Saturday, February 25, 2006

Too Many Books

I have too many books
Read once and shelved
Or piled up by my bed
Arriving daily in the post
Unlikely to be read

Too many poems
Wait between the covers
For their exercise
Or stacked in Plato’s cave
Like unsettled similes

Too many facts and fictions
Characters adrift on sandbanks
Children starved of attention
An old man glimpsed upon the pier
And then - no further mention

I glance at the book review
As I'm jotting down these words

And a neglected poet catches my eye
It’s another book to join the queue
Another book I’ll have to buy

Examination Piece

First tell me what I, the poet, need to find
before I decide
which of the two roads I must take.

Blue in line four
seems an odd choice of adjective.
Do you agree?
Which colour would you choose?

Have you ever metaphorically
Found yourself
In a similar poem?

How does this poem handle simile and rhyme?
And finally

How do you think this poem
will add to your enjoyment of poetry
as you enter adulthood?
A lot.
Not a lot.
Not at all.

Thank you for your time.


Anonymous Poet said...

Yay! First comment!!

For some reason, I can easily picture you drowning in books, Roger. : )

"Have you ever metaphorically
Found yourself
In a similar poem?" Great line. I find bits and pieces of myself in poems here and there. Maybe that's why I write, to find my whole self. Hopefully, others can see me in what I write and, maybe, a little bit of themselves.

Roger Stevens said...

Regarding Examination Piece. I was at a secondary school yesterday and I came across one of the books they use for examinations. It contained thirty poems and a list of questions about similes, repetition and so on. Not one question like - did you enjoy this poem? How do you feel about it? Soul destroying stuff. The book should have been called "How to put students off poetry for life."

Russell Ragsdale said...

Welcome back! I am also appalled by the academic aproach to poetry. A head shot with the soul stun gun. How does the system manage to mistake that for education?

Anonymous said...

@ MR. ROGER......

Hello, thanks again to come in my blog. Yeah some musician copied music from western BUT it doesnt mean it's an INDIAN THING...

Recently "Black Eyed Peas" also copied a tune from an Indian melody..their intro of the song "Don't Phunk With My Heart " is copied from an Indian Song "Aei Mera Dil" from the film "Don(1978)"

And again their "Elephunk Theme" is also copied from a Tamil song, "Unakkum Enakkum" from the film "Sri Ragavendra"....

So can I say this is a western thing....NO!!

For some pople we can blame a whole country or region man....NYAH, we can't..

Sorry, this is just to inform you that it's happened in western also..

Prmod Bafna said...

Roger! So nice to hear from you again! You seem to really have a lot on hand! I guess AP is very right when he says that you do find bits and pieces of yourself in poetry and when you feel the need to express you usually complete and exhibit a certain part of you in it. Or especially the kinds which were reminiscent of particular happenings these go on forever as cherished pieces.. or so i think.. :)


I know that feeling of having too many books. It's a problem, every time I go into a book store to buy a specific book, I end up walking out with five. I intend to read them all... but time, yup time.

Neets said...

i likes the first one. so looks like buying books to catch dust is a global phenomenon. but i guess they will be of use when i retire, hopefully if my eyesight is in good condn. Nice poem
Thats a nice poem on writin poem. well thought.

Cocaine Jesus said...

a masterclass in poetry for all of us would be's to follow.

especially this bit...

"For their exercise
Or stacked in Plato’s cave
Like unsettled similes"

Roger Stevens said...

Still another couple of busy weeks before I can do much blogging. However I'll pop by when I can.

Good to see yah again, Anon.

You too, Russell.

Roy, hope I didn't upset you. I agree that the phenomenon of copying (consciously or unconsciously) is world wide. Hey ho. Keep in touch.

Hi xfreakx, glad you dropped by. I guess we all come from the same cosmic dust in the end.

Eating and Neets. Books, books, books. There are far too many - and still we insist on writing more. There are piles in my bedroom. Books Jill has given me to read, books I've started and not finished, books I've been given for birthdays and Christmas, books people have given me because they're amazing and I really must read them... (sigh)

Hi Anon! Yep, it's good to be back. Off to Peterborough tomorrow and then Gloucestershire. Jill's off to Hamburg. Hopefully she'll be checking out the Star Club. I wonder if it's still there.

floots said...

thanks for looking in on me
(i kicked myself for trusting to my ageing memory when typing up the tanka - for "on" read "along" = 31 syllables)
loved this piece
took me right back to what i call lessonlectureland
even after twenty years of teaching i still felt that most exam boards/governments/colleagues were out to destroy all notions of pleasure in reading
(it's amazing how frost has stayed with us
i did a recent silly piece alluding to the same poem)

Liam Wilkinson said...

