‘War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery
Ignorance is Strength’
Mantling the bar behind time-honoured pint,
he never turns to face, yet when he speaks,
the room’s wide-eyed. “No bones to me which lot
get in.” Recall his educating stance,
faint shrug of left-side shoulder blade. “For us,
things never change.” Off to the Spanish War
a teenager, proud as a gable end,
late eighties now, he’s devilled with hindsight.
In nineteen eighty four, ‘the enemy
within’ (real life) was fitted up, side-lined.
Art synthesized but got things wrong, at least
in part. Room 101 on England’s green
and pleasant? There’s no need: where thought
the spin’s insidious, the weave warp drive.
The Poet Speaks
Real folk don’t know me. If they did, what would
they think: a fellow traveller, no “Which
side are you on?”, drawing of blood; fag-end
concealed behind white-knuckled fist, no grand
design, unwitting pawn for status quo?
Hundreds of years of verse in print, folk song,
a century and more of literacy
for all, new how-to-write degrees on tap,
yet Common Man is clear, “There’s nothing here
for us.” Most teachers try, yet bungle it;
nostalgia mix, just one more brick, kiln hot,
to juggle with. “If only I’d more time,”
they sigh, “I’d take up poetry.” I say
Give me the child and I’ll show you the man.
Peter Branson © 2011
You’re too polite to say “This isn’t right
for poetry.” Your face gives you away.
He thought like you: “Society, there’s no
such thing. We’re all capitalists now.” He caught
a hacking cough; dead within weeks, so what
the hell? Whole Spectacle, cradle to grave,
anthem “I spend therefore I am” drip feed,
star wan-a-be, celebrity TV wet dreams,
we’re immunised, too numb to see:
corporate greed, sharp practices, fat cats
who bend the law until it snaps, phone taps,
bankers on speed, peddlers of how-to-write
degrees, police on the take, and, in the trough,
up to their necks, M.P.s. Our country bleeds.
Comic Cuts Bin Laden
‘Comic Cuts’ was a British amalgam of reprints from US magazines. Hugh Lupus, or Hugh the Wolf, was granted most of Cheshire by his brother in law, William 1. “Killing a captive who poses no immediate threat is a crime.” Benjamin Ferencz, a prosecutor at Nuremburg.)
Himself again, pub window seat, tells how
he got laid out upon the bridle-path
behind. A wild beast bars his route. His mount
rears up and that’s the last he can recall
until he comes to here, this roadhouse inn,
listed, survivor from the golden age,
white render, Norfolk thatch, for those who could
afford a car way back. Oak panels, beams,
stone inglenook, tall story in stained glass,
fag end Pre-Raphaelite – kills wolf and spares
King John; saves Magna Carta too, drunk with
hindsight. Truth’s washed, teased out, spun, woven,
of many hues. It’s Pax America
these days; “Geronimo!” Cue Marvelman.
The Bleeding Wolf Inn, circa 1933, Scholar Green, South Cheshire, 7th May, 2011.
Peter Branson © 2011