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Friday 1 June 2012

This Poem's in Mufti!

A Young Boy's Magic Shirt

A Turkman tunic
                         "kirlik" -
for life's misfortunes:
                              accidents, disease.
A tribal gift to grant the young boy ease
and happiness,
                      the work - supposedly -
of women blessed by God, from seven squares
of fabric,
             gifts from seven tents.
beads, bells, coins, shells, were all sewn on to pledge
him health, fertility and wealth.
                                             The sign
for length and vigour for the tribal line
was in the ragged, unhemmed lower edge.

What do we know of threats of yesteryear?
In our more sterile times, its magic power
still rattles our cerebral calm -
                                             we bow
to what our learning's lost: its grip on fear.


Semaphore at http://dversepoets.com/ is giving us a masterclass in learning the rules in order to bend them.
My poem above is a sonnet, a version of one I posted many moons ago, but one that never really worked for me in its traditional form. The mufti mentioned above lies in the lineation. If you're wondering what this has to do with the masterclass, just follow the link and see for yourself. I promise that you will not be disappointed!


Tabor said...

Congratulations on work well done.

Brian Miller said...

nice...really well done man....and i love the heritage in this...the culture...the passage of a boys life and the symbolism of the garment as well...i think on some level i wish we had more of these traditions you know...

Unknown said...

This does sound really magical! The description of the shirt had me delving into the details of how this poem conveys a sense of security, though I know that such things do not happen. apoem about false security? In all, I think it tells us how fragile our hold on mortality is, even to the point of believing that we can shield ourselves from life's chance via a shirt.

Marbles in My Pocket said...

A history AND life lesson here it appears.

Mary said...

You played well with the form, Dave! I passed on this challenge, so admire any who complete it.

hyperCRYPTICal said...

This is one that makes me swear! :o)

Whether in mufti or not - perfect!

Anna :o]

Ash said...


Anonymous said...

This is just a wonderful wonderful poem. So well done. K.

kaykuala said...

A magic shirt with all the trappings. My, he'll be protected from evil spirits and all. Great write, Dave!


Daydreamertoo said...

Well done on meeting the challenge. I passed on it too :)
Loved this!

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

I totally agree, I enjoyed as ever the lines charging themselves towards the great last one.

At least some of us still "bow" to that learning...

Valerie V. said...

I like this a bunch. Good visuals mingled with interesting observations. I think you could break the lines more aggressively in different places to even better effect, but it's a solid sonnet regardless.

Windsmoke. said...

Very enjoyable indeed :-).

Bodhirose said...

Cultural traditions can hold real power...a magic shirt for protection, ease and happiness..sure. Really enjoyed this.

Semaphore said...

This is one of my absolute favourites of answers to my challenge, it takes the technique to heart. The real test is for someone to look at the poem's form and see if that reader declares it a sonnet at first glance. The answer is no! And so on that level it succeeds. And then the poem goes on to succeed on its own merit, its magical incantatory style that evokes tradition and tribal memory. Bravo!

Dave King said...

Thank you so much for this.

Yes, I think I'm with you there. I think I would welcome more of this, maybe as part of our culture. I rather think a lot of people smuggle their own customs in and maybe don't publish them too broadly!

Yes, there's truth in this, I'm sure, but do we feel less vulnerable when we're too sophisticated to believe such things?

Marbles in my Pocket
Ah well, my own version of B.O.G.O.F.!

Thanks for that. I must say, it did look a bit intimidating, when I first looked at it.

Thanks. Appreciated.

Kind of you to say so and really good to have your company. Thanks for visiting.

Yes, I would have liked to know how he fared in life, though!

Daydreamer too
Thanks for saying.

I like that charging themelves towards the last line. Thanks for it.

A warm welcome and sincere thanks for the comment. Having looked over it again with your suggestion in mind, I think you have a point. Good to have thoughts.

Thank you.

I agree. I think cultural traditions often do work. It would be fascinating to know the mechanism behind that. Thank you so much for your visit and for stopping by to comment.

Grateful thanks, both for the challenge and the valuable comment. I almost did duck the challenge, thinking I couldn't attempt it in the time available, but fortunately remembered the sonnet needing the kiss of life.

Beachanny said...

The metaphor of the mufti - changing from the usual uniform to something else perfectly suits the challenge. No feeling of the sonnet here yet it's skeleton still exists. The summation - so current, so electric. The fit of the garment as metaphor is powerful!

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