Ways to keep working

It’s no secret I’ve had a patch of rejections recently. It’s made me a bit gloomy, a bit petulant. As I emerge though, it’s made me seek ways to improve – and also to be kind to myself. I’ve only been submitting work for a couple of years – I’m doing ok. Not sure who’s measuring me anyway – nor what scale they use.

Butcher’s Dog is a dream journal. It looks beautiful. It’s printed on good paper. It comes with stickers in the parcel! It also contains poetry that moves me, that makes me go “oh” – poetry that I can’t stop thinking about.

With this in mind, I decided to take this advice and use it to escape my fug of self pity. I’ve been reading issue 13 of the journal and have been carrying this poem Absence by Stephen Keeler in my heart and head ever since I read it.

So what is it about this piece ? I immediately liked the turn the poem takes in the final stanza. I enjoy the simplicity . I still consider imagery beyond me, yet here it is – secateurs and tangle thorns used to explain, explore the complexity of grief in a way that quietly moves me, a way that comforts me that I am not alone.

In terms of technical things – poetic devices I think they’re called – the overriding element of this poem is the measured rhythm and the strongest point is where that rhythm is disrupted by the run on sentence between the final two stanzas. This is the point the poem turns, the point that makes me as a reader stop and feel.

Of course, this may not be about grief at all. It may be about lost love, or about missing a thorny hedge – and that’s the wonderful thing. I can read this and connect with some part of myself, and perhaps with some part of another humans mind. All through a few words on a page.

And that is why I keep writing.


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