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The Revolution Will Not Be Televised -- Gil Scott-Heron

Guest poem submitted by Paramjit Oberoi:
(Poem #1527) The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
 You will not be able to stay home, brother.
 You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out.
 You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and skip,
 Skip out for beer during commercials,
 Because the revolution will not be televised.

 The revolution will not be televised.
 The revolution will not be brought to you by Xerox
 In 4 parts without commercial interruptions.
 The revolution will not show you pictures of Nixon
 blowing a bugle and leading a charge by John
 Mitchell, General Abrams and Spiro Agnew to eat
 hog maws confiscated from a Harlem sanctuary.
 The revolution will not be televised.

 The revolution will not be brought to you by the
 Schaefer Award Theatre and will not star Natalie
 Woods and Steve McQueen or Bullwinkle and Julia.
 The revolution will not give your mouth sex appeal.
 The revolution will not get rid of the nubs.
 The revolution will not make you look five pounds
 thinner, because the revolution will not be televised, Brother.

 There will be no pictures of you and Willie May
 pushing that shopping cart down the block on the dead run,
 or trying to slide that color television into a stolen ambulance.
 NBC will not be able predict the winner at 8:32
 or report from 29 districts.
 The revolution will not be televised.

 There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
 brothers in the instant replay.
 There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down
 brothers in the instant replay.
 There will be no pictures of Whitney Young being
 run out of Harlem on a rail with a brand new process.
 There will be no slow motion or still life of Roy
 Wilkens strolling through Watts in a Red, Black and
 Green liberation jumpsuit that he had been saving
 For just the proper occasion.

 Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Hooterville
 Junction will no longer be so damned relevant, and
 women will not care if Dick finally gets down with
 Jane on Search for Tomorrow because Black people
 will be in the street looking for a brighter day.
 The revolution will not be televised.

 There will be no highlights on the eleven o'clock
 news and no pictures of hairy armed women
 liberationists and Jackie Onassis blowing her nose.
 The theme song will not be written by Jim Webb,
 Francis Scott Key, nor sung by Glen Campbell, Tom
 Jones, Johnny Cash, Englebert Humperdink, or the Rare Earth.
 The revolution will not be televised.

 The revolution will not be right back after a message
 About a white tornado, white lightning, or white people.
 You will not have to worry about a dove in your
 bedroom, a tiger in your tank, or the giant in your toilet bowl.
 The revolution will not go better with Coke.
 The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath.
 The revolution WILL put you in the driver's seat.

 The revolution will not be televised, will not be televised,
 will not be televised, will not be televised.
 The revolution will be no re-run brothers;
 The revolution will be live.
-- Gil Scott-Heron
These are the lyrics to Gil Scott-Heron's electrifying song, "The Revolution
Will Not be Televised" from his 1970 album "Small Talk at 125th and Lenox".
I love the contrast between the irrelevance of television, and the raw power
of *real* significant events.  Reading the poem makes you feel you're in the
middle of a revolution, and almost makes you want to get "out there" and
start shouting...  Though very powerful when read, you really have to listen
to the song to get the full effect of this piece.


[biographical information from]

One of the most important progenitors of rap music, Gil Scott-Heron's
aggressive, no-nonsense street poetry inspired a legion of intelligent
rappers while his engaging songwriting skills placed him square in the R&B
charts later in his career.  Born in Chicago but transplanted to Tennessee
for his early years, Scott-Heron spent most of his high-school years in the
Bronx, where he learned firsthand many of the experiences which later made
up his songwriting material. He had begun writing before reaching his
teenage years, however, and completed his first volume of poetry at the age
of 13.   Though he attended college in Pennsylvania, he dropped out after
one year to concentrate on his writing career and earned plaudits for his
novel, The Vulture.

Encouraged at the end of the '60s to begin recording, Scott-Heron released
his 1970 debut, Small Talk at 125th and Lenox, inspired by a volume of
poetry of the same name, and soon found success on the R&B charts.  Silent
for almost a decade after the release of his 1984 single "Re-Ron," the
proto-rapper returned to recording in the mid-'90s with a message for the
gangsta rappers who had come in his wake; Scott-Heron's 1994 album Spirits
began with "Message to the Messengers," pointed squarely at the rappers
whose influence -- positive or negative -- meant much to the children of the

Afton Water -- Robert Burns

Guest poem submitted by Matthew Brooks:
(Poem #1526) Afton Water
 Flow gently, sweet Afton, among thy green braes!
 Flow gently, I'll sing thee a song in thy praise!
 My Mary's asleep by thy murmuring stream,
 Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream.

