POETRY. On writing poetry

I intend to post the occasional poem to this blog. So that it is easy to distinguish the poems from the ordinary (weekly) posts I will prefix the title with the warning “POETRY.”. What follows is my first such post.


The words come easily or they don’t.
The concepts come simply or they don’t.

If they don’t, there is nothing that you can do.
If they do, you just go with it.

They flow on to the paper or they don’t.
The words hold all the aces.

The words come easily or they don’t.
The concepts come simply or they don’t.

I’ve tried a few times to force it, but it doesn’t work.
I read the words back and they don’t talk to me.
They don’t mean a thing.

When I write prose it seems easier.
I lay the words down and one follows the other,
There seems to be less pressure somehow,
Though they lead me where they want to go,
Which is often into strange lands.

A poem is a song without a melody,
A thing of meter and rythm,
Though prose has its rythm too.

I only write poetry when I have to,
When something tells me to,
When something forces me to,
And almost never when I want to.

The words come easily or they don’t.
The concepts come simply or they don’t.

Prose and poetry both come from within,
But poetry seems to come from somewhere deeper.
My first guess is that there is more of “me” invested in it,
But prose also contains part of “me” too.

I’m bemused/confused by this thing called poetry that I do.

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“Yet feet that wandering have gone, turn at last to home afar”

From inside on of the hobbit holes, on locatio...

From inside on of the hobbit holes, on location at the Hobbiton set, as used in the Lord of the Rings films. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The title is part of the poem spoken by Bilbo Baggins at the end of “The Hobbit” by J.R.R Tolkein, as he sees his home from afar on his return. However he did not finally settle there, moving to Rivendel before the events of “The Lord of the Rings”. Eventually he and others, including Frodo and Gandalf sailed off to the West and out of the knowledge of the people of Middle Earth.

This poem came to mind as we returned to New Zealand from England, having visited relatives in England, Wales and Ireland. We had a great time and it was sad to leave, but when we touched down in Auckland I have never previously felt so deeply that we had arrived home. And we still had the leg to Wellington to complete!

The leg from Auckland to Wellington was brilliant! The air was so clear, although with some cloud, so the mountains poked their snowy heads through the white blanket. Even the lower peaks of some of the hills showed snow cover, as New Zealand had just emerged from a cold snap.

As we closed on Wellington I could see Kapiti Island from the window. Unfortunately my cell phone had run out of power so I could not take any pictures. To add insult to injury we turned left and passed south of Kapiti Island before passing to the west of Titahi Bay Porirua Harbour.

English: The Burren, Ireland

English: The Burren, Ireland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just before Porirua city the clouds closed in, hiding the city itself and the northern suburbs of Wellington. The cloud cleared a little further south but not in time for me to spot our roof from the air!

As we passed over Wellington Harbour I got a good view of the lower Hutt Valley, including Petone and its wharf, close to where I used to work. Then it was all stations go for landing.

View of Aotea Lagoon, North Island, New Zealan...

View of Aotea Lagoon, North Island, New Zealand from the north-east. Royal New Zealand Police College chalets in the foreground with Pipitea miniature railway station across the lagoon. To the right State Highway 1 and the North Island Main Trunk railway line with a southbound Capital Connection train. Further right is Porirua Harbour, in the background Porirua city centre and the Colonial Knob ridge. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My own experiences led me to consider travels in general. As you do. We were excited to leave, since were going to see our relatives and have interesting times. Bilbo Baggins set out excitedly and with trepidation. In his case he knew very little about what was going to happen to him, and had he known, his cautious streak may well have impeded his going.

As with Bilbo’s travels, our travels had their excitements and their tedious aspects. As with Bilbo, the first sight of home came as an immense relief and the experiences of our travels became things to tell other about, to share with them. We however met no dragons though we saw many representations of them in Wales.

English: Side view of Smaug at the Juarez stre...

English: Side view of Smaug at the Juarez street portion of the parade. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This seems to me to be a common pattern. Even to blasé businessman travellers there must be some slight anticipation of events of the day or days ahead. When returning home, even the businessman would probably be looking forward to sleeping in his own bed. Even a simple commute to work embodies this pattern of anticipation, experiencing and relief on return to home.

Couple in Bed

Couple in Bed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Frodo reports that Bilbo warned of the dangers of going on a journey.

