The Write Out Loud Poem of the Week is ‘To Life (full colour version)’ by Rick
Our thanks to Rick for his responses to our traditional Q&A, which you can read below. In the meantime, enjoy his poem, and be inspired to write your own!
Can you tell us a little background about how you came to write this poem?
I saw a neighbour in the street - he was stick thin - his lamp of life was dimming - so I wrote it about him largely. The first draft felt incomplete so I decided to turn the character into a holocaust survivor rejoicing in life as a wonderful thing despite the ravages to which he had been subject.
Would you say your poetry has a particular style?
I have no set style - a few lately have been Imagist in tone and form - I prefer longer narratives - and try not to give complete answers, the who what why where and when - leaving the reader to form their own conclusions - my 'Hello Goodbye' (posted here on WOL) is a recent example of that.
Do you attend any writing groups or workshops?
I don't attend any workshops as such as I feel that poetry has to reflect the real experience of the writer and no amount of education in a formal sense can add truth and integrity if it is not already present in the writer's life - and if it is not then perhaps poetry is not their proper genre. That said, I read a lot and allow ideas to float around until they settle into a (possible) coherent form.
How has your poetry developed over the time you have been writing?
For me, performing and writing is standing naked and raw in a pillory for all and sundry to lob their rotten fruit at one.
If you could invite four poets (living or dead) to tea, who would they be?
Dylan Thomas, Paul Durcan, WB Yeats, Charles Bukowski (for roughage)
To Life (full colour version)
I spoke to Sol today,
he wore a ‘not here’ grin,
a battered fedora,
flapping loose in the wind
a threadbare three-piece suit-
no kippah no tzitzit,
He’d lost a lot of weight,
‘Are you feeling alright?’
‘I’ve been much worse than this.
Do I know you? Have you
got a spare cigarette?’
‘The meshuggah’s lost it’
His feet were raw, bleeding.
‘What’s happened to your shoes?’
A scratched head. A vague wave.
‘Shoes? Must’ve lost them. Smoke?’
I lit two Craven A’s.
He took a long slow drag.
As King David had danced
bare-footed the Ark home
to Jerusalem so
Sol scampered the pavement -
drain-soaked turn-ups? Shalom.
‘In the cool of the day.
The Lord God walked Eden’
A brutal coughing fit:
Sol doubled hawking blood,
wiped his mouth... glided on.
I shouted, ‘Mazel tov.’
A cheery wave, ‘L’chaim!’