 Thou stock-dove, whose echo resounds thro' the glen,
 Ye wild whistling blackbirds in yon thorny den,
 Thou green-crested lapwing, thy screaming forbear,
 I charge you disturb not my slumbering fair.

 How lofty, sweet Afton, thy neighbouring hills,
 Far mark'd with the courses of clear winding rills;
 There daily I wander as noon rises high,
 My flocks and my Mary's sweet cot in my eye.

 How pleasant thy banks and green valleys below,
 Where wild in the woodlands the primroses blow;
 There oft, as mild Ev'ning sweeps over the lea,
 The sweet-scented birk shades my Mary and me.

 Thy crystal stream, Afton, how lovely it glides,
 And winds by the cot where my Mary resides,
 How wanton thy waters her snowy feet lave,
 As gathering sweet flowrets she stems thy clear wave.

 Flow gently, sweet Afton, among thy green braes,
 Flow gently, sweet river, the theme of my lays;
 My Mary's asleep by thy murmuring stream,
 Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream.
-- Robert Burns

Here is a poem for The Wondering Minstrels. It's in the "summer" theme.
Afton Water is one of my favorite poems, mostly because of the sense of deep
peace and tranquillity that comes over me when I read it. There is something
about the pace and rhythm of this poem... I think it is the combination of
alliteration ("Where wild in the woodlands the primroses blow") and the
gentleness of the nature imagery that works. And it is also purely,
unabashedly romantic. The facts about Robert Burns are chronicled elsewhere.
Another great aspect of this poem is that it has lent itself to song, having
been set to music by several diverse singers and groups, all of which
preserve the spirit of the work... it is one of those poems that really
deserves to be read aloud.


Thief -- Robert Graves

Guest poem submitted by Ian Shields :
(Poem #1525) Thief
 To the galleys, thief, and sweat your soul out
 With strong tugging under the curled whips,
 That there your thievishness may find full play.
 Whereas, before, you stole rings, flowers and watches,
 Oaths, jests and proverbs,
 Yet paid for bed and board like an honest man,
 This shall be entire thiefdom: you shall steal
 Sleep from chain-galling, diet from sour crusts,
 Comradeship from the damned, the ten-year-chained-
 And, more than this, the excuse for life itself
 From a craft steered toward battles not your own.
-- Robert Graves
        From 'Collected Poems', 1959.

This well fits the "poet cranky" theme. Graves, like Patrick O'Kelly (see
Poem #266) appears to have been the victim of a thief, dipped his pen in
venom, and engaged in a cathartically poetic exercise. It has been said, "a
conservative is a liberal who has been mugged". I am a clinical psychologist
who deals exclusively with juvenile delinquents (mostly car thieves and
burglars) in a clinic for the morally challenged (i.e., the county jail). As
such, I cannot indulge myself in angry outbursts against the outrages of my
clients; it wouldn't promote good therapeutic rapport. An occasional rant
like Graves', however, is good for the psyche and soul.

Dr. Ian Shields
Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre

Sensation -- Arthur Rimbaud

Guest poem submitted by Aditi Balasubramaniam:
(Poem #1524) Sensation
 Through blue summer nights I will pass along paths,
 Pricked by wheat, trampling short grass:
 Dreaming, I will feel coolness underfoot,
 Will let breezes bathe my bare head.

 Not a word, not a thought:
 Boundless love will surge through my soul,
 And I will wander far away, a vagabond
 In Nature - as happily as with a woman.
-- Arthur Rimbaud
        March 1870
        trans. Wyatt Mason

The poetry of Arthur Rimbaud seems to be conspicuous by its absence in your
anthology. I am submitting 'Sensation' in the original language [see below -
ed.], along with my favourite translation by Wyatt Mason. I love the
simplicity of the poem and its unusual but wonderfully effective adjectives.

More of his poetry can be found at and more
on Rimbaud can be found at :


[original poem in French]

 Par les soirs bleus d'été, j'irai dans les sentiers,
 Picoté par les blés, fouler l'herbe menue,
 Rêveur, j'en sentirai la fraîcheur à mes pieds.
 Je laisserai le vent baigner ma tête nue.

 Je ne parlerai pas, je ne penserai rien :
 Mais l'amour infini me montera dans l'âme,
 Et j'irai loin, bien loin, comme un bohémien,
 Par la nature, heureux comme avec une femme.

