Poem of the week – July 19

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

To Whom It May Concern

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

Celia Celia

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.

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