Hello, it’s me.

 

Welcome to my blog!

My name is Hannah Else. I’m a Lancaster University graduate currently working as a writer and editor in London.

I am thrilled to have finally created this platform on which to share my poems, and despite being a little late to the ‘blogger’ party, I can’t wait to get started.

Once a month I will be sharing an original poem along with a short analysis, that will of course be open to discussion!

I am hoping to build an audience for my work, learn from the responses I receive, and perhaps spark interest in those of you who want to enjoy reading or writing poetry.

Thank you for reading, and keep your eyes peeled for the next post! xxx

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Welcome

When fire purrs in unison
with those who surround it
spurring on pleasant conversations,
calming the clamour of the day,
loved ones come close and warm
and are locked in its sheltering flame.

Trusting in the light it gives,
longing it to last. For when the night
and the cold, swallow the last flicker,
the thought of tomorrow
masks all memory of today,
and only embers glow to guide them home.

I think this poem has a real ‘Sunday’ vibe. For me, at least, ‘Welcome’ is about looking forward to spending time with those you love and enjoying your time together even though you know that eventually, it will end – like a fire. Nice while it lasts, but is has to go out at some point.

I tried to make this poem almost deceivingly light-hearted. On a first read, you might have thought that the slow overall rhythm and soothing sounds of the words (such as ‘memory’, ’embers’, ‘home’) might have been used to create a calming tone. The sibilance at the beginning of the second stanza (‘trusting’, ‘last’, ‘swallow’) might have even prompted you to read in a whisper. However on a second read, you may realise there is a slightly darker undertone.

The phrase “the thought of tomorrow / masks all memory of today” refers to the sinking feeling one tends to get on a Sunday night! The fun holiday or weekend becomes a distant memory soon enough, and before you know it you’re back at work*. “Only embers glow” tells a similar story – there are still memories of fond times and “pleasant conversations”, but are soon forgotten until a new fire (or new memory) is made.

No matter how you interpreted this piece, I really hope you enjoyed reading it along with my self-analysis. Let me know if you have any questions! Here’s one from me:

Why do you think I titled this poem ‘Welcome’?

*I’m impressed at myself for managing to capture this feeling pretty well considering I wrote this poem before starting my full time job…

Thank you again for visiting my blog xxx

Plot Hole

Wooden frames collapse.
Heap themselves into a pyramid
of splintering spikes.
Plaster cracks, and the brick
turns rubble. Falling like hail
tapping my skull.
The sky darkens
as clouds of dirty smoke emerge
to jostle with the white.

I can’t help but hear the rumbling,
the crack and the snap
as parts join the pile.
The ugly, burning pile
of my life’s work.
As it melts into itself, I wonder
if it will return to me.
I stare for a moment,
but soon, my mind wanders again.

 

I’m back! Sorry for not posting for so long – I haven’t exactly been feeling very inspired. Funnily enough though,  my lack of inspiration prompted the creation of this poem!

If you hadn’t already guessed, ‘Plot Hole’ depicts a creator struggling to feel satisfied with their work. I titled the poem ‘Plot Hole’ to imply that the creator could be a writer, but it is not made clear in either stanza, so as usual is open to interpretation.

I think that although the poem’s main themes are dissatisfaction and irritation, the last line holds a little hope and implies that the narrator is prepared to attempt their work again. Since the character gets over their resentful feelings pretty quickly, I decided that I wanted their thought process to feel almost habitual, as if this were a common feeling they have… which I suppose is true for many creators out there. To show this I chose to keep my poem as two stanzas rather than splitting it into four as I had originally planned. This was supposed to make the poem read a little faster, suggesting the character was only suffering from their irritable feelings for a short period of time. Do you think this worked?

A number of metaphors were used in this piece – materials such as “plaster” and “brick” as well as some nature references like “clouds” and “hail”. I used the materials so that there was less certainty about the narrator’s creations, e.g. the “wooden frames” might suggest an easel, implying they are an artist, whereas the “brick” would suggest a builder. Either way, solid, recognisable materials helped the poem become more of a visual piece. The weather references were used for a different effect. The “dirty smoke” jostling “with the white” was supposed to symbolise the narrator’s thoughts, good and bad, fighting to be at the forefront of his mind. I thought that linking this to weather would imply that the thoughts are unpredictable and erratic, since the weather often possesses these qualities!

I hope you all enjoyed reading – let me know if you have any questions. Meanwhile, some questions from me to you:

How did you feel about the narrator’s fluctuating thoughts? Should they have stayed distressed for longer?

Did you feel that the metaphor of a “burning pile” helped explore the feeling of frustration?

