Friday, February 5, 2010

What about . . . .

Word clouds.

Are they a bit adolescent? (Something about them reminds me of 5th year english folders trying a little too hard) But they're sooo nice and satisfying if you pop a poem into them and see it emerge transformed.
The poem that I put in looks way better than it does in actual, on the page, print. I got the image from, where it's copywrited to Jonathan Feinberg (who is apparently a really gifted word cloud designer).

Here's the original poem.


It was June when I learnt you had passed away -
a long, long time after the burial.
After your bones had been weathered chalk white
and your skirts had been tucked in some drawer
and your faded silk shawls had been claimed by some girl
who danced on your grave and made light of your fame
and swore she would never end up
the same way.

You were regal. There really is no other word
to describe your grim grace, the stern measured gaze
that you cast on the people who walked
on your streets -
But you still had to die, I suppose.
Smog stained and tatty and everything else that you were.

Now when I walk on the pavements up there
I notice the cracks, the narrow paths
that cut between headstones and graves.
Sometimes I think I might shrink,
slip between them to join you in your ancient sleep,
you and the millions lined up in graveyards,
like dominoes, ranged toe to head.
Here the living take up far less space
than the dead.
I watch my step instead.


  1. Wordle is great fun, isn't it? I have a poem in one here:

    Do you have a link to the original poem?


  2. I'm very behind the times - I've just discovered wordle, and love it. I meant to stick up the original poem - I might do it now, actually. I loved your splat cat poem. The expression on the poor cat's face is priceless - a mixture embarrassment, inquisitiveness and pride

  3. I've never heard of, or seen, word clouds before.I think I like them but I know I love that poem, Dublin.

  4. I like the way some of the words are vertical ...perhaps the living are at a right angle to the dead?

  5. I never thought about the correlation before, ArtSparker, but can I claim the idea as my own now, and say, yes, that's actually why I put some of the words at right angles to others?

  6. I saw wordles quite some time ago and always meant to do one but never did. Perhaps I'll get to it this time.
    Loved the poem!

    Thanks for dropping by my blog and leaving the wonderful comment about my snowflake photo. :)

  7. Hey Carletta, thanks for dropping by and having a read of my poem.
    I showed your photo to my eight-year-old daughter, who was blown away by the whole idea that snowflakes look like that. We then had to spend 10 minutes googling 'the biggest snowflake in the world.
    I think it fell sometime in the 1880s, and actually killed a cow or two!

  8. Do you sometimes feel you have a word cloud in your head, it just takes time for the words to come out in the right order...
    Congratulations on finding an agent. It's a difficult time right now. I was fortunate to find a publisher who signed me up for three books but other writers I know have had one book published and are now struggling to get a second one accepted. Having a good agent will give you a head start.
    Visit my blog any time - fellow writers always welcome.

  9. Thanks for visiting, Leigh, and thanks also for the congrats re the agent, although so far she hasn't had any luck selling the book. Still, having her believe in my work has been great in itself. All I have to do now is write another book she can sell.
    I had a gander of your blog - Well done on the three books - that's really fantastic.
    I'll definitely be back to have a closer read when my connection here starts behaving.