“Who Lied about the Mermaid’s Ghost” Chris Hemingway – poetry review

A pamphlet of 14 poems to raise funds for two charities tackling politics with a wry humour. “The Silent Majority” argues that it’s not the fact that there are people who don’t speak out or show no interest in politics, but

“it’s those who claim to speak for them.
It’s not the whispers in the shadows that scare me
it’s those who seek to amplify them.
Its not the faceless bureaucrats I resent
it’s the cash-rich smiles of their critics.
It’s not the border footfall that worries me
it’s the footholds found from it’s exaggeration.”

It pokes at the way politicians claim to speak for a ‘silent majority’ without bothering to find out they think, those who publically declare private (unsavoury) thoughts, those who have money presuming to speak for those who don’t, particularly when what’s being spoken helps disseminate fake news and propaganda when those spreading fake news aren’t honest about their agenda.

“Fictionary” has alternative spellings and definitions for almost-familiar words,

“Sarchitecture,
when even the buildings
seem to point and laugh at you.

Brahmadillo,
mindful and armoured.

Tanaesthetic,
six pints of lager
then a midday sleep
on the beach.

Brexercise,
keeping fit by running from problems,
not sticking around to fix them.”

Near the end, “While U Wait” appears to be targeted at the things you could be doing whilst waiting for a quick service but expands into looking at what happens when you take a wait-and-see approach to life in general,

“As alt-right hipsters post pictures
of croissants baked in the shape of a swastika,
as if it was cool and ironic,
and no-one stops them,
in case it is.

As newspapers battle falling circulation numbers
and common denominators,
by building paywalls.
So that the verifiable fact costs an average
of £2 a week more to access than the freely available alternatives.

While-U-Wait
for further instructions.
While-U-Wait
for a sign.
While-U-Wait
for ever stronger signals.”

Slender, but fun and accessible. Available directly from the writer: www.chrishemingwaytmepoetry.com. Proceeds go to charities Hope not Hate and Cheltenham for Europe


 

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