Living with the Truth Stranger than Fiction This Is Not About What You Think Milligan and Murphy Making Sense

Wednesday, 13 July 2016



It was late
and I thought of melting
lying with my doubts about me.

In the half-light
she came closer and
simply peeled my fears away.

23 July 1989
I like how this one flows. It’s pleasant to read. I’m not the most musical of poets but occasionally a wee gem like this one comes out of nowhere. I’ve no idea what prompted it. Am I imagining a sexual liaison with B.? Unlikely. I really didn’t think of her that way. She was attractive but then there’ve been few women in my life I’ve not been attracted to to some degree but I can count on the finger of one hand (okay, maybe two) the number I’ve actually fantasied about sleeping with. Sex was always a bonus. If I was drawn to a woman what I wanted was to be in her company, to talk to her, get to know her. Not pork her.

What is interesting is comparing this poem to the next one in the book. Here the narrator is passive and I don’t really think of myself as a passive person but in ‘Cheat’ he’s a taker and although it’s true I used to prefer to be in the one in charge—mostly because I always seemed to end up being in charge and simply got used to it—I’m not sure I’d like to be thought of as ‘controlling’. Much food for thought here.


Gwil W said...

Thinking aloud. I like it Jim but I think a visual word like "moved" is more sensual than the abstract "came". You could make the final verb active:

In the half-light
she moved closer
peeling my fears away

Jim Murdoch said...

I'm pretty sure this is one of those poems Gwilym that I would've spent ages swapping out words and never being completely satisfied. If we go with 'moved' we lose the alliteration. If we use 'peeling' we lose 'simply' which touches on the 's' in 'closer' and the 'p' in peeled. Of course to reinstate the 's' we could say she 'slid closer' or 'slipped closer'. I used to drive myself mad changing words about trying to find the perfect combination.

Gwil W said...

Jim, You're right. Like you, I've got the t-shirt.

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