Onward with NaPoWriMo catch-up – now at 66.66% catch-up. We’re entering warp-drive composition speed, here: I’ve got to go and perform some work at Wicked Words (a spoken word night in Leeds) tonight, so best be off soon!
Yesterday’s prompt was to write a poem which was all lies, or led up to one big lie.
In a quick web-sweep, I found this story about a woman who claimed to be BOTH of T S Eliot’s twin daughters in order to commit various forms of financial and tax-related fraud. It’s a pretty bombastic fib: Eliot didn’t have any children, as any quick bit of research will tell you. Inevitably, they- sorry, she (there was only one woman, pretending to be twins by using make-up and costume) – got caught.
So here’s a poem by, or on behalf of, that fraudster – almost an ode, I suppose, as it’s a pretty amazing lie to maintain…
And it has a liberal sprinkling of some of the most-obvious Eliot quotes that a speed-re-reading provided. (Don’t get your knickers in a twist, academics: this is not meant to be a critique of Eliot as man or as poet – it’s a bit of fun!)
The Hollow Children
or, Eliot’s Twins
She had it right, you know, that Plath:
we’re through, too. You have no idea
what having a Daddy poet was like. And yeah,
especially one so lofty, so lauded. So
full of it. Full of everything
but love for us.
So we started to get our own back
for all that time he spent in
The Wasteland. You can call it genius
if you like, we called it abuse. HURRY UP DAD
IT’S TIME WE WENT OUTSIDE, we’d say. But
he’d just look the other way.
Hollow children, that’s what we were,
invisible at the study door. Daring not
to meet his eyes, not even
in our dreams. But we decided: Not
with a whimper, with a
BLOODY BIG BANG.
So we decided, she and I: use the name
we could have – should have – had.
Play him at his own game. Get
some notoriety: get practical
swindling, McAvity bad.
(I’ve no idea where all that stuff
about cats came from, though:
he hated our poor old Tabby Gumbie
and made sure he let her know.)
But we were hardly Napoleonettes of Crime
and in time, as the costume and stories
got more and more…Hippo -
we knew it was only a matter of time.
So here we go, then, she and I -
just I, in fact, she was part of the lie -
pinned and wriggling
in the courtroom’s eye.
Because I’m not his twins
and he never had none.
But if he had of had ‘em,
this is what they should have done.