It being National Poetry Day with the 2011 theme of ‘Games’ here is a game based on a set of injunctions from a literary magazine of 2000, The Printers’ Devil. The game was to break all the injunctions at once. A little bad taste and a whiff of sacrilege was the ideal to aim at in a form cosy enough to embody the editors' worst nightmare.
BURYING A CAT
“The Printer’s Devil will accept no poems about cats, funerals, churches, the Holocaust or disasters seen only on television"
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.
Its wisdom warmed me while I thought of puss
and watched the evening lighting all its lamps
from English Adlestrop to Belarus*.
*2000 was the year of the great earthquake in Belarus.