Poetry according to Rab.

Rhyme Crimes. by Robert Steele (first published on this website)

I have been writing poetry since I was a boy but I have never attempted to published anything. I'm not really very proud of anything I have written over the years. I've thrown most of it away. I kept some of it which I thought had some kind of ideas going but most of what I have written is really an exercise in growing up I suppose. I like certain poems but I don't understand most of what I read. It leaves me wondering if only the poet really knows his poem or if poetry is a very personal thing to most of us.

Why do people write poetry? I don't think any poet can stop himself from writing. Sometimes I think a voice from some other self is writing for me. I work harder these days to convey my meaning and sometimes I think I'm really just in love with life and words and feel the need to rejoice. Whether or not it has any value is I suppose down to the listener, or the reader.

Here is a poem of recent times which I very much admire. We've all heard the praises of the blackbird's song and the curlew's call. The sparrow is such a hardy little street fighter. It gives much pleasure too but it tends to be overlooked. We often look least at the real successes in nature. We also take for granted the workers who make our lives so very comfortable and often receive very little in return. Who knows what the writers intentions were when writing this little poem - to sing the praises of life as he sees it - to note his own observations - to entertain? Perhaps there is a definite political message here. All I know is that this is a poem I would like to have written.

Sparrow. by Norman MacCaig.

He's no artist.

His taste in clothes is more dowdy than gaudy.

And his nest - that blackbird, writing pretty scrolls on the air with the gold nib of his beak,

would call it a slum.

To stalk solitary on lawns, to sing solitary in midnight trees, to glide solitary over grey Atlantics - not for him: he'd rather a punch-up in a gutter.

He carries what learning he has lightly - it is, in fact, based only on the usefulness whose result is survival. A proletarian bird. No scholar.

But when winter soft-shoes in and these other birds - ballet dancers, musicians, architects - die in the snow and freeze to the branches, watch him happily flying on the O-levels and A-levels of the air.


These are a few of my efforts over the years to write poetry.  


Rhyme Crimes. by Robert Steele (first published on this website)

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