Sunday, 25 October 2009

The next bus has just arrived

This is the latest challenge from TFE and I'm getting on the bus now in case I miss it this week - you know it could be an early bus in these wild hills and there are so many stops for the bus to make on it's way back to Eej stuffed full of poets.

It's quite a challenge. Follow the link on the TFE blog and listen to Kzysztof Penderecki - Threnody for the Victims.
I'd never heard of it, didn't know what to expect so sat down (skipped the booze and sarnies on offer) and ready with my notebook on the table and pen in hand, I listened and wrote and wrote and wrote until it all stopped - ten minutes and four seconds later.
This is what I came up with - just as it was in my notebook .......but it's tidier on a computer! It's exactly what I saw in my head when I heard the music with no tidying at all. Try it!


Ten minutes, four seconds to go

Help! Their dogs are loose.
Where?
Where are the yapping, snapping hounds.
She’s screaming, that child,
can you hear her,
feel her heart wavering,
trembling in the sun?

The nightmare,
it’s them, they’re creeping up
and now their boots are running
on bare boards
clattering ever closer.
Help! Help!

Be peaceful.
Nobody will get hurt
– except we know it’s lies.
The undertones, you can hear them
with the noise of their sirens.
Don’t be fooled into stillness,
you want to sleep, but you scream;
the children scream – high pitched,
ear-piercing screams.
Help us, please help us.
The kids have gone.

The wind rustles on the leaves
but I know they’re still there,
surrounded perhaps;
break this, wave it goodbye.

The footsteps are ominous.
I know that sound, we’ve heard it before
when they tried to will us into submission.
They’re like angry wasps stinging.

Feel them buzz
and sting,
sting,
sting,
Feel the pain.
These can’t be swotted.
Their stings are like a crab
caught in a rock pool
biting a child’s small hand -
just fishing, just learning.

And many swarms are there.
See them? Listen to them.
You can hear their anger,
hear the people screaming
hoping this won’t be the end
as the sun sets
over the hills obscured
on the other side of town.


Next day:
Please remember that this is how it came out when I listened to the music. Reading it again I'd now like to tidy it up, but not significantly. You know, the odd words here and there and changes to lines and punctuation. The exercise was a great reminder to me as to the raw emotion that music/sound can conjour and that's a valuable resource for a writer. Once again, many thanks to Dominic R for supplying the prompt.

21 comments:

Argent said...

Wow! I did my poem based on the Threnody piece too. I think you caught the sense of it really well.

Wigeon said...

Hi Argent - I haven't a clue what it's about but the music gave me masses of words as I listened and I wrote madly for 10 mins, 4 secs. Thanks for the comment - I'll pop over to your place just now ....and then I'll see if I can find out what the music was really about!

Rachel Fox said...

Wasps are good. And I like this line
'you want to sleep, but you scream'.
x

Wigeon said...

Rachel thanks for coming to the Border hills on such a wet and windy night.
Thanks for the comments - the music just made me think wasps and then the whole thing became relentless. I think that was how that particular line came about? I'd probably have to listen to it again to try and work out placement of lines from my notebook. I've just been over to yours and that's an interesting set of dark tone poems from this awful music. Well, this music is not to my taste! It makes a great exercise though.

Titus said...

Hi Wigeon, again, just fascinating to read what someone else heard.
Wasps, so stongly, and then the boots too.
I love that the poem is conjuring a very community nightmare. You are concerned for the children and you have a lot of "we" and "you" - very different to my perception. Bigger.
Loved these lines:

The wind rustles on the leaves
but I know they’re still there,
surrounded perhaps;
break this, wave it goodbye.

The footsteps are ominous.
I know that sound, we’ve heard it before
when they tried to will us into submission.

I thought this challenge was a bit of utter madness on TFE's part: now, I'm not so sure.

Wigeon said...

Thanks Titus. It's an interesting challenge to say the least. Is it a stream of subconsciousness, is there such a thing?
As for the community 'we,' I was just making a cuppa and thought;

the children are our future and we are the future of our children

.....but that sounds like I've nicked it from somebody, perhaps unknowingly I have. However, it seems to fit with what I wrote from my empty head and it fits with how I care about kids.

I've discovered the music is about Hiroshima - which figures with the horror of it and the dark atmosphere it conjours.

Now then, will you invite Ray to tea? I'm sure you make better buns!

Sandra Leigh said...

Yes. Exactly. I'm afraid I read the title of the piece when I clicked on it, so my poem was influenced by that knowledge. It's interesting how the horror and pain of it come through, even without the context, and how it evokes fear for the children. Beautifully done, Wigeon,

Wigeon said...

