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Thursday 21 July 2011

Experiments with Temptation


An altar boy, but unconfirmed,
I took a sip of Holy wine
to see what God would do.


Early teens
female nemesis.
In my head
I made her my seductress.
Easy to resist her then.


Turkish Delight
my favourite sweet.
The last piece I would leave,
testing my resistance.


To give up smoking
I kept the baccy
always close at hand.


War time in the country.
Staying with my cousin:
allowed to browse his stamp collection.
Tempted by a penny black,
I wrote the story of its life,
how it was cursed,
and all its owners died
whose names were not my cousin's.


Teacher telling us how
D.O.G. said d-o-g, said "dog".
Me rising to it,
wondering why it should,
why should it not say "heretofore?"
("heretofore" my latest word,
having heard it on a bus.)
My turn to sound it out.
I can recall the inner conflict...
Damn it all, I can't recall
a sound of what I said.


A class of infants
and a decorated  urn
a prohibition against opening
or touching such a special thing.
I leave the room,
the mike records their conversation -
revealing trains of thought
on guilt and on temptation.

This last experiment was one of a series I conducted. I have posted earlier and in detail about another in the same series. You can find it here

For the inspiration for this post I am grateful to Poetry Jam. The prompt was posted by The Butler and Bagman


Jenny Woolf said...

It would be fascinating to see how infants behave when exposed to temptation. You can see that to some extent by their behaviour when they are not being secretly observed, mind you - since they have not in many cases learned to be deceptive.

Anonymous said...

Your writing just blows me away, it's of course very intelligent but your observations of life captivating!

Maude Lynn said...

This is so creative!

Evelyn said...

this is intriguing...
like the spacing, numbered stanzas...

Margaret said...

I adored the first three - they are all wonderful and very true.

Tabor said...

I went to the archived post and was fascinated at the vocabulary and astuteness of these kids. How old were they? Really sounded like a movie script.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Temptations, temptations Dave - how we have all resisted them over the years.

The Bug said...

You are better than I am - I don't smoke, but if I kept candy (or cookies) close at hand so I could avoid it? It wouldn't last very long!

Windsmoke. said...

Very enjoyable and intriguing :-).

Maggie said...

This is brilliant. Enjoyed this very much.

Hannah Stephenson said...

AWESOME. 1 and 6 are especially great....I like how you reveal very unexpected temptations (like the temptation to challenge authority, or to challenge meaning and sound).

Scarlet said...

This is so beautiful... I love your passage and their conflicts/temptations at each stage.

Happy day ~

Lolamouse said...

I love this! Your experiments in temptation are fascinating and humorous. I bopped over to your post on the kids as well. "Incredible maladroitness!" What type of child says things like that?!!

Dave King said...

Thanks for the comment. You can see an example in the archived material to which I have a link near the end of the post.

Thank you so much for your really encouraging comment.

Mama Zen
Welcome, and a big thank you. Much appreciated.

Hi. Good to have you visiting. Your comment is appreciated.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Your writing is absolutely wonderful, Dave. Thanks for the post.

Titus said...

Loved this Dave - the linked vignettes worked incredibly well. Particularly enjoyed the heretofore section.

Dave King said...

Thanks, really good to have you visiting and to read your comments.

The situation was that I was a visitor to the school - making weekly visits, so the children knew me. I may have refered to the group at one point as a class, but in fact it was a mixed-age group chosen by the headmistress. (I suspect chosen largely on the basis of their good behaviour!) The oldest of them would have been eight. I think the youngest, probably between six and seven.

The Weaver of Grass
Some better than others, I suspect, but, yes, they are common to us all!

The Bug
My wife could only give up smoking by having nothiong in the house to tempt her. I was the reverse. I resist temptation most easily when it's staring me in the face!

I find temptation invariably so. Thanks for the comment.

It's good to know that, thanks for saying. Your visit is very much appreciated.

Very intriguing comments, for which I thank you very much. There has always been something of the rebel - and heretic - in me. Meaning, I am always on my guard about. Very perceptive of you.

Hi and a warm welcome to the blog. Thank you for your visit and your kind remarks.

Thank you for your comments, they were good to have. My experiment was part of my studies in the teaching of special needs children, but in fact these were pupils in a regular first school in London. However, as I noted above, I did suspect that they might have been specially selected by the head.

Brother Ollie said...

Nice journey through temptation...oh human nature...

Laurie Kolp said...

Love these... especially the holy wine one, which I can relate to.

Anonymous said...

Temptation experiment - quite interesting ... I don't know if I could resist some of my favorite things -- I would have to put blinders on for awhile!

Dave King said...

Old Ollie
Welcome friend, and thanks for the comment. Absolutely spot on.

Thanks for this. I think I really expected something to happen - God or no God!

Hi. Good to have your visit and your observations. I didn't say I DID resist, only that I was testing myself!