Monday, March 22, 2010

This is not a protest poem

But it is an angry poem.

Having had a look at the poems the other brilliant poetry bus poets had to offer this week, I decided I'm being a bit cowardly.

Rachel Fox's post in particular was really inspiring (, and it's made me think a bit more about the way that I write poetry.

Having said that, this poem is not a protest poem.
Buuuttt TFE did ask for vitriol and venom and anger, and this is possibly the meanest, angriest poem I've ever written.

Barren thoughts

Look at you there with your bovine stare
and that thing in your arms you’re carrying as
though you’re not quite sure who put it there.
Oh please . . . . Don’t you dare look so wan.
If you hadn’t opened your legs like you did then those kids
you’re so dazed by wouldn’t even have been born.

Besides, do you think I’m a fool?
Don’t you think I can see your pride too?
Oh I see it alright, gleaming in there,
in your dumbstruck eyes and your unadorned face
that smugly tells all you don’t need any help
from my kind of war paint any more.

You’re a mother. A breeder. A queen.
You’re a sow with her suckling pigs.
Bowed by the weight of your new-born child . . . Well
at least I still walk straight and tall.
See? Look at me! Back unbent, chin held high. No years of weight-lifting
great platter faced children like yours.

I’d hate to think what you must look like inside
after pushing each one of those out.
Did you manage a break between birth
and concept? Or was there just no time to spare?
No failures for you, then - no clots of bright blood
lost down the loo of some A&E ward.

Just children, their small mouths like slaps in my face,
as you walk past, your bright brood in tow.


  1. wow!... this was a shock! and hugely powerful!
    It speaks for itself really, imagery to burn, and the words do burn... excellent, ballsy stuff!

  2. Watercats! Was just over at your place having a listen to your music - Really enjoyed Sweep away (I think that was the name of it, anyways)

    Thanks for the comment:)

  3. This is a fantastic poem, and yes pretty furious, but amazing images in there - the platter faces, the small mouths being like slaps. Feckin great, and as Watercats says Ballsy too. Really a knockout.

  4. Personally, I don't think I'd have the bravery to write a piece like this. What churned up feelings about the inability to procreate and the comparison with those who seem to do so effortlessly.
    I am in awe.

  5. 'Look at you there with your bovine stare'

    Holy cow, great opening line and later, 'their small mouths like slaps in my face' Brillo!
    Iasked for vitriol and I's got it!

  6. Thanks a million Niamh - was a bit nervous about posting it, so it's great to get such nice feedback.

  7. Peter, well, tis easy enough to write it, but putting out there is certainly a different matter. Thanks a million for your comment.

  8. Thanks tfe. The whole prompt's got me thinking about protest poems and the role of tackling issues through writing, so thanks for making my lazy brain work a bit harder.

  9. Ouch, ouch, ouch. That's what you call not holding back! I bet you did worry about posting well done on the bravery front.

    There has been such variety this week. Amazing.

    Thanks for mention too.


  10. Serious wow to this one. As TFE said, superb opening line, and in truth, it doesn't let up after that. I really like the turn in the second stanza - as soon as you get to "pride" you suspect this is going to a different place than you thought.
    And the final two lines are stunning.
    Really enjoyed this, it's a read-and-read-again-er.

  11. Thanks Rachel - I did chicken out at first, but then decided, what the hell.

    Titus, thanks - really appreciate your comment, as always.

  12. I don't know why you thought this might be cowardly. It's so furious it sizzles. Good work, containing your wrath at this breeder and letting it loose with such tight-fisted writing.
    It is my first time around the block on the bus and I've been very impressed...

  13. Cracking, crackling stuff! Liked "great platter faced children". The anger just burns out of this! Really glad you posted it.

  14. Enchanted Oak, Thanks for visiting.
    This one was my second (braver) attempt - The first (slightly cowardly) offering was posted below.
    Welcome to the Poetry Bus. It's a great vehicle, me thinks. See you over at yours!

  15. Thanks a million Argent - It is a very angry poem, so I wasn't quite sure how it would be taken. Really glad you liked it.

  16. I salute you for your bravery! I can only imagine how difficult it was to post this, but I have to tell you that this is brilliantly written. It takes us right along with you and, as Titus said, we begin to suspect then finally see it coming. Those ending lines are really powerful. Excellent work!

  17. Thanks very much Karen - I'm not usually so brave, but was inspired by the honesty of some of the other offerings.
    As usual, it was a great prompt from tfe.

  18. Jesus, Mary and Joseph! You go girl!