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Listening to ‘Let Me Tell You What I Saw’

Listening to ‘Let Me Tell You What I Saw’
By John White

For Jenny Lewis & Adnan Al-Sayegh

‘Oh god why didn’t you make the eyes of death more kind when he sees us with our smooth,
white dreams and tender years, having no power and no say in the history of all wars from the
time of blades to the time of bombs – just soldiers; two stupid kings are playing with us on the
nation’s chess board.’

I celebrate the daughter of Welsh miners
and the Iraqi soldier. She searches
for her lost father in the East, he
searches the restless roads of the West
for a way to find his home. They meet
across a sea of words, and searching the stars
for signs to navigate the voyage
they set out in a coracle of hope.

Through patience, mutual understanding,
learning, they proceed, following the glint of words
glimpsed shimmering on the tops of waves,
or caught before they disappear, sullen
with impending despair, beneath a heavy swell.
Soon this haul of words will fill their sails
and now the coracle, with solid hull
has grown into a steamer, and on board
admiring followers from every land applaud
these poems, that emerge singing
from the poets long journey of fear and pain.

So this voyage, which was a simple passage
of words from East to West and West to East,
becomes a way to raise a voice
above the heads of tyrants, to cry out
across the boundaries of many lands
the truth of pain and dislocation, to speak
stubbornly against the grind of history, celebrate
the brave word songs of the human heart.

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Submitted by Hegazyhhh on May 23, 2021

1:23 min read

John White

•John White started his working life in theatre and worked for many years as an editor then as a producer and director in UK Television and Digital Media. He was first published as a poet in Michael Horovitz’s seminal review New Departures. Getting serious about his writing recently, he is now a student on the Poetry School/Newcastle University MA Writing Poetry. His poems have recently appeared in the New European and he has a performance poem on New Boots and Pantisocrasies. more…

All John White poems | John White Books

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    "Listening to ‘Let Me Tell You What I Saw’" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 28 Sep. 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/100623/listening-to-‘let-me-tell-you-what-i-saw’>.

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