polemical poetry to prickle the politics of "permanent austerity"
thistles stretch their prickly arms afar
Sixteen, on lease from grammar school, the woods
roamed as a kid small beer, the lower sixth
long summer months ahead, I yearn to be
a working bloke, a goshawk that’s escaped
the leash, free wheel, relapse to feral state.
They shift, like Witnesses you’re door-stepped by,
shaft space for argument with homily,
feign fundamental truth, and now, dark days,
twenty-fifteen, purblind, equivocate
for market madness, broken on a rack
of kindness, in the bankers’ thrall.
the thread again, with Thatcher in between,
the Miners’ Strike, Belgrano, litany
of greed, Iraq, Blair weave. I got the gist
back there, class in my marrow, sinew, blood.
Yet all too soon I’m bored with slaving on
some building site, while bingo, slot machine
and Coronation Street are not my scene.
Fuck scholarship, I crave debate: thing is
they mantle you, unravel inside out,
refabricate; don’t suit in either mob,
though know inside what’s real, peace man an’ love.
I’m gypsied in my head, round peg, square hole,
with songs to stir the heart that haunt my soul.
Peter Branson is poet, songwriter and traditional-style singer whose poetry has been published by journals in Britain, the USA, Canada, Ireland, Australasia and South Africa, including Acumen, Agenda, Ambit, Anon, Envoi, London Magazine, North, Prole, Warwick Review, Iota, The Frogmore Papers, The Interpreter’s House, SOUTH, Crannog, THE SHOp, The Columbia Review, The Huston Poetry Review and Other Poetry. His latest book, Red Hill, Selected Poems, 2000-2012 by Lapwing, Ireland, came out in May 2013.
The ayes have it all
General Election Day plus one
After the razzmatazz, papershop bloke’s
hindsight mumming-play trite, grounded, you know
little will change for many, yet, for some,
strings will snag tight. Their mates, they’ll do all right,
gross ever more. Poor, jobless, old and sick
will moulder on the vine: disparity
their sub-text, by degrees, ex Bullys, old
Etonians, will spin to weave crook law.
My youth, we dreamed the time danced free, yet they
unlevelled things again, each five year stretch
a liberty, hard labour, public face
“No other way!” one nation, same tired score;
key players crowding Mother’s market stall,
Necessity unbridled, tooth an’ craw.