Friday, February 1, 2013

I Wish I'd Written This


That's all he knew


"It is better to travel hopefully than to arrive" said DH Lawrence wittily.
All I can say is, he must never have driven on the Autostrada in Italy.


This is one of my very favourite poems of all time. I like wit, whimsy and unusual rhymes. l like deadpan humour and throwaway lines. 

(Goodness, I've just created a three-line, half-rhymed verse about it! Quite unintentional but not altogether surprising. Michele is inspirational as well as inspired.)

I first met her (online) in her guise as Banana the Poet, during one of Robert Lee Brewer's April Poem A Day challenges at Poetic Asides. Even among the many talented and interesting poets contributing, she stood out. She's irresistibly funny and irreverent. 

Also she's entrepreneurial. She was a pioneer of online self-publishing a few years ago, and you can now find her series of 'Alternative Poetry Books' at Amazon. Please note that she can also write perfectly serious poems, and her books feature both.

What must be her most successful book so far recently topped Amazon's Kindle poetry sales. It is called Fifty Shades of Blue. You guessed it. It's a spoof of a certain best-selling kinky novel. It's a gem, very naughty in all sorts of ways while not being at all obscene — quite a feat. Like its inspiration it's a trilogy, but all in one volume. Innovative as ever, she has also produced a version of the first section illustrated by pictures of her own clay figurines, Fifty Shades of Clay. And there is even an animated version. (Also check out her animated The Real Story of Cinderella at the same link.)

Her non-poetry blog is The Prize Winning Banana Blog. She posts poems at Michele Brenton's Poetry Blog and Banana's Funny Poetry Blog. She is on twitter @banana_the_poet.

If you aren't already acquainted with this inimitable poet, you just gotta catch up!

Now, did you think I was going to leave you with just a two-line sample of her work (no matter how good)? No, I wouldn't do that to you. Here's a beautiful and intriguing prose-poem I'd be proud to have written. It's from her poetry blog; do check out the other treasures there.

Freeze frames
It is a gloriously sunny day, the air hangs lightly with a hint of freshness, still, warm, enfolding but not enclosing. I gaze out over the hillside to watch the goats pick their way up the shrubby, rocky surface towards the feeding troughs at the top edge that the shepherd has filled with water from the tap I know is there.
I remember the day we first walked up there and found in the middle of an otherwise wild landscape, a pipe with a tap which on turning, gushed clear cool water in abundance. It was as incongruous as the lamp-post in the Lantern Wastes of Narnia and typified the fantasy atmosphere of living on a small Greek island.
Here the colours are so clear and the air so clean we can stand at the top of a mountain further in height from the coastal edge and the sea than the top of the Grand Canyon is from its lowest point, and see every detail like a tiny architect’s model.
And the sunny days stretch ahead of us like a never-ending string of translucent pearls on a golden chain.
I hold your hand tightly and you squeeze back. We are together, here and now in this wonderful place, we are happy, contented and safe. I can feel your skin against mine; hear your steady breathing, slow and certain. I know if I rest my head against your chest I will feel that familiar warmth, smell the scent of you and hear your heart again as always. We don’t need to speak, I know your voice so well as I know all of you as well as I know myself.
Better probably, because I have gazed on you so many times, touched you and shared your space – I am inside myself and outside of you, learning your every atom, recording it and keeping it. Do you do the same for me? Even if you do, I know I will be forgotten. It doesn’t bother me.
You have a terrible memory, it is one of the things I learned about you and because it is who you are, I love, accept and remember it.
It is a gloriously sunny day, the air hangs lightly with a hint of freshness, still, warm, enfolding but not enclosing. I gaze out over the hillside to watch the goats pick their way up the shrubby, rocky surface towards the feeding troughs at the top edge that the shepherd has filled with water from the tap I know is there.
Your dark hair has started turning orange in places because of the strength of the sun. I used to have a brown cat and the same thing happened to him.
It is a spring morning. I am sitting in the garden in South Wales. You are curled up on the flagstones at my feet. I am wearing sandals and I can just feel your fur against my bare skin, soft and tickly. You are purring; you are radiating warmth. If I hold you against me the vibration will transfer into me, I know your smell, your frequency.
It is a gloriously sunny day, the air hangs lightly with a hint of freshness, still, warm, enfolding but not enclosing. I gaze out over the hillside to watch the goats pick their way up the shrubby, rocky surface towards the feeding troughs at the top edge that the shepherd has filled with water from the tap I know is there.
I hold your hand tightly and you squeeze back. We are together, here and now in this wonderful place, we are happy, contented and safe. I can feel your skin against mine; hear your steady breathing, slow and certain. I know if I rest my head against your chest I will feel that familiar warmth, smell the scent of you and hear your heart again as always. We don’t need to speak, I know your voice so well as I know all of you as well as I know myself.
You have a terrible memory. We are together, here and now in this wonderful place, we are happy, contented and safe. I know if I rest my head against your chest I will feel that familiar warmth, smell the scent of you and hear your heart again as always.
It is a gloriously sunny day. It is a gloriously sunny day. It is a gloriously sunny day.
I know I will be forgotten. It doesn’t bother me.


