Marked With D. Poem by Tony Harrison

Marked With D.

Rating: 3.0


When the chilled dough of his flesh went in an oven
not unlike those he fuelled all his life,
I thought of his cataracts ablaze with Heaven
and radiant with the sight of his dead wife,
light streaming from his mouth to shape her name,
'not Florence and not Flo but always Florrie.'
I thought how his cold tongue burst into flame
but only literally, which makes me sorry,
sorry for his sake there's no Heaven to reach.
I get it all from Earth my daily bread
but he hungered for release from mortal speech
that kept him down, the tongue that weighed like lead.
The baker’s man that no one will see rise
and England made to feel like some dull oaf
is smoke, enough to sting one person’s eyes
and ash (not unlike flour) for one small loaf.

COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Lisa Flores 29 November 2021

Nicely done.

0 0 Reply
Page H 30 October 2018

It's a nursery rhyme: Bake me a cake, baker's man.....Roll it and pat it and mark it with B (baby) or (D) dad..... The second line as fast as you can may be an ironic comment on the poem, the pressure on the baker to work hard. But mostly, besides the irony, the poem bespeaks love,

2 0 Reply
Patrick 23 March 2018

What does the title mean?

0 0 Reply
Susan Williams 23 February 2016

His Father was a baker who found it difficult to put his feelings into words - 'he hungered for release from mortal speech/that kept him down'. The baker motif is used throughout the poem. 'When the chilled dough of his flesh went in the oven' - well, a corpse' is like chilled dough, and a cremating oven is like a baker's oven, so he's being accurate if a little too descriptive as with the eyes. 'the baker's man that no one will see rise' - as yeasted dough rises. His father's ashes ('not unlike flour') are enough 'for one small loaf'. Emotionally upsetting as the imagery is, the poet makes us see what we don't want to see.

25 2 Reply
john bob 09 May 2018

niadufbskbciysdbiyvcbsdiybvkx

0 0 Reply
Michael Shepherd 15 October 2005

Last four lines missing here: The baker's man that no one will see rise and England made to feel like some dull oaf is smoke, enough to sting one person's eyes and ash (not unlike flour) for one small loaf.

13 7 Reply
READ THIS POEM IN OTHER LANGUAGES
Close
Error Success