Author Topic: Sentinel  (Read 4709 times)

Offline Gyppo

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Sentinel
« on: May 10, 2014, 02:44:03 PM »
Tom the poet had a phrase in one of his poems The edge of town which triggered a vivid memory.  About 'machinery rusting back to skeletons'.  Earlier the same day I'd  been encouraging (bullying?) people to enter the latest circle poetry contest, saying that even if they weren't too impressed by their own work their words might trigger someone else's muse, and how this would be a fine gift.

So, thanks to Tom for provoking this.

=====

Sentinel

For thirty years or more it's sat
abandoned and unloved.
A rusted ancient harvester
in an annual rising tide of wheat.

When I first spotted it,
one evening returning from fishing,
the paint was still sound
and small parts still turned.

On our first meeting I patted it
as one does a friendly old dog,
and wondered why nobody
thought it worth mending.

I pondered why it sat there,
mute and useless,
wasting valuable growing space
in those small Cornish fields.

Every year they harvest around it,
in two gentle curves,
then right up to the cold sides
with scythe and hand-held sickle.

The paint has long gone now
and nothing moves.
A gaunt monument,
perhaps to a failed dream.

The last time I saw it,
a rusted caricature of itself,
I wondered why it was still there,
why it hadn't been scrapped.

Half a day's work with a cutting torch.
Then trailer the chunks away,
before the new season's growth
could be broken beneath the wheels.

Is it just not worth the hassle?
Is that patch of land to be gained
just not worth the hire of a torch
and trailer, and two men?

Or does it hide more than mere lethargy?
An untimely birth, an unsuitable suitor,
an errant wife or husband?
Planted safely beneath the silent sentinel?

Gyppo
« Last Edit: May 10, 2014, 03:14:48 PM by Gyppo »
My website is currently having a holiday, but will return like the $6,000,000 man.  Bigger, stronger, etc.

In the meantime, why not take pity on a starving author and visit my book sales page at http://stores.lulu.com/gyppo1

cmb

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Re: Sentinel
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2014, 02:49:00 PM »
Nice one Gyp! I enjoyed the read - and the ending even more. :)

Offline bri h

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Re: Sentinel
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2014, 02:50:13 PM »
'Scythe and hand-held sickle,' plus that loaded last verse did it for me, Gyp. Well done. Love it. Bri.
Fare thee well Skip. We're all 'Keening' now. xbx

Offline 510bhan

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Re: Sentinel
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2014, 05:40:08 PM »
Glad you were inspired, Gyp -- I enjoyed this. Neat work. ;)

Offline Gyppo

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Re: Sentinel
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2014, 08:32:04 PM »
Glad it struck a chord ;-)

In all the years I passed by that old harvester, occasionally sitting on it for a rest when it wasn't surrounded by growing crops, it fascinated me.  I always felt it had a tale to tell.  Old machinery often has.  But it was only today, just before I finished writing about it, that it crossed my mind it could be hiding a dark secret.

Gyppo
My website is currently having a holiday, but will return like the $6,000,000 man.  Bigger, stronger, etc.

In the meantime, why not take pity on a starving author and visit my book sales page at http://stores.lulu.com/gyppo1

Jo Bannister

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Re: Sentinel
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2014, 09:03:47 AM »
Loved this, Gyppo - it really drew a picture for me.  Tiny cavil: there felt to be one syllable too many in the last line of the first verse.  But who cares, when the end result pleases on so many levels?  I shall have this image in my head as I ride about the countryside this summer, watching the slow decay of things done with but too much trouble to remove.

More, please.

Offline Gyppo

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Re: Sentinel
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2014, 05:15:25 PM »
Jo, glad you enjoyed it.

As for more...  These things happen as and when the spirit moves me.  Sometimes light, sometimes dark.  I don't go looking for them, but sometimes they just turn up and won't go away until I write them out.
My website is currently having a holiday, but will return like the $6,000,000 man.  Bigger, stronger, etc.

In the meantime, why not take pity on a starving author and visit my book sales page at http://stores.lulu.com/gyppo1

Offline heidi52

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Re: Sentinel
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2014, 05:56:40 AM »
cool read, thanks!


Offline lan

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Re: Sentinel
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2014, 08:29:23 AM »
Splendid. I love it when a poem also tells a story and this one has a touch of everything, a bit of irony, a touch of nostalgia and even a Gothic twist at the end. Well done!
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Offline Phreek10cent

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Re: Sentinel
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2014, 06:52:56 PM »
You were very visual with your words. i temporarily  left this world and stood in that field. Great Poem

Offline Gyppo

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Re: Sentinel
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2014, 07:07:45 PM »
Thankyou ;-)  I was 'there' whilst writing it.
My website is currently having a holiday, but will return like the $6,000,000 man.  Bigger, stronger, etc.

In the meantime, why not take pity on a starving author and visit my book sales page at http://stores.lulu.com/gyppo1

Offline bowmore2

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Re: Sentinel
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2014, 02:41:08 PM »
A great piece of writing, you led the reader like the pied piper to the same conclusion.

Just remains to find out who the unfortunate was.