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Wednesday, 16 November 2011

The Execution Block

First woodwork lesson in my new school.
Mr Woodiwiss - apt name! - is asking
What would you would like to make?
An execution block,
I say.

(The block is for my Uncle Bill.)

Reputation would suggest
sir should roar displeasure,
vault the bench perhaps,
throw something my direction.

Instead
he does not even take exception,
sits talking ways and means with me.

A word of explanation:
why an execution block for Uncle Bill?

To help him with his Christmas role:
The Lord High Executioner of Turkeys on the lawn.

And he comes THIS close to using it
(My thumb and forefinger
all but touch. I hold them up.)

Dark night. The only light
streams from the bathroom window.
The turkey's neck is on the block,
the hatchet raised
the light goes out.

The pitch-dark night
turns lighter shades of blue
as Uncle's language spills into it.

But Uncle Bill's performance
compensates
for sir's
more disappointing one.

22 comments:

Windsmoke. said...

Very spooky imagery indeed :-).

Titus said...

Liked that - especially the story-telling with light, but deft, brush-strokes.

Leatherdykeuk said...

What a splendid story,beautifully told

haricot said...

Beautiful Chrismas present, the block and the dream of a boy. And the reality for him...

Jenny Woolf said...

Oh, I wonder why sir was disappointing, he sat and listened didn't he? I think that's called "entering into the child's world" isn't it. :D

anthonynorth said...

An excellent tale, perfectly chopped and minimalist.

Arnab Majumdar said...

That was a macabre tale, quick and painless... well, almost.

Cheers,
Arnab Majumdar
ScribbleFest.com

Mary said...

This tale gave me the chills. I don't like to think too much about what turkeys endure!

elizabeth said...

Splendid stuff.
I thought at first that your uncle had wronged you.....
What an apt name for your teacher.

Love the look of your blog --haven't visited for a while.

Sarah Laurence said...

Funny about the teacher's name - I wonder if that pushed him towards his vocation.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Grisly Dave but at least it is a turkey not a human!

Friko said...

I think this is very funny, am I the only one?

I also think the Magpie funny; do you think I have a warped sense of humour?



PS: I can read your blog with ease now.

Rachel Fenton said...

You are such a great story-teller in your poetry, Dave. Really enjoyable - and the details! Loved the use of parentheses, too.

Brian Miller said...

i have watched the chickens neck wrung...def dont think i could work in a turkey factory...nice story telling man...

Cloudia said...

Sir was having you on, Dave



Aloha from Honolulu

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Cloudia said...

calling your bluff, as it were.
thanks for sharing your holiday memory


Aloha from Honolulu

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Cait O'Connor said...

Great Christmas poem :-)

Lydia Kang said...

Very entertaining! I love the ending.

Madeleine Begun Kane said...

LOL! Very funny!

Dave King said...

Windsmoke
All true. Didn't seem spooky at the time, but I can see why you might think that.

Titus
Thanks. Very satisfying to hear that.

Leatherdykeuk
Also very satisfying to hear. Much thanks.

haricot
Not sure Uncle Bill fully appreciated it all!

Jenny
Well, the choice of the block was made partly with Uncle Bill in mind, and partly - mayb e mostly - to get a reaction from Mr Woodiwiss, which in the event didn't materialise. Uncle Bill obliged in lieu of, though!

anthonynorth
Thank you, a very pleasing comment.

Arnab
Almost quick, or almost painless? Thanks for commenting.

Mary
Point taken. It didn't bother me back then, though.

Elizabeth
Yes, I must admit that it was a deliberately bum clue I left at the beginning of the poem.

Sarah
Yes, I often wonder that when I come across apt names - and that does seem to happen very frequently. The best one I ever came across was a large houe near where we used to live. It had a brass plate on the gate.
Mr Pulman : Gynaecologist
Mr Wombwell : Dentist
At the end of my first year, though, Mr Woodiwiss dropped woodwork and worked exclusively in plastics, so I don't know what we could make of that.

The Weaver of Grass
True. Thank the Lord for small mercies!

Friko
No, there's me. I thought it funny. It's worn a bit thin for me now, though. Cheering to hear that you find it so.

Rachel
Many thanks for this. Very kind of you to say so.

Brian
I'm with you, there. I certainly couldn't do it. I don't think any of my immediate family could have, which is why Uncle Bill (great Uncle, in point of fact) was conscripted, I guess.

Cloudia
Yup, guess so, but then I was trying to have him on!

Cait
Yeah, I maybe should have kept it for Christmas.

Lydia
Hi. Welcome to the blog. Thank you for your comment. Good to gear you liked it.

Madeleine
Thank you for saying so. Good to hear.

ds said...

Great story--love the blue night and blue language!

Dave King said...

ds
Thank you for saying so specifically. Much appreciated.