‘Five Minutes’ (a response to Wallace Stevens’ ‘The Emperor of Ice Cream’)


Five Minutes

Don’t put me in the ground just yet, I beg you
Let me revel in my five short minutes of fame
Give them a moment to speak my name
And remember what little thing they loved best.

They caked my face in youth, so don’t turn away
Before they close the lid, lay your eyes on me
For this is the one time I will not age, you see
Soon you’ll forget how I looked when I could breathe.

Refer to all my faults in the present tense
Don’t summarise or bathe me in sentimentality
That turns me into the stuff of hazy memory
But in brutal truths I can live forever.

Pity flowers ensure my door is at its darkest.
To turn up draped in black and sympathy
Just mocks my absence from the party
Honour me who laughed loudest, but not last!

Remember this day like I had attended
See me swiping wasps away from my sandwich
Badmouthing the weather in colourful language
Like I was at the picnic, not inside the box.

And in the years that stretch before you, instead of your tears
Bring your smiles to my grave, and long tales of good years.


See the original poem by Wallace Stevens here: http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-emperor-of-ice-cream/



12 thoughts on “‘Five Minutes’ (a response to Wallace Stevens’ ‘The Emperor of Ice Cream’)

  1. Pete Hulme

    This a brilliantly beautiful response to Stevens’s poem. I was laughing with tears in my eyes. Thank you also for following my blog. I take that as a compliment from someone so accomplished.


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