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Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Dead to the World


The always-locked gate swinging wide.
And, unattended for a while,
small Eleanor is drawn towards
the path beyond, the song of birds,
the scent of flowers beckoning.
A whole new world to toddle in.

Eleanor loves red hot pokers,
the adults said when they returned -
and made for them, to start the search.
By the beds. Along the borders.
Among the trees and in the pond.
Not one discovered trace of her.

Back to the house to summon help,
and there, beside the open gate,
Eleanor stretched out, her hands and
face mud-covered, scratched; her white dress
faintly smeared with blood; both feet bare,
and she, dead to the world - asleep.
..............................................
I went to Imaginary Garden with Real Toads to post a poem to their Open Link Monday. Instead, their image of an open gate with a garden beyond suggested the above poem.

19 comments:

Tabor said...

My goodness, I was hoping for a happy ending.

aprille said...

Pleasant story, Dave.
The way toddlers go exploring always intrigues me. We lose that ability to treat the world with faith and trust, and even to certain extent: curiosity.

Brian Miller said...

i rather hope dead to the world is just an expression but you have framed it well with your description that it could be other wise or perhaps the blood is just a scratch from too much fun...smiles..

Heaven said...

I hope she is just sleeping, tired and overwhelmed of the experience ~

Great to see you Dave ~

Mary said...

I am confused by the ending...if she is simply sleeping, why the blood? Methinks it is a tragic ending. Very sad indeed.

Old Ollie said...

Well done - you had me hooked from the first image of the gate.

Daydreamertoo said...

They are missing your last word... asleep. LOL
She'd obviously strayed away too far on her adventure and come a cropper in some dirt and mud and gotten herself scratched too. Young and tired out she fell asleep.
Typical little child. Lovely tale Dave. :)

Laurie Kolp said...

This was unexpected... I echo everyone else's hope for a nap rather that the alternative.

kaykuala said...

Dead to the world but very much alive and asleep. She must have gone through some trying times, but lucky to be alive. Nicely done Dave!

Hank

hyperCRYPTICal said...

Superb Dave - and love the happy ending.

Didn't realise 'dead to the world' was confined to these shores.

Anna :o]

vivinfrance said...

This is charming.

The Elephant's Child said...

And this poem encapsulates the start of so many of my cherished fairy tales, myths, speculative fiction.
Thank you Dave. I loved it.
Has she been to fairy land? Will she be able to say? For how long will she sleep? Who can wake her? Is she unchanged by the experience?

flipside records said...

This is SO good. My favorite part is:

"small Eleanor is drawn towards
the path beyond, the song of birds"

We all need to get muddy and bloody to get good sleep. It's the only way we ever have any fun. I'm glad she was able to sneak off by herself and get into some trouble. :)

Carl said...

What a great one. I was a bundle of nerves from the get go.

Susie Clevenger said...

I will choose to believe "dead to the world" was a sound sleep from too much exploring. Fantastic story!

Dave King said...

Explanatory Note

I was brought up with the phrase Dead to the world meaning in a deep sleep. Dad would say: Not too much noise now, your brother's dead to the world. It went with (Time to) climb the wooden hill, meaning upstairs to bed.

I realised, of course, that it was ambiguous having a double meaning, but thought that the innocent meaning would be well known.

The story was suggested by an incident in which a local youngster went missing for several hours, though in quite different circumstances.

Taking too much for granted, as per usual!

Tabor
Ah well, I thought I'd given it one - or at least the possibility of.

aprille
I agree. It's a fascinating area, and a little sad at the way we (generally) don't retain it in later life.

Brian Definitely a scratch and too much fun!

Heaven
Got it in one! Thanks. See you soon.

Mary
A case where the reader supplies the ending, me thinks!

Old Ollie
Thanks for this. Good to know.

Daydreamertoo
Exactly so! Thanks for this.

Laurie
I'm with the nap, also, but it's a free choice...

Hank
Well said, Hank. Thanks for.

hyperCRYPTICal
Thanks. No, nor I.

vivinfrance
Thank you for saying.

The Elephant's Child
Wow, I think you've just given me a few more stories! What fertile questions! Thanks.

flipside records
Ah, someone after my own heart! Thanks.

Carl
Thanks Carl, that's great to know!

Susie
Good choice. Mine too. Thanks.

Ygraine said...

Wow! So POWERFUL, yet endearing.
There is a tenderness that runs through here that tugs at the heartstrings.
The relief when she was found safe and well was immense!
Beautiful :)

Dave King said...

Ygraine
Thanks for this. The ending was tricky, I changed it twice. Not the intended ending, just the form of words. I wanted to strongly suggest that all was well, but leave a smidgen of doubt. Hence the use of the phrase from my childhood: dead to the world. The working title for this was simply, Mystery.

A Cuban In London said...

It's a very visual poem, which, in the right mood, can be enjoyed (if "enjoyed" is the right term) as a fine piece of art. Luckily I was in the right mood to read it. Twice. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.