Category Archives: WM Burns

Of Soccer & Poetry

I’m gonna use soccer as a metaphor for poetry

Now poetry is like soccer in some ways and very
different from soccer in other ways but it will be
useful as a tool for talking about poetry

Soccer is a team sport and there are lots of people to
blame
Poetry is a singleton sport and you have no one to
blame but yourself

Both require heart
Both require a combination of conscience thought and
gut level reaction
Both require discipline and practice
Both can be sooooo very satisfying when you win and
kinda nasty when you lose
	not as nasty as a fight to the death, but then we are
civilized, are we not?

Most people write poetry and don’t really care if it
is good or bad
You are not one of those people

It is good to care about whatever you're playing at
When you play soccer you need to be serious about the
game
But can a player be too serious?
Yes, they get so frustrated that they start missing
shots that would be easy for them if they would just
relax a bit (not all the way, just a bit)
They lose focus and start grumbling about how wet the
field is
Or sweat got in their eyes

When you play soccer there must be some ‘play’ to it
You must be playful
Same with poetry
You must be playful with it sometimes
If it is not for fun then what is it for

You must find a balance between seriousness and
playfulness
Either extreme is OK but you will never be very  good
at the game

Now soccer breaks into two parts
Craft and Heart

The craft of soccer is how well you get your foot
around the ball
How well you can turn a ball
How well you know where the other player is and how
well you can guess what they are thinking
The craft of soccer is what you improve through
practice
And practice is very important

You make your mistakes in practice and you learn from
them
You watch other players in practice and you learn from
them
You think about your game at practice and you learn
from it

You do not think about making your foot get around the
ball
If you are thinking about exactly how to position your
foot you will miss the shot
You tell your foot
“Get the ball” and then you think about something
else, if you over think the process you will take too
long
What’s funny to me is that when you do this in your
poetry you call it a ‘blurt’
The way your foot goes around the ball is best known
by your foot
The way your words go around your poem is best known
by your hand not your mind
All poetry that is good is a blurt

Now about Heart
Practice can take you far but it will never take you
to a win
For that you need heart
What does it feel like when you are right in the grove
And the ball is lined up perfectly and the goalie is
asleep and you have that perfect shot
And you know, even before your foot hits the ball that
it going to be perfect
You feel this in your heart and you must let the heart
get to your foot
It is the most satisfying feeling in the world
It is perfection
Its what all the practice was for and it is more

You asked
> How do you know what your reacting to when you write
> something?
I would say that you probably don’t know what your
reacting to in your mind
But in your heart you know
And you feel that you have lined that sucker up
perfect
And you kick that poem right past the goalie into the
net (computers are great nets for this sort of thing)
I know something I’ve written is good because I can
feel its in the groove
And I really can’t see the meaning myself until much
later
But I know its good ~ SCORE!
Take that sucker, go home and tell your mama she
dresses you funny (or whatever you say in your head,
because they will give you a card if you say it out
loud)

Now if you want my input on craft
Then you must tell me that you want it
No problem, just kinda boring
But hey, that’s what practice is for

So
Good poetry has good craft and good heart
Craft is something you can practice and improve
Heart is something you are born with
I have seen great heart in you and that is why you
can’t get rid of me so easily

I will talk to you about your craft but the heart is
so much more interesting
When I go to a soccer game I never blame the craft of
the players, that’s their problem
I just figure they didn’t have enough heart

I think you want to do good poetry right off the bat
Without practice (I was the same way about piano,
remind me to give you some of my music)
And that’s OK but your craft will not improve very
quickly that way
Poetry must flow from you on a regular basis if it is
going to improve
There is no perfect poem
There is just perfect poetry craft
I also think you want to hide your heart because
sometimes your work is very cryptic
I have to work hard to unravel the meaning, but hey, I
love working hard to unravel your meanings because
they are usually worth it and I love the challenge
You work makes me think (I always refer to poems as
‘work’, because its not the poem it’s the process, the
crafting of the poetry that I like)

So here’s the wrap up
Practice your craft by writing a bunch of stuff as
often as you can in small black books
Pry your hands off you heart and let it run free in
your words
	say all the stuff you’ve always wanted to say but
were afraid
Let’er rip
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OK

Like I’m supposed to write something that is not an excruciatingly long epic poem about the Rukesayer, but should write something more about . . .
like who i am
sorta

so
i am
Manjag 437 ~ Metamystic Metaphysician
Equipoi Zhi ~ Keeper of the Balance
Fusion-Fire Dancer of Starforge
Azeral Aranath ~ Astronavigator of the Seventh Sacred
Ship
Cahya ~ Sylchie
Jydur ~ Eleventh Level Servant/Defender of the Lady
Bluzare E’Kylar ~ Artificer and Strange Matter Ferrier
in the service of the Archons of Light and Dark
Xenji ~ Trickster and Fool
Chygon ~ the Dark and Stormy Knight
Chyfrin ~ Keeper of the Secret

yeah
pretty much non starters . . .

so what level are you?

