Day 23 — a sonnet, sort of + big birthday cakes

Today’s poem is a homage to Bill by way of Henry VIII. It’s a Golden Shovel of “Orpheus with his lute” a 12 line poem/song in Henry VIII. Many/Mosyt scholars believe this play was a collaborative effort between Bill & John Fletcher, & I’m inclined to agree with them because it’s never felt like “Shakespeare” to me.

I’ve chosen it because: well Orpheus … & I have Golden Shoveled the last words of each line, juggled them & turned it into a sonnet. Not a great sonnet, mind you, but one with a passing resemblance to a snout. Unlike the ones from the 19th which were all AI generated That was the big guessing game thing that all two of you played haha). It had been my intention to reinterpret one of those to try & punch it into shape but I just found it too hard/the lines too banal. This definitely needs more work, but time being what it is means you get what you see …


Luteless, Orpheus
(with Golden Shovelment to William Shakespeare/John Fletcher)

Forlorn Orpheus longed once more to see 
for himself; the unbelievable greenness of trees,
Rather than be buried neckdeep in melancholy
surrounded by deep dirt, soul ready to freeze

He had long since forgotten how to sing
had no desire to take up lute & play,
Forgotten there was a thing called spring.
had no desire to complete his latest lay.

He longed for the cheerful sway of flowers
wished somehow to re-kickstart his sad heart
Longed for the gentlest summer showers
wished sadly to care once more about petty art:

If only he hadn’t glimpsed her in his corner eye
Then neither of them would have needed to re-die.


Day 23 — TIL about Bill’s birthday

old man Bill

If Bill
were alive today 
he’d be 459
which although 
pretty rootin’ tootin’ 
ancient — is still
less than half
as long as Noah 
or Adam.

he splashes all 
the post-flood crew
out of the water
— over double 
Abraham & Isaac;
almost quadruple 
poor young Moses.

Which is easier to believe:
Methuselah made it to 969
— or the Stratford man
wrote the damn plays!

Day 10 – Acrostics & Golden Shovels

Sunday fun & games again … today’s task involves the use of acrostics & pseudo-golden shovels; forms I haven’t played with much. I tried complicating this (with mixed results) in the middle stanza, but overall, it holds up okay. The melancholy mood seems apt given the songs I’m playing with.

for the love of Murray 2
Acrostics & Golden Shovels


waiting forlornly
for you to realise
this is a one time
love offer

if you decide again
we are meant to dance
never not ever no never
dance together we
again end with if

so i must let 
my soul release you 
& gently watch love go

Day 27 – April Twenty Seven: “Sunday Sillies” (sort of) Part 3 – poetry reincarnations

Played around with a series of things today, but most of them serious. Remembered (after forgetting last week) that I was going to use Sundays as a play day for silly experiments & games.  The first two weeks were attempts at humour (limericks & a caricature poem). This one is a crossbreeding of the poet’s game Golden Shovel invented by Terrance Hayes where the last word of each line of your poem is a word from another poem & a “found poem” I made by abridging one of my absolute favourite poems of all time: D.H. Lawrence’s “The Ship of Death”.

I allowed myself up to four words from each of his lines. They appear in the same verse structure as his poem.

There is precedent for this as Lawrence himself edited the poem before his death so there are two versions: a longer one which I believe is the superior & the one I used for this game, & a second shorter version, which lacks much of the longer poem’s emotive power.  My version is midway in length between the two, & apart from one or two clunky lines, still works pretty well I think.

The Ship of Death (Reader’s Digest abridged version)

falling fruit
journey towards oblivion.

drops of dew
exit from themselves.

bid farewell
the fallen self.

will need it.
apples will fall
on the hardened earth.

a smell of ashes!
smell it?

the frightened soul
wincing from the cold
through the orifices.

quietus make
a bare bodkin?

man can make
exit for his life
is it quietus?

even self-murder

we know,
deep and lovely quiet
heart at peace!

quietus, make?

you must take
journey, to oblivion.

painful death
the new.

bruised, badly bruised,
oozing through the exit
the cruel bruise.

ocean of the end
of our wounds,
flood is upon us.

your little ark
little cakes, and wine

the timid soul
the dark flood rises.

all of us dying
death-flood rising within us
on the outside world.

our bodies are dying
our strength leaves us,
rain over the flood,
our life.

all we can do
build the ship
the longest journey.

with oars and food
for the departing soul.

as the body dies
out, the fragile soul
the ark of faith
black waste
waters of the end
where still we sail
and have no port.

nowhere to go
deepening black darkening still
the soundless, ungurgling flood
darkness, up and down
no direction any more
she is gone.
see her by.
gone! gone! and yet
somewhere she is there.

the body is gone
gone, entirely gone.
heavy as the lower,
the little ship
is gone

end, it is oblivion.

of eternity a thread
on the blackness,
a horizontal thread
pallor upon the dark.

does the pallor fume
there’s the dawn,
coming back to life
out of oblivion.

the little ship
the deathly ashy grey

a flush of yellow
a flush of rose.

whole thing starts again.

like a worn sea-shell
emerges strange and lovely.
home, faltering and lapsing
on the pink flood,
into the house again
with peace.

heart renewed with peace
even of oblivion.

build it!
you will need it.
oblivion awaits you.


 2014-04-27 14.18.17