Sue Vincent shares her thoughts on poetry and a reviewPosted: April 25, 2020
Today, I am delighted to welcome author, poet and amazing blogger, Sue Vincent, to Writing to be Read as my April guest for Treasuring Poetry.
Sue shares a lot of her own poetry on her blog, Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo. Sue also has an amazingly poetic dog, Ani, who has a few books in her own right. This is a link to Sue’s latest Ani link: https://scvincent.com/2020/04/23/the-small-dog-on-guard/.
Sue also writes some more serious poetry and other books which you can find along the right had side of her blog.
Take it away, Sue.
Sue Vincent’s thoughts on poetry
I honestly couldn’t choose a single poem. It all depends on the mood I am in for I love poetry, quite literally, from the sublime to the ridiculous. It is a love affair that started early, with Dr Seuss, Robert Louis Stevenson and Marriott Edgar. It was probably Edgar who inspired my love of history, for after learning his irreverent verses, you really had to get the true story. For example, the Magna Carta is possibly the most important document in English history and one of the earliest legal assertions of human rights. The story as I first learned it from Marriott Edgar had King John signing his name by dipping his pen in the jam and concludes with a verse that is possibly more apt today that it has ever been:
And it’s through that there Magna Charter,
As were signed by the Barons of old,
That in England to-day we can do what we like,
So long as we do what we’re told.
Magna Carta by Marriott Edgar
If I had to choose a single work, it would be the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, a series of quatrains written a thousand years ago in Persia. My mother gave me a small, cloth-bound volume that her father had given to her many years earlier. He had carried the book when he fought in the jungles of Burma during the war, so the book itself meant a lot to me and travelled everywhere in my handbag so I would always have something to read. The book began to disintegrate at around the time a digital version could be had. It is now safe at home… and the Rubaiyat was the first thing I ever downloaded.
The book contained two translations by Edward FitzGerald. Subsequent translations have been more literally correct, but it is this early work that holds the magic for me, as much of the imagery is quite magical. Many of the quatrains are well known but taken out of context they lose a great deal. Perhaps the most famous is:
The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on; nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.
I have read the Rubaiyat so many times that I probably know FitzGerald’s translation by heart. Even so, my understanding has shifted and evolved as I have aged, yet I am still pondering many of the questions these verses raise. The verses constitute both a philosophy and a quest, and can be interpreted in a number of ways, depending on what the reader brings to the poetry. Some passages are sheer beauty, others almost heartbreaking…and yet others seem as powerful and full of mystery as any magical rite:
Up from Earth’s Centre through the Seventh Gate
I rose, and on the Throne of Saturn sate,
And many Knots unravel’d by the Road ;
But not the Knot of Human Death and Fate.
There was a Door to which I found no Key :
There was a Veil past which I could not see :
Some little Talk awhile of ME and THEE
There seem’d – and then no more of THEE and ME.
While scholars still debate whether Omar was deeply mystical or irreligious, I believe he was anti-dogmatic and cannot be read literally. He was a mathematician, astronomer, philosopher, and poet and used symbolism throughout his work, touched by humour and underpinned with a love of life in all its glory. One of my favourite passages is the Kuza Nama (The Book of Pots):
Listen again. One evening at the close
Of Ramazán, ere the better Moon arose,
In that old Potter’s Shop, I stood alone
With the clay Population round in Rows.
And, strange to tell, among the Earthen Lot
Some could articulate, while others not:
And suddenly one more impatient cried –
“Who is the Potter, pray, and who the Pot?”
Then said another – “Surely not in vain
My substance from the common Earth was ta’en,
That He who subtly wrought me into Shape
Should stamp me back to common Earth again.”
Another said – “Why, ne’er a peevish Boy
Would break the Bowl from which he drank in Joy;
Shall He that made the Vessel in pure Love
And Fancy, in an after Rage destroy!”
None answer’d this ; but after Silence spake
A Vessel of a more ungainly Make:
“They sneer at me for leaning all awry;
What! Did the Hand then of the Potter shake?”
There is something about these verses… in spite of the inaccuracies of the translation… that has intrigued and inspired for a thousand years. There is a passion in the words, they question belief, the nature of life and truth and make you think about what you believe. I would be happy indeed if I thought that any words I might pen would still capture heart and mind a thousand years from now!
Ah Love! could thou and I with Fate conspire
To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire,
Would not we shatter it to bits – and then
Re-mould it nearer to the Heart’s Desire!
Ah, Moon of my Delight who know’st no wane,
The Moon of Heav’n is rising once again:
How oft hereafter rising shall she look
Through this same Garden after me – in vain!
And when Thyself with shining Foot shall pass
Among the Guests Star-scatter’d on the Grass,
And in thy joyous Errand reach the Spot
Where I made one-turn down an empty Glass!
Review of Life Lines: Poems from a Reflection
What Amazon says
“The pen paints the souls longing in jewel tones.”A collection of fifty two poems of life, love and inspiration.There are joys for which we cannot find expression, moments that have a depth of emotion that can only be shared in images. It is here that poetry comes into its own, for the pictures we paint with words can conjure all the emotions of the human heart. From solitude to passion, from aspiration to the quest for the soul’s inner light, we seek to find ways to share our journey through life, to witness our footsteps as we pass through its shifting sands and cast a reflection on time itself. The poet is both mirror and reflection, framing the images of a human life and giving them a beating heart.
I love poetry and I read a lot of poems and poetry books and I found the poems in this amazing little book to be quite profound. Sue Vincent touches on all aspects of life, including the sadder and more emotionally difficult aspects such as loss of a loved one, in a beautifully poignant and yet positive and uplifting way which make them satisfying and wonderfully uplifting.
Most of these poems are written in freestyle form with a couple in rhyming verse. The poet has matched the style well to the content of the poem and the rhyming verse poems present the more light hearted and upbeat toned poems.
A few short extracts that I found particularly impactful are as follows:
“The pen paints the souls longing
In jewel tones.” from Purpose
“There were flowers,
Three red roses,
Red as life,
Placed in a cold hand,
One for each heart
Saying a final farewell.
When the tears fall,
There are always flowers.” from Flowers
“Two ravens whisper in my ear,
As Thought and Memory begin.
Within the darkness of their wings
Stir images, both dark and bright,
That dance within the secret heart
And quiet hours of the night.” from Odin’s Ravens [my favourite poem in this collection]
“My pillow held the hollow where you lay,
With love glazed eyes that held me,
Watching as the wildness took me,
Smiling up at me.” from Memory [intensely poignant poem]
Purchase Life Lines: Poems from a reflection
About Robbie Cheadle
Hello, my name is Robbie, short for Roberta. I am an author with six published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with my son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about my mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with my mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of my children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications.
I have recently branched into adult and young adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential my children’s books from my adult writing, I plan to publish these books under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. My first supernatural book published in that name, Through the Nethergate, is now available.
I have participated in a number of anthologies:
- Two short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Dark Visions, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre;
- Three short stories in Death Among Us, an anthology of murder mystery stories, edited by Stephen Bentley;
- Three short stories in #1 Amazon bestselling anthology, Nightmareland, a collection of horror stories edited by Dan Alatorre; and
- Two short stories in Whispers of the Past, an anthology of paranormal stories, edited by Kaye Lynne Booth.
I also have a book of poetry called Open a new door, with fellow South African poet, Kim Blades.
Find Robbie Cheadle
Goodreads: Robbie Cheadle – Goodreads
Instagram: Robbie Cheadle – Instagram
Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books
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