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Friday, 14 October 2011

A World in Passing.

A response to a prompt bydVERSE Poets for a poem modelled on one by an established poet. I have chosen Ted Hughs's Conjuring in Heaven

Children's chalk games on the square,
squares within a larger square,
and in the squares are icons drawn -
though mostly scribbled out in blue
where two dead zebras white on black
in passing have been spared.
(The rain has washed out Africa.)
Close by, a circle,
top half sun with earth beneath,
the two at the equator met. All this to show
the two can live
in harmony?
that neither is a threat?
Pie in the sky while all the trees
burn merrily. Their leaves,
like insects, cover earth.

Then look again
where two white suns
collide in space
and ask of us, "Can earth survive?"
Incredibly, impossibly
they've chalked blue numbers on them all.
What do they do,
these children, skip
from one disaster to the next?

They've left some pieces on the ground...
personal belongings
scattered round
like tokens on a board:

a plastic man

theatre plan

a recipe for fish
beneath a stone for paperweight
beside the cataleptic beasts.



Conjuring in Heaven

So finally there was nothing.
It was put inside nothing.
Nothing was added to it
And to prove it didn't exist
Squashed flat as nothing with nothing.

Chopped up with nothing
Shaken in a nothing
Turned completely inside out
And scattered over nothing -
So everybody saw that it was nothing
And that nothing more could be done with it

And so it was dropped. Prolonged applause in Heaven.

It hit the ground and broke open -
There lay Crow - cataleptic.

25 comments:

Gerry Snape said...

I listened to the Ted Hughes poem and then went back in to read your take on the subject. I find your's very moving...the rain has washed out Africa...I could just hear one of my grandchildren say this in all innocence. Also the line ...these children skip from one disaster to the next...and I ask myself who the children are? children of earth I think.
Of course the Ted Hughes is brilliant although if I'm honest I sometimes find him obscure! Oh dear is that sacrilege!

jabblog said...

I liked the line 'The rain has washed out Africa' - very evocative, very frightening.

ArtistUnplugged said...

Must concur the line "the rain has washed out Africa" is a a real grabber. Love your words though...nothing but praise for them.

Brian Miller said...

there are several great lines in this and well played against hughes...

Pie in the sky while all the trees
burn merrily. Their leaves,
like insects, cover earth.

this was very visual to me and i appreciate that....nicely done...

Pearl said...

I come here to think, Dave, and you never disappoint...

Pearl

Brendan said...

A fine response poem - you take Hughe's conceit and use it to fashion an alternate universe to "Conjuring in Heaven," conjuring an earth where alternate possibilities -- something and nothing - lay side by side. Crow's negating heaven can only smack the pavement -- affirming nothing -- while we have a choice of haven or heaven, something to set "beside the cataleptic beasts." Fine poem. - Brendan

sunny said...

Hi Mr dave,this poem is really good,i enjoyed each and every line,make sense.

kaykuala said...

A very clever way of response, Dave! It matched very well the destruction portrayed. Great poem!

Hank

Mary said...

You have outdone yourself with this one, Dave. So much thought, depth....and in the end the "nothing."

Claudia said...

great start with the children's chalk games - then the switch to the equator - even into space, showing us the bigger picture and then we are back with the kids on the street but everything has changed...great write..

Suzy Q said...

"a plastic man

theatre plan

a recipe for fish
beneath a stone for paperweight
beside the cataleptic beasts."

I love the way the ending slows pausing to survey the random debris, and that poignant last image!

Rallentanda said...

'These children skip from one disaster to the next'
He's good that Ted Hughes!
A very interesting poem, Dave.

Aida Bode said...

Dave, the way you've put together nothingness with children is really touching and provokes one's awareness in a new level. I remember my chalk games and this poem gives them a new meaning. Thank you.

seasideauthor said...

Hughs' is vague, your write is packed full of meaning and subject matter,children's games and proverbial; pie in the sky, great metaphor, up to 'crow' since, Hughs title gives it to the reader where yours does not. You have to think it as you read. Very good writing!

wolfsrosebud said...

as if the children had some control... interesting viewpoint

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

I was correcting and putting in my blog a poem on children and some applause too... and now I have just read this double "surprise" of yours.
Another stunning feat.

