Another hot day in a scorching week here in the South West. My partner's son has friends from Poland staying, making their first visit to Cornwall and, indeed, to the UK. They are enjoying their stay and, while regretting the poor surf, are relishing the sunshine and the beaches. However, they doing this in the innocent belief that it is 'always like this in Cornwall'. Everything, they tell us, their faces wreathed in smile, is exactly as they imagined their holiday would be. We smile back and are happy for them. We don't tell them they have just struck lucky. The weather this week has been glorious, just as I remember it from childhood, a fine spell such as we have not seen in quite a long, damp while.
Anyway, down to the poetry. Simon Marks kicked off the week with his 'This Song's for You, El Presidente' which, for those of us who are old enough to remember, makes a grimly ironic nod to to the huskily warbled felicitations conveyed by another glamorous and pouting chanteuse to quite a different and ill-fated 'presidente'. This is a waspish poem and Marksy has a point. Ms Lopez and her PR machine may make all the excuses they like but it would not have taken more than a minute or two of research to establish the presence of the human rights concerns that they claim to have known nothing about. This is a case, I think, where ignorance cannot be held to be a valid defence. Of course, human rights is so last year even in our own 'sceptr'd isle' that it is, perhaps, mean of us, and Marksy, to take her to task.
On Tuesday we saw the return of one of our most regular contributors. Luigi Pagano's 'Inheritance'was prompted by the handing over of power by the Emir of Qatar to his son, Sheikh Tamim Hamad Al Thani, a move which, as Luigi points out, has raised some questions in a region where 'Peaceful transitions/ are rare'.
Then, on Wednesday, we had Philip Johnston's 'here in dementia bay'. Philip is also a regular contributor to Poetry24 and, in this piece, he highlights the mismatch between the 'health advice' we as a society give to our most senior members and the the rapidly dwindling financial support that we are prepared to offer in order to ensure that they receive adequate support and care. There is a real and pressing issue here and, as an older person myself, I am pleased to see Philip bring it into focus. I admit I am fearful for my eventual fate should I live to the age of my mother who is now in her mid-eighties. There is a real danger, I think, that our society is moving in the direction of gerontophobia. Like the sick and the disabled and the mentally ill, that section of the population rendered anonymous as 'the elderly' has become a 'soft' target.
On Thursday, try as I might I could not get onto Hotmail to access our folders. As a result there was no poem at all. This failure was addressed on Friday, however, with David Mellor's extremely hard-hitting 'Unemployed'. As usual, David shows that he can be relied on to 'tell it as it is'. The message of this poem is one that needs reiterating - over and over and over again. I was quite happy, therefore, to leave it up on Saturday when I had to start work at an unspeakably early hour. Sorry folks. I'll try to do better next week. Have a good one.