Pax

The Rukesayer and the Dragon Path

The Rukesayer and the Dragon Path

All her life
Music from the Deep Forest
Has found her
Telling her there is more to Life
Than is provided for in the philosophies
of her Mom and Dad

Songs of sirens
in deep blue waters
Dragon-folk are calling her . . .
Chygon the Traveler
teller of Tales

She doesn’t like this Dark Path
Doesn’t like the Wind
Doesn’t like the Sky

But if she lingers
Drags her feet
The Traveler might leave her
And somehow that is worse . . .

Home  . . . its just a memory to her now
And . . . she’s no baby . . .
Well . . .

Dragon Path
he told her
Now she walks the Dragon Path

All her life
Music from the Deep Forest
Has found her
Telling her there is more to Life
Than is provided for in the philosophies
of her Mom and Dad

Songs of sirens
in deep blue waters
Dragon-folk are calling her . . .
Chygon the Rukesayer
teller of Tales

She grew up a
Healer of the ill and the sad
But there were so many
And they just kept coming
Then he appeared
like a teacher
like a lover
And without asking
He opened the East gate and
let her follow on the Dragon Path

She doesn’t like this Dark Path
Doesn’t like the Wind
Doesn’t like the Sky

But if she lingers
Drags her feet
The Traveler might leave her
And somehow that is worse . . .

He hasn’t spoken
and yet she knows his thoughts
Hasn’t touched her
and yet he knows her heart
But by the fire light his eyes danced
As he spoke the way to the Far Places
Where as a hero she’d stand
This the Path
Where Beauty met the Beast
A Path ruled Magic
Her soul longs for a future
Down the Dragon Path

All her life
Music from the Deep Forest
Has found her
Telling her there is more to Life
Than is provided for in the philosophies
of her Mom and Dad

Songs of sirens
in deep blue waters
Dragon-folk are calling her . . .
Chygon the Traveler
teller of Tales

Colors in Darkness

There is a color . . .
I mean the path is dark
But she sees a color . . .

A phosphorescence  . . .
In the leaves . . .
Maybe it was always there
And her eyes have started to adjust
Maybe he is calling this into existence . . .
No somehow that isn’t right
She has always seen this
But now it getting brighter

And the sound
She feels . . . hears . . . knows
This . . .
this vibration
A gentle hum thrum
of harmonies not quite heard
But  . . . I don’t know
somehow connected
She has always heard this
But now its getting . . . not louder
stronger

She knows the Dragon Path
As much by feel
as by sight
And the Traveler . . .
he glows
A focus of star-light and forest-song

And she laughs almost hysterically
Because she sees her own hands
Glowing . . .

The Rukesayer and the Tyro
Pass for a forever time
Walking a tunnel of Song Luminescence
Many things and creatures have come
to the limits of the Light
But no closer

Now somehow beyond
the temporary concept of Time
They come to a place
not unlike a clearing in the Forests
She reaches using the Touch-Far
and feels the circularity
the volume of the space

The Rukesayer
rummages through his backpack
And pulls out a foxfire globe
He lifts it to a place several man-lengths
above the forest floor
It hovers there
He smiles
His eyes the blue of a cyan sky
He has brought her this far
She’ll have to make it the rest of the way

She pulls a dog-eared copy of Rilke’s
‘Book of Hours’ from her memory
Becoming fully manifest in Space
Flips through the pages:
“Now the hour bows down, it touches me, throbs
metallic, lucid and bold…”
(He never fails her)

She reaches out… looks directly
into the shining eyes of the Traveler
And touches the incandescent vibe

The notes come alive…
A shower of sparks
Gently
at first the merest whisper
She sings a tone poem
He answers
A deep and throaty hum
and the night moves . . .

With gathering force
Her eyes wild
She speaks many prophesies
Sometimes shouting
sometimes whispering
Always compelling
He answered without and within words
Within the hum
the forest has taken on
an electric blue haze
Snakes of heat lighting coursed
the bellies of the thin clouds
The spaces between the trees resonates
with strange electricity
And the night moves toward . . .

Life begins and ends a thousand times
in the night
Forces that are not rightly understood
are released and contained
in the pale light
Great waves
of resonate chord build and crest
Each cadence gathering a greater voice
Each beat building into the other
Quaking the Earth
Shaking the Sky
And yet within it all
Balance is retained
Chaos in enveloped
Order encompassed
Anima and Amimus
The eye of one
within the other
In one vast crashing Crescendo
Everything becomes One thing
Thunder echoes across the Land
And the night moves toward Dawn

The East
At first dim and distant
Progressing to a gentle azure
Delicate
close and comfortable

Her smile as soft
subtle
and unstoppable as the Rising Sun
His eye
Clear as the Sky

Who We Are!

Upstate Fiction Factory is a Writer’s Group in the Upstate of South Carolina.We set goals, support authors of all genres and styles, critique work and occasionally, happily talk off-topic.