Many of my poems linger in files, unfinished. I’m never sure of anything for long. Quite often the poet and the philosopher existing in my solitude are at odds with each other, or the pair gangs up against the certainty of experts our western culture values. I favour dynamic approaches to life, where faith and doubt are equally valued in the process of becoming human. The words of Hazrat Inayat Khan would apply:
‘The ideal is the means; its breaking is the goal.’
When making something audible and visible from the inside out, a topic I touched upon in my last post, only time may tell its worth. Once we shared our art, there is the waiting … the vulnerable span after exposure. Does our wave of inspiration chime in other minds, offer fresh perspectives, frustrate with surprise?
I hope you, my readers, can offer a reflection on the little poem I obsessed with revising over the last week, and maybe even share thoughts on your own revisions.
I first wrote ‘beautifully lost’ in 2005 and put it to sleep. Other versions exist. The latest attempt turned into a Haiku sequence. I’m not at all sure it’s an improvement compared to my first attempt.
The theme is cycles of experience, when after a period of loss and unknowing; a renewal of meaning happens that keeps me young at heart, connecting me back to the middle of each moment.
Beautifully Lost – 2005 version
At times no deed rhymes,
nothing I say is heard,
each word drops to silence,
and my best yarns slip
from the loom, waltzing
in endless loops,
On solid earth swords cut,
and chalices swallow us,
but once every full moon
King and Queen align their myths,
And I– beautifully lost –
dreams undone – whirl
at the gateway to an inner sun.
– Ashen, 9th Nov 2005
beautifully lost – 2015 version
when deeds miss their rhyme
and words fall flat on their face
I chase your fragments
in the wayward yarns
that fall off the loom and loop
on my breath – dazed
drifting without aim
they will chance the blade that cuts
or a gulping maw
until a full moon
weds the light of King and Queen
and my best yarns yearn
heart-whirling at the gateway
to an inner sun
Ashen, Jan 2015
And here a song …
30 responses to “… beautifully lost – revision of a poem …”
For me this didn’t really seem like a revision, rather a revisiting. I think that both pieces have their own beauty and stand alone though they address a similar thought
Thanks Diane, I also like both. Do you revise your work in an attempt to to improve on it?
Not very often, occasionally I revisit something and change bits and pieces but usually if I start to fiddle with things they don’t work any more. I seem to be only able to write fairly spontaneously and if I try to alter and change it then things turn wooden. The odd word or phrase isn’t a problem in a longer piece of prose but not much at all in poetry. I don’t think I write my stuff that’s the problem it’s A N Other who is just using me and thank heavens for it.
Hmm, I wished I had your guts, Diane. I spend weeks with a poem, coming back to it every day until I feel I nailed the essence. Often I give up and file it away. With prose, it’s a matter of ironing out lazy sentence structures, repetitions, and germanisms. In other words, learning to make the narrative flow without annoying the reader.
I am with you Diane, and just wish A.N.Other had mastered the market while (s)he was at it. But I agree with the likelihood of over-working turning wooden, but never could decide if it was wooden because I was staler listening to it, or whether others would think so too? My recent attempt to ask Beta readers was near disaster, the suggestions seeming to turn wood to coal! If I could wish for a virtual app it would be an amnesia app so that I could read what I had written with no memory at all. Then I would be able to judge!
A fresh eye – is what you’re talking about. A good beta reader is gold, the gold lies in good questions, not answers.
My angel, Zohra, coached me through my first novel with questions. You’re a pro, Philippa, you don’t need coaching, just a fresh eye, and certainly not somone who makes suggestions.
I preferred the first, I thought it fresher and more natural, though I liked ‘heart-whirling at the gateway/to an inner sun’ as the ending better- more continuous. I invariably like the first draft of most things, which may have rough edges, but the hand prints of the first thought always bursts through. No good arguing that with the poetic police though!
That would be content shining through form 🙂 So much for my efforts. Heart-whirling felt good though. Thanks for your thoughts Philippa.
