Poem a Day for April 14, 15

I’ve committed to writing a poem a day for the month of April as part of National Poetry Writing Month.

Poems for April 12 and 13 are here:

15th April

O.k. Sometimes, you just don’t have the energy for anything serious. So from time to time, I will put up a limerick about a suburb of Adelaide. Here’s the first.

Limerick I – Klemzig

There was a young man from Klemzig

Who was overly fond of his pig

He took it to night clubs

and drinking in swish pubs

dressed up in red lipstick and wig.


14th April

I confess, I’m a David Bowie tragic. I love his stuff, especially his early work. I’ve been thinking for some time about trying to do a poem based on his lyrics. There’s a form called a ‘Cento’: a poetical work wholly composed of verses or passages taken from other authors

This one is entirely taken, not just from Bowie, but from the lyrics of one great album Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.


Pushing through the market square

like tigers on Vaseline

all the nobody people

stared at the makeup on his face

at the blindness that surrounds him

Boy and girl are talking new words

idiot love will spark the fusion

a love so strong it tears their hearts

just to touch the flaming dove

I smiled sadly for a love I could not obey

Love descends on those defenceless

comes back like a slow voice

on a wave of phase

so inviting, so enticing to play the part

it lingers, then you forget

The kids had killed the man

a brave son – who gave his life to see the slogan

femmes fatales emerged from shadows

sighed when they asked if I knew his name

knelt and kissed the feet of a priest

Between the headstone and her eyes

stone love – she kneels before the grave

praying to the light machine

don’t let the sun blast your shadow

press your space face close to mine, love

all poems copyright Mike Hopkins 2012

15 thoughts on “Poem a Day for April 14, 15

  1. Great stuff MH…. (anon = JL here)… Love the idea of a mash-up of a favourite writer’s/poet’s lyrics so a Bowie-fied version is great! Well done. Now, put on your red shoes and dance the blues… ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • I’m glad to hear that actually Rob, because I was struggling NOT to put several lines from the same song in the same stanza. It could have been like a Bowie tribute gig. So if you’re not recognising them, then I think that’s good.

  2. Amazing stuff Mike. Strangely enough I was reading Stephen Fry’s book ‘The Ode Less Travelled’, and come across this poetry form, where the lines from other poems are used to create a new poem.

    I certainly feel you’ve done well with Bowie’s words, there’s some cracking lines there, and beautifully melded/meshed. Good one!

    • Well I suppose in a Cento, you’re using the source material as a reservoir of words, which you then put sufficient of your own creative effort into, to justify calling it your own work, whilst at the same time acknowledging the source. Whereas plagiarism is just lifting a chunk of someone else’s work, adding no value to it, and pretending it’s your own

  3. I notice in M R James’s ‘The Number 13’ he does a similar thing to you when the protagonist mirrors the behaviour of Emily St. Aubert in ‘The Mysteries of Udolpho’ when he breaks into impromptu verse while gazing from a window and ruminating: a dangerous thing to do when you’re standing too close to a window ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. MH: Anon aka JL here. Bahahahahahahaha I was wondering when one of us would yank out the ole Limerick… you beat me to it! Now poor Babe will never be the same again, associated with a most Germanic-sounding suburb about which I know nothing except that maybe they’re not that boaring… ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I think I read somewhere that Bowie composed some of his songs by cutting and pasting from other sources. So here in your cento you have almost made a cento from a cento and nothing wrong with that ๐Ÿ™‚ Winston (www.winstonplowes.co.uk)

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