If you are in my Australian Literature class, or the writing group I attend on Tuesdays, you will recall that I mentioned that as a teenager I wrote some very bad poetry… as some of us are prone to do. I have been thinking about the following poem that I wrote as a 17 year old, in light of a poem we studied in class, and in context of rhythm.
See if you can pick up the rhythm of the train, and the slowing down at stations etc in this poem. I share it exactly as I wrote it back then, so you can smile, or cringe alongside me.
Conviction Before Trial
Riding the train
Home one night
Upon I came
A terrible sight
He looked dead
just laying there
and on his head
not a single hair
The smell of drink was all around
And his head – blood surrounds
Why is he just laying there
And where is all of his hair
Now the crowd gathers round
And in the air, sirens sound
They think I did it But that’s not true
They’re just standing
Shouting YOU YOU YOU!
Now the police take me away
And the crowd breaks in dismay
Will this mean the end of my life
Will they notify my friend, my wife?
Why did I do it? my wife will wonder.
And every year,
She kneels and weeps on the grave I am under
I’m forgotten, but not for long
She knows I’d never do wrong
Other people know it too
She pleads to the public
Tell the truth, will one of you
I know he’s dead but all the same
I’d like to clear his criminal name
One steps forward to tell the truth
She was nice, her name was Ruth.
Your husbands name I’ve come to clear
Right now, the real killer’s here
She sat down and poured a drink
And now she didn’t have to think
“I DID IT” she yelled out
And the people began to scream and shout
I just killed him and ran
I didn’t know I’d hurt another man
She began to cry and pray
As the police dragged her away
Now a bullet rang through the air
And all the people turned to stare
A man was standing by the door
Another member of the law
“Book her” he said with a grin
And the people stared at him
” A fair trial” he demands
Not like the other mans
If she dies, she will die
But properly she will die
Not like the other guy
I now declare this mans name cleared
And the rest of the people, they all cheered
Now my wife, she just stands
And there’s a gun in her soft hands
She took her own life
She did. My friend my wife.
Initially, I couldn’t complete this poem as I thought it was too bad to be printed and shared, but Meggles encouraged me to finish it. So there you are Meggles, Just for you.