If there were ever worthier cause than this,
then tell me please. To start and think how each
and every step we take will mark the ground.
Enduring footprints, howsoever small,
one day will rise in thousands, coalesce
into a hardened monument, that stands
… forever irresistible to all.
Each bastion will strengthen a resolve,
exposing the futility of war;
the rape of Mother Earth. To save her soul,
repeat again, unquestioning, the need
for all to find another way … for all;
and seek new social order; politic.
And might this be our greatest ever quest
that every day we do or be our best
ensuring love and kindness finds a place
in every breath we take, that gives us grace
to reconcile conflicting minds and cease
the fighting; search for everlasting peace.
© 2016 John Anstie
All rights reserved
This poem was first published in the October 2016 edition of the The BeZine, whose theme for the month was ‘Rituals for Peace, Healing and Unity’.
This poem is written in Blank Verse, concluding with three rhyming couplets.
“Life is short and art long, the crisis fleeting, experience penniless and decision difficult”
As a young man, John was sporting and fit. It was then as much his recreational therapy as a cappella harmony singing, music, walking in the hills and writing is now. Playing Rugby Union for over twenty years, encouraged in the early days by a school that was run on the same lines and ethos as that famous Scottish public school, Gordonstoun, where our own headmaster had been as a senior master. This gave shape and discipline to a sometimes precarious early life.
His fitness was enhanced not only by playing rugby, but also by working part time jobs in farming, as a leather factory packer and security guard, but probably not helped, for a short time, selling ice cream!
His professional working life was spent as a Metallurgical Engineer, Marketing Manager, Export Sales Manager, Implementation Manager and Managing Director of his own company. Thirty five years spent, apparently in a creative desert, raising a family, pursuing a career and helping to pay the bills, probably enriched his experience, because his renaissance, on retirement, realised a hidden creative talent as a writer of prose and poetry. He also enjoys music, with a piano and a fifty-two year old Yamaha FG140 acoustic guitar. He sings bass in three a cappella harmony groups: as a founding member of a mixed voice chamber choir, Fox Valley Voices and barbershop quartets. He is also a member of one of the top barbershop choruses in the UK, Hallmark of Harmony (stage name of the Sheffield Barbershop Harmony Club), who, for the eighth time in 41 years, became UK Champions in 2019. He is also a would be (once upon a time or 'has been') photographer with drawers full of his own history, and an occasional, but lapsed 'film' maker. In his other life, he doubles as a Husband, Father, Grandfather, Brother, Uncle, Cousin, Friend and Family man.
What he writes is sometimes autobiographical, often political, sometimes dark and frequently pins his colours to the mast of climate change and how a few humans are trashing the Earth. In 2013, he published an anthology of the poetry (including his own) of an international group of poets, who met on Twitter in 2011. He produced, edited and steered the product of this work, "Petrichor Rising", to publication by Aquillrelle.
His sort of strap-line reads: “ iWrite iSing iDance iChi iVolunteer ”
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Sorry I’m late John. I’ve missed your poetry and this was beautiful one for the occasion. I like the odd flow and the rhymes at the end. Often, I get hung up on poetry construction, but the more I write of it (wrote one for the first time in ages!), the more I realize it does not need a smooth transition from one line to the next.
I know I hear the stanzas read a certain way, and others will hear it differently. Now, I concentrate on the text and how its meaning drives the poem. Although construction is still important, I give it less importance.
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Yes, the words are always the most important thing. This whole piece is written in one of my favourite forms, Blank Verse (in iambic pentameter without obvious rhyme), in which Shakespeare wrote all his plays. The three rhyming couplets to finish it just arrived almost incidentally as I was writing it. I think it works.
Thanks for dropping by, not that there’s been much to drop in for over the past year or so. 🙂
John, you have a talent for expressing a depth and strength of feeling for the universal and the individual. Thank you for sharing this piece that shines hopeful on our day of remembrance.
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Thank you Jo-Anne for dropping and taking time to comment, complimentary as ever you are.
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