Saturday, 27 February 2010

Tiger Woods to publish book of poems - working title 'A Game of Two Halves'

OK, that bit's not true. Instead it's time for another TFE prompt and this week the afterlife is our subject. I have two poems to offer – one old, one new, one tum-ti-tum rhymey, one nothing like that at all. Something for everyone...

First off here's the old one – it's a poem about the changing concept of heaven and I wrote it back in 2006. You can tell it's old because it mentions Tiger Woods (the golfer) as opposed to Tiger Woods (the shamed adulterer – yawn). This first one is the bang-bang rhyme one of the two so if you really hate this kind of thing...just scoot straight on down to the other poem below.

Heaven today

Why wait for heaven when Tesco might stock it?
Waiting is finished, it’s easy to see
Rewards are all right here and now, do you get it?
These days heaven isn’t what it used to be

The clouds have all gone but do we see clearer?
The angels all vanished, the gates lost their key
Heaven’s all different – quicker and nearer
Anywhere you want it is where it can be

For some it’s perfection on courses and pitches
Their angels are Tigers, their place at the tee
The clubs and the cups and the jets and the riches
These days heaven isn’t what it used to be

Some think joy on earth has its own price tag
They buy everything because nothing is free
Who needs celestial – just buy the handbag
These days heaven isn’t what it used to be

The family holiday, flying to see blue
The wedding in paradise by a palm tree
The house with the pillars, a palace made just for you
These days heaven isn’t what it used to be

For some there’s the crossword, the quest for the right clue
The garden, the telly, the phone call, the tea
Theatre trips and a seat with a good view
These days heaven isn’t what it used to be

It could be a handshake, a hug, an ‘I love you’
It could be a photo with not much to see
There we are looking just how we would like to
The simplest of matters our heaven can be

Some want justice, caring and sharing
They do their bit and it feels heavenly
More of us really could do with their daring
To make heaven wider it takes bravery

For me it is wandering, nothing too clear-cut
Shoes that fit, chocolate and days by the sea
Music but not necessarily harp-struck
Heaven is, happily, feeling more free

It’s less about waiting and more about finding
It’s trying to work out what works for each me
It’s losing eternal but not really minding
These days heaven’s what you need it to be

RF 2006

And now for something completely....oh, you know...different. This is new and it's about death and what's next for the godless, I suppose. I can't vouch for any scientific accuracy but it's an imaginative piece so that will just have to be my defence. The poem may seem grim to some of you but that's a perspective thing, isn't it? I tend to think of death as the final relief but then I am, of course, the child of a suicide (there's a stamp on the back of my neck that says so if you look closely). We see death differently perhaps...who knows? Here it is:


Eyes are closed in a terminal way
The hum of the brain winds down to null
The stomach hangs on to its last ever meal
(If only it had been something more appealing)

Mini tricks of life escape where they can
A puff of old air, a free flake of skin
Minute drops of liquid flow out (but not in)
A dab of saliva, final dribbled message

The body is simply a weight to be born
No more carrying itself from here again
And everything else seeps softly away

RF 2010



Titus said...

Not reading these yet. Still to write anything...

Rachel Fox said...

You like to live on the edge!

Niamh B said...

wow, that second one's a real knockout - loving the brackets at the end - it's beautiful in its own sad way.

Eryl Shields said...

I love the second one, it made me think of death masks on exhibition in a museum, because, I think, I always feel there must be bits of the person stuck to them. Also really like the ending: we'll all be forgotten and that's not a bad thing.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Yip, second one for me too. Horribly good.

Poetikat said...

Judging by the length of the top one, it was really on your mind, but the second one is pretty grim and real. Those last lines are really something.

Rachel Fox said...

It's a while now since I wrote the first but I suppose I was working through some of the uses for the word 'heaven' as much as anything. We use it a lot and like most words its meaning is changing all the time. That kind of thing interests me...what we see in our head when we hear a particular word.

And the second...sad, horrible, grim...and yet you all like it. Gruesome bunch you must be!


Sorlil said...

Gruesome right enough! I like the ending of the second one, the repetition in brackets work well (I may nick that for one of my own poems!). I must be a gruesome person because I couldn't help laughing at the 'something more appealing' line :)

Rachel Fox said...

You like the wave effect! Of course you do, woman of the water...

And I laughed (or smiled anyway) at the 'appealing' when it arrived. But it's true, isn't many people get a decent last meal, one they would have chosen? Very few, I imagine (especially anyone who dies in hospital!).


The Solitary Walker said...

I like the line 'Music but not necessarily harp-struck'!

