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Poetry Magnum Opus



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Sixty years and they had taken on a sepia tone.

The long dead master and his band of hope.

And I couldn't help thinking.. they were the first

who'd never see anything new for the first time.


Be underwhelmed by great works of art

and vast projects past and now. Stare dull-eyed

at vanishing species.. Shrug as the ice-caps melt

and tsunamis, storms and volcanoes integrate.


For there's no one thing to be seen first hand

which is not on film or in the media.. HD.

And we all know the right words for each occasion

from a worn script, unimagined, as I sat next to that master.

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Although I still can't quite grasp WHO they are in the pic, if this is a pic, the slight despair/regret is palpable. Emotion got through, I am just not getting the image.

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How strange the thoughts that run like syrup through our minds, brought on by an old photo or even just a memory. The evidence is all around us, and even grownups say "like" in every sentence. My HD TV spews predictable crap at all hours, my only relief in history and new explorations. I think maybe you leaked a tear while examining the sepia faces. Minds are constructed from birth by stimuli, real or not. Now everyone is part of the "ins" or the "outs." Chicken is made by KFC, and the naïve youth still run toward the adventure of death dealing machines. Must go fill my glass, again. A well-wrought work, Geoff, but should be read only by septuagenarians.

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Thanks for reading and commenting dcmarti and Franklin.
An old school friend with whom I've had no contact for more than fifty years; recently forwarded me a school photo from the first form seniors (all boys) school we both attended. I was sat next to the master: an elderly Great War veteran, who (it was reputed) had a silver plate in his skull:-) There were twenty five young boys all of whom I could name except for one: each anticipating a step forward into the great adventure of life. Most of us had not long since seen a t/v for the first time.. in a community hall: a large varnished wooden box, with a 9” black and white, round cornered screen; depicting the coronation of Queen Elizabeth The Second.
My thoughts leaped over ant-like decades of “progress”, to think that we seem to have evolved a compound knowledge of most things past and present,(arguably forgetting the most basic of things:-) without experiencing anything new first hand. And how I hate those words we all know..frequently trammelled like some tatty script for all occasions: particularly everyone's favourite, (or so it seems) “lessons must be learned!....”

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worse than that I fear . . . all thumbs and keypads . . .

from the black desert

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Hi Geoff,

Wow, what an interesting concept. I like this poem.

First, I wanted to say, from the opening stanza I did see an old school picture in my mind with a head master and kids (not necessarily all boys.)

Like you I did not see a TV screen until I was 10 years old and even then we only watched Uncle Milty and some old Bob Steele cowboy movies. The thought never occurred to me that the dawning of TV would be the sunset of first time images. I have to admit to sometimes being amazed at what I have seen on that screen that I would never have seen otherwise.


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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Gatekeeper: such is life it seems.


Tink: Thanks, you grasped my point well, Franklin also made me smile with his KFC comment. We can't un-invent these things, only watch as the sea of progress gathers in tidal momentum and hope to surf and survive:-) Even that conjures up a picture of humans, riding on the backs of those huge, all devouring sand worm creatures in the film "Dune" G.

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David W. Parsley

Geoff, this represents the kind of experience fusion that will always be the domain of literature, and therefore renders it indispensible. Acute sense of nostalgia mingled with respect and gratitude, an awareness of what is being lost in the Progress. This last point haunts a theme that has stalked me in recent years, that of cultural amnesia, the loss of that intoxicating luxury known as wonder.


Well Done.

- Dave

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Thanks Dave: I respect and appreciate your comments. I like your expression "cultural amnesia". Sometimes I despair for literature alone whilst watching children cosset IPods, cell-phones and Xboxes etc. All of which are taken for granted "essential accessories". And I think of students pasting lines from Google then muse: whether they will experience "that intoxicating luxury known as wonder" in a world beyond my horizon.

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