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Thread: The Man Who Would be King

  1. #1
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    The Man Who Would be King

    That head of withered flesh,
    grey with years,
    and sightless now
    pale eyes have shrivelled
    leaving only wrinkled beads in place;

    that head, which once adorned a regal neck
    and wore a crown
    whose radiance enlightened
    hearts and minds alike,
    inspired a currency of thought.

    But now itís just a relic in a box,
    a curiosity to flaunt,
    an after dinner spectacle to be displayed
    diverting those whose drinks grow short
    in taller cups.

    What dreams it dreams
    within its last perpetual night.
    Those memories of court and tribute paid
    contained in air
    which fills a vacant space.

  2. #2
    riding a cosmic vortex MystyrMystyry's Avatar
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    Cool Hawk!

    I saw the movie when I was a kid, which in turn inspired me to read the story - and now I've read the poem. And I think you do it proud. Well done!

  3. #3
    Still, on a chalk plateau Bar22do's Avatar
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    Not only great Kipling, Maurice Jarre, but now Hawkman too. You're in great company and up to its standards.
    By the way, I met Jarre years ago on Tel Aviv's beach! He was smoking like a chimney, was an unbearable womanizer, but what a genial composer! I would forgive him all his sins for Doctor Jivago's music!!!
    Your poem makes me reflect on where should the stress go - to the relic or to the glorious memories. I'm choosing the second.
    And I loved "inspired a currency of thought," for it reminds me of the definition of true aristocracy, which is that of mind.

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    Somehow this made me think of Richard III and his remains currently being uprooted in some Leicester car park.

    H

  5. #5
    In the fog Charles Darnay's Avatar
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    The first stanza (ignoring the Kipling references) made me think of Prince Charles.

    Either way, great poem!
    I wrote a poem on a leaf and it blew away...

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    MM: Thanks, glad you enjoyed it.

    Bar: Thanks very much for reading and enjoying this poem, though you left out John Huston I'm glad you survived Jarre!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bar22do View Post
    And I loved "inspired a currency of thought," for it reminds me of the definition of true aristocracy, which is that of mind.
    According to whom? Aristotle? This would seem only to invite the sin of hubris. What is the life of the mind without a leavening of heart. A life devoid of love and compassion would seem bleak to me. Besides, Aristotle has been proved to be wrong more than a few times.

    "Throughout modern times, practically every advance in science, in logic, or in philosophy has had to be made in the teeth of the opposition from Aristotle's disciples."
    Bertrand Russell.

    Pure intellect is as cold and dead as stone. It is a path which leads to absolutism of thought, and the majority of humanity rejected that last century.

    hill: thanks for reading, though Dickie III apparently still has his head!

    CD: Poor old Charles, he doesn't half take some flack. Thanks to you too, glad you liked the poem.

    Live and be well - H

  7. #7
    Still, on a chalk plateau Bar22do's Avatar
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    So much depends on the sources, indeed; therefore, instead of answering for me, conjecturing and going on a crusade against Intellect, wait for my answer to your question. For my sources are Kabbalistic, where Intelligence (Tvuna), Mind (Sehel) are creative nuclei, i.e. unconceivable without love (as acting principles). Look (and quietly contemplate while taking into account that what you read is only a translation) for the 32 paths of wisdom in The Book of Creation; by the way 32, put into Hebrew letters (each letter corresponds to a number) is: 30 = Lamed, 2 = Beth, which gives LEV, or, in English, Heart. Have a good evening.

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    Thanks, I will, now that I know Aristotle doesn't float your boat

    Live long and prosper - H

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    Registered User zoolane's Avatar
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    I have come to this third time but still I have not made my mind up about it.
    English my native language and have characterizes of dyslexia.

    Copyright (C) 2011, Zoolane

    I have pass by English Exam.

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    Well, thanks for reading it three times anyway.

    Live and be well - H

  11. #11
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    There's a whiff of Ionesco's Exit the King in this. There's another absurdist drama with a similar theme-- The Life and Death of Umberto D (something like that.) Can't remember and the Google machine won't help me out. (Note 9/22/12--Belated memory ("d'esprit d'escalier") finally made me realize that I was thinking of Ubu roi.)

    But your poem itself is a tight, evocative portrait of a person who is either nostalgic for the glory of the past -- or more likely since the title says "Who
    would be king"-- the tragic disillusion over unrealized dreams. How well yours fooly can relate to that one!

    The arcane comments are undoubtedly fascinating, but, alas, the material is
    all Greek to me. So I'm "Lear-y" of chiming in on material of which I know
    nothin'.
    Last edited by AuntShecky; 09-22-2012 at 01:06 PM.

  12. #12
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    Hi Auntie,

    The Man Who Would be King is a short story by Rudjard Kipling, and the text is available on LitNet. John Huston made the film with Sean Connery & Michael Caine playing the principle characters, Danny Dravet and Peachy Carnahan. These two travel to the distant country of Kafiristan to subvert the native rulers and become kings, building their personal fortunes with loot. The poem refers to the ultimate fate of Dravet, whose head, still wearing the crown he won, is presented to the story's narrator on Carnahan's return, a broken man.

    Live and be well - H

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkman View Post
    Hi Auntie,

    The Man Who Would be King is a short story by Rudjard Kipling, and the text is available on LitNet. John Huston made the film with Sean Connery & Michael Caine playing the principle characters, Danny Dravet and Peachy Carnahan. These two travel to the distant country of Kafiristan to subvert the native rulers and become kings, building their personal fortunes with loot. The poem refers to the ultimate fate of Dravet, whose head, still wearing the crown he won, is presented to the story's narrator on Carnahan's return, a broken man.

    Live and be well - H
    I think I knew that and might even have seen the old movie version, even though I've never been a big fan of the guy who touted "the white man's burden." (As the ancient joke went: Q.: "Do you like Kipling?" A.:"I don't know-- I've never Kipled.")

    My comment on your poem addressed the fact that I seemed to pick up elements from absurdist drama-- the play by Ionesco and the other one, which I now remember is Ubu roi. Bar's mention of the composer
    Maurice Jarre must've "jarred" my memory of the playwright Alfred Jarry.

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