Here is the nineteenth poem in my 52-poem sequence (one a week) for 2013, followed by some illumination and reflection:
Grey winter city skies and faces
glittering glass of tearful stations
waving handkerchief flags and mournful horns
sound the last post goodbye summer
now love freezes in the veins
so take the needle and mainline loneliness
to fade into the Saturday crowds
and melt into forgetfulness.
Outside the braying pigs and clattering heels
announce their macho bigotry
and feminine displays of unattainability
obsessed with appearance, the air-headed girls
get the thick and nasty bastards
destined to beat their children.
Another piece of Autumnal pessimism, very black and vindictive. Bear with me, this is the last of my bleak poems before I met Rona, not that meeting her is commemorated in any poem that came up to the standard of what I should retrieve from the big box of paper amnesia in the attic. The problem is, like the grit of sand in an oyster’s shell, it’s often unhappiness, rather than its opposite that provides the most fertile ground for poetry or any kind of creativity. And yet we try to be happy. And yet we try to be creative. Never considering that the two might be, if not opposites, then have the potential to imbalance each other, or cancel each other out. We don’t all have to be tortured artists, but it does seem philosophically true that any person who finds complete contentment would cease to have any impetus to speak out. Fortunately in a way, in a world such as ours, the chances of any intelligent and sensitive person being entirely contented with the way things are, are fairly slim. So, as Rainer Maria Rilke said, let’s not “squander our sorrows, gazing beyond them into the sad wastes of duration, to see if maybe they have a limit”, but use them. They are fuel. They are everything.
Next week I’ll be in Prague (figuratively speaking) , as we begin the journey through the first of many travel poems.