Monday, 1 March 2010

And there's more...

Because you know, atheists can have visions too...and as if two poems in the last post weren't enough for TFE's challenge this week here's number three. It is an afterlife vision I had yesterday evening. Mark had been watching a documentary about mathematical infinity (lots of men in messy studies with bad hair...says me from a messy desk with...regularly bad hair...) and I guess I went from there.

So...


Or infinity

You go to sleep
And doze for a while
But when you next wake
You're at the top of a chute
Until WHOOSH!
You're down
And BANG onto something

You've hit a landing
Not hard, not soft
And you lie for a minute
Try to get some bearings
It's familiar, warm
And welcome enough
Oddly salty though

It's some kind of beach
An endless strand
And all around
Are grains and grains
And grains of sand
The strangest thing is
Maybe you're one too

It's all in place
There's hiss of sea
You can't see very much
Just sand and more sand
All faceless and neutral
Is that sky above?
It might be blue

There's no sign of the slide
Though it's not gone away
There's just you...
And all these grains of sand
All sizeless
All toasting under
What must be sun

You don't really have eyes
That's clear enough
And yet still you see
The grains next door
You'd love to touch them
But no hands, you see
No hands


RF 2010

40 comments:

Totalfeckineejit said...

Well this is different, visions are good, but I have to say this one terrified me!(Touch of locked in syndrome, I see it everywhere after watching the diving bell andthe butterfly)And who's to say it won't happen? AAArggghhh!

Rachel Fox said...

You big wuss. I wasn't raised on happy endings...can you tell?

Must see that film - tis on my list.

x

Pure Fiction said...

Wooaaah - they have no hands? How could you do that to those poor grains of sand?
Out of the three poems prompted by TFE's prompt, this is definitely my favourite.
I thought of blades of grass when I sat down to write my offering, so I suppose we were sort of thinking along the same lines, but this is really immediate and very nicely paced.
But what a bleak world view. Don't make me go down that slide. Give them hands, Rachel, give them hands, at least :(

Rachel Fox said...

Yes, this probably my favourite of the 3 too. It's more complete.

And they're warm, the grains, they're not alone...it doesn't seem that bleak to me. Obviously I have different standards.

x

Niamh B said...

This is absolutely brilliant - atmospheric and really imaginative, reminds me of a story I once read from the point of view of stones on a beach.

Rachel Fox said...

That's lovely of you to say so, Niamh, as I don't think imagination is usually my strongest area (to say the least...).

Can you remember the story's name or who it was by? I always used to write about sand and pebbles but now I live near the sea I do it even more.

x

Niamh B said...

It was a very short piece by a guy in my writing group - if I can get his permission I'll send it on to you!

Emerging Writer said...

I love it, it's so out there. do you get washed away?

To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower...

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks Niamh. I'd love to read it. I have an old poem (on the site under 'distress and recovery' poems called 'simple stuff') - it has bits about being sand too. I obviously identify heavily with sand!

Thanks EW. I'd forgotten that sand reference! How could I? Thanks for bringing it over.
And washed away? Maybe after a million years or something. No rush.

x

swiss said...

the last two lines defintiely make it for me. great ending

Andy said...

The warmth & the sound of the sea... It doesn't sound too bleak to me. And if you gave them hands they'd only have to find something to do with them. I think its better this way.

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks, Swiss. I don't know where that came from...but yes, I was glad when it arrived. There's always something a kid would say in my poems I think...

Andy? Which one? One that I know (I know a few...)? I have an idea who you are but I might be wrong.

x

The Weaver of Grass said...

Scary it seems to me Rachel.But they are not alone, as you say - dust to dust and all that.

the watercats said...

this was quite intense... and cool in the oddest ways :-)

P Nolan said...

"But no hands, you see / No hands"

Brilliant! :-)

Rachel Fox said...

I find almost everything scary, Weaver, so I'm used to the sensation perhaps.

Yes, cats, it's definitely different to anything I've ever written before. And that's good. Don't want to be in a rut now, do I?

Thanks P. It kind of makes you smile the ending, I think, doesn't it? Even though you don't really want to. It makes me smile anyway.

x

NanU said...

what an excellent ending!
Brava!

Sorlil said...

I agree, this is terrifying! The ending made my hands ache! How awful to be a trapped consciousness, I'll never look at sand the same way again.

