Sunday, 10 March 2013

Sunday Review

Here in Cornwall the first signs of spring are to be seen in the fields and hedgerows: splashes of brilliant yellow have been daubed along the roadside and patches of purple and white have appeared in our waking gardens where the early-flowering crocuses have popped up their heads. After a long and cold, yet predominantly wet, winter without even the relief of of a little snow, this incipient explosion of life and colour has been more than welcome. Everywhere around us are the signs and augurs of the blossoming of new life and new hope. 

Not so, with our poems, however: here at Poetry24 it has been a bleak and solemn week.  Amy Barry took the lead with her harrowing and heart-rending response to the plight of the children of Syria, those innocents who are obliged to endure: 'Muffled, strangled cries/ Maggots on decomposed bodies,/ severed heads and limbs' because they have 'little choice'. Later in the week, on Thursday, Janine Booth brought a similar mood closer to home. Her poem, 'A Homeless Man Dies', reminded us that cruelty and culpability are alive and well in the affluent West. Like the children of Syria, 'Daniel deserved to survive'. The system, however, does not ' because 'Capitalism kills'. 

Wednesday's poem was 'Fell Asleep at Noon' by regular, Noel Loftus. The poem is the author's response to the injustice of  that same, fallible system, a system which, in this case, and I quote the author, obliges the Irish taxpayer to 'pick up the tab' for some banks - and also some individuals - who 'gambled on a grand scale'. This poem delights with some felicitous word choices and delicious, rolling rhythms. Appreciate, for example, the deftness of the alliteration in 'Fridge looms into view/Forehead rests of freezing things' and the precise writing of 'A curious collision scythed/ through a humbled mind,/ saw a cruet in the thin hands of a boy'. 

Friday's poem also came to us from Ireland, this time from Thomas Martin whose baldly-stated Recession is, or it seems to me, very much to the point. Because it is short - and because, as an editor, I can - I am going to reproduce it here in full. Thank you, Thomas for this timely warning. Let us hope that, in the interests of humanity, we are all able to hear it and take it to heart.

They have us where they want us, lads:
Public against private
Waged against unwaged 
Generation against generation
Men against women
Urban against rural
National against immigrant
Frontline against rearguard
They have us where they want us.
And we have them -
In our sights. 

Finally, on Saturday, we were back to Syria, this time to the story of the Syrian refugee who, having reached the age of one hundred and five, told a war correspondent that:

'she wants to die.
Not because she is too old,
that’s not the reason why.
Her wish is not a whim
but a sign of desperation.
She has witnessed the futile
destruction of her nation,
the bombing, the shooting
from both warring sides,
she’s seen the consequences
of martyrs’ suicides'.

If you have not already read this powerful poem by Luigi Pagana, I suggest that you click on the link immediately.  Though I am nowhere near this lady's age, I am no spring cuckoo either, and I have to say that, in the current climate, even in the face of the present onslaught of daffodils and crocuses, I, too, have felt something of her weariness, her desire to simply turn her face to the wall and countenance no more: no more exploitation, no more cruelty, no more bloodshed and despair. We all say that we want to end these evils but how do we make it happen

That's all from me this week - except to leave you with these lines from Bill:


In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
       
Sweet lovers love the spring.

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