Oooo, tricky. I like them both actually. The first perhaps flowed in a more natural way, but then I love the sentiments of the second! 😀
Thanks Sophie. Maybe revision is overrated.
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Lol, no, I LOVE them both! I’d keep both myself, clever lady! 😀 xx
O.K. they’ll both go in my eventual collection.
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Lol. good!!! I love your poetry! 😀
The 2015 version certainly flows better—has sweeter words—enfolds its meanings upon itself…
Kind of you to say so, Alexander.
I like the wayward yarns, and the heart-whirling at the gateway.
Both are beautiful, like sisters – similar to each other yet unique on their own
Ahw, two beautifully lost sisters at the gate … 🙂 Thanks Grisha,
Ashen, the 2005 version is profoundly moving and enlightening. It prepares one for the coming of change and the climb from grief that is experienced by all.
The sun shines within us all like the earth’s burning centre, sometimes breaking free to replenish the outer developed crust.
Beautiful and simply took my breath away.B
I value the feedback offered here, it gives me hints about revising poems with subtelty to maintain the initial feeling, or, maybe, write a new one that comes out of it like a Russian doll. Thanks, Bill, so glad you got the mood… sometimes breaking free to replenish the outer developed crust … this is so.
Thanks Ashen. Poetry, for me, is acute and needs little or no dressing-up.
It is a way of getting to the core and understanding a subject at its most naked and vulnerable self.
Perhaps politics may develop a new way of ‘speak’ and utilise poetry to get to the message across, but we shouldn’t hold our breathe.B
A new party ‘speak’ in social media, there’s a challenge. Might be an improvement on the boring repetitive rambling of politicians.
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I’ve tried joining the two together:
In time no deed rhymes, and when deeds miss their rhyme
nothing I say is heard, and words fall flat,
each word drops to silence, a chase of fragments,
and my best yarns slip in the wayward yarns
from the loom, waltzing, then fall from the loom and loop
in endless loops, drifting without aim.
On solid earth swords cut, chancing the blade,
and chalices swallow us, cuts,
but once every full moon, a gulping maw.
King and Queen align under their moon
myths, weds of light of King and I
beautifully lost Queen
dreams undone, unclasped, unwound
whirl and my best yarns yearn
at the gateway to an inner sun
heart whirling at the opening.
🙂 see what you started now …
… together the two joining tried have I
rhyme their miss deeds when, and rhymes deed no time in
flat fall words, and heard is say I nothing …
I liked the 2005 version. More subtle depth. And I enjoyed Joe’s combination. Have created some time in my life now, so I will visit some of your archives. Planning to sift through Hambir’s poems and put them in book form. All is well, getting better. Much love and light. Lehana.
Welcome dear Lehana, thanks. The verdict seems to lean towards the first version. It’s enjoyable to engage with poems.
Good to know you’re well. And there is new life to cheer you ☼ Let me know when Hambir’s poems see the light, I’m looking forward to read them. Love, A.
I Love your Poems and i love you too…..
You are beautiful.
Thank you, dear Alice, I may be a mirror to you 🙂
well both have their own resonance but here is my but because you did ask for feedback – I loved the earlier version – it has a spark a simplicity an elegance about it as if it has been pared down carrying no weight -no extra words or images -and for me this made the rewrite seem clumsy in comparision although read as its own piece it too shines. I fret with rewrites and get obsessed until I push them aside or put them out because I am fed up with it., often I feel like I am stirring the mud up at the bottom of the pond and loose my way with the spirit of that burst of creative spark…
thank you for beautifully lost
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Ah, the image of the mud stirred up at the bottom of the pond I can relate to, not least because I grew up swimming in ponds among the woods surrounding my village. And it’s slow to settle, this mud cloud, though I remember enjoying the sun’s golden beams shining through 🙂
Sometimes patience rewards, sometimes not. Thanks for your feedback, Sandra.