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Development of ideas

December 31, 2011
The Red Room

The Red Room

To illustrate the development of ideas in my Lanzarote inspired poem, I thought to show you some more photographs taken during my visit to Cesar Manrique’s house.  The red room is the first of a series of rooms formed out of underground volcanic bubbles in the solidified lava flow from the nearby volcano.  The second photograph is of the sculpture which adorns the room.  There was no label to suggest what it represented but to my mind it could be a god from the Mountains of Fire.

Sculpture in the red room

Sculpture in the red room

 Second draft of Lanzarote poem

I pulled back the blackout curtains

and opened the patio door

to a purple sky such as

I had never seen,

somewhere between lavender

and aubergine.

I marveled at the electric

storm that had passed by

unheard and unseen.

Water dripdripped from the balcony,

pooled on the flat roofs

formed puddles in the pockmarked

roads that ploughed through

the lava fields.

The lava fields

transformed by rain

into odourless loam

made my fingers twitch

with the memory of throwing

on a potter’s wheel.

I longer to pick up a piece,

mold it into obsidian knives

and cacti-shaped forks;

utensils for the god

whose anger spewed

from the mountains of fire

over two centuries ago,

creating hell on earth.

Creating hell on earth

was a family phrase

passed down the generations

from mother to daughter

as they turned flour and water

into pastry cases,

meat & veg. one end,

stewed apple the other

for men to take underground.

They left the crusts

for tunnel scavengers,

filled their pockets

with lumps of ore

to work after dark.

To work after dark

they lit tallow candles

strained by the flickering light

to chisel mineral nuggets

into polished beads

for the goddess of their hearth;

white, black, red,

green and yellow,

green, red, black,

white and yellow,

crystal chains for necks,

wrists and ankles,

binding their women

to Mother Earth.

To Mother Earth

the women sang

as they rolled up

pastry cuttings,

morphed them into

play-doh men,

brought to life by

currant substitutes

for eyes and nose.

Some were finished

with mixed peel

and glace cherries.

Others were tined

with knives and forks.

You can see how my ideas are developing by comparing this draft to the version in the previous post.  I will leave it to simmer a while so that the imagery and ideas can work their way through further passageways in my mind to create the third draft.

Passageway to another room in Manrique's house

Passageway to another room in Manrique's house

While some poems require many drafts to bring them to fruition, others arrive almost fully formed like the one written below to the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas.

Swaledale School Run

In the 12 weeks to Xmas

on the school run I did see:-

12 cows for milking

11 tractors turning

10 gritters spraying

9 pheasants sprinting

8 rabbits running

7 soldiers trudging

6 chickens straying


4 collie dogs

3 farmers

2 4x4s

and a sheep escaped from a field!

Published in Dances with Sheep (United Press:2009)

See separate blog page for further details of poems published in this pamphlet.


From → Poetry

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