Category Archives: history

For What? – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

At dVerse Sarah is hosting Poetics with an invitation to share a poem that has called to us, affected us in some way, positively or otherwise, and to write a poem in response. dVerse Poets – Poetics – A Conversation

Photo: Ben Kerckx, pixabay.com

I have chosen Wilfred Owen’s poem ‘Anthem For Doomed Youth’ and riffed on that a little. I despise war and I see it as a failure of humanity to sit down together. Wilfred Owen fought in the British army in WW1 and died at the age of 25 in 1918 one week before war’s end. For a detailed biography see The Wilfred Owen Association

Anthem For Doomed Youth     by Wilfred Owen

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
- only monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, -
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

“Men make war to get attention. All killing is an expression of self-hate.” Alice Walker

For What?

Passion flowered blue in the fields of sheets
set for their love of each other and,
soon enough, their fruit was ripe for picking,
the suckling ripped from breast to trench,
unprotected by the hollow words of those
faceless ones who send anyone but themselves,
valorised by suited cowards and coercive saints,
left alone in mud, and cold, diseased;
grief flowered red in the fields of France,
as life bled out for the shame of piety
voiced in cathedrals of death.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

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Filed under death, Free Verse, grief, history, life, poem, quote, war

Off The Rails – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

VJs Weekly Challenge – What A sight

Photo: Old rail line near Bonnie Rock

“Hope is like a road in the country; there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence.” Lin Yutang

Off The Rails

What a sight this happenchance,
no more the corporate sea of
smoke and steam or voices echoing 
through this once vale of life in
this distant place of hardships
now erased as nature grips the
demons of steel by the throat,
all the while laughing at the thought
of progress in a place so fragile
where life so quickly goes
off the rails.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

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Filed under bush walking, community, Country, environment, Free Verse, history, life, nature, poem, quote

Rising – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

VJs Weekly Challenge – Pace

Photo: theguardian.com The statue of the slave trader Edward Colston (1636 – 1721) comes down, his company was responsible for the capture, transport and sale of 100,000 slaves in the Caribbean and the Americas. Colston made his fortune from slave trading, and, not-with-standing that he later became a philanthropist, his wealth and life flourished by the misery of others. I my view, people who profit from the misery of others do not deserve any public recognition or honour.

“I know the removal of the Colston statue will divide opinion, as the statue itself has done for many years. However it’s important to listen to those who found the statue an affront to humanity.” Marvin Rees (Mayor of Bristol)

Rising

The statues of subjugation crash
to the ground of the past,
we're loving a new now,
the beginning of future dreams,
free-ranged, unwrapped,
letting go Aquarius' aged darkness,
rising to unison of heart,
pace the whispers of worm tongues
who would hold oppression lightly,
but whose account is well due.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

Note: I have used pace in preposition form, expressing disagreement with worm tongues with those who support enslavement of any kind.

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Filed under challenge, Free Verse, history, injustice, life, poem, quote, Racism

Never Forgotten – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

VJs Weekly Challenge – Bits And Pieces

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Photo: found on pinterest.com

“Leftovers in their less visible form are called memories stored in the refrigerator of the mind and the cupboard of the heart.”  Thomas Fuller

Never Forgotten

That one moment where you create time
when there isn’t time and you dare to
venture to the cupboard,
to the draw full of
silvered memories,
the symbols of a life in a
house of histories,
restored to mind and yet,
never forgotten,
rubber seals and old matches,
that old separator spanner,
a marble, a pen, a tack,
candles for birthdays,
the rest are nameless now,
these bits and pieces of a
resurrection.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

Paul, pvcann.com

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Filed under Farm, Free Verse, history, life, poem, quote

Fiction – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

dVerse Poets – Meet The Bar – Final Couplet

Frank at dVerse has invited us to write a poem, but which must end with a rhyming couplet.

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Photo: foster.vic.au

 

“Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were.”  Marcel Proust

Fiction

The fetish of nostalgia reeks
like overripe banana in
an open bin on a hot day,
vanguard of decay in this
haunt of demons
waiting to persuade me,
to humiliate proud memories
that now enter the picture
distorted by time’s passing,
exposed hubris,
a repressive fiction
needing confessional diminution,
awaiting with shreds of contrition.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

Paul, pvcann.com

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Filed under Free Verse, history, life, poem, quote, Uncategorized

Flaking Legends – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

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Photo: gdaypubs.com.au The former One Tree hotel in Hay.

 

“While all old people have been young, no young people have been old, and this troubling factor engenders the frustration of all parents and elders, which is that while you can describe your experience, you cannot confer it.”  Andrew Solomon

Flaking Legends

An incomplete picture,
flaking legends,
broken frames and corry,
the place of rusted stories
the utterances of elders
railing conformities,
shaping new spirals
of futures undreamed,
incomplete visions verging,
questioning what we know,
let alone what we believed,
myths of belle époque
passing in the night
as we swept history aside
and made our own songs.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

Paul, pvcann.com.

