"I don't think that being a strong person is about ignoring your emotions and fighting your feelings. Putting on a brave face doesn't mean you're a brave person. That's why everybody in my life knows everything that I'm going through. I can't hide anything from them. People need to realise that being open isn't the same as being weak."

- Taylor Swift

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Poetry commentary.

This is a little experiment.

Some people write poetry, and seem to be almost completely detached from it. If you ask them what it means, they just shrug and say 'it's just a poem'. They're either very private or very indifferent. You have to respect that, either way.

I'm...not like that. All my poems mean something to me.

My English teacher showed us a story he wrote which seemed, to me, a very personal memoir. He also wrote a commentary for it, and it was fascinating. It made the story so much more meaningful.

So...I'm going to try that. I guess this is one of the many times I'm just writing for myself. Bear with me.


When I say that the meaning of this poem should be obvious, I am, obviously, writing this from Anne Boleyn's perspective - there are many hints to this, with 'Katarina' meaning 'Katherine of Aragon', the plain gold ring 'replaced with six' and, morbidly, 'you will always be head and shoulders above me'. I've always wondered what Anne Boleyn thought of her predecessor; popular legend has it that they were bitter enemies, and Anne Boleyn famously wore bright yellow upon hearing of Katherine's lonely death. But I can't help but think that Anne must have had a great respect for Katherine - she was, after all, a formidable queen and adversary, and put up an amazing fight to keep what was rightfully hers. It must also be noted that yellow is apparently the colour of mourning in the Spanish royal court. I also think that Anne must have felt a little deja vu as her marriage collapsed, and she had to endure what Katherine had to endure - miscarriage after miscarriage, as well as Henry's infidelity and notorious temper. Whether that's just me being romantic or not, you can't deny the similarities between the two women, and how they lived and died loving a monster - as Henry celebrated when Katherine died, he went hunting the day that Anne was executed. As I have gotten older and made some increasingly bizarre relationships I've felt like I can relate more to Katherine of Aragon; I've always loved Anne Boleyn. There are two song references in Katarina - Turning Tables by Adele and Plain Gold Ring by Kimbra. I worked on Katarina for two days and, funnily enough, it originally had nothing to do with Anne Boleyn; I was originally trying to write something to express my own pain and frustration; which is why the historical references are more towards the end of the poem.


I feel like I explained Freefall in this post here


I really feel like I shouldn't have called it Warrior - I only did so because I felt like I was plaguerising the last line, which is from the Converse collaboration. Otherwise, to be honest...I wrote it on a swing (back and forth and back and forth).

kai su, teknon

I told someone recently that I felt like he was two different people. I realized today that I actually, scientifically, have two different personalities. I feel like a lot of people, especially in a claustrophobic environment like high school, are two different people - who they are, and who people think they are. I wrote kai su, teknon to illustrate how people are altered by the self-consciousness and insecurity that comes when you, or you were, attracted to someone; and how this magically disappears when you're around people you love equally, but never have and never will see in the same way. I've always found it funny, that, in spite of the charms, the former will always be disinterested and despite 'throwing down armour' the latter will love unconditionally. kai su, teknon are allegedly the last words of Caesar to one his assassins, Brutus; this has traditionally been translated as a reaction to betrayal (Brutus was as a son to Caesar), but it has also been interpreted as foreshadowing Brutus' own political demise and death in Philippi - a sort of 'you'll be next', as it were.

Princess of China

This is another Tudor reference - everyone considers Anne of Cleves 'the lucky wife' because she escaped marriage to Henry, and possibly execution at his hands. Contrary to popular belief, Anne of Cleves is now thought to have been quite pretty - or at least not the 'Flanders Mare' that she is in popular culture - and as lame as this sounds, she just wasn't Henry's type. It was an arranged marriage, after all, and she was no Anne Boleyn - they had no common language, no common interests, absolutely nothing in common that would endear themselves to each other. But was Anne of Cleves really 'the lucky one'? She lived her life completely alone, without passion or affection. Sometimes I think she got the short straw.


A bit like kai su, teknon. Looking at it, it is kind of creepy and very irrational - but I was really irritated. And humiliated. When you don't know someone very well, you have to take everything on face value, and it's the little things that hurt - this was before it occurred to me that how people present themselves isn't necessarily everything they are. I don't want to remove it because it is a very accurate snapshot of emotion, but it is nonetheless a very weird thing to write about a friend. 


If you happened to catch me at the right time you might have seen that I published and then deleted a poem. I don't normally do that. Potemkin fascinates me. He is raw, masculine, supremely intelligent, passionate and ambitious; yet he is everything any woman with a scrap of ambition should desire in a man. Potemkin and Catherine were lovers, best friends, co-conspirators, intellectual equals, confidantes and soulmates. It fascinated me because Potemkin goes against the stereotype of a queen's lover - either someone who completely monopolizes her and has her submitting to his every whim, or else a feminine, weak, docile man with no ambition and a religiously fanatical adoration. If you missed it, I was writing about waiting for Potemkin to arrive, and in that faith finding peace in other people you have loved moving on from you; because they will have their Catherines, and you will have your Potemkin.

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