The second poem is very good. There's an obectivity about it - the poet standing back and observing - which is probably important in poems with 'difficult' subjects like this.

Yet why should this subject be 'difficult'? Artists and writers are constantly eyeing up everything indiscriminatively as potential creative subjects and sources of inspiration. Or should be. There's a chip of ice in the heart of every writer as (I think but can't be bothered to check) Graham Greene said, or something like it.

It's not the subject that matters - it's the way it's treated, isn't it?

I also thought that little touch about the unappealing nature of the last meal was a killer line (so human, that observation - and the brief humour of it 'lightens' the poem before you get on to the less appealing bits!)

Niamh B said...

I liked the first one too - the getting it in Tesco etc, very enjoyable.

Anonymous said...

Yes, a depressing image, the essence of life being so physical, but I can practically feel the weight lifting as I read.
thanks for sharing

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks, SW. It isn't what I'd call a difficult subject...but then we all find different things difficult, don't we?

I wasn't sure if people from outside the UK would know Tesco, Niamh. Do you have Tesco Towers in Ireland too?

CFM - to me death is just part of life - no more or less depressing than anything else that happens to us. What I do find depressing and difficult to compute is meanness, spite, cruelty...all of those. They are things we could avoid (but often don't) whilst death is coming whether we like it or not! Best to be prepared.


Don't Feed The Pixies said...

Surely "The Right Way To Swing" would be a better title for Mr Woods???

Great stuff all the same

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

or The King Of The Swingers??

Rachel Fox said...

Quite possibly. But I was going for the old Colemanballs school of sports commentators mixing metaphors business.

And if he was that good at it...would he have got caught?

I love the whole sex addiction thing too. I hate to generalise (as a rule, boom boom) but is there a man alive (of any tendencies) who wouldn't be a sex addict given half a chance? And a few women too maybe. I think the word addict is one of our most overused (followed swiftly by 'organic').


The Solitary Walker said...

You can't have too much of a good thing except, possibly, the Spanish Menu del Dia. At its simplest you're given, as you know only too well - Primero: sopa (usually pasta swimming about in a thin brown liquid that tastes vaguely of offal). Segundo: lomo & chips. Postre: Flan or a piece of fruit. Not bad for 7 euros though. And nutritious.

As for the sex, forget it. Weather far too cold.

Rachel Fox said...

'El flan' always made me laugh! Not really my idea of a pudding.


Karen said...

Well, the first was a fun read - truth and humor mixed - and the second was grim and dark. Alas, poor Yorick! I like it!

Jeanne Iris said...

#1: Absolutely, chocolate and heaven!

#2: When I read "the body is a weight to be born," my mind immediately went to 'a wait to be born.' I can sense your pain in this one. Poignant!

Argent said...

I like both of these. I do like poems that rhyme and chug along nicely and your first one rmeinds me of a sort of go I was going to have at this challenge but forgot about. Hmm. The send one's ending is a killer (sorry). Grim but great.

Terresa said...

Both poems are brilliant. I shopped @ my first Tesco while visiting the UK a few months back, I was a little smitten.

The last poem was gripping. Very Good.

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks for reading, visitors old and new! I felt I hadn't done as much on this subject as I'd there's another poem in a post new today. I know...some people just don't know when to stop!

the watercats said...

I liked the touch of the bracketts at the end of the second too. They seem to make the thing so intensely final. Also love the trip along rhythm of the first one, it's all happy and smiley.. and true :-)

NanU said...

I do like the second one, the way things stop, but calmly, fading away at the last. Done.

Peter Goulding said...

I like the first one. The rhyme and meter hides some powerful concepts.
I don't like to be confronted by the realities of the second one (wimp!)

Titus said...

Ha! Wrote mine, so now I can return. I enjoyed the first, and liked the last six lines, particularly
"It’s losing eternal but not really minding".
However, number 2 is a real stand-out, and as so many have said, the last four lines are genius.

And very nickable device!

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Dominic Rivron said...

Stop is quite an antidote to Heaven Today!

I once saw a TV interview with a British Taoist Master (apparently there is, or was, only one). He was asked, was there life after death. He replied, "you'll have to ask a dead Taoist Master".

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks everyone.

Peter - like me you're not afraid to tackle the unfashionable world of rhyme though! Some poetry wimps never dare step into that area...

That's my favourite line in 'Heaven today', Titus. Some people worry about a lack of afterlife...I really don't! I'm not scared of nothing.

Nice story, Dominic.


Rachel Fox said...

In fact perversely I'm not scared of nothing but I am scared of almost everything! You follow?