Don Paterson

(1963 - / Dundee / Scotland)

Poetry - Poem by Don Paterson

In the same way that the mindless diamond keeps
one spark of the planet's early fires
trapped forever in its net of ice,
it's not love's later heat that poetry holds,
but the atom of the love that drew it forth
from the silence: so if the bright coal of his love
begins to smoulder, the poet hears his voice
suddenly forced, like a bar-room singer's -- boastful
with his own huge feeling, or drowned by violins;
but if it yields a steadier light, he knows
the pure verse, when it finally comes, will sound
like a mountain spring, anonymous and serene.

Beneath the blue oblivious sky, the water
sings of nothing, not your name, not mine.

Comments about Poetry by Don Paterson

  • Terry Craddock (1/24/2016 8:28:00 PM)

    I Hear Not My Voice When Writing

    I guess I do not smoulder as I write
    I hear not my voice when writing
    with so many styles themes voices

    to hear I do not listen to my own
    so swiftly poetic words are sown in
    spaces between eternity glass blown

    Copyright © Terence George Craddock
    Inspired by the poem 'Poetry' by the poet Don Paterson.
    Dedicated to the poet Don Paterson.
    (Report) Reply

    6 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Terry Craddock (1/24/2016 8:28:00 PM)

    Do You Feel The Burning?

    do you feel
    the burning
    burning desire

    to write
    heart engulfing


    into spontaneous

    I do not
    I write

    I hear not
    my voice
    when writing

    I am too
    busy writing
    to listen

    with so many
    pathos styles themes
    voices to hear

    I do not listen
    to my own voice writing
    there are too many

    other voices
    to waiting hear
    quick listen

    other voices


    to hear

    quick listen

    Copyright © Terence George Craddock
    Inspired by the poem 'Poetry' by the poet Don Paterson.
    Dedicated to the poet Don Paterson.
    (Report) Reply

  • Terry Craddock (1/24/2016 8:27:00 PM)

    Poets Drowning In Reverent Lines

    pure verse
    when it comes
    poet heroin rushes

    this is addict poet's
    drug we drink deeply
    into brewed verses

    in reverent

    Copyright © Terence George Craddock
    Inspired by the poem 'Poetry' by the poet Don Paterson.
    Dedicated to the poet Don Paterson.
    (Report) Reply

  • Terry Craddock (1/24/2016 8:27:00 PM)

    Behold Fiery Furnace Atomic Thoughts Originating

    in what fiery furnace
    did the atom of my thought
    originate a super giant

    perhaps a white dwarf star?

    like burning stars spinning
    in cosmic soup milky way galaxy
    across vast regions of space

    so my thoughts spiral arms

    Copyright © Terence George Craddock
    Inspired by the poem 'Poetry' by the poet Don Paterson.
    Dedicated to the poet Don Paterson.
    (Report) Reply

  • (1/15/2016 11:25:00 PM)

    The water might be a steadier form of mindless diamond
    and it might sing of something, even your name, mine.
    (Report) Reply

  • Terry Craddock (1/15/2016 10:50:00 PM)

    'but the atom of the love that drew it forth
    from the silence: so if the bright coal of his love
    begins to smoulder, the poet hears his voice'

    beautiful lines, alas I guess I do not smoulder as I write, I hear not my voice when writing, with so many styles themes voices to hear, I do not listen to my own, but I love the imagery of this poem,

    '... the mindless diamond keeps
    one spark of the planet's early fires
    trapped forever in its net of ice, '


    'the pure verse, when it finally comes, ' yes this is a poet's drug, we drink deeply into verses, drowning in reverent lines
    (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams (1/15/2016 4:50:00 PM)

    Diamonds and sparks of fire- - that is a beautiful recreation of how diamonds and love came to be (Report) Reply

  • Kim Barney (1/15/2016 11:09:00 AM)

    Fascinating poem. Gives us much to think about. (Report) Reply

  • The Poet Poet (1/15/2016 10:52:00 AM)

    comments should be reasonable
    but not over shadowing the main poet
    its unfair

    u must post your version elsewhere
    (Report) Reply

  • Mohammed Asim Nehal (1/15/2016 7:22:00 AM)

    Outstanding poetry,
    Beneath the blue oblivious sky, the water
    sings of nothing, not your name, not mine.
    (Report) Reply

  • (1/15/2016 4:56:00 AM)

    It's not love's later heat that poetry holds,
    But the atom of the love that drew it forth.
    Fantastic and lovely observation. Thanks for sharing.10 points.
    (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh T A (1/15/2016 3:32:00 AM)

    Is it possible to write poems forever?

