Poetry is on its way

This time I was planning to talk about something else. I couldn’t. Something stronger hit me, ate me,consumed me, asked me till the nervous breakdown.

I would have talked about the haiku and the “tweet” (I’m not sure about the connection anymore!).

Norwich is going to be my issue today. Norwich and our (mine and yours, dear reader) experience here.

Here I have tried the battle of the emigration, the everyday annoyances to live (not survive, fortunately!). Easy, for a European.

After few days I heard voices. Voices speaking so loudly but naturally, even constantly increasing in volume.

And all these voices were about something else, someone else, something good.

The final effect, in me, was to feel as I felt bombed by the other people’s struggles and fights, by the other creatures. The ultimate effect in me, was a mind’ stretch , a neck’ revolution, a change of prospective.

It seemed as the homeless were discreet and the migrants lost in a cynical shadow: here, they did not seem to exist. And how funny was to think that I saw first the helper and then the helped. And of course the poetry was on it’s way.

Because also Andrew Motion, laureate poet, had to stop writing indulgent poems for the royal family. He was overpowered by these voices too. Voices all around:

Take William, or Will

As he has become,

stripped of his name

and his safe estate

now the rush of loss

has dumped him down

in the freezing gap

of doorways and steps

among the others the same,

all fallen from grace

with rates and foxes

and event those codgers

the stinking badgers

who lost their place

among fields and farms

so went to earth

in a shanty town

of cardboard boxes

where passers-by

might sometimes throw

a word or coins,

and later dream

at home and warm

they hear a spine

curve round and creak

against the rain

or ice-threads snap

when a fuddled head

on its pavement-bed

lifts, then settles back.

(Andrew Motion, “What is given”)

On trains, on buses and on some fliers given from the stand there near the Forum, I could not see anything but bees, bees, bees and only bees: a large front and advertising campaigns to preserve this little hero and the beekeeping.

Then, at the afternoon poetry reading in the Greenhouse, I sat by my little wooden table, with my poetry, with my tea and cookie, and the walls bloomed of draws and paintings… full of bees.

Then I embraced the issue, a buzzing shout:

To sweeten infusions,

for instance, with the syrupy

product distilled by

teamwork, is this final goal,

the whole meaning of life,

for one who can fly?

A constant honeymoon,

with the sweet scents

of an entire season,

ought it not to suffice

even for one who detests

the hive and the honeycomb?

(Antonello Borra, “The Bee”)

My journey was fine, a great stroll that forced me to walk between advertising, poems rich in all of these heroes; I was between strangers, bloody injuries.

This was fine for me, but was devastating for someone else: somebody seemed merely asking: “Why do I have to watch all of that? Homeless are unlucky, bees are just annoying insects, migrants… well, they should have stayed in their creepy homes!”. This was such a great therapy for both, me and him. Forced to watch, like the one in Clockwork Orange.

Forced to watch REAL horror: 

My mother

(oh black mothers whose children have departed)

you taught me to wait and hope

as you have done through the disastrous hours

But in me

life has killed that mysterious hope

I wait no more

it is I who am awaited

Hope is ourselves

your children

travelling towards a faith that feeds life

We the naked children of the bush sanzalas

unschooled urchins who play with balls of rags

on the noonday plains


hired to burn out our lives in coffee fields

ignorant black men

who must respect the whites

and fear the rich

we are your children of the native quarters

which the electricity never reaches

men dying drunk

abandoned to the rhythm of death’s tom-toms

your children

who hunger

who thirst

who are ashamed to call you mother

who are afraid to cross the streets

who are afraid of men

It is ourselves

the hope of life recovered.

(Augustinho Neto, “Farewell at the moment of parting”)

Oh God. What if there was something that all of us could do. What if the whole mass media’ food chain (tv, newspaper, cook book, magazines, advertising) gently started to to inject all of these issues, the thoughts could change.

Then I woke up.


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