Aged. A poem.

Cranky at the portents:
The breeze, it smells of winter,
Even though the summer
Has settled in
Like a squatter, rent-free,
Taking advantage
Of your misdemeanours.

Have your eyes aged
With the rest?
Or are you seeing as you did
Before the withered cheeks
And dragging jowls,
When everything was new
And you were innocent
As hyenas on the veldt.

Age has not wearied
The sullen and the sacred.
You had a vision of the sea,
But it was simply
Hallucination.
Time is and was and will be,
And you will follow suit.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print or e-book formats.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

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Father. A poem.

I remember my father,

as he is

now
and
then,

anchored to that
fading chair

with

fading hairline
and
fading eyes,

the absence of smoke

from

unfiltered
cigarettes,

not so heavy in the air.
Less the cough

from

tar-filled lungs
and
asbestos alveoli.

Finger in ear,
a book his constant

companion,

weary
and
weather-worn,

the walls echo

with

odd angry shots
and amnesiac spite.

I love my father,
even if he is

only

half the man
he
used
to
be.

The All or the Nothing is my first e-book of poetry, available at most online book sellers. To find out how to buy a copy,
click here.

 

The Luminous Details of Poetic Description

Exercise:

  • Poet Ezra Pound described the “luminous details” that reveal and transmit an image swiftly and deeply.
  • Find an image that resonates with you. Write a poem about this object in no more than 10 lines, keeping in mind the art of description, and the luminous details that move the reader.
  • When you have written this poem, write a quick explanation of how exploring the ‘luminous details’ felt to you.

IMG_0534_cropped

Barn. A poem.

Slumped, your brother’s shoulder a welcome resting place.
The creaking of aging joints, the wind ruffling patchy tresses,
liver spots of brown and red on bleached and crusty skin.
Iron will a testament to endless winter frosts and summer heat. 
Littered memories at your feet, the dust of bitter/better years.

Stephen Thompson

Last year I drove my parents to Queensland for a holiday (I wrote and posted a poem about it at the time); I then picked them up when the holiday was over. (No, I didn’t want to holiday with them. Does that make me a bad son?) 4400 kilometres later, I had nothing to show for it other than this photo I took of an old, collapsing barn outside of Grafton, New South Wales.

I like the use of imagery and metaphor to describe the details of objects, features and conditions. Sometimes my poems are a little too ‘obvious’ in nature, so I like to stretch myself when I can. I enjoy using what poet Ezra Pounddescribed as “luminous details” and acting “as a filter, finding the most resonant, charged details to transmit the image to the reader”.

In this poem I saw the barn as an old man, the dead tree next to it providing support, a literal brother-in-arms. For me it reflects the state of many old and abandoned buildings, but also the aged people in our lives, who are hopefully not as neglected or forgotten.

How do you feel about your own poems? Do you feel you capture the luminous details that Pound mentioned? Why not try this exercise and share the resulting poem with us.

Cheers

Steve 😊

Shopping with the Olds

I went to the mall with my aged parents to do some Christmas shopping.

Note to self: find some excuse next time to avoid going with aged parents to the mall to do Christmas shopping.

I don’t dislike my parents–I love them very much. All the more so because they’re allowing me to live under their roof until my property settlement is finalised. In fact, I don’t mind sitting with them in a car or at lunch and hearing them squabble over the smallest and most ridiculous things, as long-term married couples do.

Here’s some other things I don’t mind, either:

  • I don’t mind adding my mother’s mobile phone number into my dad’s phone directory because he didn’t realise he deleted it and doesn’t know how to get it back.
  • I don’t mind that my father buys innumerable pairs of underpants every time he goes out (he has a draw full of new, unopened, old man undies, and insists on getting more. Just in case of an underpants apocalypse, I guess. You can never have too many pairs of undies when the s$&@ hits the fan at the end of the world).
  • I don’t mind that my Mum insists on telling me how to drive, even though she can’t drive herself.
  • I don’t mind that by lunchtime I’ve done most of my shopping and they’ve bought one pair of socks.
  • I don’t mind that dad asks me to buy him the new Simon Scarrow book for Christmas, then goes and purchases it anyway without telling me, literally ten minutes after he asked me to get it.
  • I don’t mind that my mother argues with me over the price of a DVD box set I’m planning to purchase as a gift, because she thinks I’m too poor to afford it.
  • I don’t even mind sitting in the backseat on the long drive home as my parents have an extended phone conversation with a friend on loudspeaker without ever acknowledging to them that I’m there.

Shopping with the olds. I don’t mind it at all.

But I think I’ll go shopping on my own, next time.

Cheers

Steve 🙂

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