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Tuesday, 24 March 2009

from Lessons from the Life Class.

Marcus.

A doctor's widow rang the school:
Could we make use of his old skeleton?
Perhaps we could collect? (His name

is Marcus, by the way.) Fog had
gripped the common, stopping all the buses.
The long box rubbed against my leg,

yet all the weight of him was on
my shoulders as I felt the soberness
pall bearers must feel, humping him.

Quite suddenly, a face, as if
from a dark window looking out at me.
Good evening sir, what have we here?

His smiling features rearranged
themselves, faced by my whispered confidence.
Cold decency would not allow

his wish to look inside, not in
a public place... but in the privacy
of, say, his station (half way home

for me), that would be different.
We struggled with the box in his small car.
His sergeant took a different view.

No corpse this, constable, not what
you might call genuine remains... Look here,
his joints is wired together, see?

49 comments:

Dominic Rivron said...

I like the way this provokes one to think about what Marcus is and how we should see him.

(When I was a student, it was still common for medical students to have "real" skeletons, usually imported from India, apparently).

Karen said...

You make this vivid in your choice of detail:

"The long box rubbed against my leg,
yet all the weight of him was on
my shoulders..."

"Good evening sir, what have we here?"

"...but n the privacy
of, say, his station..."

Good storytelling! Perfect ending.

Barry said...

Saved by the wire!

jinksy said...

Gruesome but good...

Dave King said...

Dominic
Marcus, of course, was a real skeleton.

Karen
Thanks for that. bits of the story stand out in memory; other bits are rather hazy.

Barry
Indeed!

Jim Murdoch said...

This smacks of a different time, doesn't it? I wonder if the village bobby still exists in that way? Nicely done.

John Hayes said...

This invites re-reading-- well-done. It's interesting to me how the "is" of "his name/is Marcus, by the way" is echoed by "his joints is wired together, see?" They are both "off" in an arresting & complementary manner.

Artist Unplugged said...

Semi-darklike, but I like it! Enjoyed reading about your encounters with the famous.

Tabor said...

Thanks for visting my blog. Yours is most interesting as well. I will have to come back and re-read this post again.

Dave King said...

Jim
You are right, it does smack of a different time, a time when if the village Bobby caught you scrumping apples he'd take you home and get your parents to deal with it.

John
Interesting comment. Valid point, not deliberate - let us say, not consciously deliberate! Thanks for that.

Artist Unplugged
Semi-dark, I like. And thanks for the comment re encounters.

Dave King said...

Tabor
Welcome to my blog and thanks for leaving a comment.

MuseSwings said...

Your poetry continues to amaze me with thought provoking images and emotions.

Janie at Sounding Forth said...

I LOVE the way you "talk" and tell stories.

Storytelling is quickly becoming a lost art. Thanks for keeping it alive and well.

It's Just Me said...

popping in to see what was new. Thanks, Jules

Mairi said...

In retrospect the situation is worthy of a Monty Python skit but on first reading I have to say the chuckly at the end surprised me.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Dave I love it when you put on one of your quirky poems. I still remember Mr McTavish (hope I have remembered the name right!) and this is another one that lets us have a little glimpse into one of the amusing episodes of your life.

willow said...

What a quirky little tale! I gather this really happened? I've always been fascinted with skulls and bones. The Mutter Museum in Philadelphia has a wonderful international collection of skulls.

Renee said...

Dave, this little story was delicious. I love it. I especially love 'Cold decency'.

Love Renee xoxoxo

Derrick said...

Hi Dave,

I suppose there is a gruesomeness(!) about using a real skeleton where we non-medics are concerned. But comforting that he could be called Marcus!

The eerieness of the fog adds to the menace, which the humour dissipates.

Cecile/DreamCreateRepeat said...

Reading this poem brought all sorts of images to mind. What fun it would be to see a line drawing illustration for this! ; )

Adrian LaRoque said...

I agree with Jinksy!

Poetic Artist said...

I enjoy your words and your wisdom
Katelen

Dave King said...

Muse Swings
Thanks for those kind words.

Jane
Wow! Is that what I'm doing? Good of you to say so. I think the problem is that it has become unfashionable 0 certainly so far as poetry is concerned.

It's just me
hi, and welcome.

Mairi
Thanks for that - I think!

Weaver of Grass
I am really touched that you remember my old dominie. I'm sure he'd be touched to think he was still being talked about.

Willow
Yes, it did really happen. Truth stranger than fiction. maybe.

Renee
Welcome and many thanks for the feedback.

Derrick
I really love that analysis. Thanks for it.

Cecile Dream Create Repeat
Yes, I do agree with you there.

Adrian
I am quite happy to settle for that!

Poetic Artist
Not so sure about the wisdom, but thanks.

Dave King said...

Jinksy
My humble apologies for missing you. It was only in answering Adrian that I realised I had not read your comment. Thanks for it, and as I said to him, I am happy to settle for that. (Actually, I might ask for it as an epitaph.)

Julie said...

Fantastic poem! This stanza really jumped out at me:

"yet all the weight of him was on
my shoulders as I felt the soberness
pall bearers must feel, humping him."

The meaning is deep, but I'm also impressed with the structure and music of the words.

It's very nice to meet you and read your work.

Dave King said...

Julie
welcome, very good to have you visiting and many thanks for the thoughtful feedback.

Conda V. Douglas said...

