Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Poets for change -- The Cellar Bards

Here are the Cellar Bards and Friends taking part in the 100-Thousand Poets for Change Global event on Saturday, September 27, 2014 on The Quay at Cardigan.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

The Wall

Today I am one of thousands of poets around the world who are taking part in 100-Thousand Poets for Change day. The poems I am reading are below.

I’ll be reading them in Cardigan, west Wales, between 4pm and 5pm in an event organised by our local live literature group, the Cellar Bards. We’ll be reading short poems on the theme of ‘change’ and ‘peace’.

The town’s community bookshop, Leafed Through, is also taking part.  Everyone who reads poems will write them on postcards, which are being laminated to hang on lines in the bookshop.

This is one of many events being staged simultaneously around the world as a demonstration/celebration of poetry, art and music to promote social, environmental, and political change.

We hear so much bad news and this is a chance for people to be involved in something positive, and to link with others in getting the message out there that people do care about local and world issues.

Many poets around the world, several living in war-torn countries, are taking part in the event and they need to know that people are listening to the fact that daily life and poetry must go on.

Hundreds of cities representing over 100 countries signed up to the 100 TPC global initiative.

Visit www.100TPC.org for more details about 100 Thousand Poets for Change.

I chose one symbol to focus on for my poems for the day. When I was younger we had the Berlin Wall, which symbolised the Cold War. Now we have the great wall that cuts through the Palestinian lands and for me symbolises the tragedy of the Middle East and the terrible divisions of today’s world.

At 25 feet it’s twice as high as the Berlin Wall and it is 800 km long. It’s made of concrete and razor wire and it’s not straight, oh no, it weaves around to do the most possible damage. Sometimes it encircles villages, sometimes cuts right through them.

The Wall …

makes borders 25 feet high,
it separates, isolates,
divides families, splits communities,
wrecks water supplies,
surrounds villages to make prisons;
it’s a blueprint for division
it constructs apartheid -
and it kills the view from both sides.

and two haiku on similar theme… 

Children cry out for
the power of peace as
conflict tears the world

flags over mountains,
bright colours for refugees
flying over plains

Friday, 12 September 2014

Remote control

A flash of white flame
makes a negative image
and the scene
emerges on a screen;
a silent movie
in monotone infrared.

A man on the ground
has a leg missing,
he’s rolling around,
blood spurting out,
a fountain of heat pouring a pool.
Pieces of bodies scattered around a crater,
ghost white against black earth.

It took him a long time to die,
the man whose leg was blown off,
watched by his killer,
the man in the green flight suit
in a windowless metal booth,
who sees from 7,000 miles away.
The 21st century pilot,
Predator controller,
in charge of terminal guidance.

As he watches this death,
this airman who never flies
sits back in his padded chair
and blows smoke into unmoving air.
Cool, this box in the Nevada desert
smells of stale sweat and cigarettes;
a low hum of machinery
constant in the background,
while the chain of command
leads straight to his headset
from ground control station:
‘Countdown — three…two…one -
missile off the rail’.
And a Hellfire flares,
hits target in a distant desert;
he’ll never fail.

At 6pm the airman goes home,
eats dinner in front of the TV,
plays with his son,
who stares at his Xbox and
kills enemies on the screen.
When his wife comes home,
the man is sleeping,
soundly aloof.

The boy kills another avatar.
No one talks, no one touches,
no one really sees.
Gadgets drone and hum,
this is the music of their lives.

This is

Sunday, 7 September 2014

The witch of Satis

This poem was clearly inspired by Charles' Dickens wonderful creation of Miss Havisham. I am posting it now because the perfect illustration for it just appeared in my kitchen…

The witch of Satis

She dwells, yes, that is the word,
down there in the dust of her life,
not living, she dwells
in the wintry room of her making,
in her bloodless bitterness,
where no clock ticks,
time is still,
the air forever frozen,
her breath a cool vapour that has only
caressed the ash of life.
Her dress yellowed, its silk long dead,
her face a waxwork, eyes inward,
her body withered under the gown,
a shrunken spectre;
her movements small
and cold.
The young man sees
in the dusky candlelight
the detail of her,
but I feel it all,
from my haunt.
I live well in near darkness
and my silk is finely tuned
to the smallest vibration
of my webs.
There is abundance still on her bride’s table,
a great cake,
it is for me,
my blotchy body and speckled legs
are all at home here.