So, we began this week with 25 Years after Tiananmen, Sue Norton's comment on the anniversary of events at Tiananmen Square. The news report that accompanied this piece speaks, not without justification, perhaps, of 'a conspiracy of silence'. However, before we get too smug and self-congratulatory, it may behove us to consider the proliferation on Facebook and the like of cutesy kittens and dog stories while, in the real world, in the name of god knows what children are fighting and dying and young girls, because they ate poor and vulnerable ate being raped and hanged from trees.
On Tuesday, Kristina England 'Till Death' gave us the terrible yet the hauntingly tender story of the suicide pact made between two elderly brothers. Speaking for myself, I can easily see why they might have made such a pact. What a tragedy it is, though, that we are living in a world where, more and more, the elderly and the vulnerable are seen as an expense and a burden instead of the repository of wisdom and stories that they have it within themselves to be.
Wednesday's poem was 'A reflection on all our yesterdays' by Alan Johnson. It is a powerful piece which, for me, exposes the thick sugar crust of hypocrisy which formed over the media's cover of the anniversary of D Day. Addressing the dead of two bloody wars, Alan Johnson comments. 'You must weep at all this treachery'. The clinching lines, however, are these:
You sleep whilst we now
cower under dictators, as they strip our wealth and
toil – and still: They act as if you died to save us all.
Another powerful voice was raised on Thursday in the form of 'For how long shall we burn' by Sutapa Chaurdhuri. For commentary, I go to one of our readers who signed herself in as 'Mari'.
'Crisp clear writing that holds back no punches. All for daring to choose a life. Your lines are exquisite but the imagery of the following hit deep within - as they should do:
For how long shall the trees bend down
Laden with mutilated corpses
Beautifully done! Achingly sad.' Thank you, Mari. I hope you don't object to my quoting you.
Finally, at the end of the week, we were back with Sue Norton whose 'They called him Peter' told a 'love story' with a difference, the heart-stopping tale of Margaret and Peter the dolphin. All in all, another excellent week here at Poetry24. We thank all our contributors. Please keep sending in those submissions.