Popular Posts

Monday 4 February 2013

Could Anything be More Destructive of Poetic Form?

Sylvia Plath
thought it would be difficult
to accommodate a toothbrush in a poem.
In a novel, yes.
(A novel is a rag bag,
will take anything you care to throw at it.)
But in a poem?
Almost impossible!

What is it then, I wondered,
that a toothbrush is or has
that is so devastating
of poetic form?

Could it be by some association?
The open mouth, for instance...
How unromantic, unpoetic that can be!
Responsible for putting dentists
right up in the stratosphere
of mental breakdowns.
Topping every list.

Its total lack of looks, perhaps?
(neither have I ever seen it 
in a still life... or brought in
to a gallery as something found.) 
A urinal, yes. But toothbrush? Never!

I have tried to disprove Plath's contention. 
Here are some of my attempts:-

At the dawn of day
my toothbrush comes into its own...
Oh the spring water!

(Well, do I still agree with her?
I'm damned if I am sure...)
Let me try two more:-

On that one side - pain
even so there too I clean
with morning vigour!

Of difficult names
the spring weeds must rank highest --
next to the toothbrush!

O.K., they're fiendishly clever,
those Japanese,
so I'll try something else;-

Against the rubber tongues of cows
the toothbrush in the hands of men...
(With apologies to Ted Hughes - "Thistles".)

And from Ezra Pound (Canto XLV):-
with usura
hath no man a glass and a toothbrush on his bathroom wall

O.K., I confess, I don't know.
I merely assemble the evidence.
You, dear readers are the jury,
what thinketh thou?


Cait O'Connor said...

I am pleased to be the first to say that you have succeeded in your task to put a toothbrush in a (very fine) poem.

Ygraine said...

I think you have just elevated mere toothbrush to lofty work of art!
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, Dave. And I'll just have to read it again (and again).
It is clever, funny and riveting :)

JANU said...

Bless the toothbrush that has a poem dedicated to it.

Manicddaily said...

Well, you've definitely managed it! I kind of like the idea of toothbrush in a poem - but you are right, it is somehow too puritan for DaDa. k.

Mary said...

Ha ha....this was funny, Dave. My question would be why would anyone WANT to write a poem about a toothbrush??

And a bit of gallows humor...I would say that Sylvia Plath's opinion would be a dead issue.

But leaving the humor aside, this is SERIOUSLY a cleansing poem!!

Brian Miller said...

a toothbrush, makes me wonder what the problem might be, i rather like when one tells me you cant do something as it makes me want to do it...as you have done here masterfully....smiles....

Rachna Chhabria said...

Toothbrush in a poem sounds unusual.

David Cranmer said...

A worthy toothbrush poem.

haricot said...

As a subject toothbrush would be mere boring one, but as a material to mention something else it will work efficiency as you did.

Dave King said...

Thank you so much - on two counts, both of which mean a lot.

Wow! I really do find this a genuinely encouraging response. Thank you so much. I am very grateful for your support.

And bless the one who says so!

Yes, it appealed to me when I read of her remark. I somehow had to try. Thanks for saying this.

Well, I thought it might be something I should brush up on... Thanks.

Ah, a man after my own heart. You just can't say can't, certaily not about art. Thanks for the backup!

Poem in a toothbrush more so? Thanks for commenting.

Thanks. Could have gone up or down!

Thank yo very much for saying this.