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Poetry Exercise : News Story/Small Ads

(16 Posts)
spacedonkey Wed 15-Dec-04 11:41:41

I don't know about you, but often news stories (especially the ones that are tucked away on page 12) really grab me. They may be reported in only a few lines, but you get a sense that there are huge stories behind them. Or am I a nutter?

So proposed exercise is to write a poem based on that kind of news story or small ad - ones that make you think "I wonder what the full story is behind that one?"

Here's one I wrote, which was inspired by a very small news story in the local paper about a young man who had committed suicide and his father had found him hanging in their village church. Really chirpy subject eh?!

Mr Baird Breaks The Spell

The weighted rope must have creaked
When you found your son hanging in the church
The church he had known forever
Like all the others, the unforgiving grey Scottish stone
Like rain or ash or gull feathers
Cruel, to let you find him
Although you would want to find him
For the first time, the first time to know him
How long he had been there
In the still greyness you would never know
He had gone back to the green edgeless world
Unborn again, no more dead than the embryo.
But the church?
So many questions echoing about the gull-grey walls
Thick as mystery, thick as silence
Thick as the obscure folds of the monk’s brown cowl
The texture of shock, irregular,
Filling the space between the thick, thick walls.

The air shatters
Shards of shrapnel light whizz past your head
As you compute the scene.
But it does not compute, it will not compute
Suffocating in the cold drab light
Unspeakably mundane
Normality becomes an obscenity
And your brain crashes
And you think of the list your wife gave you minutes ago
The loaf of bread - “wholemeal, not brown”,
Because “brown” can mean just food colouring -
And the toilet rolls and the ham or the tongue for your sandwiches
And the screws to match the screws in your pocket
To finish the shelves you had promised to finish
And the newspaper and the tobacco and the stamps
And a minute ago you were laughing
And now ...
Gulping for air in that cold, airless place
The ghastly sound of the creaking rope
And the gull-white pallor of his skin
The deep translucence of marble
A fishes’ eye clouded milky-black
And the walls, the walls that hold the silence
Retching, you stumble back into the harshness of the day.

After the raising of the alarm
And the calling of the ambulance
And the faces, the faces mouthing words in an alien tongue
When you found your way back to the house
You heard her voice, so alive, so full of life -
Each second stretched, fractured, as you approached
The door, and the opening of the door, and the turning of her head, and the smile falling from her face, and the finding of the words, and the speaking of the words, the words,
The words that would break the spell.

popsycal Sun 19-Dec-04 19:28:45

SD - i only just found this thread! a fab idea!

i am going to have a go at this one

Gobbledigoose Sun 19-Dec-04 20:23:10

Bloody hell SD - talent or wot?!

I'm too crap at this sort of thing to even warrant having a go and most of our small news things are about chip pan fires

No, I'm definitely a scientist and no good with words but I can appreciate them so well done you!

spacedonkey Sun 19-Dec-04 20:25:47

thank you GdG

I for one would like to hear a poem about chip fat fires!

Gobbledigoose Sun 19-Dec-04 20:32:25

Not one by me I can assure you!

JanH Sun 19-Dec-04 20:36:42

sd, you know that is an incredibly powerful poem. I am awed.

Hulababy Sun 19-Dec-04 22:14:06

Wow! Well done.

spacedonkey Sun 19-Dec-04 22:18:24

thank you! << bows >>

hope everyone else is going to join in

spacedonkey Sun 19-Dec-04 22:18:39

in the poetry club i mean, not praising me

maomao Sun 19-Dec-04 22:20:20


popsycal Sun 19-Dec-04 22:22:00

I will try - but i wil be nowhere near that SD!!
Mine will be a little tends to be the way these days!

JJ Sun 19-Dec-04 23:23:15

Ok, this does not flow at all, but a working copy for you, sd:

Because I am a thing of warmth, goodness
Because I take frozen of heart in me
Transform, protect with coat of gold unless
That heat of mine is too intense, sadly
Some cannot accept the change I provoke
Some get burned; lives that must be discarded
A grand idea that has gone up in smoke
For most a new sublime world has started
I have power; do not forget this fact
You come to me to alter what you are
You know that I cannot neglect to act
To give you my fever, lay you on bar

Sometimes I think it's all too much, my ire
Makes me explode, I blow, a chip fat fire

spacedonkey Sun 19-Dec-04 23:32:08

that is superb! lol

JJ Sun 19-Dec-04 23:51:59

Forgot to say that yours is excellent! It really affected me - almost too hard to contemplate.

xmashampermunker Mon 20-Dec-04 00:02:52

Armies falling, armies dead
Men are calling, blood is red.

Trenches wet, a barbed wire fence
Breaking through the last defence.

Men are calling, men are dead
Armies falling, blood is red.

Falling bombs, shattered lives
News sent home to weeping wives.

Armies falling, armies dead
Men are calling, blood is red.

War on terror, suicide pact
How do you fight stealth attacks?

Men are calling, men are dead
Armies falling, blood is red.

Is it worth the pain and sorrow?
Is there hope for peace tomorrow?

anorak Tue 28-Dec-04 15:33:16

Well done you poets! I do apologise for my lack of input on the poetry threads recently. I am going through a barren period in terms of creativity, I think my family have exhausted me in the last few months and I need time to rebuild myself inside .

Spacedonkey, your poem is very good, and most particularly the final three lines, which made tears pour down my face.

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