Sweet sister death – dVerse Quadrille


You never told me, father,

how to prepare for this journey,
dismissing your own war-wound,
saying ‘It’s nothing’.
I am bitter to my shattered bones,
staring into the chests of my comrades

my enemies,
spatchcocked like the chickens

cold-slabbed in your butcher’s shop window.


Hurrah! the dVerse pub has re-opened after the summer’s hiatus. We have a fantastic interview with Brian Miller, one of the  co-founders, to celebrate 5 years of dVerse. In much more sobering news, we have also learned that the lovely Viv passed away on 5th July. She was always very supportive of my work in her comments, so I am terribly saddened to hear of her passing. My thoughts, along with everyone else’s, go to her family and loved ones at this time.

Tonight, we are hosted by the lovely Grace, who has invited us to write a quadrille – 44 words, no more, no less. I love the form, it really makes me work to get my meaning across.

I watched a documentary on BBC iPlayer about the poet David Jones, who’s epic poem  about the First World War, ‘In Parenthesis‘ is considered to be one of the finest of its time, of all war poetry in fact. The title of my quadrille is taken from a phrase in Part 7 of his work, and my poem has been informed somewhat by him, and the subject matter of his work. If I had even an ounce of his talent, I would be delighted.

I’m a bit of a war poet fan, and although I had heard of him, I hadn’t read David Jones’ epic work. The documentary, which was both about him and his poem, has enthralled me and my family. I have ordered a copy of ‘In Parenthesis’ and am desperate to start reading it.

Anyway, please do hop on over to dVerse and take part if you can. Or just enjoy the work you find there!

46 thoughts on “Sweet sister death – dVerse Quadrille

  1. How this clutches at my heart. My father was a sharpshooter (read, sniper) in WWII and lived through it, though he could rarely speak of it without weeping. What a beautiful poem this is. The third reading still affects me.

    1. To see someone so affected for the rest of his life, it’s heartbreaking. Thank you for reading and for your comments, they mean a great deal. And I am so sorry your father was so badly hurt by his experiences.

  2. This is wonderful and sad reminder of what wars do to us… to see your comrades butchered or to butcher yourself… it does change you.. it does affect us all… My thoughts go to the recent police shootings in the US where some does not handle it and bring the killing home…

  3. This is a gritty poem and slams me from the first line onwards. Wow!

    I am going to check out that documentary and poem, thank you. Hope to see you in the coming days of our 5th anniversary Freya!!

  4. An incredible poem, Freya, that is so personal and yet something we have all heard or read about. ‘In Parenthesis’ is an outstanding war poem. I missed the documentary, so I hope I can still find it on the BBC iPlayer.

  5. Working with the military
    for close to a quarter
    of a century.. i got
    to see the
    fresh faces
    go to war
    and the
    faces and bodies
    come back from what
    they named as sand box
    life.. and truly when they
    say like my father used
    to say the military
    will make you
    into a strong
    man.. there
    is even
    change in super
    man-like way among
    many fresh faces and
    worm like bodies that
    come back off
    i wasn’t strong
    enough to do it
    when i was young
    but i finally learned the
    secret to success in life
    is never leaving bootcamp
    even if you never went..
    as yes what
    my elders
    said is true..
    male or female..
    getting old is not
    a nice game for so-
    called smart phone
    sissies.. and i was
    the biggest nerd
    usually in
    the room
    in techspectacular
    sitting jelly fish way..;)

      1. sMiLes Freya.. have written
        close to 120K words in the
        last month.. without
        even the
        that doing this
        for a full year
        last year and
        responding to
        every single
        link and every
        single prompt
        brought then..
        my other
        lesson in life
        use it or lose it
        applies to all stuff
        nature.. and never trying
        IT.. IS A sure way never to
        be all you can be.. per what
        the army says.. i was a very
        fragile child and young adult
        in many ways of Emotional
        Intelligence even though
        i made straight A’s
        and graduated
        with a triple
        three degrees..
        sad to say in reality
        i had to face the fact at
        the end of all of that and a
        25 upper ending pay grade
        level of Federal employment
        that i had gained hardly any
        of the Emotional.. Physical..
        and Existential Intelligence
        that could really lead
        to a life not
        but truly
        and if i went
        that long in the
        dark.. i’m sure there
        are many more who
        do the same.. as Lord
        knows i tried hard to find
        the answers.. but i could
        never truly find them anywhere
        else but deep within.. i have never
        been happier.. or even physically
        stronger at 56.. and i will not pay attention
        to any limitations noW or expectations that
        the 6 o’clock news or school/work bRings again..
        as the bell
        for mE now..
        smiles and thank
        you.. you alWays
        make me feel welcome
        i truly am in this for the journey
        alone.. no likes.. no follows..
        and the money
        i left behind
        in the bank..
        hehe.. then
        long long
        long ago..
        ugh.. a society
        without money
        if it could happen
        could really be heaven
        now.. for so many folks
        who could make their social
        roles in moving.. connecting
        creating ways.. like our distant
        ancestors did too.. anyway.. i Am
        from a month
        break from
        dVerse and
        surely AM
        BACK IN
        FULL FORCE
        NOW.. HEHE..
        AS hurricane
        Fred in rain of words..;)

  6. A sober, sombre offering – those last two lines are so sharp, trenchant, almost clinical… really brings home the horror. I was just watching a documentary about the Somme last night and it just gets me everytime, how disillusioned those young men must have been when they realised they were just cannon fodder.

  7. I am late to the reading and so many have already said so much. The “spatchcocked” line is indeed brilliant. Thank you for the explanation — I intend now to find “In Parenthesis”.

  8. “I am bitter to my shattered bones”…wow, that leaves an impact.
    Some really unique word choices like “spatchcocked” and “cold-slabbled”. A powerful piece!

  9. my enemies,
    spatchcocked like the chickens

    cold-slabbed in your butcher’s shop window.

    I may have stepped into a hornets’ nest this week! It’s been a rough year all around, and losing Viv in the group has been one more nail (nail on the blackboard of our hearts). The poems are difficult to read… and achingly beautiful. Your words (while I’m not certain of one of them… neither is spell check) are carefully crafted and well placed.

    1. Thank you, Charley. I may have verbalised a noun or two – I do love playing with words.
      Yes, this week has been very tough for so many people. May we all be stronger for it, in the end.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s