The Write Out Loud Poem of the Week is ‘To Life (full colour version)’ by Rick

This week, the POTW choice is the celebratory and gritty To Life (full colour version) by Rick.

Our thanks to Rick for his responses to our traditional Q&A, which you can read below. In the meantime, enjoy his poem, and be inspired to write your own!


Can you tell us a little background about how you came to write this poem?

I saw a neighbour in the street - he was stick thin - his lamp of life was dimming - so I wrote it about him largely. The first draft felt incomplete so I decided to turn the character into a holocaust survivor rejoicing in life as a wonderful thing despite the ravages to which he had been subject.


Would you say your poetry has a particular style?

I have no set style - a few lately have been Imagist in tone and form - I prefer longer narratives  - and try not to give complete answers, the who what why where and when  - leaving the reader to form their own conclusions - my 'Hello Goodbye' (posted here on WOL) is a recent example of that.


Do you attend any writing groups or workshops?

I don't attend any workshops as such as I feel that poetry has to reflect the real experience of the writer and no amount of education in a formal sense can add truth and integrity if it is not already present in the writer's life - and if it is not then perhaps poetry is not their proper genre. That said, I read a lot and allow ideas to float around until they settle into a (possible) coherent form. 


How has your poetry developed over the time you have been writing?

For me, performing and writing is standing naked and raw in a pillory for all and sundry to lob their rotten fruit at one. 


If you could invite four poets (living or dead) to tea, who would they be?

Dylan Thomas, Paul Durcan, WB Yeats, Charles Bukowski (for roughage) 


To Life (full colour version)
by Rick

I spoke to Sol today,
he wore a ‘not here’ grin,
a battered fedora,
flapping loose in the wind
a threadbare three-piece suit-
no kippah no tzitzit,
He’d lost a lot of weight,
‘Are you feeling alright?’
‘I’ve been much worse than this.
Do I know you?  Have you
got a spare cigarette?’
‘The meshuggah’s lost it’
His feet were raw, bleeding.
‘What’s happened to your shoes?’
A scratched head. A vague wave.
‘Shoes? Must’ve lost them. Smoke?’
I lit two Craven A’s.
He took a long slow drag.
As King David had danced
bare-footed the Ark home
to Jerusalem so
Sol scampered the pavement -
drain-soaked turn-ups?  Shalom.
‘In the cool of the day.
The Lord God walked Eden’

A brutal coughing fit:
Sol doubled hawking blood,
wiped his mouth... glided on.
I shouted, ‘Mazel tov.’
A cheery wave, ‘L’chaim!’

◄ Seeing the wood and the trees: chance to become writer-in-residence with Forestry Commission

'You could watch her cap it in a chicory coffee can' ►



Sun 23rd Dec 2018 14:52

if you are standing naked when you perform
please do not perform


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Hannah Collins

Sat 22nd Dec 2018 18:41

Fabulous poem.
Yes you can see him.
Well deserved POTW.


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jennifer Malden

Wed 19th Dec 2018 18:39

Horrifying! Great work - Congratulations


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John Marks

Tue 18th Dec 2018 20:22

A brutal coughing fit:
Sol doubled hawking blood,
wiped his mouth... glided on

Reminds me of my dad. I liked the contrast in 'glide'. I wish I could glide like that.

Well done Rick and belated happy Hanukkah. I love that the festival of light happens in the darkness!

John Marks

<Deleted User> (19913)

Tue 18th Dec 2018 04:06

I felt like I met him too. Could almost smell the nicotine on his fingers.

Loved it Rick, well done.

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Jon Stainsby

Mon 17th Dec 2018 15:14

Congratulations, Rick

Big Sal

Mon 17th Dec 2018 12:58

Great imagery.?

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