Coming Back to Reality, I Fear I’ve Read Too Much

Most people know that bitter-sweet feeling at the end of a good book, when everything is wound up, for better or for worse, and they have to return to reality. This can be pretty hard, when everything in fiction is so perfect; even the evils are black and white, or have an easily dissociated positive side. A Song of Ice and Fire, and War and Peace are both good examples of fiction with lots of characters used almost to simply represent every human aspect, and therefore create flawed yet loveable personalities easy to associate with. They’re also pretty long novels, so coming back out at the other end can be particularly hard. Obviously real humans are not so perfect or easy to love as most fictional characters, and nor is love so perfect or easy to find as most fictional romances, and this can leave the readers amongst us in a pickle, with a possibly skewed or romanticised expectation of life and love, which I attempt to elaborate upon in this week’s poem, “I fear I’ve read too much”.

I Fear I’ve Read Too Much

I fear I’ve read too much to fall in love.
                Fictitious is the love I’ve known,
                And thus pursue until my own,
                Is worthy of the poison’s shame,
                Or can withstand to topple thrones,
                To slay the man with stronger claim,
                And lets fate cast us where she aims.
I fear our times subdue the truest love.
                To fall in love with all the grace,
                Inside a soul and writ on face,
                At first impress, and to decide,
                To take no home than at the place,
                And gaily fare a fortnight ride,
                To warm one’s palms upon her side.
I fear I’ve fallen many times in love.
                With beauties centuries before,
                Whose lineage is lost in lore,
                Whose lives grow grander yet with age,
                But though I’ll love no other more,
                They are but names upon the page,
                And lo, my heart is unassuaged.
I’ll love the girl who understands my love.
                We knew them well, so we’d pretend,
                Why not? We know them well like friends.
                We dream the lives they lived in words,
                So that their lives may never end,
                And that our lines and theirs are blurred;
                Behind the binding, souls are stirred.
I’ll love the soul that understands my love.
                It’s not that I don’t share my mind,
                But authors thoughts survive in time,
                So let’s together write a hook,
                So that your words may live in mine.
                We’ll love like speech marks overlooked,
                Within our own unwritten book.

Alice’s Adventures on the Megabus – A Strength No Animal Is Lent

Riding the bus from London to Manchester provides you with a lot of time to let your mind wander, and lot of window to look out from at the same time. Reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at the same time will encourage your mind to wander in directions different to where it may usually go.

This was the case when today’s poem was written. It’s always fun to go to a simple rhythm and rhyming scheme (as the poems in the Alice books tend to be) along with a simple topic, and just indulge your mind. Maybe the topic of the poem was related to my journey’s progress, and the poem itself a release from being squashed against the window? I didn’t think that much about it, I just returned to the book after the poem was written. If anyone has not read the Alice books, by the way, and considers themselves too old to do so, I politely yet threateningly recommend you read them – they’re well-written, easy, funny, and timeless.

Anyways, here is this week’s poem, and my Just-So story: “A Strength No Animal Is Lent”.

A Strength No Animal Is Lent

O gallant steed, my question heed,
Why do you march so fast?
Though April may not come today,
The worst is surely passed.

With haste you trudge, on slime and sludge,
On noble hidden feet.
What drives you so, to where you go?
Have you old friends to greet?

Others like me, you shall not see,
If you do not hide now.
I must declare to you, beware!
The raven on my boughs.

You are not one to dare outrun,
This bird of night and cold.
You must now find a place to hide,
Inside your own stronghold.

I see alone a hollow stone,
Amidst my writhing roots.
Please hide in here and do not fear,
This furious feathered brute.

I wish you luck as you now tuck
Yourself into a ball,
Inside the rock, away you lock,
Yourself from one and all.

He gently drops and swiftly hops,
To you.  Leave not your haven!
He fails to pry each time he tries,
And, fleeing, flies the raven.

His shameful flight proves you a knight,
Brave champion of the litter.
With lion-heart you’ve played your part,
And rendered fell beasts bitter.

Without a loan, please keep the stone,
May shield and shell prevail,
With Strength No Animal Is Lent,
March on my friend, the snail.

Refuse to feast such crafty beasts,
And earn a worthy tale.
Away, fell craven! Flee, dark raven,
The travelling knight, the snail.

