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Saturday, 3 July 2010


The Weaver of Grass is our driver this week. She gave us three challenges from which to choose. I chose her first example, an unusual occurrence. She gave a delightful instance of one that she had happened upon (if you haven't read it, pop over there now, before you forget to do so), which immediately triggered an archived one of my own. Nevertheless, I found it a difficult journey, though ultimately rewarding - anything that successfully excercises the memory banks these days brings its own reward.

A Musical Gravestone

With a friend in Brompton Cemetery,
a place of atmospheres, imaginations
riotous as tumbling headstones, Gothic
arches, bones and mausoleums, houses
for the dead - whose status symbols had lost
nothing of their daunting powers or show.
We, having gone to rub some stones, had joked
initially of folk ensconsed in houses
fit for royalty, had funked a guided
tour of catacombs, and wondered briefly:
did we see just then a curtain twitch, some
slight stirrings there behind the window glass?
And last of all, before deciding on
our tasks, had gloried in the richness there
of mini-beasts and life in all its forms.

His hands to hold the paper in its place
and mine to ply the wax heel. Slowly, soon
the texture seemed, square inch by inch square, to
evolve some sort of face - which then resolved
itself: turned features into notes of music,
settled for a score, a crumbly mix of
breve and semi-breve and crotchets quavering,
more ably realised by my friend's voice
than by the wax heel in my hand. What might
have then ensued had we not been disturbed?

Towards us on the path, a slow procession
of three men, one wearing a white apron,
the other two in dark blue dungarees.
Between the two a white wood kitchen table
on which a bird cage sat without a bird.
The man in white held out a padded stool.
We watched until they'd disapeared from view
behind a tomb with jackal-headed guards -
a mausoleum on Egyptian lines.

Haiku #192

"Pets at Home" sales up.
Twenty thousand extra tops -
England tops for dogs


Kass said...

Simply Marvelous Poem!

A musical mystery waxing clear.
Play the notes, the ground opens up
and the secrets of life are revealed. "...roses...remember...June."
I'm singing the notes.
If I don't return,
you'll know I sang it
just right.

Gwei Mui said...

Very intriguing.It is a real mystery.

Tabor said...

An unusual and delightful description of a fun find. Gravestone don't usually send forth such whimsy.

Derrick said...

Great poem, Dave. Your musical tombstone was an unusual sight in itself but the gentlemen add another dimension.

My offering is here:

Totalfeckineejit said...

What on Earth??
Great story beautifully told in this poem Dave.

Dave King said...

Note:The cemetery was one of several that formed the Victorians' answer to their over-populated local burial grounds. It is of over 16 Hectares and its residents include those who were among the richest and poorest, the famous and the nobodies of their day. As the poem indicates, there are extensive catacombs, but what it does not say is that there have been no burials there for, I think, several decades, it being now a well-kept conservation area. Certainly, when I last visited, it had lost nothing of its eerie atmosphere

That's brilliant! Thank you so much for it.

Intriguing certainly. I suspect they were using the road through the cemetery as a short cut. I might have thought a connection with the admin' block a possibility, had it not been for the empty bird cage.

Magical - if only because it moved my friend to sing!

I shall be there anon. Thanks for the commen t.

Comment much appreciated. Thanks.

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

Great blog! Are you familiar with Yvonne's World of Poetry (welcome to my world of poetry)? If not, you should check her out, you'd love her blog, by the looks of it :o)

Dave King said...

The Alliterative Allomorph
Welcome to my blog and thanks for commenting.
Thanks also for the steer.

Harlequin said...

lovely poem !
and thanks for the link to the Weaver, also a lovely blog.

and your haiku's are sublime :))