Our first poem on this current week. however, was 'A Race cut to shreds' by Simon Marks. This is a poem about the then steadily mounting pressure on disgraced SMP Bill Walker to resign following his conviction for domestic abuse offences. Since we published this poem, Simon has added a comment to the effect that Mr Walker has now bowed to the strength of public opinion and vacated his seat. We can't claim any credit here, of course, but it's nice to be on the winning side, especially in a case like this one.
On Tuesday, we went with Damien Healey's '2020 Vision', a poem inspired by Tokyo's winning bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games. Like our commentators, I loved the dark humour in this piece as well as a title so sharp it must have slept in the knife drawer. I agree with regular contributor, Carolyn Cornthwaite in that it isn't just Japan that that is guilty of this kind of thing. For me, at least, the ideals behind the Olympics have been too much tainted by money and politics.
On Wednesday, we hit a musical note with Luigi Pagano's 'Keeping One's Nerve'. Actually, of course, this was very serious story about Syrian President Bashae al-Assad's warning that the US will 'pay the price' for any strike against Syria. In this poem, however, Luigi gives it a quirky and sardonic treatment that I am sure was much appreciated by our readers.
On Thursday, in the wake of the anniversary of the 2001 attack on the World Trade Centre, we were proud to publish Mari Maxwell's 'We Don't Forget'. 'A stunning write,' one commentator said; 'evocative and emotional,' said another. (Actually, it was Carolyn Cornthwaite who is herself no slouch when it comes to a powerful piece.) If for some reason you missed this poem, then I urge you to click immediately on the link in order to make good that omission. This is a poem not to be overlooked.
On Friday, it was Carolyn herself with 'That Sacred Vow', a poem rooted in the horror of Nigeria's child brides. We received her submission on the same day that I wrote 'Baby, Baby' in response to the story of the eight year-old Yemini girl who died as a result of injuries inflicted on her wedding night. As Luigi Pagano pointed out, this barbaric practice is more widespread than many people realise. That being the case, it is no longer good enough, I think, to plead 'cultural differences'. There is a battle to be fought but it is not, as some would like to suggest, against one country, one culture or one religion; rather, it challenges all those who would threaten the safety and innocence of children. In the west we may not marry off our eight year-old children but we know that there are men - and, I fear. some women, too - who are happy to use them as sexual playthings. We need, all of us, to to address this problem and to keep the world's children safe.
On Saturday, we ended the week with Caroline Hurley's Vorsprung durch Technik, another hard-hitting piece that reminded me, at least, that in politics the unvarnished truth is never quite what it seems. Last night I watched a a news report in which Angela Merkel's management of the German economy was held up as some kind of a model 'tough love'. The truth; however, is that there, as here, that the weak are being sacrificed in the name of 'recovery', 'market forces' and 'economic growth'.
Well, that's all from me at the end of a weak in which I 'grasped the nettle', 'took the bull by the horns' and 'stepped up to the plate' by making the decision to resign from my 'day job' in order to have more time to write. It isn't, of course, that I am expecting to make money from my writing - although the odd cheque is always very welcome - but rather that I am beginning to hear Marvell's 'winged chariot' not just as distant rumble but thundering at my heels. To those of you who are younger than I am, one day you will know what I mean. In the meantime, have a productive week and keep well and safe.