Saturday, 22 August 2015

Progress, Bitter-Sweet or N-A-T-U-R-E, Broken but Never (quite) Defeated


A slightly different version of today’s poem first appeared in the Poetry Now [Forward Press] anthology series, London and Home Counties (2001) I included it in in my second collection the following year. Somear. Some readers may well prefer the original, but as regular readers of the blog aware, I am often inclined to give in to a feeling for revision where certain earlier poems are concerned. I see revisions as extensions of a poem, not simply replacements. 

Now, can we honestly call the rape of our forests and woodlands…progress?

Humankind needs to balance its own humanitarian needs with the needs of nature to help sustain them. If we are not careful, nature will get the upper hand sooner rather than later, destroy us before we can destroy it or even ourselves. 

Whatever, to the victor, the spoils as the march of today’s Titans of big business and entrepreneurial skulduggery proceeds all but unchallenged and unchecked...

PROGRESS, BITTER-SWEET or N-A-T-U-R-E, BROKEN BUT NEVER (QUITE) DEFEATED

Shadows gathering
like crowds for an execution;
storm clouds rumbling
like a malediction on the planet;
challenging us to bow out
here and now or put things right
(if it's not already too late);
for our children, prepare a future
in harmony with nature

In a spotlight of sunshine,
luminous corn circles invoking
the mystery of eternity,
human parts all but played out,
hearts put to  rout,
hounded by a native savagery
plaguing the purer, simpler, 
beauty of a common humanity
haunted by history

To nature, allow its dignity
or ‘progress’ a poor victory

Copyright R. N. Taber 2001; 2015


[Note: A slightly different version of this poem appears in 1st eds. of First Person Plural by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2002; revised ed. in e-format in preparation.]

No comments :