Ode To Autumn.
Autumn is upon us and Rachael Clyne’s outstanding pamphlet, Girl Golem, has received a brilliant review from Fiona Sinclair, editor of Message in a Bottle poetry magazine. You can read it on the website (4Word.org/reviews) In the pipeline? We’re very pleased to announce that our next pamphlet, due in December, will be Incidentals by Mary Norton Gilonne. To buy copies of any and/or all the pamphlets see 4Word.org/titles/
Season of mists and party conferences doesn’t sound as romantic as the original does it? But I guess in Keats’ day one’s thoughts turned more naturally to mellow fruitfulness than brawling politicians and their riven parties. But, don’t worry, I’m not going to dip my big toe into the dirty dishwater of politics I’m just curious to know about any poetry being written concerning the current maelstrom that is Brexit and party politics?
Obviously there is the excellent ezine I Am Not A Silent Poet, edited by Reuben Woolley, which publishes political poems of all flavours and which goes from strength to strength, entirely due to Reuben’s steady hand on the tiller. https://iamnotasilentpoet.wordpress.com However, I hadn’t seen too many others until a quick Google revealed a positive profusion of political poetry. (See what I did there? Ha ha. )
Of course the obvious front runner has to be a whole anthology of poems dedicated to Jeremy Corbyn, edited by Merryn Williams, a well-known and much respected former editor of The Interpreter’s House and a fine poet in her own right. Poems for Jeremy Corbyn is an accomplished volume, whatever you feel about the man himself, and includes such poets as Ann Drysdale, Alan Brownjohn, Penelope Shuttle and Hylda Sims. Moving on from the sublime to the ridiculous – or rather the hilarious – I found this next piece, published in the wonderful Daily Mash. The DM is ‘a satirical website which publishes spoof articles, i.e. it is all made-up and is not intended, in any way whatsoever, to be taken as factual.’ But this made me crease up, so I post the link below. We all need a laugh right now.
Theresa May had the dubious honour of having a poem written about her by Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy. I use the word ‘dubious’ advisedly as it was an excoriating piece, commissioned by the Guardian, which pretty much tells you everything you need to know.
Sometime ago I added to the poetry of politics when I was persuaded to write a song about Theresa May. Inspired by a photo-shopped pic of her with a fag, a tinnie and a bag of chips, it wasn’t a serious venture and, due to being a wordsmith NOT a songwriter, I nicked the tune and rhythm from Hicks and Golbourn’s version of Frankie and Albert (video link will give you an idea of a) how bloody talented they are and b) a better idea of how to follow the rhythm of the poem.)
(Apologies to whoever wrote the song Frankie and Albert, my bastardised version!)
Treeza was a good girl, everybody knew,
Paid a hundred dollars for a pair of leather trews,
I’m no fan – cos she’s been doin’ us wrong.
Treeza went to the offie, bought herself lager and fags,
“Bartender tell me true, d’you think I’m a hag?”
He was no fan – cos she was doin’ us wrong.
“Well, I ain’t gonna tell you no stories, ain’t gonna tell you no lies,
You ain’t someone special ‘cos you call them chips ‘french fries’
I’m no fan – cos you been doin’ us wrong.”
The nation spoke to Treeza. Treeza said “I don’t care.
Brexit, it means Brexit, I’m gonna haul you out of there.
Who needs fans when Labour’s doin’ it wrong?”
Corbyn shot himself in the foot, shot himself three or four times,
“Stand back out of the smoke from my gun, I mean to see that EU die.
I’m your man(date) – I can’t be doin’ it wrong.”
Treeza and the Tories walked out of Europe, walked out side by side,
Treeza said to the people, “Well I think I’m justified,
It’s in the can – 52% wrong?”
Dark was the night, cold was the ground,
last thing I heard Treeza say was I shot the UK down,
Right down the pan – but half the nation voted wrong.
Treeza was a good girl, everbody knew,
Paid a hundred dollars for a pair of leather trews,
We’ve fucked ourselves – and that’s the end of the song.
AND finally – Brexit. Here’s links to three poems by John Agard, Kevin Higgins and Scientists for the EU. Political poetry is alive and kicking, I’m very glad to say. Enjoy.
Last, but by no means least, my colleague, Stella Wulf’s marvellous poem, which appeared in the New European.
The T Party
You can’t have your cake and eat it, they say.
Alice finds this curious – she’s had many cakes and eaten them all – but this is a strange world where every road leads to madness.
The air is peppered with malaise, the land crazed by the cough and sneeze of immigration allergy.
BREXIT! BREXIT! reverberates through halls, shakes walls and foundations.
Alice has a sneeze that innately says ACHOO!
BREXIT is a hawk of disillusion, a vexed brew of expulsion, an explosion of bile and phlegm, somewhere between out and in.
BREXIT means BREXIT, they sputter
faces livid with suppression. Poor things, they must control their reflexes in this place where houses are made of cards. Bless them,
the hearts are holding up, but it’s hard for the spades who’ve dug their footings by dealing tricks and bluffing.
Mad May holds the trump hand,
she must find a remedy before their world collapses. She hatches a plan.
To resolve this indefinite jam, I’m off to Chequers with the nation’s cabinet!
Alice sheds a tear at this proclamation.
Her mother once moved a cabinet,
breaking years of treasured connections, including Alice’s favourite Staffordshire pug.
The cabinet is dusted, the table set.
Between the mock turtle soup and the medley of raspberries, the King of clubs abdicates.
The knave follows suit, complaining the soup is meagre,
the grouse tasteless, that there is still time to wallow in Sovereign tea – to binge on Victoria sponge.
We can have our cake and eat it! The May gets madder, the party breaks up, everyone shuffles off.
Alice wants to remain, to find the key
to a world that’s sane, but finds she is shrunk to oblivion, her voice inaudible in the mayhem.
She is suddenly afraid she may never wake up.