Tuesday, February 21, 2006


I wrote this poem a couple of weeks ago. I recieved a small diary for a Christmas gift which also had a detachable and refillable jotter pad the size of the diary itself neatly tucked in the back cover; so effectively it was a mini notebook. I had never used one before, but as the new year started I began using it for jotting down word combos, as and when they struck me or I heard them. It was turning into a very handy little book as it was small enough to comfortably fit in my coat pocket. I usually use an A4 size hardback jotter and a mechanical pencil, but cycling home from my sisters along the coast one evening three weeks ago, I stopped and sat gazing out over to Howth and took out the diary.

It was dark, but the light from the street lamps cast enough light to write with and I wrote the first line down as I heard a bird skimming the water. Then as the days passed and the book started taking shape I realised that my writing process was evolving into using a smaller book. It made sense because, unlike the A4 hardbacks where you can ream out the words, this small book was condensing the words down, and making me a lot more aware that page size has an effect on the pysche. This is how Raymond chandler used to write. He would put a very small yellow paper in the typewriter to concentrate his writing, as the less words that can fit on the page the more you think on what words get put down and, so the theory goes, the less room for flab.

The diary had two parts, the blank jotter, which had turned out great for research notes, and the diary itself, which I was starting to use in an innovative way. Every page had a quote at the top and the physical lines of the layout (which broke the day down into two hour blocks) meant I could experiment with how the shape of the poem evolved, as it could incorporate the few words already printed on the page. After two weeks I had three drafts working up, which I felt were an improvement on my usual stuff and I was effectively in a process of refining my compositional method.

However last week I had a bit of bad luck. I got my dual MP3 recorder/radio and memory stick stolen from a public internet shop I use, after forgetting to take it out of the computer when I left. When I returned twenty minutes later after realising I had left it behind, it was gone. I was gutted because it had lots of files I hadn't backed up and have had to chase around the net for, and my recording activity has been temporarily halted. It recorded in two modes, one the quality of a very good dictaphone and the other, a line in function that took a microphone and recorded to CD quality. All a third of the size of a mobile phone.

Prior to losing it I was a one man walking studio who could record anywhere, so I was gutted. That night I went out, got drunk and lost my only decent coat, an all weather one with detachable fleece. And in the pocket? Yep, the diary where my inchoate methods were taking shape. And in the two weeks prior to this I had two bicycles stolen, one of which I still owe 40 euros for, and guess where the guys number is? Diary again. And the final twist was that on the Valentines night when I lost the MP3 and coat I had just delivered a letter and three poems (to prove my bona fides) to Ralph Fiennes who is appearing at a theatre here, asking him if I could record him reciting a poem of his choice. Naturally he hasn't got back to me.

But poetry is an art of faith and a week later I have tried to shake off any negativity by just keeping going and writing, knowing that adversity can only make me stronger in the long run.


In open seas of composition
- by swimming twenty yards out to seer
the pre-verbal
tweet of an idea -
float on an opaque signifier

but be alert and unspeaking of what
lifts beneath you
waking the voice within

consciously perch like a gentle merman
or migrating sea bird awaiting to sweep
across still shallow waters and

sit understanding
the incoming tide
divining to hear what word god
returns when the odds of hitting
aural bullseyes cease to be wrongly spoken of


Sabne Raznik said...

You seem very interesting. Check out my work at the listed URL, and maybe we can email coorespond?

Prmod Bafna said...

Hey! wonderful piece of poetry a rather different way you have of writing! Great blog too! Will drop by in leisure to read more :)