Wednesday 3 August 2016

couplet and quatrain

Appreciating, like the troubadours of yore, that news and current events are especially good subjects for verse and there a quite a few social mediators out there doing just that. These are not ballads, quite (I tried that once during a long car trip in Ireland, “Heiko in his Aygo, he was a sheep-dodger!” and was asked to please stop) but rather poems adapted for genre and format of immediacy of meaning that can be teased out in a few choice words.
There is one superb individual, writing under the pseudonym Brian Bilston, whose been accorded the title of poet laureate for his moving and pithy works. I only found out about Mr. Bilston having heard tell that he’s been recruited by the traveling circus of the rich and powerful that will be descending on der Zauberberg later this year for the World Economic Forum as sort of a court-minstrel, but unbound by any patronage. His most famous poem that earned him the laurels, entitled “Refugees,” tweeted in March of this year, appears below. Please do heed the author’s request (and I promise, the effect is arresting) after reading it from top to bottom, re-read it from bottom to top:


They have no need of our help
So do not tell me
These haggard faces could belong to you or I
Should life have dealt a different hand
We need to see them for who they really are
Chancers and scroungers
Layabouts and loungers
With bombs up their sleeves
Cut-throats and thieves
They are not
Welcome here
We should make them
Go back to where they came from
They cannot
Share our food
Share our homes
Share our countries
Instead let us
Build a wall to keep them out
It is not okay to say
These are people just like us
A place should only belong to those who are born there
Do not be so stupid to think that
The world can be looked at another way

(Now please re-read from bottom to top)