Weds poetry prompt: ‘Diamonds of Intent’

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This week’s prompt: Write a ‘pieces’ poem.

Diamonds of Intent

The ambitions and big ideas
That chatter away in my head
Are quickly and ruthlessly broken
Into petty, incomprehensible shards
When cast out into reality,
Merely becoming minute pieces
Of a fabled master plan
That I am unable to assemble
Or indeed, even recall the path to,
As these evanescent half-concepts
Are inevitably carried away
Up to the vast, confusing sky
Before becoming lost in the clouds
Never to be seen again,
Their fragile and fleeting nature
Ultimately meaning it is futile
To attempt that final cohesion
Until the mind seeks and finds
Those rare diamond intentions
That the world cannot so easily shatter.

Like this poem? Read more in my first poetry collection, ‘The Awakening’, avaliable NOW!

Paperback – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Awakening-Selection-Poems-Stuart-Peacock/dp/1911476335

eBook-: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B017BZBH6M

‘Letter from a Dragon’

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So this is just a little piece that came about after I went to the ‘Essex Author’s Day’ back in March, that was part of the Essex Book Festival going on that month – one of the workshops that I attended, entitled ‘Develop Your Writing’, was headed by a Literature professor at my old university (I graduated in 2008 with my English Lit degree – nearly 10 years ago!!), and the aim was to provide us with several prompts and ideas to write something themed around dragons – and we heard some examples from students as well. I didn’t follow any of the given prompts specifically, per say, but while there on the day I was suddenly inspired to write about a somewhat grumpy dragon setting the record straight to humankind about what dragons were really like. I carried on with it and polished it up a little once I returned home, and then just kind of left it sitting for a while, until I was suddenly inspired to unearth it and finish it properly today. And here it is…I am going to try and get in the habit of posting bits of writing that aren’t just the weekly poetry prompts (or the monthly challenges), so I hope you enjoy this one. It may become something more in the future, perhaps a short story of some kind? Watch this space, anyway…

Letter from a Dragon

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The ‘To Read’ List (Updated 8th May 2017)

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EDIT: Updated 8th May 2017 – Ah – been a while since I’ve updated this, hasn’t it? Apologies for that. In the time since the last post I have since completed Good Bones and Profiles of the Future, and may post some brief thoughts on them shortly. I have also added Pompeii and Switch Bitch to the list.

…As for the subject of this post; yes, it is the dreaded ‘To Read’ pile that, for those like me who enjoy a good book, seems to grow ever bigger due to the heavy demands and committments of our everyday lives. It became a bit of a problem for me last year, as I was constantly buying books from second-hand bookshops/charity shops, thinking ‘I’ll get to all these someday’, only to find I had so many building up in my room, still unread. It was at that point I literally sorted them into a ‘To Read’ pile, and began, you know, actually reading the blasted things, further vowing to not buy anymore until I had finished them. I’ll admit I make the occassional exception – if there is a new Margaret Atwood coming out I will either buy it or ask for it as a gift, for example – but I’ve generally managed to keep to this pretty well. So, in order to keep an actual list for myself, here are all of the books that have amassed in the pile, with links to their Goodreads pages (I will give my account on there some attention as I work through all of these as well!). Click to read on…

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2017 April PAD Challenge Day 27: ‘A Day in the Life of a Drunken Buffoon’ #aprpad (catch up!)

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(Still playing catch-up on these, slowly but surely!)

Day 27’s Prompt: For today’s prompt, use at least 3 of the following 6 words in your poem (using a word or two in your title is fine); for extra credit, try using all 6:

  • pest
  • crack
  • ramble
  • hiccup
  • wince
  • festoon

I always love the challenge of these, and I managed to use all 6 as well 🙂 Hope you enjoy the result:

A Day in the Life of a Drunken Buffoon

Everyone would groan as they heard
That familiar, contemptible hiccup
From the corner of the bar
As they knew then he was here,
The local sozzled old pest
Who destroyed his liver daily
As well as the last inch of patience
Of any soul unfortunate enough
To become imprisoned in his rambles
That barely even made sense to himself.

The patrons around him would wince,
Some snickering away quietly
As he’d yet again take another crack
At charming anything that came in
With a copious chest or short skirt,
Only to receive a swift strike of the hand
Or a splash of vodka to his face,
But he wore rejection like a festoon,
To him being an annoyance was an art form,
The small pleasures of a drunken buffoon.

Last year’s poem for Day 27: ‘The Eternal Travellers’

Like this poem? Read more in my first poetry collection, ‘The Awakening’, avaliable NOW!

Paperback – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Awakening-Selection-Poems-Stuart-Peacock/dp/1911476335

eBook-: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B017BZBH6M

2017 April PAD Challenge Day 22: ‘The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over the Lazy Dog’ #aprpad

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Day 22’s Prompt: Write a fable poem. A fable is a story that conveys a moral, usually told with animal characters.

I’ll admit when I saw this prompt I panicked a little, wondering what I could possibly come up with. However, my mind then wandered to the famous phrase most of you will know of from Microsoft Windows’ font viewer – and a little story and twist to apply to it. Hope you enjoy!