    It is a pertinent question for seeking the answer to know whether poetry is easy or difficult or what to read and write. Many have the concept that poetry is difficult to read or write and understand as for hidden meanings, one should see between the lines! Indeed poetry is not an easy joke and cannot be written easily as words have to flow from the depths of the poet’s heart. Poetry can be classified as classic, romantic and modern in literature. Now Japanese Haiku is talked about and felt to be better to write poetry. It is better, many feel, to break poetry and publish as poetry books! Also poetically prose is written to enjoy poetic pleasure. But there are people to enjoy such poetic stuffs as puffs, burger, pizzas, etc. Indeed poetry in couplets, haikus,3 line or 4 line verses, sonnets, blank verse or free verses have come up to please and instruct the world! So, we get poetry churned out as junk food items like snacks and tiffin rather than break fast, lunch and dinner!

    Realities of the World

    No individual can escape from the cobwebs of society, the turbulence of politics, the pinches and snatches of economy, the confrontations of contradictory cultures and the hypocrisy of modern civilization. Therefore frustration, monotony, irritation, cynicism and skepticism are largely found in every rationalist, moralist, self-respecting individual and compassionate intellectual. No cry or tears can solve this crisis. Perhaps this type of situation can be termed as illusion which everyone has to face boldly though a time consuming thing and proceed in the direction to fulfill the purpose for which one has started one’s life. As illusion is not a permanent thing no one can be bogged down forever. The worries come and go but the goals, the thoughts, the imaginations, the dreams and the ideas of a better tomorrow should not be forgotten because these are the things that make men get inspiration, enthusiasm and the zealous mood to go ahead hopefully and cheerfully in life and make human life worth living.

    During my college studies in the 1970s I came across all sorts of malpractices, favoritism, nepotism, corruption, conventions and obsolete traditions being followed in all the fields of human endeavour whether it is in education or judiciary, in politics or bureaucracy, in religion or society, etc. crippling the developmental activities of the people and came to the conclusion that everything had to be corrected, reoriented and reformed in order to allow healthy developments of the world to go on smoothly and congenially satisfying the sincere, good and honest people of the world and before completing my college education I finally decided to become a free lance writer which profession suited me to my nature more perfectly than anything else in order to analyze all the matters concerning human life, bring out the best things and truth in them and suggest suitable solutions for all the problems therein paving the way for a better world and in that way do a noble service to mankind though I would be doing joint family business immediately after education as there was no other go.


    Through my own experience I came to know that I was not the master of my own fate, that fate [Stars] was the master controlling the affairs of men and that though man proposed many things God [Time and Men] only could dispose everything. The final decision I took to become a writer taking for granted that both the business and the family activities would not come in my way and affect my writing works. But contrary to my expectations, business and family obligations blocked my onward march towards fulfilling my noble ambition. In that situation I was so much terribly disturbed, disappointed and dejected about my position both emotionally and mentally that I cried inwardly in loneliness giving birth to some poems and felt it would be better to write poetry about anything and everything to get the satisfaction I was longing for in this line! But such desire was disrupted often by obligations so much that I could not go ahead with my literary adventure as I wished and nothing was I able to pen as I desired. The result was the production of The Poetic Mood.

    The Poetic Mood

    The mood, the poetic mood where has it gone?
    The mood that made me once write poetry
    No more knocks at my door now a days
    And gives me pleasure it gave me once.

    Perhaps job, home and relations the cause,
    I failed to respond the call of the mood.
    Now are there Music, Books and Nature;
    Yet, the mood that moved me once comes no more.

    Three decades ago one lonely night I wrote of my plight;
    One twinkling Star solaced my heart then;
    That Midnight Star inspired me of miracles;
    Now I think again of those thoughts and dreams.