Thanks so much for reading xxx

Invisible Ones

The outside calls to us
while we chain and padlock
ourselves to the quiet places.
Dark places that even tiny wisps
of light won’t find. Shut our eyes
to make it darker still. We tie
our legs to our wrists
our heads to our knees.

And our minds; we wrap
tight. A bandage for the wound,
hidden away so that those thoughts
won’t ooze out.
Silence swallows us, sometimes.
And when a voice
pleads us, again, for escape
we bind it even tighter.

This month I’ve been thinking a lot about mental health. So many of my friends struggle with mental health issues, and I’ve always felt like I know too little about it to offer any useful guidance.

This poem was an experiment into the mind of somebody feeling trapped, but willingly so. It’s about someone trying to make themselves feel small and invisible, despite knowing they don’t have to and that people are trying to help them. Though this may seem a little controversial, this was a genuine attempt to help myself understand how people with these struggles can feel.

Other than that, I don’t think I need to do much more explanation. I didn’t experiment with form or style, voice or tone – I wanted to communicate rawness, so did very few edits to this piece and left it as almost one continuous thought.

Let me know what you think!

Thank you so much for reading xxx

Acting Astraea

every sin dissipates to blank space
and the world is gentle, soft sand

(when we embrace, we feel it)
and we are full. Of air, of life

of love. We are bursting.
Every sound we hear is sweet

as birdsong, and light as clouds.
We are a harmony with it all,
making music.

I stare gladly
at our plentiful time.

Celebrate the newness that comes
with every
single
step

We find places that are filled,
like us, with the greatest sounds

and gentlest things;
that unmistakable taste

 

This poem was an experimental one to say the least, but I’m hopeful that my messing around with the form had the right effect. I tried to make this piece read as a monologue by having various inconsistencies throughout, such as line lengths, caesuras, numerous examples of  enjambment and irregular capitalisation. In my mind, this helped the stanzas flow and tie the entire piece together, but also allowed them to occasionally make sense as stand-alone separate thoughts.

Since the poem might first appear as lovely-dovey and potentially a bit wet, I made sure to add a new element to it by experimenting with my title. Astraea is the Greek Goddess of innocence and purity (among other things) so I decided to use her name in my title to allow readers to ponder the overriding theme in a little more depth. I wanted there to be an underlying tone of fabrication and make-believe; almost a feeling of ‘too-good-to-be-true’. The narrator is ‘Acting Astraea’ unknowingly, and is so blindly in love that they cannot see the falseness residing underneath their seemingly perfect happiness*.

Examples of this covertly one-sided relationship can be seen in a few of the stanzas – even the first line “every sin dissipates” suggests that once, there were sins, and having the verb in the present tense suggests that they are still disappearing (i.e. not completely gone). Additionally, the line “I stare gladly” could represent loneliness and isolation as the narrator chooses not to use the plural pronoun “we”, implying that only they are content with the prospect of a lifetime with the other.

I ended the poem without punctuation or a satisfying final line because I wanted the reader to decide their own ending. Is the narrator interrupted in their thoughts and eventually told the truth about their fantastical love? Are they simply trailing off, completely immersed in their fictitious happiness? I’m not even sure if I’ve decided for myself…

I hope you enjoyed this experimental piece. There’s so much more to say about it but I wouldn’t want to bore you!

Some questions from me:

How did you feel about the ending? What is the narrator feeling?
Did you pick up on the natural imagery? What could this represent?

Thank you so much for reading xxx

*Disclaimer: if anyone knows me personally and is wondering whether this is a representation of my own relationship, please do not worry, we’re fine!

Slow Motion

If I’d only one wish
I’d wish for time.
For all our hours to roll into none
so we could finally bask
in the glorious moments
for longer than they last.
I’d want the minutes to never start
or stop. The tick of a clock to be lost.
So we could be one, never-ending,
continuous love.

I’ll put my ‘hands’ up and admit that I tend to write a lot of poems about time, but I wanted to post this since it massively reflects how I’m feeling at the moment.

Working full time has led me to hugely appreciate the days I spend at home rather than in the office; I’ve always thought that the weekends went by quickly (as I’m sure everyone has), but now they seem to last just a matter of hours! It honestly freaks me out that in just a few short years I’ll be approaching my 90th birthday.

This poem is relatively simple and I haven’t used many poetic techniques to make it any more ambiguous than it needs to be. All I did really was mess around with the form a little to effect the way it is read. Having longer lines and using caesuras can make the poem read quite slowly, which is what I wanted here. Contrasting this I made sure the poem was short and that it was all one stanza. This was supposed to reflect time, in that it passes us by so rapidly. I also used a little internal rhyme in “bask”/”last” as well as the line “tick of a clock to be lost”. Again, the /ɒ/ sound is a little more drawn out, so its appearance in the words “clock” and “lost” make the sentence read slightly slower.

