It was there when I got on the train. And, despite the logo on the bottom saying 'Melbourne on the move', with whizzy little arrows all around it, it was there when I looked up and got off the train. Yes, bad train poetry is back this winter. These three-line poems that Connex are putting up on their walls are the sort of three-line poems that make you look up, read them, and then say to yourself, 'Hmmm. I've just read a three-line poem.' They are not, as a rule, significant - although they often try to be.
You might, if you wanted, detect a certain change in the poems this year. Previously, they had specialised in vague-but-pretty natural images, like mist or vapour. Popular cliches in the poems - they don't really rise to the level of themes, or metaphors, or ideas - now include nature, as well as generic inner-city references, and sport.
I jotted this one down last night:
why do you choose
the black wire?
And there you go - a natural image in the first line, closely followed by a generic inner-city reference. All that's missing are the sporting references, found in other poems:
Cup Day -
why am I no longer
That's a sporting reference, a Melbourne tradition, and an implied reference to nature (ie, the horse). I don't suppose I need to go on.
Lazy grammar is typical of the poems. They almost never start with a capital letter, and indeed, seem to be chopped out of longer, more meaningful (albeit just as banal) sentences. There is very little discernible rhythm or metre: they typically mimic the 'short-long-short' three-line structure of the haiku, though display even less formal rigour than that poetic genre, which is often learned in the seventh grade. They don't rhyme, and alliteration, symbol, metaphor, and so on, if they occur in these poems, are often incidental - if not accidental.
I find it difficult to say why I despise these poems so much. When I contemplate them, I get the vague impression that they lumber through the English language, picking up random words that were good, useful, and meaningful, and suck the life out of them. I'm not sure whether I'm wrong about that, actually: one of the traditional functions claimed for poetry is that it adds new meanings to language, or revitalises old meanings. That's a hard thing to claim for these poems, since they eschew almost any rigorous technique, and seem to exist simply to chronicle the banal, the inoffensive, and the everyday. T S Eliot once made a claim about boredom being an essential part of modern life; but then, to Eliot and other modernists, boredom and meaningless were one of their satirical modes. The banal, the ordinary, and the everyday was contrasted with the bizarre, the strange, and the surreal.
In these poems, that contrast doesn't exist anymore. All you get is the ordinary in wild and extravagant contrast with the everyday. I seriously doubt that anyone cares.
Tim, your links stink, you fink!
- John Bangsund's Threepenny Planet
- Broken Biro
- Poetry 24
- Superlative scribbles
- Kirstyn McD!
- Rorrim a tsomla almost a mirror
- More Sterne
- Cam the man from the Dan.
- Too hot to Raaaaaaandallllllll!
- Erin's Excellently Everlasting Effervescements!
- Slammy Infamy
- Hail Paco!
- Baron Blandwagon, purveyor of cyberbunnies, hawker of Roger Corman, and Misruler of the Multiverse
- The Bolta. Aiyeeeeee!!!!!
- Bad Apple Audrey
- The cartoon church
- Sir Martinkus
- A Zemblanian abroad and at home
- A hodge podge of hotzeplotz
- THE SLAMMA!
- Jottlesby's nottings, or should that be Nottlesby's jottings?
- The Snarking of the Hunt
- Jazzy Hands
- David of Metal City
- David the Barista
- The Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony
- Be an Opinion Dominion Minion!
- ... and Fel
- His brilliant career - from whale sushi to crumbed prawn
- Jo Blogs
- Yet another Tim
- Was two peas, now three peas
- ... Still Life - now with extra rotating cats!
- An Amazingly Awesome Australian Ampersand!
- Blink and you'll miss 'er
- Red in the land of the tigers!
- Wire of Vibe
- Chase him, ladies, he's in the cavalry!
- The Non-palindromical Editrix in Germanium
- Old Sterne
- The briefs...
- ... and the brieflets
- The Purple Blog
- Blairville, lair of all that is wicked and perfidious
- The enticingly acronymical CSH
- EXTREEEEEEEME WYNTER!
- Mark of California
- Silent Speaking
- Lexicon the Mexican
- ► 2014 (112)
- ► 2013 (173)
- ► 2012 (275)
- ► 2011 (261)
- ► 2010 (288)
- ► 2009 (290)
- The link that should have stayed missing
- Braking News!
- The film with the big titulars
- My day, experienced as a series of mathematical eq...
- Currently suffering from unitary personality disor...
- Snortripping yarns!
- Two poems inspired by blog comments
- Possible definition of obsession
- A blogger's review of real life
- Tip for the day
- Isn't science fun!
- An unprejudiced survey of far left opinion
- The ordinary in wild and savage contrast with the...
- Homer is where the heater is
- Games for the neurotic generation
- Sunday Essay: the significance of cows in modern l...
- Six word review
- Cigars all round
- And they didn't even pinch a handkerchief
- And you thought you had it bad
- My whole day, in halfs
- ▼ June (22)
- ► 2007 (392)
- ► 2006 (373)
- ► 2005 (287)