The Aardvark Speaks : essence, effervescence, obscurity. Established 2002. A weblog by Horst Prillinger. ISSN 1726-5320

July 09, 2005

Words fail me

Much as the coverage of the London bombings by weblogs has been lauded pretty much everywhere, I'm appalled by some of the responses out there. I've been extensively thinking about what to write myself, and I must have written and discarded some eight or nine versions of this posting, basically because I didn't want it to sound cheesy, which seems to be really hard to avoid.

Like two years ago I was invited to write an anti-war poem and in the process I found that it was next to impossible to write anything that wasn't clichéd, or sentimental, or cheesy, or all three at the same time. I ended up submitting this:

I fold this stone
into a banana leaf; I take
comfort in slumber — I throw the stone
at the nearest wall

I greet the day
like a gift from God; I grease
my machine gun — I lead the sheep
out onto the field

I write a letter
to somebody I know; I open
a yellow parcel — I drive the car
through this checkpoint

I fly a plane
over this country; I prepare
tea for friends — I buy some fruit
at the market

I sit on a truck
in the desert; I make love
to my wife — I dream,
I dream.

(also published in Cursed)

The reaction was mixed; I guess most people didn't know what to do with it. Even I don't know whether this isn't just as clichéd as what I was trying to avoid, only in a different way, but then apparently it's like walking a thin line:

A clear indication that to provoke an immediate response to an authoritative instruction — the cliché is essential. However, remember this, in creative endeavour one benchmark which separates sheep from goats is the ability to stroke a cliché until it purrs like a metaphor. (Alan Fletcher, The art of looking sideways, Phaidon Press, London 2001, p. 202).

I suppose I'll just end today's jumbled entry with this, an Underground map showing the open lines after the bombings:

London Underground 8 July 2005

It seems as if all my friends in London are alive and well. Which is really more important than anything else.

Posted by Horst on July 9, 2005 11:41 PM to metablogging | Tell-a-friend

laura said on July 12, 2005 05:20 AM:

Next door to me in Pasadena is the former World Wide Church of God campus; closed the last 7 years or so, it has such extensive grounds that $1 million is still spent annually on gardening. We like to walk there, and there's a topiary I thought of immediately when I read your poem. It's an 8 ft. tall bush shaped into a man, and the man is beating his sword into a plowshare.

allie mcneil said on July 12, 2005 06:19 AM:

I don't think the poem is cheesy or cliche....words are hard after such an event...time is a gift....I hope to get your book soon....

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