polemical poetry to prickle the politics of "permanent austerity"
thistles stretch their prickly arms afar
After we have searched the heavens
and, at last, discovered them – we have,
after all, been conditioned to accept that
it is in our nature to hunt them down –
will we be fit enough to meet them, or
will we know in our hearts they might
consider that we’re too wanting (it could
be they’ve been watching us and judge
we’re not worth bothering with – so immature
and unkind). And who will be the advocate
we choose to send to greet them. Must there
be a battle between the followers of John Lennon
and those of the self-styled leader of the free world.
Will there be a referendum: On the one hand who
will be prepared to approach them open-handed
and, on the other, who will believe we must send
them tough messages in the shape of missiles,
blow them apart to prevent them penetrating
our security apparatus. Will we be persuaded we
must destroy them (just in case they find us out,
discover our squalor, inequality and injustice –
our shame, the ghastly mess we made of things)
or might we dare imagine that they live their
perfect lives in peace, and they will come
to show us how to put things right, or will we
believe that they can be only dreaming.
Geoffrey Winch was born and raised in Reading, Berkshire in 1943. Since his poetry first appeared in small press magazines in 1992 he has become widely published both in the UK and USA as well as online. Some of his recent poems have been published in Under the Radar; Ink, Sweat and Tears; Agenda (supplement); Sarasvati, South and South Bank Poetry in the UK; and Bright Star, Haibun Today and Atlas Poetica in the USA. He has been a selections co-editor for South, and in 2011 was ranked the UK’s best small press poet by Purple Patch magazine. He has published two poetry pamphlets: The Morning Light of Dusk (Feather Books, 2004), and Turns Along the Garden Path (Poetry Monthly Press, 2007); and three full collections: Letting the Road-Dust Settle (Indigo Dreams, 2010) which coincided with his final retirement from a career spanning 50 years that encompassed cartography, land surveying and highway engineering; Alchemy of Vision (Indigo Dreams, 2014) which focussed on his lifelong interest in the performing, visual and literary arts; and West Abutment Mirror Images (Original Plus, 2017).’ Since relocating to West Sussex in 2001 he has been involved with a number creative writing groups in the area for whom he also leads occasional workshops, and he is a regular reader at the Chichester Open Mic.