Monday, 24 January 2011

Glasgow - Poem 1

Renowned for its crime and grime, violence,
But ever a home to those who know it,
Would look the same after a nuke,
Grey stone, grey sky, blue lights, great folk,
Wonderful patter there,
Wee folk, big folk, all sorts,
Aye, fair times there,
Not all great fun,
But good
For me


  1. Well, Muffin Man, I’m less of an expert on poetry, but I’ll have a go. You certainly get across a sense of place in this poem, by carefully alternating between list of adjectives (mostly negative) and more general positive description, before summing up with a nice personal response. I particularly like the line ‘Would look the same after a nuke’, but think that it might have an even bigger impact if you used it as the fourth line, i.e. the second tetrameter, as then it would work as a sort of punchline.

    You could say that the tone of the poem swaps too regularly between the two poles (positive and negative). The first four lines are i) negative ii) positive iii) negative iv) neg-neg-neg positive. And so on. It might work better if you built up one side more thoroughly, then gave the other side, the summed up.

    As for the metre, there are a couple of wobbles. In the first line (as I read it) you end up putting the second stress on ‘its’, when it would be preferable to give a stress to ‘crime’ – easily remedied by changing to “ReNOWNED for CRIME and GRIME and VI-o-LENCE”, which gets all your stresses where you want them.

    My only other comment is that the alternation – in lines 3, 4, 5 and 6 - between flowing sentences (“Would look the same after a nuke”, “Wonderful patter there”) and lists of short paired words (“Grey stone, grey sky, blue lights, great folk”, “Wee folk, big folk, all sorts”) is a bit tricky on the tongue.

    In all, though, a lively and vivid stab (is that the Glaswegian term?) at the task.

  2. Hi,
    I’m sorry I’ve not been very good at time management, I’ll get better!
    I love this poem! The negative words have an air of affection and it really paints a vivid image of Glasgow through your eyes. I especially liked the internal rhyme of ‘crime’ and ‘grime’ and the near rhyme of ‘nuke’ and ‘folk’.
    Although you go a little off the beat (violence has the emphasis at the start of the word, making the beat DUM-dee rather than dee-DUM), there is a definite rhythm to the piece. I love the colloquialism of ‘wee’ and ‘aye’. The last two lines seem to fade into insignificance, and I wonder if you could have found something else to put in here, perhaps something not referring to you. It is clear you are writing from your own perspective, and is unnecessary to point it out.
    Brilliant work! Keep it up!


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