"Obit": a poem by Blake Morrison

This poem is its own obituary.
At home, quietly, after a short illness.
Beloved son of, mother to, lover of.
Born in obscurity, by a moon river.
Product of the local village school (de la Mare),
Then grammar school (Wilfred Owen).
Showed early promise with a metaphor,
The crowning newborn vernixed with ash,
And established a distinctive voice,
An urban fox prowling through London,
But lost direction midway, in a dark wood,
With the mortgage to think of, and the children,
And the distraction of a coffee machine,
Before a partial recovery late on, by the coast,
And the cry of terns over the sand dune,
In blank verse, with the odd half rhyme thrown in.
The end itself was disappointing,
As endings always are, a handful of topsoil
And a hyphen between two dates – no flowers please.


This article first appeared in the 18 March 2013 issue of the New Statesman, The German Problem