Hi Roger - love these poems. And I know what you mean about those awful school books ruining poetry for kids. I suppose we should be grateful for those mind-blowingly good teachers who inject us with the excitement that's needed in learning about literature.

I had a wonderful couple of English teachers - Mr. Buxton and Mrs. Keeton - the sort of teachers that would send you home with an eagerness for writing poems and fiction. Mrs. Keeton made Philip Larkin sound as exciting as The Rolling Stones. Mr. Buxton (imagine a Woody Allen-ish looking fellow with the sharp wit of John Gielgud in 'Arthur'), made us think Wordsworth was the Kurt Kobain of 18th Century Cumbria!

I guess you were that sort of teacher?!

Mathias said...

Phenominal work Roger!

I have a theory. My theory is that not all tormented souls are creatives, but all creatives are tormented souls. Would you agree?

Enemy of the Republic said...

I can certainly relate to this poem since I have too many books, and just bought 4 more today. It is a pleasure to read your blog; you write great poetry. Thanks for visiting my silly thing.

Pincushion said...

...ahhh i can so relate to the 'soul-destroying' stuff..been a teacher myself(past tense!) and I was always at logger heads with everyone around and the system!
Poetry is soul could one possibly exist without the other?
Great poetry here!

The Individualist said...

Oh yikes. Am feeling guilty now. :-s Victor Hugo is waiting to be read. Okay! I can't stand the guilt anymore. Here I come Vicky!

And action-inducing lines there. Like you've just seen. :p

michael said...

It doesnt take much to get a smile out of a simile.
As for education. Good teachers are as rare as hen's teeth in my experiance. I learned to hate poetry , Shakespeare, Algebra, History, Music, Geography, PE, Religion, Science, Biology, Politics etc etc. at school and had to learn to enjoy it all again when I left!
Its snowing here. 2nd March and the first snow of the year! Crazy!
Have fun at school.
Archie's knee is still playing up so keeping him at home. He's learning how to talk backwards and watching the Mighty Boosh.

Sue hardy-Dawson said...

Drowning in books! My second favourite choice of ways to go, I won't say what my first choice would be. Examination piece is spot on, ironically it made me smile.

sigmund fraud said...

I've finally after days of hard work, managed to stack up neatly my unread books ( I don't have any read books)... I feel damn thrilled often looking at my neat illiteracy.

rch said...

Hi Roger,

I really enjoyed both pieces though I'm not sure why they were presented together. My favorite is Too Many Books and yes my stacks grow everyday! Take care,


Liam Wilkinson said...

Sad news, Roger - Ivor Cutler died. I'm sure, as one of his devoted fans, you'll particularly miss him.

Inkblot said...

Everything adds something.
The characters adrift on sandbanks could be us too.
Books rescue us.Do they?

Roger Stevens said...

Hi all - been rushing about all week visiting schools. Up at 6 back at 7. Er... not one hour later... you know what I mean. A quieter week next week and a chance to visit blogs again - and maybe put another poem up.

No reason they're together, Rch - except I had two and I knew I was going to be short on time.

Just stopping by to register Ivor's sad passing. Not really a devoted fan - but a big fan nevertheless. It is sad that he'll no longer be around. At least we still have his music and poems.

I haven't been to Michael's blog yet - see above - but I'm sure he'll have a few words to say - and maybe even a pic or two.

Peace and love!

Prmod Bafna said...

Quite a schedule that! Hope to see you back soon! Tc!

michael said...

Very sad about old Ivor. A bit about him at Boot Sale Sounds-

Underneath the Coasters.

NicoleBraganza said...

I like Too Many Books - love the similes :)

NicoleBraganza said...

PS. New poem (finally) on my blog. Come read


waitng for your next post... and you still have to come by my blog and read the poem I attributed to you.

Amie said...

there can never be too many day who will have all the time in the world to read all of them :)

Shubhodeep said...

hey, very nice poems, although I too feel they should have been presented separately.
Have you ever metaphorically
Found yourself
In a similar poem?
These are my fav. lines.
btw, havent seen you around, hope u resurface soon.