Monday, September 25, 2006

Brambles in the blogosphere?

Originally uploaded by goforchris.
I've just had the interesting experience of being interviewed for an embryonic local radio station - "someone creative" was apparently the remit. This resulted in an entirely enjoyable morning talking about my poetry and reading a few of them, including this one, which I wrote last year on National Poetry Day.


Today I found five brambles
Dangling carelessly on a branch
Miles from their roots
Invaders in my garden
Hard little things
Dull-eyed and gritty
But now I should wrestle
Not with a bank of weeds
But with an online bank
Prune some debts
Tidy loose ends
And instead of working
I am writing about brambles
Because a friend told me
That this was a day
For poems to grow in.

© C.M.M.
It feels somehow self-indulgent to be given the chance to talk about my own writing - normally it's something I do and offer without comment, as if it was bad enough to be inflicting the actual writing on folk without discussing it as well. In fact, a blog is about the only place where such self-absorption seems acceptable - until you start wondering about audience. I've touched on this before, here, but I've been forced to think again about audience and responsibility in blogging as in other areas of my life.

I find myself slightly resentful at the thought that a blog which began as my little-read online maunderings should have prompted someone to question the wisdom of posting what comes up my back. Is this what happens when people actually read what you write? You become anwerable?

Well, if so, I'm about to do some more serious (educational) thinking online. And if someone doesn't like it - tough. But I will think about what I write first. And that's a promise.


  1. Anonymous2:31 PM

    Sorry, Chris, to disturb your happy wanderings. Yes, I do think that we bear responsibility for what thoughts we make freely available, as opposed to what we write (as in with a pen/pencil - remember the old-fashioned way?)in a truly private diary. Though I accept that the readers/hearers are responsible for their reactions.

  2. Anonymous2:48 PM

    I don’t really know what most published poets think of the things their readers see in their compositions. I am sure that, sometimes, even the concrete is a different vision, and it must almost always invariably be true that the perceived abstraction is different from the abstraction in the poet’s mind.

    You know Jane and I are deeply in love with your poetry. We, I suspect, see a landscape different from the one you are describing. For us, for instance, Dunoon is a magical and wonderful place, to be seen on holiday with a kind and wise guide. For you, it is also a place where the tragedies and grittiness of daily living occur. Different landscapes. But, we also come with different abstract expectations as frames upon which to stretch your canvass of words.

    When I saw your photograph of brambles, I was dumbfounded by an astoundingly affecting cruciform structure bearing precious fruit amongst the scruffy leaves and impaling thorns, all upon the background of splintery wood. The red and the promise of new life in each drupe completed the image for me. Doubtless not what you were seeing at all, yet we both saw something besides “hard little things, dull eyed and gritty” in the visual and something else in the verbal description.

    Thank you for your poetry, and thank you for your photography. I have no wish to judge you or to lay responsibility for my response upon your offerings, and hope that you feel no anger when you say to yourself, "That isn't what I meant, at all."

  3. Morag: readers/hearers are responsible for their reactions - and also for their actions? As in they don't actually need to read it?

    Walter: I'm always fascinated to learn what others find in my poems. I regard them as I do my children: I've cast them off to make their way in the world and watch with interest what the world makes of them!
    I actually feel slightly bad about the brambles pictured which are emphatically not the wee hard ones in the poem but were in fact rather fine ones in the Bishop's Glen. Please rest assured that I value your responses enormously - and never had you cast as J. Alfred Prufrock!