Monday, 22 August 2011

Renewal Scourge

Drunk with despair, he sets himself ablaze,
a man no longer able to pretend
his princes merited their loud self-praise.
Better the phoenix death, the fiery end.
The street explodes, first with kinfolk and friend
and soon with multitudes—the poor who bring
only their lives, only what faith will lend
against the guns. Abroad, the magpies sing
in fulsome praise of cleansing sparks, this Arab spring.

Stopped in a cab—a siren's wail, a blaze
of bullets and his chest explodes. Pretend
who will that such be justice—no false praise
of right will quell the anguish of this end,
restore his touch to family or friend.
Raw anger long suppressed bursts out to bring
thousands to arms with what the street can lend:
a stone, a brick, a voice. The magpies sing
now with disdain—from what base class such insults spring.

© Nedjo Rogers

Mohamed Bouazizi: memories of a Tunisian martyr

London riots: Dozens injured after Tottenham violence
Editor's note : The two news-links, although separated by several months, illustrate how the death of an individual can be a catalyst for social disorder, even a national uprising.
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Nedjo Rogers has worked with anti-poverty and environmental organizations, has travelled and lived in Latin America, writes folk songs, and is parent to two artistic young adults. He writes open source software.

3 comments:

  1. This had me fascinated. Really effective, startling poem.

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  2. Thanks! I was compelled by the parallels and equally sharp divergences of these two situations and found myself experimenting with form, reaching for a way to write two segments that were the same but different.

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  3. Wow Nedjo, so moving (and so well written).
    River

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