Monday, 24 October 2022 20:33

Five observations on what is to be done

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in Poetry
Five observations on what is to be done

Five observations on what is to be done

by David Betteridge, with drawing above by Bob Starrett

I   In sub-Saharan Africa, there are certain deer that crouch down and blow the sand from each other's eyes when a desert storm is blowing about them.

II   A frog fell into a jug of milk, and could not get out because of the slope of the jug's sides. They were like the inner walls of the dreaded bottle dungeon in St Andrew's Castle. Swimming about in the milk, trying not to sink and drown, the frog got increasingly tired and desperate, to the point of thinking, I may as well give up, but she didn't. She kept swimming, and swimming, until she became aware of a certain creamy mass floating beneath her, and rising, on which she could stand, and from which she could hop out of the jug to safety. We might also mention Robert the Bruce's spider in this context.

III   The road ahead, out of the wasteland, is a long one. It winds this way and that, sometimes turning back on itself. Giants, well known to us, lurk to left and right, ready to attack us. We must take the fight to them, beginning with Giant Ignorance.

IV   A lion, hungry for meat, spotted four oxen in a field. Every time he moved in to attack one of them, all four formed a defensive circle, their lethal horns pointing out. So the lion, who had studied Psych Ops, began to stir up jealousy and mistrust among the oxen, who soon fell out and moved away to graze by themselves. The carnivore dined very well for some while, until there were only bones left in the field.

V   Sickle and sword
The sickle in the final battle
its green force so hard, so stubborn
and so long,
it makes the bloody weapon

Read 1014 times Last modified on Monday, 24 October 2022 20:42
David Betteridge

David Betteridge is the author of a collection of poems celebrating Glasgow and its radical traditions, 'Granny Albyn's Complaint', published by Smokestack Books in 2008. He is also the editor of a compilation of poems, songs, prose memoirs, photographs and cartoons celebrating the 1971-2 UCS work-in on Clydeside. This book, called 'A Rose Loupt Oot', was published by Smokestack Books in 2011.