        -- Arthur Rimbaud

An Ethical Grook -- Piet Hein

Guest poem submitted by Benjamin Paul Withy :
(Poem #1523) An Ethical Grook
 I see
    and I hear
       and I speak no evil;
 I carry
    no malice
       within my breast;
 yet quite without
       a man to the Devil
 one may be
       to hope for the best.
-- Piet Hein
This only sort of fits "the poet cranky" theme.  While I'm sure this was
written in jest, as so many of Hein's poems are, I feel it is a lovely turn
of phrase which most people can appreciate the sentiment behind.  I think
I've already exceeded the length of the poem with my comment so I'll stop

Slough -- John Betjeman

Continuing the theme...
(Poem #1522) Slough
 Come, friendly bombs, and fall on Slough
 It isn't fit for humans now,
 There isn't grass to graze a cow
   Swarm over, Death!

 Come, bombs, and blow to smithereens
 Those air-conditioned, bright canteens,
 Tinned fruit, tinned meat, tinned milk, tinned beans
   Tinned minds, tinned breath.

 Mess up the mess they call a town --
 A house for ninety-seven down
 And once a week for half-a-crown
   For twenty years,

 And get that man with double chin
 Who'll always cheat and always win,
 Who washes his repulsive skin
   In women's tears,

 And smash his desk of polished oak
 And smash his hands so used to stroke
 And stop his boring dirty joke
   And make him yell.

 But spare the bald young clerks who add
 The profits of the stinking cad;
 It's not their fault that they are mad,
   They've tasted Hell.

 It's not their fault they do not know
 The birdsong from the radio,
 It's not their fault they often go
   To Maidenhead

 And talk of sports and makes of cars
 In various bogus Tudor bars
 And daren't look up and see the stars
   But belch instead.

 In labour-saving homes, with care
 Their wives frizz out peroxide hair
 And dry it in synthetic air
   And paint their nails.

 Come, friendly bombs, and fall on Slough
 To get it ready for the plough.
 The cabbages are coming now;
   The earth exhales.
-- John Betjeman
My thanks to Frank O'Shea (the instigator of our current theme -- "The Poet
Cranky") for re-introducing this poem to me. (I'd read it in the past, but
for some reason it failed to stick in my mind).

Betjeman has been described as the poet of nostalgia, but what I like about
today's poem is not so much the fond remembrance of things past which runs
like an undercurrent through almost all his work, as it is the unabashed
loathing with which the poet describes the industrial wasteland that Slough
has become. I do enjoy an old-fashioned, no-holds-barred rant...



Here's some more about Slough:
  [broken link]

Here's a biography of John Betjeman:

The Bloody Orkneys -- Hamish Blair

Another poem in our series on 'The Poet Cranky', submitted by Frank O'Shea:

Since I suggested this topic, here is another one to keep things going.
(Poem #1521) The Bloody Orkneys
 This bloody town's a bloody cuss
 No bloody trains, no bloody bus,
 And no one cares for bloody us
 In bloody Orkney.

 The bloody roads are bloody bad,
 The bloody folks are bloody mad,
 They'd make the brightest bloody sad,
 In bloody Orkney.

 All bloody clouds, and bloody rains,
 No bloody kerbs, no bloody drains,
 The Council's got no bloody brains,
 In bloody Orkney.

 Everything's so bloody dear,
 A bloody bob, for bloody beer,
 And is it good? - no bloody fear,
 In bloody Orkney.

 The bloody 'flicks' are bloody old,
 The bloody seats are bloody cold,
 You can't get in for bloody gold
 In bloody Orkney.

 The bloody dances make you smile,
 The bloody band is bloody vile,
 It only cramps your bloody style,
 In bloody Orkney.

 No bloody sport, no bloody games,
 No bloody fun, the bloody dames
 Won't even give their bloody names
 In bloody Orkney.

 Best bloody place is bloody bed,
 With bloody ice on bloody head,
 You might as well be bloody dead,
 In bloody Orkney
-- Hamish Blair
I have no idea who the author is, but would love to learn.

Anyone who goes to the Orkneys or to any other Scottish islands and
complains about the beer deserves everything they get. People who visit
Scottish islands should stick to single malt and if they complain about
that, they are about ready to be put down. Before I die, I would love to
spend a week in Islay - you don't allow advertisements, I suppose, so I had
better not say any more.


