Sunday, 18 October 2009

The Monday Poem

Well, it's here at last, the much-anticipated Garage/Plath poetic dichotomy.  I went down the Path of Plath as I broke down in my attempts to get to the Garage.

You can find Sylvia Plath reading aloud her poem, Lady Lazarus, along with its words here.

Now, Ms Plath's poem is really strong medicine all the way through, but one line just jumped out of it for me and so became the basis for this week's bus ticket.

Dying is an Art

Dying is an art.
You have to get it just right.
There's no point
Landing gently in the grave
Leaving life half-lived behind you
Like a half-eaten sandwich
Going stale and curling up at the edges.

Dying is an art
Few are they who manage it well.
That good night beckons us all
But only angels rush in
Where fools fear to tread.
But, some do not go gentle or timely, you say?
True, but being killed is not the same as dying.

Dying is an art.
Dying is an act.
It screams to be
It needs to be
The triumphant coda
To your life's music.


  1. Great emphasis on the dying as art theme!

    I really liked this bit, "Leaving life half-lived behind you Like a half-eaten sandwich
    Going stale and curling up at the edges."

    Nice piece.

  2. Now there's a statement!.. What if you were a magnificent half eaten sandwhich?.. one of them expensive ones... brie and hand ripened tomatoes with butter from maiden milked alpine cows.. on a bed of organic rare lettuces, in between hand baked, stone ovened, bread roll, created by virgins in Athens...?... would it be alright half lived then?.. hhhmmmmmm....
    Nice Poem missus! :-D

  3. I really like the turning of "angels rush in" and the emphasis on "dying is an art." Wonderful ending, too.

  4. Dying is an art? then its the one art that none of us wants to learn, but ultimately we only have one chance to get right

    Thought provoking and i liked the reference to the sandwich - mine was Peanut Butter, but only ever on toast (Mmmmm)

  5. Superb! Loved it.

    Like Woody Allen once said: 'I'm not scared of dying; just don't wanna be there when it happens!' (Or words similar to that).

  6. Excellent! and food for thought. I certainly hope to die in style, but this sandwich, my mom would put all the good stuff in the middle and around the edge there would just be bare dry bread and you had to know when to stop eating sometimes.

  7. That sandwich line was really great, but I also like your referencing the "angels rushing in" and the "going gently". Nice.

  8. Ah yes..."the triumphant coda to your life's music"...beautiful!

  9. 'The triumphant coda
    to your life's music'

    that's pure class Argent. I love the half-eaten sandwich analogy ,everyone is tickled by that.Would Roy Keane be half a prawn sandwich?Elvis a deep fried one? Nice bit of the DT's in there too.I wanna go doing 185 in an orange Lamborghini , Steppenwolf blasting rom the Clarion.Yes I am that clichéd.Beam me up now Scotty! Oh and tankjxzs ye kindlo!

  10. Good one. Particularly like the half eaten sandwich simile. (I always associate curling, half eaten sandwiches with wakes, which just adds to its effectiveness).

  11. Thanks for visiting my blog. Sorry you had problems. I too had problems with the embedded Soundcloud file - I suspect it was a general soundcloud problem - but it seems to be working now, and I've left a link to my Soundcloud page itself (the piece is there too)if it doesn't.

  12. Oh Argent, this is clever, but it's not just clever, it's very good too. Love the series of images and references in the first two stanzas, and that final stanza is an absolute peach. Art!

  13. First off, thanks to everyone who commented here. I'm gradually making the rounds of the bus and hope to visit all your blogs before the week is out.

    @Willow - I actually diskliked the sandwich line after I'd rad the poem back a few times, but couldn't think of anything better to replace it.

    @Watercats - the sarnie in the poem was a British Rail ham one on thin-slice white bread circa 1975. Yours sounds more appetising, to be sure and such a sandwich as that, or such a life, would be ok to have half-lived.

    @Karen - The "angels rush in" thing actually baffles me a bit now I come to think of it. I'm not entirely sure what I mean by it, if I'm honest. It was such a tasty sound-bite, though, that I couldn't resist it.

    @DFTP - Some of the ancient greek philosophers (Socrates or Plato in particular) thought that the whole purpose of life (and philosophy as an exmaination of that life) was to prepare one to die well. This is the kind of dying I was getting at in the poem - making the most of life for as long as you can and thereby being ready to go when the time comes.

    @PhilipH - I tend to agree with Woody Allen on that. Make it quick - maybe when I'm asleep at the end of a long (but not too long) and worthwhile life.

    @NanU - I hope better sandwiches are coming your way these days.

    @Poetikat - I couldn't resist the old Dylan Thomas reference - in a poem about dying, what else are you going to do?

    @TFE - Maybe I should start a whole sub-genre of food-poetry. And way to go in the Lambo!

    @Dominic - Oh, yes, sandiches at wakes and the like - dire! Hadn't thought of that, but, yes! Oh, and ta for the tips on listening to your music (you wouldn't be related to one Roland Rivron, would you?)

    @Titus - Thanks. I wrote it rather quickly as I seem to do all my stuff these days. My poetic style should be classed as 'knee-jerk', I think as it tends to be just that gush of idea that the prompt set off.


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