Fun--I love this sort of story poem, with its wry wit and underneath, I sensed a bit of "as I am, so shall you be." Just enough to be a good balance of shivery and giggly.

Sarah Sofia Ganborg said...

interesting poem!
greetings from denmark, Sarah sofia

Delphine said...

hello Dave, Thanks for your tale, it made me smile, it reminded me of a tale from Dixon of Docks Green which used to be on telly years ago. There is always something diferent to see when I visit you!

Helen said...

I loved this .... your work inspires me to imagine it in other applications ... this could be a work brought to life via film. I can 'see' it in my mind's eye....

The lady in Red said...

Very nice poem. Dave, you are an artist. It is a gift! Congratulations! I will come back to read again.
Best wishes,
Rosana

Lucas said...

Very good poem. I can just see the fog, sense the lack of buses and strange judgement "not genuine remains."

Linda Sue said...

Marcus had a name! My husband has a skull for dental practice also from India, still has his hair and is treated with reverence, but no name. My life drawing teacher recieved a box from India,of bones to be put back together- every bone- for our classes. Anatomy well learned, there was more swearing than poetry involved -still no name.

Poetikat said...

I found this quite comical in a way, but then I was exposed to Monty Python as a teenager.

Kat

lakeviewer said...

Lovely story/poem. The stuff of detective stories.

ELAINE ERIG said...

Impossible not to have skeletons if you work with art. Alias I had these plastics skeletons: nerve phalanx of medical anatomy classes is always important,( in these times to buy a cadaveris is difficult. In the renaissance and impressionist times was o.k. my friend German artist has done today -- and that show was your lesson in anatomy.

ELAINE ERIG said...

and... nice poem DAVE!

Dave King said...

Conda
Yes, I think that's how it struck me at the tme: shivery and giggly. Thanks for putting it into words for me.

Sarah
Welcome and greetings in return. Thanks for visiting and for commenting.

Delphine
I remeber Dixon of Dock Green. Never missed it. Chuffed to be thought of in the same breath as Dixon!

Helen
Thanks for saying so.

Lady in Red
Many thanks for the kind words, and I return your wishes.

Lucas
Yes, it was back in the days when we had smog, real "pea soupers" as we called them. The gentleman in question made quite a few strange remarks.

Linda Sue
Why he was "Marcus" I have no idea. I wish now I had asked a few questions of the lady - I think I probably would have done had I known about the events that were to follow.

Poetikat
As was I, of course. fabulous!

Lake Viewer
Almost you give me an idea...

Elaine
As in so many fields, it is all plastic today - rather more acceptable in this, I should have thought.

SweetTalkingGuy said...

Dead good! loved the last line!!

Midlife, menopause, mistakes and random stuff... said...

You know Dave, I've been really sick taking this Chemo lately and reading your posts always cheer me up!! Thank you for the kind words that you leave me on my comment box. You're an awesomely nice gentleman. There aren't many of those left these days. Are you sure that you're not related to my Prince, lol......
Take good care and.........

Steady On
Reggie Girl

Tom Atkins said...

Poems that tell a story well and with pacing and passion are rare any more, but this does it all. A wonderful piece of work.

A Cuban In London said...

I found your poem full of mirth in a peculiar British, and more specifically, English way. It was demure and candid. I loved it. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Dave King said...

SweetTalkingGuy
I do like to finish on a high note! Thanks.

Midlife, menopause, mistakes and random stuff
Really good to know my stuff has cheered you up - I'd settle for that above anything else that might be said. Thanks - and here's hoping that you'll soon be great and not need cheering up. Thanks again. Sometimes I wonder why I blog. You've stopped me wondering for a bit.

Tom
I guess I've always been a bit unfashionable in all I've done. Thanks for the encouragement.

Cuban in London
And very many thanks for the comment. Much appreciated.

Roxana said...

love the subtle irony and the dark sense of humour. and this: His smiling features rearranged
themselves, faced by my whispered confidence.

made me somehow think of Eliot :-)

Cloudia said...

I feel enobled and amused by you, Dave. Thanks! Aloha-

frozenwell said...

hmmm!!sometimes i wonder!if a poet reads his poem and if you understand it you appreciate it(i mean in blogoloand) and what happens when you don't understand it even after reading it several times?i think i should just leave this place and not try to understand at all anymore!!but that wont serve my purpose of learning!i want to know this poem!i need your help...but i cant continue blabbering and not think of your feelings..would you feel bad at all if i say i dint follow...rather i gues it will hurt you more if i leave a FAKE 'very nice' comment!i seriously dint follow the poem..i have never commented this way..i am sorry if i have hurt you..but then "forgive them lord for they kno not what they do"..pls forgive..:)

Adrian LaRoque said...

...and let me take a few more pictures!

SarahA said...

Ha ha ha ha ha! Love your sense of humour, you.

Dave King said...

Roxana
Wow! Being compared with Eliot! That's set me up for a good long time. My thanks.

Cloudia
And thank you. Nice compliment.

Frozenwell
Welcome to my blog. No hurt, I do assure you. I collected the skeleton on my way home from art school and took it in the next day. On my way home the policeman stopped me and wanted to know what I was carrying. Does that help at all? If I haven't covered the missing bit, please let me know. good to have you aboard.

Adrian
What a good idea!

SarahA
I[m delighted to hear it - not everyone does.