I’m not the most poetic individual on earth, but I have always agreed with the proverb that “[a word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver](http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs%2025:11&version=NIV)(1).”
I always feel that I should write poetry, but rarely ever get around to it. Likewise, I feel I ought to read it more often, but don’t usually stray beyond the shorter works of C.S. Lewis, or Robert Frost.
Last week at “priestly formation” a guest speaker brought in some of his favourite poems and he convinced me that I ought to chase down more aptly spoken words. So maybe on tuesdays, or maybe just this tuesday, I’ll share one with you. (Can any lawyers tell me if I am doing something illegal here?)
**”FIve Ways to Kill a Man” by [Edwin Brock](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwin_Brock)**
(apologies for the lack of formatting. It’s formatted where I enter it, but not coming up on the site…)
>There are many cumbersome ways to kill a man.
> You can make him carry a plank of wood to the top of a hill and nail him to it.
> To do this properly you require a crowd of people wearing sandals, a cock that crows, a cloak
to dissect, a sponge, some vinegar and one man to hammer the nails home.
> Or you can take a length of steel, shaped and chased in a traditional way,
and attempt to pierce the metal cage he wears.
> But for this you need white horses, English trees, men with bows and arrows, at least two flags, a prince, and a castle to hold your banquet in.
> Dispensing with nobility, you may, if the wind allows, blow gas at him. But then you need a mile of mud sliced through with ditches, not to mention black boots, bomb craters, more mud, a plague of rats, a dozen songs and some round hats made of steel.
> In an age of aeroplanes, you may fly miles above your victim and dispose of him by pressing one small switch. All you then require is an ocean to separate you, two systems of government, a nation’s scientists, several factories, a psychopath and land that no-one needs for several years.
> These are, as I began, cumbersome ways to kill a man.
> Simpler, direct, and much more neat is to see that he is living somewhere in the middle of the twentieth century, and leave him there.
What do you think? What’s in the last stanza? Is it implying that we have the freedom & opportunity to look back at 2000+ years of brutal history & yet we don’t learn? Or is it pointing to unparalleled dangers in a modern society?
Either way, it’s a beautifully written poem!
(1) I Digress: I have a bit of a thing for bookmarks. Much to my beloved wife’s consternation, I had to track down a bookmark from just about every place we visited on our honeymoon. Many of them just sit in a box. Occasionally I remember to leave them in a book. I think part of my my little addiction came from the first time I ever read “[Lord of the Rings](http://www.amazon.com/Lord-Rings-50th-Anniversary-Vol/dp/0618640150/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1268716981&sr=1-3)” as a primary school kid of 11. I remember borrowing “the Fellowship of the Ring” and finding a textured card bookmark inside, with a beautiful picture of a golden apple on a silver trellis. I used that bookmark from 6th grade till I lost in in about year 10. It guided me through maybe hundreds of books during my literary golden age. I tasted and digested (and now, unfortunately, have mostly forgotten) many aptly spoken words, and that little icon came with me… What I’d give to find that book mark again! Every other bookmarks since, valuable though it maybe, laden with memories of Scottish summer days, or eating fresh bread under the Eiffel tower, are still just a poor cousin to my constant reading companion. Is it odd for me to have such a powerful connection to a piece of cardboard?
One thought on “Poetry Tuesday”
That is a great poem Tim. I assume he wrote it in around the 1950s. I don’t think he was very happy with the state of things 🙂
I, too, become attached to bookmarks so don’t find it odd at all.