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Thursday 4 February 2010

I am the man who swallowed the boy.

I am the man who swallowed the boy,
who grew like a shell to surround the boy,
digested the bones and the brunt of the boy,
absorbed him into my growing self,
grew proud of the fact that I once was he.

I am the man who buried the boy,
at first in fun on a sandy beach,
then up to his neck in mores set like stone
with his bones slipping out of my reach -
which suited me down to the burial ground.

I am the shadow writ large of the boy,
taking the form of a palimpsest,
scraping away many layers of paint
to uncover the long lost shape of the boy
shaping this world of regret for the boy.

I am a masquerade of the boy,
the mask that I wear I took from the boy
to tackle the roles of all I could be -
but lacking his brio, unable to see
that all I pretend to is over-contrived.

Not the ghost of the boy - still wholly himself,
alive and well in the palimpsest -
but the ghost of myself is haunting me.
As a corpse the boy might have lived for ever,
but now that I've woken him... Never, oh, never!

Haiku #39

Dress code compliant
bare feet and night attire -
the supermarket run

(A bit behind times with this one, but it had to wait its turn.)


Carl said...

Stunning. Will give that several reads.

Unknown said...

Hi Dave,

No matter how hard we may try to deny, that child will always be inside. Super!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Hi Dave - lovely poem. Have you thought of entering it into the 2010 challenge (see my blog side bar)?
Love today's haiku - can you imagine any circumstances when you would go into the supermarket in your pyjamas? I am certainly not a pretty sight in mine and would not even venture out of the bedroom in such!

Barry said...

This is exceptional Dave. Like Carl, I will give this several reads.

gerry boyd said...

Hmmm....gets more and more interesting upon repeated reads. What appears simplistic turns out to be rather sneaky indeed. Bravo!

Unknown said...

Amazing poem--one of your very best. I've been thinking a lot about memory & continuity myself, so this resonates a good deal. Just first-rate.

jack sender said...

Very fine, Dave, this peak into a place in which all can relate.

David Cranmer said...

That's a beautiful piece of writing.

Tabor said...

Such a struggle with have with our inner child. Nicely done. I did have to look up palimpsest. Never used that word before.

Linda Sue said...

Dave, this poem is brilllliant- makes me happy/sad/happy- old and crusty on the outside, young and sweet on the inside- like a confection...I would not venture out in bedtime attire- I would get arrested.

Raj said...

not swallowed, castrated into a beast with many names and faces. essentially what was to be preserved was slaughtered. but once in a while he does pass a smile as a reminder of who you are and who you were.

bare feet. see. he appears again. :)

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

There's a surprising visionary level about this boy Dave which reminds me straight to Dylan Thomas's works.

steven said...

dave this is a poem that requires revisiting. there's so much inside it and dancing around it. you likely don't thrive on praise but how about gratitude. thanks for your powerful, insightful writing. steven

Cloudia said...

A True Poem, Sir!!!!!
Excellent. Publish it.

Aloha, Friend

Comfort Spiral

Rachel Fenton said...

That's a lovely poem, Dave, it's got heart.

Kay said...

oh, i love this! so much meaning behind the words! let the boy live!

Sally said...

that is a powerful work...

to much to absorb in one sitting

I look forward to coming back to it

Carl said...


That needs to be published. You knocked that one out of the park.


Shadow said...

you and the boy is brilliant. interesting and quite true too... loved your angle here.

Elisabeth said...

This is such a powerful poem, Dave. Emotionally true and haunting. For me, it's one to frame.

Dave King said...

Sincere thanks.

Guess so, he's very tenacious.

Thanks for the 2010 tip. I may well submit something for it, possibly the current one.

As for the haiku, I never really got used to seeing the queues of wives dropping off their hubbies - and pickin g them up again - at the railway station, still dressed in their night attires. Not a pretty sight - many of them!

Many thanks for the kind remark Barry.

A very warm welcome to my blog. I was a little worried at the simplistic bit, so than ks for that remark.

Thank you very much. That means a lot to me. Memory and continuity form one of my more abiding interests, as well.

Welcome to my blog. Good to have you aboard. And many thanks for stopping by to commen t.

Thanks. Much obliged.

Yes, I think the struggle's universal.

Linda Sue
And a really encouraging comment. Thank you so much. I don't know about your night attire, but I am sure there is nothing crusty about you!

I take what you say. Been there - I think! Thanks a lot.

Wow! Probably my first hero. Difficult to know how to respond to that - but many thanks.

Oh, I can handle praise! - even if I don't always know how to respond to it. I think it is I should be grateful to you - and indeed, I am. Many thanks.

Thanks. Ah, I may well try! (I first saw your commen t out of the corner of my eye and thought you'd written Rubbish it! Than ks for not writing that.

Many than ks. Very grateful.

Thanks especially for those last four lines - I'm taking them personally!

Welcome and thanks. The comment means a lot.

I think I well might try. At the moment I'm perhaps too close to it. After I'v e wriktten my next, who knows...?

Thanks for that.

Ah, I like the idea of having it humg on the wall! Thanks.

Susie Hemingway said...

A lot to digest in "I am the man that swallowed the boy" so very clever as all your verses are. I shall read again many times. Thank you.

I love Haiku 39 - how topical this is!

Jim Murdoch said...

My wife says to tell you I'm jealous. Shalln't. Don't want to. In a huff. Wanted to write that myself.

Unknown said...

Hi again, Dave. Just noticed your poem has earned you the 'Goddess Award' from Elise over at Everyday (Comedy) Goddess. Well done!


Brian Miller said...

wow. that first poem was awesome!

CiCi said...

For me, it is always a treat to share the journey of inner child from the male viewpoint. I hear more the side of the female, myself included. This is a unique view to present and you did a great job.

Harlequin said...

the poem is striking and wistful; the haiku a whimsical and subtle contrapose.

Dave King said...

Many thanks for those kind remarks.

My grateful thanks to you both! Seriously, though, the comment very much appreciated.

I hadn't realised.I must go have a looksee.

Hi and welcome. Many thanks for stopping by and for the generous comment.

Welcome to my blog and very many thanks for the kind - and useful - comment.

As always the comment is much appreciated.

Karen said...

Dave - I can only add to the chorus of praise here. This is a marvelous look at the depths of a man and his most sacred inner self.

Jeanne Estridge said...

Dave -- I love this one (even though I had to go look up 2 words to understand it). You do such a great job of capturing these complex emotions/transitions.

And thanks to Comedy Goddess for pointing me over here! I'd planned to read today's post, but I probably wouldn't have seen this one without her nudge.

Dave King said...

As always your comments are very gratifying. Thank you.

Thanks again for your comments. Always useful and always generous.
I must say a big thank you to Comedy Goddess as well!

Carl said...


I keep coming back to this poem. It is just stunning. I have read it over and over.

Thank You

Dick said...

I'm with John - one of your very best, Dave. It's a remarkable piece - acute, lucid and powerful. And so well served by its urgent chanting anapestic meter. A keeper, indeed!