Having been inspired to poesy by a number of theatrical experiences, devoting a page to house these wonderful phenomena seems appropriate. The creation of each poem on this page has been an entirely new experience, and I’m excited to see where this genre takes me in the future. (A couple you might recognize from other areas of the website.)
My tribute to the Donmar Warehouse’s recent production of ‘City of Angels.’ Via a jaunt into the world of Noir film, this musical is a fascinating exploration of how everyday conflicts and personal issues manifest in a writer’s work. A wonderful physical presentation of internal struggles. I found the finale of Act I profoundly moving.
City of Angels
The interplay between a writer’s work
And how they live is frequently bemused;
There’s no accounting for the taste of quirk
And oftentimes their motives are confused;
They haven’t need to dally with deceit,
And yet deceit of Self is how they live,
Until they’re forced to wrestle with defeat
And find the answers what they’ve writ can give;
For it’s all there within the spattered page,
Concealed beneath a wall of flattered doubt,
A fantasy within a printed cage,
Perfumed with lies, which others seek to flout;
Beneath a writer’s words are truth-bared Souls,
Which they don’t see ’til drowned with falsehood’s Tolls.
* * * * *
This Sonnet, inspired by the Morten Tyldum film, questions something I’ve never been able to understand. Fear of difference. An unwillingness to accept the validity of other ways of thinking and living… Anyone, myself included, who claims immunity to this failing is lying to themselves. But knowing this, we can begin to make allowances. We can consciously choose to practice Open-mindedness. Self-Awareness is the first step.
The Imitation Game
What is Diff’rence that in its wake we fear
And hold in doubt thru motives stated clear,
That in its face we laugh and Physik spite,
Turning aside what otherwise was right?
What is a thought that it should set apart
A way of life as diff’ring from a Heart,
That we should think, and hold in scornful sway
An Other’s Joy and Paradigmic way?
To cause an Other’s Soul to be discrete
And hide within for fear of hateful meet,
That we should Soil and slander with abuse
An Other’s truth, Lacklustering its use?
That we should force Deceit and cry Defame,
Imposing thus: an Imitation Game.
* * * * *
This next Sonnet, inspired by the character Will Traynor in Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You, is part of an unfinished journey. (My Nook’s battery perished due to negligence on my last trip, so I’ve yet to finish the book.) This poem poured out after the end of chapter 8, which was beautifully set up, and it’s an expression of a very painful place. Many tears, (ruthlessly squelched so as not to upset the people on either side of me), accompanied both the reading and the writing.
Me Before You: Will Traynor
Out of the dark and stepping into light,
Here take your ease, weep slowly thru the night;
Rock with the hardship, breaking in the dusk,
Here breath your silence, choke upon the musk;
Out of the dark, firmly your heart enshroud,
Grasp futile embers, bright fire searing cloud;
Fall thru your fingertips, loosing the air,
Fall to your dignity, lost in despair;
Call out the Darkness, welcoming the night,
Call for the company, share one last sight;
Hark, here your final rest, chaining your heart
Here to eternity, so shall we part;
This my deep Ocean, dark Night’s herald call,
Drown’d in captivity, thus do I fall.
* * * * *
This Sonnet, also inspired by J. G. Ballard’s High Rise was inspired specifically by the character of Robert Laing. What I love most about Laing is his remarkable self-awareness and critical reflection on the experience. He sees what’s happening to himself and everyone in the building, yet does nothing to save anyone, while simultaneously being perfectly aware of how wrong and out of character that decision is. He lets the building take him, even though he knows it’ll destroy him.
I’m extremely excited to Mr. Hiddleston’s up-coming portrayal of Laing. There’s an intelligence and transparent complexity in all of his work that’s ideally suited for bringing out the silent depth of Laing’s subtleties.
High Rise II: Robert Laing
* * * * *
This Sonnet was inspired by J. G. Ballard’s novel, High Rise, a deliciously horrifying, psychological mind-bender. There are a myriad of psychoses rampant in the book, (some literally), but this sonnet sprang from the one that floated uppermost in my mind throughout most of the story. Only time will tell if another decides to be heard.
Within our minds we make our inward walls
As if without, our bodies we would jail
With constructs fair, enticing us to thralls
That inward twist and sanity impale;
Turning our eyes from what we once saw fair
To foul-faced Black, while painting it with white,
That we might think we see a Lily there,
And not the rot that festers in our sight;
For such a canker simply cannot be
In such a world of outward gilded gold,
Therefore the fault from outwards turns to Me:
Thus change our thoughts to fit what we behold;
For all the world can rot and fall to dust
When sweet Denial’s where we place our trust.
