Popular Posts

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Rhythms of the Night

I know the sound - or part of it - of old:
whisssstle-thwoom-pa (pause) whisssstle-thwoom-pa (pause)...
But this is more disturbing than I've known.

My father's practice swings beside the tee,
his driver sending shock waves through the air.
whissstle-thwummmm then silence from the follow-through.

But this is more persistent, rhythmic, more
the sound a scythe might make. A cutting down.
Grim Reapers spring to mind from story books.

If this was South America, you'd think
of gauchos whirling bolas round their heads
and listen for the crash the balls would cause.

But three nights on the trot with little sleep,
a reaper in the skies above our house -
though grim or not, depending on your view.

Even in the silences the ears strain
for the barely audible first sound,
the distant whistle of its slow return.

Spot on as Haley's Comet it returns
It is the major rhythm now, has drowned
out all those minor ones, like heart and sleep.

And so you notice as it fades again
a change to deeper tones of thwoooom-pa (pause).
It's cops in choppers reaping close to us.

This poem was written in response to dVerse Poet's Pub prompt to write a piece of onomatopoeic poetry, something of which, unwisely perhaps, I have always fought shy in the past. I know some of the greats have used it with outstanding success, but then the greats can do anything. What about us more humble mortals, though? I'd really love to hear what you guys think.

20 comments:

Claudia said...

smiles..i think you're one of the humble mortals who used this really well..much enjoyed your sounds and rhythms of night david...and love the comparison with the south american gauchos whirling bolas..added another dimension to it..nice

Rachel Cotterill said...

I like it, especially all the hints at other possible sources of similar sounds :)

vivinfrance said...

Amazing onomatopoeia - it makes for an exciting poem. Though there is much more to 'sound' words than boom and thwack. There are some beautiful ones like sussuration - so much fun to play with in poetry.

Ygraine said...

I think you have equalled the Greats with ease!
This flows effortlessly, is wonderfully evocative and kept me engrossed until the final word :)

oceangirl said...

I enjoyed it, felt like swinging. I have not even heard of onomato, but my poem that I wrote right just before the challenge seemed to fit. Well, I hope so :)

Brian Miller said...

ah i just think you are being humble as this was so well done dave...you capture the sounds well....

Steve King said...

This is a very finished and polished work. It's filled with a variety of images that tie to the sound, which keeps the reader tied in. The flow is excellent. Very nice poem.

Laurie Kolp said...

Awesome, David... and I agree with Claudia about the gauchos.

Carl said...

Well Done. Sometimes you need the make the sound of a word that does not exist to bring the reader (or listener) right into the frame. I will think of this poem whenever I am on the practice tee.

Rohit Singh said...

Really liked it..the sound words,the visual imagery built up...fascinating.
Humble mortals have to pay a price!:)

ds said...

Bravo! I like the conjured memories, the gauchos, and the way you use the sounds to connect all these (seemingly) disparate images. Exactly the way the mind runs. You are no "mere mortal."

Mary said...

You have nothing to fear in writing onomatopoeia, David. Nicely executed!

zongrik said...

i like how you used the sounds


bumble bee

Sheila Moore said...

intriguing use of sounds and ideas. The mystery to this is a great compliment to sounds that could be so many things. I think you did a great job - no need to shy away from onomatopoeia any longer :)

magicinthebackyard said...

you are a magician with words! beautiful pen!

manicddaily said...

Wonderful jumps and whirs here. I also shy from onomatopoeia plus i live in a place where helicopters are frequently attendant, so know how you feel. Your grim reaper comparison is wonderfully apt and so great to flor from the golf swing. K.

Windsmoke. said...

My first thought that it was a helicopter after reading the first stanza reason being i live near a airport where police and rescue helicopters are stationed and fly by now and then :-).

Mama Zen said...

I think that you did a great job with it!

Heaven said...

I like the sounds Dave. I can hear the practice swings, and twirling of the choppers reaping closing in ~

This is very well done ~

Dave King said...

Claudia
Nice reassurance, much appreciated. Thanks.

Rachel
Thank you. Helpful comment.

vivinfrance
Absolutely, but in choosing such a perfect example, you put your finger on one cause of my reluctance: the fear (I suppose it is) that looking for the onomatopoeic word will replace the more important instinct to feel for the right word. Appreciate the comment.

Ygraine
Thank you so much for these kind words.

Oceangirl
I am sure so. Shall be along to see. Thanks.

Brian
I'm always humble - did you not know? Thanks for the comment.

Steve
Hi, and welcome. Many thanks for visiting and for this much appreciated comment.

Laurie
Thanks very much.

Carl
I thought for a moment you were going to say whenever I whirl my bolas! Thanks Carl.

Rohit
Thanks for the compliments. I do like your last sentence!

ds
Ah, if only that wer so! But thanks anyway.

Mary
Another very helpful comment, for which much thanks.

zongrik
My thanks to you for saying so.

Sheila
Your feedback is much appreciated. Thanks.

magicinthebackyard
Hi, A warm welcom to you and my thanks for your comment.

manicddaily
Great feedback. Thank you for it. We, too, live near a helicopter station, but they seem to fly only during the day. It's the police helicpter that is more usually (though not frequently, to be truthful) around at night.

Windsmoke
Well spotted, then. Thanks for saying.

Mama Zen
Thank you. Much appreciated.

Heaven
That's really good to hear. Thank you.