“He used often to say there was only one Road; that it was like a great river: its springs were at every doorstep, and every path was its tributary. ‘It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,’ he used to say. ‘You step onto the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.'”.

While neither Bilbo (in “The Hobbit”) or Frodo (in “The Lord of the Rings”) left home completely willingly, Bilbo being chivvied into it by Gandalf, and Frodo out of duty, many people completely willingly step into the “great river” that starts at every doorstep. There appears to be a conflict between the desire to remain comfortable at home and to experience new things.

We were extremely tired by our journey which took a mere month or so. I can’t imagine how people such as Christopher Columbus and Marco Polo spent so long travelling. Marco Polo was away for 24 years!

Interestingly many travellers returned with truly amazing tales, of tribes of people with no heads, their faces in their torsos. Of people who consisted of large feet with eyes and mouths, presumably divided into left-footed and right-footed tribes. Where are these strange tribes today?

English: Author: btarski Date: 6/23/06

English: Author: btarski Date: 6/23/06 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today of course we can travel round the earth in a day, and to places in between in a few days or so. It is apparent to us that those fanciful peoples could never have existed, so where did they spring from?

Well, a traveller would know that his tall tales would be next to unverifiable. He may well have been travelling for months and would know that it was unlikely that anyone would go and check his reports. It may be that his communications with local inhabitants was limited and that he misunderstood the locals and then reported what he thought they had told him as his own experiences.

Maybe the traveller would be trying to source funds to go back again, maybe to bring back one of these mysterious people. I can report that all the people that I met and saw were built to the standard pattern!

One thing that Columbus and Polo would not have had to cope with is jet lag. This condition is a consequence of moving to fast between time zones. At the rate that Polo was travelling that would be the least of his problems. I’ve not read his history but I can guess that he did not so much as travel slowly as move his home steadily to the east and then to the west as the commercial opportunities arose. While Columbus travelled faster, his rate of travel through the time zones probably caused him few problems.

So, glad as I am to get home, I find jet lag debilitating. I’m fine when I get up, and fine during the day, but for some reason, when 7pm or 8pm rolls around my eyes start to droop. They say that jet lag lasts for a few days, so I should be over it in a day or so.

(This blog has returned to normal. I hope someone out there enjoys my maunderings.)




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The Journey home starts here.


This is the door of St Peter’s Church, Tadworth. The journey home starts here. Normal service should be resumed next Sunday.

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My Mother’s 90th Birthday.


My parents are amazing. Not content with celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary this year, we also celebrated my Mother’s 90th birthday, this Sunday. We gathered at a hotel in Yatton on Saturday for a big do, with a lower key celebration on the Sunday. Like I said they are an amazing couple.

(Normal service will be resumed when I get home. I apologise for this brief post.)

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The Burren


The Burren is a natural wonder of the natural world. Situated in the west of Ireland it is an area of outstanding beauty that should be on everyone’s bucket list. It consists of a huge area of limestone outcrops and pavements, with brightly flowered plants living precariously but abundantly in the joints and cracks in the limestone. As I said, everyone should visit it.

This is brief post to keep the chain going. Normal service will resume when we get back.

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wpid-wp-1433050996151.jpgAbove is a picture of the UK weather. Fortunately it cleared up later.

This will be a brief post as I am travelling. The next few will be similarly short, but I will endeavour not to break the chain.

Over the few days we have visited Singapore and are now in the UK. We are off to Ireland shortly. I’ve never visited Ireland so I’m looking forward to it.

Singapore was as always hot and humid. We visited the zoo and the Gardens by the Sea and I enjoyed it very much.

Below is a picture taken somewhere over the ocean. I tried to upload it by means of the plane’s WiFi, but while I could send messages and emails, I couldn’t upload an image.




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The first of a few brief posts

As I am travelling, visiting relatives, my next few posts are going to be brief. I’ve flown to Singapore for two days and then on to London. In a day or two we go on to Ireland, which I have never visited.


One interesting moment on the trip was when I was trying to post a photo of the plane’s progress screen to Facebook via the on board WiFi while we were way out over the ocean! While I could post text, I couldn’t get the image to upload.

My photos are mostly not on this device, but I may move some up to post here later. To finish this brief post I will post a picture of a spring time rain shower from the window in my sister’s house. Fortunately the weather hasn’t been too bad so far.


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