Hello Sandra and welcome to the world of Wigeon!
Thanks for your comments. I wondered if it made a difference knowing what the music was about. I hadn't a Scobby Doo when I listened and frantically wrote.
I've been over to yours and not sure that knowing really did matter. That feeling of menace and destruction of community is still there, as is the aftermath for the children.

Niamh B said...

Really like your title, and yes there are a few common threads going through these poems aren't there? The wasps and nightmares have been crawling around a good few.
That line "Don't be fooled into stillness" is particularly ominous

Wigeon said...

Thanks Niamh, it was a really ominous piece of music and certainly not to my taste, but wow - what a lot of interesting work has come from it with many common threads in the poems. All rather creepy. I think I'll have to stick up some more pictures of either the autumn here, or the mushrooming Wigeon to change the tone!
Thanks for coming over. Hope you've also got some sunshine with you today.

willow said...

Well done. I especially like:

Their stings are like a crab
caught in a rock pool
biting a child’s small hand -

(And I've got to tell you, I giggle every time I see Wigeon, because my daughter, Elizabeth, who we sometimes fondly refer to as Lizard or "Wigerd".)

NanU said...

Fascinating, Wigeon. Powerful and provoking, and I'm sorry you had to suffer those 10minutes4, but the result is quite beautiful. I'd tell my favorite lines, but that would be repeating the whole thing.

Wigeon said...

Thanks Willow! It was quite an exercise yet I think the other one (Plan B) was more of a challenge! You executed that really well and your piece brought back a lot of memories of childhood with our superb hard-won peat fires.
The dark tone of the music really wrote this piece for me and there wasn't time to think but just write and write for 10 minutes and 4 seconds .....then go phew ...and make an all important cuppa!

Wigeon said...

NanU thanks for popping in across the Border hills. Yep, it was very dark music and that simply gave me the images to make these words edge their way to the end of my pen. It's quite a freeing exercise to do ....but not to this kind of music each week or else I'll be jumping off the top deck of the bus!
I'll come visiting just now to see yours.

Wigeon said...

Willow, I forgot to say that Elizabeth is the name of Wigeon's adopted granny! I'll have to tell her that one - it's not a nickname she's ever had ....so far as I know. I can see why you giggle at the name Wigeon ....but this wee monster has to be a bird (all my dogs are birds) and so this pup has ended being called after a duck that I find very attractive ...and I like the way it whistles too!

Jeanne Iris said...

This is lovely, untidied. I particularly liked the following lines:
"...hear the people screaming
hoping this won’t be the end
as the sun sets
over the hills obscured
on the other side of town."

Totalfeckineejit said...

Think I had wasps too,you got the music, or the music got you, this is what I wanted to see.Can music convey messages, capture a story at least as well as words, can it be universally converted into words, do we see what the composer has written in music, without being told(explained) in words.Clearly here the answer is 'Yes'

Karen said...

Wigeon - Isn't it amazing that you listened to that and heard this:

"Don’t be fooled into stillness,
you want to sleep, but you scream;
the children scream – high pitched,
ear-piercing screams.
Help us, please help us.
The kids have gone."

That's chilling, Wigeon.

Wigeon said...

I turn my back to go to a poetry reading in Dumfries (it was good!) and you kind folk trekked up into the hills and left lovely comments on Widget's blog.

Jeanne Iris - thanks very much for this. It seemed that the music was fading and so to me it was the beginning of the end and left me hanging as to 'what happened next?'

TFE - this was a superb exercise in showing the possibilities for the overwhelming universal power of creativity in all its forms. Yes, the music got to me and it came out through my pen big time. I found it interesting that I had no idea what it was all about and yet the sinister overtones appeared in this piece. The wasps - well it must have been the violins? I haven't listened to it again but I might just do that!
A great challenge. Many thanks!

Karen - many thanks indeed. Yep there are some very chilling images in this and feels very apocalyptic (can I spell this morning after the treat of a late night of poetry?!) As Titus said, I'd captured a community and that is how it was in the musical piece - now I know what it was about!

Thanks to you all for coming over the hills. I'll go and do some visiting .....yet I should be doing uni work! Och well, just a wee visit, but don't tell my supervisor!

Dominic Rivron said...

Liked the way I could hear bits of the Penderecki in my head as I read this - the boots on the boards, the swarming insects, etc.

(For anyone who has decided they like KP, there's a lot more where this came from (like his pretty "gothic" St Luke Passion)).

Wigeon said...

Hi Dominic - many thanks for these comments. It's interesting how you could hear the music in your head from my words. It's quite a piece and it was a superb challenge. It's interesting to see how it is so different from my usual poetry and it made my writing so powerfully dark and, I think, convincing. I will look up more KP.
Many thanks for the chance to try this out.