All writers are observers. We carry notepads, murmur into recorders, rattle fingers over netbooks. Which is all very well if you are scribbling overheard scraps of conversation, or if you are gifted enough to be able to produce spot-on descriptions with zero notice. (I'm not, by the way. We are talking blood, sweat and concentrated staring into space here.) But what if you want to capture the essence of a moment? Something that you can refer back to months or even years later. Something that takes you back to Yes, then, that was it, that was how I felt at that exact moment in time.
As I'm sure I've said before, I use poetry. It doesn't have to rhyme. It doesn't have to be grammatically correct. But done right it will have its own internal rhythm and it will have the right keywords, in the right order, to capture the moment.
Last night, waiting in the car park to give my son a lift home from the late bus, I saw something I'd never seen before. It was beautiful, scary, left my heart pounding in my mouth and was over in seconds.
So once it was settled in my head, over my last mug of tea, I wrote it into a poem. A tiny, reusable, time capsule.
|This is an example. There was no time to film it.|
by Jan Jones
After dark is a lawless world
of energy and dares
of scary, arc lit follow-my-leader
roof sliding . . .
all of them
as suddenly as they were there
The last bus rolls in
With yellow windows and solitary passengers
As I start the car my heart subsides in painful jerks to my chest
the echoes of slapping feet held suspended in my mind