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Filed under Free Verse, history, life, poem, quote

Your Disapproved Skin – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples need to know there is an image that displays deceased people.

 

“Australia Day” January 26 marks the anniversary of the arrival of the first fleet at Port Jackson in 1788. For most indigenous people this is known as invasion day. Their treatment to this day has been brutal and in the least one of denial and rejection. It is a hard history to read and on the part of the colonial architects, even to this day, a very shameful history. I am one of many Australians who would rather move the celebration to a new date in conjunction with a dialogue with indigenous peoples as to how to achieve that. But then I believe that nationalism and patriotism are poisonous, as history and our nightly news shows, so maybe no day is needed.

 

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Photo: Australian National University: Aboriginal men in chains in the Kimberly, date unknown.

 

“Obviously colonial arrogance is a long time dying.”  Alain Badiou

Your Disapproved Skin

We dug our wealth from under your feet,
and we housed ourselves in your delicate bones,
scarifying your disapproved skin
with our tribal markings,
chaining your bodies but never your hearts,
we hunted a perception of you
and caricatured our values as superior;
as a weak parent blames their child
we laid a burden of blame upon you,
a fiction of conscience,
a trick of justification,
that had no purpose other than
to exploit the very breath of you,
surely our sorry must be
the very breath of us.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

Paul, pvcann.com

aboriginal_flag.png

Image: The Australian Aboriginal Flag – Formally recognised in 1995 as an official flag, was designed by Harold Thomas, a Luritja man in 1970 and first displayed at the National Aboriginal Day in Adelaide in 1971. The design is significant: the colours represent the Aboriginal peoples of Australia, the red ochre of the earth and a spiritual connection to the sun the giver of life and protector (as stated by Harold Thomas).

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Filed under Free Verse, history, life, Native Title, poem, quote, Restorative Justice, Stolen Generation

Beautiful Advocate – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

5 Lines – Beautiful

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Photo: Getty Images. Princess Dianna sitting with amputees, victims of landmines, Angola, 1997. Dianna as many will remember ignited opposition to the use of landmines which resulted in the Ottawa Mine Ban Treaty and drew attention to the work of the Halo Trust whose work is clearing mines and advocacy against mines and weapons of war. She had that inner beauty, photos of her shaking hands with lepers, sitting with HIV sufferers, visiting homeless shelters and os on. I’m not a monarchist, but her work was of a different order.

“I’d read the statistics that Angola has the highest percentage of amputees anywhere in the world … that one person in every 333 had lost a limb, most of them through land mine explosions. But that hadn’t prepared me for the reality.”  Dianna Spencer

 

Beautiful  Advocate

So beautiful, those legs, her …
And such a mind, but O her heart,
her beauty drew the cameras,
merely a stage for the inner beauty
of her compassion for the world.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

Paul, pvcann.com

 

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Filed under Five Lines, Free Verse, history, life, poem, quote, war

No Solution – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

RDP Sunday – Realm

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Photo: cnn.com

 

“A shocking crime was committed on the unscrupulous initiative of few individuals, with the blessing of more, and amid the passive acquiescence of all.”  Tacitus

No Solution

The husk of man,
for it is a man rather than a woman,
is forever drained and dry,
burnt in the blinking of an eye
across the fields of loss and grief,
where the butcher’s hand is never stayed,
and the slice is always close to the bone
with the relentless search for
the cure of fear, which, as always
readily falls to cycles of war,
now favoured by the killing of a man
who was food as friend,
and sent to to the heavenly realm
of the great cloud of witnesses
who pray over our esteemed
and utter madness for blood to be
wasted on the unforgiving rocks of dogma.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

Paul, pvcann.com

 

 

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Filed under Free Verse, history, life, philosophy, poem, politics, quote, war

The One Hidden – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

dVerse Poets – Poetic Pop Art

At dVerse Poets Victoria has invited us to take Pop Art as inspiration for a poem.

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Image: ‘In Search Of History’ Alexander Kosolapov, 1982 – Sotsart

Note: SOTS-ART Soviet political art, a journey friend of Pop Art which, due to Soviet censorship of the 1970s – 80s, was mostly underground work.

 

“I’m afraid that if you look at a thing long enough, it loses all of its meaning.”  Andy Warhol

The One Hidden

The conspiracy of words and time
melds colour to a constancy of grey
like ever present winter clouds
brooding over truth
whatever that might be,
and indeed,
that is the question Pilate asked
non the wiser for a reply,
that certainty as a non-event is,
in truth, a certainty,
where facts like curbs
eventually erode and fritter
revealing the naked and bold-faced
lies of our fathers,
a constructed history by numbers,
O how we walked those grey blocks
seeking lucent hope,
just a glimmer of colour,
a taste of the real,
no, not that capitalist lie, freedom,
it is the one hidden in my breast.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

Paul, pvcann.com

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Filed under art, Free Verse, history, life, philosophy, poem, politics, prose, quote