Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Rascal on the Run OR Human Potential in the Abstract



‘Around the rugged rocks, the rugged rascal ran,’ was meant to be nothing more than an introduction to alliteration in the course of an English lesson when I was about 12 years-old. Yet, even as my teacher spoke those words, an image was forming in my mind of some unfortunate lad dressed in rags, bare feet bleeding after running round rugged rocks for no reason other than it was something to do, better perhaps than…well, whatever. (Being in school on a lovely summer’s day perhaps?)

That image will always hunt me. Childhood was no bed of roses, and sometimes the going would get rough. I’d find myself running round and round various rugged, metaphorical rocks unable to break whatever vicious circle of existence pursued me. Break it, though, I did, time and again if only by exercising mind over matter, a strategy that has served me well throughout my adult life.


RASCAL ON THE RUN or HUMAN POTENTIAL IN THE ABSTRACT

Around rugged rocks, a ragged rascal
runs …into a story-poem as (gradually)
mind and spirit start homing in  
on artful shadows penetrating a mist,
outline of a child chasing shadows,
doing battle with hidden fears, taking
a pride of sorts in wiping away the first
of, oh, so many tears

Sea sounds, music to the child’s ears,
fun waves splashing on dream holidays,
TV family laughing, applauding…
till time to wake, give wishful thinking
the elbow, start climbing up walls
where giant spiders have ears, tell tales
enough on cry-baby bed-wettings to give
even a rascal the shakes

One times one is one, two times two
(time to tie a shoelace, heading for a fall)
distant voices jeering, clapping a rascal
made to stand in front of the class, object
of pretend martyrdom, subject of abuse,
taking a pride or sorts in refusing to shed
a solitary tear, allying with artful shadows
dampening red hot coals   

One times one is one, two times two
(shoelace a sloppy bow, heading for a fall)
dispassionate voices, chasing a rascal
through the streets of town for truanting,
preferring to get high with crack-heads
than some bottomless pit of name-calling
created especially for those unable to keep up
a semblance of appearances

One times one is one, two times two
(best designer gear, evidence of a fall)
no character references for the court,
gets twelve months, no surprises there
for a rascal despatched to learn (or teach?)
a trick or two about climbing walls
where giant spiders with ears and eyes
make short work of flies

Sea sounds, in young-old ears,
fun waves splashing on dream holidays,
TV family laughing, applauding…
till time to wake, give wishful thinking
the elbow, start climbing up walls
where giant spiders have ears, tell tales,
carry knives or guns, and not to kill flies
or give rascals the shakes

Around rugged rocks, a ragged rascal
runs…into a story-poem likely to haunt
generations of children weaving
fictions around lives unfit for purpose,
branded liars and tantrum throwers
for a want of articulation on an absence
of real understanding in a world obsessed
with its own worldliness

Copyright R. N. Taber 2014







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