Austere To The Point Of Extinction

Politicians nowadays, and to an extent have been throughout history, eager to cut programs for arts and humanities in favour of saving money for the reserve of the purely scientific. This is what they call ‘austerity’. This poem centres on just that. What will happen to society if the arts are eradicated? If children aren’t told that they can be artists? We will form into a monolithic society following production based careers only. Everything measured by economic benefit. This is not how we should live; not at all.

Cut my throat and the blood will run a scarlet sun
setting on the deepest dreams of all but some.
Red rain will pollute every river and every tree;
a bloody reminder that we’ll never be free.
The basest artist may well starve and die
but their sanguinary canvas will refuse to lie.

Now we live through a voltaic effulgence
banned from what’s seen as archaic indulgence
and we have found our lives not ours to paint,
like a vast sea stained with a distilled taint.
They constantly discuss notions of efficiency
ignorant to their own soulful deficiency.

My tears fall like watercolours,
as we fill in another asphalt grave.
The petrol black absorbs all colour;
the landscape could not be saved.

Cruelest Hope

This is pathetic. I am pathetic. I am in love.

Like an angel perched atop the greyest cloud,
my heart in it’s hands to which I have avowed.
I promised not to long for joy and love,
lest I displease the holy Gods above.

The scales of judgement offer me no mercy.
My mind is clouded and my view is dirty,
but when I promised that I’d be good and true,
I never anticipated falling in love with you.

Now it’s a story repeated many times before;
we never know what these feelings were for.
But it’s a hot desire replete with adoration
with the underlying coolness of admiration.

Can you tell that I tremble when I talk to you,
balk with humiliation when you leave the room.
But I’m left with such a deceitful possibility
that you might be invested in it for me.
These thoughts are treated with incredulity
but every single day I still hope that you’ll see
that I’m pining so pathetic and obviously,
for you.

Prince Of The Vultures

I think sometimes when someone has angered you a lot, you want to put it in the past and you want to forget about it. There are some times when this is hard, and I guess poetry or any sort of artistic expression is one of the healthier ways of processing feelings. This is based on the hatred I was afforded by my ex-boyfriend and his friends after our breakup, who called me terrible, false and slanderous things over the internet. It helps to remember that they’re simply cowards who find it entertaining to do this kind of thing. And I can remember that I turn my feelings into art whilst all they can do is seethe with hate.

You’re Machiavelli in sable feathers
with a knife concealed in Stygian tar.
Hiding within the thicket of brambles;
a coward dressed in bracken thorns,
commissioning your brood for the attack;
the very last of their nesting days.
Only seeing within your vision,
on a chessboard scoured of truth.
You’re watching from skeleton branches,
untouchable from above you coven,
and disguised in purest ivory silks;
deplorable in your bloody conquest.

A Perceived Distortion

This poem is about photography and newspapers, and how the images we see before us can tell so many different stories, whether they’re true or false. So much rests on what spin we put on them, and the explanations we give. I’ve chosen to put this in the context of the Second World War, particularly the London Blitz, but it’s still a topic that is very relevant today, as all of the newspapers we read have a particular political bias, and therefore the same story can serve two different interests. It’s all in the hands of the interpreter.

One picture shows a cathedral consumed by fire,
another shows it rising from the flames.
What if I told you they’re both the same photograph?
Does London burn or does it become strong again?

‘Oh! It’s a lovely war’
said by the lady in the widows weeds,
apparently.
‘We must defend British shores’,
uttered a lad of spectral seeds,
transparently.

For they’ve ashen faces and nowhere to go
searching for traces of someone they know.
The fires are burning but they frighten no more,
the tables are turning with death at their door.

Pick up a paper, you’ll see soldiers laughing,
read another and they’re dead in the field.
Some see a good life, others see the skeletons,
look behind the captions to see what is revealed.

‘Come, you must hide away’
shouted the general in uniform,
concernedly.
‘My faith will keep me safe’
prayed the woman with a cruciform,
avowedly.

For the light is all they have left to hope,
and their sight tells them they will not cope.
When the bombs come they’ll look to the clouds.
After the siren’s sung they’ll make it out.

But who’s to say what they’re feeling?
They may smile but they’re still reeling
from the missile smashing through the ceiling.
It’s their stories we make habit of stealing.
The rain washes away the ink of the page,
the page declaring stories of the age,
the interpretations of the pain and the rage,
of those who chose (or not) to engage.

When the records are lying, who will tell
the stories of the dying and their own hell?
Polarised are the thoughts in our minds
as we’re sought to become one of our kind.

Beyond The Stained Glass

This is a poem about someone who has been fascinated by what they have read about the Renaissance in books and what they have seen in paintings. They are totally entranced by the beauty of it and they would like to go five hundred years back in time to Italy and see it for themselves. This poem imagines that they have found themselves there and have found it to be a more complicated place than the picture they have been presented with. A place of danger and persecution, as well as artistic and intellectual enlightenment.

I’ve only seen the Renaissance in books and frames,
and in my mind this is such a great shame.
If I could charter a ship and sail through time,
I would talk with all of the great thinkers and minds.

Be a muse for Da Vinci and even more for Botticelli,
then return and wonder ‘have I lived once already?’
See a face in a painting that’s awfully familiar,
yet I’d just put it down to someone similar.

Dante’s circles may not be quite my thing
but neither are the angels that do sing.
Florence is hot in this Summer of flame
I must take care to not join this game.

I gaze in wonder at the grand ships of trade
but I remember the woes of those enslaved.
Who paid for the splendid basilica dome?
How much blood was sold to construct Rome?

I bring to mind what Machiavelli said,
keep yourself alive and bow your head.
These are the cities where the saints do sleep,
I should go home lest I wander too deep.