I can’t deny having mixed feelings about being part of Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD). Not because I believe my opinion is neither valid nor sufficiently informed, but because, to my knowledge, I have no family of cultural connection to the Holocaust and that made me question my right to say anything at all about something I have no experience of. However, I am reminded of a line from a song called “Too Much Rope” by Roger Waters on his album “Amused To Death” (1992).
You don’t have to be a Jew to disapprove of murder.
The song is concludes quite coherently with the lines
Moslem or christian, mullah or pope,
Preacher or poet, who was it wrote,
Give any one species too much rope
And they’ll fuck it up
I was also reminded of what Adrian Mitchell said about his very famous poem “To Whom It May Concern” (often referred to as “Tell Me Lies”) that it was not about being in Vietnam but that it was about being in Britain during the war in Vietnam.
Waters is a heavyweight neurotic, and I don’t think of myself like that, or an activist, or a committed pacifist like Mitchell, but the horror, destruction and injustice of the world that I see, mostly at a distance, makes me very angry. But what can you do?
Well, you can do something, anything.
I will be reading an extract from my prose-poem “World X – A Speculative History” at a HDM-inspired event at The Riverside in Sheffield, UK, organised by artist Trevor Tomlin. I wrote the first version in 2008 and it references Waters’ album directly when it mentions vultures and magpies. The work is an allegory on the dangers of implementing technology without resort to morality or ethics.
Regular readers of this blog or Black Daffodil Press might know I am preparing a book of “World X”, but I have made a single-sheet giveaway of the entire text for the event. It’s free, so if you are in Sheffield come down to the excellent Riverside pub and have a drink and listen to a wide selection of poets and musicians. And remember, in the words of PIL from 1986:
Anger is an energy