Saturday, May 28, 2011

Blurst from the past

A blurst from the past. About 15 years ago, to be precise (precisely ambiguous, that is), when I was still a callow stripling in year 11 in high school.

At the time we were studying Bruce Dawe's poem 'Weapons Training', a piece in which a manic military nutter with an authoritarian streak harrangues his troops prior to sending them into battle.

The teacher, a rather fiery and passionate Indian chap, was attempting, unsuccessfully, to get his students, one of them being me, to read out the poem in its entirety. A few bored attempts were made at the first lines, quickly broken off with the usual comments of 'this is so stupid, Sir', and other, less appealing, epithets.

So I volunteered myself to read the piece. Disgusted at my fellow students inane readings, and wanting to give the piece a good go myself, I really let loose and threw myself into the psychotic role with demonic intensity, growling, shouting, barking, snarling, and snapping at the students and teacher gathered in front of me. Several foam-flecked minutes later, I was wiping the spittle from my face, the students were snickering en masse, and the teacher was wiping the tears from his eyes.

It's only recently, when I've started performing poetry around the traps, that I've realised how astonishingly prescient that moment was. I suppose I was bound to get into either poetry - either that, or enrol into the manic military nutter academy and work my way up through the ranks until I got to harrangue troops in a psychotic and/or demonic manner. Are the two things so different, really?


broken biro said...

Yes, they are different. With poetry, nobody has to DIE!

But it's great to do a good rant isn't it? I don't rant enough

Shelley said...

I dunno, I've some of the poetry I've read makes me think the poet should die or at least be permanently incapacitated.

TimT said...

Good point Shelley, after all the War Poets are some of the most famous poets of all. Can this be a coincidence? Therefore all poets should go off to war. For the good of art.

Shelley said...

War is nicely damaging. I'm sure it's super for poets.

Email: timhtrain - at -

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