Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Keepsake





I strut my ivory stuff.
Trumpet the long mad dance
of four thousand strong.

Impi step low and loud,
a roar of hornets, hip-hopping
disco balls and bayonets.

Martini-Henry rifles, single-shot
breech loaders glitter
the rowdy crowd at Rorke’s Drift.

Leapin’ loin feathers!
Zulus fall like flies
in a savage dance hall blunder.

My beady eyes stare
from a fallen contestant
in a break dance of loss and plunder.

I’m a keepsake from the prom.
No wonder. Stringy tail
between my legs

and a bloody

Victoria Cross.



willow, 2010



This is a Mag 4 post. Click [HERE] for more Magpie Tales
creative writing participants.

64 comments:

  1. Evocative, regal and rich! I love your poetry, (been reading in the archives) and your blog is just so much fun to visit! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Zounds! Another prancing pachyderm!

    Nice, multi-layered piece!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Not a stampede I'd wanna get caught in! Lotsa imagery here...wow!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Leapin' loin feathers...I gonna have ta keep that one handy...very upbeat, love it, I feel a Spring dance coming on!!!

    BTW...I picked up 'Ashes and Snow'...SIGH...LOVE...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Did you see "Zulu," Willow? Wonderful! Love the "keepsake from the prom."

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh Willow. You live in such a beautiful world. Wordsmith, wordsmith.

    Bisou, Cro.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Sweet R, I new you would love Ashes and Snow! I keep my copy handy for therapy.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Brush with Color, yes! "Zulu" was some of my inspiration for this piece.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The dark continent indeed! And the prom! Wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
  10. ha. love what you did with the prompt willow...took it somewhere i did not see and what colorful language...smiles.

    ReplyDelete
  11. When you say 'keepsake from the prom' - was it? The figurine - a keepsake I mean?
    it's very unusual.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Wonders if VC relates to VC and the Ivory Coast? Boer War? Am I close? Wonderful poem, very imaginative Willow! The lure of the past?
    A "lure" or allure of ivory being so much more than a mere souvenir kept hidden for years in blue or red velvet boxes. charmingly romantic harbouring back to Victorian times with all the pomp and ceremony. I can hear the distant overtures. And Mr. Ivory is animatingly adorable primed for the prom; a treasure handed down!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I honestly thought I was the only one who wears loin feathers! :-) Great post.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Chiccoreal, it's the Battle of Rorke's Drift, in the Anglo-Zulu War. Eleven Victoria Crosses were awarded to the British, the most ever received in a single battle.

    Have you seen the film Zulu?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Berowne, now that I would love to see!!

    ReplyDelete
  16. FF, the little ivory elephant was a childhood gift to WT, from some friends visiting from Africa.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I read so many things on blogs and they are from one extreme to the other. Your writing is at the top of the extreme.

    ReplyDelete
  18. "Leapin’ loin feathers!"
    Love this piece Willow.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hello Willow,

    Many images in this and I've learned several things too! Very different to your other poems, it seems, which is good. Keeping us on our toes!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Excellent, expressive poem. Sheer joy to read.

    ReplyDelete
  21. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Now, Willow, how can any of us compete with your work?! Excellent, I see elephants prancing and dancing and I've not imbibed at all! ( today, anyway )

    ReplyDelete
  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  24. "...the breakdance of loss and plunder." Your imagery carries me away, especially as I meditate on "loin feathers"! ;->

    ReplyDelete
  25. Dear Willow, I have discovered your weblog through Jeanne [Tales From a Cottage Garden] and am fascinated by the wide range of topics you cover and the interests that you have.

    I was particularly attracted by your quotation from Virginia Woolf, a writer I have always admired. I am sure that you will have seen the film with Vanessa Redgrave as Mrs. Dalloway.

    I divide my time between London and Budapest and will look forward to returning to your site.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Fascinating the unexpected connections the mind makes and how poetry, in skilled hands, so neatly stitches desperate images together to make a new whole.

    I'm was just delighted to read this Willow.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Leapin' loin feathers!

    I've always appreciated your poetry, Willow. Another excellent piece.

