Monthly Archives: December 2021

List Of Demands

Punk poetry is a term much loved by lazy promoters. Saul Williams delivers it proper, and proves it’s best when it’s not what people think it is (it’s generally a term used to mean ‘working class accent’), back in 2004.

High Rise

Poem by a youthful Tony Marchant from Riot Stories anthology Mixed Up Shook Up, 1979.

High Rise

There are headstones for our cities –
Grey cornered, two hundred stubborn feet high
And are inscribed with the lives of all who
Live inside; one vast, vertical, hopeless sigh.

Families have been filed away behind doors
Of the silent, stale, yellow lit corridors
Like bits of useful, official paper; children
Without games growing up in furnished drawers.

Staring down, the trees look tidy in the shrunken square
But their whizz-kid’s pencil plans have fouled up
And now that the valium is wearing off – didn’t
They notice? It’s high enough to jump.

Tony Marchant

Among His Books

Edith Nesbit, author of, among others, The Railway Children, had poetry published in anarchist magazine Freedom. She was a follower of William Morris, one of the founders of the Fabian Society, and a friend of Peter Kropotkin and Eleanor Marx.
This poem was published in her collection Leaves Of Life, 1888.

Among His Books

A silent room – grey with a dusty blight
Of loneliness;
A room with not enough of light
Its form to dress.

Books enough though! The groaning sofa bears
A goodly store –
Books on the window-seat, and on the chairs,
And on the floor.

Books of all sorts of soul, all sorts of age,
All sorts of face –
Black-letter, vellum, and the flimsy page
Of commonplace.

All bindings, from the cloth whose hue distracts
One’s weary nerves,
To yellow parchment, binding rare old tracts
It serves – deserves.

Books on the shelves, and in the cupboard books,
Worthless and rare –
Books on the mantelpiece – wheree’er one looks
Books everywhere!

Books! Books! The only things in life I find
Not wholly vain.
Books in my hands – books in my heart enshrined –
Books in my brain.

My friends are they: for children and for wife
They serve me too;
For these alone, of all dear things in life,
Have I found true.

They do not flatter, change, deny, deceive –
Ah no – not they!
The same editions which one night you leave
You find next day.

You don’t find railway novels where you left
Your Elsevirs!
Your Aldines don’t betray you – leave bereft
Your lonely years!

And yet this common Book of Common Prayer
My heart prefers,
Because the names upon the fly-leaf there
Are mine and hers.

It’s a dead flower that makes it open so –
Forget-me-not –
The Marriage Service…well, my dear, you know
Who first forgot.

Those were the days when in the choir we two
Sat – used to sing –
When I believed in God, in love, in you –
In everything.

Through quiet lanes to church we used to come,
Happy and good,
Clasp hands through sermon, and go slowly home
Down through the wood.

Kisses? A certain yellow rose no doubt
That porch still shows;
Whenever I hear kisses talked about,
I smell that rose!

No – I don’t blame you – since you only proved
My choice unwise,
And taught me books should trusted be and loved,
Not lips and eyes!

And so I keep your book – your flower – to show
How much I care
For the dear memory of what, you know,
You never were.

Edith Nesbit

Reality Demands

Poem by Polish poet, Wisława Szymborska (1923 – 2012). In 1996 she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Reality Demands

Reality demands
that we also mention this:
Life goes on.
It continues at Cannae and Borodino,
at Kosovo Polje and Guernica.

There’s a petrol station
on a little square in Jericho,
and wet paint
on park benches in Bila Hora.
Letters fly back and forth
between Pearl Harbor and Hastings,
a moving van passes
beneath the eye of the lion at Chaeronea,
and the blooming orchards near Verdun
cannot escape
the approaching atmospheric front.

There is so much Everything
that Nothing is hidden quite nicely.
Music pours
from the yachts moored at Actium
and couples dance on the sunlit decks.

So much is always going on,
that it must be going on all over.
Where not a stone still stands,
you see the Ice Cream Man
besieged by children.
Where Hiroshima had been
Hiroshima is again,
producing many products
for everyday use.
This terrifying world is not devoid of charms,
of the mornings
that make waking up worthwhile.

The grass is green
on Maciejowice’s fields,
and it is studded with dew,
as is normal grass.

Perhaps all fields are battlefields,
those we remember
and those that are forgotten:
the birch forests and the cedar forests,
the snow and the sand, the iridescent swamps
and the canyons of black defeat,
where now, when the need strikes, you don’t cower
under a bush but squat behind it.

What moral flows from this? Probably none.
Only that blood flows, drying quickly,
and, as always, a few rivers, a few clouds.

On tragic mountain passes
the wind rips hats from unwitting heads
and we can’t help
laughing at that.

Wisława Szymborska

Voltairine De Cleyre Organises

Brief bit of news from the paper Freedom a journal of anarchist communism, Vol XV, No. 155, February, 1901.

The news from Philadelphia is brief but good. Voltairine De Cleyre has reorganised the Ladies Liberal League into the Social Science Club of that city, and they have been holding some splendid open-air meetings (what has Jack Turner to say to that?), until the inclemency of the weather compelled them to cease; they are now carrying on weekly meetings indoors. Philadelphia has a good few comrades, and the winter promises to be lively there.

Under Someone’s Door

Poem from Wobbly Words zine, number 1, 1981.

A Note Passed Under Someones Door
Dear -.
It was very nice of you to lend me your body last wednesday afternoon and I will be eternally grateful for that lesson in seduction, but I can’t come out with you tonight because I want to practice on top of someone else.


Carol Seagrove