the work of John Anstie

They see our hard earned fortune there,
in marbled city suites,
floating on a silky sail,
the nap of leather seats.

We had the opportunity,
the pool of genes in code,
a secret reservation for
a public school and Spode.

We had the opportunity
to own the reason why,
that predicates no chance for those
unable to comply.

Our felony, was founded on
a life of common good,
to serve as flotsam in the sea
of guns and power and food.

Consuming guns and power and food,
an irony indeed
that helps the cause of those, who crave
a hope of being freed?

It’s more because they need the work
to feed their flesh and blood;
prevent starvation, declining health
and keep them from the flood.

But threats to blood will ensure
their easy motivation.
So much to recommend the source
of limitless privation.

They have much more, by way of help:
attention of the press;
the poets and the playwrights too,
but nothing of redress.

It’s irony to say ’twas fuelled,
on rapid growth by debt
who is to benefit thereby,
who is to win and, yet …

who is to say what fortune means
if nothing else but luck?
Should we condemn all those who have,
who wouldn’t give a buck

for those whose sad congenital crime,
their birthright, is to blame,
for them, their lot, their plight, their fight,
but who should feel the shame..?

– John Anstie

© 2013, poem and portrait (below), John Anstie, All rights reserved

John_in_Pose_Half_Face3JOHN ANSTIE (My Poetry Library and 42) ~ is a British poet and writer. We are happy to share this poem by way of a preliminary introduction to John and his work. John is joining us as part of the core team and will post under his own name.

Meanwhile, this multi-talented gentleman is self-described as a “Family man, Grandfather, Occasional Musician, Amateur photographer and Film-maker, Apple-MAC user, Implementation Manager, Engineer and general all-round good egg.” This he tells us with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Add grace and humor to the list.

John participates in d’Verse Poet’s Pub and is a primary player in New World Creative Union. He’s been blogging since 2009. John is also an active member of The Poetry Society (UK). He says of his work, “Much of my writing and my poetry focuses on the future and the important part that our children, and the way we treat them, play in this. It also spans a diversity of life’s experiences, some moving war poetry and particularly observations of life for a modern generation. I am in the process of steering a collaboration of grass roots poets to publication.” John’s poetry collection is about to hit the bookstores. More on that another day. Jamie Dedes

6 thoughts on “Fortune

  1. Thank you for the very flattering introduction, Jamie, I am also honoured to have been invited to contribute to this very smart (in at least two senses of that word), yes, smart web log. Also thank you for your lengthy and, I may say, erudite comment on “Fortune”. You have, in this commentary, come very close to hitting the nail on the head in interpreting its truth, at least the truth that I intended; it is of course the prerogative of each reader to interpret it as they will. In this respect, your comment is a very fine micro-essay in its own right. I confess, additionally, that there is a certain, if not so obvious, ambivalence in the person of the poem’s voice: the ‘We’ and ‘They’ have different perspectives, depending on where you stand in the world’s socio-economic strata. But, again, your balanced summary still captures its essence and it is very, I mean very pleasing to have even one reader truly understand ones writing. Thank you.

    By the way, it is not my own collection that is about to be published, that is being saved for a little further down the line. There are a number of other projects I have to complete before that. It is, in fact, an anthology I put together for a small group of fellow poets, whom I met on Twitter two years ago. The story behind this can be found in a micro interview I did on my prose blog ‘Forty Two’ (over at http://poetjanstie.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/the-next-big-thing.html), if you’ll pardon the plug! This occurred just before Aquillrelle offered to publish the book. For all the work that has gone into it, I think it is a pretty special collection by a rhyme of poets for whom I have high regard.

    As for being a primary player on the New World Creative Union (recently rebadged the ‘Creative Nexus’), I fear not so major! Rather I have been somewhat neglectful over the past few months, mainly because of my own selfish preoccupation with the anthology. But, enough for now. I look forward to making more contributions to ‘Into The Bardo’.

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  2. John, when I first read this poem of yours, I had to have it to post here. I hope that people will read it carefully and think hard about it. I know you would agree with me that we don’t want to ever coerce giving or legislate income levels. We would like compassion to be honest and spontaneous. Having said that, in the West many of us have a bit more than we need and can be quite generous and often are. Those who are poverty-stricken can be even kinder: I have seen a homeless man give his blanket to a sick woman who was also homeless. When I taught career development to people on welfare, I found that at Thanksgiving a group of them pooled their meager resources every year to feed the homeless who had no way to get to soup kitchens. These welfare receipts took their good cooking on the road and distributed it as they went. Imagine! They have barely enough to feed themselves and their own families but considered themselves fortunate to be housed and to have food at all. “Blessed!” as they would say. And then there are those who have much more for their hours of work than hardworking laborers and others whose lives are circumscribed by war, domestic violence, illness, childhood poverty, lack of access to good education, mental disability and so forth. I would submit that poverty is never a choice and that some people are good at building their wealth on the backs of others. These need to think. We all need to think about how we spend our money and how we hoard it and what it does to others. Thank you for the gift of your refined sensibility and welcome to Bardo.

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