Welcome to Post-weekend Poetry and the one hundred and second poem in this series. This week’s piece, a very hard-hitting and thought-provoking poem, is by new contributor to this blog; poet, novelist, and spoken word artist Dan Holloway.
This is the season of the dying and the dead
The poorly fed and those that life misled,
Of keening dread and unheard screaming in their head
And suicide notes that go unread
This is the season of the dying and the dead
The names that no one knows
A nation’s blinded conscience painted red upon the snow.
Through unpulled curtains,
Through sherry vodka and regrets
We watch a nation with its Christmas box –
And TV dross
And things designed to remind you of your loss
Stocking lines of dreams and hopes
Are folded down to cards and enveloped
And posted and forgotten like the Christmas roast
While children’s smiles
Remind the childless of the mindless chance of life
Its idle dance while idols rise from circumstance
Don’t spare a thought for those
Who wake alone, turn on the lights alone
And watch TV and eat,
Put out the lights and go to sleep at night alone
And while they might be out of sight alone
You never ask if they’re all right alone
You just bemoan the family fights
And wish that you could spend one night alone
Watching Twilight alone
Well, quite alone,
It’s not like you’d like to share their plight alone.
Don’t spare a line at a slam or a rhyme
Or prayers to non-existent gods when mass bells chime.
If you want to give.
If you want to stop the clocks,
To put the slow tick tock of grown men’s loneliness in stocks
And let them live…
I asked Dan what prompted this piece and he said…
For those without family, Christmas is the most terrifying time of year. It is the one time of year people cannot hide our loneliness from ourselves with work, or TV, or social media, or even drink or drugs. It is simply too all-pervasive. Lip service is so often paid to the needs of the lonely, the bereaved, and the homeless at Christmas, they flit fleetingly across people’s lips and thoughts and people feel better for that, but for those for whom it is a reality, that lip-service is if anything worse than ignoring them – it is yet another reminder. Words are not a cure for loneliness, only time, a genuine respect of people’s needs, can provide the cure.
Morgen: I think it’s all too easy to forget about the serious side of this time of the year and your poem really brings it home, even if it’s too appreciate how lucky so many of us are. Thank you, Dan.
His first solo show Some Of These Things Are Beautiful premiered at the 2013 Cheltenham Poetry Festival and he will be performing the show The Age of Absinthe alongside Claire Trévien at the 2014 Chipping Norton Literary Festival.
In 2011, his novel The Company of Fellows was voted favourite Oxford novel by the readers of Blackwell’s bookshop.
He is the MC of the spoken word show The New Libertines, which has played to festivals and fringes across the UK.
Dan’s poetry collection i cannot bring myself to look at walls in case you have graffitied them with love poetry is available as an ebook or paperback form his website (http://danholloway.wordpress.com).
His latest book, ‘Self-publish With Integrity’ draws upon five years’ experience as a self-publisher and leading blogger and journalist on the subject, and fills the gaps other guides leave, tackling subjects such as handling self-doubt, community building, and learning to define success in terms of your personal dreams and ambitions for your writing. The picture on the right shows a postcard from his latest poetry collection, a collaboration with photographer Veronika von Volkova, which is available from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.
If you’d like to submit your poem (60 lines max) for consideration for Post-weekend Poetry take a look here or a poem for critique on the Online Poetry Writing Group (link below).
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I welcome items for critique directly (see Editing & Critique) or for posting on the online writing groups listed below:
Morgen’s Online Non-Fiction Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Novel Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Poetry Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Script Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Short Story Writing Group
We look forward to reading your comments.