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Sunday 20 November 2011


(This poem is offered in response to the dVerse Poets' challenge to write something on the subject of change.)

Eternal things do not survive for long
for time does hold them all in flux.
The pyramids, the merely permanent, survive.

I wrote these lines
somewhere between
when I was six and ten -
the early years of World War II, a time
of great upheaval.
But not for me.
I longed for change.

Illness was a great, grey blanket
spreading itself across my life.
Quite literally, at times,
keeping me confined
indoors if not in bed.
My world had much in common with the pyramids.

Such changes as I saw
were not occasions for applause: on walks to school
a house that once had featured
in my games, a tree perhaps,
might well have disappeared
in last night's raid. And yet
my friends and I,
collecting shrapnel, went our way
into a world
whose essence had not changed.

Church was one salvation,
for there they spoke of change,
its possibility
was part of their agenda.
The ritual, the Latin and the incense
were the earnest of a transformation
to a world and to a self
too sombre for my tastes.

Dreams were another.
Were the only other. Here
I watched the everyday
morph into something different:
mum's corner shop
with nothing on its shelves
and mum behind the counter
(which she never was)
was suddenly a reptile house,
the floor knee deep in croc's.

Today's other poem is here


Claudia said...

this is a well woven poem david..the illness as a grey blanket..could feel that..my youngest daughter was very ill during her first childhood years..hard time...grey blanket..and the escape into dreams (or books)..watching the everyday morph into something different..was one of my escapes in childhood as well..oh my..i had a weird phantasy..smiles

Mary said...

Gives me chills when I read about your days growing up in early days of WWII. And you and friends collecting shrapnel. When one thinks about it, though you may often have yearned for change....we certainly have experienced MUCH change during our lifetimes. Boggles my mind as I reflect.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful pacing, and descriptions. A story, well told. My father, older than you--he was in WWII--had TB as a child, and of course, it shaped him quite a bit.

The great grey blanket so palpable and I loved the dream at the end. My crocs were gorillas.


The Noiseless said...


World War II is something frosting changes in deed.

Enjoyed your take.

knot eye said...

the child's eyes, a man's voice...a seeker never stops...well done David


Anonymous said...

That is so eloquent and that first verse written when you were between six and ten is just astounding.I am maybe 10/12 years younger than you born after the war but having some memories in common with you. I remember the incense and Latin in the Catholic church on Sundays, I have now dropped religion preferring rather to just believe in God. I was taken away by your poem. I t beautiful.

aka_andrea said...

"collecting shrapnel, went our way
into a world
whose essence had not changed" all of life is a collection of the pieces of things we collect along the way. This is a such a heartfelt and wonderful piece of the things you have filled your pockets with.

Old Kitty said...

Very thoughtful! I love the over-riding imagery of something as immovable as the pyramids against that of dreams where all is possible! Take care

Brian Miller said...

dang man...this is really well written and evocative...nice opening and then the twist of it being words as you enter us into your life at that time...you let us feel what it was like to be a kid then...

Pat Hatt said...

Sure must have been interesting, yet scary being a kid then. You really take the reader back and do show them what it was like, loved the pyramid line too.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

I think I lived as a child and live very often now too exactly in the atmosphere of the kind of dreams expressed in your last stanza

Windsmoke. said...

Very enjoyable indeed especially the last stanza :-).


I sure liked that first line. :)

"Eternal things do not survive for long"

Just that one line could keep me thinking for some time, if not a fleeting eternity.

kaykuala said...

My, bringing us back to memory lane. I only read of shrapnel but you were in the thick of things. Church and dreams make us aware of life. Great verse!


Enchanted Oak said...

I came from your link on Poetry Jam's prompt, unsure which of these is your take on the Dorthea Lange photo. Whatever, this is a strong piece, though I enjoyed all the previous four. Loved the allusion to your similarity to pyramids, the details of the missing after the raids, that closing stanza.

Linda Bob Grifins Korbetis Hall said...

very profound memories,
great change entry.

Hannah Stephenson said...

Wonderful, wonderful, especially the opening!!!

So odd....my poem for tomorrow deals with a similar topic. Must be in the air.

Sheila said...

some hard-hitting imagery in this, David, which drew me into the world of this young and perceptive boy.

haricot said...

Your poem let me think about Change that is always some essential matter in our lifes.

Lydia said...

What a remarkable poem. It was like a thoughtful, quiet talk from you (actually, would make for a wonderfully thoughtful, quiet talk in front of a not-too-large audience).

This stanza will stay with me:
Such changes as I saw
were not occasions for applause: on walks to school
a house that once had featured
in my games, a tree perhaps,
might well have disappeared
in last night's raid. And yet
my friends and I,
collecting shrapnel, went our way
into a world
whose essence had not changed.

sunny said...

well done Mr Dave.

Dave King said...

Thank you so much for such a sympathetic response.

Yes, you are right. It's like wanting to be older when you're very young, and then spending the rest of your life wishing you were younger.

Thank you for such a satisfying response. Were they friendly gorillas, I wonder, or not?

The Noiseless
Thank you. Interesting comment.

Thank you. Love the comment.

We seem to have a lot in common. Church for me was "High" Anglican, but the priest should have been R.C. I, too, have dropped formal religion. Like Wallace Stevens, I now see poetry as its natural replacement. Thank you so much for your inspiring comment.

Dave King said...

Hi, and welcome to my blog. Thank you for your most encouraging comment. It was good to have it.

Old Kitty
Thank you for your helpful response. It is good to have you visiting.

My thanks for another well considered and encouraging comment. Much appreciated.

Strangely enough, I don't ever remember being scared. The war was either just anotherfeature of the landscape or an opportunity for fun or excitement. We did have some close shaves, but even then it didn't occur to me to be scared. Guess I must have thought myself immortal back then!

It must be the great dram of every artist, to be able to live as a child.


Hi, Good to have you visiting and commenting. I am very enamoured of your comment and very much like fleeting eternity.

Sometimes we'd pick up a piece of shrapnel and it would still be hot.

Enchanted Oak
I left a comment on Poetry Jam intending to have a shot at the prompt, but in the event didn't follow it up. Sorry to have misled you. Thank you for your kind words by way of comment.

The Cello Strings
Hi, good to have you with us and thank you very much for the generous comment.

Thank you so much for your response. Most encouraging. The web's synchronicity strikes again, it seems!

Hi, a warm welcome to you and my thanks for your very gracious response. Lovely to have you both.

Absolutely. There could be no life at all without change.

Hi Welcome. It is good to have your company. Thank you for coming and for stopping by make such a generous comment.

Thank you sunny.

Rohit_blogger at http://floating-expressions.blogspot.in/ said...

vivid imagery,we have travelled in time through ur words..