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***Carl Porten’s “Reflections” is #257 in the never-ending series called BACKSTORY OF THE POEM where the Chris Rice Cooper Blog (CRC) focuses on one specific poem and how the poet wrote that specific poem. All BACKSTORY OF THE POEM links are at the end of this piece.
Can you go through the step-by-step process of writing this poem
from the moment the idea was first conceived in your brain until final form? The poem “Reflections..."
Reflective poems are always the hardest for me to write. To sit in one's own company grabbing words from a past that has helped lead us to this world we live in now...Which I think all would agree, could be a lot better... then trying to find words to better help explain the emotions that are sadly in my view very overlooked in today's society, but only through the conceptive view of what we now believe life, and the meaning of it, truly is. Each step we take closer to science and production is a step further from where we came from, when once we sat so very close to Mother Nature... (Above Right: Carl Porten in January of 2021. Copyright by Carl Porten)
Where were you when you started to actually write the poem? And please describe the place in great detail. I was in the process of publishing my first book, A Poets Reverie, sat at my regular bench, iPad in hand, staring off to the mountains over the deep blue waters of the Pacific Ocean listening as the waves crossed over the steadfastness of the rocks to land softly on the dark sandy beach. (Below Left: The bench overseeing the Pacific Ocean where Carl Porten wrote "Reflections" Credit and Copyright by Carl Porten.)
It is a favourite inspirational place of mine on the shoreline in north eastern Vancouver, a place that helped me many a time to find the solace needed from within to write of such emotions, each time trying harder, diving deeper, to bring to life through the eyes, heart and soul of any reader...is more than important for me to write truth, and sometimes the cost is far more than money, but in hopes that others may recognize through my words, well this is why all the pain in the world would never outweigh the love, healing, and grateful privilege that I feel to be able to not only write, but write that which would open so many hearts.
The most amazing is to receive a mail telling you how the words you wrote have changed their views, eased their pains a little and given hope, where little was available...every mail draws a beautiful happy tear from my eye that I will remember for the rest of my life...
What month and year did you start writing this poem? Was late December, 2020, last year, that I first approached this poem, finally drawing its conclusion several days later... Some poems flow, falling from my pen like drips from a tap, yet some demand a little more time... This poem, being so close, I believe to everyone’s heart, touching a subject that could attract many different emotions in one way or another, was one I gladly bowed to, and gave all the time it needed... I do hope my readers would agree after reading the testimonial that is “Reflections...”
How many drafts of this poem did you write before going to the final? (And can you share a photograph of your rough drafts with pen markings on it?) In many ways I feel more than blessed, my writing, like air, seems to come so naturally that I very rarely would write further than the first draft, many times unable to replace the sentences or words that fell from my thoughts alive within the poem I’m writing. Actually, there's no rough draft available as I didn't write the rough draft on paper but typed it. So I don't have the option of taking photographs of my rough draft as it was non-existent. (Above Right: Carl Porten's writing space. Credit and Copyright by Carl Porten)
What do you want readers of this poem to take from this poem? I don’t know individually what people would take from this poem, but my biggest dream, is to write so that every separate person would take a completely separate message from it... only one thing would connect these aspects, the topic, which for me is and I fear always will be, compassion. As long as the reader would understand that there are many things we need to do, many ways we need to live, but to always do this in a way that all others can experience that same happiness...(Right: Carl Porten in December of 2020. Copyright by Carl Porten)
Which part of the poem was the most emotional of you to write and why? The ending... The ending, similar in most is the hardest part of any poem I write... i feel there are two places one must shine, the beginning, but more importantly, the end. The end are the last words spoken, or last words read and nominally the ones that leave the biggest impression and stick within the minds of the readers..but this is not the hardest part for me. The hardest part for me, is forcing the stop at the end of a poem with always so very much left to write.
Has this poem been published before? And if so where? No. It hasn't yet been published anywhere before.
Do you love me?...
No...do you really love me?
For I look into your eyes,
but cannot really see...
...Do you love me?...
...How can’t my heart know?
You’ve been here all along
an’ I thought you’d have shown...
...but doubts lay inside
as I gaze though your eyes,
to the mirrored reflection
you’ve hid well behind-
-All your life...
an’ I’m sorry to say,
but I loved you much more
in your childhood days,
where innocence bloomed
in a fearless heart,
but once you grew up child,
...my dear where’s your heart?
An’ why now your tears,
filled so with such pain?
Child what happened that Sadness
kicked Happy from reign...
There are rules in life,
an’ things we must do,
but pray listen these words
or your dream won’t come true...
...Don’t forget who you were,
while you ran with your friends
fighting pirates an’ monsters
that lived past lands ends.
Most of all don’t forget
to give love from a child,
...who's hid long in this mirror,
in front of my eyes...
