Writing 201: Fog, Elegy, Metaphor – Elegy for Shaun Maher

“Fog. Today’s word prompt can be taken in so many different directions: condensation on your car’s window. An eerie landscape (or streetscape) at dawn. Your glasses as you enter a warm room from the cold outside. The mental state of confusion, forgetfulness, or dementia. How will you introduce fog into your poem today?

Today’s form, the elegy, can trace its history all the way to ancient Greece. It started out as a poem that could be about almost any topic, as long as it was written in elegiac couplets (pairs of verse, with the first one slightly longer than the second). Over the centuries, though, it became something a bit more specific: a (more often than not) first-person poem on themes of longing, loss, and mourning.

You knew it was coming. The prince of poetic devices, the thrill up every poet’s spine. Yes: hello, metaphor. Metaphors are everywhere in poetry and in everyday speech (“I’m drowning in work,” “This problem requires brain muscle,” and on and on). They’re so ubiquitous that most people find it hard to explain what they are. So let’s try.”

The milky fog that hangs over Homerton veils all things from each other
the cat from the rat, dog from tree, the child from the mother

Bravely walk into the shroud, enveloping and you might bring to mind
That you are walking through a hole in space, soul and time

Walking down between the alley that leads from the high street to Tesco
You might walk in and find yourself 10 years ago in San Francisco

I beg you please call upon a youth called Shaun Maher
who lives with his dad in Lakeshore

If its a Saturday in April he’ll be a well fed cat dozing in the afternoon air
Out on the lawn, in a pair of cargo pants on a cheap ass lawn chair

Wake up from his slumber with a hard smack upside his dome
And tell that moron kid to keep his dumb ass home

Look that Jackass know it all deep into his bottomless brown eyes
And tell him he that his fathers friend, Smith, lies

Tell him the life promised of adventure, fabulous secrets, “so many to tell”
Is a crock of sh*t, a tissue of lies, baloney, highway to hell

Tell him that misery will fall on his current path, like November storms in the Bay
And unless he ceases from it soon there will come a day

When he’ll look in the mirror at a face that is barely his own
a name of a dead man, in a city that isn’t home

That he will walk as a lone male exiled from the pride
Hollow as an emptied bud, forced by fate to hide

On that day the grim Reaper will come looking, a long trail of lies followed
He’ll tap him on the shoulder, look him in the eye, and say

“I. know. your. name. isn’t. Hugo.”

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12 thoughts on “Writing 201: Fog, Elegy, Metaphor – Elegy for Shaun Maher

  1. I’m English… I googled ‘Shaun Maher San Francisco’ and found someone of that name who’s connected to football. That’s as far as I got. but I really enjoyed your poem even though I don’t understand what it’s all about!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello: Been visiting round your site some. Just got done Visiting the Monster. I do this regular feature where I go visiting around to see what other people are doing on their sites and then I write about them. This week I will be including your site. The Post is called “Roaming Around: Sunday Blog Visits”

    Thank you for showing up on at my place.

    Liked by 1 person

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