Hi - I am David Henry - a poet based in Aberdeen, North-East Scotland. Thanks Martyn for inviting me to post on 'Garbled Noise'. This is a poem I completed this week. It was inspired after a particularly impenetrable poem was read at my local writers group. It set me on trains of thought about the processes involved in writing a poem, and the perils of straying too far from intelligibility in the process!
On Devils and Prairie Dogs (for Keith)
His voice was spluttering onwards through them
like a dodgey outboard-motor
forging past the white-capped waves
of invented words, non sequiteurs.
He was giggling fit to croak -
only taking time to catch a breath
and mutter some hasty apologies.
Sitting tight on the sidelines,
we wondered just how much politeness
could be stretched
to say we knew what was so funny.
Someone had read it and said he was 'barking' -
he told them it was probably the sound
of their discomfort
at, for once, being the tail that was wagged
by a prairie-dog tearing at a carcass.
I guess you would have had to be there,
inside of his skull right where he wrote it,
to really get close to the vibes,
and yet, this business
of sparking dry language into flame
must allow for the occasional forest-fire
that consumes all sense in its path.
It's always an edgy high-wire act
with toes curled round the dancing cable -
flickers of Earth in peripheral vision
somewhere away down there.
It can be hard to strike a balance
between seeing the joke - and carrying on
when the Devil with a feather-duster
is tickling under your arms!