Poems and photos used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remain the property of the copyright holders (usually their authors).

16 comments:

  1. Rosemary - thank you for bringing this absolutely brilliant piece of Michele's work to us. She will surely not be forgotten. I can truly say "I am thrilled Michele wrote this!"

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  2. I have not "met' MIchele, Rosemary; so thank you for the introduction. Her prose poem took my breath away, made me want to go hug The Good Husband and thank God for my life. She moved me. I am now off to view her sites. This is a great way to begin my reading, writing, art-ing day.

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  3. I would like to echo both PKP and Kim on this piece. Michele touched me gently with this piece much like a soft fresh breeze in the early morning of a Spring day.

    Gracias Rosemary

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  4. Michele: This blows me away. Riveting tumble of emotion. I fell into the spell of your word choices and imagery.

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  5. Didn't know that 'prose-poetry' was a recognized form. I do know that it has always been what I like better than either the one or the other. Thanks for acquainting me with this poet.

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  6. Wow what a lovely voice. Rosemary you have enriched my life by introducing me too Michelle Benton. Thank you!

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  7. Yes, everybody, obviously I agree or I wouldn't have posted it. But doesn't anyone else love the Autostrada couplet too? It just totally cracks me up — still, years after first encountering it. (Maybe it helps that I have driven that road, if only as a passenger!)

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  8. I love the Autostrada couplet. It is very timely, in fact, in my life. We are packing for a cruise from Florida to Italy, where we intend to take trains rather than drive. Thanks so much to you, Rosemary, and to Michelle, for reinforcing our decision.
    I noticed your heading "I wish I'd written that" on the blogroll at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads and couldn't resist, because I've used those exact words so many times in my life, so I know what you mean, and then some.
    Kay, Alberta, Canada

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    1. Thank you Kay, and have a wonderful time! In all other respects I thought Italy was brilliant. (I thought Florida was too.)

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  9. Rosemary, this was really fun. Robert Brewer's site was one of my favorite sites a while ago; and I do remember 'Banana, the Poet.' Ha, now if you can only get her to post here at Poets United, that would also be cool. I really enjoyed your write-up.

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  10. Oh wow. Love, love, love that piece at the end. And I enjoyed reading about her. Thank you.

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  11. Love this, Rosemary, a poet we need to become acquainted with - so incredibly talented. Love her writing to her cat, the repetition of some lines in such an effective way....love the whole thing. I will investigate further! Thanks for bringing her to our attention.

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  12. And writing about her husband too, of course!She has another very poignant poem written to him on her poetry site.

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  13. Michele Brenton is one of my touchstones for uniquely sharp poetry - both humorous and serious. She's written many, many poems I wish I'd written, and I have all her books from Amazon.

    Bravo, Rosemary, for putting the spotlight on her!

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  14. Rosemary: My first reaction was to the couplet,but then it got lost in my 'proper' comment :-)
    What I think I said was:
    Lawrence never struck me as particularly witty.
    But then remembered he wrote: "By Boots, I am MA"
    [for the uninitiated: Boots has always been the one and only mainstay chemist/pharmacist in England. They are now no longer English, but Japanese I believe, like all the good old English companies, such as Liberty, Aquascutum, Jaeger,... I have lost count as well as faith. Boots sponsored Lawrence at university where he took his Master of Arts [=PHD].
    And of course the autostrada bit is great.
    As is 'wittily' as an adverb. Almost as good as 'prettily'.

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  15. Oh - I'm glad I got here in time to comment and just say - Michele Brenton is one of the most inspiring poets in my poetic world - she's funny, smart and so motivated and motivating - as Sam Peralta said before me, thanks for shining a light on her!

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