“If you read what I write, you may feel the beat of my heart, the occasional echo from my soul and hear my spirit speak, often with iambic rhythms, of its perspective on life. There may even be the odd random rhyme. Eventually, you might be on your way to understand me … a little. I would like to reciprocate”
Firstly, I would like to apologise that the menu links (Commentaries-Links-Music-Poems-Poets-Stories), which should reveal drop down sub-menus, are not working at present. I think this is on account of WordPress altering things and, maybe, trying to persuade me to purchase an upgrade. Well, that may be fair do’s, because I’ve had it free for nearly seven years! Seven years!! Goodness me. Anyway, on with the show …
It is, on the one hand, perhaps a little sad that it has taken so long for me – sixty-something, very conventional, once regular rugby playing man – to admit that I have some pretty strong emotional feelings about a whole range of human subjects. What we chaps would, in the olden days, have called ‘girlie’ feelings, perhaps? On the other hand, it has also been a very interesting and personal journey, which I think incidentally reveals a lot about me. Now, there are very few people out there, who will have the slightest interest in me but, if you do, then it is to be discouraged! However, if nothing else, I do hope there will be some who have an interest in the process I’m going through; and I’ve no doubt there’ll be a lot of you who’re way ahead of me on this, already. Whichever it is, I am looking forward to finding out if my poetry says anything you understand. If it doesn’t, don’t hesitate to let me know, if you feel strongly enough about it.
My calling card once described me as a ‘Family man, Grandfather, Weekend Poet, Occasional Musician, Amateur Photographer and Film-maker, Apple-MAC user, Implementation Manager, Engineer and general all-round good egg’, but please note I’m not particularly impressed by that card; it was penned seven or eight years ago, in a moment of slightly perverse humour with my tongue firmly pressed to my cheek. Ah well, it’s still in print and I’m not paying for any more until these are used up (in true Yorkshire spirit), which means they’ll probably outlast me!
Writing poems began for me in 2009, on a specific date – yes, as precise as that! This followed the birth of my first grandchild three days before. This event inspired the poem “Jessica Tenth of May“. The strangest thing about this story is that I felt that I couldn’t admit to writing the poem, not even to my wife, who is my soul-confidante. Instead, I waited till the close family were gathered in the presence of her ladyship, who was a mere seven days old, and read the (albeit rather imperfect) poem to them all; don’t know what came over me! Anyway, my wife and children were very complimentary, or at least polite.
This triggered a period of writing in my life, which, if it has slowed a little, has yet to dry up. If truth be told, in my youth (around 16 to 25 years), before career, family and responsibilities swept me into a creative desert for a while, I did write some songs and the odd poem, so 13th May 2009 didn’t strictly mark the beginning of my poetic writings. Although it has to be said that my undergraduate thesis on the behaviour of laser light when passed through single crystals of Lithium Fluoride was described by my tutor as a great piece of ‘creative writing’ (as opposed to objective science)!
From that May 2009 to the present time, however, whilst this process has been not quite cathartic, it has certainly given vent to a well of feeling, sometimes strong, and opinion, even stronger, on subjects as diverse as love, war, loss, home, work, celebrity, shopping, stress, manners, ego, depression and, perhaps most important of all, on the value of family and community; and the need to fill up our children with enough love, kindness and security as early in their lives as possible, so that they grow into adults with a tank-full, which enables them to give some back to a world, which is sorely in need of it. One of my favourite albums in our large music collection, is ‘Songs In The Key of Life’, a double album that Stevie Wonder released in 1976 and, amongst my favourite tracks from this album is “Love’s in Need of Love Today”, as if to illustrate the point.
Literature, poetry and songs are stories. They should be delivered so we can hear the message in the words, so that they have a beginning, a middle, a conclusion. They are the essence of a civilised life. I’d like to celebrate story telling and, as well as paying homage to the internet, defend the digital technology that allows us to have freely available information. I acknowledge WordPress and the freedom we have to express ourselves.
“As unconditional love and kindness is the bedrock of humanity, so freedom of expression and unrestricted access to literature are prerequisites of a civilised society.”
It should also be said that unrestricted access to information in general is vital to a civilised society (except of course where that information would endanger an individual, family, community or a nation). This blog is, by virtue of its title, concerned with poetry and, more specifically it is intended as a remote repository for my own story. It does extend to the poetry of others and to various philosophical discussions (see also my other blog site, ‘Forty Two’). It also has links to some of the poets I like and admire, as well as to other sites of relevance. It is also dedicated to the institution of family and to the importance of using language to promote understanding, not only of humanity, but also between human communities; to communicate what’s really important to us all.
Last but not least, my poetry is not intended to be for publication or competition (otherwise I shouldn’t be placing it here), but rather for my own children and their future descendants, as a small part of our family history, in the cause of which personal biographies always play an important and often revealing part.
Having said that, not all of the poetry I’ve written is here by a long way, but it might well be at some point. In my first year of blogging, I tried to write a poem every week, as time and inspiration allowed. I didn’t quite achieve that. In 2012 I wrote even less, but by then I’d met and cemented some enduring online relationships with many other poets and writers and the effect this had was, I believe, to improve the quality, if not the quantity of my poetry. So, the journey changed direction, ever so gradually, and became even more interesting …
© 2018 John Anstie
All rights reserved
“This is a voyage of discovery“.