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Sunday, 6 December 2009

A Glimpse of Darkness

He spoke to me of darkness, and his speech
became a psychic force. A boy, untroubled still
by any hormone rush,
I could not, not for him, not for the gifts he gave,
nor yet for threats of greater darkness,
embrace his.

His was a world of great malevolence;
unspeakable diseases, hell-hags, ogresses
and nightmares. But the evil was
the devil was all women - and even as he'd speak
they would be plotting for my downfall.
He had seen it all,

had witnessed it in war-torn Italy:
the blistered flesh of conscripts following the path
of natural desire.
He too was victim, brought his own light: introduced
me to great music, bought my first
L.P.. Beethoven.

The Appassionata. Images there are,
agendas, propositions that sit awkwardly
with art - and even art
not fully understood, draws boundaries.
The music flooded me
and set me free.

33 comments:

A Cuban In London said...

A very intriguing piece that points at a side (dark or otherwise) or ourselves we'd rather shun. The end brings clarity ('The music flooded me
and set me free'). Images of military boots and the death of innocence flashed up in my head as I read this poem.

Wonderful and touching in equal measure. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Dick said...

A fascinating piece, Dave, simultaneously direct and allusive. The troubled
mentor gave you something of inestimable value, but we wonder at that 'world of great malevolence' and of this human spirit that could accommodate great darkness alongside an awareness of great beauty. But maybe that's how it must be - a glimpse rather than a revelation.

Derrick said...

Hi Dave,

This is dark and mysterious; a frightening world for a young boy perhaps. There is beauty and liberation in music.

Dianne said...

Again, my awareness of yin/yang, and the acute awareness of beauty and love, only when able to taste the sadness, pain and hate.

..something wistful in that quicksilver time before hormones rule the mind and body.

Thanks for writing
I look forward to your page

The Weaver of Grass said...

Intriguing Dave and makes me wish to know more about the "he" in the poem.

Tabor said...

Very illusive for me. Not sure if I really got inside this darkness or really captured the boy.

Linda said...

Following your previous posts, which usually progress thematically I've noticed, I looked up Beethoven, his mother, Mondrian, his life and Simon Mawer..... mmm
There are many clues and much childhood sadness and darkness. None would account for Beethoven's Appassionata, purchased for you by maybe a close relative of yours who served in Italy?
He gave you many gifts including a love of art and literature and the music set you free, the greatest gift.
This poem you have written is a very brilliant tribute because it is a metaphor for the world inside your head.
"All the world's a stage......... thank you for sharing.

Chef E said...

Linda has some real in site going here, and I too find it fascinating how you progress in your writing a piece...I have longed for a talent to produce longer works, and am working on it in prose form...

Lovely lovely that you share these with us...

lakeviewer said...

Tasting of life involves lots of things. This is both revealing and dark. Necessary evils?

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

I feel some past experience coming back with the force of the past wanting to speak.
I particularly enjoyed the frankness of the two conclusive lines.

Kass said...

How you worked 'hormone rush' into this poem and still made it mysteriously sensual is a marvel. Beethoven's Appassionata is a driving, determined piece for me. Now I will be hearing it my head all day.

Madame DeFarge said...

Like others, I'd like to know more about the 'he' in the poem. I like the break between the second and third verse - an interesting way to do it.

Carl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Friko said...

As usual, I am the thicko;

he being a kind of Dr Faustus, perhaps? the boy won't sell his soul for the gifts on offer?
Saved by the power of good as in sublime music?

As I said, I am the thicko amongst your readers.

Karen said...

It makes me sad to think how the great power adults wield over children can be misused.

Momo Luna said...

I could not, not for him, not for the gifts he gave,
nor yet for threats of greater darkness,
embrace his.
Intense and makes me sad.
Your poem is dark, but there's also beauty in darkness. Lots of images came up in my head reading your words. And again despite the freedom from the last line i still feel sad somehow. But that;s okay.

Rachel Fenton said...

I think there must be a private message in this poem because it is broken unlike the flowing narratives of many of your other pieces and I sense only you know what is in the gap. I like the mystery of it - that you haven't placed everything before the reader - that one has to work, and is rewarded for it.

Elisabeth said...

For me, these words leap out: 'the evil was
the devil was all women - and even as he'd speak
they would be plotting for my downfall.'

The switch from he to me, makes me think of 'mother'.

Forgive me a gratuitously psychological reading. This is a powerful poem, Dave, and more so for its mystery.

Dave King said...

Cuban
Thanks for that, but definitely the death of innocence.

