Shimenawa

Shimenawa
Meoto-Iwa, Futami, Mie Prefecture

In the shadow of a setting sun
Trails light across a rippling sea
A cord that weds still rock to rock

A cord that weds still rock to rock
Is shadowed in the setting sun
Above a quietly rippling sea

Above a quietly rippling sea
Stands two wed lovers, rock and rock
In the shadow of a setting sun

© Martin Porter 2015

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The Loofah of Unhappiness – Exercise

The Loofah of Unhappiness

This tangle of hardness
surrounds fine, empty spaces,
weaving indifference
into a shape. It does not care.

It climbs into space, three chimneys
that exude no smoke, caked with no soot
that has never seen fire. It does not hate
nor eat. Vacant, it never starves.

I look at the shower head weeping.
Here in my nakedness, I am revealed.
In the squall of hot water, I grab the grief,
soap my body and scrub, hard, to reveal new skin.

© Martin Porter 2015

Why write about a loofah, of all things! Not because it is a good subject, or because it appeals to readers, and certainly not because it makes for a good exercise. This poem, an exercise response, looks at an ordinary object as an object of interest and as an expression of feeling. It may not be the most challenging poem to read, or write, but it turned out to be more reflective than anticipated.

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Reading at Kurilpa Poets, Brisbane

Kurilpa Poets have regular guest appearances and open mike at the Old Croquet Club on Musgrave Park in Brisbane. I read several poems at the October 2016 meeting, including “Other People’s Houses”, “Nude Descending a Staircase No 2”, “Shimenawa”, “Late Night at Phillies Diner”and “Redshift, or The Origin of the Universe”.

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Kurilpa Poets meet on the last Sunday of each month.

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September Dunes

September Dunes

The apples are full, ripe as the setting sun
And the berries are as dark as the dusk.
The air has that feel of a fading heat
In the end of a long summer eve.

Already the trees show that fading fall
At the end of some mystical note
Of wind in the rushes, or gulls in the sky.
Of martens preparing to leave.

In the flood of the tide, in its stealthy advance
To a spring height, the gulls swoop to feed
On the last of the whitebait, the end of the spawn,
While the waves break hard on the strand.

And the moths fly upward, the midges gang by pools
While the dunlin take wing to their roost.
The owl comes hunting with a mournful shriek
Flying silent across the grey land.

The darkness creeps to the edge of the world
And the pinks leave the sky to the pipistrelles
Who swoop on the midges and moths, while the last
Of the colour drains fast from the sky.

A cold wind sweeps in from the warmth of the sea
To the cool of the innermost land.
A dew will set by the end of the night,
And the last days of this summer will die.

© Martin Porter 2000

September Dunes explores the change from Summer to Autumn. It has a relatively free style, constrained only by unusual rhyme scheme.

This poem is still very raw and is awaiting further editing. Poems that are incomplete or unpolished are valuable resources as records of development, sources of material and perhaps may mature into finished (if there is such a thing) poems. I keep a folder labelled “Hospital” for works in progress. Some of my critics have suggested it should be renamed “Asylum”.

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On Retreating across the English Channel

On Retreating across the English Channel

Let me confess that we two must be twain,
I summon up remembrance of things past:
The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem
Which hides your life, and shows not half your parts.
Thy fame hast not the power to make love groan.
What mean the world to say it is not so,
Now the full star that ushers in the even
Revenge upon myself with present moan?
I do forgive thy robbery, gentle thief,
And losing her, my friend has found that loss
Against myself a hurtful plan. Commence
Where thou are forced to break a twofold truth
In things right true. My heart and eyes have erred
That all the world besides me thinks y’are dead.

© Martin Porter 2016

This is a “Brexit” poem, constructed from Shakespeare’s sonnets by taking respective lines from pseudo-random sonnets, but without respect to the punctuation.

This poem was written as an exercise. The method was chosen to reflect the attempted reconstruction of a nation’s past history by retreating to iconic emblems of that nation’s past culture. I chose Shakespeare’s sonnets for their iconic status, selecting lines from the “Fair Boy” sonnets for the first quatrain, the “Dark Lady” sonnets for the second quatrain, the “ambiguous” sonnets for the third sonnet and a random selection for the couplet.

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Remembering the Unforgettable

Remembering the Unforgettable

It’s a hard life being an entertainer,
As the piano plays to the gentle beat
Of the music.
The slow, rhythmic beating of the foot
Against the pedals holds up the life force
Until the song takes on a being
Of its own
And rises above the crowded room.

But the open spaces cannot last.
Tony comes back to earth, to crumble
Into dust and digits.
The Unforgettable is man once more.

© Martin Porter 1990

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100 Poems

“100 Poems”, a collection of poems written to commemorate the First World War, was launched on 1st July, 7pm at the Benjamin Meaker Theatre, Jersey. “Digging Trenches” was written for this collection and is included with the other 99 poems.

(This entry updated on 5th July 2016)

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Floating

Floating

Gently lifting with the ocean,
Sweeping slowly up the shore,
She is resting on the boundary
Somewhere between air and more
Substantial fluids on her body
Offer her to turquoise light
Looking down from cloud free heavens
Looking to the Sun which might
One day drift from daily motion
Sinking into nightly rest
Glowing dim in richest crimson
Falling sea-ward in the west
Where wheeling terns once congregated
Against a foaming faded moon
Suspended in the paling sunshine
Framed by marram stubbled dune
Salt spray seasoned sea-sage sweetened
Breeze blown clean of vraic and sand
Swept branches stick black fingers upward
Urging gulls to leave the land
And forge out from their earthy havens
Venture forth without a notion
Of where to go or where to settle
Gently lifting with the ocean.

© Martin Porter 2000

 

Floating has been published on the Take Flight website and was displayed at “Artbeat” in Whangarei, 2013.

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Trees Dropping – A Meta-reading

Although this poem is explicitly about the process of leaf fall from trees, and the recycling of those leaves to feed the cycle, it also implicitly deals with the process of writing and editing of my own poems, in that the process of dropping dead material from an earlier version can feed back into improvements or new material, and that the non-linear process that I use when I edit links initially unconnected parts of my thought processes, rather like the concertina folding of a map (a metaphor of which I have a particular liking)and the movement from first blossoming (embryonic) and the editing to destruction (bare branches) produces fruit, and loss of fruit (murdering one’s darlings), or “finished” work and abandoned ideas (although even windfalls can be used in other products).

So the poem has a sub-stratum which is not likely to be immediately recognised, if at all. But that is not the point of the poem; the point is that trees go through a cyclic process of growth, blossoming, fruiting, fruit-fall, leaf-drop returning to growth. The meta-reading is there as a possible interpretation, not a necessary one. There are other readings possible of this poem that I have deliberately included (the use of parentheses and the role of punctuation can be interrogated to find some of these), and, most likely, some readings which I have not intended, which may be “valid” or not.

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Fishing

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Fishing

for ormers
under the stars
on the last spring tide,
the final full moon,
of their existence

© Martin Porter 2016

 

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