What’s in a Poem?

When this blog was on the Today.com site, as I’ve mentioned before, I published a poem at the end of every post. In “Poetry Worth Noting” I reposted two poems written by others that I had posted on the old blog site, which received several views, making me think that perhaps the poetry is something that my readers might have an interest in. So, in this post, I will publish two of my own poems and tell you a little about the stories behind them. Please leave comments to let me know if this is something that you would like to see more of here, on Writing to be Read.

The first is called Voices and it really has a lot to do with the point where I really began to feel like a writer. I was preparing for the 2008 Fremont County Writers’ and Artists’ Fair. I had a table at the fair, but I had no book to sell, so I was putting each of my poems on an illustrated background for display. While looking for a suitable background for this particular poem, I discovered a painting, by artist Mitch Barrett, of the same name. I contacted the artist and obtain copyright permission to use his painting as the background for my poem. This was all very exciting for me for several reasons. First, the painting fit absolutely perfect with the content of the poem, with a central head, surrounded by faces that all seemed to be screaming at him. Second, this was the first time that I had every participated in any type of writing function, and I was beginning to feel like a “real” writer. And third, Mitch Barrett lives in England, and that is where he called me from. I was thrilled that this man would go out of his way to make an international call to me and grant me permission to use his work!

Voices

Is what I hear voices from above?
Or are they the voices of foolish love?

Sometimes they tell me to open my eyes,
And not believe your blatant lies.
Sometimes they tell me to forgive all.
At times they warn that I’m about to fall.

Sometimes they whisper, so I can barely hear.
Other times, they are so near
That it sounds as if they’re shouting in my head.
Sometimes they caution; I could end up dead.

They tell me I’m heading for dangerous ground,
Or tell me I shouldn’t have you around.
Sometimes they say I’m headed straight for the top.
Other times, they scream that I must stop.

They urge me to go faster,
Then they say slow way down.
They seem to speak most
When there’s no one around.

They tell me to do what I feel is right,
But then they say that it’s not worth the fight.
When I feel that my heart is shattered glass,
They say that I’d better get off my ass.

They that I might just think for a bit,
But they never allow me to give up or quit.
I listen, sometimes long into the night,
And they always say that I must do what is right.

They push me one way, then pull another.
Sometimes they sound just like my mother.
Often, I wonder if they’re from my past.
Sometimes, I long for silence at last.

Is what I hear voices from above?
Or are they the voices of foolish love?      

Background Painting by Mitch Barrett, Poetry by Kaye Lynne Booth

                                

The second poem that I would like to include here, came about because of Voices and that first initial contact with Mitch Barrett. Not long after the fair, Mitch contacted me about some paintings he was working on that he wanted to display with poetry, and he asked me to see what I could come up with to go with them. He explained what he was trying to do in the painting and sent me sketches of what the intended works would look like. This past summer, his painting, Intimacy went on display at the Kaleidoscope Gallery at Battle Sea Park, in London, featuring my poem, Intimacy and the Harlequin Dance. Just recently, the painting sold, which thrilled me to no end. It now has a home in Milan, I am told. It is a great painting, with my poetry, and there has been interest expressed by gallery owners of exhibiting more artwork/poetry combinations, so I may be collaborating with this talented artist again in the future.

Intimacy and the Harlequin Dance
By Kaye Lynne Booth

We dance through the masquerade of life
Disguised to fit the music
Of so many different melodies
That at times, we forget which tune
Holds the heartstrings of who we really are.

Then one day, we find the perfect dance partner,
But to attain the perfect rhythm
We must open ourselves up and reveal our souls.
Intimacy requires that we relinquish the mask
To expose the genuine self that lies beneath.

After all the years of dancing to false tunes
Will we be able to keep time
To the genuine dance and the original rhyme?
Or shall we don the mask once more and continue to
Keep time to the false melody of the Harlequin dance?

Intimacy and the Harlequin Dance

Painting by Mitch Barrett, Poetry by Kaye Lynne Booth

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2 Comments on “What’s in a Poem?”

  1. They are beautiful poems, Kaye. I often do poetry inspired by art, and you have encouraged me in this discipline. I am just beginning a website and blog. I’ve wondered if others would be interested in my poetry, too.

    Thank you.

  2. Thank you, Laurel Jean, for taking the time to read and comment. I have found that the poetry goes over pretty well. I think that you should post a few and see what happens. Don’t be afraid to ask your readers for feedback. You never know for sure unless you try.


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