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Unread 06-06-2021, 02:01 PM
F.F. Teague F.F. Teague is offline
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Gloucestershire, UK
Posts: 1,790
Default Freshtival


The title of this thread is inspired by Mark Mc's 'Festival'.

Thanks again to everyone who contributed to the thread about fresh poetry in General Talk. I'm going to try to write a few fresh things based on the ideas expressed in the thread, but everyone is welcome to write from alternative perspectives.

On the subject of alt-perspectives, here's my sonnet by the Old Man of Gugh, a standing stone, spruced up since its first outing. I posted it at my international site, where it was well received. Other interpretations of the stone are possible.

Performance note: deep booming voice (my older brother is good).

The Old Man of Gugh

How old am I? Darned rudeness. Twenty-one!
00Yes yes, I know your guidebook has "Bronze Age".
But why not let this fogie have his fun?
00You'd rather that than see me in a rage.
I've been a long time here, on brackened Gugh.
00They stood me up to guard their pottered graves.
I must admit, I like my slanting view –
00the hills and heath, the sand and stones, the waves.
I couldn't stop your Civil Warrers, mind.
00I mean, I glared, but they just tramped on through.
And then that Bonsor, come to make his find.
00"Sod off," I boomed. "There's nothing here for you."
These days, seems folks just want to take my pic.
"Lean in," they joke. If only I could kick!

- - -
Tomorrow: something free verse featuring paint.
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Unread 06-06-2021, 03:04 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is offline
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Connecticut, USA
Posts: 7,463

Fliss, your sonnet (which I really enjoyed) reminded me of a poem I once wrote about the Kissing Stones.

A Rocky Affair

The Kissing Stones, part of the Wain Stones, are a natural sandstone outcrop. They have been weathered by the unrelenting weather up on Bleaklow, the largest mountain plateau in the Peak District National Park.

At last they meet again to kiss
after a split that seemed for good.
For eons they have longed for this.

Time stops as they anticipate
drawing close together. Whether
they ever will, no one can state

for certain. Not a thing ensues.
Their faces have begun to feel
as dry and coarse as gritstone. Clues

that something will occur are wanting
as Bleaklow’s flanks are short on flora.
Dunlins swirl in hundreds, taunting

the lovers for their wavering,
whose plight is bleaker than the land.
Perhaps these stones are savoring

this moment of expectancy.
Yet don’t they know rain, rough as scree,
will scour them till they cease to be?

Look at their eyes, so unaware
of the herb Robert growing near,
which knows more than this moonstruck pair.

Last edited by Martin Elster; 06-06-2021 at 09:41 PM.
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Unread 06-07-2021, 02:09 AM
Ann Drysdale's Avatar
Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is online now
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Old South Wales (UK)
Posts: 6,131

Rocks, eh? This is from my very first collection.

The Menhirs at St. Pierre de Quiberon

After a long game of follow-my-leader,
stumbling head-down, keeping out of range,
I saw my first “alignments”. Granite chunks,
lumpen, unlovely, slummocked in a queue
like students at a cashpoint on a campus.
Five almost-rows, but not quite half as straight
as teams of first-year infants at PE.
What Yorkshire folk call “neither nowt nor summat”.
A little grandeur, if you looked for it,
but mostly something awkwardly familiar.
I felt at home among the granite ghosts.

That odd one on the left – a little head
balanced on tea-tray shoulders, carefully.
The weatherworn excrescence at its back
suggested a small knapsack, carried high.
Its calculated military bearing
seeming an effort to outpace the shadow
of someone it would rather leave behind.
I knew that menhir. I had followed it,
crestfallen, all the way from Quiberon.

