Thursday, August 27, 2009

Your Desert Island Disks, Hiss Hiss Hiss

The first "official poem" of Britian's new poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, appeared in June in The Guardian. An English friend sent it to me with a note: "Maybe this no longer rings true in the states where idealists can believe in politics again but this is the first poem from our new poet laurate . . ."

I suspect she was joking. It's always so hard to tell with the English.

Regardless, it's worth mentioning that while things are not quite as hopeless with Obama in office as they were during the eight years of George Bush, the political discourse in America still makes my "desert island disks" play "hiss hiss hiss". And worse, on some critical issues in this country, Obama has neither the inclination nor the authority to offer a reprieve. (We'll see if he can pull off health care reform.)

by Carol Ann Duffy

How it makes of your face a stone

that aches to weep, of your heart a fist,

clenched or thumping, sweating blood, of your tongue

an iron latch with no door. How it makes of your right hand

a gauntlet, a glove-puppet of the left, of your laugh

a dry leaf blowing in the wind, of your desert island discs

hiss hiss hiss, makes of the words on your lips dice

that can throw no six. How it takes the breath

away, the piss, makes of your kiss a dropped pound coin,

makes of your promises latin, gibberish, feedback, static,

of your hair a wig, of your gait a plankwalk. How it says this –

politics – to your education education education; shouts this –

Politics! – to your health and wealth; how it roars, to your

conscience moral compass truth, POLITICS POLITICS POLITICS.

***Does this poem remind anyone of Yeats' Politics? It seems to answer that the grace and beauty that provided relief to Yeats are gone, "latin, gibberish, feedback, static . . ."

1 comment:

  1. I am especially taken with

    makes of your kiss a dropped pound coin