The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over the Lazy Dog

(A Fable in Poetic Form, Based Upon the Famous Pangram)

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog
But soon comes to a sudden, screeching halt
As he lands on the cold, hard ground,
The fox stands in frozen confusion, but the lazy dog laughs,
‘Well, that’s what you get, you see,
When you waste all your precious letters at once
On a downright rude, poncey show-off jump!’
The fox had nothing to say in response to this,
For it was true that in his careless haste,
He now had no follow-up action,
While the supposedly ‘lazy’ dog
In his seemingly lackadaisical approach,
Was rather, biding his time carefully
And using the alphabet sparingly
Unlike his foolish little fox friend
Who hadn’t looked before he leapt.
The dog had seen many others like him;
The bizarre sight of those boxing wizards,
(Five of them, jumping quickly)
And those daft zebras jumping about too,
(Vexingly so, apparently)
So he didn’t care about the ‘lazy’ label
That had been so rudely applied to him
In the now famous pangrammic arrangement,
As he was the one who knew better
Than to binge all at once on every single letter.

Last year’s poem for Day 22: ‘Star Gazing’

Like this poem? Read more in my first poetry collection, ‘The Awakening’, avaliable NOW!

Paperback – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Awakening-Selection-Poems-Stuart-Peacock/dp/1911476335

eBook-: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B017BZBH6M

Quick Book Reviews: Of Mice and Men

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So chalk this one up as one of those famous books that I somehow hadn’t got around to reading, and thought that I probably ought to, hence why I picked it up upon seeing a copy in a charity shop sometime back. I read this short novella in one sitting, completely gripped all the way through, and then left in emotional turmoil after THAT brutal, unforgiving ending. I already had a rough idea of what happens, but that didn’t mean the ending lost any of its power. Steinbeck was able to write it in such a way that the impact of what you most likely saw coming is still very much felt.

Telling the story of George and his mentally disabled, but well-meaning friend Lennie, Of Mice and Men tells of their life on the road as drifters during the Great Depression , searching for work across California. They are able to keep going because of their hopes of one day owning a farm of their own and having lots of rabbits (the latter part particularly appealing to Lennie), and live the fabled ‘American Dream’. If there is a message running through the book, it is that such hopes are foolish to have in the harsh reality of the world, and the implication that the American Dream is nothing more than an unachievable myth. Of course, George and Lennie’s wishes sadly do not come to fruition – there is an overhanging sense of dread throughout the story, especially as we’ve been told that there were previous ‘incidents’ in places where they previously worked, caused by Lennie, where they were forced to run away and move on. It is asked at several points why George continues to stay with his challenging companion, why he doesn’t just leave him behind and never look back – but George feels unable to because he knows that Lennie would not be able to take care of himself – he is a burden that he must carry or otherwise feel an unbearable guilt if he does not. Despite George’s best efforts, Lennie does get himself into trouble again, leading to tragedy, and there is a constant feeling of him being able to see it coming, perhaps why he is so resigned to his friend’s fate by the end of the story. We as a reader feel it as well, as well as the pain of their desire to have land to call their own. It still resonates very strongly reading it in the present day as well – the obligation to always be working for someone else, to never have full control of our own livelihood, is an all-too-relatable feeling for many.

Loneliness is also a key theme that weighs heavily on a lot of the characters; one of the reasons George most likely stays with Lennie is simply because he has no one else, the reverse also being true. Old Man Candy is forced to hand over the life of his aging dog, leaving him numb and desperately wanting to be a part of George and Lennie’s little scheme, which tragically does not come to pass. The wife of the abusive and blockheaded Curley (her name is not even revealed, emphasising how stuck she is in this submissive role), is clearly unhappy in her marriage, and tries to flirt with everyone else at the farm, who all make a point of staying away from her so to not invoke Curley’s jealous wrath, leaving her even more isolated. And of course, her attempts to befriend Lennie lead to tragedy. Crooks, the lone negro worker, of course feels strongly isolated from everyone else as well. He is also extremely bitter and cynical, pointing out he has seen hundreds of men come through just like George and Lennie with dreams of their own land, “An’ never a God damn one of ’em ever gets it”. – but at the same time he does ask if he’d be able to come and lend a hand if needed, as he gradually softens and his desire for companionship exposed through speaking with the innocent, hopeful Lennie. In a line that has become one of the most famous in the book, Crooks muses that “A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody. Don’t make no difference who the guy is, long’s he’s with you. I tell ya a  guy gets too lonely an’ he gets sick”.

Steinbeck was able to effortlessly write each of these characters who all have a hidden depth – and hopelessly loneliness to them, which is why there is such an emotional resonance to what seems like a deceptively simple plot and course of events. Learning that a lot of it was based on his actual experience travelling as a ‘bindlestiff’ – and that Lennie was in fact based on a real person – makes it all the more raw and personal, and with an impressive amount of layers for such a short novella.

A true classic, and one I would not hesitate to give 5/5.

Like this poem? Read more in my first poetry collection, ‘The Awakening’, avaliable NOW!

Paperback – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Awakening-Selection-Poems-Stuart-Peacock/dp/1911476335

eBook-: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B017BZBH6M