Tuesday, 13 May 2014

At The Beginning / White Horse

Poetry can be a slippery thing, eeling its way into your life without you realising it. And before you know it it squirming in the back of your head, sliding over all your experiences, current and past, reviewing and regurgitating, searching for a titbit to sink its teeth into.
Like all children I'm sure my first exposure to poetry was at home through nursery rhymes and children's books; although we don't actually call this poetry. It's simply rhyme and rhythm and at it's very basic, words.
School introduces us to a clearer idea of poems, the different types of rhyme and meter, and I seem to remember enjoying it and having some quite deep and intriguing ideas, even at the age of eleven or twelve - sadly all lost now though.
But my interest was only as strong as lessons we were learning, and once we had passed onto other elements of English, as well as my burgeoning interests in football, cricket and mathematics, I lost touch with poetry. And writing altogether really.
My desire to write only returned after studying Mathematics for three years and a renewed interest in poetry with a listen to Dylan Thomas' 'Under Milk Wood'. It led me towards other poetry, most of which was much more straightforward, including my own, but I always return to DT's poems from time to time.
The truth is that many of his sentences make no sense to me, but their lyrical nature and unusual structures fascinate. I find that his work is much more enjoyable when listened to, where the images can wash over you like tides of watercolours, dabbing and ebbing with their brush strokes.
Although the majority of the world is looking at this year as the 100 year anniversary of the beginning of WW1, it is also 100 years since the birth of Dylan Thomas. There have been some extremely interesting dramas and documentaries on BBC Wales which I have been watching, including a new version of Under Milk Wood. All of which I recommend to anyone with the curiosity.
One of the dramas details his last few days before he died in New York at the age of 39. One of his favourite haunts was the White Horse Tavern while there and so here is a poem inspired by an ending.

A white horse froths
In the beer foam of white waer
Dragging down into the drowning depth.
White for surrender
Giving in and charging on
On his high white horse
To another shot at death.

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