I dig this out because it's late. We have just come back from the Michael Frayn event at UEA and there are things to think about tomorrow This might fill a space. It's an old squib in response to a magazine's general invitation to submit, the invitation carrying the following warning:
XYZ will accept no poems about cats, funerals, churches, the Holocaust or disasters seen only on television.
I thought this, on the whole, fair enough but wondered whether I could write a poem that could break all the rules at once.
BURYING A CAT
ON THE DAY PICTURES OF THE BELARUSSIAN EARTHQUAKE
WERE BROADCAST ON THE NINE O’CLOCK NEWS
I leant on a cathedral wall and saw
the little box descend into cold earth.
The soil was hard, the winter wind was raw,
blowing for all it was worth.
I stood and thought of others who had died,
their screaming faces transfixed on the screen,
a few by hunger, some by suicide,
some in between.
A Polish nurse in a field hospital
who’d starved and suffered in the Nazi camps
told me a story I can’t now recall.
Her wisdom warmed me while I thought of puss
and watched the evening lighting all its lamps
from English Adlestrop to Belarus.
Trying to ring all the wrong bells there. Some at least. I thought it worth doing but I didn't send it. It's nothing special. Think of it as a semi coherent remark.