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Friday, 22 January 2010

When I Die...

When I die
I shall be sure to vet the next place
more comprehensively
than ever I did this.
I shall be asking searching questions,
have no fear -
questions I shall put
both to the nobs,
those propping up the golden gates
or twanging squeaky tunes,
and to the plebs',
the wingless people in the street. I shall
be wanting some straight answers,
will not be easily put off.
These post-code lotteries, for inst...
Do you have any truck with those?

That's just to limber up, of course;
relax them; get them off their guard
before I hits them with the likes of:
Is life as fugitive as ever was?
Does brevity retain its status as the breath of life?
And are we still immortal souls
attached to dying animals - or is
this really our eternal rest?
Or maybe we don't qualify?
This rest perhaps is really for the rest?

I let them get away with murder, coming here,
didn't ask them one damn thing.
I'll not be making that mistake again!

And whose in charge here?
And how does she get chosen?
Your politicians: are they fools or knaves?
And are there those who say
exactly what their masters mean?
Or do they all have twin remote controls
quite separate for actions and for words?

How many would you say -
in rough percentage terms -
are out to change the world?
And why? What axes are they out to grind?
(And by "the world" I mean
whatever has replaced the one we knew on earth.)

Religion now... our brains,
do they still need their daily dose?
Is knowledge still a mist that clings?
Or is it possible to live in truth that sets us free?
And scientists...
are they quite safely fenced off from the farms,
and from the warrior-breed, confined in studio and playroom
where they can do some good and little harm -
and given the free run of hospitals and medical research?

And all those T.V channels that you have...
are they set up to cater for all tastes?
Or do all fifty thousand of them harp
on from the latest hymn sheets on the streets?

And shops now, what of them? Are all the goods
so sealed and packaged that you cannot see
in detail what you buy? Or can you see right through them -
like I forgot to, coming here!

I've heard it said that here the more you spend
your riches, the richer you become -
so how does that trick work out in the end?

The vicar says I'm flogging a dead horse,
there is no point to asking all these questions,
that there are no alternatives, I cannot turn it down,
there's simply nowhere else to go!
Funny sort of Heaven that: Take it or leave it, eh?
Of course, you might expect it from the other place...but, no,
not here... Good God!



Haiku #22
One photograph, one story
Tiger Woods in all the papers -
all claiming an exclusive.

26 comments:

Bagman and Butler said...

What a challenging, thoughtful, insightful, rhythmic poem.

And what a funny haiku!

Karen said...

I love this -- the tone, the details, the ending -- all! You have a wonderful sense of humor!

Rachel Fox said...

Yes, I really enjoyed it too. Get someone to record/video you reading it maybe?
x

Derrick said...

Hi Dave,

And will you let us know your findings?! I like your certainty that there's a Boss Woman and your reference to the twin remote controls.

Renee said...

Boy Dave was I ever into this. Of course when we look at death often it is very interesting to see these kinds of questions and this kind of thought.

Love Renee xoxo

steven said...

dave - i laughed my way through this - it's got such a ring of "what if" about it - what if we could research the next step and make decisions as if we were buying a house?!!! great poem dave, thanks. steven

willow said...

This would give Wallace Stevens a good chuckle, Dave! Delightful!

Tabor said...

Smiling at the Haiku. Really liked the poem, especially at the end where the real edgy questions came.

Kass said...

As one of the wingless people in the street,
I commend you for at least seeing me and addressing me with so much provocation. Nice yank on the Tiger Tale.

Jim Murdoch said...

A nice monologue. Not that I'm into reading poetry aloud but I think this would perform well. I especially liked the image of the twin remote controls. And, of course, as with all the best poetry you state the blinkin' obvious and make us think we're hearing it for the very first time. Good job.

jinksy said...

Good Heavens?! LOL :)

Bee said...

This is really, really good. I can't imagine that anyone could read it without a wry grin. Just my opinion, of course, (and I know it is awful to cut one's words), but I think it could end after the third stanza.

As for Tiger Woods, I just read an "exclusive" (complete with Annie Leibowitz photo shoot) in Vanity Fair. Urgh.

