Pat Arrowsmith was a pacifist and socialist. She was jailed 11 times for her non-violent direct action. She organised the first British protest against the nuclear weapons establishment in Aldermaston, Berkshire, in 1958. In 1961 she was the subject of parliamentary questions after she was force-fed while on hunger strike in Gateside prison.
Adrian Mitchell wrote of her: ‘Pat shows her love through her life and through her poetry. You can’t seperate the two of course. I’ve heard people say: “I’d like to write political poems.” The only answer is: “Then live a political life.”‘
She wrote several novels, political books, and poetry collections. This poem was written on 9th July, 1968 whilst she was on a peace mission to Cambodia. It was published in Help, Apple Road Review and in 1981 in the CND published collection of her poetry On The Brink.
Viewing a Cambodian Casualty
Are you real,
standing among the palms, surrounded by
fellow villagers, photographers
Your back is pencilled, crinkled, stretched
in a taut unnatural tissue.
You were burned, they say,
four years ago with
scalding jelly from a U.S. bomb.
But are they really scars on flesh
or just a map, a
diagram of human degradation?
Is it skin or paper so
tortured and disfigured?
My eyes glaze.
I merge with the cameras.
My eyes turn to lens.
I no longer see you but
merely a picture with a
You are viewed on the screen;
read about in papers;
observed at exhibitions.
Jellied petrol may have blistered you, but
I have been chilled by
white hot phosphorous;
my nerves iced;
my glands numbed;
my eyeballs frozen.
I too have been injured.
Paul Weller joins in the fight against Thatcher’s Youth Training Scheme, from the NME, 2 February, 1985.
A 1922 verse that’s still as true today.
John S. Clarke was a socialist MP, poet, and lion-tamer amongst many other things.
If you’ve searched without success in every pestilent latrine
For a sample of the most revolting filth the eye has ever seen;
If the garbage of the midden and the sewage of the drain
Reward you not, and all your efforts seem in vain,
Let not barren explorations fill your busom with despair,
Just trot around to Downing Street, you’ll sure unearth it there.
John S. Clarke
Reggae ranters reviewed in Brighton by Seething Wells from the NME, 17 September, 1983.
The late 80s saw a bouncing ska scene, and the Record Mirror, September 2, 1989 takes a look.
Love and Molotov Cocktails, number 5, 1983 has this in it: This prose was discovered by ‘R. Kelly’ of Blackpool, who noticed a group of teenagers “locked in discussion & making notes”. When he/she saw that the youngsters had gone, “I saw some of their pieces of paper on the ground so I picked them up” – this is what was written on the paper:
Maggie’s Hymn (On The Steps Of No. 10)
Blessed are the pure in heart
For they are so easily deceived;
Blessed are the pure in spirit
For they shall not oppose me;
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst for jobs
For they shall serve to keep inflation down;
Blessed are the meek
For they shall allow me to rule forever and a day.
Verily then I say unto you
The poor shall always remain with us,
For my policies are pure and simple
Many shalt pay, Yea, but few shall prosper.
And there shalt come much weeping and gnashing of teeth
For he who finds a job shalt lose it,
And he who loses his job for my sake
Shalt have his benefit taxed,
For what shall it profit me
If a man spends his life drawing non-taxable benefits?
Behold I preach unto the nurses and hospital workers –
Go forth and heal the sick, raise the dead,
Cleanse the lepers and cast out demons,
And do all these things without sufficient pay.
Neither expect more equipment nor new hospitals;
And I say unto the sick
Take up thy beds and walk,
For with you indeed is fulfilled the age old prophecy of our glorious Tory party,
Unto those who havest, shalt more be given
And from those who hath not even that which they havest shall be taken away;
For this is my law and the profits as they were
Are now and ever shalt be
Monetarism without end, Amen.
written sometime around June 9th, 1983