Never miss a post
Your email address:*
Please enter all required fields
Correct invalid entries


« "Read & Re-Read" [by Ashleigh Allen] | Main | The Seven Most Meaningful Compositions That I Will Love Forever -- I. BACH: St. Matthew Passion »

July 10, 2010


This is a terrific poem. Thanks for posting it.

From a Parrot and Phoenix that Can Speak in Song.

When she parroted for us, we hoped she would recite the rosary,
or pronounce herself a bird who'd learned the Gettysburg Address.

Emerge from air in some sliver of an exquisite animal voiced concern,
excavate bones on the day of her arriving in what is spoken, to speak

and open, it is not the empty word, pale magic cage she'd find the bird
half-dead in, stuffed, left in a drawer, the new words that give no warning.

Strike the reader in a passenger seat, in an oven mitt, with a trowel
on the countertop, learn to love thy neighbor, lie and ignore the spell

that ills her soul-doctor anyone who can at night, such things predict.
Belted bird a sound that makes us butter-winged buffoons fooling

in the sound of our home-drive, definite kin recognized in a cage
phone ringing, and you knowing it is the sound calling, again and again,

the sound of us not answering you.

Todney Bumsden

Beautiful poem! I just got off the phone with my 93 year old mother to read this . . .

I mean both poems. I was first commenting on the Lantz poem.

Thanks very much Nin. The form my poem's in is 'write-through', which is where you use the words of one poem, as the basic palette for the creation of another. I exercise in this form just for the practise of shuffling words around.

I've had a few poems that have come out the other side as legitimate in their own right. It's a great form to have a go at. My first write-through was of Plath's Colossus.

The write through form is at the opposite end of the compositional spectrum from strict metrical writing, but no less an intellectual challenge, as it is akin to sieving ones mind through a tea strainer; knocking down an edifice of letters, and rebuilding an entirely different text with them.

For example, this original text titled Rule Britannia, I found online and wrote through it:

Out of the bus window I spy a white-haired gentleman on a bicycle wearing a pair of brown brogues, with white socks, khaki desert shorts, an anorak and a black bowler hat. He is a picture of English eccentricity as he whizzes past County Hall and I feel a surge of patriotic pride at the sight of him.

Coming up with this:

Why picture loutish
Eton craic,
a fab lush brogue,
patriotic anoraks
and pride deserting
gentlemen at war
in eccentric sighs?

I slip bowless to
a Sir free land,
no snoot cockers
great nobs to hail.

Cut the tie today
for a happiness few
aim high
ask fate Howayiz
wah wah
is yiz


The woman who composed the original is an ex-teacher, now pole dancer, from Kent, who keeps two blogs and writes under the nom de guerre of Glamour Puss.

The found piece is on her blog,
, that she started 15 months after beginning her main blog, The Pole Affair (now open to invited readers only). The Pole Affair deals with her day to day work and personal life, whilst Clairvoyance (19C French: clear seeing), is her ruminating a tad deeper about existence, what she writes as:

"Elucidating Everyday Wonder Made Manifest"


It is a good exercise for honing one's intellectual fluidity, as you don't have to think of anything apart from the letters you have to play with. A great method to use on small texts, particularly blogspot comments at various po-mo sites that take 'emselves super-seriously, as one can take a pompous deposit and twist its tenor into the opposite.

It's not important to keep the exact same words I think, only for the very first one you do, as you effectively give yourself an unreal goal, achieve it once then slacken the rules to fit when done. Like deploying meter. Once you have that form to your own personal satisfaction, then you can use it how you wish.


Did she angle wonder on the grasp
extending reason her creation
drove wild beyond loathing,
by constantly digging in hunt of sound
to knit rock-firm sharp picture alive with,
like a gem stitched braid
upon whose surface
her eye discerned a myriad of texture?

Did her mind’s farthest anchor reach a coloured butterfly
wind chanced and framed like a Japanese print
of bold delicacy
fittingly unambiguous in a mirror of detail
where every line rehearsed perfection,
crisp as stalk fresh shoots?

Nosed in did her compass net an imprint
of discordant shadow in savage butt and jagged antinomy
absent of balance nature or measure

----------- write through---------

like a ruin of anarchy to the horizon line?
Did she mix thirty years of laboured hours
in little pails and gluepots
to create an oracle married in shadow?
Crawl like an ant over immense dead stones
in the black fluted night
and proceed to entirely open
the lightning sun with the skull of her brow as it rises?
Grunt cackle and glue the silt from her throat
to bray at Orestiea,
or some Roman mule god with acanthine hair
scaling the tumuli of bald acres under red hills?
Was she never counted by her father
or others who
none the wiser
no longer listened
as she dredged her bawdy bones of mourning
and pieced together with blank eyes
her pithy historical mouthpiece
left to colour and stroke our ears?
Could we perhaps lunch like barnyard pigs on the cornucopia of stars
which littered her tongue like lysol on clear white plates
climb ladders of weedy cypress jointed
by the wind of a blue sky arching above to
properley squat at some old forum and consider
landing keel and plum on the pillar of her great lips?

Desmond Swords

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Best American Poetry Web ad3
click image to order your copy
BAP ad
"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

Click image to order


  • StatCounter