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Rite

by fevvers 

Posted: 23 January 2006
Word Count: 140
Summary: From a set called Small Living. It's not part of the confession exercise, but seems to fit. It's a very recent first draft, so it will change, I'm sure.


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Rite

She decomposed here,
maggots worming between
her flesh and my tomatoes.

Gardenerís Delight. Moneymaker.
It was weeks before I found her,
the tomatoes had been green.

I buried her where Iíve since
planted raspberry canes,

but for some stupid, human vanity,
some thought Iíd write a poem,
I kept her skull.

Her lower jaw
came away in my fingers,

you donít think in the museums
jaws are wired on. There was no flesh
on the bones by the time
I buried her.

I put the skull
on a shelf in the garden.

Foxes jump on our sheds, cats
dig the soil, leap for birds hanging
off nets. We have no hedgehogs.

I deserve the slugs and snails
carpeting the paths on wet nights.

If I can find it again, I promise you,
Iíll bury it. Safe, beneath the raspberries.






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Comments by other Members



gard at 00:23 on 24 January 2006  Report this post
Hi Fevvers

lovely phrases.


More later off for tea


G

paul53 [for I am he] at 07:58 on 24 January 2006  Report this post
Hi Fevvers,
I liked this very much, seemingly so clear and effortless though I am sure it was not.
It remains unclear what creature the skull was from, and this does not really matter. A skull, though an intimate object, becomes a representation of what was once here and is now gone forever - so reminiscent of what once was, but so eerily NOT it at the same time. A recent visit to the local vets showed me that a cat skull is so unlike a cat that I did a double-take. Living, we concentrate on the face; dead, the length from front to back makes it look like another creature altogether.
I may be getting too abstruse for my own good here and seeing metaphor when there is only reortage of incident, but then again, good poetry is usually multi-level, making a specific a generalisation as well.
*
As an aside, have you found that your uploads ever get missed at first glance? There's something about that coloured Group Host box that gets passed over the first time - maybe that it remains fixed while the others in the group move up and down like a leader board.
Paul

<Added>

sp. reportage

Nell at 08:22 on 24 January 2006  Report this post
Hi fevvers,

I like the ambiguity, not quite knowing who/what 'she' was. I did have a strong feeling that 'she' was a cat, but the doubt is a huge part of the poem. It does feel effortless as Paul says, true too, in the details and particularly in ...some thought Iíd write a poem...

I put the skull / on a shelf in the garden... gave pause for thought, as I couldn't immediately imagine a shelf in the garden, but that probably does make it true - the poet knows this shelf, can see it, and even if one doesn't usually find shelves in gardens it's there, that shelf in that garden.

A very real conversational tone too, I can almost hear it spoken, like, yet not like a poem.

Nell.

Mac AM at 15:54 on 24 January 2006  Report this post
Fevvers, I like this very much. I like the rambling sense to it, mimicking the loss and how distracted someone can seem. The tomatoes being green seem to have some significance, as though the I in the poem is naive in someway and I like the idea of the skull being safe under the raspberries. A good sense of renewal.

Mac

joanie at 17:01 on 24 January 2006  Report this post
Hi fevvers. Yes, it does seem to fit in with the Confessional exercise, doesn't it? It reminds me of your wonderful 'titles' exercise when the poem took on a whole new meaning with a change of title. This becomes a confessional poem with the background of the current exercise!

The whole of this just rings so true. The attention to detail and the seemingly insignificant asides which give the reader so much insight: 'the tomatoes had been green', 'where Iíve since/planted raspberry canes', 'We have no hedgehogs.' etc.

I just love 'some thought Iíd write a poem'; I can hear your well-meaning friends saying that it would be fine because you could always write a poem, as you do!!

I love the opening line, especially the 'she'. Like Nell, I assumed it was a cat from the outset. I can't believe anything else now. I always expected to find my cat after he went off to die in the fields; I haven't yet, but there's time!

I had no problem at all with the garden shelf - I saw it very clearly; in fact I see the whole of this perfectly.

Sorry, I'm not using any technical terms, just gut reaction.

Lovely.

joanie



Xenny at 20:47 on 24 January 2006  Report this post
Hello Fevvers

I really liked reading this. I feel envious when I read people saying it doesn't seem important to know who/what she was. I'm always far too curious - I want to know!

When I first read it what I liked most was the way the difficulty or issue in the poem seemed mostly that the skull wasn't buried with the rest of her, rather than any sort of squeemishness or idea that it might be disturbing in itself to keep the skull (except 'I deserve the slugs and snails' is pretty dark). I liked this - it made me see the writer as being (potentially) in touch with nature/ earthly things. Then I read it again and found it a bit darker, I don't know why (aside from the slugs and snails).

I thought it was a lovely poem

Xenny

p.s. I've yet to get back to you re your questions on reworking. It's not that I've not thought about it, and definitely that not that I've resolved it! I'll post a message about it soon; I know other people seemed to find it something worth talking about too.


Esther Frances at 16:07 on 25 March 2006  Report this post
I think this is lovely - so easy to read yet full of undercurrents. My favourite couplet was

"I deserve the slugs and snails
carpeting the paths on wet nights."

We're assuming, of course, it's an animal skull - things could be even darker otherwise! Esther Frances.

Laura Hunt at 23:11 on 20 March 2007  Report this post
but for some stupid, human vanity,
some thought Iíd write a poem,
I kept her skull



If I can find it again, I promise you,
Iíll bury it. Safe, beneath the raspberries


The contrast between these two resonates deeply with me; I guess it's the eternal intellect/emotion dichotomy. I think maybe animals highlight this - we think we should be 'in the head' with them, but in fact we are deep in the belly.

I'm wondering about the title?

Can't say I enjoyed it, but I felt this poem deeply. Thank you.

LH

<Added>

Can't say I enjoyed it


Badly chosen words! I should have said that the poem nmade me feel uncomfortable - and that's a good thing! I need to stop treating emails as if they're speech - or at least learn to use emoticons. ; ))

LH


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