Recently, I’ve been digging through some of my earliest poems from twenty years ago (I’ve written for longer, but it’s only since then that I decided they were worth keeping). I have ignored them upto now because they are rather, well, rubbish…and yet, I was proud of them at the time, and were an important step onto better work. Were they not salvageable, with some judicious edits and rewrites ? Honestly…sort of. They’re still not great, but just about make it over the threshold of what I’ll accept to be published, as long as they get a fair wind and sympathetic readership.
So, for this week, I shall be presenting some of my not-best works, as an encouragement to my twenty-year younger self. Enjoy. Or, at least, don’t wince too harshly, the wind might change and you’ll be stuck that way.
Tomorrow is this daily poetry adventure’s second anniversary, and have I got a treat for you !
Several years ago, a friend of mine was devising a piece of amateur theatre which I stage-managed, based around the laying of the first ocean-spanning telegraph cable in 1858. His work was pretty experimental, but he had wanted it to be a musical of sorts and there were a couple of songs in it. All of which got me thinking about writing a sequence of lyrics around the topic, a sort of soundtrack album to a film that never got made.
I should mention that that first cable failed after only three weeks and had to be replaced in 1866, but don’t look to these poems for too much historical detail. There’s some, but it’s not a documentary. And anyway, it’s dramatically more satisfying to imagine it as a single event with a false dawn and speedy follow-up.
So, starting tomorrow and continuing over the subsequent twelve days I present to you the The Transatlantic Cable !
The trouble with writing poetry is that there are far more writers of it than there are readers. So pity the poor editors of literary journals who actually do have to read the stuff. I can just imagine the brief slump they must experience when opening up my latest submission to find that yet again I have insisted of bloody rhyming. So I thought I’d do the decent thing and punt them all into the cloud out of the way, where only bored googlers and desperate teachers will be in danger of finding them.