As If

Inspiration for entries into the Blog Hop Contest

Photo by Luis Beltran

[This photo taken by Mark Tipple for an article publish in ‘Demotix‘ in February 2009]

He was muttering as if
he was trying to describe
a vision he couldn’t share
with her; with anyone.
It was of something he’d never
seen before this moment;
a moment when she saw a look
on his face that carried away
all her fears; all her tears.
She felt no longer worried,
no longer afraid of the future;
only afraid that she could not
see what he could see;
this apparition, the vision
that transformed his face
to serenity, to happiness,
that even they in all their life
together, had never seen.
Something beautiful that
he could clearly see,

but not she.

Then, she, involuntarily
felt angry, full of rage
a sudden torrent of emotion
filled and puffed her tear-strewn face
As if he’d been unfaithful;
as if he would desert her;
after all these years.
How could he do that!

As if…

…something changed,
not in him, but her;
she felt what he was seeing,
that illuminated his face as if…
…and now she was incredulous.
She could not now believe
what he was thinking, seeing…
could not, would not entertain
the thoughts that entered her;
thoughts she could not fight;
that flowed so unexpectedly
like snow drifts in a storm
a snow filled wind
of blinding light;
of cool refreshing crystals
looking like white flowers;
a sea, an ocean of stocks.
And out of this there grew
the tallest trees of evergreen
protecting all beneath
their heavenly canopy.

As if.

Then he fell very still
relieved of his exertions,
of trying to tell her
all that he could see
and it was very quiet.

They’d dreamt for all their days
of this idea of heaven
a screen to pull down over
their lifelong view..

..of Bantar Gebang.

With her tears she washed
his calm closed eyes.

© 2012 John Anstie


This poem was intended to be an entry into the “Blog Hop” but it was too late. So here it is anyway. It was prompted firstly by the inspirational photograph above it and secondly by a programme I watched on Sunday evening, on BBC2 television, called “The Toughest Place to Be“. This link may not work for long, but it is a programme well worth watching, if for no other reason than to remind us of how fortunate we are in the affluent west. If you think, on the one hand, you have some complaint about the effect on your finances of the economic downturn, or, on the other, you’ve got some boxes to tick before you leave this mortal coil – maybe these involve travelling to see a few wonders of the world – as you make your plans, think about these ‘workers’ who are as good as destitute and trapped in poverty, in the kind of stomach churning stench that this environment presents; trapped not only for their own lifetime, but also the future for their children…

Workers scraping a living from the massive landfill site an hour east of Jakarta

Bantar Gebang – Courtesy Mark Tipple

I’ve read about organisations that are working to change things. No doubt the major ones, like UNICEF, who are concerned particularly about the plight of children in these conditions, and like the International Labour Organisation trying to set up schools for the children, who have to live and start working in these places at all too young an age. If there’s anything we can do, at the very least, it is to raise the consciousness of anyone and everyone, who should care about the inhuman effects of economic ‘progress’ and exploitation.

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