A golden shovel for Margaret Atwood quoting Rilke.

Seems I’m not the only one interested in the poetry
of the dead. I know I should let lie – the past is the past.

It’s now that disturbs, that caws, that breaks
lately-laid soil, topples headstones, haggard hands out
clacking at all hours. Enough horrors in our hearts

in our heads; instead we reminisce, quote Baudelaire and Rilke.
Rilke! As if our ex-lovers and fin de siècle Paris can be conjured there
in that one line. In drag-step the raggedy caper. Now you have it:
and by the time we’re done there’ll be more. zombie, zombie, zombie.

Image: telomi on Flickr. I just received Margaret Atwood’s new collection of poetry – Dearly – and this poem struck me (though the collection is recommended).

I’m hosting the bar at Dverse tomorrow and we’re talking about endings (and you can find out all about golden shovels). Come join the fun – bar opens from 3.00pm New York time (EDT).

And here’s the Cranberries with their anthem of the same name (R.I.P. Dolores)

43 thoughts on “Zombie

  1. Ironic (purposeful?) that zombies want to eat our brains. What better way than to clog it with the dead past? You can dice it, mince it, season it to your liking, but the living present, good, bad, and/or ugly, is better than dust.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That type and form of poetry is so interesting. You made it look effortlessly part of your verses. I love the sounds of this line: It’s now that disturbs, that caws, that breaks

    Thanks for the interesting prompt. Appreciate you as part of our dVerse team and community. Cheers!


  3. I see you went for a golden shovel too, Peter, and love what you dug up with it! I love the darkness in the lines:
    ‘It’s now that disturbs, that caws, that breaks
    lately-laid soil, topples headstones, haggard hands out
    clacking at all hours’
    and the phrase ‘In drag-step the raggedy caper’ reminds me of the zombies in Michael Jackson’s Thriller video.
    Thankyou for a great final MTB ending to 2020. Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the Atwood poem and your interpretation of it. I can visualise those zombies coming out of the earth ‘In drag-step the raggedy caper’ – such an evocative line. They are coming to drag us back into the past!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I like what you’ve done with her work here. These words
    ” I should let it lie – the past is the past.
    It’s now that disturbs, that caws, that breaks” particularly strike me. What’s the difference between reminiscing and ruminating? Ruminating is negative….a concentration on the past that is not helpful and can be disturbing….and there you go…turning us into zombies!
    So good to have you here at dVerse, Peter! Have a wonderful holiday season and enjoy your sun in Australia as we are shoveling out in Boston from 12+ inches of snow. How appropriate that I wrote a Golden Shovel poem today 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think WP ate my comment, so I’m trying again. I really like the poem–and also your dVerse post, Peter.
    Also, thank you for the reminder about the new Atwood poetry collection. I heard her interviewed on NPR and she read a few poems, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Excellent illustration for your prompt. I, too, did the Golden Shovel. I love challenges. Like you, I found the poem having a mind of its own, wiring to one word for the ending of lines. Yet the poem emerges cohesive, and has a lot of energy. Thanks for the prompt.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love the Pogues song you posted on dVerse! I missed this group on my journey through life, so I will have to dig into them. This tune reminds in some ways of one of my absolute favorite artists — Tom Waits, been followin’ him since his career began. Merry Christmas Peter!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Atwood is so wonderful, and you have interfaced so seamlessly with her here, I am finally reading “A Handmaid’s Tale” right now and I am struck by the poetry in that ongoing internal dialogue in every thought and paragraph there. So much richer than the movie (I decided I would read it before indulging in the Hulu offering). I also heard her reading on NPR of Zombie and was struck by the line of life and death focusing so much on this axis of compassion vs predation. Your poem seems to question more whether life is tied up in our memories, we are so fond of saying that someone will “live forever in our hearts,” but here it seems that is just a conjuring, a shadow, a shuffle reflection of life already starting to decay. Potent reminder to grab life now, hold life, hold your loves, live now. I am reminded of this song here too:

    Liked by 1 person

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