Sunday, December 21, 2008

In Praise of Footwear



Today, Muntazer Al-Zaidi
Put the finishing touches
To the President’s monument,
A memorial to his shame,
For one who yearned for glory
No matter what the cost,
For one who lived
With one foot in his mouth,
Whose mis-speaking spread fear
North, west, east and south,
Whose eyes could never keep still
In their search for someone else to blame,
A man ignorant of the graves he left
Wherever he stamped his name,
Oblivious to the wards of limbless
And the broken families left behind.
So what should we do to remember
This proud leader of men who chose to be blind?

Quite soon he’ll come a calling
On a lucrative lecture tour.
Don’t fret with placards, slogans or boos.
If you want to rain on his parade
Don’t dignify him with a bullet or grenade,
Just shower the ex-president with shoes.

Full of flu. This poem has been boiling up since I saw Muntazer on the news.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Wind from the South




You can’t contain the wind from the south.
No walls, no threats can keep it out,
That searing grit in your eyes,
That choking dust in your mouth.

You set the world alight from west to east.
Too late now to curse the ash,
Too late now to stop the sands’
Last grains fall from the glass,
Too late now to stop your door,
Too late now to hide the stains on every floor,
Too late now to share the feast.

And when you falter cursing lack of sight,
And when you fall, as surely you must,
When nothing’s left of you but dust,
The wind from the south will hold you still
And hurl you through the endless night.

Although this is a simple poem, I have lost count of the number of levels on which it works for me. The title and the idea were suggested to me by the track 'An Gaoth Aneas' - 'The Wind from the South' on the Chieftains CD 'Water from the Well'. This is not the first time I have been moved to write when listening to their music.