Tag Archives: education

A Losing Battle #poetry

Calen says she doesn’t understand the rules of enjambment, (broken phrases in verse). I say you don’t have to – if it feels good, do it… often it feels good for a reason.

Enjambment can be defined as a phrase or clause in a line of poetry that doesn’t finish at the end of the line, but continues onto the next line. For example:

The fat
cat sat on the
mat so what do
you and
the incapacitated decapitated de-ratified
rat think of that

It strikes me that my intuitive friend has an instinctive understanding of the subject, but who am I to argue… so, for the edification of Calen, and anyone else who is interested, today I’m conducting an experiment with word breaks.

I’ve written a whimsical poem about the weather. It includes some enjambment, but to give you an extreme example of the style, I’ve copied and pasted the same poem below, with the lines jarringly re-formatted. You may not consider it a pretty sight, but it leaves you in no doubt as to what enjambment is all about – and who knows, you may prefer it to the original. I’d be curious to know your opinion.

Enjambment is  a handy tool – provided it’s used with thought.

Here’s the original, carefully enjambed poem :

This year, a cheeky Summer sun achieved
an eager heat attack in Spring,
surprising slumbering nimbus clouds
while resting easy from
their winter overkill.

The nimbi flew across the azure sky,
attacking basking cumuli as they raged by,
consuming them is if the airy fluff were scattered heads
of cauliflower,
and as they ate, their looming, steel-grey faces
swelled with anger at the scheming rays
that tricked them when their backs were turned.

All through these few unsettled months,
a mighty weight of fights have churned the simmering skies,
with daily victories and tears on either side.

While neither camp concedes defeat,
the days of steaming heat are sprinkled fine between
the weeks of driving rain —
so I would say determined storm has won on points.
Now all too soon, the dog-tired sun
will don her shades for well-earned sleep,
and leave the seasons on default,
to build her strength to to try win the weather game
in next year’s grand assault.

And now –  the messy, excessively-enjambed version:-

This year a cheeky Summer sun achieved
an eager heat attack in Spring surprising
slumbering nimbus clouds while
resting easy from their winter
overkill

The nimbi flew across the azure sky
attacking basking cumuli as they raged by
consuming them as if the airy fluff were scattered heads
of cauliflower and as they ate
their looming
steel-grey
faces swelled
with anger at the scheming rays that tricked
them when their backs
were turned. All through
these few unsettled
months a mighty weight
of fights have churned the simmering skies with
daily victories and
tears on either side

While neither camp
concedes defeat the days
of steaming heat are sprinkled
fine between the weeks of driving
rain so I would say determined storm has
won on points

Now all too soon the dog-tired
sun will don her
shades for well-earned
sleep
and leave the seasons on default to build
her strength to try to win the
weather game in
next year’s grand
assault

Remember, the second version is – more than anything – an example of how not to use enjambment. Once you understand the concept, you can look out for better examples, where enjambment is used to advantage,  rather than merely to shoddily showcase it.

You can find more about enjambment HERE.

As with all poetry styles, take with what you like, and leave the rest behind. You can write your own rules.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Be Bold

internationalwomensday

Don’t be too nervous to challenge inequality.

Today is International Womens Day. There are many ways to support the causes of women throughout the world. Find out more HERE.

For me, two issues stand out above the rest; they are ones which already have a lot of my attention, but I plan to:

  • Take more opportunity to campaign against violence and abuse, whatever the age, gender or race of the perpetrator

“For most of recorded history, parental violence against children and men’s violence against wives was explicitly or implicitly condoned. Those who had the power to prevent and/or punish this violence through religion, law, or custom, openly or tacitly approved it. …..The reason violence against women and children is finally out in the open is that activists have brought it to global attention”. Riane Eisler

  • Focus more on education for women in developing countries

“If you educate a man, you educate one person. If you educate a woman, you educate a nation”.

What will you do? It doesn’t have to be a lot. Having the courage to calmly speak up against injustice – when the opportunity arises – will help fertilise the soil in which other seeds may grow.

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world”.  Mahatma Gandhi.

If you’re interested in doing more, you can find a list of

  • womens rights organisations HERE
  • human rights organisations HERE

Written for The Daily Post #Nervous

©Jane Paterson Basil

The adventurer and the teacher

The Adventurer speaks:

dragon-1111

You always stayed on dry land, swimming through arid sand. Never got your feet wet. Salt sweat sticking to your vest, grit chafing your delicate creases, sun peeling your blistered body.

You feared the lick of the waves. You though they may may like the taste of you, and, wanting more, slip through your cringing lips, invade your lungs, steal your breath away, replace it with filthy brine bitterly flavoured with the flesh of a million stinking fish and thickened with slivers of ancient shipwrecks.

You feared the towering breakers may crash over your head and drag you to the bottom of the sea . The ocean may feed you to sharks and the sharks may eat you.

“Swim where you will, but leave me be. I will not live my life in peril,” you said.

So I leapt, alone, into the sea.

I cannot say the sea was kind, but it was real. Oft-times I had to fight its sudden moods,
struggle to survive its angry storms. Though battered by its rage, I knew I was alive, and as I age, memories of every rising dawn; when calm seas were lit with sun, will ease my mind, and cheer me as I prepare to fall asleep that final time.

And where will you be? Dried to a husk, with nothing but memories of an empty life
to haunt you through eternity.

<> <> <>

The teacher replies:

book-862492__340

You were always digging for thrills, wading through weirs to find the eye of the hurricane, scrambling up crumbling cliffs, potholing without a rope, gazing into volcanoes to watch them erupt.

You said “What is life without excitement? Share my adventure. Let us rescue damsels, slay dragons, conquer swashbuckling pirates.

“Let us find danger. We will fight with teeth and fists and knives, and seek out many lovers, leaving every last one of them aching for our fickle embrace, while we hasten to the next city; the next castle or port; the next victory.

“Come with me.”

I said “I see more interest in a grain of sand than in the life you recommend to me.”

I watched you go. While you supped – and often choked upon – your chosen flavour of freedom, I read, finding the world weighed so little I could hold it in my hands. I leafed through it and found:

a platoon of long-dead soldiers in obsolete uniforms, saluting me;

an oak tree describing its seasons;

an amoeba magnified several millionfold;

the city of Rome in all its ancient glory, and the remains which stand today.

Fascinated, I studied further. It was the beginning of a lifelong love affair with learning. I selected a subject in which to specialise. I married a kind, intelligent woman, fathered a daughter and a son, and took pleasure in domestic life. I enjoyed a job in education, and I was successful – inasmuch as the majority if my students liked my lessons, quite a few used what they learnt from me to their advantage, and I was enriched by the experience.

I ate healthy food, had the occasional glass of good wine, and when I holidayed with my family, we stayed in average hotels in Germany and Spain. We walked well beaten paths, but they were new to us, and therefore interesting. In my younger days I played squash, but in recent years I’ve switched to bowls.

I often grumble, I have had a few misfortunes, but I have been happy.

My lifestyle fitted the type of ordinary orderliness that you dispise, but I chose it and delighted in it. It suited me, and has served me well. I will be sorry to die.

Most of your adventures were viewed through the distorted bottom of an ale bottle. You lie in a hospital bed, paralysed since that last inglorious drunken street brawl. You lived your life in fantasy, never accepting that knights have been consigned to history books, and highwaymen hung up their spurs long before you or I were ever born. There are no pirates, and dragons only breathed fire in fairy tales.

You have no family. I am your only friend, and you don’t like me. Will you be sorry to die?

©Jane Paterson Basil