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Saturday 6 October 2012

The Calling

Someone is calling me. Sure of it. 
Someone or something. Calling.
Not to a calling. No, nothing like that,
this calling's a verb, not a noun.
Calling me, calling, but
not to a lifetime of servitude
(an industrial missionary, say),
never to something like that.
Sacrificial - that isn't what's meant.

It's a voice in a wilderness calling,
not calling by name - but by what?
It's a word in the wind that I catch,
but then in a moment is gone.
No, but almost I hear what it says.
Almost, but not quite. The words slip away.
I'm left with their shape. Their substance is gone.
It's the way that a poem might start.
Or a painting, an image of sorts,
an aside from a passing - a what? - a
something that called. Indistinct.
That caught me off guard. Out of touch.
Like a cricketer dropping a catch.
Inattention the devil to blame - unless...
could it be that the shape is enough?

Someone will ask where it came from.
What shall I say? That something  or someone,
a pick-pocket maybe (in contrary mode), 
left it, lost in my pocket, to surface one day -
me thinking it mine all along! Indistinct.
(it). Inattentive. (me). With nothing
on which I could focus. It never reveals
where it came from. All I can say
is where it was found. It's an aura,
a will-o-the-wisp, a spectre, a ghost,
a spirit, a spook, a glimmer, a trace,
a homeless something that's pleading with me
to be given a home, to be taken on board.


Tabor said...

Animate or inanimate things do catch us and hold us for such a second. By the time we translate it is gone and we wonder if it was there at all. Enjoyed this.

Elephant's Child said...

Your generosity of spirit would not, could not allow a homeless anything to plead with you in vain.

kaykuala said...

Calling out loud and clear to ascertain what's your calling. A generous calling it seems you've had for which they had seen. It follows that you're being pursued. They know you're a nice guy so the spirit, ghost or whatever wants to support your calling to do good. That's how I see it Dave! Brilliant!


Jim Murdoch said...

This reminds me of Beckett’s last poem, ‘What is the Word?’, the way it grasps at a meaning that is just beyond reach. He was fond of short sentence fragments, little bursts of meaning shuffling along but always pausing to catch breath. I would change the order of the fourth last line to “a spectre, a ghost, a will-o-the-wisp,” – I think it provides a better cadence at the end of the line especially read along with the next line; compare the order: spectre/spirit, ghost/spook, will/glimmer, wisp/trace. Personally I wouldn’t have ‘homeless’ and ‘home’ so close together. It doesn’t seem to bother others but I’d find another way to say it. Also ‘taken on board’ has a nautical feel to my ear which feels out of place. Is it really necessary? On the whole though, good. A pleasant soundscape.

Brian Miller said...

i feel you man....i have heard that calling...and its shape, cool that you mention that as it is as mysterious....but know i know what you are saying...

Ash said...

Absolutely beautiful!

Daydreamertoo said...

Ahh..that elusive 'thing' that you know is there because you are aware of it and yet... can't quite figure out what it is... Yes, know that feeling and you have described it to a 'T'
Great read Dave!

Mary said...

Sounds like what goes on in one's mind before a poem is born... elusive thoughts circulating.

Anonymous said...

Very cool poem. I understand just what you mean - though have never put it in such clever words. And my problem increasingly is that if I don't heed the call when it comes, I cannot remember it with any exactitude. The pickpocket takes it again! My brain just too porous these days.

Well done. k.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Great, David, great. One of your best. And a feeling I have had very often. And yes, by all means, this is precisely how I almost always feel when a poem is going to be born.
And I long for that feeling.

sm said...

nice poem

Linda said...

Just beautiful, Dave.

Jan Mader said...

Powerful words...wonderful poem!

Cloudia said...

marvelous, spooky other-worldliness of mundane life with an un-mundane mind like yours.

Aloha from Waikiki,

Comfort Spiral

> < } } ( ° >

Cait O'Connor said...

You have explained that feeling so well.

Dave King said...

Animate/inanimate: sometimes it's difficult to tell the difference. Thanks for your thoughts on this.

The Elephant's Child
What a lovely thing to say! Thanks.

Thanks Hank. A very generous response, much appreciated.

I have to say how much I appreciate having my work referred to in the same sentence as Beckett's. Yes, I do know his last poem, but wouldn't have dared associate mine with it. Thanks for that. An d thanks also for the suggestions. I shall definitely look closely at them and give them time to sink in.

Somehow reassuring to learn that others find likewise - even though I'd always suspected as much.

Thanks a lot for.

Yup, that's about right.

And I do understand the memory problem - oh, yes! I've reached the stage where if I've thought of two lines for a poem, I can forget the second whilst I'm writing down the first!

Yes, I long for it two, and then often there's a frustrating period when I'm trying to shape the poem and almost thinking it will never come right.

Many thanks.

Hi, good to have your comments. Thank you for them and a very warm welcome to you.

Ooh, not sure about the unmundane mind, but I like the thought of it as a distant possibility. Thanks.

Thank you. Good to have your comment.

Dave King said...

Many thanks for such a generous response. Much appreciated - and my apologies for missing you out above!

Dave King said...

Hi, Good to have your company - even if I did miss you first time through, for which may apologies. Thank you for commenting.