polemical poetry to prickle the politics of "permanent austerity"
thistles stretch their prickly arms afar
Prime Minister’s Hospital Visit
(Israel 31 July 2015)
Gentle Leader, sleek and mild,
at bedside of this wounded child:
words won’t help, nor pictures all
ratify his photocall.
Fully-fledged compassion must
be seen to flourish, then the dust
may settle on mad settlers’ acts…
Yet none dispute the brutal “Facts
On The Ground” – removals done
by force or Wall, bulldozer, gun –
so babes and mothers, innocents
perish still while state pretence,
religious rule of righteousness,
can validate a sorry mess.
Thus fear begets a new context,
Revenge and Terror visit next…
For now, the Leader, slick and bland,
nods seriously, shakes head or hand,
proud keeper of his Promised Land.
Alexis Lykiard was born in Athens at the start of 1940, when Mussolini’s Italian troops were repelled by the Greeks in the North of the country. In 1957, at the age of 17, he won the first Open English Scholarship ever awarded by King's College, Cambridge, graduating with a First-class Honours degree in 1962. While at Cambridge University, he was editor of the university magazine Granta (originally called The Granta). He is author of over two dozen poetry collections, including Journey of the Alchemist (Sebastian Carter, 1963), Greek Images (Second Aeon Publications, 1972), Out of Exile — Selected Poems 1968–85 (Arc 1985), Safe Levels (Stride, 1990), Cat Kin (Sinclair-Stevenson, 1994), Skeleton Keys (Redbeck, 2003) and Getting On: Poems 2000-2012 (Shoestring, 2013). He is also known as translator of Isidore Ducasse, Comte de Lautréamont, Alfred Jarry, Antonin Artaud and many notable French literary figures. In addition, Lykiard has written two highly praised intimate memoirs of Jean Rhys: Jean Rhys Revisited (2000) and Jean Rhys Afterwords (2006). His latest poetry volume is School for Life (Shoestring Press, 2015). Website: www.alexislykiard.com.