Friday, January 06, 2012

Twelfth Day of Christmas-Narcissus

Twelfth Night—Epiphany—Little Christmas—a celebration of flowering and light in the kitchen window—

I wish to shine out bright,
Like the white narcissus’s
Largesse of clustered florets

The lines above are from a poem by C. Richard Miles from


And there it is, a misfit,
In the precisely planted bed
Of daffodil dragoons,
Stark white,
An interloper
In the regimented yellow
A shock of difference
Amongst the gold.

Of course, the gardener
Had had no way
Of discriminating
When they were bulbs,

For didn’t all bulbs
Look just the same
In the garish orange netting
Of the bag
Before he planted them?

There was no way of knowing
How things would turn out
And it was only in the spring
After submission
In the cloying soil of winter
That the blooms emerged
To show
Their true colours.

And so it is with me,
Like that narcissus:
I am no single, jaundiced bud,
Not just another
Member of the common crowd
Content to bloom
In strict concordance with
The norms of commonplace.

I wish to shine out bright,
Like the white narcissus’s
Largesse of clustered florets

I do not mind if
I stand out
Conspicuous from the humdrum herd
Of massed humanity.

Why should I care if I
Outshine the rest?
But then, again, perhaps
It is more simple
Cowardly, cowedly
To conform.

And then I think
Of the long-remembered
Greek Narcissus myth,
Concerned if I look inward
For too long
And only see myself
And not consider others, too

Individuality might just
Imprison me as tight
As confines of conformity
And if the calling world
Receded like the plaintive call
Of the fair nymph, Echo,
To a whispered breath
Might I just lose myself
And disappear
Into mere nothingness?

So, brave Narcissus,
I must feel for you
Condemned to be an outcast,
Pale amongst the gold

But you and I
Will make our marks
If idiosyncratically
Upon the dull depressing
Cold conventionality
Of this lost world.

It's always interesting to discover poems online by unfamiliar poets. Here is his biography from poemhunter:

Brought up in the rustic backwoods of the Yorkshire Dales, I have been exiled, through self-infliction, in the metropolis of London for over half my life, living near the notorious Murder Mile.

I started writing poetry at the somewhat advanced age of 46 (Jan 2008 - to be precise) but have caught the bug, the above locations providing some inspiration for some of my poems, which number over 1200 at the last count, not all of which are posted here (or indeed are suitable!)

There seem to be at least five or six different poets working inside me, so don't expect to see the same style or theme every time - My poems range from the traditionalist sonnets and strict metrical forms, through the rural, bucolic scenes of the Northern Countryside, past the reflective, nostalgic memories of childhood, to sardonic comment on today's modern lifestyle, slightly humorous nonsense verse and, finally, attempts at more contemporary poetry. Much of my early poetry is of the old-fashioned, rhyming variety, however - I'm a curmudgeonly stick-in the mud although there have been attempts to jazz up my style a little more recently.

Since summer 2008 I have been bold enough (foolish enough? arrogant enough?) to foist myself on the fringes of the London Performance poetry scene. This has had an effect on my poetry and new styles are creeping in - I seem to have acquired a liking for scattergun rants or mock-Gilbertian patter-song rollercoasters of poems.

Less than recent visitors to my poems may notice I have added my first initial to my name - there appear to be at least two established poets with whom I share my name; I would not wish on them the embarrassment of misattribution of one of my petty scribbles!

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