On Those that Hated the 'Playboy of the Western World', 1907 -- William Butler Yeats

A nice follow-up to yesterday's piece:
(Poem #1520) On Those that Hated the 'Playboy of the Western World', 1907
 Once, when midnight smote the air,
 Eunuchs ran through Hell and met
 From thoroughfare to thoroughfare,
 While that great Juan galloped by;
 And like these to rail and sweat
 Staring upon his sinewy thigh.
-- William Butler Yeats
Yeats was never overly fond of critics, and it shows in quite a few of his
poems. (See, for instance, "The Scholars", Minstrels Poem #1482). And when
some misbegotten reviewers had the temerity to criticise his friend J. M.
Synge, this was Yeats' marvellous (and vicious) rejoinder -- a fitting
addition to our "The Poet Cranky" theme.


The Curse -- J M Synge

Guest poem submitted by Frank O'Shea , who suggests
running a a series under the heading 'The Poet Cranky':
(Poem #1519) The Curse
 Lord, confound that surly sister,
 Blight her brow with blotch and blister,
 Cramp her gullet, lungs and liver
 In her guts a galling give her.
 Let her live to earn her dinners
 In Mountjoy with seedy sinners.
 Lord, this judgement quickly bring
 And I'm your servant, J. M. Synge.
-- J M Synge
 Note: Mountjoy is a Dublin prison.

The poem was in answer to one of the critics of his Playboy of the Western
World. In reply, Synge attacked the critic's sister! It is likely that the
poem was never intended for publication, but Yeats got his hands on it and
sent it to Lady Gregory and she never lost anything. So it was kept for
posterity as a beautiful piece of invective, only partly tongue-in-cheek.

Isn't it a pity that we seem to have lost the art of good invective? Now,
all people do is use the well-abused F and C words from the Anglo-Saxon or

You already have one of the very best of the cranky poet genre in James
Stephens' "translation" of Daithi O'Bruadair's poem "The Glass of Beer"
(#185). I put the inverted commas because it is a translation in the sense
that Fitzgerald's is a translation of the Rubaiyat, owing more to Stephens
than to the originator.


The World Is A Box -- Sophie Hannah

Guest poem submitted by Zenobia Driver:
(Poem #1518) The World Is A Box
 My heart is a box of affection.
 My head is a box of ideas.
 My room is a box of protection.
 My past is a box full of years.

 The future's a box full of after.
 An egg is a box full of yolk.
 My life is a box full of laughter
 And the world is a box full of folk.
-- Sophie Hannah
There's this amazing collection of poems edited by Carol Ann Duffy called
'Overheard on a Salmarsh' (which also is the title of a poem by Harold
Monro) [Minstrels Poem #594 - ed.] in which poets choose their favourite
poem from among their own writings and then choose a favourite children's
poem which could have been written by anyone. Sophie Hannah chose "The World
Is A Box" as her favourite poem from among her own writings.

I liked all the 'box' analogies, but I really loved 'my life is a box full
of laughter' -- I think that's the sign of a good, well-enjoyed life. I
would love to lie back in a rocking chair at the age of 80, with a cup of
steaming hot chai in my hand, and reflect on my life and feel that it's a
box full of laughter. What more could one ask for ? (apart from a hot samosa
to go with the chai).


The Shipfitter's Wife -- Dorianne Laux

Guest poem submitted by Deepali Uppal:
(Poem #1517) The Shipfitter's Wife
 I loved him most
 when he came home from work,
 his fingers still curled from fitting pipe,
 his denim shirt ringed with sweat
 and smelling of salt, the drying weeds
 of the ocean. I would go to him where he sat
 on the edge of the bed, his forehead
 anointed with grease, his cracked hands
 jammed between his thighs, and unlace
 the steel-toed boots, stroke his ankles,
 his calves, the pads and bones of his feet.
 Then I'd open his clothes and take
 the whole day inside me -- the ship's
 gray sides, the miles of copper pipe,
 the voice of the first man clanging
 off the hull's silver ribs, spark of lead
 kissing metal, the clamp, the winch,
 the white fire of the torch, the whistle
 and the long drive home.
-- Dorianne Laux
I first came across Dorianne Laux when I read 'The Shipfitter's Wife'. The
poem inspired me enough to check out other poems written by her. She has an
ability to capture magic out of daily humdrum events and write about them
with an astonishing amount of honesty which I have rarely seen anywhere
else. Her poems cover love, loss, death in simple yet extremely vivid and
evocative language.

I haven't seen any of her poems on this list, so I thought I would submit a
few of them.


