Guest author: Kevin Morris – Death and the Poet

It is frequently remarked that “the only things certain in life are death and taxes”. While this old adage contains much truth, one may, perhaps rephrase it to read thus, “the only thing certain in life is that poets will write about death”.

One of the finest poems concerning mortality is, in my opinion Ernest Dowson’s “Vitae Summa Brevis Spem Nos Vetat Incohare Longam”:

“They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,

Love and desire and hate:

I think they have no portion in us after

We pass the gate.

*

They are not long, the days of wine and roses:

Out of a misty dream

Our path emerges for a while, then closes

Within a dream”.

 

Life’s pleasures are brief (as is Dowson’s poem). Wine and roses (the pleasures of food and love) pass and our existence ends “as in a dream”. (https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/vitae-summa-brevis-spem-nos-vetat-incohare-longam).

In Dowson’s poem, there is no explicit mention of death. Although he is represented by “the gate” which, once passed puts an end to love and hate, the poet nowhere refers to him by name. In contrast, in his poem “Upon the Image of Death” the poet, Robert Southwell personifies Death as a picture:

“Before my face the picture hangs

That daily should put me in mind

Of those cold names and bitter pangs

That shortly I am like to find ;

But yet, alas, full little I

Do think hereon that I must die”.

(http://www.luminarium.org/renlit/deathimage.htm).

 

Southwell’s poem is replete with images of death, for example:

 

“Continually at my bed’s head

A hearse doth hang, which doth me tell

That I ere morning may be dead,

Though now I feel myself full well …”.

 

In my own poem, “What Is A Double Bed?”, I focus on that age-old relationship between death and bed:

 

“What is a double bed?

A place where the dread

Of what comes after this brief life

Is momentarily lost

In the arms of mistress or wife.

*

What is a double bed?

A place where the lone head

Sleeps

And sometimes weeps.

*

What is a double bed?

A place of joy and pain,

Where we return again and again

Until we are slain

By the final sleep”.

 

Sex can (and often is) an expression of deep love and, of course of the desire to perpetuate ourselves by bringing children into the world. Is it, I wonder too fanciful to suggest (as I do in the above poem), that sex, the making of love (call it what you will) can, on occasions be a means of forgetting, for a brief moment our own mortality? Conversely, in the moment of pure joy we are one with the other and do, in a sense momentarily die.

I will, if I may end with my poem, “Graveyard”. Opposite to my home is a church in the grounds of which lie the sleeping dead. On an almost daily basis I pass through the churchyard on my way to and from the shops, work etc:

 

“Often do I have cause

For thought, yet seldom pause

Here for long.

Perhaps it is a strong

Desire to forget my fate

Which leads me, (be it early or late),

Without a backward glance

Lest by some mischance

I see my own ghost,

To post-haste, exit the graveyard gate

And enter again

This temporary realm of men”.

 


Find and follow Kevin

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Goodreads and Twitter@drewdog2060


kevin-morris-and-his-guidedog-triggerAbout the author

Kevin Morris was born in Liverpool. Having lost most of his vision in early childhood, his love of literature began as he listened to the tales read to him by his grandfather. In later years, Braille opened the world of  independent reading. Only a tiny proportion of books are available in braille, but Kevin found it amazing to be able to sit with a book on his knee reading for himself. Besides braille he was also a huge consumer of spoken word cassettes, everything from Treasure Island to Wuthering Heights. Modern text-to-speech technology has now opened a wider world of literature to him.

Kevin read history and politics at university and eventually graduated with an MA in political theory.

He began to write seriously in mid 2012, using software that converts speech into text and Braille. He now lives and works in Crystal Palace, London and enjoys  walking in green places with his guide dog Trigger, listening to a wide variety of music and socialising with friends.


Kevin’s collection of poetry, “My Old Clock I Wind And Other Poems” is available NOW via Moyhill Publishing.

Cover image of  "My Old Clock I Wind." By K. Morris

My Old Clock I Wind” is a collection of 74 new and original poems by Kevin Morris. It contains both melancholy and more cheerful pieces contrasting the fact that We can enjoy life but at the same time cannot escape its inevitable end.

We laugh
As we pass
Along life’s path.
There are tears too
Its true,
For me and you
My friend,
For every year
Must have it’s end.


Dalliance; a collection of poetry and proseDalliance

In this collection of poetry and prose the intimate connections between the natural world and humanity are explored, while a number of pieces are of a humorous nature.

Exquisite Little Collection  Amazon review b

I loved the sheer variety of the pieces in this book – and the lyrical nature of the writing. Most beautiful. Two, in particular, stood out for me: ‘Dark Angel’ and ‘The Great Cycle’. Both evoked the connection we have with the world – though in very different ways, one being a physical bond with the natural world, the other a more inanimate ‘friend’! I thoroughly recommend this exquisite little collection.

Find all Kevin’s books on Amazon

book covers Kevin Morrisbook covers Kevin Morris


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About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She has written a number of books, both alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com
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26 Responses to Guest author: Kevin Morris – Death and the Poet

  1. I really enjoyed Kevin’s approach to this post, Sue. Seeking out some famous poems to compliment his own was a super idea. A very enjoyable read.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you Sue for your kindness in hosting me, its extremely good of you. Best wishes, Kevin

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Reblogged this on newauthoronline and commented:
    My thanks to Sue Vincent for her kindness in publishing my guest post.

    Like

  4. A fascinating subject and one that has filled humans with trepidation since the dawn of time. Great post thanks Kevin and Sue..

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – 9th May 2017 – Sue Vincent, Kevin Morris, Texas Wine, J. A. Allen, Michelle Proulx | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  6. Thoughtful, thought-provoking poems- and I enjoyed them all. Thank you Kevin!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Thank you again for publishing my guest post, Sue. Since my article was published, “My Old Clock I Wind” has appeared in both paperback and ebook formats and can be found here, http://moyhill.com/clock/. Very best wishes, Kevin

    Like

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