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Page 10

by joanie 

Posted: 01 May 2006
Word Count: 68
Summary: I'm a bit barren at the moment so this is something I can't remember writing, found while tidying 'My Documents'.

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It's page 8 usually, or 10.
Never an odd number,
always the left hand side.

I check names first, then ages;
sometimes family members,
workplace, place of worship.

Others' fathers, mums and sons;
too old, so young, but never
me. That would be too improbable

for words. They say it's my age
but how can that be
since I am so far removed
from the reality
of obituaries?

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Comments by other Members

Brian Aird at 11:13 on 02 May 2006  Report this post
The first verse has us guessing, but the subject matter is soon obvious and the word 'obituary' is then expected; you don't disappoint as it appears on the last line, though it might work as well without actually spelling it out.

I thought it might read better without the first verse, as the other verses makes the context obvious, but then it would need a new title. Also the fact that you spot that the obituary sometimes appears on page 8 lets us know you've been looking for it perhaps?

Reading about friends and family on your infamous page 10 made me think you were getting blasé about death, and 'but never me' could be interpreted as if you almost expected to see your own name, even if its improbable.

I like it, but it isn't quite as pared down or concise as your previous posts. But it makes its point effectively none-the-less.


DeadPoet at 12:12 on 02 May 2006  Report this post
Had me guessing too. I liked the denial in this. It's how we all should live until we die, no? The idea that it is going to happen to someone else but not to me because I am too young? Liked this a lot. Very intuitive. V

James Graham at 21:51 on 02 May 2006  Report this post
I’ve been hunting around to see if the story’s true about Mark Twain - that a newspaper published an obituary of him by mistake, and he wrote to say, ‘The report of my death was exaggerated’. Might as well throw in a couple more Twain quotes on much the same theme - he’s as good as Oscar Wilde for that.

Let us so live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.

I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying that I approved of it.

Your poem has a whimsical philosophical twist (or three) that might have appealed to Mark Twain. If you came across your own obituary, ‘That would be too improbable/ for words’. This is so intriguing I’m still trying to thread my way through it. It’s improbable that I would read my own obituary, because I wouldn’t be around to read it? It’s improbable that anyone would write an obituary of me? This poem consists of words, but if my obituary was in the paper the words of this poem couldn’t be written? It’s quite a tease, but fascinating to wander around the possible curious meanings. The same applies to the last four lines or so. And what occult power prevents the obits ever being printed on an odd-numbered page?

Notes on technique: perfect line-break at ‘never/ me’ and section-break at ‘improbable/ for words’. Sections three and four run on, sections one and two end-stopped. Maybe these seem simple and obvious points, but they’re important and - though from what you say this is one you wrote a long time ago - you’ve obviously thought about them and got them right.


joanie at 06:24 on 03 May 2006  Report this post
Brian, Vanessa, James. Thank you! Brian, I think that if I cut out any reference to the page numbers in the poem, I could still keep the title. I'll look at it and see what I think. Many thanks.

Vanessa, glad you liked it!

Thank you as always, James. I appreciate your thoughtful and accomplished response.


joanie at 18:53 on 04 May 2006  Report this post
James. I have just re-read your last comment. It makes me think more and more that it would be great to have audio on WW. I would love to read this as I woud like to have it read.




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