Monthly Archives: April 2017

Apples And Snakes Anthology

The first anthology from Apples and Snakes gets a review in Jamming!, number 21, October, 1984. Funnily enough it’s an anthology that at times when Salena Godden and I are drunk we get the book of the shelf and play “Where are they now?”
Also reviewed are books by Adrian Mitchell and an anthology of West Indian poetry edited by James Berry. There’re a few poems from readers too.


Pursey’s Poem

A poem by Sham 69’s Jimmy Pursey from Speedball ‘zine, number 2, March, 1988. The poem was first in the NME, 4 August, 1979.

Pursey’s Poem

My manager said
“It’s going to be fantastic”
They’re crying out for you
The stage was set
The final fling
But out in the audience
They didn’t realise what was happening
The curtain lifted my eyes
Saw their faces and they saw mine
They knew and I knew that was the
Very last time Sham 69 would fall in line
The bouncers looked like sheep
That couldn’t hear a wolf-a-calling
The audience looked like the boy that
Cried wolf and no-one was listening
And I, me, the band and all
Were only there to play Rock’n’Roll
At Glasgow the fantasy was seen for real
Sham couild play and I could feel
At London it was so cold
The Place, the record company, the £ note spiel
The kids fighting, singing, not giving a fuck
What’s wrong Jimmy Pursey please tell us the truth
Did the nightmare hurt you
Or did your dreams come true
That when you become Joe Public
They tell you sorry son
That’s us not you

Jimmy Pursey

A Song For The Spanish Anarchists

This Herbert Read poem was in his 1939 anthology Poems For Spain edited by Stephen Spender and John Lehmann.
Many of the poems in the book are by writers who had volunteered in the International Brigades to support the Spanish Republican government against General Franco’s troops, including John Cornford and Charles Donnelly, who were killed in combat. Spender and Lehmann’s introduction stresses the crucial role of poets in the international anti-fascist struggle, and expresses their desire for a new genre of popular poetry:

In a world where poetry seems to have been abandoned, become the exalted medium of a few specialists, or the superstition of backward peoples, this awakening of a sense of the richness of a to-morrow with poetry, is as remarkable as the struggle for liberty itself…

A Song for the Spanish Anarchists

The golden lemon is not made
but grows on a green tree:
A strong man with his crystal eyes
is a man born free.

The oxen pass under the yoke
and the blind are led at will:
But a man born free has a path of his own
and a house on the hill.

And men are men who till the land
and women are women who weave:
Fifty men own the lemon grove
and no man is a slave.

Herbert Read