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Thursday 18 April 2013

The Coming of Godot

Peggy at Poetry Jam invites us this week to present a fictional character from a Point of View. I have chosen Godot from Samuel Becket's "Waiting for Godot". In the play Godot never appears. Waiting, interminably, for him to do so are two tramps, Vladimir and Estragon. In the spirit of the prompt (I hope!) I have given Godot sole occupancy of the stage.

Vladimir! Estragon! Where are
you -- Surely you have not left? Gone?
Can it be so? Are you not here?
Of course not. I see you are not.
Could ye not watch for me, one brief
hour more? Of course not? Why should you?
You waited well beyond what might
have been expected. I delayed
my coming -- God-like, but not God.
My non-appearance then became
far more than you or audience
could bear. Soon it became the main
point of the play. Academics
argued it was all. (What thoughts did
you, my friendly tramps, have then? Did
you think it all? Or did you think
I might not come at all? Perhaps
you were among those few who thought
me God: all wise, invisible,
and at the end, unknowable?
There were such and still are -- so I
was bound to come. A pity then
you are not here. What would you make
of me -- or did you long suspect
I am a woman? I guess you did.
And so you danced attendance on
me for so long -- not long enough
though, as it came to pass. But had
you known for certain sure I was
a man you would not have stayed long --
or would have stayed for ever. But
for a woman you would do what
you in fact did do -- wait long, though
not quite long enough. So am I?
Am I God? And does the play ask
that -- or answer it? No, never.
Is that the point of it? My non-
appearance, is that the crux we
need to understand? Or me, here,
now, and you departed God knows
where -- the final revelation
as I speak it now to no one.
That is an abiding truth; that
the final revelation goes
unheard. The trees may hear my words,
the birds may glean some molecule
of what I say, a fox may steal
my words, and so the day may come
when someone finds them, finds a use
for them. Our two good friends, perhaps:
friends Vladimir and Estragon.
One way or another, the words
that we speak will come back to us.


Susan Lindquist said...

I love the lines ... 'that is an abiding truth; that the final revelation goes unheard.' and I love the image of birds gleaning a molecule of what I say. This is such a good read, David! Ah, waiting for Godot ... it is such a task to sit patiently through that play and wonder and wait and leave having been unfulfilled, and continue to wonder ... like the telling of the long long joke that has no punch line ... and makes you search for one ...

Ygraine said...

There is a distinct feel of Shakespeare about this piece...to be or not to be...will they show or won't they?
I kept thinking I knew the answer, only to find there were more questions.
An exceptionally intriguing write, Dave! :)

Leovi said...

Very interesting existentialism!

Mary said...

Wow, Dave, profound. This is inspired. I can see this as a performance piece. Makes me want to see "Waiting for Godot," which (I don't think) I have ever seen.

anthonynorth said...

Excellent take on the theme.

Laurie Kolp said...

So true... and sometimes they come back to us all mixed up.


Unknown said...

Visiting your blog is always a wonderful experience! Poetry and english lessons all in one place!

The Weaver of Grass said...

So he has come after all Dave - well welcome to him I say.

Anonymous said...

This piece has a great depth and theatricality that is just perfect =)

Cloudia said...

Your opening line very satisfying! You have a great inner compass & altimeter


alan1704 said...

There is something of the Rupert Brooke about this, almost romantic but with a touch of reality and steel. Really enjoyed it.

Jennifer Wagner said...

I like the questioning nature of this. And that last line is so true indeed.

Peggy said...

I like this very much Dave. You did a wonderful job of giving voice to Gadot. I have so enjoyed all the different fictional characters people have been inspired to give words.

Sarav said...

Dave, you wrote an eloquent piece here--so many lovely lines. Sometimes when people make you wait--that question comes--who do they think they are, anyway? And the ending was perfect :-)

Helen said...

Dave, you have left us breathless!

Elephant's Child said...

'all wise, invisible,
and at the end, unknowable?' Simply beautiful. Thank you so much. Each time I think you have surpassed yourself and cannot do better, you prove me wrong.

The Unknowngnome said...

Perhaps the final revelation is to be found in the patience of both God and man.

This brings to my mind 2 Peter 3:8-9.

I bow to you sir and I applaud you. A great piece of writing Dave.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

It'a alluring, to be read and reread. I think I have a poem with these two same characters at the end. I saw the play three times, twice in Italian, once in English. Your poem has brought it back to me again.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

And it's great to hear the super-waited-for God(ot) speak at last!

Rachel Cotterill said...

Oh, it's been such a long time since I thought about this play! Nicely done :)

Jim Murdoch said...

I wonder here, when he bemoans the fact they couldn’t wait one hour longer you’re alluding to the scene in Gethsemane where Jesus complains about his disciples’ inability to stay awake with him (and not head off to the land of Nod)? I wrote a Godot poem once too (no surprises there):

      The Gospel According to Estragon

      Godot came today.
      We weren't prepared.

      If anything we were rather disturbed -
      he wasn't supposed to come
       (nor was he what I'd expected).

      So we killed him
      and buried him under the tree
      and went back to waiting.

      Nothing more to be done.

      28 September 1986

Dave King said...

Apologies to everyone
that I am not getting round to reply to comments as I would like. Unfortunately I am having to contend with a few health issues which do not leave as much time as I have spent in the past. I am making my visits to your blogs the priority and beyond those, doing what I can.
It is particularly frustrating in this case because you have rewarded me with a really high quality set of comments. each one of which I would have liked to answer at some length.
I really think this is the best set of comments I have ever had, but I have to be content for now with thanking you all for your kind words and perceptive thoughts. Looking through them, there is just one question asked, I think, which is from Jim Murdoch -- and yes, I was alluding to the hour in Gethsemene. In the play the two tramps do reference the gospels a good deal (if I recall correctly -- which can't be guaranteed these days!) and so I had intended to allude to them more myself, but in the event this ended up as the sole example.
So, my grateful thanks - and hope to do better in future

Margaret said...

What would you make
of me -- or did you long suspect
I am a woman?

A few of my kids have had to read this for school... I have never gotten beyond glancing at it. Not sure it is my kind of read, but I liked the line above. Brought some humor to it for me.

Hope you are feeling better.