the shortest distance between two points is not a straight line

The inclusion of Poetry in my first blog was something I was a bit ambivalent about. I sat on the edge for quite a while before taking the plunge. In retrospect other people’s verse was one of the better parts of Goodbye Albatross. This is more or less what i wrote the first time around:

I’ve been debating with myself about adding a new category to Goodbye Albatross, a tag reserved just for Poetry.
The world of Art today is the world of the egotist. Painting, Film, Music, Performance all seem to be at the mercy of the appropriatonists. Post-modernism is the thugs life; the argument that is won by yelling over the top of everyone else. Much of what proclaims itself as modern leaves me feeling deflated. Conned, cold and cheated! But Poetry, good Poetry can stand like a bulwark against the theft that passes itself off as creativity. Perhaps it’s the abysmal hand that poetry has been dealt. So diminished in stature for so long, that it no longer seen as cool, if it is even seen at all (gone the way of the Thylacine and Mandolin Orchestras).
Which places me at odds with the 21st Century because I still see Poetry very clearly and believe it still does matter.
Yes, it is a slow conversation. I’ve read the argument that it is no longer relevant; replaced by the all too torturous lyrics of Popular music.
But as George Szirites wrote in a small but excellent article I came across in The Guardian;
“Poetry is not a pretty way of saying something straight, but the straightest way of saying something complex”.
So … (deep breath) … the whims and vagaries of popular culture be damned.
Too the arbitrators of style, whomever you may be – “go fu*k yourselves”.
My reputation come trail behind me in tatters
but poetry is going to become a regular feature of this Journal!

No such dilemma the second time round with MadeofWhite. Poetry will be appearing regularly on these pages. The plan is to drag across all of the old poems from Goodbye Albatross. Not only to clean that blog up and realign it with it’s original purpose but also because those poems were some of the best ever written and I shall enjoy reading them again.
Rosemary Dobson’s verse was the one I started with and here it is again:

Friends die one after another;
each time a dark disorder
A ceaseless banging of shutters

Upstairs there in the mind;
Beating of wings, loud weather
Days, nights together

To force on the mind order:
Journeys taken on maps,
Attentive delving into

The roots of language.
A search for the true invention
Of form by line in drawing.

Also renewal of linen –
Keeping the old customs
Putting sides to middles.

Thus, mind and hand stilled
And with a gentler grief
To draw down the blind

The white holland blind
Like a banner of love
Against that wild confusion.

– Rosemary Dobson.

That poem found me as a clipping snipped out of the Sydney Morning Herald 30 years ago.
I think it stuck with me because of the echoes of ‘Becket’ in that “draw down the blind” stanza.
However I don’t want to be starting a new with something old. So here is where I’ll start this time around:


From other
angles the
fibers look
fragile, but
not from the
spider’s, always
hauling coarse
ropes, hitching
lines to the
best posts
possible. It’s
heavy work
fighting sag,
winching up
give. It
isn’t ever
to live.

Kay Ryan.