* * * * *
This sonnet was inspired by the Steve McQueen film, which I finally saw. It incorporates an idea/phenomena that I’ve been experiencing more and more recently: The idea of intellectually knowing something versus empathic understanding. The value of assisting people in making that leap to empathy is immense, and, I believe, regrettably under-rated in America today. This film accomplishes the task beautifully.
12 Years A Slave
There, in this world, are things that our Minds know,
Things that our Hearts believe they understand,
But when our Eyes and Ears are graced with Show,
Thru stories told, hard Truths are placed in hand;
We Look without and see in vibrant hue
An other’s pain, which we had thought Black/White;
We Listen close and hear with senses new
An Old Wive’s Tale, which people still do fight;
How can we turn our eyes away from pain
When all around us voices plead to Hear?
How dare we say we understand the grain
When off-grain stripes are sanded by our Fear?
To know a thing and Feel it, aren’t the same:
Long lists of Labels fail, but to defame.
* * * * *
This sonnet was inspired by the Jim Jarmusch film of the same name. (For a glimpse of our pre-birthday adventures at the preview show/concert, and to hear a recording of Christine reciting the sonnet, visit here.)
Only Lovers Left Alive
When all that’s Love and Loss is everywhere,
And all that’s Love and Loss cannot be seen,
Then all that’s Love is Lost upon the air,
And all that’s Lost is Loved but in a keen;
Then look we so upon a darkened world
And lift our eyes to view a shrouded sky,
And hold we close our treasured Dreams of Old,
Which shine a light to silhouette our Cry;
A light so bright it blinds our present fears
And drives the shadows outwards from our Heart,
While tempting Hope to grace our falling tears
And turn our keens to wishful longing’s part;
So dance we towards the Diamond Gongs of Space,
Whilst shining bright ‘gainst shadows that we chase.
* * * * *
This next poem, so far the only one of this collection that’s not a sonnet, was also inspired by the Jim Jarmusch film of the same name. (Only Lovers Left Alive led me to a bunch of previously unknown coolness.) In Word, this poem actually has a funky, almost kanji shape to it, which I’ve been unable to trick this site into duplicating.
What can we do
When chaos rules
And Naught makes sense
But falling Night,
And all we see is shattered
Glass, reflecting black our Hearts’ True light;
We look within and find a whole,
Redeeming as it calls for Life,
And fill it fast with all our Soul
With shadows, born of tempered strife;
We look to thee,
And Others’ ways
That beckon new;
We look to Self,
And so we find
A way to live,
* * * * *
This sonnet, previously unlabeled, was inspired, quite specifically, by the juxtaposed fountain/swinging scene in Sir Kenneth Branagh’s film. I had not seen the movie in a long time, but I ran across a copy unexpectedly, and, seeing as I was suddenly spewing poetry everywhere, I decided to watch and see if anything happened. I literally paused the film when this suddenly began pouring out. (I love it when writing happens that way.)
Much Ado About Nothing
Can there be better eyes with which to see
Than those thru which a Heart in Love doth view?
To see the best in every quality,
Despite of faults we’d otherwise eschew?
Can there be better ears with which to hear
Than those that Harken to a Lover’s Voice?
Noting their perfect’st harmony with cheer,
Despite of chords we’d never pick by Choice?
Can there be better words that we can Speak
Than words of Love to warm a crying Heart,
And lift our Spirits when we’re feeling weak,
O’erwhelmed by Life, quite fearing our small part?
O, Just to Hear and Speak our world as thus;
Seeing with Love, all minutes spent in Trust.
* * * * *
And, of course, the first poem so inspired. My tribute to the National Theatre Live production at the Donmar Warehouse:
The things we love, we want to Idolize
And place upon a pedestal of Brass,
Yet our dear Hearts, tricked by revering eyes,
Are blinded by the mirrors of our pasts;
We see naught like, save what we wish to see,
And with deaf ears deflect the pleas of Truth,
And when the sight of what we’d thought to be
Is shattered Right, we drown in miser’s Ruth,
Whilst all around us ruin hath been made,
And up above us Ash begins to fall,
Yet still we grieve for Tears that We pervade,
And not the Doom that we have brought to Call;
Thus so we cry for what was lost from Me,
And fail to see the Truer Tragedy.