PATERIKA HENGREAVES, Poet Laureate said...

In this poem I see the social, political and ethical issues of the day dripping from its imagery walls; poignant questions being raised as well with emotiive language begging for honest answers. Quite a soul-searching poem with a delightful cadence making the reading of it most enjoyable.

I like how the shenanigans of the free press are exposed in this delightful haiku-like poem.

Thank you very much for sharing your creations.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I like the way you slipped in that sneaky "she" in charge Dave - or did I misread it?

DUTA said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a very interesting comment.

Your poem, made up of searching questions relating to every walk of life (politics, religion, science, Media, etc...) looks very dramatic and powerful. I've greatly enjoyed reading it.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

A poem to be read and re-read with pregnant,provocative, challenging and hearty questions. Your poetry has got ever changing ways and waves Dave.
And the haiku at the end, the one I most enjoyed so far.

Totalfeckineejit said...

The 'She' in charge, please tell me it isn't Maggie T, that would be hell, or maybe 'twas supposed to be? :)

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

Of course you are flogging a dead horse, man made heaven, or at least the idea of it; so how can it be any different from earth.
Love the haiku.

Rachel Fenton said...

But what if you don't believe in heaven? Then there can be no - well - what is this place we inhabit and why are we all so keen to find something better? Another question to add to your list, Dave. I think you should post a recording of it, it should be read out loud. You are not afraid to rattle a few cages, Dave, I like that - it's not about annoying, it's about getting a better look I feel.

JeannetteLS said...

THANK you for this poem. Smiling all the way through. NOW I can go to bed. I do love your blog.

Dave King said...

Bagman and Butler
Much appreciated - but funny?!

Karen
Thanks Karen

Rachel
I appreciate the suggestion, but not sure...

Derrick
To quote (maybe misquote) my friend Eliot:
I am Lazarus come from the dead,
I have come back to tell you all,
I will tell you all.

Renee
I find death itself interesting - at my age you have to.

steven
Exactly! It is my UNDYING belief that we ought to be able to do just that!

willow
Wow, that's not just high praise, that's stratospheric!

Tabor
Mmm, I suspect that is where they will come - at the end. Thanks.

Kass
Me wingless, too! I seed you from a long way orf!

Jim
Mmm.. Do you know, I hadn't thought of it as a monologue, but I do think you may be right about that. As usual, you see right through me - which gives a moment of trepidation for my next offering!
I have to confess that I was quite pleased with the twin remotes.

Jinksy
And the devil take the hindmost!

Bee
Thanks for that. I shall give it serious thought.
It's going to take a lot to rehabilitate the tiger, I think.

PATERIKA
Very many thanks for those observations. Most reassuring.

The Weaver of Grass
No, you didn't misread it - it was quite intentional.

DUTA
Welcome to the blog. Many thanks for stopping by to comment.

Tommaso
Many thanks for the feedback. Useful as always.

Totalfeckineejit
Definitely N OT M.T.! ... unless it was hell, of course! Wish I'd thought of that!

Friko
You right, so cussedly right, of course! Thank heaven for the Haiku - two chances to please...

Rachel F
I began the poem with no intention of getting involved in the Heaven / Hell thing, but it's such a whirlpool, I just got pulled in. I think Friko is right, no chance of creating a new existence or a new sphere for it. Me no got good voice!

JeanetteLS
That is a very gracious comment. My thanks to you for it.

Dick said...

Now, these are really important questions, Dave, and with you having the odd year on me, I'm relying on you to feed back the answers as and when!

A delightful poem that demonstrates par excellence how the comic poetic form can address the crucial issues as effectively as the sober and serious. Arguably, more so.

J. C. said...

Dave, I truly appreciate this one. A couple of metaphors that aren't really metaphors have really stricken me. Thanks.

Dave King said...

Dick
Many thanks for those most generous word, Dick. I shall certainly do my best to give you the low down!

Dave King said...

JC
The sort of thin g you come to expect on my blog. Hope you recover soon.