Though this piece is more about love than it is about work, I think it can capture a general feeling of longing. The speaker desires a never-ending stretch of time, and though they know it can never be attained, it will always remain a “wish”. This dream-like tone once again slows down the pace.

I hope you enjoyed this poem! Thank you so much for reading.

Don’t hesitate to send me a message if you have any questions xxx

Left in Summer

Left in summer weeks ago
a hurried, brief farewell.
Like turning pages,
gone at once
but rest in memory still.

A world away,
though near enough
to wonder and to miss.
Counting down
rushing time –
the chore that waiting is.

A minute more,
with fingers crossed
and eyes shut like clenched fists
the weight of such a heavy heart
at long, long last, it shifts.

 

First of all, apologies for my lack of posts recently. I’m sure you’ve all been absolutely wild with anticipation.

I have recently moved to London and started a full time job, so it’s fair to say the past few weeks have been a bit hectic, and poems (though still close to my heart) have been residing in the back of my mind for a while.

Nonetheless, today I bring to you ‘Left in Summer’ which is a poem I wrote just after I left home to go to uni in my first year. It’s not exactly an ambiguous poem, but I think it’s somewhat left to interpretation regarding its tone. I tend to read it in quite a melancholy way, however I know others have read it with a slightly more bitter tone to the voice (the first two stanzas at least). The poem is about waiting, frustration, boredom, loneliness…it’s up to you really. For me, it was about missing people back home when I first went away. The line “gone at once / but rest in memory still” shows that it is a sudden loss (interpreted by some people as death).

Not to blow my own trumpet, but I think the use of half rhyme in this poem is quite effective. you have “farewell” and “still” in the first stanza, “miss” and “is” in the second, and finally “fists” and “shifts”. I think ending on a more secure, obvious rhyme is a good way to close off the piece as a whole. The half rhymes create quite a soothing rhythm, and, particularly when they’re paired with the use of enjambment, can make the poem flow really smoothly as it’s read.

I intended the length of the poem to be symbolic, though it isn’t the easiest thing to spot unless you look for it. My idea was based on the fact that waiting and longing for someone is something that, at the time, seems to last forever, but really the time is going just as fast as it always does. So, although the feeling that the poem represents is long and tiresome, the actual event (the length of the stanzas) is shorter than you think. Hence the final line “at long, long last, it shifts”. Ironic really, since the poem is only 16 lines long.

Thank you so much for reading! xxx

Piscine Molitor

Lost in a storm, my ship, my life
my father, his wife
and a tiger.

Watched it all sink, disappear,
I choked on the water,
drowned in the fear.

Found a boat, caught fish, survived.
Conquered the fear, and thrived.
Found the tiger.

Terrified, but I fought it
trained it, loved it and taught it.
The tiger and I

became friends, came to care.
A travelling pair.
Saw land.

His paw and my foot on the sand.
I stroked his fur with
a muddy hand

and watched, as he fled to the trees.
My friend, my partner
Richard Parker.

 

If you haven’t read the book or seen the film of  ‘Life of Pi’ you will have no idea what I’m going on about in this poem! I highly recommend that you make yourself familiar with the story if you haven’t already because it really is such an incredible one. Piscine Molitor, or ‘Pi’, is the protagonist, and after being shipwrecked, finds himself stranded on a small boat with a wild tiger and some other animals. He forms a bond with the tiger that is both unbelievable and heartwarming. I won’t discuss any more of the story in case you’d like to read or watch it!

Anyway, I wrote this poem a while ago when I was stuck in a bit of a rut as to what I should write about. I thought that writing about something that already had its own story line would help me get back into things, and it definitely worked. While creating this poem I was able to experiment with sound techniques as well as making sure I was capturing certain elements of the story that were most important for the reader.

I wanted to include several rhymes, though keep them inconsistent. This was to give the feeling of a flowing, continuous story, without having to keep it following a strict, rhythmic structure. In a way, I wanted the poem to sound more like a recreation of the story than a standard poem. A lot of the sentences were quite short, and the stanzas are almost in a list-like form. Again, this was to create a flowing tone, with the intention of it being read with a slightly faster pace compared with how you might usually read a poem.

I hope you enjoyed this post!

Make sure you go and watch or read Life of Pi!

Thank you for visiting my site xxx

Individual

I am a wasp among bees,
a flower bed’s weed.
The first dead leaf
from the greenest trees.

A cloud in the bluest
of skies. The pain,
when sunlight
holds your eyes.

