Plog 4th August 2012

August 3rd, 2012 Posted in Uncategorized

Further to my last post, I have been offered a place on the MSc. in using Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes, starting in October; so am beginning to do some background reading for it.

Two of the threads we shall be weaving together are the works of Carl Ransom Rogers and Dr. Petrūska Clarkson.  Rogers’ most popular book is probably ‘On Becoming a Person’.  It is a title which intrigues me so much that I would like to develop a Pantoum, based on Rogers’ practice of treating clients.

In his book, Rogers is continually stating what he believes and then viewing his statements from numerous different perspectives, to see whether they stand up to scrutiny.  I think a Pantoum, which continually repeats the same combination of two parallel lines of verse, with new ideas interspersing them, would be a good way of exploring hypotheses.

In spite of these intentions, it is taking me some time to really understand all the ins and outs of Rogerian therapy, so while his principles sink in, I impatiently wrote a sonnet: ‘On Beckoning a Problem’.  I love the title; but the sonnet itself sounded a bit abrupt, when I read it aloud to a poetry group; so I decided to expand it to twice the length.

An exemplary double sonnet, I believe, is Wilfred Owen’s ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’.  If you have not seen it, here is the link:  I have not followed Owen’s form entirely; but what I have done is simply double the number of lines per stanza in a conventional sonnet with alternate rhyme in the first two stanzas.  The final stanza is less predictable.  I used some half rhyme and a variable fluctuation between chiming, to portray the internal argument taking place, in shaky balance about a centre.  The final form is: ababcdcd efefghgh ijiklklmnmoo

On Beckoning a Problem

On beckoning a problem it is hard
to ascertain the wisdom of one’s hand.
For we are told to negatives discard
As though by ignoring we can command
Solutions – positive by ignorance
After all our conditioning tells us
You get what you ask for.  Your comeuppance
In this case must be the problem, no less.

Your issues and your tissues bring you tears
The brave and the successful walk on by
And nobody will miss you with your fears
Especially since you seem to want to cry
When really you have at last had enough
Of their void superficiality.
Finally it is time for your own stuff
To bring it in line with reality.

So you beckon together good and bad
Invite them to exchange their views with you
But there is a dialogue to be had
In which you’re the privileged observer.
And the good self-consciously smiles sweetly
The bad rants on and the good gets nervous
Its perennial happy smile teeters
But the bad throws out a scornful question
The good responds with curiosity
Eventually their communication
Takes on a life of its own.  You are brave
So first shake hands, and later you can wave.

I hope you like it; and I may well revisit Rogerian Principles in a Pantoum.  I have got Clarkson’s tome:  ‘The Therapeutic Relationship’ as well, so we shall see whether she lends herself to poetry.

In the meantime, I have been studying Sestinas and Tritinas.  I came up with a new form of my own – don’t laugh – the Katrina!  I shall elaborate with exemplification in my next Plog.

Please drop me a line if you have any comments or suggestions, or if I may be of help.

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