Thursday, February 21, 2008

Rebirth




I

I was born
On Wenceslas Square
White flames playing with my hair.

II

I was born
In the National Stadium, Santiago City
Swimming in a surge of electricity.

III

I was born
On a Sharpeville Street
Bullets snapping at my feet.

IV

I was born
Twinned with Soweto’s pride
The day my brother, Hector, died.

V

I was born
In a cloud of Agent Orange near Da Nang
Listening to the lullabies the napalm sang.

VI

I was born
In front of the US Embassy
Under the boot, the hoof, trying to flee.

VII

I was born
In a cattle truck, Asbest bound
With Stukas circling round and round.

VIII

I was stillborn
One of two million invisible in Park Lane
One link in the unbroken chain.

IX

I was born
In Hiroshima’s fields of ash
At the press of one button gone in a flash.



X

I was born
In a Zeiklon shower
Corrupt fruit of a hateful flower.

XI

I was born
In the ghetto named the Gaza Strip
Product of gunship marksmanship.

XII

Listen well, my friend
No matter which way the smoke blows,
I will be born again.

The image is of jailed Palestinian children by Iqbal Tamimi.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Merde Doc




Any Monday, the news comes thick and grim.
The likes of you and I might flinch
At what we see and hear.
It doesn’t even register with him.

For he has acid flowing through his veins
And whilst we have thoughts and feelings
An open sewer gushes through his brains.

Every inch of flesh exposed,
Every epidemic of hate,
Every body rotting in the street
Adds to his ill-gotten gains.

He has their virtues all,
Judas, back street assassin,
Abu Graib interrogator,
Dachau doctor,
Pimp, pusher, paedophile
Rolled into one
Excreted, steaming at your feet..

The artwork is by Steve Bell. I hope he doesn't mind me borrowing it for this!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Primavera



How many shades
can be uncovered
in a single word?
As one begins to fade
a second is unveiled.
The one you thought you’d heard
blends seamlessly
with an unexpected third,
as when a dreamless sleep
implodes into the improbable,
a bud opens
and a new meaning
bursts into the air,
the wind rises,
petals everywhere
assume lives of their own,
spiral out of reach,
settle on the dark surface,
just above the salmon leap,
then swirl rebellious
towards the ravenous bay.


This poem has as its spark the song ‘Primavera’ performed by Mariza and recorded live on the CD ‘Concerto em Lisboa’. Listening to her had the effect of lifting me out of my usual sense of hopelessness and filling me with a sense of the possible. It seems a good poem to celebrate the arrival of James Matthew Eilbeck and to send our love to Jonathan and Lindsey. After all, they have ennobled us and elevated Kath and me to the status of Great Aunt and Uncle!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Crossing Borders



Open your hand.
Let maggots
and dollars
drop onto the sand.

Open your mind.
Be astonished,
as holes explode in walls,
at what you find.

Open your arms.
Let worlds flood
into your embrace
safe from any harm.

Open your heart.
This is a first step
on the journey of discovery.
This is our start.

Last night I was lucky enough to see the Ian McMillan Orchestra at the Arts Centre in Pontardawe, a magical evening. If you get a chance to see them, don't miss it!