Popular Posts

Friday, 11 May 2012

defining image

Army land they'd called it.
And it was.

any piece of land
that armies had fought over.
And earkier:

a bit of common land
like any common land
seen anywhere.

And then the blocks.
Huge, concrete blocks,
as though a child

had smashed
his tower of bricks
in some

great fit of pique.
And those who chanced to see
this lost corner

of the natural world
would turn away,
muttering perhaps

about our modern lack of care.
And then the natural world
was back

and making inroads
once again,
reclaiming what was lost.

And would have gone on
doing so,
but for the car.

Stripped of all its glass.
Doors welded to their frames
The whole car

robbed of anything of use: wheels,
headlights, bonnet...
wild creatures in and out

of its blind headlamp sockets.
Only the shiny engine now
proclaimed its former owner's pride.

It seemed the final conquest!
Symbol of technology's
world dominance; of man's

now fatal love affair
with all machinery
for getting there.

But to that lost
and hopeless corner gave
the one thing that it always lacked:

distinction drawn from colour.
The change was slow,
but in the car's good time

a fierce and vivid red appeared,
smeared itself across
the two-tone greenish black

and rubbish grey
that had merged
well enough with its environment

to keep the wreck low profiled
for a while.
Then finally the rust

spread out
into the wider world
where never was bright hue before.

It was a triumph of a sort:
defining image
of our last (perhaps) obsession.

written in response to Chazinator's prompt for Meeting the Bar : Critique and Craft at http://dversepoets.com/


hannah uk said...

Rust: Last year garden pundits told us that rust was the new black: fashion for landscape gardening.
Actually, I rather like rusting bits of decaying machinery strewn around, both inside and beyond the pale.
Agree with your point that it isn't just the machines themselves that influence out lives so strongly: also the accoutrements, before and after: manufacture, fuel and disposing of the remains.

The Elephant's Child said...

I have long appreciated the colours of machinery rotting from within. Also the delicate traceries formed as the metal succumbs.
Thank you for this Dave. As always it has my imagination fired.

Brendan said...

Wendell Berry once wrote, "there are two healings: nature's and ours and nature's," meaning, I guess, that nature will heal over our sins, and invites us to participate if we care. I love how this poem engages in that work, acknowledging the terrible things that human civilization wreaks upon the world while at the same time helping us to see that in the world's vaster economy, even our waste is put to use. Fine eye to see it, supple tongue to say it. - Brendan

Marbles in My Pocket said...

it was indeed a powerful obsession, rivaled only--in my world, at any rate--by music. Both have ceased to call to me. I do have another obsession, and it is inner peace. It seems when I am obsessed by it, all else lies scattered in the road--memory lane--behind me.
Excellent write. I do believe, though, the current obsession is the gadget everyone is staring down at as they work their thumbs frantically, trying to get an appointment with their PCP so he can renew their anxiety meds prescription, and confirm the date for carpel tunnel surgery. Might as well get a new hip and/or knee while we're there.

Brian Miller said...

i wonder to what do you attribute this techno need we have now? is it just more, more , more...are our lives that dull we must enhance it..and what is next...and what will we give up in the process? you got me thinking man...

Grace said...

Deep reflections on our obsession with machinery and what happens to the rust....I appreciate this Dave ~

Charles Miller said...

This dead-end of so much that technology brings to birth reminds us that our passions must bequeath more than just desire to conquer time and space. We must also be caring of the effects of our actions on the world. Strangely, it's when nature begins to assert its presence once more, when it reclaims what once it dominion over that our human actions gain their proper perspective. This has that depth of detail that says see, simply just see. And in that seeing we see what we have wrought.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Super poem, Dave. Liked it a lot.

Anonymous said...

A wonderfdul reflection , david. Excuse my typos --I am at the airport on onw of those new gadgets that obsess us but also make our lives full In such werd ways-- such as the ability to communicate with you from an airport an ocean away. Your scene is so vivid; your touch is light but firm in terms of direct observation and reflection. A gift. K

Claudia said...

the modern lack of care is what got me most here..think def. in former times people cared more for their possesions and also for others... is it a phenomena of our time..? how will it end..? good questions you trigger with this..

