Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tuesday Poem: Let us kneel and pray for the Belsen twin


Let us kneel and pray for the Belsen twin
From age five we trained her inner critic
We good as killed her saying good was slim

She could not stand to see her mirror-skin
You are obese and ugly answered back
Let us kneel and pray for the Belsen twin

Being fat we said’s a deadly sin
Slender body image is the ticket
We good as killed her saying good was slim

Fashion, ads, and media all weighed in
Next the Food Police helped to make her sick
Let us kneel and pray for the Belsen twin

Our culture says size zero is not thin
A minus BMI is just the trick
We good as killed her saying good was slim

Triumph over fat was a pyrrhic win
It was being thin which she could not lick
Let us kneel and pray for the Belsen twin
We good as killed her saying good was slim



I saw a clip on TV the other night which said that Vogue magazine was not going to use models who were too thin, although what this actually meant was a little vague. This new rule was optional for the other magazines published in the same stable as Vogue. This sorry little story reminded me of this villanelle I wrote a few years ago.  

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8 comments:

  1. The dry wit of 'Fashion, ads and media all weighed in', and the form all give the poem a quiet strength. Great title, Keith.

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    1. Thanks PS. It wasn't until after I had written the poem that someone pointed out the celebrity Olsen twins to me, one of whom was/is(?) severely anorexic. The play on their surname was not intentional.

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  2. There is almost something Dr Seussian about the rhyme in this -- and the dark message too. Like this one, and yes the title drew me right in.

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    1. Thanks Michelle – I think the rhyme pattern and repetition of certain lines of a villanelle gives this effect. The most famous villanelle is probably Dylan Thomas's "Do not go gentle into that good night", which I am a great admirer of.

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  3. Ah a villanelle. I always admire people who succeed in writing within the parameters of a form. This is cleverly done and it does as you say add effect.
    I'm glad Vogue woke up,however, I'll be gladder when they state that models must be at or above the normal BMI index for their height.

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  4. I agree Helen, though given that the goal posts have narrowed over time on what is 'normal' BMI, I would leave out the words "at or". Thanks for the comment.

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  5. I think the Vogue think has been said before/done before but to not much result... good villanelle, Keith

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    1. Yes, sometimes I think they make these sort of pledges just for the publicity. Thanks Helen.

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