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Wednesday, 9 March 2011

another secret one : The Lad Who Drew Ellipses.

for this one I am indebted both to Jim at The Truth a bout Lies and to The Writers' Island prompt: Secrets. It was Jim's comment on my original response to the prompt (for which scroll down 2 posts) which led to this poem - and do I feel a series coming on?


Ex-officer, ex-guards -
or so he'd say, although
he seemed too short to me -
but now a clerk-of-works,
his office a small shed
with panoramic view
of all the square bashing
his stalwart heart could wish.

Teased by sub-contractors -
one in particular -
whose knowledge he'd rely
upon to see him through.
The open secrecy
with which he led his life
had never helped his cause.

Each Friday he'd arrive,
small brown attache case
and polka dot bow tie,
the usual bowler hat.
Then enter "Irish Tom",
one trouser leg rolled up.
"Off out this ev'ning George?
Where's it to be tonight?"
And then he'd waddle back
and forth and slap his sides
with dead straight arms and quack.
"Quack, Georgie Boy, Quack! Quack!
And kiss the nice duck's arse!"

And George would look at me:
"Do you know how to draw
ellipses lad?" he'd ask.
"I think so, George," I'd say.
And taking tapes and DIM *
books we would go. Again
he'd look and this time say:
"I'm not allowed to tell
you lad, on pain of death!"
"I know," I'd tell him, "and
I do not need to know.
We all have secrets, George."

In truth, I never had
to draw him an ellipse.
It was a code - one known
to all - that meant: let's go!
Just something that George said.
It got me known though, as
the lad who draws ellipses.

*DIM book: Dimensions Book - a note book ruled rather like a single cash book in which we wrote our measurements and calculations.

15 comments:

jane.healy said...

Intrigued because I had recently done an Alphabet post on "Secrets", I suddenly remembered male colleagues practising their funny handshakes - as if the world wasn't full enough of Boys Only Clubs - lovely subtle response to the prompt (I had an uncle in the Guards - he is 6ft 2in - now I beleive they let them in at 5ft 10in)

Nilambur said...

Beautiful!

Jim Murdoch said...

Glad to be of assistance, Dave, and I do have to say I like the elliptical nature of this piece.

Isabel Doyle said...

anything that links poetry and engineering has to be wonderful, in my books
I particularly liked the 'small shed/with panoramic view' and the perennial one 'whose knowledge he'd rely/upon to see him through.'
One in every crowd ...

anthonynorth said...

An intriguing piece and character.

The Weaver of Grass said...

There are worse things to be known as, Dave.

TechnoBabe said...

Seems to be an understanding between the two, and they knew when to hit the road. I agree with the comment about linking poetry and engineering. Leave it to you, Dave, to write another unique piece.

Lolamouse said...

interesting and intriguing!

Cait O'Connor said...

Great narrative poem.

Cloudia said...

a true poem of life. I lift my bowler to ya!



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Raj said...

:)

Madeleine Begun Kane said...

A very intriguing story poem.

inaweblogisback said...

This man, George, is he a real person? And this Irish Tom! :)
Great poem!

Rachel Fenton said...

This reads beautifully, Dave - really zooms along - though I've enjoyed a second and third reading for pleasure.

Dave King said...

jane
This was back in the fifties - and he was definitely short to have been in the Guards! Thanks for the interesting response.

Nilambur
Thanks. Good to have you with us.

Jim
Any time, Jim. Loved the comment.

Isabel
Thanks for the visit and the comment. Indeed there is, one in every crowd.

anthonynorth
Many thanks.

The Weaver of Grass
There are - and I think I might have been known by some of them on occasions! Many thanks.

TechnoBabe
I wouldn't go so far as to say we had an understanding. I had a soft spot for him. I'm not sure how he saw me.

Lolamouse
Thanks, glad you found it so.

Cait
Thanks. Good to have you visiting.

Cloudia
Ta, do I roll my trouser leg up in return ?

Raj
Thanks for reading.

Madeleine
Good to know you found it so.

inaweblogis back
Hi! Welcome to the blog and thanks for commenting.
YHes, both are (were?) real people.

Rachel
A really encouraging comment. Thank you so much for it.