The Cinnamon Peeler -- Michael Ondaatje

Guest poem submitted by Joyce Heon:
(Poem #1516) The Cinnamon Peeler
 If I were a cinnamon peeler
 I would ride your bed
 and leave the yellow bark dust
 on your pillow.

 Your breasts and shoulders would reek
 you could never walk through markets
 without the profession of my fingers
 floating over you.  The blind would
 stumble certain of whom they approached
 though you might bathe
 under the rain gutters, monsoon.

 Here on the upper thigh
 at this smooth pasture
 neighbour to your hair
 or the crease
 that cuts your back.  This ankle.
 You will be known among strangers
 as the cinnamon peeler's wife.

 I could hardly glance at you
 before marriage
 never touch you
 - your keen nosed mother, your rough brothers.
 I buried my hands
 in saffron, disguised them
 over smoking tar,
 helped the honey gatherers...

 When we swam once
 I touched you in the water
 and our bodies remained free,
 you could hold me and be blind of smell.
 You climbed the bank and said

          this is how you touch other women
 the grass cutter's wife, the lime burner's daughter.
 And you searched your arms
 for the missing perfume

                      and knew

            what good is it
 to be the lime burner's daughter
 left with no trace
 as if not spoken to in the act of love
 as if wounded without the pleasure of a scar.

 You touched
 your belly to my hands
 in the dry air and said
 I am the cinnamon
 peeler's wife.  Smell me.
-- Michael Ondaatje
Here is my favorite by Ondaatje.  Love the sensual nature of the poem, the
playfulness.  How nicely it expresses the way love lingers on the body, even
away from the loved one.  Certainly this is one of my favorite love poems.
And yes, wouldn't it be marvelous to go about smelling like apple pie.

R. Joyce Heon.

Villanelle for an Anniversary -- Seamus Heaney

Guest poem submitted by VG:
(Poem #1515) Villanelle for an Anniversary
 A spirit moved. John Harvard walked the yard,
 The atom lay unsplit, the west unwon,
 The books stood open and the gates unbarred.

 The maps dreamt on like moondust. Nothing stirred.
 The future was a verb in hibernation.
 A spirit moved, John Harvard walked the yard.

 Before the classic style, before the clapboard,
 All through the small hours of an origin,
 The books stood open and the gate unbarred.

 Night passage of a migratory bird.
 Wingflap. Gownflap. Like a homing pigeon
 A spirit moved, John Harvard walked the yard.

 Was that his soul (look) sped to its reward
 By grace or works? A shooting star? An omen?
 The books stood open and the gate unbarred.

 Begin again where frosts and tests were hard.
 Find yourself or founder. Here, imagine
 A spirit moves, John Harvard walks the yard,
 The books stand open and the gates unbarred.
-- Seamus Heaney
I love villanelles, and this one is no exception. Apparently written to
commemorate Harvard University's 350th birthday, it has a very special
secretiveness about it, as though someone is whispering it quietly in one's
ear. I don't think the villanelle form is as well used as in some other
villanelles on your site (in particular 'Miranda' by W. H. Auden and 'Do Not
Go Gentle' by Dylan Thomas) but every time I read this poem, it makes me
want to go and carpe the diem. But it's not so much the central idea of the
poem as the little details that endear it to me. All alone in the night, no
one else awake, listening to the almost silence of a bird flying overhead...
why does it seem like heresy that Seamus Heaney read this poem aloud to a
large gathering of people at Harvard's 350th anniversary?


When I was fair and young, and favour graced me -- Queen Elizabeth I

Guest poem submitted by Mac Robb:
(Poem #1514) When I was fair and young, and favour graced me
 When I was fair and young, and favour graced me,
 Of many I was sought their mistress for to be.
 But I did scorn them all, and answered them therefore,
      'Go, go, seek some otherwhere
      Importune me no more.'

 How many weeping eyes I made to pine with woe;
 How many sighing hearts I have no skill to show.
 Yet I the prouder grew, and answered them therefore,
      'Go, go, seek some otherwhere
      Importune me no more.'

 Then spake fair Venus' son, that proud victorious boy,
 And said, "Fine dame, since that you be so coy
 I will so pluck your plumes that you shall say no more
      'Go, go, seek some otherwhere
      Importune me no more.'"

 When he had spake these words, such charge grew in my breast
 That neither night nor day since that, I could take any rest.
 Then lo, I did repent that I had said before,
      'Go, go, seek some otherwhere
      Importune me no more.'
-- Queen Elizabeth I
A poem to supply the lack of Qs among the poets in the archive.

