Saturday, 22 May 2010

Spontaneous Combustion

This week the Poetry Bus is being driven by The Chocolate Chip Waffle. The prompt was a fantastic photo of a woman - well, of a half-firework, half-woman...

Spontaneous combustion used to be taken slightly seriously but these days, as I understand it, it's pretty discredited. It used to be thought that perhaps, only perhaps, if you had enough alcohol in your system and lit a fag you might discover that you'd become flammable. However, in claimed cases there has usually been a less flamboyant explanation available to unwishful thinkers. These days it's rarely talked about, although there is a wikipedia page devoted to it.

Spontaneous Combustion

spontaneously combust
if you want, if you must:
there are few ways to go
so robust
(and so rarely discussed)

from stardust to stardust
no time to adjust
one minute you're there
then you're bust:
blown away by a gust

24 comments:

John Hayes said...

Wonderfully witty & "robust" rhymes--thanks for this; I'm heading to Wikipedia to see what it has to say on the subject.

Susan at Stony River said...

I used to be terrified of spontaneous combustion LOL but I loved your lines!

Argent said...

This made me smile - especially the ending. Way better than the tat I came up with.

Poetikat said...

Ha ha! Good one, Dominic. I can't help, but think of the character in "Bleak House" who does this. It was in the recent t.v. version and I sat with my mouth open for a few moments afterwards as I hadn't read the book. (To my discredit.)

Kat

Poetikat said...

Oh, incidentally Dominic, I just picked up a book at my local charity shop, entitled, "Proust Was a Neuroscientist" by Johan Lehrer. The idea behind the book is that art preceded some of the greatest scientific discoveries of the mind. "Taking a group of artists—a painter, a oet, a chef, a composer, and a handful of novelists - Lehrer shows how each one discovered an essential truth oabout the mind that science is only now rediscovering."

Not only Proust, but George Eliot, French chef, Escoffier, Cezanne, Gertrude Stein and Noam Chomsky et al., are explored. Sounds fascinating!

Kat

Poetikat said...

"poet", not "oet" (Talk about your Freudian slip!)

Dominic Rivron said...

John Hayes: Thanks. Enjoy wikipedia. The links from the spontaneous combustion page I found are wonderfully whacky.

Susan: Don't worry! It's probably really quick. :)

Argent: Pleased you like it. I liked yours! Your sense of adequacy is not a delusion. :)

Poetikat: I try to read a Dickens about once every 10 years. By page 2 I give up. Even trying to read the synopsis of Bleak House just now set my eyes crossing! Dickens sounds an interesting man, though: as -if I remember right- he comes over when he makes a fictional appearance in Dr Who!

The idea of artists and visionaries prefiguring science is an interesting one. One of my favourites is modern cosmology and Julian of Norwich saying she was shown all that was made in a tiny seed.

Terresa said...

This is splendid, short, powerful. Love your word choice here!

Titus said...

Love the use of rhyme in this, and casts me back to childhood when I would spend hours gazing at a "Mysteries and Wonders" book which had a photograph of all that was left of an old man - one leg (charred at end), a walking frame and a large hole burnt in a wooden floor.
I particularly enjoyed,
"from stardust to stardust
no time to adjust".

Actually, it's a cracking whole too, bravo!

Gwei Mui said...

What rhythm and rhyme. I really am taken with this poem - perhaps because I totally suck when it comes to using rhyme :)

the watercats said...

:-).. in god we trust.. or distrust.. (either or)
I remember being deeply troubled by the idea of spontanious combustion as a kid. There were those awful pictures in 'weird world' books and stuff. The idea that you could, at any moment, burst into flames!?.. man!
Great poem again this week :-D

Peter Goulding said...

-ust rhymes woven in seamlessly and very cleverly.
I remember doing Bleak House in school and wishing all the characters could have spontaneously combusted in Chapter 1.

The Bug said...

I enjoyed this a lot - I haven't written my poem yet (& might not). I usually don't read anyone else's submissions until I'm done, but I'm looking for inspiration this week. This poem is pretty inspiring!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Very clever.

Emerging Writer said...

What a lovely poem, realy enhanced by the rhymes. And the thought too. there are so few ways to go that sound as fun and as sudden

crazyfieldmouse said...

loved this very much, punchy and to the point, much humour in the rhymes.
thanks for sharing
cfm

Totalfeckineejit said...

Great fun and takes all the fear out of spontaneously combusting!

Karen said...

I just saw a TV special on spontaneous combustion (loved the re-enactments). What a hoot! Your poem's rhythm and rhyme are a great nod to your treatment of the subject. Your musicality shows!

Enchanted Oak said...

I love what you did with that prompt, Dominic.
It was a robust rhyme! It was good fun! For more rhythm, but not as good as yours, check out mine: Sorry, fairies everywhere

patteran said...

Not a rhyme under strain anywhere. This works so well, Dominic. A warning to us all.

Get Off My Lawn! said...

Lovely. Of course, if you are drumming for Spinal Tap, it is a real phenomenon.

Lyn said...

Really clever..Every few years the subject is revived, with lots of proof!!
Keep it alive through poetry!!

Jessica Maybury said...

stardust to stardust. Yummy.

Dominic Rivron said...

Thanks for these comments, everybody. I'll be doing a round of the blogs asap -looking forward to reading the other combustible poems- but today I've been run off my feet!