Monday, April 12, 2010

The Poetry Bus poem – don’t forget it’s leaving from here next week!

Thanks a million to Niamh over at Various ( for this week’s prompt. I’m not the best with numbers or instructions, but I persisted until eventually I came up with the answer . . . . . 55. Right?

Just kidding. This week’s prompt actually forced me to come up with a new poem instead of digging into the archives, so double thanks to the driver. Very rough first draft below.

Re: Hi

We say hello, on the street,
you and I.
Years ago I might
have spent time
wondering what prompts
the wide-collared shirts,
the sharp flick of limbs,
those nimble pointy shoes.
What exactly it is you do?

Did someone say installations?
Once upon a time
that meant something,
along with the mention
of free wine at an opening
down on the docks,
or an afternoon sunk in drink
at the Central Hotel
on Georges Street.

I knew your type back then –
I even fancied you once,
back when we’d recite
T S Eliot as a joke.
I grow old, I grow old
I wear the bottoms
of my trousers rolled.

Who knew it would
actually happen?

Come back soon for detailed instructions – and bring your torches, comfort blankets, and a bottle or two of holy water. You never know what you might meet.

pps: The image above is by Japanese artist Kumi Yamashita, who creates installation pieces through shadow play. In this piece, 3D numbers are arranged on a wall so that they cast shadows, which combined, create the illusion of a woman’s body.


  1. Love the poem and the picture! The poem is just so sad, somehow, whistful and quiet... and gorgeous. The picture is amazing! I thought it was a photoshopped picture of a shadow, clever stuff all round :-)

  2. That TSE...he crops up all over the place!

  3. Whistful? No, not quite. Cynical? perhaps. Resigned? maybe? Older and wiser? Probably. Brilliant poem? Definitely.

    'an afternoon sunk in drink
    at the Central Hotel
    on Georges Street.'

    Does it for me, as does the punchline.

    Ps. we going on a poetry bus trip next week or The Blair Witch Project? :)

  4. I really liked this poem...a lot! I can visualize that chance meeting and the line, "I even fancied you once", well...that says it all, doesn't it? Excellent! The TSE is a very nice touch, by the way. (That sounds weird for me to say because over here, TSE is Toronto Stock Exchange!)


  5. Hey Karen, this is lovely, like the way it brings the artsy crashing down to earth... but in a nice way

  6. Really enjoyed this, and the pace is so beautifully matched to the content. Loved the use of Mr Eliot, and those final lines. Elegant and eloquent.

  7. Oh, I love the killer last line. Who knew, indeed? Sheesh. It happened.

  8. Occasionally used to drink after work in the Central Hotel on Friday nights! Yes, we are wiser now but we definitely have lost something else...

  9. Thanks Watercats - wish I could claim that I know all about that Japanese artists's work, but the truth is I googled installation pieces and that was one of the ones that popped out at me. It is an amazing image - if I spent half as long putting my poems together as she spent sticking those numbers to that wall I might actually have something to be proud of!

  10. Hey Rachel, I know - TSE has a habit of sticking in your head. So does Philip Larkin - there's a couple of lines about running over the fields that have been banging around in my head ever since you posted those poems of his.

  11. Thanks TFE - it's not quite the Blair Witch Project - more of a 'spiritual' journey, I hope!

  12. Kat, thank you - The prompt seems to have thrown up a lot of poems about past acquaintances, which is interesting. I hope you'll be hopping on the bus this week?

  13. Hey Niamh, thanks. It's actually Emer, but feel free to call me anything you like once you're nice about me pomes! I really enjoyed the journey this week - nice driving.

  14. Karen, glad you liked it. I'm only getting a chance now to go and have a read of everyone elses - and don't forget, the bus leaves from here this week - I hope you'll be on it.

  15. Titus, thanks so much. I'm off to yours now to have a read :)

  16. Small world, Peter. Yeah, it was usually after work that I ended up there too. Wouldn't mind returning for a pint or two sometime.
    I think you're right about having lost something, tho - ah me!

  17. I've been here already. What's going on?