Dick
Yes, I suppose he was a mentor - would be, at any rate - though I have not before seen him in that light. Interesting.

Derrick
The music persisted, the darkness went.

Diane
Yes, very wistful, looked at from a certain viewpoint - though I would not go back.

Weaver of Grass
Mmm, I had it in mind for a long time to write the poem, but couldn't bring myself to it. When I did write it, it came out in a rush. Maybe I should have thought longer and worked more on it. Maybe it will need a second version.

Tabor
Which confirms me in the above thought. Thanks for the frankness.

Linda
Not a family member, a neighbour who served in Italy during the war and saw many of his comrades fall victim to the local women.

Chef E
Welcome to my blog, and many thanks for the feedback. Much appreciated.

lakeviewer
Inevitable rather than necessary?

Tommaso
Yes, you were correct in what you felt.

Kass
I agree with you, it is a driving, determined piece - and it was my introduction to Beethoven. That and the Eroica.

Madame DeFarge
Thanks for that. The feeling strengthens that there will have to be another poem or another version.

Frikoo
I think you have it almost exactly. I don't know where you got the "thicko" from! Junk it!

Karen
What was it Larkin said? Something with the F word in it, I believe...

Momo Luna
Welcome to my blog and many thanks for your contribution. There was a sadness there, and guilt feelings that I'd accepted his gifts - in all good faith - but then disappointed him.

Rachel
It wasn't meant to be private, but some things are hard to dig out. As I've said, I may yet have another go. Thanks for your kind remarks.

Dave King said...

Elisabeth
You have homed in on the lines upon which for me the poem turns. Many thanks for the generous remarks.

Carl said...

You write both dark and light topics with such grace.

Carl

Carl said...

You write both dark and light topics with such grace.

Carl

Shadow said...

it is up to us, to decide, whether we want to indulge or reject the dark side...

Raj said...

it does outcast you from being an artist.

dave would you mind if i use the poem in my profile? not blog,just the profile.

art is a very complicated thing to understand. its what shows you the world in one and doesnt allow you to see the beauty in another.

Dave King said...

Carl
All part of the same pattern, I suppose. Thanks.

Shadow
I'm not sure in what sense it is open to us to reject it. We don't have to communicate it, but can we reject it?

Raj
Hi and welcome. No objections at all.

Mariana Soffer said...

A very interesting post, very alluring text, mysterious, and dark, and at the same time hopefull. I think you are becoming a better poet.
take care
m

Carl said...

I'm not so sure I could tap into that side. Don't get me wrong some of the best poetry is about awful stuff and I am sure the writer feels better after getting it out.... Just not sure I am that brave.

CS

Jim Murdoch said...

Good piece. I was struck by the image in the final two lines: 'flooded' suggests drowning – I'm not sure if it needs to be more explicit than that. Did you know Lenin loved the Appassionata? There's an Italy connection there if you want one.

I see this as a poem about sex or am I misreading 'natural desire'? Blisters are not a common symptom of most STDs but they are of herpes. Is this why the 'devil was all women'? A young boy has gone to war, given way to passion and returned scarred in a way he might not have expected.

Jeanne said...

The poem was fascinating, but, like Friko, I'm a bit thick, so I loved reading your commenters thoughts.

JeannetteLS said...

I process poetry very simply, I think. I feel it and let those feelings rest with me--pain here, unutterable sadness, then just feeling that release, the joy at the end. Who said that joy cannot be experienced unless one has known intense pain? Anyway, This poem touched me inside where I live, so all I can say is beautiful, awful, thank you.

Harlequin said...

a moving tribute to passions, dark bright and fierce, that make life, music, poetics.... and wildness possible.

Dave King said...

Mariana
A very encouraging comment. Thank you so much for it.

Carl
It wasn't that awful. It was only later that I realised it for what it was.

Jim
I did not know that Lenin loved the A-ppassionata. Interesting that - though it does not surprise me greatly.

No, you are not misreading. He spoke of blisters, but was never specific - but then he considered that by confining himself to same-sex sex he would avoid the hell of STDs. As he told it, he had not himself picked up a dose, but he had seen others who had, and therefore had vowed to himself never to get involved with women. He tried, I think with the best of intentions, to get me to do the same.

Jeanne
I do not believe for a moment that either of you are thick. But thanks for commenting.

JeannetteLS
I think you process poetry in the way it should be processed. It must begin with feeling for the reader as for the writer. Thank you for your comments.

Harlequin
Thank you. Much appreciated.

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