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What You Won't Read in the Guardian

Tonight at noon, I was struggling with a metaphor:
an imaginary girl was sitting in an imaginary coffee shop
reading an imaginary copy of Henry James:
in order to make a metaphor for something I imagined
might be of more interest than it was to me.
I wanted to create the illusion that her eyes; her grey eyes:
were like a seal breaking the surface of the water.
That would be allowable I believe.
But, allowable.
A suitable subject for a poem; about nothing;
that would offend no one, and maybe evoke some kinship
before slipping back beneath the waves: like a seal.

That was today at noon.
But now not so much.

Who was the girl? What was she wearing?
Why was she in that cafe 'where nets hung like shrouds'
and the outside world 'mere shadows on the latticed glass'?
I don't know.

Of course she was middle class, in a flowered dress
and leggings.
Why else would she be reading Henry James?
Or in a tea shop? Come to that.

For one must be bourgeois to write poetry.
And one must forget all the movements of art
and deal only in the constructs of the in-humane:
the terse, the deus ex-machina of the leftist,
the eternal fragrant future, and the toothless poor in bus stations;
who while they occasionally amuse: for poetic pathos:
exist only to eternally confirm, and deny.

Rather like those girls in Rotherham; sorry; slags:
who have waited years for justice to be denied
by the overshadowing of their abuse by the timely production
of yet more dirt on Saville, and the other celebs.
I mean far be it for a simple poet
to point out the years in which we were told not to speak
or it would fuel the 'right wing',
And how useful that Savile can prove white men do it too,
whenever a turn in the shameful affair comes to light.
No doubt when the police start getting sacked,
and it comes to light that officers of the council were up to no good,
a new report will come out
to show Savile was doing the same.

And the name Rotherham, need not be mentioned


◄ Scorta

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jeremy young

Sun 28th Feb 2016 22:49

"This forum is for sharing poetry, not distributing dodgy diatribes intended to hit imaginary targets."

I invited you, within the poem, to state that it is not a poem: because you disagree with the dialectic, and don't wish to consider the issues - and you have.

I fail to see the imaginary.

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jeremy young

Sun 28th Feb 2016 22:31

Hi Cynthia, I'm not sure why you suggest the final stanza lacks discipline, it is constructed and expressed with the same care and attention as the rest of the poem.

Yes, I agree 'slags' is a strong term, and the women involved were frequently labeled as such throughout this affair, and also in the recent court cases, and indeed still are in some quarters - hence why I use the word.

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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Sun 28th Feb 2016 19:53

Jeremy, so much of this is really good, especially at the beginning. IMO, the first four stanzas are super, a complete work. The next stanza is good in itself, another poem. And then, it just seems to derail into a third 'work' that takes off like an express train without a driver.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by 'sorry slags', which may not be derogatory at all by intent. Words are so powerful, and open to singular or regional interpretation.

You are a classical thinker. And I greatly admire that. Just not sure what happened to your instinctive discipline.

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Julian (Admin)

Sun 28th Feb 2016 13:52

Poem? I don't think so.

This forum is for sharing poetry, not distributing dodgy diatribes intended to hit imaginary targets.

No reconstruction here, sadly.

Some innovative use of colons though.

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jeremy young

Sat 27th Feb 2016 20:56

Indeed - thank you for confirming that the poem hits the intended target.

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steve pottinger

Sat 27th Feb 2016 13:16

This poem led me to check today's Guardian website. There at the top of the page, alongside pictures of the guilty: "Ringleader of Rotherham sexual abuse gang jailed for 35 years". I scrolled down the page: no mention of Savile (note the spelling, btw). So much for a cover-up.

The sad and ugly truth is that men of *all* backgrounds commit abuse. Savile mixed with the great and the good; the men from Rotherham did not. I doubt that fact (or their ethnicity) mattered a jot to their victims.

Did the girls in Rotherham have to wait far too long for justice? Yes. But now it's finally arrived it has been neither denied nor overshadowed, and I feel it's unhelpful to misrepresent that. Savile's victims suffered appallingly. These girls suffered appallingly. We're quite capable of understanding that they were poorly served by a system which let *all* of them down. Whatever the intention of this poem, I respectfully suggest the girls deserve better than being described as 'sorry slags', and the pain of Savile's victims is not something which should be written off as usefully proving 'white men do it too'. Abuse is not an issue to play politics with.

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