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 conveiently 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:

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 evn as a child. 

Yes, Faith is important to many people and we should respect that/ Perhaps, even 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…

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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