Café Crem

Art, Music and Words around The Coffee Table


  I so very much enjoyed and appreciated(with tears of strong and mixed emotion) Psychscribe’s Final Words, that I thought I would post a poem I wrote a few years ago, exploring death and immortality. My own feelings when I wrote it were very churned up as I’d been moved by something and by my own reaction to it.

The poem was started at Derby City Museum, perched on a step in the semi-darkness of the gallery where a massive dugout boat is housed, and then finished sitting in the light on a bench in the main shopping centre area an hour or so later when I’d had a coffee and time to think.



He looks enough like my father

                       To make me feel very guilty

For standing gawping open-mouthed

At the shrunken leather features,

The hands folded neatly as if in prayer,

And the feet poking pathetically

From the unravelling linen.

I like to look but I hate myself

For enjoying it so much.

Empty eye sockets packed with cloth

Gaze blindly and forlornly back,

               The worn teeth slightly visible beneath

Withered and blackened lips in rictus smile.

                        He’s long beyond truly smiling

And even further beyond caring

What I, the onlooker, may see.

To end his existence as an artefact

Encased in a glassy tomb

Seems a form of hell far beyond

Anything he might have expected

Of his promised after-life.

But it is an immortality of sorts.

by Viv


January 25, 2009 - Posted by | Cafe Literati, death, family, life, literature, love, personal, poetry, religion, Viv's Poetry, women, writing | , , , , , , , , ,


  1. I have an advantage here, Viv – I am fully acquainted with the gentleman you so vividly describe! ..and his after life is an immortality of sorts..he was there, as you describe him, when I gazed at him as a boy in short trousers. As I now reach my half-century, pitiful by comparison – he lays there still, unchanging, generations of schoolboys come and gone. Does that rictus smile hint at a last laugh?

    Comment by kevmoore | January 25, 2009

  2. I thought you might know him too Kev!
    It did freak me out how much like my dad he looked, that beaky nose in particular was so like Dad’s! My dad has broken his nose three times; once aged three leaping off the kitchen table convincced he could fly and then twice in his thirties and forties in hockey matches, once being hit with a ball, once with a stick. I’ve broken mine twice; once in my teens when hit in the face with a frisby at full force, and again in my twenties when I dropped an earthenware mug directly onto the bridge of my nose. This was one of those bizarre accidents that could never happen twice!
    I always go and see Ginger, the most famous of the inmates of the Egyptian galleries at the British Museum, every time I go. It’s a ritual. I first saw him when I was aged 16 and on a school trip; he hasn’t changed much since then either but I have. It’s a sobering ritual too. I’d talk to him aloud were it not for the hordes of tourists. Aged 17/18 I was almost thrown out of the British Museum for misconduct and the first time I went back, in 2007, I was genuinely worried someone might remember. That’s the nearest i have ever go to delinquent behaviour! Sad, isn’t it?

    Comment by viv66 | January 25, 2009

  3. Thanks to you and your poetry, Viv, I have looked for a dictionary on-line, have it now always open when I read your texts and this help much! No need now for Kevin to suffer trying to explain me what things mean… he is generally very good at explaining me words with other words which I even less understand, so you can imagine the pain for both of us!
    Great poem again… I love the way you have to put some lines in another way… by the second line, for example, I could really hear your inner voice speaking in the background, silently but strongly moaning, the kind of words we can’t help thinking sometimes…
    And the 4 last lines are so intense… a powerful finish…

    Especially touching for me too is to imagine you in Derby… it is as if Kevin’s and your life had touched at some point and you meet again here…

    Comment by Miki | January 25, 2009

  4. I forgot to mention something very funny: as I read the title of your poem, I first thought that it was a poem about your Mom!!! And you can perhaps imagine how confused I was then, especially about the fact that HE looks like your father.

    Comment by Miki | January 25, 2009

  5. That’s actually very funny as it was half intentional!! When I mentioned the title to the group I sometimes attend here in sunny Lowestoft, one of the other poets, a lovely lady called Wendy who is a blacksmith, said, Oh how odd, I’ve brought one about my mum. It made everyone giggle when they realised the two different types of Mummy being talked about. And hers was about her mum passing on, too.
    I don’t always intentionally wrongfoot people so this one was only half intentional; I realised it and didn’t change the title because of that mild humour.

