Saturday, 4 September 2010

Poetry of place

Having been discussing poems recently, I thought I'd post one of mine. (If it looks familiar, I put it on the Transita Authors blog ages ago)

I write poems for myself, to capture a moment or a mood or a person or a place. I find when I look at them again sometimes years later, they bring to mind exactly what I wanted to remember - a very handy brain-transportation device for a writer!

As I blogged last about Lady Mary Stewart and the way she brings her settings so vividly to life, I'm presenting you with a 'place' poem. This was written while sailing on the Norfolk Broads one time. Many people go there on holiday to enjoy the water and the scenery, but the landscape is so ancient and brooding that I always get the feeling we mortals are merely tolerated as we scull across it.

No Postcard by Jan Jones

Pretty? You couldn’t call this pretty
This land defies the roundness of the Earth
Grey-green under grey sky
Archaic in its horizontal heaviness
When man falters, stumbles to nothing
The land remains.

Incomers live on the surface. Try too hard. Never see
That line of mud around the ankles. Never notice
Those eyes the remote grey of the sky. Just
A micrometer of pulled petroleum.

Driftwood tree, taut amongst summer reeds
Grey water with a purpose of its own
Inexorable. Unremitting.
This land is no postcard.


Debs said...

I haven't read it before now and think it's really atmospheric.

Jan Jones said...

Thanks, Debs!

Catt said...

I've been meaning to reply and kept forgetting. I'm here. right.

It's a very powerful opening - the one word question. There's something I really like about the latter part of the first stanza and start of the second. I like the word choices - particularly towards the end, and an awesome last line. s'fab. :)

Jan Jones said...

Thank you, Catt. Glad you liked.

montyandrosie said...

Wow, Jan - what a great poem! Very strong. Very telling.