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Thursday 14 January 2010

a matter of some concern

School camp. A fort. Napoleonic,
the moat now wooded. Tents:
ridge type, set on concrete bases.

Tapes at either end to tie at night.
One eight year-old, a Filipino,
makes the job his own.

Each night, a story as he ties the bow.
The tapes are lovers. Deftly weaves
them round and under each

the other as they overcome
the many obstacles to love.
The bow in its completion

signifies their marriage:
intricate and perfect; sealed in heaven.
One night another hand, outside the tent,

has tied the tapes - and later on
unties them as a voice asks who
would like to go with him

to see the badgers. Silence.
The police are told, but will
not come... He's miles away

by now. Still, if he does return,
hold on to him and let us know,
we'll be along sir, rest assured.

Haiku #14

Chekov: Medicine my wife
Literature my mistress
No doubt who lived the longer.

Born 150 years ago on the 29th


Unknown said...

Hi Dave,

I like the haiku! The poem has got me wondering about who, what and when and whether anything has changed.

Tess Kincaid said...

Haunting and disturbing, Dave. I hope this one isn't autobiographical.

Lovely tribute to Chekov.

Lucy said...

Relief that he was met with only silence though. I love the detail about the bows.

I also have been enjoying your haiku, with not a few smiles!

Enchanted Oak said...

Hmmm. I too find the poem disturbing but beautifully done.

Kass said...

I had forgotten that detail about the old tents. I too went to a camp where we were tied in from the outside. I really like this poem. It's mysterious. And the Chekov haiku is nicely done.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Clever haiku Dave.
Find the poem a bit creepy - but then at least it raised some intense feeling and that is what poetry is about - so well done to that.

Elisabeth said...

The poem is haunting. It sounds to be the story of a lost boy, gone in search of badgers, who never returns, a victim of mysterious and certainly sinister circumstances.

Chekhov does seem more straightforward.

Conda Douglas said...

Loved the haiku and will be interested in what you might write for Robbie Burns upcoming...

Jim Murdoch said...

An uncomfortable little poem this but I do like the imagery of the bows.

Rachel Fenton said...

Very disturbing effect with the use of the bows as lovers and the other hand...strong imagery, Dave.

I was going to enter something to do with Chekhov...clever little haiku...

Karen said...

I can't help wondering if this isn't the same one you wrote of in an earlier poem - that difficult memory.

As for the haiku - love the haiku, and agree - no doubt!

Dave King said...

Yes, I have had those thoughts, too.

It is actually, yes.

It caused great unease among the boys for the rest of the week, though.

Enchanted Oak
Thanks for that.

If I recall correctly - and quite likely, I don't - the tapes could be tied from either the inside or out.

The Weaver of Grass
Creepy was just about what the situation was.

I don't think there were any badgers, in fact.

OOh, I'm not sure about Burns. I've done him, the poor chap the last two years. Maybe I ought to show more compassion this year!

The two aspects of the tapes stick in my memory as two sides of the same coin.

I hope the I was going to doesn't mean that you now are not going to...

Strange, this is a new version (not a redraft) of a poem I wrote on the same subject. I was not satisfied with it and thought it about time I tried again . I did think I'd posted the original, but a quick scan through my posts failed to reveal it. I rewrote this one without consulting the original.

Harlequin said...

great poem.... eerie and psychically meandering...
and hail Chekov!

Dave King said...

Thanks for that

Dick said...

The poem's quiet voice, tracking its dark theme rhythmically through the three-line stanzas is enormously effective. A powerful and unsettling piece, Dave, and one of your best.

I love the wry Chekhov haiku, acknowledging his short but brilliant life.