District E

for former Greenpeace Activist Patrick Moore

by Eric Awesud Ble

It always was at night when people simply disappeared.
Names were removed from registers; such memories were seared.
The record of what one had done was wiped out and denied.
One-time existence was forgotten, thoroughly applied.
One was abolished, hence annihilated from the rolls.
The word they used was ‘vaporized’, policed by all the trolls.
This was the Party’s way of dealing with subversive types:
to make them disappear, and then with dedicated swipes,
remove them altogether, place their names in District E,
Elimination for forever and from history.

 

 


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5 Responses

  1. Joseph S. Salemi

    The left-wing vermin who have taken over Greenpeace have now dropped the mask. They are just part of a larger totalitarian campaign.

    Reply
  2. Mark Stone

    Bruce, The meter is perfect; the rhymes are excellent; the description is vivid, and the message is important. However, in my opinion, the poem is a bit wordy. For example, there are many lines in the passive tense. The words “was” or “were” are used eight times. “The record of what one has done” can be reduced to “one’s records.” Also, the fact that “vaporized” appears in quotation marks indicates that that is the word they used, so you don’t need to say: “The word they used was…” I suspect the following may be too much of a reduction for your taste. However, if I were editing the poem, I would do something like this.

    Night was when they disappeared.
    Names removed and memories seared.
    Records wiped out and denied.
    Purges thoroughly applied.
    Abolition from the rolls.
    “Vaporized” by all the trolls.
    The Party dealt with subversive types
    By “disappearing” them with swipes.
    It placed their names in District E,
    Eliminating history.

    Reply
  3. Eric Awesud Ble

    Despite Mr. Burch’s scoffing, I still wonder if indeed Mr. Stone is one of the best poetry readers in English (and here I do not merely include US and UK). I can think of no one who goes straight to any poetic work at random in English, susses it out succinctly with his set of poetic tools and acumen, and then makes suggestions on how to improve it. As I have mentioned before, it is his normalizing power (i.e., his striving to conform to a standard or ideal) that I admire, if not his taste or depth; so it is always with a great deal of satisfaction whenever he focuses his insights and his particular brilliance upon a poem of mine.

    I don’t know if I can be more blunt than this; but he is practically the only individual @ SCP who tells me things about my poems that I don’t already know.

    Now it is true I find myself nearly always disagreeing with him on his suggestions; but it is also true that occasionally he wins me over and I truly desire to alter a poem of mine.

    1. Mr. Stone says the meter is perfect, meaning most likely that the iambic heptametre is followed assiduously. As an aside, I don’t mind breaking meter, but must have a reason for doing so. The basic ballad, in practice since Medieval times, where its rolling cadences took form, is what is in use here. As a literary note, where the ballad reaches me most deeply in English literature is in the work of Romantic Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Realist Emily Dickinson.

    2. He next mentions the rhymes are excellent; I suppose, he is suggesting they are exact (which is a bit of an obsession here @ SCP, and which I do not ascribe too). Think of how many popular songwrights, like those of Country, Folk and Rock, close to the ballad, or Rap, close to alliterative Anglo Saxon poetry, effectively use slant rhyme in their lyrics. The one rhyme I did like was “District E” and “history”, for its placement and for uniquity. From an aural standpoint it was the most exciting thing for me in writing the poem.

    3. Mr. Stone’s next point is that the poem is too wordy (I am reminded of Gratiano in Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice”). Of course, the tennos is a structured form, approximately the same size as a sonnet (as it has the same number of syllables one would find in a Spenserian or Shakespearean sonnet), with which it may be compared. With 89 words in the poem, depending on how one counts “one-time” and “E”, I think Mr. Stone, if he goes to a plethora of traditional sonnets, will find my word count is generally less. So how wordy is that?

    4. But Mr. Stone perhaps means something more: the use of the passive words “was” and “were”, used eight times. He is correct to point out that a majority of poets vigourously strive to eliminate such words from their poems. I’ve got something else in mind, so I wanted to incorporate them. I am striving to make my poetry prosaic. Of the over 100 poems I have written this year, by far the majority of them attempt exactly that. In the case of this poem, it is even more important, as I have in my target a particular prose writer.

    5. Mr. Stone’s comment about L6 suggests there are extra syllables I could play with; however, I am striving for a passive prosaic voice, and if I made the language more acute, I would be sacrificing what I am striving for.

    Reply
  4. Eric Awesud Ble

    A clarification: After I sent the poem to Mr. Mantyk in early March, I told him I was submitting the poem without any dedication, which I did; but he wanted to keep the mention of Patrick Moore with the poem. The poem had been triggered by Wikipedia removing a picture of Patrick Moore from the article on Greenpeace; yet it really is not on Patrick Moore, but rather on the ongoing rewriting of history across the Globe; so the tag should have been written “in memory of Eric Arthur Blair”, and that is how I will print it, if it is ever printed again.

    As I told Mr. Mantyk when I sent him the poem, when it was “published elsewhere the poem didn’t do particularly well”. The only interest in it was from South Asia, individuals from India and Pakistan, though what I had in mind when I wrote the poem was Ingsoc in Oceania.

    Reply
  5. "Weird" Ace Blues

    Blah, blah, blah—Mr. Ble. I think this po’m is a piece of chintz, spotted and variegated. It’s vulgar in a mughal sort of way, cheap and of low quality. Who gives a calico rip anyway about threaded snippets in a prosaic design about destructive draconian misinformation? Absolutely, nobody I know. I reiterate—absolutely, nobody I know. Can I say that enuf? Who’s gonna invest in totalitarian dystopian futures anyway—they’re just a pain in the assets. Gimme some ‘o that Shakespearean rag any day over that pist-on moaning thinkthink by some unperson in bland, latinate slippers. Damn the torpedoes! I’d rather go shootin’ elephants in Myanmar than read this doublespeak. District E indeed. Gimme District-Z. Some zombies need killin’.

    Reply

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