The Pesky Variant Poet

Dearest friends, with the new year just round the corner, it seems a little odd not to give my 10-month-old blog a teeny bit of reviewing. Let me clichédly but sincerely begin by thanking every one of you for your encouragement, feedback, advice and faithful support over the year. Most bloggers know the trick, “you reap what you sow”, that by revelling in sprees of sowing “likes” and “follows” indiscriminately that one can quickly reap hundreds or thousands of responses in return; the practice is highly rational and fairly prevalent in the blogging community but never a proclivity of mine, because our connections and friendships are much too valuable to be watered down so carelessly. I’d rather let the organic growth do the dancing while focusing on establishing quality interactions with you.

Without further ado, here’s my review: On the quantitative, yours truly wrote 74 independent works plus a few tandem pieces – approximately one entry every four days. To a father of three with a full-time job, that’s the rate of a fairly indulged hobby, but, thank heavens, still healthily shy of an addiction’s. On the qualitative, I witnessed my own growth from a novice too nervous of giving away his personality and of committing mistakes to one who has reined in his self in all its vulnerability and inexperience, as well as from shifting the creative focus from mimicking techniques and developing styles to simply explore in poetry and listen to the heart.

The late designer Charles Eames said, “The extent to which you have a design style is the extent to which you have not solved the design problem.” Perhaps the same can much apply to a poet’s style and the poetry problem from which it emerges. The purpose of poetry, now that I’ve realised, is more than the connection between the poet and the reader, but also fundamentally a pathway for the poet’s conscious to resolve the unconscious – whether the struggle is loneliness, moral conflict, doubt, guilt, indignation, discontent, fear … or even, to some frivolous expressions, just plain boredom.

An agamid I recently spotted in the alley.

The featured image today is a photo I took from the bushy alley which I traverse every work day back and forth the dormitory and the office. In this untroubled pocket of nature between the workshop and the factory’s periphery, with the machinery humming incessantly on one side and the street traffic racketing on the other, I’m greeted by a refreshing sight of verdancy and a rich diversity of birds, reptiles and insects, apart from Robbie, of course, our head of security, the nine-year-old German Shepherd. During my cosy two-minute commute, depending on the time and direction, my mind either prepares itself for the day’s agenda or winds down from it, and therefore also making the bushy alley a creative sanctuary where I frequently cross path with my muses too.

Much like the design problem to Eames, the thematic statements to a filmmaker or the holy grail of beauty to an artist, every poet must ask himself/herself the same question. Here, the bushy alley becomes my answer in a nutshell: The connection of my private self (the dormitory) with its public counterpart (the office) that runs parallel with my internal struggles (the sweatshop) and external ones (the street), at the same time enclosed by present reality (the factory job) but on the lookout for future possibilities (whatever beyond the wrought iron fence) is the perfect snapshot of what my poetry means to me.

“Most people ignore most poetry because most poetry ignores most people.” Although the famous Adrian Mitchell’s quote seems poetically sound and appeals to many, I don’t exactly agree with it: Logically speaking, be it a preacher or a poet, even one as sagacious as St Paul cannot be “all things to all men” all the time. In the contrary, I believe what first and foremost a poet shouldn’t ignore is rather his/her own soul, because only poetry that is true to one’s heart has the potential to resonate in another’s – and, as I imagine, amongst no more than a handful of neighbouring pigeonholes (well, at least, St Paul couldn’t have naturally preached to a Chinese). With this in mind, not to dismiss the value of friendly pointers and constructive criticisms altogether, but like what I stated at my blog’s opening, I do not and shall not see it as a poet’s duty to stand answerable to expectations and critiques. I confess my works are often amateur and not pleasingly eloquent, whereas the trickle of following doesn’t ever multiply overnight (oh, you wish!); but, heck, I’m proud of having poured out my thoughts and emotions into mostly meaningful and sometimes melodious patterns of words … and I’m having fun with it!

Surely, if I ditch the bushy alley, I can walk through the sweatshop, or I can walk round the periphery; but, what’s the fun in that? So, even if my poetry will remain peskily baffling to some friends and family, I hope it will continue to stay true to my heart in the coming year. (Cheers to that, would you?)

That’s it from me, friends. Till then; many blessings to you and your family in 2018!  🙂


Colin Lee


15 thoughts on “The Pesky Variant Poet

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  1. Cheers! Refreshing writing and generous in giving of Colin to all who value both the poet and his poetry. Might I add that I love the photos?! It is in overgreen spots like that one that my muse dwells, as well. Also, that charming face hiding in the leaves brought a smile. Happy and Prosperous 2018 to you, my kindred friend. Jilly

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Kindred friend”, so well ascribed! Every time your name pops up brings a hearty smile to my face. I so look forward to journeying in the new year alongside yourself. I cannot thank you enough, Jilly, and you know well what I mean. Have a blessed 2018 with your loved ones too! See you next year (soon)!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well written and taken to heart, my friend. No more criticism from me… just enjoyment of reading. (Advice is always available on request, but I shall not assume the mantle presumptuously.) Peace and prosperity to you in 2018!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, don’t say that, Grandmaster Charley! You’re definitely one of my most admired mentors in this space; so, on the contrary, please be generous with your advice and keep the wisdom pouring down on this helpless chap. What would I have done without you, sir? Many blessings to you and your family. Happy 2018!!


      1. I am honored, but hardly worthy, to be called such. We are peers, Sir! When I open my mouth – figuratively-speaking – to offer advice, it comes from me the reader as often as from me the writer. I selfishly want more.

        You venerate your elders, as you should. You denigrate you, and the situation you find yourself in – the obstacles you face. Don’t! We read and know. We suffer through you, for you and yours.

        If I am Grandmaster, then you also must wear this fiercesome crown! Let us instead wear “brother” and “friend”!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Such comfort in reading your word, which reads like a family letter. And what honour it is to be called your friend! Thank you, (big) brother … for watching me. Lol


    1. You have no idea how much you have inspired me, nosaint. Thank you for crossing path with me and for your tireless compassion for others. You’re a very beautiful person. Happy New Year to you too, my friend! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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