Hitting the fan

It happens. It’s bad.
It’s happened before.
It’ll happen again.

Get ready.

But for what?

Is yesterday’s bad shit a guide?
Or are battalions of totally new shit, already gathering
In the aisles, waiting for a sign?

The weight of what is about to hit,
Is almost as bad as what it is …

The shit.

But strangely, it is not without relief …
the dismay, the shock, the destabilising … the grief,

the dissolving power of death.

In its wake, we talk.

Confess even.

United in pain,
shit is shared … silences broken,

the great unspoken is aired,
and for one teeny weeny, minuscule second
of our blind, deaf and dumb earthly existence …

we are real.

Thank God for shit.

Even pray for it.

Sometimes poems come in a way that everything else must stop or get out of the way.

This is one of those.

It came knocking today, 12 January 2010. Exactly 50 minutes after this poem was born, I heard the shocking news that a brother in spirit, a great friend – had unexpectedly died overseas. Aged only 42. A great loss to us all. I can only wonder at the mystery that connects us to each other – in ways that go far beyond our ordinary mind.


  • Plum
    Plumabout 5 years ago

    This really has the ring of truth about it, made even more poignant by what has happened today – the loss of a brother in spirit. “United in pain”, “We are real” – so true.
    Such a wake up call to be more real with or without tragedy :>

  • Stephen Denham
    Stephen Denhamabout 5 years ago

    thanks for sharing plum, really good.

  • Emma  Wertheim
    Emma Wertheimabout 5 years ago

    Beautifully said Steve. This is a special poem…and and ode to John in many many ways….as he was such a fearless and special big hearted man who wasn’t afraid if the shit ever hit the fan….

    I’m very touched by this….John will certainly live on in our hearts…forever.

  • thanks very much emma, yes he will live on.

    – Stephen Denham

  • MeliB
    MeliBabout 5 years ago

    Love the Leunig-like feel of this, esepcially the last two lines! It’s so, so true. I reckon death is probably the greatest leveller and grief can really put us in touch with what’s important.

  • thanks Meli…yes I reckon this is the great gift of death, if we are able to respond to it creatively.

    – Stephen Denham

  • Carol Berliner
    Carol Berlinerover 4 years ago

    Woooooow soooo powerful Steve I really love the last two lines as well! They speak a universal truth! Wonderful!

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