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Sunday 1 July 2012


You met him just last Monday, my best friend,
now here he is again, popped out of one more
poem, to show himself in our true colours,
the rightfulness of getting something wrong.

Death to us all, De'ath is Buttons now -
and thus, my friend in make-believe no less
than in real life, for I am Cinderella,
and he The Baron Hardup's handyman.

The Sunday School's ambitious pantomime.
Everyone I know is here - on stage as some-
one else or sitting in the hall as them.
Good job I've Death to keep my thinking straight!

When Buttons asked his mother for a costume,
mother got it wrong. That fact explains how
Death became dead ringer for a Pearly King -  *
and should he mind, as ladies finger him?

It wasn't scripted quite like this, that my
silk stockings should keep falling down (not silk,
no, not in war time Britain, could they be?)
Laddered - it took Death to help me pull them up.

They say we brought the house down once or twice...
we didn't notice, we were acting straight.
I won a prize for my performance, though:
a book about the life that beavers have.
This poem was written for the http://dversepoets.com/ Poetics prompt, the brilliant "Buttons" theme hosted by Brian Miller.
I am also including it as the next instalment in my Suburban Village series.
* see here


Claudia said...

the rightfulness of getting sth. wrong..ha..intriguing piece david with a well painted scene and atmosphere...and really had to smile about the closing line..

A Cuban In London said...

I agree with Claudia. More than the words, it was the atmosphere that stayed with me. Many thanks.

On another note, thanks a lot for your comment the other day on my "Living in a Bilingual World" column. There was a phrase you used, which to me, it was the key to understanding why I wrote what I wrote. Word pool. Without a word pool we're the poorer and you, as a very good poet, will probably understand that better than me. I'm not acquainted as to how Irish and Scottish authors score against English ones, but I do know what you meant. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Mary said...

I'm sure it really isn't easy to make the proper costume for a Sunday School pantomime. I do wonder how Cinderella was worked into said pantomime. Death I can understand! I enjoyed your childhood reminiscence, as I always do.

Scarlet said...

Enjoyed the memories of your Sunday School pantomime ~ That you won a prize hints on your artistic side ~

Brian Miller said...

ha...i clicked over...those are some outfits the Pearlies wear...so you know one...interesting...you def set the scene well in this...surreal a bit...it took death to help me pull my stockings up...

Daydreamertoo said...

I bet this whole thing is hilarious now, looking back on it Dave. I love reading you because you remind me so much of how life in England was back then. LOL
This was so vivid, I could almost see it all and, the mention of the Pearly Kings and Queens, ahhhh.... wonderful!

Marbles in My Pocket said...

I can just see this play with costumes a bit wrong. Well played, Dave!

pam prince said...

This is such a unique take on the prompt - very enjoyable to read.

pam prince said...

This is such a unique take on the prompt and very enjoyable to read.

Ravenblack said...

A very interesting tale. It might have seem something gone wrong but it turned out right in the end, and you got a prize. I remember how prizes from schools tend to be books promoting certain values that way. This also reminds me of when I was in primary school and we did plays for monday assembly, the performances we did on stories we came up with ourselves. That feeling.

Thanks for this poem.

Janine Bollée said...

Bet that beaver book came in handy :-)
Loved the Pearly K & Q association.
Silk in war time: no problem: wait for a parachute to land in a tree. [I feel a drawing coming on].

Unknown said...

A very close dialog, perhaps with oneself. Memory imbues this with a closeness that suggests intimate revelations, intimate in the sense of close to being who one is and how one came to be.

Anonymous said...

I love this whole series, Dave, I was telling my husband about it, who was also very intrigued. They are such particular portraits with details that can only come from real knowledge--never a cliche - and this one no less. The details - the stockings, the beaver book, the Pearl Kings, the mother - so cool - the cadence is lovely - conversational but with a definite poetic quality - and this one has this opening which feels almost like the back and forth with your friend, tugging at his memory to appear.

These are all just terrific. k.

ds said...

