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Poems

Sticking to one style of poetry does not come naturally to me, so I have neither adopted nor cultivated one.

Each poem is written for different reasons. With the exception of Tanka (a form of Japanese poetry requiring a particular structure), I am generally motivated to write poems inspired by my emotions, not usually happy ones. It is important to me to express how I feel. This means they are initially scribbled by hand and given very little thought. Subsequently, they can be crafted into something readable (to a greater or lesser degree).

I could be moved by the misfortunes or death of a friend, social injustice, prejudice, environmental destruction or war.

I wrote the following poem after reading Benjamin Zephaniah’s autobiography and watching the film “In the Name of Our Father”, feeling frustrated and angry at the pace of progress. The reason I am posting it, rather than any other, is simply because it is my most recent.

My poems do not usually rhyme. This one does.

 

Miscarriage

 

Pregnant with promise from the lawgiver

Justice sometimes fails to deliver

Now and then, when it goes wrong

The boys in blue sing a different song

Cardiff Three, Guildford Four

This is not a football score

Maguire Seven, Birmingham Six

Innocent people – the coppers’ fix

 

Decades are stolen from the falsely jailed

The cops sense of right has somehow failed

No apology, no compensation

A mockery of the laws of this nation

By devious means, confessions extracted

Evidence concocted, misdeeds enacted

At the wrong time, in the wrong place

The Bill under pressure, convictions to chase

 

Sometimes the power can go to the heads

A frenzy of beating results in some dead

The Special Patrol murdered Blair Peach

An innocent man who came here to teach

An anti-racist, marching for peace

Never thought he’d be killed by police

The guilty men the evidence hid

Despite the fact we all knew what they did

 

They give out guns to the specially taught

But nerves can bring a finger up short

A young Brazilian unsure of his rights

Ran when he was in their sights

Death dealt out – shot eight times

Investigations found no crimes

Incompetence seen in those at the top

When will we see these atrocities stop?

 

Do you think it could happen still?

False allegations, excuses to kill?

Has the Force cleaned up its act?

Can it break its officers’ pact

To protect each other when wrong is done

By harassment, coercion, truncheon or gun?

There is information they’re unwilling to share

Death in their custody is not so rare

 

If they don’t like your politics, religion or race

If they take offence to your colour of face

If the way that you talk rubs up the wrong way

You’re stuck in a game that’s a nightmare to play

In a rush to convict with evidence lacking

By the media fooled, with populist backing

A case can be built by fabrication

You’ll say what they want with intimidation

 

Don’t let justice miscarry or abort

Whenever people are tried in court

It must give birth to what is right

Without ignoring the innocents’ plight

Join in the struggle, help those in danger

Whether they’re family, friend or stranger

Show up the bad apples that spoil the rest

Put the system through rigorous tests

 

Campaign for fairness, fight for what’s true

Don’t let them hide the things that they do

When the blameless are punished, the guilty escape

Fraud and collusion are allowed to take shape

Expose the poison these structures hold

To resist their lies, you must be bold

Keep your foot in the other shoe

Because before long it could be you…