Last Year

(Same River, New Waters …)

Last year passed me the golden glove
You know, the one with a fist of iron.
She wanted no more of it.    Nor I.
Those glossy, glittering, glistening,
shining products of a golden age
had lost their sheen and the age of
growth and worshipping at the alter, 
where God Demands Profit*, is so last year.

Meanwhile, in the town, at Star Books,
We were reading over a tax-free coffee,
batting ideas on who could pay the bill
and how you make your money work,
if only we had some.

No longer bleeding from the lungs
but from now emptying wallets
consumption was her daily bread
and the disease that strangled
generations, who died of terminal debt,
the improper death of innocents.

Where is our misplaced virtue,
should we be held to account?
Maybe no more, and yet we must
pay due heed and plant a seed of hope,
to fight for nourishment forgone.

It might have been the will of the people,
but, for folk who step in the same river
ever newer waters flow …

© 2019 John Anstie
All rights reserved

[The core of this poem was influenced by the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, who lived around the 5th century BCE and was well know for his thesis about ever-present change, that “no man ever steps in the same river twice”, which, in modern parlance, suggests that you can ‘reinvent’ the wheel. It is a subtle but, for me, a very compelling philosophical perspective.

It was first published in the The Bardo Group Beguine on 22nd April 2019]

* … GDP or ‘Gross Domestic Product’ is the standard statistic by which economic growth is measured.

About PoetJanstie

“Life is short and art long, the crisis fleeting, experience penniless and decision difficult” ~ Hippocrates. 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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3 Responses to Last Year

  1. MOMENTS says:

    I also like philosophy very much. Some time ago I read a book about Heraclitus told from the perspective of his slave. In fact, it is a novel, a fictionalised autobiography of that slave written by Catalan author Pep Coll. (I don’t think there is an English translation)
    It inspired me this haiku:

    Liked by 1 person

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