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Friday 19 February 2010

Exhibit #94 : The Iron Poet


Forensic scraps of human flesh
still cling to its iron spikes -
last vestiges of past obsession.


The things you hear in galleries...
the things the couples do!
Seeing them and hearing what they said
alerted it to what it lacked:
a gender - or a gender substitute,
some similarly sensuous equipping
of the flesh.
Then overhearing that the angel hosts
have nothing in their natures of that kind,
evoked in it the rash thought that perhaps
it was a sort of angel in disguise.
From thought grew wings -
those fine steel mesh accessories you see.


An angel haunted by its history,
afflicted by its past,
pursued by shapeless echoes,
hounds of incoherence,
garbled utterance
and sounds of choking. White
noise, whispers, shrieks and clunks
like train wheels on a track.
Words from repetition, rhythm, rhyme
the way a train's wheels fashion them.
Then mistranslation to angelic form,
having wings of confidence to find
words in the sounds and sounds in silences
and thoughts in words - and neither thought nor words
the same for poets as for us.


What matter if the visitors, the suits of armour
or the rows of children murmuring
with pencils in their hands
were spinning what the found thing heard, out of themselves
the way that spiders spin their silken threads?
Who knows where these things come from? Half the time
they are like clouds: amorphous things
that float by in the air. But certainly
the words fell somewhere there-abouts,
and by their being there,
by their proximity to that iron thing,
were known as metaphors.
"By whose proximity?" the people asked.
Well, not the words', for sure. The people's,
surely... Surely Duchamp got it wrong!
But poems need a structure, it would learn
from its attempt to prod them into life
(returning to the old ways, if you please),
just knowing in its gut
they were its only chance.


For some it will be drugs, for others booze,
but for the found thing, morphing yet again,
it was - had always been -
that hankering for human flesh;
insatiable, raw cruelty. It had
been born an Iron Maiden, and the iron         (here)
had taken full possession of its soul -
until the day it felt the metal softening
beneath the power of poems in its loins.

Haiku #55

Angry young men
trek the wilderness.
Nature absorbs anger


@ctors Business said...

I'm going to have to read and read this. Your work is awesome. This piece is vast, that's the only way that I can describe it. As a performer I immediately want read this out loud or at least record it! Profound, sad, yet I feel hopeful

Tabor said...

I agree with Gwei in that I will have to read it aloud again...when someone is not sleeping in the next room. The haiku really touched my heart and mind, because that is what I told my son when he headed to college. When stressed...take a hike!

Elisabeth said...

Caesarian section, Dave.

Do you mean premature or too close to death to allow it to sit much longer in utero? Or could it be it could not have been otherwise born.

Wonderful stuff here Dave. Like those who have commented before me I will need to read this one again and again and preferably out loud. At first reading it's awesome.

Sam!! said...

Lovely Haiku.. :)

Take care

Jinksy said...

I love the thought that an iron angel might harbour a poet's soul, only needing words to melt it and make it human. Now I want to read it again...

Paterika Hengreaves said...

Wow! Tea Party in the muse. Could be wrong could be right. In poetry wherever the imagery takes the mind all outpourings are correct.

Kass said...

Oh, I love this. It definitely needs to be recited in an art gallery along with an installation piece; and art happening, or perhaps with dance. I can really visualize the whole thing. You just need to find the right found object and space (maybe you already have).

The Weaver of Grass said...

The Iron Maiden reference Dave - reminded me of the days when we used to play early music at Warwick Castle - on the lawn by the childrens' quarter in past times. By the side of these quarterwere the dugeons with oubliettes and iron maidens - so that children must have grown up hearing the groans of dying tortured souls. What cruel times there were.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Dear Dave, there is a shocking force here, as I have read in another comment it's a work to read and reread. There is a sculptor's tension. And for some reason it reminds of the atmosphere I read in some of Howard Jacobson's novels years ago.

Madame DeFarge said...

Enjoyed the haiku. Need to read the other one rather more to work it out. I'm feeling particularly dense tonight.

Cynthia said...

Excellent. And this is true.
The anger leaves through the feet
into the ground.

Dave King said...

Gwei Mui
I would be very interested to hear more about how it rates to a performer. You have whetted my interest.

Thanks for both of those remarks. Both very much appreciated.

I just meant it was struggle. Maybe I should have said a forceps delivery! Thanks for the encouraging comment.


Many thanks. You too.

Thanks for that thought.

Poet Laureate
That's what I like about poetry!

Alas, no, I haven't found my Iron Maiden yet. I love the idea of yours, though. Thanks for thinking it.

I did read some Howard Jacobson years ago. The memories have faded a bit now, but I think I recall enough to know what you mean.

Madame DeFarge
Thanks for the comment - but don't confuse sleepiness with density!

Like the image!

Carl said...

Dave - Part 3 is haunting me. There is so much imagery to digest! A banquet of words really.


@ctors Business said...

Hi Dave,

Where does one start! Whilst the words on paper are beautiful, I believe it is the breathe of the actor that can place that final piece and push in to true being.

Actors literally breathe life into the words they utter, filling the pauses, giving the phrases that missing nuance the reader may hint at but cannot quite voice. The craft of the actor is to verbalise the emotion, vocally shape the writers blueprint and make it tangible. Hopefully as the architect intended. It’s not an exact science, but then art is very subjective, it’s never uniform, part of it’s beauty. One actors performance of Hamlet is another actor’s downfall. Critics will fight over, squabble and sharpen their pencils at dawn on how the words were presented.

Your poem is an actor’s dream – complex but at the same time simple. Full of light and shade, hidden crevices, shadows that hide. I will be using your words in future as part of my own personal warm up (hope that's ok)

Dave King said...

Gwei Mui
Now I don't know where to start! Except to thank you, of course, profusely, for your kind comments. Several have commented or emailed concerning the poem's suitability for performance, which has rather taken me by surprise. I did not write it with such considerations in mind. You have given me much to think about, for which I am very grateful.

Dave King said...

Appreciate the comment. I am a little non-plussed at the reception, actually, having expected it to b e rather more mixed. I was very unsure about this when I posted it. Am more encouraged now. Thanks for your contribution .

Marinela said...

Beautiful thoughts.

Dave King said...

Thanks a lot for visiting and for posting.

Daryl said...

Congrats on POTW mention from Hilary

Maria said...

Something to think about and contemplate, certainly.

I loved the haiku.

Congratulations on the Post of the Day mention.

Anonymous said...

Oh you are good, very good. Food for thought at midnight when sleep eludes me. Thank you to Hilary for finding you in the great blogesphere.

The haiku haunts me.

Fragrant Liar said...

What beautiful, lyrical verse you write. I am especially fond of the third section. Curls around my shoulders like a warm stole.

I'll be back.

Cloudia said...

Nature is a healer, dear Dave

Aloha, Friend!

Comfort Spiral