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Michael, thirty something is depressed.
Behind drawn curtains in Hong Kong
He practises the sleep of vampires.
His cell phone rings unanswered.
My wife’s cousin’s son, Paul,
Apple of his parents’ eye
In his first year as intern,
After working the graveyard shift
At Brisbane emergency,
Drove his Kawasaki into a gum tree.
My nephew, Daniel, was so bright
That corporates competed
To offer him a scholarship.
At university his mood swings
Were diagnosed bi-polar
And at home on vacation
My sister found his body
Overdosed she hopes by accident.
I bought an Afghan kneeling mat
From my friend, Nick,
Silver haired owner of Magic Carpets.
His son Hugo, stood in the background,
Dark browed and slurred,
Deliberate and withdrawn,
A zombie to schizophrenia.
Without his medication he paints
Red childlike boats with yellow sails
Bobbing on blue acrylic seas
And he is very dangerous.
At Taradale High School,
Where once I taught French and German
To tongue-tied adolescents,
One boy stood out a shining star
And eclipsed his teacher with his skill.
To celebrate his exam success
He went with mates to the Puketap pub
And joyriding, hanging out the car door,
Sang "Gaudeamus Igitur",
As he hit the oncoming truck.
I see these five as Celtic warriors
Going naked and berserk into battle,
Washable tattoos of woad
On their fair young bodies.
Brightest and best are indeed
These sons of my morning.
It is New Years Day and still
My son does not pick up his phone.
| This evokes so many thoughts and memories for me, so many people I barely got to know but won't ever forget, won't ever stop and wonder how they're doing, if they're well, working, living. I love this.|
I'm sorry your family and friends have had this kind of trauma, but the way you mythify it, remember these people as glorious and brave and strong, it triumphs over the pain in this write, so at the end I'm left with a catharsis, a feeling of satisfaction, and the sadness only a remnant.
I know I said it already, but I'll say it again.
I love this. Thank-you for writing it.
|| Posted on 2010-09-13 00:00:00 | by AlyRose | [ Reply to This ] || This poem made me cry, for the casualties I've seen, and because I would have exchanged myself for some of them without a second thought, but by the unfair conditions of existence, was denied the opportunity.|
I can only conclude that folks' worth is in how they impressed another person, no matter how long the life or of what form the honour. And if the other person can be oneself ...
|| Posted on 2009-06-11 00:00:00 | by Glen Bowman | [ Reply to This ] || A great piece of writing about the tragic loss of young ( mostly male) life. I have an almost overwhelming frustration when I think of so many youths premiturely dead or smashed up by their own hands. The young male so often risks death to the nth degree, and then laughs a bit histrically when he just misses death. Drugs are now just an added feature. But I cannot feel sorry for them dead, but do for those they left behind grieving. I hope your son was ok. Ted. ||| Posted on 2009-03-22 00:00:00 | by edcherry | [ Reply to This ] || Ah, woe for the byegone days of the fiercer Ireland, when what some would call madness was an asset, nay, near a necessity, in battle. Your imagery is frighteningly vivid, and your somewhat roundabout way of phrasing the stanza is interesting to read. It reminds me a bit, for some reason, of a darker Lewis Carrol.... My best hopes for your son.|
|| Posted on 2009-01-12 00:00:00 | by Shadowstar13 | [ Reply to This ] || Arthur, please, please, please tell me that last bit is fictional. I read that and felt like I'd been punched in the stomach. |
I am of Celtic heritage myself and I've written an epic poem about a totally fictitious Celtic queen (called, appropriately Celtic Queen, available through Amazon.com, ebay and Barnes & Noble.com). Your last stanza rang true: young Celtic warrios going naked and berserk into battle, especially when they had no chance of winning the battle, much less the war.
This has a wonderful story-telling style to it, though it can also be considered quite dark - some stories are. But still, that last line makes me cry with sorrow and hopelessness. You have done what a poet most desires to do - touched the heart of your reader, this reader. But, oh how much I'd rather have my heart touched with joy or love!
I wish you and your son the best, Arthur, and even though you won't like the idea, I'll pray for your son's safety. mae
|| Posted on 2009-01-07 00:00:00 | by mae | [ Reply to This ] || i know these are sad stories but they are written with a storytellers flair, so full of vivid images that it was a pleasure to read.||| Posted on 2009-01-02 00:00:00 | by eyeless in gaza | [ Reply to This ] || This is such a moving piece, the stories are mesmerizing and you write it so well. I understand worrying all too well, I do hope you make contact soon. ||| Posted on 2009-01-01 00:00:00 | by SmokinG | [ Reply to This ] |