Thursday, October 10, 2013

I Wish I'd Written This - Poetry of Dave King

A Love Poem

By Dave King (August, 2013)

Do you remember how it was?
It was not always hearts and flowers
and sunshine through the trees.
The clich├ęs sometimes passed us by,
but that first handshake fast became
two hands of friendship -- and the start
of all my happiness to come.

And then it was that joyfulness 
slipped by unnoticed for a while,
the way it often does.
Not just contentment: beauty,
and a kind of bliss I had not known before.
Dormant at times beneath a heap of cares --
the mortgage, job security, the kids --

but there as ever was in that same hand
that shook my world 
when nothing seemed it could.
And now it is that all is treasured
dearly once again, and known for its true worth --
and tightly clutched as in two hands.
A drowning man, I will not let it go.

How do I prepare for death?

By Dave King (September, 2013)

How do I prepare for death?
I asked a wise man long ago.
You don't, my son, 
the wise man said:
Let Death prepare for you. 

Her laundered sheets 
and candle lights
or spring flowers round the bed
will take you back
to early days...
How bright the vision then!
How clear the way ahead!

She'll sweep the house
of all those fears
accrued along the way:
the frights that have no form.
Not dreads of death,
but worse than those:
to not exist;
the aweful void.

Such terrors follow the more solid ones,
those obstacles the world threw up
to make you doubt or start again,
to hesitate.

Each in their turn depart.

And Death Shall Have No Dominion

By Dave King (January, 2009)

Like autumn leaves
we change our colours when we die.
That's all we ever were:
a change of colour on a canvas ground,
one small fleck of difference
on an otherwise flat field
in a desert 
           of indifference.
Here death
          is the death of all
             the smudge of detail,
the erosion
           of the figure by the ground.
Death is the perfect decorator,
a broad-brushed artisan
for whom the wall assumes
a perfect matt, flat hue.

Dave King  (19?? - 2013)

Dave King, who blogged at Pics and Poems,  has always been a well-respected poet in the poetry blogosphere, and as most of us know he passed away on October 4, leaving many with a feeling of loss.  Thursday dVerse Meeting the Bar  paid tribute to him (take a look), and we at Poets United thought it would be good to pay our own tribute to Dave as well featuring a few of his poems.

His poem "A Love Poem" is truly a beautiful poem, and a tribute to his long marriage to his wife.   I would say that this poem is one of my all-time favorite Dave King poems, one which truly shows his tender heart.   It is the kind of poem I wish I had written.

The second poem is "How Do I Deal With Death?" And it was his second last poem shared.  It is obvious that death was on his mind, though he advised his readers in his blog, "Don't read too much into this."  (But, of course, I am sure most did)

The third poem is "And Death Shall Have No Dominion," written in 2009.  I like especially the last four lines of that poem. Take a look.

Dave was a private person, for the most part.  He had chosen not to be featured in an interview at Poets United, preferring to keep a low profile.  I do know that he lived in Surrey, England, with his wife Doreen.  (They had at least one child, probably more.) Some of his growing up years were during World War II, and I remember one poem about playing in some of the rubble of war when he was a child & another in which he reminisced about being in the hospital quite seriously ill when he was young.  I always enjoyed his World War II (and after) reminiscences. Dave was a teacher by profession.  He also had a great interest in visual art and made mention of painting himself before his hands began to shake.

Dave was a prolific blogger.  He had blogged since December, 2006, and had hundreds of followers. Up until the last few months of his life he posted a poem every day, and he had a lot of loyal followers (and I am proud to have been one of them).  Dave had a scientific mind as well as a creative mind; and his poems often showed a very unique perspective & were very thoroughly (and almost painstakingly) carried out.  Dave had a style of writing that could be recognized, even if his name was not on the poem.

Last summer he started being absent from the blogosphere some days. In his August 15 entry, he shared why he was far less visible in the blogosphere.  He mentioned Stage 4 prostrate cancer; but he still sounded just a bit hopeful.   He continued to post poems periodically and commented on other poems as much as he could.  His September 16 poem "Why Can Only the Living Mourn?" was the last poem he wrote.  It is worth a look as well, if you haven't read it.  It seems he knew the end was relatively near.  On October 9, Dave's son Gavin wrote in Dave's blog that has father had passed away on October 4.  And thus was the end of the life of a very good man, a fine poet, someone who wrote many poems I would like to have written.

Rest in peace, Dave King.  I am sure many of us have poems of yours we wish we had written.

Any poem or photo used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remains the property of the copyright holder (usually its author).


  1. Thank you Mary for this heart-felt tribute and for sharing what you knew about David King, his background, his fine personality and his dedication to poetry. I enjoyed reading the poems you chose. I remember reading the second one on his blog. His poems are truly beautiful and speak to the heart. You are right he wrote the kind of poetry many of us wish we had written. May his memory and writings inspire other poets for a long time.

  2. These were the ones I went back and read, so I am happy to see them here. I love the third especially and wish I had written it. I hope you will link this post back to David's son if there is any way to do that. Thank you, Mary and PU.