Mama Zen said...

Amazing write. I really enjoyed this.

"What do they do,
these children, skip
from one disaster to the next?"

Fantastic.

Mr Lonely said...

walking here with a smile. take care.. have a nice day ~ =D

Regards,
http://www.lonelyreload.com (A Growing Teenager Diary) ..

Windsmoke. said...

I found the imagery very vivid indeed and the line "The rain has washed out Africa" haunting :-).

Victoria said...

I also preferred yours...your details just make it sing. Wonderful response. Thanks so much.

Mark Kerstetter said...

On Hughes - so this is a Crow poem then; I've been wanting to read those for a long time.

I like the two side-by-side. The all-important difference is orientation or attitude: is the universe friendly or not? It's not for Crow. But if we could see through a child's eyes.... Really provocative contrast, Dave.

Andy Sewina said...

Hi Dave, Wonderful work! It's always a joy to see what you're up to.

Raj said...

love the new template.

did lose myself here and there but the parts i did manage to understand deserve appreciation.

especially the nothingness of nothing and nothing arithmetic.

Dave King said...

Gerry
Many thanks for the response.
Earth children of a sort, those who were responsible for the chalking. I assumed they were children and assumed the chalking was some sort of imaginative game as it had numbers a bit like hopscotch. Basically, though, the poem is my interpretation - which could be miles off.

I think Ted Hughes is sometimes ovscure. For me his brilliance is in his nature poetry.

jabblog
I felt that. It was just a statement of what had actually happened. It seemed like it had some sort of significance, though.

ArtistUnplugged
Thank you so much.

Brian
Thanks. The poem was just a description of a piece of child art, so making it visual - which is a naturl preference for me - was almost automatic.

Pearl
I take that as a great compliment. Thank you very much.

Brendan
A very warm welcome to the blog. Thank you so much for your very satisfying reply. You have read it much as I tried to write it, which is most encouraging. I am grateful to you for taking the time out to reply.

sunny
Thank you sunny. Good to know you liked it.

kaykuala
Thank you for another helpful comment. Always good to have your thoughts.

Mary
Yes - which is how I read the Hughes poem, of course. Thanks for saying how you found it.

Claudia
Thank you for this, a most encouraging critique. One aspect I may not have made clear, though: the world/sun sphere was part of the children's chalking. I hope that doesn't take anything from it for you. Thanks again.

Suzy Q
Hi Suzy, welcome. Good to have you visiting.

Thank you for your very perceptive response. Much appreciated.

Rallentanda
He is indeed! Thanks for the comment.

Aida Bode
Hi Aida, a warm welcome and my thanks for both visit and comments. The way you associate it with your own chalk games I find most moving.

seasideauthor
Your critique is so thrilling for me to read. I do thank you very much for it.

wolfsrosebud
Hi. Good to have you visiting. Thank you for your response.

Tommaso
Ye olde webbe's synchronicity strikes again! Thanks for the word.

Mama Zen
Good to know you liked it - and especially those particular lines. Thank you for saying.

Mr Lonely
Thank you for your visit, your comment - and you good wishes. Mine also to yourself.

Windsmoke
Thank you. Your comments are always most helpful.

Victoria
Wow, this will go to my head, if I am not careful! N ot just compared to Hughes... preferred? Thanks muchly.

Mark
Really, many thanks for this, Mark. You raise the crucial question, I think. There was obviously much doom and gloom and even angst in the children's chalking, but there were symbols of hope and even fun as well. Difficult to read anything conclusive, though. What would have been interesting would have been if they had been around to talk to them about it.

Andy
And a great joy for me to receive comments like this, of course. Thank you.

Raj
Glad you like the format.

Thanks for saying. Sorry you lost yourself, but it happens to us all at times. Much appreciate you saying.

The Noiseless Cuckooclock said...

dancing words.
reflective thoughts.

you truly spent time on it, well done.