The first of our four poems this week was The Boris Bridge by Janine Booth, a deft, brisk and scathing comment on Boris Johnson's plan for the construction of a so-called 'garden bridge' over the Thames where the public will have no right of way and 'No bikes, no rights, no access after dark'. Regular readers will know that Boris has not infrequently featured here at Poetry24 going back, for example, to 2012 and my own Holding Out For A Hero. Things haven't improved since then; in fact, taken overall, the situation seems much worse.
Tuesday brought us another, very different but similarly frequent visitor here. Rose Cook's poem, simply but engagingly entitled Russell Brand Talks About Revolution, is a response to a video in which Brand talks to Guardian columnist Owen Jones. Russell Brand begins the interview by talking about his early life in Grays in Essex. He describes the sense of despair and alienation that he experienced in that environment. Now, whatever else you may think about Brand - and regular readers will know that I like him - you can take it from me that he is a hundred percent right about Grays. I grew up in the village of Aveley where Grays was a short bus ride away. It was bleak and soulless. It did breed disaffection. I left in 1984 and, returning there quite recently, was shocked to feel the emptiness and see the consumerist squalour of the town,
The third poem of the week was the very powerful Culling Humans by Jacke Biggs which bore witness to some of the lives lost to welfare 'reform'. We at Poetry24 deplore the fact that such a poem should have to be written. On the other hand, since it clearly does need to be written, we are proud to be the first to publish it.
Out final poem, A Story of Our Time, the work of regular contributor, Luigi Pagano, focuses on another shameful state of affairs, the fact that a report has now concluded that organised child sexual abuse is, after all, 'widespread' throughout the country. Some of us who are survivors of such abuse. whether 'organised' or not, have been trying to tell them that for decades. How is then so that, still, so many people turn their faces away?
Well, a bit of a bleak week here but important work has been done. The good news, though, is that this evening, Saturday, at The Melting Pot Cafe, Krowji, I will be attending the book launch for Wave Hub: New poetry from Cornwall. This is a new collection of the work of Cornish-based poets in which I am proud and grateful to be represented, The book has been edited by Cornwall'a own Dr Alan M, Kent, academic, poet, novelist and dramatist, and published by Francis Boutle. More details are here. Have a good week.