    1. I have put it on the site, Susan. I do hope Gavin comes to read.

  3. Beautiful selections Mary ~ When he wrote about death during his last few posts, I read it with a heavy heart ~ Such a gifted gentleman ~ We will always remember him ~

    Thank you dear ~

  4. a love one of my favs by him...
    and glad as well on your tribute of dave...a wonderful tribute
    and i do think dave was trying to ease us into it....

  5. Wonderful to read these Mary, great selections, a fine tribute. He will be missed.

  6. Thank you for sharing him with us Mary! He will be missed~ An admirable man with so many talents~

  7. What a beautiful tribute, Mary, and because you knew him so well, we get to know him better through your words. The poem of his that struck me most deeply I read after learning of his passing: Why Can Only the Living Mourn? the last poem he wrote. It made me think how those who die must mourn as well, they must miss us, and life, and the earth and the lives that were theirs as much as we miss them. What an amazing poem to write at the end of one's life. Dave was a true gentleman. He will be missed for sure. I am so happy you wrote this tribute to your friend. He was such a good man. I am so glad he left so many poems as a legacy for his family.

  8. Dear Mary,

    You have said it all, and what a way to remember a gentle, kind and brave gentleman, who shared so much of of the best of himself.

  9. We have lost someone special, but thankfully we still have his verse.

  10. Mary,

    This is a most fitting tribute to Dave King, by the poetry community who knew him mainly through his poetic words on a near daily basis. There is both poignancy and immense bravery to be gained from his poems about the subject of death. Dave has left behind a treasury of words which we can still refer to, in order to retain some connection.
    I am sad, but pleased that our online paths crossed, even for only a short time in this blogosphere world, which brings such personal rewards to many.
    Thank you Mary for posting this tribute. Eileen

  11. Dave was a master of detail whose words evoked another era although he was firmly rooted in this time. I especially loved his incorporation of visual arts into his poems and his remembrances of his school years, both as student and teacher. We have lost a great unsung poet, and I thank you for singing him here.

  12. These are indeed very fine poems. I was gradually getting to know Dave and his poetry more and more. I thought him a truly lovely bloke, and his poetry superb. A sad loss.

  13. I was not familiar with Dave.. you have opened a new discovery for me...a wonderful poet...

  14. What an excellent poet. He offered me many words of encouragement. Bless you Dave King.

  15. He was a beautiful, talented man, giving and gentle, with a wry sense of humor, and a delightful wit, as well as the poet's feel for words united with the artist's eye for detail and scene-setting. A fine poet, a good man--he will be missed. Thanks for sharing these excellent poems of his with us.

  16. It is always a sad moment to read of a man's passing. I am grateful that I got to know something of Dave King through blogging. Many thanks for this touching tribute to a poet, Mary.

  17. No, I have been away from everything electronic in the country. I did not know. He will be deeply missed by this wonderful poetry community. I am so glad to read these poems. Thank you Mary for this tribute to a fine poet and one who will truly be missed.

  18. Dave was a gentleman and a wonderful poet. He will be greatly missed.

  19. a beautiful way to remember a fine poet. He will be missed by many. Thank you for sharing these poems.

  20. Thank you Mary for this fine tribute to such a special man, a brilliant poet who was loved by all of us and who will be sorely missed. I hope his work can be published in due course.

  21. Perfect tribute Mary! A gentleman he was Dave will always have a special place in everyone's heart. We'll all miss him, I certainly will!


  22. An amazing poet who will be missed by many, only wish I had been familiar with his work earlier. Lovely tribute Mary.

  23. Dave King was a gentleman in every sense of the word - gentle, caring, respectful, and helpful to all poets. His writing in the past year seemed to presage his death, but I didn't really think it would happen. The fact that he refused an interview at Poets U demonstrates his humility. What a rare blogger and artist. See you on the other side, Dave, and prayers for your family. Mary, thank you for a wonderful post about our friend Dave. Amy

  24. oh how sad I crossed paths with him once and he made me feel wonderful such a gentle soul and great poet. Thanks for this great tribute

  25. so sad to read this but what a lovely tribute you've shared here. RIP to Dave.

  26. Thank you for this wonderful tribute to a wonderful man. Mary Dave will be sorely missed.

  27. Thanks for introducing me to his work..I never read him before but what I just read was beautiful..especially his last poem..touching. May he rest in peace!

  28. What a beautiful tribute to a fantastic poet and a kind man. He will be missed.

  29. my regret is i did not know more about Dave and his work earlier.

  30. Your selection of three of Dave's most exquisite poems, followed by your excellent essay, highlights so beautifully the essence of the man and the way he touched so many of us. Thank you, Mary.

  31. I did not know of Dave, or his work, but thanks for this special tribute. Those poems are wonderful and poignant.

  32. I shed a tear for a poet today
    who lit a light inspired to follow
    May you brighten the skies with your light unhindered

    Thanks for sharing Mary
    I will miss Dave and his work


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