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Poetry Magnum Opus

The anonymity that comes with age.


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The anonymity that comes with age:

A wooden bench, with sun that prompts each squint

into a daze as nature regenerates--

And shadows tend the business of their dogs..


I smiled at thoughts of my old man's 'coms'

that danced a jig on the washing line,

where now the children's boxer shorts

flap mockingly at mine... Saw back-to-backs:

two up, two downs, where endless father's sons

grew into men. And education morphed

through anachronistic tribal pubs:

In clicks of dominoes and clunks of darts;

or knowing how to pick a winning horse.

Where females rarely passed beyond the door;

but trained as 'mams' to shrive the Sunday roast;

and buy 'Indulgences' with household chores.

Embroidered life, in spires of winding gears

And chapels of the pit shaft cage...



with kids not that much younger than themselves;

excluded from their offspring's secret world

by the time they're ten. Almost invisible:

in an age of new drones, no longer defined by

a gentleman's hat, or the common man's flat cap.

Where laser scalpels dissect a criminal

by remote control, thousands of miles away.

Watched by stark faces and their Doctor Tulps,

as cyclical patterns of destruction, echo

portentous wailings from the walls of Troy...


And a passing mum, mistaking squint for smile:

hastens her brood to the nearby park;

looks over her shoulder-- most suspiciously..

And shadows tend the business of their dogs.

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Thanks Benjamin for this piece. After enjoying the rhythm of the lines, I think I got the message as I add 'shadows', 'secret world', 'invisible', 'drones', 'remote control' positioned in contrast with a mum on a regular Sunday at the park. How the world has changed, eh? But the imagery is simple yet complex.

"Words are not things, and yet they are not non-things either." - Ann Lauterbach

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Stream of consciousness has been likened to a river; moving inexorably with the tide; with rippled surfaces that may appear still in the middle yet swirl and eddy at the banks and in other places even appear to go backward.

Children have subcultures that don't include adults: and young adults by the age of thirty don't fit with younger teens and twenties; until gradually anonymity becomes synonymous with old age.. My stream of thought includes social change in England: with references to "indulgences" (Martin Luther opposed buying "Indulgences" which were written papal guarantees to salvation) and "The Anatomy Lesson Of Dr.Tulp" a controversial painting by Rembrandt. Also, how it's no longer considered 'appropriate' to be polite and friendly to children (who interrupt the pleasure of mental meanderings) in a public place. The poem is meant to be entertaining, informative and philosophical; yet moving inexorably like that river to a common destination.

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Thanks for the context.

"Words are not things, and yet they are not non-things either." - Ann Lauterbach

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Haha this youth is showing its age. I got the philisophical part of it and entertaining part. But some of the references not quite, where i live(canada) you can be polite and friendly to most people and not get in trouble or criticized.


"Unbearable, isn't it? The suffering of strangers, the agony of friends.

There is a secret song at the center of the world, Joey, and its sound is like razors through flesh."


"I don't believe you."


"Oh come, you can hear its faint echo right now. I'm here to turn up the volume.

To press the stinking face of humanity into the dark blood of its own secret heart."

"There's a starving beast inside my chest
playing with me until he's bored
Then, slowly burying his tusks in my flesh
crawling his way out he rips open old wounds

When I reach for the knife placed on the bedside table
its blade reflects my determined face
to plant it in my chest
and carve a hole so deep it snaps my veins

Hollow me out, I want to feel empty"
-- "Being Able To Feel Nothing" by Oathbreaker


"Sky turns to a deeper grey

the sun fades by the moon

hell's come from the distant hills

tortures dreams of the doomed

and they pray, yet they prey

and they pray, still they prey"
-- "Still They Prey" by Cough


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Good one Geoff, and I had no trouble with this at all. I loved it, maybe because I am one of the anonymous. Although as an old lady I am allowed and even expected to smile at babies and little kids. Good thing too because children just make me smile. Too bad the world has come to be suspicious of men in general. Really too bad, and they need to be more cautious with family members than older gentlemen on park benches.


And isn't interesting how the generations separate. I luckily have a good connection with my grandchildren but we do live on different planets. We don't even speak the same language although it all comes under the general category of English.


I enjoyed your poem very much. Thank you,



~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

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

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Thanks Joel, abstrect-christ and Tink for reading and leaving comment.

Some of the lines reflect a typically English (not too distant) past way of life in communities now lost to industrial decline. Thankfully nowadays, people are generally more enlightened-- and women treated as equals, rather than subservient property.

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Loved this. Not quite anonymous yet, but getting there and get some odd stares sometimes when with younger friends. This would come under Lost Worlds poetry in my book. Not nostalgia, rather a deep engagement with what has left, never to return.


Many Thanks!



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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 5 weeks later...



Where females rarely passed beyond the door;


I was in Merrie Olde England for 3 weeks for work in the Midlands. OK, at a military base in the village of Oundle, but the hotel was in Peterborough. A weekend excursion took my coworkers and I to Cambridge and we stopped at a pub for what was to be bathroom break and drinks. They did NOT want us there, not because we were US, but because we were not from there. It was eerie.


Loved this:


And shadows tend the business of their dogs.

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There's much more resentment in rural areas and small towns mainly due to the high incidence of foreign migrants.

I nod at my grand kids, pretending I understand their latest abbreviated hi-tec jargon; yet at the same time find solace in the tolerance of an active mind-- try to find positives in the adage that: "Nothing is forever".

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