About Otwituaries


I started tweeting these poetic obituaries via Twitter on the death of Ernest Borgnine in July 2012. After a while a friend asked if I would gather them together, so I have created this blog as an archive. New Otwituaries will appear here as well as being broadcast via Twitter and Facebook.


All the Otwituaries are written very quickly on the day their subjects pass away, so are clearly lacking in polish or the insight that only comes in time, but they are all from the heart. They represent the people who have, in some way, touched my life - actors, musicians, sporting figures, TV personalities, writers, explorers and assorted others of note.

We live in an age where people are celebrated for the most modest of achievements - news and media ensure that seemingly everyone gets their five minutes of fame if they stick around long enough. It may therefore seem a little morbid or even self-serving on my part to write about the recently-deceased (few if any of whom I have actually met), but these people already enjoy some degree of immortality through their celebrity, and therefore don't need a poem from me. I hope you enjoy reading these short poetic sketches all the same, in the spirit they are intended.

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Toni Morrison - d. August 5th 2019

Your beloved stories,
the known and unknown,
must be written again.
Rest in power, glory
in what you made your own:
the humanity of the pen.

Read about Toni Morrison here

Sunday, 4 August 2019

D. A. Pennebaker - d. August 1st 2019

Legends demand posterity,
a living camera to frame
genius beyond celebrity.
Broadway, Monterey, Eternity, 
finally, a direction home.

Read about D. A. Pennebaker here

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Barrington Pheloung - d. August 1st 2019

-- ..- ... .. -.-. 
.. ...  
- .... .  
..- -. -... .-. . .- -.- .- -... .-.. .  
-.-. --- -.. .  
--- ..-.  
- .... .  
--. --- -.. ...



Read about Barrington Pheloung here

...and if your Morse is rusty try here

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Rutger Hauer - d. July 19th 2019

It’s not an easy thing,
to meet your maker, 
but tell them this:
it is not the memories
of rain that remain. 
It is the tears.

Read about Rutger Hauer here

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Chris Kraft - d. July 22nd 2019

Your life was mission: 
moonrise to moonfall, 
a minute hand ticking
from shift to shift, 
the engineer's pulse,
the moments to orbit.
Now the capsule passes
far downrange, beyond 
the business of the skies.



Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Johnny Clegg - d. July 16th 2019

Between the township
and the veldt, at the foot
of the rainbow, they keep 
a place for you, among 
the scatterlings, the 
universal men, back
with the umdeni again.

Read about Johnny Clegg here





Monday, 15 July 2019

Rip Torn - d. July 19th 2019

From Gethsemane 
to Cincinnati,
you lurked at 
high-stakes tables,
catching the fallen,
playing your part 
from A to Zed.


Read about Rip Torn here

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Freddie Jones - d. July 9th 2019

You wore 
so many clothes
- freakshow-ragged,
desert mentat, 
northern barfly - 
one scene ahead
in every drama
there ever was.

Read about Freddie Jones here


Friday, 5 July 2019

John McCririck - d. July 5th 2019

Today's Field:
Deerstalker - Levels you devils
Throwback - Bottle
Mutton Chops - Ear'Ole
The Eccentric - Burlington Bertie
Mister Misogyny - Double Carpet
worth a punt
but no more than a pony

Read about John McCririck here

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Daniel Lynch (‘The Great Stromboli’) - d. April 9th 2019

You perfected the peculiar,
worked with fire and steel
to earn your license to thrill.
The Strangest Show On Earth
plays to dazzled houses, still.

read about The Great Stromboli here



Thursday, 6 June 2019

Dr John - d. June 6th 2019

There’s something bitter
in the gumbo tonight:
splinters of ivory,
herbs and bad voodoo.
Mac is gone, trippin’ 
beyond the reach 
of any medicine.

Monday, 3 June 2019

Paul Darrow - d. June 3rd 2019

Out beyond Star One
there is a planet, haven
for hackers and swindlers,
the serially betrayed,
the terminally cynical.
I hope you finally made
it there, down and safe.




Saturday, 1 June 2019

Jake Black - d. May 21st 2019

Heard you at the tollbooths,
an accent I couldn’t explain,
part Bakersfield, part Nashville,
part Coldharbour Lane.
Fell asleep this morning,
never woke up again.


Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Nan Winton - d. May 11th 2019

I could tell you how, 
no matter the voice
or the cut of dress, 
the news is still the news,
but under time's baleful glare,
such a story would be 
too frivolous to bear.

Read about Nan Winton here


Niki Lauda - d. May 20th 2019

From the heat-haze 
of the grid, through 
treacherous chicanes,
straights in flame,
you shelter in 
the eternal slipstream,
plan the next overtake,
drive through fire
to take the flag.


Monday, 13 May 2019

Doris Day - d. May 13th 2019

I found some things
under your pillow:
a smile (one careful owner),
a song of secret love,
and age without decay.

Read about Doris Day here

Freddie Starr - d. May 9th 2019

I see a goose-stepping Faust
exchanging his soul for laughs
in a bleak decade,
drunk on the power of anarchy,
grinning as he pulls the pin
on another grenade.

Read more about Freddie Starr here

Friday, 3 May 2019

Peter Mayhew - d. April 30th 2019

In less cosmic places
the man that you were
went unrecognised.
Despite our disguise,
under the fur
we all have real faces


Read about Peter Mayhew here

Monday, 1 April 2019

Tania Mallet - d. March 30th 2019

The mountains ring
with a single gunshot,
a sniper's requiem,
for a girl who could, 
with one feline look,
kill little boys
like me.

An Otwituary for Tania Mallet

Friday, 29 March 2019

Shane Rimmer - d. March 29th 2019

Up, into the capsule,
up, blasting through 
the swimming pool,
wings opening out.
Here it comes: death, 
the ultimate rescue.

Read about Shane Rimmer here