Let the News be your Muse. Send your news-inspired poems to poetry24ed@gmail.com

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Breaking News

They break news down
to a few column inches
instantly forgettable,
a late night sound-bite
that tweet, tweet, tweets
like birdsong tinnitus.

Exhausted adjectives,
old chestnut clichés
lined up on the page
like the usual suspects
(different words suspicious
as abandoned packages).

And whether it's editors
squeezing the heart out of
a story to make it fit
or the white noise of
too many words filling
vacant space, it's far too easy

just to turn the page.
We need a hook to hang
the horror on, attach
the facts. A net to catch
the moment in. To ask
the question doorstep reporters
never ask themselves:
How does it feel?

© Clare Kirwan

Clare Kirwan is part of Liverpool's Dead Good Poets Society and blogs as Broken Biro


  1. Oh, very good indeed! Another thing that strikes me (and this is more of a news-reporting thing) is just how cheery they can make even the most horrific news sound.
    One of my big pet-peeves these days (and perhaps it is only a Canadian thing), but where we used to say "car-accident", now we seem to delight in using "car-crash" which has more impact (if you'll pardon a bad pun).
    I love that "birdsong tinnitus" by the way.


  2. Thanks Kat. It's all journo-speak. Whoever goes home and says: 'I've been axed love'?

    I must confess I've already used birdsong tinnitus here but it fitted in so nicely I couldn't resist!

  3. You got this so right. By the way, do sofa-bound presenters still regard themselves as serious journalists?

  4. Oh, indeed they do, mMrtin!

    I'm saying that, I actually have no idea.

  5. This is excellent. The last stanza really resonates with me. I think being asked 'How does it feel?' negates and numbs any sense of feeling at all in the viewer.

  6. the white noise of
    too many words filling
    vacant space

    Sounds a bit like Blogland! LOL

  7. Great poem, and the last stanza is a knock-out.

  8. Nan Jo - Lazy journalism, formulaic formats, editors in butcher aprons... it's all numbing.

    Cad - You may well think that - I couldn't possibly comment!

    Rainy - Thanks!