28 February 2017

#28 - 'the other'

A dark line drawn across the map, the land,
the hearts and hopes. An old inconstant lover
turned traitor. Wars conducted undercover.

A cold, coherent stratagem that's planned
to split the world, to conquer and expand.
A paradigm which relegates your brothers
and sisters to the status of 'the other'.

My soul is slowly sucked into quicksand
I love you, fear you, curse you to your grave,
I want you, but your hate poisons my mind
a new refinement of an ancient art.

As flickering shadows play across the cave,
we drift into a dream of humankind
that more unites us than sets us apart.


27 February 2017

#27 And September Brings a Question

(The European theatre of World War II opened with the German invasion of Poland on Friday September 1, 1939 and the Soviet invasion of Poland on September 17, 1939.)

And September Brings a Question

And September brings a question of gold,
green and grey, minds struggle with gallantry.
Reckless are those boys with fight in their eyes
Uniformed for show, steel heeled, flippantly.

But June never came for innocent men
boys dressed up to glow, blood soon on their hands.
Death was a jerry can away, a fall
From frost bitten feet, tears on broken lands,

So tired they cry for the warmth of their home,
And those boys, friends whose names already fade.
The last leaves left on the branch, cold and clear
they will stay forever, trapped in the shade

where the trees grow now, in the homes they dug,
where they say, “the birds have never returned.”

26 February 2017

#26 - You Can't Possibly Rhyme Anything with Estonia, So Don't Even Try

If you don't know about Estonia
then let me clue you up on all the hype:
they've saved the lives of many lonely curs
you see, these clever folks invented Skype.

And if you think that they don't seem the type
then your impressions are erroneous –
they're part of a creative archetype:
resourceful, novel and industrious.

They've been invaded several million times;
but now they're independent once again.
They love to be enshrined in silly rhymes –
or, if they don't, they still wouldn't complain.

They love to sing and swing and carry wives
and I'm a little jealous of their lives...

25 February 2017

#25 - Contramural

Symeon the Great was King of the Bulgars from 893 to 927 CE. 
He was a badass who wanted to be Emperor.
This little history lesson is messing up my formatting.
Plus ça change.

Once more unto the walls of Theodosius!
Perhaps this time they might come tumbling down!
Your army four miles wide (and quite ferocious)
must surely be enough to win the crown –
that diadem imperial, the prize
for which you dedicated each campaign –
and cut those haughty Byzantines to size?
So march! great Symeon, and march again!

Ah, sorry, dude... Just wait a little longer.
I’m sure a bit of patience wouldn’t hurt you –
these days it’s more than just a Christian virtue;
and dreams with patience only grow the stronger.
Wait long enough, and – if you’re reading this –
a flight to Istanbul’s a piece of piss.


By en:User:Bigdaddy1204 - Photograph taken in June 2006 in Istanbul by en:User:Bigdaddy1204. All credits go to him., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=880970
To be fair, that's pretty impressive.

24 February 2017

#24 - Christiania

The guns of Christianshavn all stay mute
the isles and beaches reclaimed from the sea
the battlements now bear a different fruit:
a grass not native to this Danish scree.
As Aircondition, Autogena stand
where ball and shot and gunpowder were stored,
the Fakirskolen helps us comprehend
the pen is truly mightier than the sword.
The lazy curl of dope smoke fills the air
all down along the Stadsgraven canal,
and though our lives are never truly fair,
we have an optimistic rationale:
that Christiania will survive its trials
and look towards the future with a smile.


23 February 2017

#23 Wrapped in a White Sheet


Flag of Latvia 
 (Historical evidence places the Latvian flag among the oldest flags in the world. Legend refers to a mortally wounded chief  who was wrapped in a white sheet. The part of the sheet on which he was lying remained white, but the two edges were stained in his blood. During the next battle the bloodstained sheet was used as a flag.)

Wrapped in a White Sheet

And hope without an object cannot live
For by the time a finished smile renews,
The heat, so won, is void of that to give,
To life, the simple, fading, falling dew.

That old badge sown on top of heavy heart
A thin film, succoured on the scent of loss
Forced to hold high, the pieces torn apart
As they say, he, our saviour, held the cross.

So fight and raise the object all the same
and don't fear death, for time can always out,
So that ever after can come again
dressed, as always, in fevered dashing doubt,

That is doubled within its meaning true
And cast aside, to raise the Flag anew.

22 February 2017

#22 - Imaginary

Imagine, if you will, a Northern land
where darkness reigns for three months of the year
and, when you think you've had all you can stand,
the endless summer days start drawing near.
They've saunas, reindeer, Kiisseli and then
there's Santa Claus and lakes all laced with mist:
how shocked would you be, on a scale of ten,
if I told you that none of it exists?

It's just a myth, coz Reddit told us so
(they've never ever* steered us wrong before).
So promise me that you won't seek to go
to see that non-existent fjord-y shore.
Helsinki is a Finnish fantasy –
there's nothing there at all but open sea.

This view is completely imaginary

*There is very weird a conspiracy theory on Reddit that suggests that Finland is an imaginary country, and that there's nothing but sea between Russia, Sweden, Norway and Estonia. In this version of reality, Finland does not exist. This is clearly UTTER BOLLOCKS, but it seemed like a pretty interesting premise for a poem. In reality, Finland is a very real place, and it's pretty beautiful! (Thanks to Kelly Kanayana for the poem idea!)