And so it came as something of a shock
to lay a finger on its lichened surface
and not to feel it flinch.
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Unread 06-07-2021, 11:36 AM
RCL's Avatar
RCL RCL is offline
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 6,308
Default Stoned


How happy is the little Stone
That rambles in the Road alone,
And doesn't care about Careers
And Exigencies never fears—
Whose Coat of elemental Brown
A passing Universe put on,
And independent as the Sun
Associates or glows alone,
Fulfilling absolute Decree
In casual simplicity—

Emily Dickinson
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Unread 06-07-2021, 02:09 PM
F.F. Teague F.F. Teague is offline
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Gloucestershire, UK
Posts: 1,790

Welcome to Freshtival, Martin, Ann, Ralph :-)

Here are some strawberries 🍓 🍓 🍓 and, for each of you, a gift bag 👜 (it contains whatever you wish it to contain).

Martin, thanks for enjoying the sonnet. It's part of a series describing a trip around the Scilly Isles. I like your 'Rocky Affair' (I've googled), particularly for the dunlins but also for 'savoring / this moment of expectancy', which puts me in mind of Keats's 'Grecian Urn'. The 'herb Robert' is a pleasant addition too :-)

Ann, I've googled these menhirs and I enjoyed reading your poem. I like the Yorkshire folk and all the similes. Yes, rocks and stones; and one of my next pieces happens to be about trees...

Ralph, thanks for sharing this. I haven't read much Emily Dickinson; there's loads to stuff I want to read, bit the schedule keeps filling up, unfortunately. Sometimes I can listen to poetry things while coding, formatting, referencing, however. I love the 'Coat of elemental Brown' :-)

Here's syllabics/song written almost a decade ago as part of my sculpture series ('his-tor-ry').

Sliced Log Star

A man cuts down a tree,
his aim to play the sleuth,
detecting growth and history,
which he terms 'inner truth'.

A wooden star is sawn,
a monumental art,
and round its flanks the live oaks mourn
the taking of a heart.

And here's a new thing:


As his son speaks,
I see Grandad
during our last time together –
sage slacks, white shirt, beige cardigan,
blue eyes twinkling as he leans on his cane.

She, one of the stepdaughters,
muddies his smart clothes
and sets his eyes to reddening.
He wobbles and blurs, unstable.
Where did my Grandad go?

Grandad returns in glory
with Dad's closing voluntary:
his clothes are sparkling
and his blue eyes gleam.

- - -
Tomorrow: possibly a trip.
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Unread 06-08-2021, 01:44 PM
F.F. Teague F.F. Teague is offline
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Gloucestershire, UK
Posts: 1,790

Trip time...

This poem describes the first of three attempts to bandage my broken leg; Bro. A. (Adrian Teague) and Tess (my PA/carer) accompanied me into A&E on Saturday 13th June last year. I've posted the poem on 'Poemusicals' too, with musical accompaniment.

Trip 1 of 3

The trolley-bed awaiting me is close yet miles away.
I start to rise, get on my feet. 'Come on, come on!' I say.
The spasms start again. I scream, I roar. The pain is wild.
I want my mum. I'm 41 and suddenly a child.
I grab the bed and sit. 'No, sweet. Get on it properly now.'
I try. I scream. They grab my leg. I cry, 'Ow-ow-ow-ow...'
'What's going on?' A voice outside the curtains, soft and clear.
'They're [sigh],' Bro. A. explains. Then something else I can't quite hear.
A yellow pipe appears. It smokes. 'Inhale, good girl,' says Chong.
I breathe in breathe out, play the pipe. My woodwind lungs are strong.
The nurses blur, the spasms shrink. The curtains sway and part.
Bro. A. and Tess are here. Tess holds her hand against her heart.
'Hey yous!' I say. They hold my feet. She's left and he is right.
They raise and shift. They watch my face. We're spinning through the night.
I start to sing, of Mol' Malone, fair Dublin, pretty girls,
the cockles, mussels turn and turn in rushing rainbow whirls.
Now Brother A. is saying, 'Partly Irish', to a nurse
and Chong has finished bandaging. 'Good! Now it won't get worse.'
The spinning's slowing. Brother A. and Tess have left the room.
My clothes come off and I'm re-dressed in square-print gown of gloom.
The pain again. My nails are knives. I stab my wrist, my palm.
I whimper. Teddy Teague appears. He whispers, 'Just keep calm.'
'To AMU!' says Chong. 'Good luck,' he adds and pats my hand.
We ride to station no. 2 in Gloucester Hospiland.

