Our lovely Susan recently reminded us that April is National Poetry Month in the States, inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. This month, I’m joining this unique celebration of poetry in hopes of inspiring more people to read and celebrate it throughout the year.
BTW, Susan’s outstanding poem Letches was shortlisted for IS&T Pick of the Month, so I’ll kindly ask you to read it and show how wonderfully supportive of one another we are by voting here until April 15.
Now, I would like to contribute to Poetry Month by drawing attention to some bloggers/poets I love besides Susan herself and magnificent Wulf she mentioned who are a must for serious poetry fans. If you love poetry or don’t but are open to new experiences, please check out these guys: Wilde Taylor at thereckoning and her poem Marrow, Silent Hour by Basilike Pappa, the poem How Demons Get their Wings, highwaybloggery by David Redpath, The Happiness Report, and Moonlit Pieces by Eli Kyoko and her Panic. Make sure you check out Morality Park too where you can find all four, and so much more.
I generally love poets who make me think and tackle controversial topics and social injustices, also using humor as a powerful weapon against oppressive forces. Ted Hughes described one of my favorite poets Adrian Mitchell (1932 – 2008) as “a voice as welcome as Lear’s fool… Humor that can stick deep and stay funny.” Today, I give you a statesman of literary protest and his thought-provoking:
A TOURIST GUIDE TO ENGLAND
Welcome to England!
England is a happy country.
Here is a happy English businessman.
Hating is money, he spends it all
On bibles for Cambodia
And charity to preserve
The Indian Cobra from extinction.
I’m sorry you can’t see our happy coal-miners.
Listen hard and you can hear them
Singing Welsh hymns far underground.
Oh. The singing seems to have stopped.
No, that is not Saint Francis of Assisi.
That is a happy English policeman.
Here is a happy black man.
No, it is not illegal to be black. Not yet.
Here are the slums.
They are preserved as a tourist attraction.
Here is a happy slum-dweller.
No, his answer is impossible to translate.
Here are some happy English schoolchildren.
See John. See Susan. See Mike.
They are studying for their examinations.
Study, children, study!
John will get his O-Levels
And a O-Level job and an O-Level house and a O-Level wife.
Susan will get her A-Levels
And a A-Level job and a A-Level house and a A-Level husband.
Mike will fail.
Here are some happy English soldiers.
They are going to make the Irish happy.
No, please understand.
We understand the Irish
Because we’ve been sending soldiers to Ireland
For hundreds and hundreds of years.
First we tried to educate them
With religion, famine and swords.
But the Irish were slow to learn.
Then we tried to educate them
With reason, poverty and unemployment.
They became silent, sullen, violent.
So now we are trying to educate them
With truncheons, gas, ribber bullets,
Steel bullets, internment and torture.
We are trying to teach the Irish
To be as happy as us.
So please understand us
And if your country
Should be forced to educate
Another country in the same way,
Or your own citizens in the same way –
We will try to understand you.