Sunday, 23 December 2012

Sunday Review and A Very Merry Christmas

In a week when the news has been dominated by the Sandy Hook shootings and their aftermath I approach the writing of my first Sunday review with some trepidation. Like the narrative voice in Imelda Maguire's poem of yesterday, I find myself  'seeking sharp phrases' and 'clever turns' but I am, nonetheless, humbled by the dignity of those who have suffered and, at the same time, all too painfully aware that my life continues unaffected by these terrible tragedies. For the moment, at least, I am untouched, comfortable, safe and secure. This being the case, I propose to say no more. Readers of Poetry 24 this week will already know that the poetry speaks more profoundly than I could ever do here.

On Monday, in 'Old News' , Linda Cosgriff reminded us that 'Death is an itch some must scratch' on both sides of the Atlantic while, on Tuesday, Eamon Ó Cléírigh 's deeply moving 'Unheard' spoke powerfully of the shock and grief now being felt by a small and close community in Ireland. On Wednesday, we took the unusual step of publishing two poems simultaneously: Joy France's  'Cut Back Christmas' and AfricMcGlinchy's 'Death of America's Christmas'  We made this decision because we felt strongly that, despite being very different from each other, both these pieces deserved to be published. We were aware that we were 'running out of time' before 'the end of the world' and, with a wealth of strong material to hand, we decided to bend the rules.

To make matters worse, though, we had already scheduled another poem by Afric, 'Mayan Finale', for Friday so that meant we had to break another rule, this time the one about one poem per author per week.  Never mind, I am of the opinion that any set of rules should be thrown out of the window occasionally and, anyway,  I would rather break a dozen of them than disappoint a single author who has submitted a strong piece of work. Accordingly, Wynne Huddlestone's poem, 'End of the World, or a New World Age?', also appeared on Friday. Once again, we could not decide so, in the end, we published both. 

On behalf on myself and the rest of the editorial team, past and present, I would like to wish all our readers a warm and wonderful winter holiday season and peaceful and prosperous New Year. We will continue to publish, although probably less regularly, over the festive period.

Finally, in keeping with our established practice of occasionally including an obituary with the Sunday Review, here are some lines to remind us of the contribution of a man who perhaps did more than any other musician of his generation to expand the horizons of popular music in the West.

Ravi Shankar 

A sitar may have twenty three strings
Six on a guitar
Or sometimes twelve
Four Beatles
Only one Ravi Shankar

After teaching George a few secrets
People took notice
He played the sitar
Recorded it
On Within You Without You

Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Was it annoying?
As you sat there
Cross legged
Waiting for some follow up

The Fab Four never played Woodstock
But you were on stage
Looking serene
Sending out
Those magical vibrations.

© David Subacchi 2012

Ravi Shankar dies, aged 92

David Subacchi’s first English language collection ‘First Cut’ was published by Cestrian Press earlier this year.