In The Belly of The Wail

I’ve rather been in the poet’s cave, like some old catfish under a stone. I would love to have emerged brandishing the final Truth in poetry. What winkled me out was a subject that arose in Emma Calin’s blog where she mentioned the enmity between her parents. I always tell folk that I emerged from an egg like a turtle and scurried for the surf. However, there is much poetry about parenthood and I have contributed to it a little in my own poor way.

My favourite parent poem is by the English poet Philip Larkin. No one could ever have viewed him as cheerful. I think many Brits of my own generation will still be very aware of him, but poetry still had some kind of main stream potency in those days, a bit like an express steam train. Here is his poem “This Be the Verse“.

I’m sure that cheered you all up. Looking back I think that my awareness of this pessimistic poem while I was bringing up my own kids, at least made me aware that I was getting it wrong. Judging by the tracks in the sand, they should be competent turtles.


And talking of sand, I have been walking on it. Living near the coast, I’m sure I take for granted my opportunities to see the ocean. I managed to scramble under a pier and took the featured photo. There is something darkly sinister about pillars and dark water.

Comrade poets – unite with me and enjoy a poem by the American poet Jo VonBargen entitled “The Garden”. If nothing else check out the last 6 lines. Her style in this poem is rich and sensual and will inject some complex passionate irony back into your veins. At once Pre Raphaelite images  flooded my mind. Pure overdose my dears.

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7 thoughts on “In The Belly of The Wail

  1. Let me first say thank you, Oscar, for the lovely mention here. You are an unbelievably gracious friend!! I’ve gotten such wonderful comments on that piece.

    I listened to Larkin’s poem. Yes, cheery isn’t it? And too late for me. My little turtles are making turtlets of their own. Over the years we’ve all discovered just how effed up we all are, and we’ve worked on it. I don’t think we’ll ever waddle out of the category, though!

    Just the reverse, our parents never said so much as one angry word to each other….in front of us, that is. Consequently, we all wore rose-colored glasses and thought all married couples got along as they did. When we got out in the world, we were gobsmacked to find that was certainly not true. And all six of us picked the wrong people. We were extremely over-sheltered, thought we knew everything, yadda yadda. To say it’s been a learning process understates in the extreme.

    Wonderful write, my friend. I love it when you take your muse by the hand and stumble over rocks and through water. The pic has a real sense of foreboding. Thank you again, Oscar, for cheering me up so today…indeed, every day!!

  2. I forgot to mention the Rosetti…it’s always been a favorite of mine. How did you know??? Who could ever have imagined my name in a paragraph somehow connected with that wondrous work of art? It boggles the mind…

  3. Hi Jack – Relief from what? Kids?

    Jo, Parents – well, I had them but they were not like Emma’s lot. Mine were stalemates and checkmates. After my mother’s death my father once said to me after a few drinks “When I first knew your mother, I thought she was so lovely I could have eaten her. Then I spent the rest of my life wishing I had…” I did laugh. I thought it was single S in Rossetti too….

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