Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Song Remains The Same

Just got off train. Pretty amusing ride. Heard this voice at back of carriage going 'Fuck!' 'Fuck.' 'Fuck!' 'Fuuuuck'. Then a staccato set of 'fuck fuck fuck'. And so on. I was trying to work/ read but he drove me crazy. Then after a while I started to enjoy it. Like some weird John Cage performance art music piece. 

I was amazed this unseen guy could get so much variety out of one word. We're talking a twenty minute train ride here. During it people slowly started moving by me, an evacuation. Eventually I could not resist and turned around. Fatal move, the eye contact thing. And I see this very grubby street guy moving towards, steel wool hair, the spider shuffle. I turn away as quickly as possible hoping he wont sit next to me. Lucky me, he goes for a big seat just ahead of me and lays down on it in a state of frustration, rubbing his temples. Nut case. 

Then I hear the voice again - from behind me - 'Fuck!'. So even the mad street person seated in front of me now cannot bear this crackpot behind me cursing. Then all of a sudden the curser sounds surprised, even happy and expands his reportoire with a 'fucking hell'. It's almost cheerful. The musical climax. A eureka moment. Then its back to 'fuck fuck fuck' again, by which time I leave the train.

- Mark Mordue

Ceremony (The Poem of the Dead)

The poem of the dead is made of this:
dirt or fire, bones and skin, worms or ash,
favourite things, a book, a ring, a guitar or just a toy,
a song to carry out the coffin out, tears and wine and tea that’s not too strong,
a cruel blue sky, consoling rain, the weather as a voice,
one shiny car, quiet movements made, a stunning Bible line,
a few lyrics from Dylan Thomas’s light, white flowers, a Stop sign,
a priest whose words just sink away, the incense in the air,
a friend who laughs, a mother’s cries, a father’s face of stone,
a hand upon your shoulder now, a strange car ride, a bird’s cold tune,
a child who lost another, cakes and bread and garden chairs,
the note they left, the will they wrote, the things that we have heard,
their favourite clothes, and when it passed, take a handful of this soil,
the milk is here, the beer is there, an aunt from way up north will speak to you,
new machinery creaks them into fire, a curtain closes slow,
a hallowed be thy name is called, the sunlight on the graves,
smoke rises from a chimney slow, we turn our eyes and walk away,
by night the loved ones, still, are gathered around the songs we used to know,
the family lives alone with loss, the ceremony is tomorrow.

- Mark Mordue

* Graveyard photo taken on south coast of New South Wales using my iPhone.