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.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Richard Matheson - d. June 23rd 2013

While the world
made speed readers
out of all of us,
you turned stranger pages;
the incredible thinking man,
looking for
the last idea on earth.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Hans Hass - d. June 16th 2013

In the grey seas of the 50s
you held our breath
for so long, in the depths,
looking for colour, not fearing
the capriciousness of sharks.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Bobby Bland - d. June 23rd 2013

We listened
for the torrid blues
of an old soldier,
leonine and savage,
but they go down so fast
and already he had passed
farther up the road.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

James Gandolfini - d. June 19th 2013

Silvio called; he looked
for you everywhere –
the Pork Store,
the Bing, the Vesuvio -
but you had gone
to meet Johnny Sack
for the final sit-down.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Slim Whitman - d. June 19th 2013

You had two chances
to take the Opry curtain call
alongside Johnny
Tammy and Hank;
Slim chance, and no chance,
and Slim just left town.

Eve Arnold - d. January 4th 2012

You siphoned a measure
of this incendiary world
from the sump of misfits,
monarchs, demagogues,
through the valve
of your eye, into ours.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Ray Bradbury - d. June 5th 2012

Something special
this way came,
and went; an augur
writing futures
we would not want
to live in.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Norman Collier - d. March 14th 2013

The smut-black
.orking-mens’ .lubs
of Pontef.act and Otley
.ardened you like anthra.ite.
Go, .orman, burn bright
and .urn for.ver.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Tony Gubba - d. March 11th 2013

Never the big matches
or the roar of finals,
the cathedrals of power,
but at least, for you,
the thrilling second half
is under way.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Davy Jones - d. February 29th 2012

Here he comes;
prince of boy-bands,
a manufactured Mancunian
washed up in Hollywood,
walking down the final street,
tired of monkeying around.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Derek Batey - d. February 17th 2013

Your turn
to don the headphones,
enter the ethereal booth
and strain to hear
what those you loved
are saying about you.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Esther Williams - d. June 6th 2013

At the first stroke
the pool would clear for you.
You were always far out,
and not drowning, but waving.

Richard Briers - d. February 17th 2013

When suburbia falls
and all that's left is soil
then we may realise;
not every life
is a good life.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Tom Sharpe - d. June 6th 2013

You inked a broad canvas;
no vice too precious,
no moral too fixed.
We filed you under satire,   
the Hogarth of prose.

Read more about Tom Sharpe here

Christopher Martin-Jenkins - d. January 1st 2013

Innings closed, stumps drawn.
A decent knock;
improvised strokes, the odd slip,
but now the pavilion beckons.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Gerry Anderson - d. December 26th 2012

I hope you knew
how you pulled our strings,
made our jerky bodies move,
rescued us,
but now Spectrum is black.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Sir Patrick Moore - d. December 9th 2012

The dark well 
of the sky
briefly reflects
the eccentric trail 
of a comet,
never again 
to pass this way.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Johnny Otis - d. January 17th 2012

Clear the dancefloor;
the once and future King
is setting up his kit,
and this, my friends,
will be the last boogie.