    Comment by viv66 | January 25, 2009

  6. Viv this really gave me chills. Your command of your words is incredible, you do indeed paint with words, I SAW him! And, by the way, I would NEVER want to end up in a box with people gawking at me like that….Lord protect me! Finally, I too had some confusion over “Mummy” and thought at first it was a poem about your mother 🙂

    Comment by psychscribe | January 26, 2009

  7. I often write what hits me powerfully in a day; I write what I see because my drawing skills are simply no way up to the mark. My family are very dear to me, and the idea that it might be my dad in that case made me shudder.
    I’ve just posted a poem about dying, by the way.
    It’s funny(as in strange) how rapidly people change after death; even seconds later, they stop looking like themselves. But then I have never seen someone I knew mummified(I’d be surprised if anyone had, to be honest!) so I wonder how much of the person’s appearance remains. I know people who have had pets stuffed are almost always horrified!

    Comment by viv66 | January 26, 2009

  8. PS- viv, do you have a personal blog that I can link to?

    Comment by psychscribe | January 26, 2009

  9. Psychscribe, I don’t, I’m afraid. I sometimes think I should and then I chicken out. I’ve never been involved in anything like Cafe Crem before and I’m being slow and cautious about it. I spend too much time online and I know of at least one old friend whose blog has taken over his life almost entirely and since he and I share various personality traits, I rather fear I might go the same way!
    I’ve just applied for a job that would involve me working almost exclusively online too.
    If I do, I will let you know. Thank you, that made me feel good!

    Comment by viv66 | January 26, 2009

  10. Good morning Viv!
    Congratulations for applying the job, and I wish you best luck. I hope that will be clever enough to recognise that you are THE ONE!

    Blogging takes indeed much time, when one wants to do it properly. And it can be very frustrating too. there are so many blogs today. so many posts everyday, you just need to look at the WordPress stats to understand what I mean. I often wonder how it is even possible to get some visits…
    I must honesty say that if I was starting with blogging nowadays, I would do it differently, I would only join some blogging communality like Cafe Crem. It is simply much more rewarding, and allows much more communication, which is what I aim when i am blogging.
    My own blog for example gets a lot of visits everyday, but there is hardly any exchange there. It serves perfectly my professional aim as I got many clients through it, but it is almost useless for my personal needs of communication and meeting people… This is why Cafe Crem has become so important to me…

    Comment by Miki | January 26, 2009

  11. Very much my thoughts, Miki.
    Together we stand, I guess.
    My friend’s blog is actually one of the big ones now, he has had over a million hits about a year ago, and people from all over the world visit it and add their thoughts. However, it has got him into trouble several times with his employers(the Church of England) for a variety of reasons. This was also the blog I got thrown off, for being “unreasonable” (for that, read, disagreeing with him) and so I rarely ever comment there any more.
    I’ve begun the table fo contents for the book proposal this morning. The aim is to give a general over view of what I aim to cover and then some examples from each section (everyday aromas, less ordinary, exotics, seasonal and sleep)
    feeling almost back to normal now!

    Comment by viv66 | January 26, 2009

  12. Yes, such blogs exist, I know. The popularity of a blog depends of course on the theme, especially if it normally treats actual, popular, controversial themes…
    I don’t really believe that art or poetry blogs can reach that popularity… but well, I would not wish it either, because the intimacy and the personal aspect gets lost then.
    And then, when the blog is so popular, then it is easily found in the net. too easily, and before you post en entry, you perhaps start to think too much about who is likely to red it, and you perhaps start with fear, auto-censure etc… I wouldn’t like either to have to think that I must stay “reasonable”…no. I wouldn’t like that at all!

    For me blogging should be real pleasure and enrichment, only then it is is worth (for me) to spend time on it…

    Great to hear the news about your book proposal. I feel as much excited as if it was myself proposing the book! Your idea sounds great, and I trust you that you will present it in the best way.
    And of course glad to hear that our “normal” Viv is back… i’ll write to you later on today…

    Comment by Miki | January 26, 2009

  13. Viv- congratulations and good luck on the book proposal!!!! I’ve always wanted to write one, but my ideas always fizzle out – acutally Final Words started out as a book many years ago, same thing happened, then I found it recently and edited into the essay that it is.

    Miki- I understand what you’re talking about in terms of the sense of intimacy and community a blog like cafe crem offers. For me, with my own blog, I have enjoyed building on my own a small community of friends and acquaintances who regularly check in- I have made some really good friends there – I took time out from cafe crem in order to devote myself to it exclusively-I wanted to see what I could accomplish on my own – but now I am so glad to be back with you guys as well, an artistic community like I’ve never been a part of. I thank you so much for offering that, and for welcoming me back as warmly as you have.

    Comment by psychscribe | January 26, 2009

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