Thursday, 6 October 2011

the protester

whenever there is a protest

he will be there with a placard

it doesn’t matter what the protest is about

the words are always red on a white background

a picture of a quill

it started out years ago saying things like

“ban the bomb – legalise poetry”

“equality for women workers – legalise poetry”

“end apartheid – legalise poetry”

a little while ago it was

“say no to war – legalise poetry”

and recently in London

“free education – legalise poetry”

he argued that poetry was sort of illegal

people got very upset at

aiding and abetting distorted syntax

GBH on grammar

and they talk about things like

prose cut up into short lines

punctuation crimes against humanity

he wanted to know what they were frightened of

was it poetry that could be read and understood

by everyone

and maybe people having fun with it?

when he started out protesting

it was to have been “legalise pot”

but because he felt himself to be

a subversive

he added a few letters

and liked it so much he kept at

his one man campaign

he thought he might try taking it

to Bahrain

see how it went down there

he even started to prepare a placard

“free Ayat al-Ghormezi - legalise poetry”

for the first time

it seemed appropriate

© Jim Bennett

BBC World Service interview with Ayat al Ghormezi
Ayat al-Ghormezi blogs HERE.
Author of 67 books and proprietor of Poetry Kit. Jim tours throughout the year giving reading and performances of his poetry and songs.

Editor's note: Today is National Poetry Day in the UK