Sweet sister death – dVerse Quadrille

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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!

Dad, OBE – dVerse Meeting the Bar

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That moment when we knew you were leaving us

When we knew the inevitable was truly inevitable

When we could no longer pretend to ourselves – to each other

that this moment would never come.

That’s when my heart pounded the strongest within

and the irony that yours was fading

whilst mine was ready to deafen us with its incessant pulsating

I wondered – madly – if there was only so much heart-beating allowed in this room.

Had I stolen your vitality

drained your life-force with my very presence?

I can imagine the roll of your eyes at such a flight of fancy –

you’d have given me short shrift, I know.

Vital you were, larger than life –

emotional, driven, strong, creative, brilliant

a bon-viveur

a criticiser of the establishment, yet part of the establishment yourself

a rebel with many causes

a man with fingers in pies

an instigator

a lover – women were your joy and your downfall –

a lion

a man in so many ways.

 

You’re gone, but still here,

in our memories, in our hearts, in our thoughts.

 

Ciao ciao, Dad.

 

Thank you for all that you were and still are.

 

I love you.


 

Tonight, Gayle is barkeep at dVerse, and is encouraging us to write an elegy, where sorrow, admiration and acceptance are to form clear parts of our writing.

Oh, I hummed and hah’d about this one. Not because it’s not a good form to write, but more because much of my writing of late has been a bit focused towards love and loss. But then I had a word with myself and decided to sup deep on the fabulous wine list the dVerse Poets’ Pub offers. I’m glad I did, because it gave me the chance to write about some (by no means all) of my dad’s good qualities that I so admire(d).

In case you are wondering about the title, my dad was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) a few years ago, and it was a joke between us that if I sent him a letter or a card, it would be addressed to ‘Dad, OBE’. I was lucky enough to be at the investiture at Windsor Castle – a beautiful day.

Do give this form a try, or if you’re not feeling it, just hop on over and enjoy the many, varied and brilliant offerings of the other poets who like to rest awhile in good company.

Remembrance Day

I was not just enshrined in black and white
trained to react to a whistle
and launch myself over the top
I didn’t just stare at No Man’s Land
jumping at every falling leaf
nerves shot to pieces, trembling with fear
I was not just shipped hastily to Europe
attempting to aid our Allies
in facing down the Nazi machine
I was not just despatched to the Mediterranean
sand-whipped and sweating
to fight in a theatre far flung from home
I am not a romantic notion of old boys and idealism
telling war stories of camaraderie
I am not decades past.
I am the young man hobbling down the street
I am the hands held out for a bit of spare change
I am the woman bound to a wheelchair
I am the mental health patient facing down the day
I am sitting next to you on the bus.
I am here.
Remember, I am here.

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Tomorrow is Remembrance Sunday here in the UK, and of course Monday is 11th November, Armistice Day.

Copyright - Nicola J Cutts

Copyright – Nicola J Cutts