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Who from among you...

by steve_laycock 

Posted: 27 March 2006
Word Count: 488
Summary: a simple carpae dium poem. Not sure about the old man bit - any thoughts? (added: Two extra verses I might use to replace the old man bit. Any good?)
Related Works: The Case for the Defence of George W. Bush • 

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Who from among you will stand and say you've lived?
And who from among you does not simply drift
Through the swell and ebb and flood of life,
Who has drained the good in life?

Who has lived the city
more than thinking it shitty,
Seen through the mist and fog,
Seen the princess who kissed the frog
And saw her broken, tragic life
turn into a dazzling array of life
A rubied heart, a silver soul,
A mind, once confused, returning whole.

Who has seen life for what it is and lived?
And who, from among you, does not simply drift
through it,
Not caring who it is,
but believing what it sees -
the fog and mist.
Whose missed the old man who kissed
his fair Juliet on the lips,
And yet who let her fair hand slip,
and now sits
by the fireside
looking into black and white memories,
now facing death
he could go back once more
and feel her breath against his back once more
as they embraced for the last time,
never to look back.
Each knowing they would

Who from among you will stand and say that you have lived without regrets?
Who has wagered on life,
and returned with all bets,
Seen visions and dreams that while not real yet
Were not resented for their distance,
Were not doubted for their chance,
Were achieved independently, with accepted assistance,
And then shared with all others who would join in the dance.

Who from among you will stand and say you have lived?
And who from among you does not simply drift
Through the ebb and flood of life
Who has drained the good in life?
from the soul within,
That's large as the mightiest star or sun
glistening from the head of a pin.

Added - two possible extra stanza's:

Who from among you will stand and say you’ve lived
And who from among you does not simply drift
through it
not caring who it is
but believing what it sees.
Who missed the plea’s of the aching man
whose breaking back
was doomed to snap
time and time again;
who walks the streets,
torn paper bags,
in place of workman’s hands;
while businessmen raised their blood filled glasses
and crack open packets of bread
trying to deafen the noise of the silence
from those their earnings left for dead.

Who from among you will stand and say you’ve lived life
to the full;
who’s captured each passing moment
as though it were your last
and loved each passing partner as though they were your first;
Who’s risen above the noise and clamour?
Seen beauty more than just glamour
Felt loving hands tremor
though they’re warm in mid December;
Who’s spoken to all they remember
Who’s called on the strength of their past
to fan dreams, that though now are fading embers,
We’d once sworn we'd defend to the last.

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Comments by other Members

NinaLara at 19:59 on 31 March 2006  Report this post
Is this a performance poem Steve? I guess it is! It really lends itself to the spoken word ... the repetitions being contrasted by the voice. I found the old man verse most difficult because the rhythm doesn't seem so strong ... rather than for the content.

steve_laycock at 20:33 on 04 April 2006  Report this post
Thanks, it is a performance poem. Part of what i want to get from you guys is an understanding of how my performance stuff translates on the pags.

The rhythm of the old man is the problem.I might try again with another subject

NinaLara at 23:02 on 04 April 2006  Report this post
I know there is some debate about about performance poetry and its differences from poetry written to be read. I am not able to make an informed comment at all, as I have never written anything with the intention of performing it! However (not to be put off by the little matter of complete ignorance) the rhythm in this poem clearly marks it as a performance piece. I don't think it matters whether it 'holds up' on the page .... because even the reading of it is about the sound - and the voice coming through the words is very strong. It has a very different quality to poetry written with the page in mind (though I'm not sure there is such a thing as this ... but I guess you know what I'm getting at).

steve_laycock at 14:25 on 05 April 2006  Report this post
Yeah I do. I feel a little lost in some of the poetry here, I think possibly because a lot of my 'hero's' of poetry are people like Bob Dylan, Tupac, Rogers Waters (of Pink Floyd), Lennon and McCartney, etc... I'm hoping to do a PhD looking at ways of integrating them into the school curriculum - since they're certainly of ideological merit, if they're a little simplistic. But they're style is very different to traditional poetry, a lot of which is wonderfully represented here - and I really enjoy it. It's just not what I do. I guess this is just ... dunno, maybe it's too simplistic. (It's lyrical, but I don't think it's 'lyrics' as such)

But the question, I'm here to have answered is whether my stuff 'works' for you on the page - by which I mean makes a connection, expresses a feeling, in a way that accesses your emotions not just your intellect - you feel the meaning, not just understand it, and get it without performance - or music. Basically: don't worry that you don't know about performance stuff, they're only words after all. All I want to know, from your comments, is: do they connect to you, where, what works, where do you lose the flow? What�s uncomfortable, what's cliched, etc

Thanks for the thoughts, though Nina, i really appreciate it

NinaLara at 19:48 on 05 April 2006  Report this post
Bob Dylan has played a great part in my life too - though you would never know it from my writing!! Ditto the Beatles and Scott Walker.

I like the breaking back doomed to snap and the lines about the business men. I've butchered this verse a little just to suggest how it could look more powerful on the page - but no way to indicate that this is how it should be!!

Who from among you will stand and say you’ve lived?
And who from among you does
not drift through
not caring who;
believing what it sees?
Who missed the plea’s of aching man
- whose breaking back
was doomed to snap -
who walks the streets:
torn paper bags,
in place of workman’s hands?
Businessmen raise blood filled glasses,
crack open packs of bread;
try to deafen the noise of the silence
from those their earnings left for dead.

steve_laycock at 21:10 on 06 April 2006  Report this post
You add a real sharpness to it with the changes - make the individual words work. It's really interesting, and really ... i really appreciate hearing my words seived through someone else. Because I know the rhythm really well, cracking it up, in the way you've done it, punches it much harder - like i said about your piece- you use words very directly, specifically, and it gives them real crunch. I tend to overcook stuff sometimes, and I know it can be a bit soggy! It's amazing what losing the superfluous words can do to something. I'm going to come back to it, but ... yeah. thanks
- and, oh my god, I'm doing a dissertation on Dylan at the moment. He was a really strange character at times, but ... what a character! And what a writer!

Disillusioned words like bullets bark
As human gods aim for their mark
Made everything from toy guns that spark
To flesh-coloured Christs that glow in the dark
It's easy to see without looking too far
That not much
Is really sacred.

pure poetic genius!

NinaLara at 22:15 on 07 April 2006  Report this post
What angle is your dissertation coming from?
I always find it a bit stange seeing the words apart from the music - they look like they aren't dressed, or embodied ... not quite decent somehow!!
I rather like Talking Bear Mountain Massacre Blues (because it makes me laugh every time) and I think my favourite (at this particular moment anyway) is All Along the Watchtower.
Here's a touch of Scott Walker that seems to translate to the page quite well..
The man come to shut off my water
and the man come to shut down my lites yesterday.
Yeah, but I'm not one to moan,
I made the bill for the telephone.
And I wouldn't care if you're ugly,
'cos here with the lites out I couldn't see,
you just picture Paul Newman -
girl he looks a lot like me.
Time operator,
take the time to take the time,
to come over here,
'cos we got so much in common,
seems it's hard for us to sleep,
with all the razzle dazzle on the street.

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