Poetry – In These Toxic Times

In These Toxic Times

It’s all change in these toxic times

Where the ghosts of days that never were,

Like phantom fairy castles

Glimpsed in mists among the clouds,

Loom large on a pedestal of nostalgic lies.

The new guard, regaled in fascist clothing,

Unleash waves of fear and hatred

As purity is threatened by change.

But life is change and always has been

And the past was always badly stained.

The storm breaks upon the shore

As rollers pound the beaches,

Cities and people.

As the waves of ingress

Wash away compassion,

Wash away hope, care and love.

As the wind howls and ushers in

Gales of callous cruelty, despair and anger.

It’s all change in these toxic times

As the hate is channeled and directed.

There is no room for empathy, tolerance and welcome.

For the waves of threat are crashing against the cliffs

Bringing down the whole continent

As the hurricane blows away all we once stood for.

This country, built on compassion and a friendly smile,

Now a bastion of defiant fury

That puts children in the dog pound

Walls between us

And bombs amongst the crowd.

For centuries an island of hope,

A beacon to the oppressed,

A refuge from terror.

For it is all change in these toxic times

Where every stranger is the enemy.

The beacon has gone out.

The hope has been extinguished.

And the refuge become the prison.

The welcoming smile is now a snarl

The helping hand a fist

The door is built of razor wire.

The nostalgia for those pleasant times

Ironically based on fake memories.

Opher – 22.6.2018

I’m becoming nostalgic for those pleasant times before Brexit and Trump.

It seems to me that these two events have unleashed a great wave of division, fear and hatred. The politicians stir up the emotions for their own ends. Immigration and terrorism are used to promote their own political careers.

Immigration has been used as a tool. There has been too much but the fears are exaggerated in order to create fury as Islamophobia is deployed as a weapon.

Looking back through rose-tinted glasses to those olden days, (ignoring the racism, poverty, hardship, misogyny, disease and gross inequality) we are led to believe that things have got worse.

They haven’t.

5 thoughts on “Poetry – In These Toxic Times

  1. It seems there’s not much beauty nowadays, though there is some (e.g. thought provoking poetry).

    As silly as it may sound to some, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recent emphatic suggestion that “the next time you see a woman in a hijab or a family out for a stroll, give them a smile,” is actually a very healthy (yet relatively effortless) response by caring individuals toward ALL acts of targeted hate. One might also wear anti-hate symbolism (e.g., a colored ribbon or shirt).

    I decided to do just that as my own rebellious response to the (as anticipated) acts of racial/religious intolerance that soon followed Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election victory. Anti-Trump demonstrators’ catchy slogan was “Love Trumps Hate”. While I’m not much for the ‘love’ part, I would do the next best thing by offering a smile.

    But when offering a smile, one should do so promptly. In my first attempt, with a passing woman wearing a Muslim head scarf, I hesitated long enough (likely for fear of possibly offending her modesty) for her to catch my blank stare and quickly look away. Bitterly ironic, the opposite of my intended friendly gesture was therefor likely perceived by her.

    I made sure to not repeat the mistake, however, as I passed a middle-aged Black woman along the sidewalk. To me, she had a lined expression of one who’d endured a hard life. I gave her a smile, and her seemingly tired face lit up with her own smile, as though mine was the last thing she’d expected to receive. Since then, we always greet one another and even converse while awaiting the bus.

    In the current climate of racial/religious bigotry, I feel it’s not enough to just not think/act hateful; we all also need to display kindness, perhaps through a sincere smile.

I'd like to hear from you...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.