    ReplyDelete
  28. This poem flows with history and humor from an interesting perspective, the keepsake itself! Love it!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Willow,
    Seems it's all been said....
    My thoughts:
    The thoughts of an inanimate trinket witnessing the fusilades and masacre, retrieved as a spoil of war to serve as a reminder of what was and should never be again.
    You've hit he mark my dear Willow, like the sniper his.
    rel

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hard act to follow Willow. I took the easy route on this one. I have a carved wooden elephant from India. I thought this was an alligator.
    QMM

    ReplyDelete
  31. feels like one of your recipes being mixed up and served with a flourish!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Martini Henry rifles?! What a conglomeration of something....loved it!

    ReplyDelete
  33. I haven't seen the movie Zulu. You've touched unfamiliar territory here for me. But as always your writing is so creative!
    :) The Bach

    ReplyDelete
  34. Love the Zulu wars evocation.

    ReplyDelete
  35. That was a fun read. Thanks Willow!

    ReplyDelete
  36. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Extremely evocative words, Willow. My great grandfather (I don't know how many greats)fought at Rorkes Drift and received one of the Victoria Crosses. I'm told he was a fool but who am I to judge?

    ReplyDelete
  38. ArtP, that's an amazing bit of history. War is foolish, but I'm sure your gg grandfather was a brave man, and believed he was doing the right thing at the time. Does your family still have the Victoria Cross?

    ReplyDelete
  39. Excellent stuff, Willow - so full of a powerful sense of time and place. A Kipling for our time!

    ReplyDelete
  40. Really classy..what else would I expect?? Thanks for all the fun you provide...

    ReplyDelete
  41. Willow

    That is a very powerful poem -- it may be one of your finest ones written yet...
    Joanny

    ReplyDelete
  42. Great poem! Great hair!
    Keep up the good work!

    ReplyDelete
  43. I can hear the pounding of all those feet and the feel the heat of the battle.

    ReplyDelete
  44. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  45. i can hear the zulu chants...
    and can envision the spear and shields facing off against those "modern" british instruments of war.

    a bloody event wherein the loss of brothers/comrades OR perhaps a loss of limbs was often the only souvenir a man brought home...

    ReplyDelete
  46. I liked your use of colloquialism, italics and geographic details. The last line is a kicker.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Wonderfully whimsical :) I always do adore your poetry!

    Jen

    ReplyDelete
  48. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  49. I echo Sun Dance Hill's comment: evocative, regal, rich!

    I like the "in the breakdance
    of loss and plunder," too.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Some very engaging imagery in this piece -- wholly enjoyable. Like this take on the visual prompt...

    ...rob

    come visit me here

    ReplyDelete
  51. Willow, he was indeed a very brave man. I understand that its in the hands of a collector in Britain. Apparently Stanley Baker had it for a while (believing it to be a copy).

    ReplyDelete
  52. this was wonderful--loved the images, but what i enjoyed the most was, "leapin' loin feathers"...i've never heard that before!!!
    i love it!!! lol

    i'm truly embarrassed over mine--yours is truly up there as *amn good!

    warm smiles,

    ReplyDelete
  53. ArtP, Stanley Baker? Really? That's so interesting. Funny he thought it was a copy. It would have been a nice momento from making the film, but they are SO rare and valuable now!

    ReplyDelete
  54. Willow! My, my you do set the bar high =-) You truly are a Master Wordsmith. Thank you for the inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
  55. the places you take your reader to are always magical in their imagery and limitless in the range of feeling--brava!

    ReplyDelete
  56. Beautiful poem - a poem of loss and plunder. Loved the image of Zulus falling like flies.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Thank you, all, for your generous compliments. I love sharing my stuff with you! xx

    ReplyDelete
  58. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Holy guacamole Willow - that's bloody marvellous. I love how you've woven in contemporary references 'hip-hopping disco balls
    and bayonets' within an historical scene. I can't say I understand it all but I'm captivated.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Outstanding imagery and turns of phrase, Willow! You have such a way with words. Kudos!

    ReplyDelete
  61. This is such a cute carving work! But, you know, I have this thing against ivory... When you spend some time watching elephants in the wild you just can't figure out how it is possible to kill such magnificent beasts just to get their teeth... It's heartbreaking!

    ReplyDelete

Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)