Thursday, 6 October 2016

National Poetry Day.

      Today, Thursday 6th. October, is National Poetry Day, so let's enjoy.
        This one is by Claude McKay, Black American poet, 1890-1948. It grasps a brutal scene form a not too distant America, and an aspect of society which here and elsewhere is once again on the rise, "racism"

The Lynching.

His spirit in smoke ascended to heave,
His father, by the cruellest way of pain,
Had bidden him to his bosom once again,
The awful sin remained still unforgiven.
All night a bright and solitary star
(perchance the one that ever guided him,
Yet gave him up at last to Fate's wild whim),
Hung pitifully o'er the swinging chair,
Day dawned, and soon the mixed crowd came to view
The ghostly body swaying in the sun:
The women thronged to look, but never a one
Showed sorrow in her eyes of steely blue;
And little lads, lynchers that were to be,
Danced round the dreadful thing in fiendish glee.

       This one, from much further back, speaks a truth that has been known by some for centuries. It is by Tommaso Campanella, Italian Philosopher, 1568-1639, translated by John Addington Symonds.

The People.
The people is a beast of muddy brian
That knows not its own strength, and therefore stands
Loaded with wood and stone: the powerless hands
Of a mere child guide it with bit and rein;
One kick would be enough to break the chain,
But the beast fears, and what the child demands
It does; nor its own terror understands,
Confused and stupefied by bugbears vain.
Most wonderful! With its own hand is ties
And gags itself- gives itself death and war
For pence doled out by kings from its own store.
Its own are all things between earth and heaven;
But this it knows not; and if one arise
To tell this truth, it kills him unforgiven. 

One from the first world war, by an American poet, Sara Teasdale, 1884-1933.

"There Will Come Soft Rains"

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows calling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in pools signing at night,
And wild-plum trees in tremulous white;

Robins will wear their feathery fire
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done,

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she awoke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone.

This one with a little hope, perhaps, this time, we will get it right.


In a global square, in a global village the people are gathering,
They want to sort out their village once and for all.
They have had enough of wild beasts stealing their chickens,
Of war lords pillaging and plundering their crops.
Though they labour hard, they live poor
While the wild beasts and war lords grow fat.
This time they will take the time and do it right,
This time they will finally and forever banish,
Wild beasts and war lords from their village.
This time all our chickens will feed all the children of the village
This time our crops will see all our people through the winter,
This time, all the fruits of our labour will be ours.
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