Monday, 27 April 2015

The Extreme Importance of Clive James

I've never met Clive James
but I'm aware that he's very sick

I read his book
Cultural Amnesia
a few years ago
and it sits comfortably and permanently
in the satchel I shall be taking to
my desert island

It is an extraordinary achievement, 
simultaneously literary 
political
personal
erudite
challenging
beautiful and
uplifting

He asks:
what is your duty, as a citizen of this world?

I thought at the time I read it
that it was a valedictory text;
and, though he may have had that intent,
he continues years later
to fulfil his duties
magnificently

When my father was dying
and just a few days before he died
I had the privilege of a conversation with him
in which we confronted the awful horror
of imminent non-being.
Perhaps more than anything else
he wanted to know:
Have I done well?
Have I lived a good life?

I've never met Clive James
but I want to tell him
and hope he knows:
Yes.  In full measure.


Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Election Sonnet 2015


One vote, one rhyme

Mere weeks now before we'll at last have been polled,
invited from all of the options extolled
to choose with our crosses the people who’ll hold
[the] positions of power (they won’t ‘break the mould’).

They’ll whistle to scare us to stay in the fold
with views of the world that have long since grown cold:
[where] we’ll only be safe if the streets are patrolled
and [the] wealthy or poor (take your pick) are controlled

with [the] money that comes from the young, or the old,
and [the] proceeds from assets refinanced or sold
to anyone bearing a bucket of gold
(the handcuffs intended to shackle the bold).

Imagine if, somehow, by voting we told
the whole bloody lot – you’re no longer involved.