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, 20 March 2018

Katie Boyle - d. March 20th 2018

Europe awaits you,
its forêts and Straßen
trembling in tulle, organza. 
Et maintenant 
les votes du jury Élysian.
Can you hear me Élysia?

read about Katie Boyle here

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Jim Bowen - d. March 14th 2018

The reputation you made
in the clubs, that's safe;
will you consider gambling it
on TV? You have the time
it takes for the world to revolve…

Read about Jim Bowen here

Stephen Hawking - d. March 14th 2018

All bodies eventually collapse
into themselves, and yet
the radiation from your mind
will be a constant, detectable
at the end of all things.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Ken Dodd - d. March 11th 2018

What a beautiful day missus,
for going backstage
at the Hippodrome, 
dark as a jam butty mine, 
to listen for the ghost 
that outjoked them all.

Monday, 5 March 2018

Trevor Baylis - d. March 5th 2018

Let them say 
there is no power here.
Let them say
no-one will send the words.
You said
I will bring you power;
the words will come to you.

Read about Trevor Baylis here

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Roger Bannister - d. March 3rd 2018

Tick. Tick. Final sprint.
Chataway and Brasher
dropped already. Tape, dip.
Personal best. First, forever,
in this or any other race.

read about Roger Bannister here

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Lewis Gilbert - d. February 23rd 2018

Your heroes became ours;
the real, and the abstract,
and all your flashbacks
are just projections of us.

read about Lewis Gilbert here

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Billy Graham - d. February 21st 2018

Today you will stand
before your creator
just as you are
in your imperfect nature,
saying I have saved
though I'm no saviour.

Read about Billy Graham here

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Vic Damone - d. February 11th 2018

Oh, the towering feeling
of seeing angels queue
below your marquee
outside Club Heaven,
its humming walls 
waiting for you 
to drape them with velvet.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Dennis Edwards - d. February 1st 2018

A million miles from reality
the stones vibrate in sympathy
to a voice like bottled sunshine,
doing fine on Cloud Nine.

read about Dennis Edwards here

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Ingvar Kamprad - d. January 27th 2018

We, whose homes
are filled with you,
gather to assemble 
your casket; black ash,
brushed steel handles,
several screws over
when the job is done.

read about Ingvar Kamprad here

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Mark E. Smith - d. January 24th 2018

Perpetual number one-uh
Kelly’s Eye-uh
Bormann and Lucifer-uh
hanging around-uh
waiting to parlez-vous 
with you-uh

read about Mark E. Smith here

Ursula K. Le Guin - d. January 22nd 2018

You birthed many futures
as if children, taught them 
to be equally true, gave them 
the means to exist, the right,
then sent them singing
out into the star-minted night. 

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Hugh Masekela - d. January 23rd 2018

From stilled townships
Joshua commands
the bright-belled horns
of Heaven to blow 
once more for Bra Hugh
to bring him back home.

Read about Hugh Masekela here

Monday, 22 January 2018

Jimmy Armfield - d. January 22nd 2018

This is wisdom;
to see patterns beyond 
mere formations,
the inevitabilities
of genius and sweat,
to know the game belongs
to those who watch.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Peter Wyngarde - d. January 15th 2018

I saw you lounging, 
serpentine, outside 
Department H
playing the part still; 
arch-rake in crimplene,
one eye on the girl,
one eye on the door.

Read about Peter Wyngarde here

Monday, 15 January 2018

Dolores O’Riordan - d. January 15th 2018

O faithful departed,
please gather for the Lady
of the Seven Dolours, she 
of the twelve string voice
in a world too full of drums.

Cyrille Regis - d. January 14th 2018

What is it that glitters
there in the goalmouth?
Smithereens of glass
that used to be a wall,
shattered by the flash 
of a bold young boot.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Bella Emberg - d. January 12th 2018

Comedy has secret rules
of engagement; one states
Only the sweet of spirit
can play the grotesque.

Read about Bella Emberg here

Thursday, 11 January 2018