Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Shades of Armageddon

Readers (gay, straight, male, female, all ages) sometimes get in touch when they are visiting London and we meet up for a few drinks and/or a meal and generally put the world to rights. I always enjoy these meet-ups so never hesitate to email me if you want to get together for a friendly chat about… whatever. Email me anyway, if you happen to be in the mood.  I always reply to emails, but don’t allow comments because they take up too much space.

I must thank all those readers who emailed me when I was housebound for nearly six months after my accident last year. Our exchanges were a welcome relief from pain and boredom.

Now, men and women of all socio-cultural-religious backgrounds have fought for peace, and are still fighting towards the same end. Yet, I sometimes look around at the alcoholics, drug addicts, mentally ill and homeless people on our streets, not to mention those with a glazed look in their eyes as if they are not sure where they are going or why…and wonder, whatever happened to peace and is Armageddon perhaps closer to us here on the Home Front than any of us realise…?

We can do more for the less fortunate in our societies, surely, or could it be the case that the well-heeled among us, including many world leaders to be found in various echelons of various societies (not excluding political or religious) believe peace is little more than a public relations issue, well worth exploiting but as a distraction from self-interest rather than a permanent end in view?

And what is peace? It is not simply a matter of feeling secure. We may feel secure in our homes, jobs etc. if far less so in this Age of Austerity and the ever-present threat of so-called Islamic State and other terrorist groups, but how far are we ever at peace within ourselves? If we don't watch out, we may well meet our own Armageddon. (Regular readers will know that I believe positive thinking is the key to winning even those battles we may appear to have love, war, and all our other - less obvious perhaps, but no less significant - dealings with human nature, especially in relation to self-esteem.)

No easy answers, for sure. But maybe we should start asking the right questions?  No one wants to look in a mirror and see the enemy. If world peace is an elusive ideal, we CAN make peace with ourselves and each other, trusting its ripples spread...

This poem is a villanelle.


Turning on the heat;
flowers dying too soon,
bodies in the street

Short straws, long wait,
larks singing out of tune
turning on the heat

Time, running out
of craters on the moon;
bodies in the street

H-E-L-P, a last shout
above denials of acid rain
turning on the heat

No-hopers on a rout,
chancing an about-turn;
bodies in the street

So what's it all about?
(never too late to learn);
bodies in the street
turning on the heat

Copyright R. N. Taber 2003; 2017

[Note:This is a later version of a poem that first appeared in an anthology Caught in Time, Poetry Now (Forward Press) 2003 and subsequently in The Third Eye by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2004 - of which a revised ed, in e-format is in preparation.]

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