Queen Elizabeth wrote this poem in the mid-1580s when she was in her 50s.
Her life-long love, Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester remarried after 18
years' widowhood -- contrary to the 1998 Shekhar Kapur film "Elizabeth,"
Dudley was not banished in disgrace and well into middle age Elizabeth's
obvious, though certainly unconsummated, love for him continued to occasion
adverse comment in her own and foreign courts. This was a time when royal
marriages were dynastic and pragmatic; erotic love was not a proper basis
for them. And one final dalliance with the prospect of marriage, this time
with the much younger Duc d'Alençon, the brother of the king of France, had
come to naught. The poem can be interpreted as a commentary on the Queen's
sad realisation that opportunities for fulfilling her passionate nature in
marriage were now past. Or perhaps more generally the sadness and loss
involved in acquiring painful wisdom.

Mac Robb
Brisbane, Australia

Poetry Reading -- D M Thomas

Guest poem submitted by Victoria Field:
(Poem #1513) Poetry Reading
 Almost too diffident to choose,
 His hand skims his slim paperbacks;
 Matronly arses in tight slacks
 And grey men trying to look sage,
 A dozen scattered round the hall,
 Sit patient as the poet um's
 From page to page before he comes
 To something low-keyed, trivial,
 He might, um, read. His voice, a moth's

 Slow stuttering flight. My brain grows numb.
 This is the English idiom:
 Reserved free verse, laconic, slight.
 Two hours of this and I can't smoke.
 I sip the complimentary plonk.
 My eyes stray to the double-doors;
 If only Anna's 'drunks and whores'
 Frequenting Petersburg's 'Stray Dogs',
 Herself among them, skirt worn tight,
 Would burst in with their fug of smoke,
 And show him what poetry's about!

 I think of Alexander Blok,
 'The tragic tenor of his age',
 His eyes like an electric shock;
 Of Osip Mandelstam, that verse
 Which sent the Kremlin mountaineer
 Into a paroxysm of rage
 And him to labour camps and death
 From typhus near Vladivostok.

 I think of how his widow knew
 Each line of his entire work
 By heart; though scarcely dared to sleep
 For fear she might forget a line.
 Of course it helped her that he wrote
 In metre, the device by which
 A poem can memorise itself.
 For poems without form we keep
 Having to reach up to the shelf.

 His voice still flutters like a moth.
 I could have stayed at home to wank.
 I fix my gaze upon the wall
 Of the bleak assembly hall,
 Seeing, in well-typed Roman, verse -
 Or so it looks; it can't be worse
 Than his; I blink to clear my eyes...
 No, it's 'In the event of fire.'
 That's droll... We have his poetry,
 There's no fire that it can't control.

 Imagine -dear God!-memorising
 This poet's work! There's just one line
 Of his I love, and know by heart;
 Almost sublime, and as surprising
 As, through black clouds, a harvest moon:
 'And now, um, now... perhaps... to end...'
 Not yet. Not yet. Stalin, old friend,
 Send in your thugs. An instant burst.
 Then bury him in some silent wood.
-- D M Thomas
Note: Stray Dogs - a cabaret in pre-Revolutionary Petersburg noted for
poetry and dissipation.

D. M. Thomas is a poet, novelist, translator and biographer who is best
known for his controversial novel 'The White Hotel'. His first stage play
'Hell Fire Corner' (see has just closed its first
ten day run in Truro.

He is Cornish, not Welsh, and no relation to Dylan Thomas - more details on
his website .  He has a new poetry collection
forthcoming from Fal (see entitled 'Dear
Shadows', a large section of which deals with the cultural and personal
changes experienced by the Cornish over the last century, through poems
illustrated by old family photographs.  Emigration, loss, sport, religion,
bereavement and humour are among the themes. It will be his first new
collection of poems since 'Dreaming in Bronze' was published in 1981
although 'The Puberty Tree', his Selected Poems published in 1992, contained
some new and unpublished work.

This poem, from the new collection, posted with his permission makes
reference to Stray Dogs - a pre-revolutionary St Petersburg cabaret
frequented by Anna Akhmatova and her husband Nikolai Gumilyov.

In answer to the query about the word 'holocaust' in the translation of
Lot's Wife, that word would not have had the same connotations in the early
1920s and in fact the first two lines of that stanza literally translated
are something like 'who will mourn for this woman, she who is the least of
the losses'.

Best wishes,
Victoria Field.