Yesterday’s Headlines

Daily life is abbreviated,
compounded and hyphenated
by headline news.
Internet starts to click
with the over-75s
while there are tough
new controls for web giants,
thrown out
by Amazon.
No one is safe.
Ex-football coach
faces 29 child
sex charges,
hit-and-run pair jailed,
and teaching
was like going
into battle,
says high-flyer.
There’s a moped-mugging
crackdown as crimes
hit 50,000 a year
but brazen drug dealers
use Craigslist to peddle wares.
Virtual images
of fat children
shock parents
and crinkly plates
are diet aid
with a touch of trickery.
Sandbanks rails against plan
for ‘Dubai-on-Sea’.

Kim M. Russell, 2017


Alamy image of Sandbanks taken from yesterday’s edition of The Times

My response to Imaginary Garden with Real Toads Weekend Challenge: The News

 Brendan says that one of the premier responsibilities of the poet is to provide the tribe with the news and that poets have shared that responsibility with a number of other figures over the millennia—sibyls and shamans, heralds and explorers, ink-stained wretches and digital media producers. We are never alone in our recitations of the news.

He tells us that humans have always needed information. Our faculty for speech developed around that need. Advance word of a raiding tribe could mean the difference between life or death. Travelers, such as roving hunters or traders, soldiers or monks, were carriers of information. Eventually it was the novelty of that information which became especially prized.

I really enjoyed Brendan’s potted history of news. I also agree with what he says about most of poetry’s news coming from the heart, a place that is too serious for idle entertainment and far too deadly earnest to waste energy on fake news; that although a poem can be elaborately tuned, poetry remains naked communication— simple, honest and direct. It’s true: poetry has few ulterior motivations. It sells nothing and is paid less. Our poems are the Rorschach prints of our age. We write the news about the news, in synesthesiac detail, which is why I chose some headlines from one of yesterday’s newspapers to create a kind of ‘found list’ poem.


16 thoughts on “Yesterday’s Headlines

    1. I’m afraid I’m still hooked on the Saturday Times, in which I quite often find inspiration for a poem or two. I steer clear of TV news but can’t always avoid it on the radio.


  1. Thanks Kim — such flooding of news flashes is the daily burden of online life. And all they accomplish is make is feel more knowledgeable in a helpless, swamped sort of way — awash in other folks’ misery. Would rising seas wash away Dubai on the Sea. We do that anyway, in a way, with yesterday’s news. Great response to the challenge, and thanks for the kudo on my “potted history.’

    Liked by 1 person

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