He took the book down from its shelf,
The page was one-o-three,
The barrel organ in the street,
Its air was ‘What’s to be?’
The poet turned a page or two,
His eye fell on the scene,
Such mourning brought the land to grieve,
The cortège brought their Queen.
The poet turned another leaf,
He wept at what he saw;
The page was 1914,
And the story told of war.
Europe’s youth like wheat they fell,
Scythed and reaped for what,
That blood be turned to rich man’s gold,
And I’ll forget-them-not.
The poet thought to close the book,
He trembled then he sighed,
Perhaps he knew that times had changed,
That truth had also died.
Sad the bard resumed to read,
Where now his world would go;
He turned the page but knew at heart,
He’d see more tears flow.
The poet turned to time and place,
The barrel organ played,
Again the air, ‘What is to be?’
And once more mothers prayed;
The sheep are shorn, the wolves set free,
How soon the bullet flies,
Boys will sleep in homes of clay,
They’re buried under lies.
Michael Walsh Poetry
Without inspiration, there can be no communication. Every line we read be it a news report, biography or poem, is inspired by someone or something. Such was my inspiration when from my rooftop garden situated on the highest home in Mijas Pueblo I watched a sunset to die for. Yes, it was indeed Christmas Eve 2011. Inspired, I then scrawled my thoughts down.
CHRISTMAS EVE IN THE CASA
It was Christmas Eve in the casa,
On that charming Spanish hill;
And high in the star-filled dome above,
Was mirrored an earth so still.
It slept through the noise and tinsel,
For it cared not when nor why,
That man will fight among themselves,
And some are prepared to die.
The chapel bells were tolling,
They talked from vale to vale,
High up in my hillside casa,
I felt that God prevailed.
A melody of eventide,
Each tower sang its song,
In Andalucía hillsides,
I was where I belonged.
In vales below the twinkle lights,
A bed of stars it seemed,
I felt as one with God above,
I dreamed, I dreamed, I dreamed.
Let others do their worship,
At altars of their choice;
But let me be where I would be,
Where God will have His voice.
The chapel bells are singing;
His hills are filled with hope;
From eventide, be by my side –
My small heart filled with hope.
Happy Christmas from Michael Walsh
It is said that the power of the pen is mightier than the sword and it is true. John Barleycorn, the Jack London novel, had a remarkable effect on prohibition when between 1920 and 1933 the consumption of alcohol in the United States was illegal.
The poem, if, penned by Rudyard Kipling’s (1865 – 1936) was framed and placed in the hallways of most British homes. The war poetry of Wilfred Owen brought to the hearths of homes the horrors of what Field-Marshall Lord Allenby described as ‘alengthy period of general insanity’.
A contender for the post powerful ballad of all time was It Was Christmas Day in the Workhouse. Penned by journalist George R. Sims and published in 1877, the monologue sold over 100,000 copies within 12 months.
A critique of the dreadful conditions endured by the poor condemned to servitude in the workhouses of Britain and Ireland, it brought into stark relief a misery equalled only by the Soviet Gulag system.
With its 21 x 8 line verses the monologue is far too big to be printed here. It is easy enough to Google but I warn you to have a box of Kleenex to hand.
Sims, a campaigning journalist of the old school, focused on the dirt-poor lives of East Londoners. No doubt, he inspired Jack London as the American novelist followed up with The People of the Abyss.
Great Britain at the time commanded an Empire unequalled since that of the Roman Empire. But, the peoples of its towns and cities were prematurely reaped by poverty, disease, and death.
When Jack London visited London in 1902, nine-years before my mother was born, the shock of the experience never left him. His friend, Upton Sinclair, reported that for years afterwards, the recollections of this stunted and deprived population haunted him beyond all peace.’
London declared, “No other book of mine took so much of my young heart and tears as that study of the economic degradation of the poor.”
Every stanza of Sims monologue brings a tear as does this heartbreaker:
“I came to the parish craving
Bread for a starving wife,
Bread for the woman who loved me
Through fifty years of life,
And what do you think they told me,
Mocking my awful grief,
That ‘the House’ was open to us,
But they wouldn’t give out relief.
Can your pen provide an eager world with enough insight to change the world? If you think it could contact Michael Walsh, ghost-writer and author. He can help you to bring your story up to publishing standards; even publish your book for you.