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Saturday, 28 April 2012

Old Bones

Earth copies ocean
its movements never stop.
As cold and warm above
below each other move
so do the clays and loams.

Less pronounced maybe
but swellings and contractions
nonetheless. Just listen
with a stethoscope
you'll hear them taking place.

Complaints this week
from Epsom residents
that cemetery bones
were breaking through the ground
and rising into view.

Something of the same
when I was still at school:
the bartering of bones
at playtimes, I recall.
(Alas, there were no skulls!")

Swollen by rain,
beds of London clay
had buckled those of shale,
dismantled skeletons,
driven bones above

and toppled headstones.
Many there were nearby
who thought it spirit work
remembering the ground
had suffered in the blitz,

recalling too, old tales
of people buried there
who might have bones to pick
with someone still alive.
They'd not go near at night!

23 comments:

Raj said...

different. coherently different from everything i read nowadays.

the first para took me back to class ninth when we studied tectonic movements! :)

haven't been here for the longest time. humble apologies.

also the poem about dusk and dawn inspires thought!

The Elephant's Child said...

Amazing power in old bones The power to be pointed and deal death, to terrify, to educate. Much more power than many (perhaps all) had while encased in flesh.

Adura Ojo said...

Lots of intricately woven imagery - and I like the way you took an incident and explored it with fascination and intrigue. Love the word play at the end too. Those old bones might just have a bone to pick and I don't envy whoever they choose to pick 'em with!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Interesting subject matter Dave. I often think of all the soil, stones etc that we bring back from other parts of the world - either intentionally or unintentionally - all lying with our soil. But then sand from the Sahara has always blown in when the wind is in the right direction.

Kutamun said...

The earth and the sea dancing in ecstasy , great poem mate.

kaykuala said...

A brilliant run through from sea-bed to conception,birth and death. An unexpected little twist at the end, bones that appeared were bent on settling scores! Great write Dave!

Hank

Daydreamertoo said...

Fabulous. I imagine it would be kind of scary to see a load of old bones start showing up out of the ground but then, it can only take so much of a soaking before it all loosens up and...gives up the ghost eh!
Intriguing, very clever write Dave.

Brian Miller said...

oo that would be scary to see them rising after the floods...i know it happens though...an the tales of those with bones to pick...nice eerie touch you added there...

Mary said...

The idea of old bones poking their way up to the surface is creatively disconcerting!

manicddaily said...

You tell stories so beautifully and simply. A lot of fun. K.

Ygraine said...

I'm not sure why, but your wonderful poem has brought to mind,
'And many of those who sleep in the dust of the Earth shall awake,
some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.'
(Daniel 12:2)
Are we on the brink of a major consciousness shift?
Or is it down to nothing more than the Earth's natural movement?
One of life's mysteries!

David Cranmer said...

Nothing short of perfection, Dave.

Friko said...

The rain has a lot to answer for!
Digging up bones indeed.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Splendid images Dave...earth like Eliot's sea in The Dry Salvages "tossing up" our losses.

JeannetteLS said...

There is absolutely nothing from which a poem cannot blossom in your world, Dave.

And you always find a way to play with a subject or a word, if you choose.

Was I supposed to laugh in part? If not, oh well. But that's the wonder of poetry anyway. Good to start catching up with your work.

Windsmoke. said...

Brings to mind when we had floods a few years back, the fear was that all the cementaries in the bush would flood and send coffins and bones floating down stream :-).

haricot said...

Some old tales vividly came back to me... though why "ocean"?

Claudia said...

many nice touches...the listening with a stethoscope was one of my favs...and quite scary with the skeletons..in basle when there was the pest, they buried the people so close under the ground because it were so many that some of the bones came up as well after a while...ugh...

Jenny Woolf said...

As usual, a wonderful poem. I particularly like the clever reference to "bones to pick". I'd have been really pleased to have done that !

Dave King said...

Raj
Tectonics were not what I had in mind, just the gentler movements of soil - upperlayers of. I too, have been remiss in not visiting you. I return the apologies.

The Elephant's Child
Yes, never ceases to amaze.

Adura
Wise words to end your comment. Thanks for.

The Weaver of Grass
Yes, interesting thoughts flow from this mixing of soils and other remnants. Some mileage in this, perhaps.

Kutamun
Thanks. Like the image you evoke.

Hank
Yes, there were some, I remember, who thought along those lines.

Daydreamertoo
Exactly what's been happening this last week or so in Epsom, I believe. It might be surprising if we knew how often this occurs.

Brian
Thanks Brian. Eerie subject, to be sure.

Mary
No disagreements there!

manicddaily
Thanks. I have a lot of fun, too.

Ygraine
No, I think it's just the ebb and flow of soils just beneath the surface.

David
Wow. Mighty thanks!

Friko
It's probably hard at work, even as we write!

Tommaso
Yes, beautifully put.

Jeanette
Laugh. Yes, why not? There's always humour, just below the surface, I feel.

Windsmoke
Wow, that's more like cataclysmic!

haricot
Soil strata could be said to move in relation to each orher as do ocean currents - though. obviously, not to the same extent.

Claudia
Oooh, doubly scary, that!

Jenny
Thanks Jenny, much apprciated comment.

aprille said...

How else could we have played 'knucklebones' at school ;-)

Kat Mortensen said...

Ah yes! These are the sorts of notions that are spurred on when such an item becomes news.

I'm so glad you ended with a pun!

hyperCRYPTICal said...

Superb Dave, wonderfully told.

Anna :o]