- - -
Tomorrow: myth-kitties...
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Unread 06-08-2021, 05:07 PM
Nigel Mace Nigel Mace is offline
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: The Borders and Italy
Posts: 1,517

Perhaps I am alone in this, but it seems to that to select from my verse (I have just tried) anything to contribute to this thread implicitly suggests (certainly to me) that some, at least, of my other work is not 'fresh poetry' at all. Presumably, lacking in sharp originality or scintillating novelty of expression. I don't think I want to impose the rather negative collateral 'damage' which seems the inevitable consequence of such categorisation and I am pretty well at a loss to understand what, if anything, is achieved by erecting it in the first place.

Clearly, I am missing something - but I'm fogged if I know what. The poems so far posted are, to me, of varied clarity and ability to move/stimulate and I suspect I would have enjoyed them to precisely the same extent had the claims of 'freshness' never been made. However, as a stimulating range of verse - please, by all means, keep them coming.
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Unread 06-09-2021, 02:05 PM
F.F. Teague F.F. Teague is offline
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Gloucestershire, UK
Posts: 1,790

Erm, I don't know how to reply to Nigel, so I've PM'd someone for guidance :-) :>) (thank-coos)

Now it's time for a myth-kitty sonnet. Thanks are due to Mark and to Ann, for their posts on the General Talk thread :-)

This is about a situation on FB.

Haha back

The new-bard thinks I shouldn't be myself,
00a wheelchair user, well beyond repair,
asexual and smiling on my shelf,
00so morphined up I find I cannot care
about the frowns he levels at my work,
00its unshared urge to tell the tattered truth;
he calls me 'Fool!' I think he's just a berk
00and keep on showing life in claw and tooth.
It's not the pretty kitty-myth he seeks –
00a glossy glowing cutey-catty thing.
I think he'll give up soon; it's been three weeks
00of tries to change me, sighing, sorrowing;
and every Angry makes me Haha back –
when people diss, they only show their lack.

- - -
Tomorrow: blood.

Last edited by F.F. Teague; 06-09-2021 at 02:06 PM. Reason: Punctuation :-]
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Unread 06-10-2021, 03:50 AM
Nigel Mace Nigel Mace is offline
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: The Borders and Italy
Posts: 1,517

Well, Fliss... if 'fresh' is the quality aimed for, presumably 'stale' is the condition to be avoided and, if there are as many varieties of the former as there are readers, the latter is certainly absent from your own work and from your chosen exemplars. I thought Ann and Maryann particularly apt choices for your opening post - though, as you observe, there are many more.
Please don't feel the need to be advised. I'm just a bit puzzled as to why you wanted to define/refine the term. Not that my puzzlement matters - especially as your 'Freshtival' has garnered such varied and telling contributions.

Last edited by Nigel Mace; 06-10-2021 at 04:50 AM.
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Unread 06-10-2021, 06:33 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: TX
Posts: 6,630

Hi Fliss,

I do in fact have a stone poem I can add to the pile. It's about these two stones in Denmark:

And here's the poem:

The Jelling Stones

When Gorm the Old put up the first of these
two runestones for his wife, the land was pagan.
They’re under glass these days. A little church
has stood beside them for a thousand years.

His son put up the second, bigger stone:
Harald Bluetooth, thinking of his parents.
And this stone says, he made Denmark and Norway
his, made the Danes Christian
. There is Christ

entangled on its face above those runes,
yet folks have thought of Odin on his tree
to see Christ, arms outstretched, thus trapped in curls.
The bright paint’s almost gone, but those who read

the runes or images will learn of Harald.
Another face shows what may be a snake,
a lion in its toils. The runes beneath
do not interpret. And the little church

can’t tell you who these creatures are. They stood
beneath the sky of Jutland long enough
to shed the meaning they once had. The snake
may have the upper hand, but they’re not done.

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