Reflections/poem biography for Wanting

hand - sea thrift smaller
“It’s his hands, always his hands.

How fingertips skip from the keyboard
to play arpeggios along my arm.”

And the man in this poem is           . [Insert fantasy name and physique of your choice. Okay, so I’m only kidding with the names, though reality tv, soft porn and tabloid spilling the beans do seem to have become a solid part of popular culture.]

Originally, this poem was part of a pamphlet-length collection of poems ‘When Sunlight (Swims In)’ exploring a modern relationship, marriage and parenthood. A selection of poems from this were longlisted in the Venture Award 2012/2013, but many didn’t survive the distance to make it into a full collection.
‘Wanting’ is one of the few that did. By focussing on hands, I’m hoping this poem of attraction and lust may have escaped any danger of a female gaze objectifying men. I may lose some of that high ground though, when I admit that this isn’t about any one man, more a mixture of snapshots. All these men’s suggestive hand movements are brought together in one poetry ‘he’.

Form-wise, music played quite a big part in my original pamphlet. In this poem, I wanted the opening piano-related observation to unfold as notes do in a musical scale. The stanza length, therefore, is a kind of poetry octave crescendo, from one line to two lines to three lines…all the way up to an eight-line stanza and then back to a single line again.

Electric Questions - lit version smallerDiscussion Point

How does this poem use structure to set up, reinforce and break expectations? (The crescendoing piano-scale stanza lengths, ‘how’ at the start of 7 of the 8 stanzas, the sudden change in focus for the final single-line stanza…)

Inspiration/Writing Prompt

Write a poem or story focussing on part of the body. Explore how suddenly changing focus at the end might turn the poem/story on its head, or encourage people to re-read the whole piece in an entirely different light.

plentyfish cover (1)At poetry readings, I often enjoy hearing about the background to a particular poem. ‘Wednesday Reflections/Sometimes I smile’ is my attempt to share the inspiration, frustrations, pain, philosophies and thoughts that lie behind my poetry collection ‘plenty-fish’. Each Wednesday, this blog will contain one of these ‘poem biographies’, as well as points for potential reader discussion and also writers’ prompts. My collection ‘plenty-fish’ may be bought from Nine Arches Press, here, or my website, here. More Wednesday Reflections on other poems in the collection can also be found here.