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A new voice for pastoral poetry.

Have you heard them? Mostly on programmes About nature and the incomparable Landscape of Britain? Their voices change. They begin to intone. You know you're in for a massive dose Of |poetry': nothing later than 19th century, of course. Definitely pastoral. No mention Of greedy farmers' hedge-removals Or the pollution of the land, nor yet An admonition on the indiscriminate use Of virulent insecticides Which kill the bee, the spider and the ladybird Who cannot fly away to her long home For the fields of her house are burning, Stubble translated into smoke Choking the country air, Making the red one black. None of this is mentioned. The voice would not be suitable. Such awed and bated breath eschews disaster: In this electronically-sterile Glass-fronted Garden of England Everything must be lovely. But in the Real World beyond the box The poetry we would declaim Would need a voice blunt and broken As Kipling's dinner-knife, Scratching at the weeds of self-aggrandisement -- My Rights to make more money come what will (Or go what will) -- A voice to bulldoze down the hedges of Mammon That sprang up when the others fen (Habitats of hundreds of years Long before Conran's empire: an entire universe): Cutting down, rooting up, sparing nothing. A voice of doom is needed: An acid voice, like rain, like driving rain. Implacable. Remorseless. Pitiless.
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Author:Gidney, Pam
Publication:Contemporary Review
Date:Jul 1, 1992
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