Friday, 12 February 2016

The World this Weekend OR Postscript to Progress

[Update: April 15 2017]: It is Easter, when we should all be thinking of love and peace towards each other instead of the threat of a nuclear confrontation between North Korea and the United States of America. I can't recall anything quite like this since the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. I am am reminded by the song, Where Have All The Flowers Gone, that I first heard sung by Peter, Paul and Mary in 1962 although I confess I prefer the Joan Baez version (1967). When, indeed, will the conveniently anonymous yet all-encompassing 'they' ever learn? I love the song, not least because it made me think, just as it did a few minutes ago when I listened to it on You Tube: 

Some readers find it irritating that I link to historical as well as newer posts/poems while feedback suggests that others take a genuine interest. Possibly, if my blogs/poems survive my eventual passing from this world, posterity, too, may take an interest? I like to think so, but...who knows?]

Now, the poem below was written in 2002 but could have been written at any time in any century; an earlier version also appeared in an anthology - Daily Reflections, Triumph House [Forward Press] 2003 - and Ygdrasil, an on-line poetry journal, April 2005.

Some readers have questioned my use of the word 'Faith' in the last stanza. Well, as I have often said before on my blogs, religion does not have a monopoly on Faith. I chose to put mine in nature even as a child. 

Yes, The kind of spiritual strength that religious faith lends is important to many people and we should respect that. No less important to those like myself is the sense of spirituality we take from nature. More importantly, though, we need to have faith in ourselves...or how else can we expect it of others?

Where progress is a tool which we shape past, present and future, we need to make damn sure we get it right and write a living poem to last not an epitaph for the wind to wear down until no one can read what it says, or wants to…

It may be true that money talks, but it doesn't have the wit that words do.

This poem is a villanelle.


In pastures green or desert sand,
they haunt and pursue us,
history's lessons unlearned

Fear, much like a dead man’s hand,
appears sound, washed clean,
in pastures green or desert sand

Words,  drawn swords to the land,
ripping out its spleen;
history's lessons unlearned

Love, a well-worn but infinite strand
of hope on the world scene
in pastures green or desert sand

Time, a chance to make a stand
against war and pain,
history's lessons unlearned?

Faith would keep us safe and sound,
washing raw wounds clean;
in pastures green or desert sand,
history's lessons unlearned

Copyright R. N. Taber 2002; 2016

[Note: An earlier 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.]

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