Love this! Oh, the many ways that Sunday School performances can go "rightfully wrong." And we are there with you. Thank you for sharing these memories, and for turning them into poems that stand as themselves.
What happened to the beaver book?

Anonymous said...

As said by some of the others, a unique and entertaining take on the prompt, love the theatrics!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

It must have been so hilarious, Death helping pull up your stockings.........would have loved to be in THAT audience. Good one, Dave!

Susie Clevenger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Susie Clevenger said...

This had to have been hilarious...you have done such an excellent job with give me the visual through your words. I brings back all the times I worked with children's Sunday School performances...at times more zoo than show...Great piece!!

Dulcina said...

Another delicious memory, Dave.
A touching homage to the pearlies.
Good mixture of fun, irony and tenderness in this war time portrait. Schools in Spain were more or less the same those years.
I think we were poorer but happier for we knew the real value of things.
I enjoyed your Death keeping you thinking straight and helping you pull your no-silk stockings up, hehehe.

My favourite lines:

- the rightfulness of getting something wrong, right!
- Death became dead ringer for a Pearly King - and should he mind, as ladies finger him? :)))

I wonder if you still have that book on beavers.

Anna Montgomery said...

Ha, I bet you did. I can imagine the production and appreciated the link to Pearlies. Maybe you were all simply artists ahead of your time :).

Ash said...

Very interesting!

haricot said...

This poem makes me smile... your memory will never die.

Anonymous said...

This truly has the stamp of actual memory.. well selected details make so much difference.

Enjoyed this :)

Dave King said...

Glad you liked the closing line -a truthful bit of irrelevent trivia which I thought might nevertheless prove apt.

A Cuban in London
Thanks again. Useful comment.

I do so agree with your remarks about the word pool, but I have no evidence to support what is just a personal theory, that the double word pool - for they may dip into either or both in the same poem - is in part responsible for what to e is their preeminence.

No mystery. The panto WAS Cinderella.
Thanks for the kind remarks.

I rather think the prize was for my stand-up comedy side - which I never thereafter followed- up.

My grandparents knew one or two, I believe. Buttons's mum thought he must be one in the panto - obviously didn't know the Cinderella story!

Truth to tell, I don't recall too much about the actual panto, other than my mum's old stockings that would not stay up! Thanks for the touching comment.

Marbles in my Pocket
Yeah, most things were a bit wrong, I guess - but it was a laugh.

Hi. Welcome. Good to have your comment. Thanks for the visit.

Hi, Really good to have you visiting. Thanks for the fascinating - and useful - feedback.

That's why the stockings wouldn't hold up... parachute silk! It's taken until now for me to discover the obvious. Thanks. Great comment, enjoyed it all.

es, you have put your finger on an aspect of the truth for sure. Thanks for.

Fantastic feedback. Thank you so much for all this. Very heart-warming.

Sunday School - and church - represent a rich vein of memories and anecdotal happenings for me. Maybe I should draw on them more often! I treasured that book, and it did give me a real interest in beavers which I still have. Alas, it was one of several valued possessions that the removal men contrived to lose on one of our many moves.

Dave King said...

Thank you so much. Good to have your visit and the comment.

Sherry Blue Sky
I think that at the time I was probably the only one not enjoying the joke. Thanks for.

Thanks and welcome. Really good to have your interesting comment. They do say not to work with animalsand children - but what if you are one of them?

I think you are spot on withyour remark about us being happier though poorer than. Somehow we have lost our way in the richness, I think.

Alas, I do not have the book - see ds above.

What a very kind remark! Welcome to you and much thanks for.

Good to know. Thank you.

Marvellously kind remark. Grateful thanks.

A very warm welcome to you. Your really kind comment is much appreciated. Much thanks for visiting.

Anonymous said...

that's a great memory. you had quite a childhood

waikiki family vacation said...

Aww, what a beautiful poem you got there. I am so impressed with you thoughts. Thanks for sharing this one.