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.

Posted in Retreating across... | Tagged | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Remembering the Unforgettable | Tagged | Leave a comment

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)

Posted in Digging Trenches | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Floating | Tagged | 1 Comment

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.

Posted in Trees dropping | Leave a comment

Fishing

IMGP0137a

Fishing

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

© Martin Porter 2016

 

Posted in Fishing | Tagged | Leave a comment

Reading at the Thirsty Dog, Auckland

Poetry Live has regular performances and open mike at the Thirsty Dog on the K. Road in Auckland. I read three poems, “The Conjurer”, “Nude Descending a Staircase No 2” and “Wreck”.

Posted in Nude Descending a Staircase, Poetry Live, The Conjuror, Wreck | Leave a comment

A New Language

Hypothesis for Two Voices (to be read simultaneously)

“Most of the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple, and may, as a rule, be expressed in a language comprehensible to everyone. “ – Albert Einstein

He has spent most of the evening
Analysing the data, looking for
The form that it takes, plotting a scatter graph
Looking for differences in a table.
But now, fatigued by the effort
His eyelids fall and he fails to see

The list of numbers appears to be formed
As a sestina, final stanza unfolded,
Another column makes
A short sequence of sonnets,
Untitled, all concrete
Abstract, unspoken.

There is no mathematical logic
In this poetry of relationships.

“As long as one employs method only on symbols one remains within the limits of a sort of game. In action that has method about it, we ourselves act, since it is we ourselves who found the method “ – Simone Weil

He has spent most of the evening
Analysing the scansion, looking for
The form that it takes, counting the syllables
Looking for the stresses in a table.
But now, fatigued by the effort
His eyelids fall and he fails to see

The sequence of words arranged in the form
Of an oscillator, once random noise is removed,
A rhythm made up from
A repetition of sound,
Unstressed, all concealed
Evident when spoken.

There is more than simple poetry
In the mechanics of recitation.

© Martin Porter 2013

 

This poem is meant to be read simultaneously by two voices, with each half superimposed on one another. This is to emphasise the similarities and/or differences.

Alternatively, the two poems may be placed side by side to give the similarities in structure a degree of prominence. Such a placement does tend to diminish the nature of the differences and so is not my preferred method of presentation. It does, however, give the reader time to consider the differences and to contrast them at greater leisure.

A New Language d

Hypothesis for Two Voices (to be read simultaneously) has been published in Printable Reality.

Posted in Hypothesis for Two Voices, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Pig – a parody

Pig

The valley cradles you in green baize.
Open skied, the sun
carelessly bakes you. You make me smile.

Your shadow throws a blotch of coolness
with remarkable generosity,
and you awaken, scented by manure,

trotting on tip-toe between stones
from your night-time dreams,
darkness lanterned by a moon

glowing like a turnip freshly dug.
You flesh out a vitality, dewed
damp in your glistening skin.

We tempt you
away from the slurry pit, mud caked,
protected, a dirt-ball clown.

© Martin Porter 2015

Posted in Pig | Tagged | Leave a comment

Digging Trenches at Jersey Festival of Words 2015

“Digging Trenches” has been selected as one of the poems from the “100 Voices” collection to be read at the “Daniel Austin: 100 War Poems” event as part of the Jersey Festival of Words 2015. The event takes place at the Studio, Jersey Opera House on Sunday 4th Oct at 4pm.

Posted in Digging Trenches | Leave a comment