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Sunday 10 March 2013

The Hippo Bag

A Hippo Bag is what it's called.
You buy it at the local store,
you take it home, unfold it, and
you fill it to the gunnels with
a ton of rubbish you don't want --
and settle down to wait.
You're waiting for a lorry with a crane.
With luck, within a day, a week, a year or two
the rubbish will have vanished from your view.

We did just that.
It's sitting in the garden by the road.
(Within four meters is the rule.)
Meanwhile, I've noticed
how so many passers-by
find it a magnet that they can't resist.
It seems it's hardly possible to walk on by.
They stop. They peer. They prod. They poke...
you half expect, you're quite convinced
that if you'd look away they'd help themselves.

So far they don't.
(Well, saving one, anonymous, who took
the broken handle of a walking stick.)
What fascinates them, do you think?
Old water cans? The fungi-covered wood?
The carpet cleaner or Aunt Jennie's broken gnome?
The mouldering roof rack from a car
that mouldered long ago?
A favourite seems to be
the scant remains of last year's Christmas tree.

A final word: because you've bought the bag,
don't think the lorry with the crane is free...
The poor man's skip? Just skip the poor.

Written for dVerse Poets where there is a co-hosting. I am responding to that by Brian Miller who suggests we get someone to give us:-
2 nouns, 3 verbs, 3 adjectives and 2 random words.
I was provided with: magnet and gunnels
resist, settle and vanish
old, broken and favourite
and scant and fungi.


Sabio Lantz said...

Very cool.
When I lived in Japan, like many other foreigners, I furnished my whole home with garbage. Believing that "karma" is like glue and sticks to things, the Japanese are very hesitant to use other people's old stuff. And one day a week, was "big garbage day" when Japanese put big items in front of their house for garbage collection -- TVs , chairs, beds ...

There was no GoodWill stores or Craig Lists in Japan that I knew of.

Going through garbage seems a natural, healthy reflex. If you don't like it, put a lid on it! ;-)

Thanx for the fun rhymes and thoughts.

Brian Miller said...

ha. i like...on the subject of garbage....it is interesting the things we decide are rubbish and are willing to part with and to what lengths at times we will go to get rid of it...i know in some areas here you have to buy tags to dispose of your garbage...we even had states years ago fighting over moving garbage state to state...it costs here as well for pick up...luckily i have a dump just downt he road and can take mine in the back of the car....

Claudia said...

aunt jennie's broken gnome made me laugh out loud..so good... there's poetry even in garbage..and this i like...smiles

Scarlet said...

What is garbage to one, might be useful to another ~ I think its fun poking into these bags and stuff, but my hubby finds it disgusting ~ We have a lot of second hard stores here but the stuff that people put out in front of their home on garbage day is more compelling ~

Mary said...

Ha, this "Hippo Bag" is an interesting concept. Here there are what I would call 'professionals' who drive through subdivisions (especially) on garbage day and see if anything useful is being thrown out...old bicycles, rakes, chairs, or particularly METAL (which they can take for big $$). If something is bagged up, I wouldn't be tempted to look through it. But I once acquired a fine little plastic desk for grandchildren this way. (which I could wash)

A Cuban In London said...

Definitely like that last line about the skip and the poor. Loved the wordplay. I guess passers-by are also attracted by the past of the things found inside. The wild array of chucked-out objects that once had a purpose and now no longer have any. Beautiful poem. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Kathy Reed said...

Interesting what people do when it comes to 'junk'...certainly wouldn't mind the gnome, though ;) And the sorting of it all...how to decide what to throw away? Fun write!

Jenny Woolf said...

I'm not sure I'd look in a hippo bag, but I do tend to look into skips. You can find some interesting things in them :)

rch said...

Haha reminds me of a local rite called 'cleanup week' we're allowed to throw out anything and the trashmen must pick it up, it's fun to watch all the people picking through each others piles, good one Dave.

Carl said...

Holy cow! Pretty sure I could not have pulled anything out of that pile of words. Very deftly done sir.

Anonymous said...

Ha - I am reading some of the comments here too - agree with Claudia re the gnome.

You know in NYC people often pick up a lot of furniture etc from the street. The problem is if the dogs have had their day! And here people are a little afraid of animal life lingering too!

Thanks though for fun poem - recycled words. k.

Victoria said...

Dave, what a great job you did crafting a fun and unique poem with such an array of words. Reminds me that I have to put out the garbage and recycling tonight! I've made 3 trips this last week to a thrift store. Spring cleaning two weeks early!

kaykuala said...

The garbage bag would go through 2 phases over here. First the garbage man would pick those which could be sold off eg plastic cans. The second would be at the dumps where the unfortunates made a living. They salvaged what could be turned to cash. They were known to pick up valuables and cash missed by the first phase. Nicely Dave!


Cloudia said...

So much in such an unassuming subject, Dave

ALOHA from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral
~ > < } } ( ° > <3

Elephant's Child said...

We have (twice a year) Second Hand Sunday where people are encouraged to put out things they no longer want, and other people are encouraged to go through it, taking away anything they want. However, if what you put out is not collected by others, you are then responsible for disposing of it. Which doesn't come cheap.

Ygraine said...

Haha:D Really made me laugh!
I've noticed this myself...whenever I leave a bag of rubbish outside, most of it has gone walkabouts by the time they come to collect it.
If only the curious had come earlier, I could have been rid of a lot more! Haha

Dave King said...

Thank you Everyone
for the interesting replies. Obviously, garbage is a subject close to most hearts, though I think maybe I ought to explain that the Hippo Bag is a commercial venture which is additional to the various official provisions.

We do have our regular weekly collections of household and garden rubbish including food waste. And there are the local Council tips to which we can take extra rubbish, as when pruning trees, for instance. There are limits, though, on how often these tips can be visited and how they can be made use of. You cannot use them for house clearance, for instance. The Hippo Bag, like other versions by other companies sit alongside the builders' skips as a way of getting rid of junk after refurbishing, making alterations to the home or after the annual shed or attic clearance. These, unlike the official collections and sites are not free.

I have to own up to a fascination with other people's rubbish. Goes without saying, I suppose -- but I'd still like to know what it is deep inside us that makes it so compelling.