    Two decades ago in sonnets I wrote of a Reverie,
    From Utopia to Universe I dreamt of many matters;
    With that and a few more fragments my poetic ventures vanished.
    Now can the lost mood I long be regained to produce lasting poetry?

    Writing poetry was a thing of joy for me,
    Nay, a relief from the monotony of the day’s work.
    Poetry is a thing of beauty in itself;
    A thing of beauty is indeed a joy forever!

    Gay or grief, better to write and forget than to remember and suffer;
    Writing puts an end to all lingering thoughts;
    It’s a great confession that clears all confusions;
    Confidence comes of the clearance of complexities.

    Not mere mood but feelings produce real poetry,
    Not imagination but emotion keeps alive poetry,
    Not only emotion but also intellect creates poetry great,
    But without the spirit poetry will never be divine or sublime.

    In the five decades the poetry I have produced,
    I have discovered, courage grows upon criticism;
    Criticism is not opposing out of hatred,
    Or finding faults out of jealousy or complaining.

    It is inference, conclusion, and judgment-
    Judgment based on analysis, arguments and audits.
    What use bravery is, if it fails to bring benefits?
    Courage even if fails never leaves in despair.

    Ah! I have discovered the solution to get back the lost mood.
    Life and work make or mar man in the world.
    Loving, thinking and meditating occupy full life.
    No time to think, then no mood is there to love, meditate and write.

    What use even Music, Books and Nature are there then?
    Indeed Music touches heart, mind and soul but not fetches the needed mood;
    Books give knowledge or ideas but only to the ardent seekers;
    And Nature too nothing but simply reflects human nature.

    These are some aids that give respite from heavy schedule;
    In the fast world, where is the time to stand and stare?
    So, with the crisis in mind, search is made those aids may be of help;
    During those searches many discoveries can be made.

    Such inward discoveries like the outward ones show incredible wonders.
    Joy or sorrow at its peak can lead to circumstances inevitable in life;
    Those are the moments when the poetic mood comes in all its glory;
    On such occasions only poetry naturally blooms in all its beauty.

    True knowledge is got through intellectual pursuits wise;
    Perfection called beauty through long practice is achieved
    by love and knowledge in unity;
    The expression of such perfection gives really a joyful admiration;
    Truly then, beauty of love is knowledge of truth in poetry!


    Following particular style and form, only mechanical verses can be written and not pure poetry which is an expression of spontaneous overflow of emotion and recollection of the past in tranquility as was represented by Wordsworth and dream or visionary poems written by Coleridge. They were all written in the possible form and style before the ideas disappear in the mind. From the subconscious activities of the mind such poems are written by extraordinary poets and whose expressions are generally extemporary in nature. What is consciously expressed is based on what is seen, thought about and imagined from the commonly noted incidences and shared experiences of all. In this category many poets and poems are commonly seen today. But the mystically expressed poems are super-conscious activity of the mind of a poet, quite rare and their forms of poetic writings are one of a kind in the world!

    However, writing continuously poems of standard and substance is beyond the scope of all poets. Even Shakespeare who wrote romantically enjoyable plays like As You Like It, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet could not repeat performance in the same vein for long. This fact can be noted in Twelfth Night, Taming the Shrew, Much Ado About Nothing and so on. His poetic quality slowly drained from richness to prose form finally in the plays like The Tempest. He was romantic king of poetry! But the case of Milton was rare and different and exceptional. He produced best small poems at first; then he indulged in pamphlets for press freedom and finally when he became blind wrote master pieces like Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained that belong to classical literature. Likewise poets of long sustenance in the field can be noted everywhere.


    The advancement of science and technology have increased interests in materialism overshadowing human values in such a way that man works as machine, lives as animal and has become a machine-beast-man in the modern world and because of too much politics in all walks of life man has become an inhuman creature in the developing countries of the world today. In this situation man exploits everything for his personal gain to such an extent that he has destroyed not only art and culture but also destroying Nature which is equal to the destruction of human race itself. Under this circumstance what kind of poetry can be written in what kind of form and style is a million dollar question! These thoughts led me to compose on decant poetry and criticism of the drawbacks prevailing and spreading everywhere! Perhaps the following expression would reveal the matter better, I presume.

