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Tuesday 19 July 2011


This the mask to make you dance
whirl of dervish, snap of tongue,
tongue of flame, word of trance
out of house to altar high
extreme unbending utterance.

Where dance ends
spirits nigh
some to frighten
some to die.

Death of childhood
ancient apps
child becomes a man perhaps.

Dark of ark
and final art
fear uncaged
a lightning strike
something like
the pain of man
back to childhood
wails and crawls
electrodes on the genitals
a thousand volts
feel of it
shredded self
sudden hit
all that was
blown away
man as wolf and predator
arises from the ash of yore.

This is offered as a response to The Magpie Tales prompt of a mask which I have so far been unable to load on blogger.


Gerry Snape said...

Dave...this has such great movement...it just makes you want to go on reading and perhaps speeding up as you go for fear of what the end might bring. Great!

word verification ....droun!

Richard Theodore Beck said...

Yikes Dave --- real sharp and harsh images

i dipped my danish in my coffee as i read the 1000 volts on genitals; i thought my crotch was on fire but it was just some hot coffee dripping off the danish...

warm :) regards


Jim Murdoch said...

I’m curious about the structure here. In the first stanza you use longer lines including two strong beats in each and yet you pretty much abandon that by the last stanza. Had this been my piece I would have opted for one or the other but my preference would be for two beats to a line:

        Dark of ark / and final art
        fear uncaged / a lightning strike

As for the content. Didn’t see the bit about the electrodes coming. Overall an odd tone, the strong rhythmic element at odds (deliberately I would think) with the content. By that I mean that you’d expect beating drums and the like with a primitive tribal initiation but this is clearly something modern. It’s an uncomfortable little piece but I like it.

Mary said...

Whew, impressively vivid. All that came from the picture of the mask!

Carl said...

Intense and strong images. Not one I will soon forget.

Anonymous said...

I loved watching your thought process unravel down the page with bits of rhyme and so much rhythm.

- Dina

Laurie Kolp said...

I love how the short lines read so fast and build up to the final 'zap.'

Rachna Chhabria said...

Dave....this poem is pretty sharp, its like cutting/slicing someone with words. Each word packs a punch and hits home hard.

Kathe W. said...

packs a powerful punch- especially the last two lines

kaykuala said...

Like your style, keeping with the rhyme initially and open poetry later. Good combination and great verse.

Louise said...

this prompt is certainly not for the faint hearted - your poem certainly reflected the harsh sharpness. powerful for sure.

Ann Grenier said...

Perfect tone for this frightening mask. Would surely fit a torturer.
Feels like stream of consciousnes and/or an impressionist painting, in dark tones. Like the sprinkled rhymes. Let's hope mankind's outcome is a brighter :-)

Helen said...

Your poem packs even more of a punch with the image loaded ~ though I don't know if that's even possible. A gripping Magpie, electrifying.

Linda Bob Grifins Korbetis Hall said...


Other Mary said...

Why do we fear demons when we have each other to fear?

The Weaver of Grass said...

This has a touch of "eye of newt and toe of frog" about it Dave. Very apt with that mask I think.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Powerful with echoes from Sylvia Plath this time Dave.

barbara said...

I like the way you whirl the sounds. That dark turn is vicious-good.

Suz said...

whirling dervishes came to mind
the twirling movement of this poem was fun to read

Windsmoke. said...

Very enjoyable, i especially like the line "electrodes on the genitals" that made me shiver and wince :-).

T F Carthick said...

Real powerful words capture raw emotions conjured by the mask. These words synch extremely well with the image of the mask.

Dave King said...

A great response - right down to the word verification. Thanks.

Hi, welcome to you and many thanks for the comment. So sorry about the coffee!

I can understand your mystification, Jim. I started out with the thought that the poem would be in two parts: the first its effect upon the wearer and the second the way in which it would frighten. intimidate, whatever those to be initiated. The first part would have a dance rhythm, but not the second. In the event I did not focus on that distinction, but, yes, something of it remaines in the structure, which must be regarded as a weakness, I think.

With regards to the content I was trying to put it into a modern context. I was reading recently that some ancient medicine men probably had use of powerful charges of static electricity.

Appreciate the comments, much there upon which to reflect. Thanks.

Guess so - amazing what a mask can hide!

Thanks for that, good to know - I hope that's the way you meant it! Much thanks.

Hi. Good to have you visiting and commenting. Thanks for doing so. The comment will be useful to me.

I'm glad you found that they did that. The comment is really appreciated.

Hi and welcome. Thank you so much for your kind words.

Kathe W
Hi, it's really good and encouraging to have your comment. Thank you.

Thank you so much for a useful response. It is much appreciated.

120 Socks
Thank you for another valued comment.

Hi Ann. Really good to have you and your comments on the blog. I like your stream of consciousness analogy and I share the hope for mankind.

It was the image which packed the original punch, of course. Thanks a lot for the comment.

Too kind.

Other Mary
Pass. Profound thought. Thanks for it and a warm welcome to you.

Weaver of Grass
Yes, it does have something of that - actually, what I had in mind seemed darker than that, but only viwed from our standpoint

Dave King said...

Wow again. I'm all overcome! Thanks for the compliment.

Welcome to you and many many thanks for visiting and for your comment.

Hi! It's really good to have you visiting and commenting. Thanks for your remarks.

Thanks. I have to confess, I blanched a bit!

The Fool
A warm welcome and much thanks for your visit and your comments, which are really useful.

Tess Kincaid said...

I like the bite of the electricity in this one, Dave. Very nice.

Anonymous said...

"Death of childhood
ancient apps
child becomes a man perhaps."
Love the modern /primitive play here and the "perhaps";skewers the unspoken assumption of progress without quite killing it.The info of ancient use of static electricity is fascinating.Was that enlightenment or or delusion?You chop words and carry meaning well.

The Blog of Bee said...

I read it faster and faster to the beat of drums. Maybe not what you intended but what I saw was a ritual and rituals involve drum beats.

Dave King said...

Hi, forgive the tardiness in replying. Much thanks for the comment.

Hi, and a warm welcome to you, late though I am in getting b ack, for which humble apologies.
I am very appreciative of your comments. The static electricity bit came from Humbold. He witnessed children on the banks of the Orinoco playing with static electricity which they derived from large seed pods. I reasoned that if the children had it and used it, the priests probably were not far behind.

Bee's Blog
Again, apologies for the delay. As for the drum beats: I can live with that. Going faster and faster sounds good to me. Thanks for the comment.