Tall Man

Tall Man

I had planned to release a collection of my poetry as an e-book entitled Tales from Redundancy Row. These plans are currently on hold, firstly because I am not convinced it is the right move for me at the moment and secondly I have decided to concentrate on a new poetry project called The Tall Man Chronicles. This collection will chronicle the life of the tree called Tall Man, from the beginning of his life as a tiny seed to the end of his life and the eventual end of the planet.

I am very excited and daunted by the task I have set myself but I am very much looking forward to the challenges ahead. There is the challenge of completing the writing and the challenge of trying to get the collection published.

I have done a lot of research, online, via magazine subscriptions, in book shops and by speaking to other writers and it would seem that there are a number of ways to get poetry published and a number of arguments for and against the “traditional” route. What almost all my research has told me is that publishing poetry is not profitable and even winners of prestigious poetry prizes struggle to sell many books.

I think as a freelance writer you have to sometimes consider the cost-effectiveness of projects, however what must come first is creativity, passion and a love of writing and this is what motivates all of my projects. My hope is that if you pour everything you’ve got into a piece of work, your talent, knowledge and personality will shine through and lead you to publication, which in turn may have its financial benefits. But it is the passion and creativity that are the exciting factors for me. It’s also important to do all you can to make sure your work gets out into the world – ideas are great inside of your head but even greater out in the sun where they can grow and all the world can see.

If the writing goes well, I am considering self-publishing Tall Man as a paperback with a view to selling it in local stores and online. The initial Tall Man poem is inspired by the beautiful countryside of Gloucestershire and its ever dwindling green spaces, and on this basis I am hoping there will be interest locally in the book.

In more poetry related news I am waiting to hear whether a selection of my poetry has been selected to be published in a well-known poetry magazine. There is quite a lengthy consideration period so as soon as I hear anything I will be sure to shout about it on this very page.

Meanwhile this is the poem that started the process of The Tall Man Chronicles and it will probably be the third or fourth poem in the book.

Tall Man

Lives in the garden of a terrace

Old and twisted he has seen it all

Bark brown flecked ambivalence

He reaches forlornly up to the sky

Always forlornly and forever to the sky

Is he reaching for the heaven that may be there

He’s pointing to the danger

Of the ever-present stare

The tall man has stretching arms

Arms of harrowing

Arms of happening

Arms of Earth’s bountiful goodness

If only we can see it

There’s the bridge where a man nearly contemplated jumping

It was “just a crush”

Ringing in his ears

When the planet has turned to ash and grey

The tall man will be pointing sadly to a grave

Tall man

Standing in a garden terrace

His twisted fingers

Contain great knowledge

Contain terrible wisdom

Contain eternal judgement

Tall man talk to me

Shadow me from obscurity

Tall man proud in his youth

Tall man one day green shoots

Tall man will stand for eternity

Fire his only enemy

Tall man reaching up for the sky

One day he will see the end

©John de Gruyther 2014

4 thoughts on “Tall Tales

  1. Wow – this poem casts a spell. There were a few lines in particular that really put something through me:
    ‘always forlornly and forever to the sky’
    – This seems important to me. How lonely an object in nature can be at times! How it can remind one of one’s seperateness not only from the natural world, but from the other people growing around.

    ‘Arms of harrowing
    Arms of happening’
    – Beautiful word choice. For me, this captures the stark and mystical nature of Tall Man, and of the massive stone cold, patient processes in trees – in all nature.

    The one part of this poem that tripped me up was the rhyme in these lines:
    ‘Is he reaching for a heaven that may be there
    He’s pointing to the danger
    of the ever-present stare’

    – For a minute, the spell was broken as I found myself wondering if the poem was beginning to rhyme, and mourning the loss of the rhymeless, mythic freedom I had begun to enjoy.

    Anyways, I love it. Good luck with Tall Man! I’ll be checking in : ]


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