I’m new; a footprint
in crisp snow.
A baby’s first cry,
a fire’s first glow.

Old like heirlooms,
cherished through time.
Each their own,
and none like mine.

 

The message of this poem is quite simple, but I wanted to make use of several images and ideas to reiterate the meanings of individualism. The simplicity in the poem is reflected through the consistent rhyming in each stanza, and the easy-to-follow stanza and line lengths.

Individualism can be interpreted in so many ways, but this poem focuses on the thoughts of the narrator and their feelings towards themselves. In the first few lines, it may seem that the narrator is uncomplimentary, describing themselves as “a flower bed’s weed”. However, I wanted the interpretation to be less about the actual object being referred to, but the implications of it being different from the rest. For example, in stanza two, the individual is “the pain, / when sunlight / holds your eyes”. Although the sunlight is more desirable than the pain, it is the pain that is noticed, and therefore is what makes the narrator individual.

The last two stanzas of the poem differ slightly as they describe things that are considered more desirable. “crisp snow” and “first glow” have more appealing connotations, however the message remains the same; the narrator feels that they are changing the ordinary. I focused primarily on natural imagery throughout as I wanted the message to be universal.

I hope you liked this poem!

Some questions from me:
Did it make a difference that some of the references to individualism were less desirable than others?
Was the simplicity of the structure helpful?

Thank you for reading xxx

Screen Time

Brain squasher,
you tease and tear at every nerve
hiding there, in my screens
my friend’s mouths.
that busy motorway.

You’ll get me,
close my eyes under your
heavy weight.
I wait
for silence, relief. Alas;

an angry red; flashing.
my eyes clench to resist the glare,
but you surround me.
A cloak of blinding
noise and light. Suffocating.

Eventually creeping through
my skull, where you push
and pull, lay me down
to sleep
but keep me awake.

 

As many of my friends and family will know, I suffer from headaches quite regularly. This poem explores the sensation of a persistent headache, using personification and visual metaphors to really bring it to life and make it familiar to the reader.

I titled the poem ‘Screen Time’ after much deliberation. Originally, the title was ‘Headache’, but I wanted a slightly less transparent introduction to the piece. ‘Screen Time’ is also a common cause of headaches, and the vowel sound in ‘screen’ is identical to that of ‘scream’, and so connotations of pain can be drawn from the title.

I decided to use a lot of visual imagery in this poem, since headaches are not things you can see, though sometimes feel so intense that they may as well be living creatures! The first line, “brain squasher”, gives the sense of the headache being aggressive, and later it’s described as a “cloak”, which suggests a more sinister, hidden side to it. I also gave it a colour, “angry red”, which I feel represents a sense of danger and fear.

There are some instances in this poem where I chose to use internal rhyme, for example in the first stanza; “tease and tear / …everywhere”, and stanza four “skull / …push and pull”. Though this occurred quite naturally, I made the instances more apparent by using enjambment to create a rhythm which would draw more attention to these rhyming words.

I hope you enjoyed this poem!

Some questions from me:
Are you a headache or migraine sufferer? Do you sometimes feel that they act in this way?
What would you have titled this poem?

Thank you so much for reading xxx

The Kitchen of My Dreams

I’m dreaming of a kitchen
a space that’s fresh and clean.
A place you’d never find a milk that’s off
or bread that’s green.

A kitchen that is tidy,
crumbs swept up straight away.
A place to cook,
without having to dread it every day.

This kitchen would have spotless sinks,
where plugholes don’t get blocked.
So plates and bowls can be washed up
(with sponges fully stocked)

A place where you could step, carefree,
wherever you may choose.
without socks sticking to the floor
or rice stuck in your shoes.

I’m wishing for this kitchen,
but alas, today it seems
that the kitchen here treads far behind
the kitchen of my dreams.

 

I’ve uploaded this poem for a bit of fun – it is (of course) about my uni kitchen. I only have one week left of living in uni accommodation, which, while a little scary, is also BRILLIANT, because I will no longer have to be associated with such a revolting space.

I sent this poem into the group chat with my flatmates in an attempt to sort the mess out once and for all, but unsurprisingly it made no difference, and yesterday I found myself retching at the sight of pasta sauce smeared all over the bin lid. It honestly baffles me how people can be so oblivious to their disgusting habits. Things like washing up, cleaning up spillages, and throwing your milk away when its (three weeks) out of date, are really quite basic skills that people should learn before moving away from home.

I could turn this into a huge rant about the kitchen, exploring every single detail as to why it’s so disgusting, but I think I’ll leave that to your imagination.

Thank you so much for reading! Hope you enjoyed the poem xxx