Carl Porten's Biography: The small rolling hills of Adderley Green, just outside of Longton, a small town located aside seven others that made up the great old city of Stoke-on-Trent...that’s where I called home, where I grew up’ escalating to its heights in the early 1900’s, it still coins the finest tableware through it pottery manufacturing such as Wedgewood, Spode and Royal Dalton placing my small town on the gigantic map of the world. Was in my late teens when I began travelling, feeling an urge to explore this beautiful planet that we live on and leading me here today to the coastline of beautiful British Columbia sat on the western coast of Canada where I now call my home within the walls of Vancouver…(Above Right: Carl Porten in February of 2021. Copyright by Carl Porten)
As far back as I can remember,I have loved writing, especially poems, for with my poems there were places that I could venture, with myself and my poems were always there to keep me company, inspire me and broaden my mental horizon, for helping me being whomever I wanted, wherever I wanted to be, whenever I wanted, and however I wanted it to be, following pathways that can only be laid through imagination and dreams, all along haunted by a nightmare that was there lest sat deep within myself…fear. Through these many years of growing and many miles of travelling, I could never find what it was I was in search of. Successful in many trades I never struggled to find work I thought I loved, till the day came that I could hide no more and the one thing my heart truly wanted I gave in to…my writing, my poems, my life, heart’s and soul’s passion and desire.
It was only within the last year, brought by a chance meeting with a lady from Kolkata, India that I truly realized how very much I needed to write, and not only write, but to write through the eyes, hearts and souls of the masses.
Miss Suparna Ghosh, a.k.a. Clair, a poetry lover and humanitarian who followed in the footsteps of her dear recently departed mother, Pradipta, a lady that through other circumstance if it would have allowed her the chance, she might have well followed her dream of becoming a published author, a dream finally halted by her sudden departure in December of 2019…a loss not only for her beautiful daughter, but I believe to the world. This perfectly timed, chance meeting with Clair, was nothing short of fate. Yes, fate that has brought our two souls together to make one perfect unity of love through common interests formed by our soulful compassion that we share to help make this world a better place. Now proudly, I call this very big hearted, beautiful lady my fiancée, and look forward to many years both living and working beside her as we push towards a dream one day of having our own foundation that would provide medical aid to those in places that have none or very little.
With the decision to become a full time writer now firmly affixed within my mind, the seed planted, watered and grown by Clair after asking, no, giving me the honour to help her continue her mother’s dream of publishing books, books filled with words of compassion and love. I obviously jumped to the chance. This was my time, and I feel that every star that ever lined up, every wave that ever time allowed to crash had helped lead me to finally find my dream of a lifetime of becoming a published author, a poet to create a social impact through my poems, even through someone else’s, this just seemed to make me want to do it even more…for Clair and her dear, departed mom.
Now on my upcoming release of another three poetry books, after the release of my debut book of poems, “A Poet’s Reverie”, a collection of poems that were caught from the hearts of many, including and especially Mother Nature herself.
My other three upcoming poetry book titles, hopefully all the other three remaining titles to be released by February end, my second book titled, “A Collection of Soulful Memoirs...”, would go for the readers’ free preview consisting of a collection of a dozen poems for free downloads and reading just to help my readers get a sneak peek into my poems in my third book,
“Soulful Musings... ...your piano this night...” lastly being followed by my own handpicked collection of thirty love poems in, “Love's Longings... ...leaving hearts on my canvas...”, much of which was inspired by my personal relationship with Clair.
Through these poems I dive to reach depths where happy can’t exist and compassion is but a myth, to places where tales and stories once shone bright, but now lay beaten and bruised underneath heavy dark shadows. These are the places that most don’t wish to venture, the unseen, the unheard, and the forgotten places of our yesterdays… shrouded by the dark that we all so fear as we know. Once asked of his perspective on writing as Hemingway is reported to have said, “It is easy to write. Just sit in front of your typewriter and bleed.”
This rings all so true, too true for myself, yet is something, I wish wholly to share with this world, now more than ever…
My future?.. I can’t say, but one thing I know. I reach far, my eyes gaze past infinity itself to seek dreams past any star, but…to reach so far only, and to always adore the gifts with the greatest of love that I may find along the way, and if unable to, at the end of my own time reach the dream I gazed, the life I strived for and if I don’t make it…then my friend, you’d find me happily complacent, loving the treasures I found along the way…with the dream I never reached painted as a masterpiece and hung above my mantle, to again gaze at it with all the love it deserves…
Never be afraid to climb, even if the summit is unreachable, and remember, the treasures you’d find along the way are what truly will make your heart happy… failure is only when we give up…
I have many plans to release many more books and hope only that my dear readers would feel and attach to my emotions as I believe that through my poems, they'd feel so connected with these emotions they can well relate to, through the words I try so hard to reach for…as my lifetime of a poetic journey continues, my soul’s true calling that I found now, forever and beyond..
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