I ... entered the poem of life, whose purpose is ... simply to witness the beauties of the world,
to discover the many forms that love can take. (Barabara Blackman in 'Glass After Glass')

These poems are works in progress and may be updated without notice. Nevertheless copyright applies to all writings here and all photos (which are either my own or used with permission). Thank you for your comments. I read and appreciate them all, and reply here to specific points that seem to need it — or as I have the leisure. Otherwise I reciprocate by reading and commenting on your blog posts as much as possible.

1 September 2011

Faces Seen and Unseen

Ned Kelly’s bones
have been identified
from an archaeological dig
at old Pentridge Prison —

torn down in 1997.
The boys I knew there, poets, 
named High Security
‘the dark side of the moon’.

Ned’s bones were found
in a box in a mass grave.
DNA proved them his.
His skull is still missing.

The moon, too,
remains hidden
again tonight, behind 
the heavy rain clouds.

She has seen it all before:
young men with guns
who dream of being heroes
and die on the end of a rope.

And I, how calmly, contemplate
Ned’s known and living face
and another, far less famous.
‘Such is life.’

Note:  Aussies know, but for the benefit of others: Ned Kelly's 
last words, just before they hanged him, were, 'Such is life.'


Journalling my relationship with the moon: 4

I am submitting this piece for the current dVerse Critique and Craft session. This was a difficult poem to write and has personal allusions without a lot of detail. I am wondering how well it succeeds.

Included in the book, THREE CYCLES OF THE MOON


10 comments:

  1. I had read True History of the Kelly Gang and u brought back the memories.nice poem. controlled understatement.but one can feel the emotions beneath the calm surface.

    ReplyDelete
  2. the moon has certainly seen it all before. i like that we don't need to see the face of the moon to know she is there, and we probably don't need to know where ned's head is to guess what happened there. the histories of prisons, especially high security prisons, are a history told only when dug up at night. i imagine there are ghosts on those grounds that could tell stories.
    edgy write. i really enjoyed it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks, guys. Glad it works for you, I know you made these comments before I entered this poem for critiquing, but it is very encouraging that you both 'got it'.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I really like the matter-of-fact tone of this poem and then the shift from Ned's story (which is unfamiliar to me) to the moon in the last three stories. I was glad you included the process notes for those of us who didn't know the background, but even without it, this is a powerful piece, Rosemary.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you, Victoria, for your time and thought.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Powerful in its simplicity. Descriptive yet not steering. I enjoyed it very much.

    ReplyDelete
  7. goodness...i just love this rosemary..
    She has seen it all before:
    young men with guns
    who dream of being heroes
    and die on the end of a rope....shivers..this is excellent
    thought first you're referring to pink floyd with "dark side of the moon" - don't know ned's story either but no problem at all...even without the background it's a fantastic poem

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks, Claudia; I'm very glad you find it so. Oh yes, I forgot about Pink Floyd. The lads in Pentridge meant something quite specific by the term, I think. I was wanting to make a connection to the moon at that point, and that was the only one I had.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This Narrative piece (ie containing a bona fide story) is well-penned and clearly explicated; my issue is that it's too clear; by that I mean it's too told, rather than shown. You state much of the content l which is fine, but in a way that feels overstated and less aesthetically appealing too, because there is little visual poetic device here that would in fact strengthen your content because the devices used elicit emotion from a reader far more emphatically. Take this quatrain -

    Ned’s bones were found
    in a box in a mass grave.
    DNA proved them his.
    His skull is still missing.

    It is straight told, top to bottom, which makes it quite prosaic and matter-of-fact. Finding remains in a mass-grave, just that, is quite a reason to shudder for those of us still living. But it would have so much more impact if the whole passage was said less directly, more obliquely and poetically.

    Certainly think you write well and this is a very interesting topic; I'd be inclined to simply go through it and 'poeticise' it a little more. Creative license. make your words work for you.

    Kind regards

    Luke

    ReplyDelete
  10. Many thanks, Luke. Influenced by years of attempting haiku,tanka and 'small stones', I do tend to write very plain these days. Which is sometimes a strength and sometimes not! I'll leave this awhile until I can look at it fresh, and then come back to it with your suggestion in mind.

    ReplyDelete