 

Contact

So I’m just going to come out and say it; I never found a traditional poem structure that I liked for the topic I was trying to write about. The topic was a feeling I’ve been chasing for almost as long as I can remember. I’ve been practising parkour for 10 years (9 years, 11 months, and 2 weeks, roughly) with supplementary gymnastics, unicycling for 5 years, pole fitness for 2 years, a number of circus skills for varying lengths of time, and skateboarding every now and then too. There’s a reason I’ve never been a huge fan of playing team sports, and why I’ve always pursued extreme or personal sports: so I can better myself, set my own targets and monitor my progress as it happens by coming back to what I know.

As for the poem itself, I ended up using a regular line length, but without regular meters or rhythm, hoping to capture the fact that all of these sports vary as the participant follows them, and each person creates their own version of it. Additionally, the actual sports themselves have different parts that have different flows and rhythms, so I thought a set rhythm for the poem wouldn’t quite represent it. So, the following is a poem entitled “Contact” about the feelings and place I love to be.

Contact

We believed that those who could fly were freed,
But we love instead the instant impact,
And crave the constraints of constant contact.
We crave and create this freedom we need.

The freedom is coming back down to earth,
At precisely where we desire to be,
By grounding ourselves, we set ourselves free,
The cost of contact is the freedom’s worth.

We dig in our toes, and gripping on tight,
The blessing is flying, contact the art,
While the pain is falling short of the mark,
And fear of pain makes the freedom a fight.

No fall can match the pain of the heartbreak,
We feel when we fail to meet our own mind,
But bodies can push to suffer the grind,
And expectations overrule the ache.

Our sights are as high as our joyous hearts,
To learn from styles of friends and rivals.
Our perspectives bend to our obstacles,
To those that exist, and those we impart.

The flow and grind, the pain and elation,
Build our bodies to fight with hardened hands,
The Goliath that is our self-demands,
That greatest foe, our own expectations.

Fleeting moments outweigh the dirt and sweat,
To find the heart that in your throat resides,
Roaring to push yourself from the inside,
To do the rare things that are yet unmet.

The rush of gliding is the flight we chase,
Freedom dependent on our work and choice,
Half gambling, investing in faith like boys,
But our faith in what we know is well placed.

Yesterday you were artless and naked,
This morning you feared to set foot on ground,
But in ten minutes your heart has been found,
The fire is not so easily wasted.

We leap, hoping, and never look down,
Until our toes bend and our hands are grazed,
The rush of the knife’s edge stays the same,
The childish rush that is living out loud.

There is power found in the precision,
The power to make each of us a king,
To rule our home and to rule our living,
To hush our bodies and have them listen.

When deserved, you will find that old lost heart,
And the kindred sincerely share your joy,
As you blaze your own trail, or simply join,
This world we make where we each play our part.

Sharing rainy days and endless summers,
And songs revive milestones on this journey,
Those moments, though fleeting, when we were free,
Able to own exactly what we are.

We build our own world and we walk its miles,
To share our knowledge and experience,
We share in each other’s accomplishments,
And we share the pain, and we share the smiles.

All of us are in a different act,
And we each feel our own world of control,
But we share our art and it makes us whole,
With passion, each other, and the contact.

My First Cinquain, Unicycling

Tomorrow’s poem was one that I ended up investigating different styles for in an attempt to truly capture the real feeling of it. During this brief research into different poetic styles, I came across cinquains. There are a number of different definitions and rules for these five-line poems, similar to a haiku in ways. The rules I used are as follows:

  • Subject, noun, usually 2 syllables
  • 2 adjectives, 4 syllables
  • 3 verbs (-ing conjugations), 6 syllables
  • A phrase about the feeling of the subject, 8 syllables
  • Another noun for the subject, 2 syllables

I thought this was quite a fun style, so I jotted down a quick, cheesy one about one of my favourite hobbies (lifestyle choices?): unicycling. This is almost a hint about tomorrow’s poem, but that’ll be then. For now, a unicycle cinquain:

Unicycle Cinquain

Unicycle.
Sleek, powerful.
Rolling, gliding, flying.
Complete, continuous control.
Freedom.