    Decadent Poetry

    Oh, decadence, decadence everywhere! What to do?
    What has happened to my poetic mind?
    Why has it stopped producing poetry
    That was flowing like a smooth running river?
    Now it has virtually dried up like a dry desert.
    O My poetic mind! Why have you dried up?
    When will you become wet and ooze out new verses?

    The Shelleyanist, our national poet Bharati was there
    And the naturalist, our international poet Tagore was there
    To produce poetry in profusion during the national movement
    And worked much to get liberty and democracy for the nation
    Exploited and humiliated for more than 500 years by foreign rulers.
    National independence struggle was the great cause for these poets;
    French revolution was the great cause for those illustrious romantic poets;
    But now, what great cause do I have to write great poetry?

    Beauty, love and nature echo forever in their lively poetry;
    But with trivial and sundry things what great poetry could be written?
    Liberty, equality and fraternity established through their poetry;
    But today those slogans are not genuine in practice anywhere.

    Liberty, love and justice are very much needed for human civilization;
    Everyone should follow the culture of doing things as one likes;
    But devoid of morality or culture they live the life of hypocrisy!
    Many enjoy liberty as they like caring little love, truth and justice!
    Too much liberty has changed many into unwise intelligent citizens!

    They achieve economic viability using high scientific technology
    In this matter of fact, business like and noncommittal new world.
    They insist on following system to complete time bound programs
    And function as salves to time in competition with the machines;
    And the time spirit activates the machinized man in the modern world!
    Is it good or bad? No time for men to think! Only machine decide all!
    So, has man to live mechanically monotonous life by the tick of time?
    How awful and mad the life of the modern man has become today!

    Art, culture and nature connected to man are too unique to be ignored
    And unwise utilization of Science leads to the destruction of all ultimately.
    So the duty of man is to safeguard and cherish them forever;
    Though whatever he does, he cannot forget such vital duties.
    He can meddle with art and culture but not with nature and escape.
    So, is it not unwise to live in time only and not in wise deeds?

    The rapid exploitation of natural resources destroys
    The power of nature to recoup itself
    And the pollution of environment kills
    The natural biological growth everywhere.
    Science and technology are needed but their
    Unwise use leads towards the destruction of all;
    Not only on the earth but also in the outer space
    Man ventures out for scientific discoveries;
    And time may come when like in the hospitals
    Man may have to live in
    The oxygen tents somewhere in the moon!
    Then as in the Byzantium man has to satisfy himself with
    The artificial Nightingales to sing songs for him!

    Now in this century itself man uses computer
    To produce poetry sans nature and human nature!
    So, gone are the days of the majestic Miltonic verses!
    And gone are the days of the myriad Shakespeare's Art!
    Where can we find such great works of poetry today?
    Where can we see artistic works of human perfection?
    No more shall we talk about them,
    Because it's waste of time, you know!

    Then what will be the definition of Man's life in the future?
    Life will be a scientific routine to be followed as machines!
    Life will be a fixed program for safe mechanical life!
    And after death all become machines to continue the routine!

    The symptoms of such happenings are already seen
    In the destruction of art, culture, literature and nature today!
    Already I am also automatically in the process of machination
    For destroying nature in sophistication!
    And so what is the use of worrying about
    My poetic mind to pen poetry at all?
    After all this is the reason why
    My natural poetry of creativity has
    Turned into prosaic poetry of criticism!
    And my poetic mind has lost the poetic spirit as
    It has mingled one with the machine world of man!
    This is the sorry state of decadent age in the modern world!

    Free Verse

    There is no hard and fast rule for composing poems today though some impose certain conditions for accepting poems in competitions. Pure poems cannot be composed based on those limitations to express freely, frankly and fearlessly about matters starting from Sex to Space. The best thing to do is to use the conversational language in writing poems for the enjoyment of all. Therefore the form of poetry suited to do so can be only blank verse or free verse. After coming to this conclusion and writing poems many feel introspective appraisal about one’s poetic writing is essential. I am also not an exception in this regard and expressed my findings conclusively in the following poem.

