Credit Crunch

Credit_Crunch-by-Thomas
Karen Margolis reads Credit Crunch and Poetry is Dangerous. Soundscape by Hilary Jeffery and LYSN. Artwork by Thomas Schliesser.

British poet Karen Margolis was born in Zimbabwe and spent her childhood in both South Africa and London. She now lives in Berlin. Karen is a writer, poet and journalist, book author. She contributes to Poets Against the War newsletter as Berlin correspondent.

karen PiD Warning blue GlobePOETRY IS DANGEROUS
This is the new age of sobriety
sterile consensus and covert censorship:
state-funded poets sing praises to the status quo,
the aging avantgarde fades out
suffering cirrhosis of the liver
and raging existential despair;
correctness is preferred to inspiration
and the latest edition
of many a slim volume
with verses rhymed or free
is stamped on the spine
with a government warning:
POETRY CAN BE HARMFUL TO YOUR HEALTH
the small print beneath the capitals elucidates
the nature of the threat between the covers
Reading a poem can result in:
heavy breathing
accelerated heartbeat
churning guts
hot flushes and cold sweats
tingling toes & fingers
hair standing on end
pricked-up ears
moistened lips
dry mouth, chattering teeth
twitching nose, and
shivers down the spine
Karen-MargolisBEWARE! POETRY IS ALLURING
Shakespeare will grab you by the shoulder
the world’s a stage, he’s watching from the wings.
Malory will fire you with the spirit of chivalry
to join the quest for matchless purity.
Goethe will lure you into sweet temptation
sowing doubt in the depths of hungry souls.
With Chaucer you can take a pilgrimage
to the shrine of the white goddess,
or let Rimbaud steer you in a drunken boat
past rocks where sirens wail and wait for shipwrecks.
A wooden horse is Homer’s chosen vehicle
filled with impatient warriors in clashing armour.
a moonbeam on the white wing of a swan
lures you to read Euripides again
while Catullus promises a thousand kisses
and then a thousand more.
Byron invites you to brawl and womanise
with luscious orgies in ottava rima
spilling over to Sappho’s other shore.
Shelley submerges you in shades of immortality,
and Brecht, disturbing the dust of interrupted dreams
will slip a little book into your pocket
to read in the bus on the way to work.
WARNING: POETRY IS SUBVERSIVE
It can stir you to rebellion
turn you inside out
steal the pennies from your pockets
shower you with insights
irritate dictators
topple politicians
seduce ambassadors
foster bold conspiracies
make spies change sides
open innocent eyes to dark & dirty deals
expose the interlock of cog and wheel
put a spanner in the works
or forge the hammers to break our chains
breeding revolutions in basement kitchens.
Karen-RuigoordWARNING: POETRY IS ALL-CONSUMING
Just one drop of this potent distillation
a shred of meaning, a casual half-rhyme
an oxymoron skilfully interwoven
a fleeting metaphor, a full-blown pentameter
can infiltrate the plastic mortal shell,
sound out buried wishes
drop a plumbline to the basic instincts
travel to the brain with lightning speed
& explode in highly-coloured flashes
sending splinters of intensity
through every artery, sweeping you along
with the flow of ancient mystery
to what they call the borders of insanity.
WARNING: POETRY IS CATCHING
When images reach out to bite you
or rhythms grab you by the throat
there’s nothing you can do —
too late, no anti-toxin can save you
from this insidious infection,
resistance is futile: so relax & enjoy it
surrender to the music of the word
passed down by the bards & troubadors of ages.
WARNING: POETRY IS INDESTRUCTIBLE
After many resurrections
following countless declarations of final demise:
now in the age of mechanical reproduction
alliteration, incantation & reprise
reclaim their audience appeal
defying electronic imagination
& minimal post-modernism.
WARNING: POETRY IS IRRESISTIBLE
when we were young we chased rhythms like butterflies
to catch our childhood fantasies
now we are grown but not immune:
in dark times we take comfort from remembered rhymes
and when our ship comes in
its hold is filled with treasures
from the troves of centuries —
words worked as precious jewels
in polished settings,
necklets of opalescent ballads
lapis lazuli and lustrous pearls
strung in shimmering phrases
heart-shaped rubies glowing with the blood of passion
emeralds flashing dragon eyes of jealousy
& jet-black pendants hanging in the moonless night,
while overhead a dome of many-coloured glass
casts light upon our beauty though our youth is gone.
WARNING: POETRY IS DANGEROUS
a toxic distillation of concentrate emotion
without the claims of politics or patent medicine
with no pretence to answers or conclusions
poetry can’t cause or cure
cancer AIDS malaria or pollution
can’t engineer immaculate conception
can’t put the snow back on the tip of Kilimanjaro
nor fill the Aral Sea’s cracked bed with water
– can’t even make green vegetables taste better;
its strength resides in inutility
pointblank refusal of reality
its miracles are modest
its ambitions plain
its weapons wit & satire
its message clear
and therein lies the danger:
poetry is only love
of words; its source is human feeling.
Come to the spring, fill up the silvered chalice
drink deep, it tastes of nectar
the drug is in the dregs
and lingers on the tongue
like a delicate aperitif
awaking appetite for experience
POETRY IS DANGEROUS
IF YOU’RE AFRAID OF CHANGE
Karen Margolis © Karen Margolis Berlin 2003/2008; PiD Warning Blue Globe by Thomas Schliesser.

POETRY IS DANGEROUS EXHIBITION

Dmitry Sokolenko is a microbiologist and photo restorer at St. Petersburg museum of Photography. He’s also a creative artist and has had exhibitions in Russia, other European countries and the USA. His series XIX, based on classic Russian novels, was shown at the Poetry is Dangerous exhibitions in Berlin & Ruigoord. Radio Joy is proud to display 6 works from Dmitry’s XIX series.

2.-Eugene-Onegin-(Pushkin)

Eugene Onegin (Pushkin)

Dead-Souls-(Gogol)

Dead Souls (Gogol)

Fathers-and-Sons-(Turgenev)

Fathers and Sons (Turgenev)

Crime-and-Punishment-(Dostoevsky)

Crime and Punishment (Dostoevsky)

Who-is-Happy-in-Russia

Who is Happy in Russia (Nekrasov)

ward-number-six

Ward Number Six (Chekhov)

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4 Responses to Credit Crunch

  1. Thomas says:

    Hi,
    Thank you very much for the broadcast of Karen’s credit crunch cycle.Karen told me you were very busy the night before and we both were very happy to listen to it all.
    The lay out of the page is wonderful thank you thank you all

    love from Berlin

    Thomas

  2. christine martin says:

    Hi Karen and Thomas, that is a wonderfully way to hear from you.
    Baci from Paris

    Xtine

  3. Denis Herbstein says:

    Karen, this is heady stuff, surely ‘treasures from the troves of centuries’. Wise! and urgent and should be adopted as David Cameron’s manifesto for when the inevitable happens. Have read it aloud with a Zim accent.

  4. Denis Herbstein says:

    Karen, this is heady stuff, surely ‘treasures from the troves of centuries’. Wise! and urgent and should be adopted as David Cameron’s manifesto for when the inevitable happens. Have read it aloud with a Zim accent. And the artwork – divine.