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Thursday 11 April 2013

Pockets --Wot they 4?

Once in my early teens --
Oh, memorable evening under stars,
trees bidding us keep schtum --
wearing a great coat not my own,
and in a pocket of the same,
a rabbit -- not a beast to conjure with,
not one to pull out of an ear or hat,
Oh no, a rabbit, though unbloodied
and still warm, quite dead.

My coat, a poacher's coat
(each pocket big enough, I thought, to hold a horse),
belonged to Jake who lived with others
(the others who were with us now)
in coaches on a railway line.
They'd put me up when I'd been in distress.
And Jake had put his coat around me
when I'd shivered -- from excitement, not from cold.
Inordinately long on him,
it reached the ground on me.
Railway men they were.
Plate-layers they were called.
They introduced me to their sport --
of poaching down the line.

Alas, the phase of pockets filled with fluff,
dead mice and chewing gum - part chewed -
passed me completely by; so this, my solitary
bragging right, is what I offer now.

These days the contents of my pockets seem
much friendlier, if more mundane:
coins of the realm and keys, a mobile phone,
a lucky stone, a note-book, pen
and camera, some paper tissues, like as not,
my wallet and a tube of peppermints...
These simple things
are more fulfilling now
than that poor rabbit was back then.

But not completely so! I yearn
for something tactile and exotic
to play with as I walk or wait
in some quite cheerless waiting room.
I'd love a netsuke,* for example,*
to roam my fingers round and secretly
enjoy the sculptor's special skills.
That or a small stone God or godess,
a replica perhaps of the oldest one of all
the WILLENDORF,* that neolithic Dame...*
Oh, how I'd like my fingers roaming her!

The prompt brilliantly suggested by Poetry Jam


Silent Otto said...

Gday mate, thus floats aling , like a dream, thanks for sharing it.

Brian Miller said...

ha i like def something to play with in the pocket...your talk o fhte jacket made me think about a barn jacket i had before...had amazing pockets....never kept a dead mouse there...ha...you def have some interesting things in your pockets and that is pretty cool...

Ygraine said...

This had me dashing to the attic, where I found my old camouflage jacket...thought I'd just go through the pockets!
I found:
a piece of driftwood, collected from Sandwood Bay in Sutherland;
a tiny mouse skull from Durness;
an assortment of shells from Guernsey;
and a rusty iron door bolt, collected from the burnt-out ruins of Borley Rectory in 1979!

Although none of these are as tactile and interesting as yours, I nevertheless basked in some moving nostalgia from my past.
Many thanks for the prompt, Dave.

What began as an ordinary Thursday afternoon, has now become a fascinating one! :)

Helen said...

I enjoyed your musings .........

Laurie Kolp said...

Well, this is a bit long to fit in a pocket, but I really enjoyed it. Dead mice, seriously?

Leovi said...

Yes, great poem, I know the pockets of these coats, my father was a poacher and carrying the shotgun disassembled inside pockets.

Cait O'Connor said...

This is a coincidence as one of my writing group's homework prompts this month is 'Man has a coat, coat has a pocket, what is in the pocket?' The first piece someone posted on our group's blog page was about a poacher's pocket.....

Anyway I love yours and agree with Kutamun, it floats along like a dream.

Sarav said...

Great details and compelling write--really enjoyed how you took us from then to now, with a little fun at the end :-)

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Mice in a pocket...can't say I ever had that but I wouldn't rule it out of the realm of possibility for some old coats I have had in a closet for years :)

Sreeja said...

thats fine memories drawn... very interesting.....enjoyed...fourth stanza is much friendly as it is for you .... :-)

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

A delight, a poem that celebrates memory and the sense of touch in a superlative way.
Yes, better the pockets of the past, a treasure-hoard from earth!

Peggy said...

What an interesting read this is. Though I was at first put off by the dead rabbit, I had to keep reading to see where it would go--the poem, not the rabbit--but maybe both.

Grace said...

Not dead mice or chewing gum, but I do like fiddling with something inside my pockets too ~ Enjoyed your story Dave ~

Mary Ann Potter said...

"A poacher's coat" is quite an image. This is absolutely wonderful.

Elephant's Child said...

My youngest brother's pockets contained licked lollies, snails and nails. Your pockets then and now are much more salubrious.
And I too would like a netsuke. Very much indeed.

Gerry Snape said...

what a picture conjured up in this one! I have a coat bought when the older child was born 40 years ago and I just can't get rid of it because of the memories...oh and then there's dad's sheepskin jacket still hanging up on the peg...madness

Dave King said...

Thanks for this. Really appreciated comment.

No, nor I, but I've known kids who clain to have kept dead mice, maggots, all sorts.

Welcome. Yes, I think we all yearn for it occasionally. Thanks for saying

Fascinating response. Thank you SO much for it.

Good to hear. Thanks.

Owch! I must have misread the brief. Didn't realise the POEM had to go in the pocket - still, my poachers' pockets...

Wow! You could tell a tale or two, then?

Thanks for this. The web's synchronicity strikes again! Fascinating.

Thanks Sara . Glad you enjoyed.

Optimistic Existentialist
Know what you mean, know what you mean! Thanks.

Welcome and many thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Thanks Tommaso, a really encouraging comment to receive.

Yes, can't say I'm surprised. I did worry about that dead rabbit. Much appreciate your remarks.

Thanks - I'm with you. Wouldn't want to fiddle with a dead mouse!

Mary Ann
A warm welcome to you and many thanks.

Elephant's Child
Ah, yes! That's the sort of pocket I had in mind!

Ah, one aftyer my own heart. Thanks.

Mary said...

I definitely empathize with you wanting something interesting to carry in your pockets. Children do have the right idea, I think. They have all kinds of treasures in their pockets. And why shouldn't we?

I am not familiar with this Willendorf, but why not find yourself a replica???? I am serious.

I wasn't around yesterday as I was quite sick, something that doesn't happen to me often. Just a tad better today.

Anonymous said...

I was completely entranced, beautiful story-telling

alan1704 said...

I can certainly feel that need to find something from your past and hold it again. A great poem and a heart felt share.