O Shelley, Shelley,
Red comet of the west wind,
You who hymned our number and our might:
What diseased, reptilian thing has crawled its way
Round our once noble hearts?
No longer lions after slumber,
But blank-eyed creatures, anaesthetized
By all-pervasive dross –
Mesmeric unto the very tomb.
The glistering spectacle of others’ impossible perfections,
Bedazzles via camp vulgarity.
Idiot-box and tittle-tattle rag,
Reign absolute as any monarch.
Celebrity – the crownèd basilisk:
Insidious, shiny, loathsome –
And all enslaved by its dull, dull shadow.
Yet what care we for mighty matters,
When facile parasites gnaw their way through
Justice, beauty, truth and love?
Entranced by leering imbeciles, masquerading charismatics –
Impeccably attired yet rotten at the core –
We grin inanely and nod our heads,
As dumb platitudes piled one on t’other,
Inure us ‘gainst all reality.
Castlereagh, Eldon, Sidmouth and their ilk,
Long since forgotten,
And even nightmare Anarchy itself,
Reduced to cinematic shiver,
Whilst we remain amused to death,
As governance, religion, law and market-place
Go about their grinding business-as-usual.
How has it come to this?
Wherein lies passion now?
What of electric life?
If all a poet can do today is warn, and warn again,
Take heed, take heed,
Lest dead thoughts like withered leaves
Lead not to new birth,
But simply fall on corpsed minds, corpsed spirits,
And the hearth of fire extinguished eternal, forever unlit.
What then when winter comes, o wind?
Will spring still follow,
Or shall we stare, empty-eyed, at empty screens,
Not merely in stand-by mode,
But irrevocably switched off?
So many words, so much listless posturing,
Too little purpose, no heart:
Joshing our way to icy darkness,
Smilingly adjusting our chains,
And proclaiming all the while our blamelessness,
As we slug another drink.
Forgive me, Bysshe.
Forgive us all,
For we do know what we do.
Dafydd ap Pedr
Picture: Claire Palmer