Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Where are all the quizzes?

You will no doubt have noticed that I have not been posting quizzes here for quite some time. I began this blog at a time when I had just got into quiz and was writing tonnes of questions and had nowhere to put them. This blog, therefore, I used as a repository for my efforts (albeit, the desire to show off was, no doubt, also a contributing factor!). Now that I have my regular 200-question quizzes and am writing for leagues, pubs, etc. I have several appropriate outlets into which my questions can be inserted.

I will continue to post questions here but such postings will, I imagine, be less frequent than once was the case. But, they will come - I assure you!

Those of you who know me well may be aware that many years ago I was pursuing a 'career' as a poet. I think I had almost forgotten this 'past life' of mine but, yesterday, for the first time in several years, I receieved some 'fan mail' from a young Canadian boy who had read some poems I'd written that have, I'm told, found their way into a Canadian anthology of some description. The boy was particularly gushing about a couple of poems I wrote entitled 'If I Were Blind' and 'One Day'. I strongly doubt that the boy will ever read this blog (he will almost certainly be moping in a dark room listening to My Chemical Romance) but, if he ever does, I'd like him to know that he made me smile today. A smile is not much but it does help to make life that little more bearable, and I thank him.

This incident led me to rereading some of the stuff I wrote all those years ago. 'Blind' is a poem that, on reflection, could only have been written by a teenager - I must have been 17 or 18 when I wrote it. It is sincere to the point of insincerity, emotional to the point of triteness and the narrator's massively evident insecurity grates a little. It is also clunky in parts. But there is something to it - it is more than just an angst-ridden goth boy's histrionics. Something. I could easily dismiss the work as a trite, oh so knowingly self-loathing piece of juvenilia but maturity is all too harsh a critic. I'm prepared to be generous. 'One Day' probably falls into a similar bracket as 'Blind' but is more honest and a little less whiney. Its construction leaves an awful lot to be desired but it does feel less insincere (as, indeed, I suspect it was).

I neither feel inclined nor able to produce any poetry at all these days but a quick, nostalgic peek at more fecund times has brought a smile to my face. Today has been a good day - I learned a little more about myself.

If I Were Blind

If I were blind
Would you scold me for turning my head at the sight of unlawfulness and destruction?
Would you berate me for perceiving not the difference between black and white?
Or would you comfort me and be my eyes?

If I were deaf
Would you blame me for ignoring the screams of the pitiably oppressed?
Would you reproach me for discerning not the difference between a tongue and a tear?
Or would you soothe me and be my ears?

If I were mute
Would you rebuke me for failing to speak out against tyranny and cruelty?
Would you censure me for knowing not the difference between the right terms and the wrong?
Or would you reassure me and be my words?

If I were lame
Would you reprehend me for declining to rush to the aid of the dying man?
Would you reprove me for feeling not the difference between the concrete and the pillow?
Or would you console me and be my feet?

But now I am lonely
Why do you lecture me for turning away from the underprivileged and the needy?
Why do you upbraid me for detecting not greater pain than my own?
Why don't you cheer me and be my friend?

Rob Hannah - 1999

One Day

I looked at my lover's feet
As they padded nervously through crowded streets,
Quickening with each hunted thought and haunting memory.
Feet, ceaselessly retreating from a broken city with broken morals
And manufactured tolerance. And the
Fractured cobblestones are built from jagged rock and on flat lies.
Feet, never having travelled, but fled.
Only ever feeling part of a person upon arrival at their destination,
Until which they are the gettaway car,
The hounded quarry, the unsounded scream.

I looked at my lover's hands
As they fumbled along the boundaries of a pale society
And felt the baleful pain of rejection and abject shame.
Hands, shaking upon greeting others for fear that they should incriminate
With a clumsy flap or trembling flutter.
Hands, leading to cramped knuckles and tired wrists
No longer ready to shield eyes from accusing fingers
Nor to mask a face from public view.
Hands, for once not to feel
But instead to soften the pain with
A soothing touch and a clenched fist.

I looked at my lover's ears
As they absorbed the frenzied thoughts of a million mouths,
Each mimicking the words of a million more,
Each miming and mouthing
And regurgitating phrases and fables made true through time and repetition.
Ears, ignoring the words but unable to escape the voices
Of those men and women behind the lies.
Ears, twitching at every noise
And standing upright and alert,
Collecting each scrap of sound with which
To create maps of minds through second-hand bigotry
And a faint hope of survival.

One day
I will look into my lover's eyes.

Rob Hannah - 1998

No comments: