Tuesday 21 November 2023

Roses are red

Steven Tucker has an entertaining Mercator piece on a poetry anthology edited by Jeremy Corbyn & Len McCluskey.

Roses are red, So is this book: Jeremy Corbyn’s dire new agitprop poetry anthology

What is the purpose of poetry? Like so many of the best things in life, it is its own purpose: if you even have to ask that question, then I would suggest you just don’t really like poetry very much at all, or even truly understand what it really is.

Two men whose own personal understanding of the artform is self-evidently very limited indeed are the former quasi-Marxist leader of the left-wing UK Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, and his close friend and ally Len McCluskey, one-time leader of the leading British trade union Unite.

The whole piece is well worth reading as a reminder that political obsessives leave nothing uncontaminated and never have.

To finish off both the book and the reader, a special treat is in store: “Calais in Winter”, a poem by Jeremy Corbyn himself, written on the train home one day from a trip to a ‘refugee’ camp in Calais, where he spent an enjoyable time emoting incontinently with the migrants.

According to Jeremy: “There is a poet in all of us and nobody should ever be afraid of sharing their poetry. It doesn’t need to rhyme or scan. It can just be an expression of thoughts that may as first appear as random but, when written down on paper or screen, can become more coherent and take on a deeper meaning.” Translation: It doesn’t actually have to be any good, just so long as the political message involved is the “correct” one. That’s certainly the method Jeremy himself applied with his own poem, which is basically just a short newspaper op-ed piece, split up randomly with arbitrary line-breaks and no punctuation:

They will be stopped
Thunder politicians
The enemy will not land
Say screaming headlines
They are lawbreakers
Say experts on the radio


Sam Vega said...

Lovely article. Witnessing Corbyn and McCluskey opining about poetry is like watching a pair of punch-drunk old pugilists trying to repair watches, while still wearing their boxing gloves.

DiscoveredJoys said...

A politically correct poem:

Roses are red,
Violets are violet,
Cut flowers are a distraction on the long march to Utopia.

decnine said...

Roses are blue
Violets are red
Don't you dare to deadname them

Sam Vega said...

DiscoveredJoys has inspired me to have a go:

Here's Jezza and old Len McCluskey
Their politics come from a Russki.
They've got some strange views
On the killing of Jews
- It's great, if the killers are dusky!

dearieme said...

I think I can improve one of them.

Victor Jara of Chile
Lived like a shooting star
He fought on willy-nilly
With his songs and his guitar.

A K Haart said...

All - thanks for the contributions and comments, far better than Jeremy's. I'll have to borrow shamelessly from Hughes Mearns.

Jeremy's Poem

Yesterday in my Commons lair
I had some nous which wasn't there
It wasn't there again today
I wish, I wish that nous would stay