Adrian Mitchell may have been known as “British Poetry’s Voice of the Left” for his pacifist anti-war poems, but to me, he was a writer first about human nature, and then about war. His anti- Vietnam poem, To Whom it may Concern also called Tell Me Lies made him an international figure. A couple of lines from the poem
I was run over by the truth one day.
Ever since the accident I’ve walked this way
So stick my legs in plaster
Tell me lies about Vietnam.
You put your bombers in, you put your conscience out,
You take the human being and you twist it all about
My personal favourites, including the banner poem on his home page, are below
When I am sad and weary,
When I think all hope has gone,
When I walk along High Holborn
I think of you with nothing on
For his daughter
Beatrix is Three
At the top of the stairs
I ask for her hand. O.K.
She gives it to me.
How her fist fits my palm,
A bunch of consolation.
We take our time
Down the steep carpetway
As I wish silently
That the stairs were endless.
For the great jazz musician Charlie Parker
He breathed in air, he breathed out light
Charlie Parker was my delight
And from his home page
SONG IN SPACE
When man first flew beyond the sky
He looked back into the world’s blue eye.
Man said: What makes your eye so blue?
Earth said: The tears in the ocean do.
Why are the seas so full of tears?
Because I’ve wept so many thousand years.
Why do you weep as you dance through space?
Because I am the mother of the human race.