Poetry and the Human Condition. Pt 5. Our Bodies.

Not celebrated during her lifetime, Dickinson is now an important literary figure

This wonderful, enigmatic 19th. Century poet was the inspiration for one of today's poems.
This wonderful, enigmatic 19th. Century poet was the inspiration for one of today's poems.

Poetry can often be more descriptive than prose

Poetry and the Human Condition. Pt 6: The Body.

It is not particularly common to find verse written about the human body and its functions in illness and health. We find quite a lot about the human mind and the soma and the soul. But as regards the meat and potatoes of the, well, the meat, not so much.
In the following poem, the poet imagines (or overhears!) the various organs of his body as they discuss 'his' not-so-benevolent treatment of them and what may soon happen if he doesn't smarten up his act!

Organ Music

"'Whatever is the matter?'
Said the Soma to the Soul.
'If he doesn't mend his ways,
They'll put us in a hole.'

'I've appealed to him with logic,'
Replied Unconscious Mind,
'I've a mood to have a coma,
But he's only loose his mind.'

'I think he's just neurotic,'
Came Lungs rasping breath.
'With all his other problems,
Of all thing, fearing death!

'As for me, I just can't wait,'
Spine wheezed; a weary groan.
'I can't prop him up much longer,
I'm only made of bone.'

'Me too,' agreed fat Liver,
'I'm feeling quite depressed,
Years of fighting alcohol,
I could really use a rest.'

'It's alright for you to talk,'
Was Stomach's sad refrain.
'If you all had my filthy job,
You'd have reason to complain.'

'I'll second that!' roared Colon,
With a rubb'ry, facile grin.
'We pass thirty pounds of fat a week,
And twenty pints of gin!'

'Consider me,' sobbed tired Blood,
'How would you like it, when,
You had to run a thousand miles,
Just to do it all again?'

'I've been clacking night and day,'
Was Tongue's guttural croak.
I'm dried, parched and pickled,
By his filthy cheroot smoke.'

'He keeps such lousy company,'
Came Ear's whisper, echoing.
'We both know, it's coming soon,
The final day of reckoning.'

'It's such a sin, my dears,' sighed Skin,
It's become a frightful chore,
Once I was a blooming rose,
Now I'm wrinkled, old and sore.'

'SILENCE, all of you,' blared Heart,
I'm tired of all your grumping.'
With that, he slammed-shut all his valves,
And finally stopped pumping!”

What a marvel is the human brain and the mind it contains. This incredible on-board computer carries on, day after day, processing information; remembering the past, allowing us to enjoy the sensations of the present and even assessing what the future may hold for us. Meanwhile, controlling all our movement, our dreams and our passions.
But when something happens somewhere in the brain’s dark recesses - such as a bubble bursting, the whole organism can go completely haywire. This is small poem (with help from Emily Dickinson) who was responsible for the first line, and the last couplet. Also an example of how the poet can deal with horror and make it humorous. (he hopes).

“Ooleyaleyloopaloo.”

“A bubble burst within a brain,
Although the victim felt no pain.
He said, ‘Ooleyaleyloopaloo,’
Instead of, ‘Boss, how do you do?’

At lunch he had his usual beer,
But slowly poured it in his ear!
He left the office to a shout.
‘Hey! Your coat’s on inside-out!’

At the bus-stop, where he waited,
He dropped his pants and urinated.
The judge said, ‘Why did you do it?’
He said, ‘Gloobadoobadoodlesuet!’
His lobes were quickly cauterized;
The lad was institutionalized.
“For the brain’s a marvel running true,
When a bubble bursts, that’s all for you!”


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Comments 13 comments

Motown2Chitown 5 years ago

Wow, Bob. This is so far my favorite of the Poetry hubs. My husband, who just turned 35, has numerous health problems. In truth, he likely has the body of a man much, much older. He didn't do it to himself through poor health management, either. It just seems to have happened. BUT, we've been given suggestions and tools to help manage all the illnesses, and we try our best. I heard the voice of my husband's body in that first poem, and the final stanza made me lose my breath, as his biggest problem is a bad heart. Amazing and awesome, and just......wow.

Not to mention, I just love my Emily. :-)


BobbiRant profile image

BobbiRant 5 years ago from New York

I love Dickinson and I truly love this poem. Absolutely beautiful. You are quite the sensitive guy. I like it.


diogenes 5 years ago

OK MC: The subject of my poem would have abused his body and there is always a price to pay (I'm paying now for all the excesses and lack of care). But it is meant to be humorous more than serious...Bob


diogenes 5 years ago

Thanks Bobbi. I shall run amok if anyone else calles me sensitive! (Blokes always deny this because it makes us sound like pansies!) Bob


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

The consequences of hard living.

Excellent, Bob!


Motown2Chitown 5 years ago

Still love it...just goes to show how poetry has different effects on different peeps. :)


diogenes 5 years ago

Cheers Motown...XX


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

Brain is really something else. it even buffles the scientists. Interesting points there in you hub and poems. Thank you for sharing.


writeronline 5 years ago

Nice work, Bob, (although I was eating when I read, and that might've taken the gloss of the first one just a little..)

I note your expressed reticence about any 'sensitive' labelling, and given the obvious clue in your profile pic, the Sensitive New Age Guy / SNAG tag would be inappropriate anyway.

Neverthless, the quality of sensitivity is apparent in this piece - so, perhaps an alternative acronym would be acceptable?

I was thinking SOAP (you'll work it out, I'm sure, although I'm unsure if you've actually broached that threshold) As to your American fans, let's wait and see..


diogenes profile image

diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

Yes, as long as it's left as an acronym! It's the "Old" bit I hate!

And Snag is also slang for sauage here! Rather apt, unfortunately, if you saw the way my jeans fit!

Have a nice weekend...Bob


diogenes profile image

diogenes 5 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

Hi Hanna: Thanks for your loyalty to my articles...Bob


sonia05 profile image

sonia05 5 years ago from india

hey Bob,great poem! Your words have made all organs of the human body come alive and talking to each other! Very creative and original!


diogenes 5 years ago

Thanks Sophia. My own organs were happier when I lived in San Diego Bob

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