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Wednesday, 25 April 2012

My Rueful Secret


It's been the worst of interviews,
the best of them,
an interview of halves -
how many halves, I can't be sure,
why would you ask?
I've scuppered several, damned if I've not,
seen chances down the drain,
watched as the doors were slowly closing on me,
thought: I'll never be
a grammar school boy with a tassel on my cap.
(For that at least, relief!)
Almost I'd heard
the great bolts on their oaken doors
shot home. But then:

What would you like to be when you leave school?
"An architect," I'd said...
and what was that? Squeak, grate, grind, rasping sounds
as doors
were opened just a bit?
Subtle change of atmosphere...
Let's say you are... you're asked
to plan a school like this. What will you put
to benefit us all,
staff and pupils equally?

"Good heating, lighting, air conditioning..." And where
did that come from? And at that point
did I hear sounds of hinges opening?
Well, I was in - but in
with one enormous secret tucked inside my head.
I could not tell them, then or later, that
I had this plan
nursed this desire
fond dream - to build
what would have rivalled the as yet unbuilt
Museum of Bilbao
and the equally unthought of Sydney
Opera House.

My edifice I'd have
flout every rule that architects dream up.
Inverted pyramids to form inverted pyramids
all standing on their points
precariously balanced
with from them flying arabesques of aluminium
anodised in rainbow colours.

Goodbye to boring calculations,
to hell with tensile strength, sheer strength
and ratios of weight to strength,
forget those co-efficients, out of date
and such a drag on such as me;
a building built against the odds;
no chance it might support itself -
except it would,
by some amazing formula
I'd not yet found.

How could I tell those staid
and academic gentlemen
that what I'd planned-
had I told all -
my true intent,
made what I'd said
a false pretence?

13 comments:

jabblog said...

Surely they would have appreciated your imagination.
Tassels on caps - I remember those - and boys having to wear short trousers until they were in the 6th form!

Brian Miller said...

someone always hs to go first, to break the barrier of what we believe possible...and often they attribute to them madness...

Mary said...

It is hard when one has the feeling that one should keep one's dreams INSIDE one's head instead of sharing them...lest one be thought a fool.

Kat Mortensen said...

I guess that's the difference between we, mere mortals, and the true geniuses of this world; they say, "staid academia be damned" and we cower in our obeisance. Don't we?

Very thought-provoking.

Friko said...

Were you the square peg/ The swimmer against the stream?

f not, you should have been on the strength of this convincing poem alone.

Jeanne said...

And now you do, because that's what poems are.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Alluring confession and revelation, and as ever, great rhythm in the lines.

Ygraine said...

Wow! That's exactly what we need...architects like you would have been.
Forget those acedemics, let's have more visionaries...please?

Windsmoke. said...

Very thought provoking indeed especially the part about defying gravity by inverting pyramids to stand on their points :-).

Adura Ojo said...

The best ideas are usually seen as crazy to start with. That's what makes them great.

Dave King said...

jabblog
I'd like to think they would appreciate untrammelled imagination these days, but I'm not so sure they would have then. At any rate, that was the perception. I was one of the first intake of common oiks let in by the 1944 Ed. Act. They'd not seen the likes of me before, and weren't sure what they were getting.

Brian
Yup, I'm sure there were those who thought me so - but it was never proved one way or the other.

Mary
True, but it wasn't fear of being thought a fool so much as knowing how much store my parents had set by me being successful.

Kat
I did because my parents had impressed upon me so that this was the route to a better life - I know now that it was/is the route for some, but not for others. Then, it was a brand new route just opening up and all we really knew about it was what we hoped.

Friko
Yes, I think I was. In some respects, certainly. I dropped out of sixth form to go to art school, for example. The head summoned my parents to explain that it was actually all his fault, he'd made the mistake of employing an srt master who was too good at his job!

Jeanne
Good to think so... thanks.

Tommaso
Thanks for these thoughts.

Ygraine
I don't think Prince Charles would have agreed with you or liked my designs! Thanks for saying.

Windsmoke
Well, now I think I should have gone the whole hog and suspended them, but back then I was less confident.

Adura
True - and they often turn out to be quite simple.

JeannetteLS said...

I bet the geniuses who built the stuff of dreams, once had to build a furnace room or two.

This brought tears to overflow, Dave. My brother Jack and I built many a fantastical building he would label the "Mystical Castle of Michigan," or the "Colossus of Colchester, Connecticut," and the like. He was going to Create the Eighth Wonder of the World, he thought.

He became a teacher of teens with emotional problems, the refuge for the abused instead.

Your poem was wonderful. Gravity-defying dreams may feed any reality we endure, don't you think?

hyperCRYPTICal said...

Ah, you now stand the world on its head through your poetry Dave - you have found your amazing formula!

Anna :o]