Mystic_Mom said...

Very good...start to finish this is very good!

hedgewitch said...

This is as vivid a picture of the fate of our constructs--to me, a most fitting fate--as I've read. The question it seems to ask is, will this be our fate as well...it would be interesting to know, but my own instincts say we may create the very thing that finally removes us, and really, leave nothing behind even as significant as a smear of rust.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Going through decay and emerging i merging with life, transfixed...
Great work, great fist of a picture.

Mama Zen said...


Windsmoke. said...

My first thought was when i got to the rust part was the old saying Ashes to Ashes Dust to Dust but in this case its rust, very enjoyable indeed :-).

Fred Rutherford said...

The 3 line stanzas really worked great here, definitely aiding to the flow, almost mechanical. Also, by using short stanzas you extend the piece much longer than it would have otherwise have been, and in so doing it mirrors the idea of the spreading nature you reference. And the sequence you move from, casts the impression of movement, and I guess the idea of progress/regress would be in the eye of the reader- outstanding piece Dave. Thanks

Anonymous said...

i also like the originality contained in the analysis of colors of technology and the decaying colors that mirrors society decay

sonnet 40

Mark Kerstetter said...

Brendan's comment says much more eloquently what I'd like to say. But I'll echo that you have a beautiful way of painting an invitation to nature's healing with your words.

Mary said...

The rust spread out into the wider world. This can mean rust itself or be symbolic of other kinds of decay. At least that is how I take it. A thought-provoking write.

Dave King said...

Yup, rust has been used very successfully in gardens and for outdoor sculptures. It can be very effective. Thanks for your reply. (I was not able to leave a comment on your blog. I got only error messages whenI tried.)

The Elephant's Child
Yes, it's surprising - when you first realise it - what beauty lies in decay. Both natural and in our artefacts.

Hi, and welcome to my blog. Thank you so much for your kind words and interesting observations, with all of which I profoundly agree. really good to have your thoughts.

Marbles in My Pocket
I think you may be correct, that the current obsession is the gadget, though I was thinking in terms of landscape - and also suggesting that the car has been the machine - or gadget, if you will - that has, and will, define our society.

I think that for many people technology is still the white hope for The New Jerusalem. To that extent it is the new religion. It is the great good and you must go along with it for that reason alone.

Many thanks for your comment.

This is absolutely so, Charles. Thank you for voicing it. It is, as you say, when nature begins to fight back that we see what we have done and what was - and is - possible. We see the power of nature.
May it soon strike!

Thank you so much.

Dave King said...

I like it: lives full in weird ways. That expresses it precisely. Thanks for the kind words.

I think our age is characterised by a lack of care, most obviously for things and property, but also - surprisingly, perhaps - for people. A person adrift in an ocean is a signal for all shipping to divert and search, but yet there is a lack of care where one would expect it most - in hospitals and care homes, for example. (Not all, of course, but too many.)

Mystic Mom
Many thanks for saying.

It's true that your question is implicit in the poem, but even more than that, what I was trying to suggest was that we are not the captains of our fate, and that if we are - eventually - saved, it will not be by some magic of our own, but by some force of nature that happens to be beneficial.

Thanks Tommaso, your comments are always welcome.

Mama Zen
Many thanks

Many thanks for the comment.

Dave King said...

Hi! Thanks for visiting and thanks indeed for such a full and valuable critique. I thoroughly agree with your final observation that the idea of progress/regress would be in the eye of the reader. A really encouraging response. Thanks again for it.

Yes, It's pleasing to know that you picked this up and resonded to it. Thanks for saying.

That's eloquent enough for me. A really gratifying comment, much appreciated. Thank you.

Yes, indeed, you take it as I intended it - though, of course anyone is at liberty to read it as they read it. Thank you for your thoughts.