David Bowie’s “Eight Line Poem”

All this talk of poetry reminded me of David Bowie’s song, “Eight Line Poem.” This song first appeared on his Hunky Dory album in 1971. This song brings me, in so few words, to where a young Bowie must have sat in a quiet room and experienced this.

The mood is introspective. I picture the lights off, and the “tactful cactus” is silhouetted against a winter sky. Bowie waits for the return of someone. They are only gone a few moments, but the void they leave in the room is filled with melancholy.

He senses a change and knows that he soon will be leaving that room, but the void he leaves will be permanent. He will never return.

The goal of every writer is to transport readers, and listeners, to a new place. Bowie never fails.

Read along while you listen…

The tactful cactus by your window
Surveys the prairie of your room
The mobile spins to its collision
Clara puts her head between her paws
They’ve opened shops down the West side
Will all the cacti find a home
But the key to the city
Is in the sun that pins the branches to the sky, oh, oh, oh.

About Angela Yuriko Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith's work has been published in several print and online publications, including the “Horror Writers Association's Poetry Showcase” vols. 2-4, “Christmas Lites” vols. 1-6 and the “Where the Stars Rise: Asian Science Fiction and Fantasy” anthology. She has nearly 20 books of speculative fiction and poetry for adults, YAs and children. Her first collection of poetry, “In Favor of Pain,” was nominated for an 2017 Elgin Award.
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