Monday, February 01, 2010

Catherine, Eloise

(A poem I wrote and sent to a friend of mine for a critique. She made a few changes and helped me get it into shape. It's a good example of the creative process. - RS)

Catherine Eloise

It seems to me you are so awkward, wayward
Ill at ease – even wilful
How can you function, eat, sleep, keep this manor
In the manner that we are accustomed to?
You, who tends the wonderful garden
How are those seeds, those bulbs, those corms
We witnessed pushing upwards, upwards to the light
(But not at night)
How are they coming on?
Those Lupins blue, those Canterbury bells
And the borders which you created
From old wire and bedsteads from the tip
And winkle shells and whelk shells
From the beach
Such happy days watching you and the servants,
The girls from the village,
The gorgeous girls we paid so pitifully
Oh, remember them, each lining up for their threepence
And free bag of gooseberries.

Version 2

Catherine, Eloise

Catherine Eloise (would one name be better? Just Catherine maybe?)
It seems to me you are so awkward, wayward
Ill at ease – even wilful (again simplify – just wilful. How about contrary?) Okay!
How can you function, eat, sleep, keep this manor
In the manner that we are accustomed to? (Don’t like it – leave it out. ) Manner – manor – it’s clever. (No – it’s contrived.)
You, who tends the wonderful garden
How are those seeds, those bulbs, those corms
We witnessed pushing upwards, upwards to the light
(But not at night.)
How are they coming on? (That’s stupid – not at night! Less is more) How about – just keeping how is your garden coming along? (Better!)
Those Lupins blue, those Canterbury bells
And the borders which you created
From old wire and bedsteads from the tip
And winkle shells and whelk shells (winkles and whelks? Bit common – how about cockleshells? ) Yeah – then I can rhyme shells and bells.
From the beach
Such happy days watching you and the servants,
The girls from the village,
The gorgeous girls we paid so pitifully (gorgeous? Bit too sexy – modern. What’s wrong with pretty?)Oh, remember them, each lining up for their threepence
And free bag of gooseberries.
Okay – so how does it sound now?

Version 3

Catherine

Catherine
You are so contrary.
How is your garden coming along?
With cockle shells and Canterbury bells
And pretty girls
Lining up for their threepence
And free bag of gooseberries

Much better.

What about if I called her Mary? To rhyme with contrary?
(Good – and repeat it so that it keeps the rhythm)
(And the word Canterbury is a bit awkward.)How about silver bells?
Which matches pretty. (I like it…)

So we have

Mary Mary
Quite contrary
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells
And pretty… how about maids? (That’s good)
And pretty maids
Lining up for their threepence and free bag of gooseberries.
Although would she have paid them in gooseberries?
(Probably not.)
Coal then?
(Excellent….)
And pretty maids
Lining up for their free bag of coal.

(That’s it! Well done! It’s a classic!)

5 comments:

poetL said...

Very funny.

Roger Stevens said...

Thanks, Poet Al.

wastedpapiers said...

A classic indeed! Highly ( should that be "really") amusing ( how about "witty"? )

Roger Stevens said...

Witty is good.

C.J.Duffy said...

Lucky girl to have no less than four versions written for her.

Not sure she like having her name changed though, not without a ring on her finger.