Here at Poetry 24 the week didn't start until Tuesday. I am not sure quite what happened there but, generally, it has been that sort of week. Since my new laptop gave up the ghost very early on Monday morning I have been in a state of solemn and desperate mourning. Yes, I know I still have my iPad but it really isn't the same.
For one thing, I have had to rely on Hamish and Michael to keep the poems coming. (Without a laptop the necessary formatting just cannot be done.) For another, the trauma associated with the loss has impacted on my own writing. I have produced one poem and half a short story. It really isn't enough.
Thankfully, our contributors have done rather better. Maeve Heneghan opened on a powerful note with her spare and uncompromising 'Justice and the Beast', a poem which we were pleased to see elicited much comment. Our thanks go to all those who took the time to register their support for justice for women. Regular readers will know that it is a cause close to my heart.
Equally powerful and also much appreciated both by readers and fellow contributors was Philip Johnson's 'eve of holocaust memorial day' with its haunting image of the man 'wearing striped pyjamas'. In the words of our own David Subbacchi, it was both 'concise' and 'mysterious'.
Thursday and Friday brought us back to the story with which we started the week and it is clear that there are issues here that resonate for many of our readers. First, Amy Barry communicated to us something of the anguish that must have been felt by Fiona Doyle as, in the wake of her father's trial, she found herself obliged to continue 'Her Life Sentence'. As someone who, in her early teens had taste this kind of 'justice', what I found most powerful about this poem was its commanding physicality, most particularly the poet's representation of an anger too extreme to be expressed: 'Hot blood rages through her veins and 'she wants to thump her fists/ against his chest,/ his face.'
Then, on Friday, Caroline Hurley also had her say reminding us of some of the wider issues: for example, how 'Austerity cuts keep the people lean' and also 'the prisons full'. 'Perversities' also reminds that, even in incarcerated in our prisons, we are far from being 'in it together' as she points a telling finger at the 'fallen fat-cats in their first class cells.'
Saturday, though, struck a different note - and the pun is entirely and unashamedly intended - with Steve Pottinger's tribute to the courage and generosity of spirit of rock musician Wilko Johnson who has recently received a diagnosis of terminal cancer. 'The day we elected...' has something to say to us all so I would like to close this week's review by quoting the WJ's 'simple words': 'I don't wanna be greedy.' Well said, Mr Johnson. It would be a better world if we could all say the same.