Sunday, 22 February 2015

Someone's Forgotten Their Manners

A slightly different version of today’s poem was published in various anthologies and poetry magazines (1997-2001) before appearing in my first major collection.

I have made numerous revisions to various poems over the years, some minor others major. While most revisions appear on the blogs, I hope (eventually) to publish revised editions of each collection in e-format.

Now, at first glance, nothing seems to have changed much in 20+ years, especially in the sense that a significant proportion of children and young people seem to be having as raw a deal as ever. (Oh, but haven't I said that before once, twice, maybe even a thousand times?) 

Could it be perhaps that if we all try harder to keep our own little piece of the world clean, safe, and a good place to be, all the other pieces may yet come together in a more bearable, worthwhile  whole…for everyone? 

So many people, rather than act on what their inner self is telling them, prefer to take their cue from the Scarlett O'Hara character in Margaret Mitchell's epic novel, Gone With the Wind. The heroine is always telling herself, 'I'll think about that tomorrow.' It is a common human tragedy that, for some of us tomorrow, never comes...


Gone shopping,
kids left running wild,
trolley rage mums
all smiles (dad’s at the pub);
dog mess everywhere,
kids busy shooting pool
at late-night venues
when not hanging out
on street corners

On the pavement,
collide with some kid
On a bike (my fault
of course, forgot to look);
knives out
in the playground,
acid in the park,
kids chasing death
for a lark

Cops in their stride
(‘Come on, let’s get even.’);
kids on a joyride
to Heaven, street siren
screaming, ‘Amen’;
Mum’s off her trolley,
Dad’s on the booze,
angel on the sideboard,
yesterday’s news…

Copyright R. N. Taber 1997; 2015

[Note: An earlier version of this poem appears under the title 'New Kids on the Block in Love and Human Remains by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2001; alternative title added 9/17; revised ed., in e-format in preparation.]

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