Friday, December 18, 2015

The Living Dead

~ Honouring our poetic ancestors ~

Teaching the Kids to Cheat
By Dave King (dec. Oct 4 2013)

We took the kids to the beach for a week.
My brother, having lost his wife, came too.
We thought the kids might have a role to play,
and so they did, they played along just fine
and asked us for the biggest castle ever!

My brother found enormous chunks of flotsam
timbers of all sorts. We laid them on huge rocks
to hold the walls and towers high above
long rows of flimsy arches, gates and roads.
We'd been early to the beach that day and long

before the other children came, the timbers
were well covered by the sand. Kids gathered
to admire -- and to make pleas for castles
of their own like ours. We watched them all collapse --
until our two began to feel the guilt.

Finally, tears led them to the secret shown,
and queues of kids requesting photo-shoots --
posing in our castle grounds, and even on
the battlements. Then when the sea came in
all helped it lay siege to The Castle Cheat.

For many of us (depending on our country and culture) Christmas is coming up – a time for family holidays, and also for remembering loved ones no longer with us. Dave King lived in the UK, so the beach occasion described would not have been associated with Christmas for him, but here in Australia it is very much so. And the family fun he depicts can be translated to any place or season.

He was a lovely gentleman and lovely poet. He may not be 'living' in the sense of more famous dead poets, but for those he touched with his poems, and with his thoughtful comments on our own, he lives in fond memory. His work, too, remains alive at his blog, Pics and Poems.

For people new to our community, let me explain that he died a little over two years ago, of prostate cancer which spread to other areas of the body. His son Gavin posted to his blog on October 9th, 2013 to tell us Dave's death was peaceful.

He wrote some astonishing and beautiful poetry as he faced the prospect of dying. All his poems were worth reading. Do have a look at the blog – whether to refresh your memory or discover him for the first time.

For several of his best poems, plus details about the man, I refer you to our Mary's tribute to him in 'I Wish I'd Written This' on October 10th, 2013.

Of course it is sad to think of a friend and fellow-poet who has left us – but my intention in sharing this particular poem is to give you, via Dave King, an experience of joy.

(There is more joy coming, in Sherry's post of 21 December and Susan's of 6 January.)

Poems and photos posted to 'The Living Dead' for purposes of study and review remain the property of the copyright holders.


  1. A fitting tribute to one of our own, and a reminder of the endurance of poetry in the hearts and minds of readers.

  2. Thank you for bringing Dave King back to us. Or at least his words.

  3. When I saw his picture, I knew I was in for a treat. Thank you, Rosemary!

  4. Definitely a worthy share at this time of year, Rosemary. A reminder of our own mortality, but also a reminder of how poets 'touch' one another and how their memory and poetry lives on.

  5. Dave was a beautiful man who gifted us beautiful poetry. His "How do I prepare for death" touched me deeply ... Printed and framed it rests on my nightstand. I treasure every comment he left on my blog.

  6. Rosemary, how wonderful to see Dave featured here - yes, proof that the words we leave behind still mean something, still reach the hearts of others. To extend my visit with Dave, I followed all the links, read his poems, and Mary's wonderful tribute to him as well. Such a good man! Such a wonderful and well loved poet in the blogosphere. Still so very much missed. Thank you for this.

  7. I remember Dave King well. A wonderfully talented poet and someone who liked to interact and comment with his fellow poets too. It's nice to revisit and pay tribute to him today. Thank you for this, Rosemary.
    Gayle ~

  8. Thank you Rosemary for introducing me to Dave King - his words are newly born to me and though I can grieve for his physical passing - he is still so very much alive ... I look forward to reading more of DK <3

  9. Thanks Rosemary for selecting this lovely poem of Dave King...a beautiful tribute...

  10. Greatful for the introduction, life does not die, it simply stops taking up space.

  11. A lovely tribute to Dave and I knew him when he was in this realm. A wonderful poet.

  12. Dave was a follower of one of my blogs and I remember him well. He is missed. Also for those who have been poetry blogging for a while, Sue Turner of Tumblewords passed away in 2013. Sadly I only became aware of this recently.
    This is one of the problems of blogging...someone is there for years and then just disappears into the ether and one never knows why. We are all cyberspace floating figments of imagination...of course there may be a lot of positives to this. Reality is always very disappointing:)Merry Christmas Rosemary.

  13. Lovely to have Dave King brought alive again Rosemary - a perfect pre-Christmas gift.

  14. Oh I remember both Dave and the tribute we paid to him.. A Poet and man to remember.

  15. Nice to remember Dave, especially in the spirit of joy. Thank you Rosemary.


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