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Chris Lovie-Tyler

Attempts at poetry

Haiku #5

bath tap:
a silver whale jumping
out of the wall


Notes:

One of the rules of haiku is not to use direct metaphor, but I liked the image in this poem, so I thought I’d publish it anyway.

Just words

I like beautiful images and design as much as the next person. I’m also aware that people expect them (along with bullets and sub-heads and one-sentence paragraphs) on the web these days. But I wonder whether our writing suffers for it. We don’t work hard enough to make it engaging, to paint pictures with it, to give it legs to stand on its own. We rely on visual props and accommodate people’s distraction.

Which is why I’ve chosen to go the other direction and use a basic, almost entirely text-based theme.

I’ll admit, it feels uncomfortably spare, but, being an Anders Norén theme, it still has great typography and responsiveness, which are my non-negotiables.

I want this site to stand or fall on my words. That’s pretty risky, I know—especially since I’ve just started writing poetry. But I can’t see a better way to improve, and fast, than by stripping away any visual props. And, in fact, poetry, must stand or fall on words. That’s all it has. It must be able to create a world, a feeling, a moment, without the aid of anything visual (apart from the way it’s formatted, of course). It must provide its own searing images.

I know I’m going to have to work hard to do that, to provide words that make it worth you staring at black text on a white background. But, really, should it be any other way?

Faith is a fight

Every morning, I get up
and put on the gloves

Every day, the world tries
to beat it out of me

Every night, I whisper to you
through fat lips:

You are my prize
Let me fight a little better
tomorrow


Notes:

First published on 17/3/16 in my newsletter A Quiet Space.

Noticing

We notice, and we keep noticing. This is the poet’s superpower.

Beth Morey, Poetry Is course

I’m not sure that noticing’s a superpower (or even a modest power) for me yet, but I’m working on it. I’m trying, each day, to capture in my journal anything I manage to see differently or describe in a fresh way. It’s not easy, but I suspect it becomes easier with practice.

Here are some of the more memorable things I’ve captured in my current journal (which I started over a year ago):

orange embers shimmering

blue silver sky

shattered glass like hail (or diamonds?) in the gutter

trudging up the hill in the slow heat

an insect lit by the sun looks like a spark zigzagging upwards from a campfire

the moon silent and high

a seagull sniggering

sparrows on the power wires look like pegs on a clothes line

the sun, a red spotlight beaming up from just below the horizon

leaves whirling in the wind


On a semi-related note, I’ve just remembered that I love the book The Noticer by Andy Andrews. If you haven’t read it, I recommend it.

Seeing through the ordinary

One of the things I think faith and poetry have in common is that they see through the ordinary. They don’t just take things for face value; they look deeper–and further. They see what’s beyond or hinted at or represented by the physical. Or they just see it with fresh eyes and appreciation. I’m excited by that connection.