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks NanU.

And Sorlil...I suppose it does have a bit of a '1984' thing going on. And I'll take that 'never look at sand the same again..' bit as a compliment. Isn't that the job description? Excellent!

x

Sorlil said...

Yes it is a compliment :) Meant to say, I saw that documentary also, it was really good!

willow said...

"...no hands, you see no hands"

Fabulous fabulous ending!!

Crafty Green Poet said...

that's a bit scary, very effective

Rachel Fox said...

Scary? I did watch the last part of the new series of 'Being Human' last night too. Maybe that came into it somewhere...
x

Rachel Fox said...

Oh, and missed some...

I wouldn't watch documentaries like that left to myself I don't think, Sorlil, but Mark is quite a science-head and he watches all these things. That one caught my attention...the mathematicians sounded very like poets, didn't they? It was all about choosing what you wanted to believe too from what I could understand.


And Willow - thanks so much. This one (especially the end) seems to be doing something right!

x

Titus said...

Good one! Reading the comments was interesting, because this does have the stamp of absolute, free imagination on it and maybe that is a little different to some of your other stuff - I'm thinking hard now...

And as everyone has rightly said, those 2 last lines are brilliant.

Titus said...

And how did I miss that documentary? One of my favourite topics. Bah!

Sorlil said...

I love those kinds of documentaries - takes me back to my cosy student days, waffling away afternoons in warm classrooms about the infinite number of parallel existences...aah student life!

Eryl Shields said...

Wow, I don't know if this is scary or comforting. Imagine realising you have become a grain of sand, unable to move, the sun burning you, the tide swooshing you about and separating you from the grains you were just getting used to, then someone squashing you into a bucket...

Rachel Fox said...

I think this is the link for the infinity documentary. There is a bit of flannel in it (as always!) but that lets the mind catch up I suppose.

No, no Eryl...no people with buckets on this beach! Strictly sand. Very peaceful. And the sun is warm but not too hot. It's OK.

x

Poetikat said...

I like the "hiss of sea" verse with all its sibilance.
I read "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" and have the dvd (yet to watch it though). Also wrote two poems in response to it.

That slide image is really something. I'm also thinking of C.S. Lewis's "The Great Divorce".

Funny what the brain spews out, isn't it?

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks Kat. I'm thinking of doing a recording of this one so listen out for the hissssss.

It's funny too...lots of things happened in it without me consciously noticing (the ands, strand, sands and hands, for example). But I did do one thing on purpose - start with 'chute' (Scottish playgrounds) and end with 'slide' (the English version). I feel I'm halfway between the two now so I couldn't have one and not the other. I love hearing Scottish kids ask for a 'wee shot on the chute' (and it all sounds like one word). An English kid (just off the motorway) wouldn't have a clue what they were on about.

x

The Solitary Walker said...

Great poem, Rachel... loved it!

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks. It's kind of taken me by surprise...and that's always good. Well, nearly always.

x

Emerging Writer said...

Hiya

i was brought up in Scotland so I'd forgottten that chute was only a Scottish word. I'd only heard it verbally and thought it was spelled shoot anyway but shute makes more sense.

Emerging Writer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rachel Fox said...

I hadn't thought about its spelling really...and I tend to put words in italics if I am throwing in a Scots word (which I do now and again). This was more a nod to Scottishness I suppose...a hint of change in my own use of language. But you're right, EW, according to what I can see online it would be 'shuit' or 'shute' in Scots (it's not even in my Scots dictionary and it's a very common word).

x

Rachel Fox said...

And of course the English do use 'chute' but not for playgrounds usually...more for swimming pools and exiting aircraft and stuff like that.

x

Rachel Fox said...

And while we're on it...what's a playground slide/chute/shute in Ireland?

x

A Cuban In London said...

'No hands, you see, no hands.' That's actually more powerful than any atheist bus campaign, methinks. Although I did enjoy them. :-)

Ta muchly.

Greetings from London.

Rachel Fox said...

Oh, I don't know. It seems to have scared as many people as it appealed to!

I think mainly the hands bit is about frustration...that frustration you get in dreams and in everyday life...it'd be nice (and comforting) to think that that ends when our earthly lives do...but I'm not convinced. Ever hopeful though too at the same time.

x