    About my Poetic Writings

    I wonder at what I have been writing so much so long;
    That too many matters I write poetically is quite surprising!
    I doubt very often whether I have the capacity to write poetry!
    I don’t know even what to discuss when asked about my writings;
    In Nature what ideas I got, felt and thought I wrote in poetry;
    Otherwise, I am nothing when I am not in the mood to write anything.

    When the urge comes I become entirely a different person till I finish my writing!
    The poetic mood followed by the urge to write continues till the topic naturally ends!
    The details of the split personality of my person are perplexing to write
    So, bit by bit like the flash back scenes in films I write my heart felt ideas in many poems!

    I love music and poetry but don’t know music and poetry to explain and express in variety;
    So, I am a romantic adventurer in poetry according to the urge of the place and time!
    In this kind of poetry at last I have found out the way to express myself!
    If this is not poetry, what else it could be, tell me!
    Comments and criticisms are quite welcome from all quarters!

    If poetry means, should there be rhyme and rhythm in the lines of the poems?
    They are the frame work or the structure in which everything is stuffed in some order;
    There is no fixed rule for the structure to produce naturally evolving poetry.
    What counts much here is not beautiful frozen structure, but life, feeling and sense in the stuff!
    I write to transport the minds to the world to experience vicariously the pleasure
    Of my experience in the known words compressed information
    About infinity, unknown reality and the myriad nature of mind.

    First I wanted to write novel with philosophical ideas or contemplative essays;
    After one novel and a few essays I could not proceed in the same vein any longer!
    Then I got the idea of writing this kind of poetry to express out my ideas;
    From then on I write, write and write everything as and when the urge comes!

    Past knowledge, present experience and future expectations
    Combine into ideas to be expressed in the form of poetry;
    Contemplative, philosophical and informative ideas with humor tell the state of human life today!
    Lonely in Nature when I am in the depressed mood I indulge in meditation;
    Mystical exercise in Nature awakens the indwelling spirit to life!
    Then the knowledge of reason enlightens the mind and elevates the spirit;
    The expression of such a spiritual experience is generally poetic in nature for me!
    That is why matters I have expressed more in the poetic form than in anything else;
    Also, many matters can be compressed
    And very briefly expressed more in poetry than in other forms!

    As matters are many there is a chance to forget too, once they are written;
    However, my analyzed views, convictions and information
    Are meant for sharing with everyone.
    Essays and other forms of writing, take a long time and many pages to write
    That sickens and makes me insipid before I finish my writing;
    If it is uninteresting to me how could it be interesting for others to read it?
    So, poetry is the best form to resort to to express myself
    Whether I am in the best of mood or in the worst of mood!
    (Report) Reply

    The Poet Poet The Poet Poet (1/15/2016 10:54:00 AM)

    sir poet..
    comments should be reasonable
    but not over shadowing the main poet
    its unfair

    u must post your version elsewhere
    to show case ur own ability
    hope you will

    Dimitrios Galanis Dimitrios Galanis (1/15/2016 8:05:00 AM)

    I liked so much your analysis, dear Sir.Congratulations.

    Manonton Dalan (1/15/2016 4:18:00 AM)

    i don't write all my poems
    and there so many like me
    they just imagine, whisper,
    murmur, sing, ...or keep to

  • Paul Reed (1/15/2016 3:02:00 AM)

    This flows beautifully and with such depth of meaning...'drowned by violins'...a great phrase (Report) Reply

  • Akachukwu Lekwauwa (1/15/2016 2:59:00 AM)

    like the mountain springs, anonymous and serene...I love this line. nice piece. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (1/15/2016 2:34:00 AM)

    Poetry is a way of life! Writing along the lines of things seen around. Nice work. (Report) Reply

  • Kenneth Maswabi (1/15/2016 1:43:00 AM)

    Priceless! ! I love this poem. Thank you. (Report) Reply

  • (1/21/2009 5:09:00 PM)

    I don't think that this is neccessarily about love fading just that love at first is a lot more intense but when that initial passion passes love becomes something more not as noticable to the world but more serene, thats my interpretation for what it's worth. (Report) Reply

  • (3/7/2007 2:14:00 PM)

    I liked this poem. It's sad how loves fades indeed. I think the poet intended us to understand more than that though, no? What if the smouldering is steady? (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: poetry, silence, spring, water, sky, light, love, fire

Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 1, 2004

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