Now released as an album via Soundcloud. All audio tracks are free to access but if you prefer to see what they’re saying, the book is still available from Amazon.
Rapture, by Phillippa Yaa de Villiers, is dedicated to the protection of South Africa’s rhinos and is reproduced here in support of World Rhino Day.
Rapture by Phillippa Yaa de Villiers
We have to keep going as if there is a future, but it’s the end of the world,
the rapture, screaming bodies hurled to heaven. Wars everywhere and the middle
east burning: the smell of bodies lost to wonder, the callous mistake of statistics
sunburnt holes in the sky and the ritual murder of elephants and rhinos
almost industrialized, like our responses as automatic as breathing
as automatic as pressing a button as automatic as autopilot settings
as bodies kept alive by machines, and we are asked what we think
like/don’t like and there’s the debate and the edge of the world subsides
into flames of not caring. The world will end and we are nowhere near
the ones we love and the cold voice of the airport tells us to hurry to our boarding gate;
the ark is only half-built, the launch of the new strategy for the state is still waiting
for a coat of paint.
Here’s our life spread out in Eliot’s etherized surgery, facing Soyinka’s unwelcome guest
who won’t care about whether or not it’s convenient for you, will come calling when he likes
and when death comes for me I want to be busy making light. It won’t do to blame politicians for
power failures, I thank them as I write you, poem, into life.
Not dead yet, I’ve still got the whole night because I am not the one who was shot, banned or
almost beheaded, I am not the victim of some gruesome experiment with power, I simply
stand and stare at our world and write down what I see and even though it is misunderstood
at times, it stands.
The world ended just a moment ago
for another rhino lying in its lonely blood but that might not be on the news tomorrow.
Probably not. The news is hardly ever of sorrow but of egos mortally offended, naked
emperors and a child’s laugh as he paints the funfair of history. The electricity of connection
fails to resurrect our community, we’re in the dark here, so take this small hand,
this poem, this picture, spark stolen
from a power failure in Johannesburg:
may it light your way till you find your own.
First published in the 2013 anthology For Rhino in a Shrinking World (Ed Harry Owen) and subsequently with audio in the anthology Let Me Tell You a Story, 2016.
I wrote this in a poetry workshop so it must be a poem, yes? But when I sent it out into the world to be appraised for publication (I know, delusional) they said it wasn’t really. It’s been hanging around on my blog ever since, puffing out its chest and posturing to make up for its perceived inadequacies. So in honour of, or more likely a threat to, National Poetry Day, I give you:
He is brazenly, brilliantly, brassed off by the polished politics of the righteous right.
He heats arguments on pupils bright as buttons of molten jet in eyes alive with intellectual trickery.
He rolls concepts and ideas over the strop of his tongue like globules of mercury, loosed from the tedium of measurement.
His love of chase is betrayed by tiny garnet blushes on nose and cheeks; cooing infants to his icy fire of victory.
He scrubs the thoughts of neophytes with the steel wool of Socratic questioning.
Deftly iterating incantations of hegemonies, he hides exquisite diamond cuts in the woollen clouds of distracting verbiage.
He wears iron filings on his chin and calls them his beard; a professorial promulgation of proletarianism.
His wisdom does not come in glossy spheres to be cast before swine, but in the weft and warp of knit-one-purl-one patchwork blankets of the Workers’ Struggle.
Ideas settle like wise moths in the old, gold grail of his ancient and modern mind, to feed on dusty nets of idealism.
Like neglected and slowly rusting scaffolding, his body is there only to house the sapphiric laser of his intellect.
He chisels and chips at the coal face of complexity, mining for perpetuity in the legacy of runes.
©suzanne conboy-hill 2011
Ethereal prose of shining
Artistry goes pining for
Oh, acrostic! That’s not the same as sarcastic then?
Ether poetry challenge October 19th.
Climbing for Jesus
I was spent
From Sunday School
There was a fox and
Up there on the rocks
Home to roost
In wet tights
Aren’t they all bent,
Hunters of souls’ rent?
©suzanne conboy-hill 2011
Pen-y-Ghent is a fell in the Yorkshire Dales. This happened. Even the fox.
For the last couple of months, I’ve been immersed in the peculiar world of poetry in order to produce something passable for my OU course. Today, the product of my bemused labours went off to the university for judgment and the long wait for a grade begins. Actually, anything above ‘WTF is that!’ will suffice. I did the required 40 lines; I put my name on the paper; I didn’t take the mick. That’s a pass, surely?
So did I learn anything? Well, for a start, I found that poetry describes itself in terms of both feet and meters, thereby flouting European Directives on measurement, which may still be a hanging offence in parts of Scotland. Worse, I discovered that poets communicate using an exclusive and arcane language that looks like a hybrid of algebra and a medieval incantation. There are iambic pentameters, metonymys, tankas, and tragic flaws. There are also words I’m pretty sure have been made up and get changed, like code, so that only the Insiders know what they mean. I’m onto them though. These are some of the ones I think I’ve figured out:
Trochee: an operation you have when you’ve got your breathing spaces wrong in your performance poetry [cf trocheeostomy]
Enjambment: a distortion of enjambonment which is a crush at the ham counter of Sainsbury’s, or any branch of the Doggerel Bank.
Synecdoche: a form of currency used by the old East London Jewish community [cf ‘That’s a faarkin ridiculous amount of dosh!‘ in reference to the salaries of Premier League footballers.]
Quatrain: Gene Hunt’s off-roader.
Squint poetry: poetry written in size 8 font.
Anapest: a type of wallpaper that obliterates structural flaws.
Caesura: poetry needing radical surgery that ends up delivering a litter of haikus
A Found Poem: something Network Rail Lost Property won’t let you have back even if you can prove it’s yours and no one else wants it anyway.
And now for something sensible; a book reading by Dean Koontz in Second Life: