arm tightly Wrinkled brown skin, chipped black nails Paler than the palest ivory The whites of eyes that can no longer see Staring from his face quite peacefully A face much lined with wrinkled age and care Though crowned with white his head is mostly bare In life he had been poor and lived alone In the dignity of death this was undone And so we must retire from this poignant scene Back out onto the streets from whence we came And up above those rooftops all the same To watch the bloated sunset's fading rays. * The man worthy of praise the Muse forbids to die. Horace The Mask of Unity The Mask of Anarchy rides out once more And leads his troops to clear the killing floor His crocodile tears are shed from glassy screens And fall like neon gemstones, subtly guided To dash out the brains of fleeing refugees 'We are the agents of peace!' twisted words are cried 'This action will not cease!' bombs fall from the sky In this slaughter of the innocents who must die In order that a greater evil be destroyed? A lapdog's face twists grins into concern His earnest words and waving hands express Distaste at the way this war has turned Yet gnaws upon the bones that have been burned By Anarchy's stealth forces and then tossed Down from that higher table to his pet As payment earned for loyalty unquestioned But this war cannot offer glory, blood or gold Just mass graves, empty cities, barren landscapes Silent Cold
All poems are copyright of the originating author. Permission must be obtained before using or performing others' poems.
the wordsmith (24/08/2016)
What Monster? (19/06/2015)
the lost property paradox (true story) (19/03/2014)
a list of last things (14/03/2014)
moonlight on white snow settled (10/03/2014)
feeling the pinch (18/01/2013)
ghost trains - reposted (03/08/2012)
Ghost Train (17/07/2012)
Blog link: https://www.writeoutloud.net/blogs/neilwest
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