Sunday, 23 October 2011

Sunday Review

Firstly, a massive thank you to all those poets who rallied to our plea for more poems last week - our 'IN' tray has never been so full, so apologies for slightly longer response times.

We started this week down in the dumps with Fran Hill's 'Respectable receptacle' in the voice of Oliver Letwin's bin before joining James Schwartz at the Wall Street 'occupy protest for 'Lines Composed in Journal after Occupy Kalamazoo Protest'.

Of course we had a poem involving a dead colonel - not Gaddafi but Colonel Sanders in Lavinia Kumar's 'Kentucky Square' wheres bullets not banners fly in a Yemen square named for the American food chain.
And we covered breaking news the same night when Kat Mortenson submitted 'Zoo Game' as the Zaneville animal massacre was still happening live in Ohio - you heard it here first!

Two poems at the end of the week raised worrying issues about the protection of children: Philip Challinor's 'The Protection Racket' highlighted UK government's broken pledge to find thousands of lost children and Marilyn Brindley's first poem for us 'Until that moment' which recounted the harrowing story of the Chinese toddler left to die in the street by 'casual observers on a street of shame'.

Yesterday first time contributer John Goss reminded us of the bravery of people who follow their own consciences in 'To Michael Lyons'. We're glad he did.

And just in case we can't fit all the current news stories in to next week's, here's a Sunday 'Prayer' from Martin Bartel that neatly ties in several current issues and our own collective culpability.

Have a good week

Prayer of the World

The lions, tigers, and chimps ran free,
let loose upon a modern world from which
there is no escape. So fearfully we took aim,
all of us, really, and shot them dead.

We grieve our fear and our loss of humanity.

To end the despot’s rule we picked up arms,
all of us, really, and brought him down with
vengeance as was due. “For all of us, it is a hard
road, because our battle is against ourselves.”*

We take over power that will inevitably dictate us.

There should be hope in this: That among the
uprisings one group lays down arms, says it will
no longer kill to fight, but not so fast: All of us, really,
for survival’s sake, remain skeptics of peace.

We lift up to some god our hopeless hearts.

It should be no surprise, then, as markets crumple
that we uncover the final irony: All of us, really, are
linked not by dollar, yen, euro or pound, but by the
common need to bear up under the weight of it all.

We are broken and impoverished. Mend us, heal us.

These may all be lessons that we’ve learned before.
All of us are prisoners of someone else’s war.
All of us are victims of someone else’s crime.
All of us are powerless, by our own design.

© Martin A. Bartels

Qaddafi’s death (*Ahmed Ounaies, as quoted in the NYT).
Ohio exotic animals escape
Spanish press doesn't buy ETA ceasefire
Martin A. Bartels is a poet, author, artist, and songwriter living in the Washington DC area. He is currently president & CEO of the humanitarian organization, Seed Programs International. Blog: Difficult River.