Posted in General Interest, John Anstie, poem, Poems/Poetry, poetry

Blind Alley

Copyright 2013 Marsha Berry
Copyright 2013 Marsha Berry

Its weight upon her back constrained her breath
and data from a million miles of type
had taken toll of her own inspiration,
drowned beneath the heft of corporate hype.

The pavement and its passengers, detached.
She felt like ailing bug on dying tree.
This morning, as she trudged this weary path,
those slabs were like lead shoes, deprived of glee.

The wall that once reflected all her joy
had cast, as tall as anyone could say,
its shadow, smothering independent thought.
A blinding light then blew it all away.

[This was another poem prompted by a photograph. Ekphrasis wins the day again! It was Marsha Berry, another member of the GRPG*, who posted this and it was followed by a variety of poetic responses. This was mine and it carries with it that common thread of philosophical thought, which occupies me often. This is that we must work hard to ensure we retain our insight, a closeness to our conscious and our convictions, lest we lose it all in favour of allowing others to implant another form of consciousness in our minds, by however insidious a process, that is either corporate (the companies for whom we work), commercial (the companies from whom we buy things to stock our material lives) or political (the PR that the political establishment puts out to woo us for our votes).  This poem, I think, rather relates to the first of those three. Or, perish the thought, does that rucksack carry something more destructive? Whichever way this poem is interpreted, I hope it causes the reader to stop and think ]

Poem: © 2013 John Anstie.     Image: © 2013 Marsha Berry (the Poet) and Marsha Berry (the academic)

* GRPG – The Grass Roots Poetry Group


John_in_Pose_Half_Face3JOHN ANSTIE (My Poetry Library and 42) ~ is a British writer and poet, a contributing editor here at Bardo, and multi-talented gentleman self-described as a “Family man, Grandfather, Occasional Musician, Singer, Amateur photographer and Film-maker, Apple-MAC user, Implementation Manager, and Engineer”. He has participated in d’Verse Poet’s Pub and is a player in New World Creative Union as well as a being a ‘spoken-voice’ participant in Roger Allen Baut’s excellent ‘Blue Sky Highway‘ radio broadcasts. John has been blogging since the beginning of 2011. He is also a member of The Poetry Society (UK).



51w-rH34dTL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_John has also been involved in the recent publication of two anthologies that are the result of online collaborations among two international groups of amateur and professional poets. One of these is The Grass Roots Poetry Group, for which he produced and edited their anthology, “Petrichor* Rising. The other group is d’Verse Poet Pub, in which John’s poetry also appears The d’Verse Anthology: Voices of Contemporary World Poetry, produced and edited by Frank Watson.

Petrichor – from the Greek pɛtrɨkər, the scent of rain on the dry earth.


“Life is short and art long, the crisis fleeting, experience penniless and decision difficult” ~ Hippocrates. As a young man, John was sporting and fit. It was then as much his recreational therapy as a cappella harmony singing, music, walking in the hills and writing is now. Playing Rugby Union for over twenty years, encouraged in the early days by a school that was run on the same lines and ethos as that famous Scottish public school, Gordonstoun, where our own headmaster had been as a senior master. This gave shape and discipline to a sometimes precarious early life. His fitness was enhanced not only by playing rugby, but also by working part time jobs in farming, as a leather factory packer and security guard, but probably not helped, for a short time, selling ice cream! His professional working life was spent as a Metallurgical Engineer, Marketing Manager, Export Sales Manager, Implementation Manager and Managing Director of his own company. Thirty five years spent, apparently in a creative desert, raising a family, pursuing a career and helping to pay the bills, probably enriched his experience, because his renaissance, on retirement, realised a hidden creative talent as a writer of prose and poetry. He also enjoys music, with a piano and a fifty-two year old Yamaha FG140 acoustic guitar. He sings bass in three a cappella harmony groups: as a founding member of a mixed voice chamber choir, Fox Valley Voices and barbershop quartets. He is also a member of one of the top barbershop choruses in the UK, Hallmark of Harmony (stage name of the Sheffield Barbershop Harmony Club), who, for the eighth time in 41 years, became UK Champions in 2019. He is also a would be (once upon a time or 'has been') photographer with drawers full of his own history, and an occasional, but lapsed 'film' maker. In his other life, he doubles as a Husband, Father, Grandfather, Brother, Uncle, Cousin, Friend and Family man. What he writes is sometimes autobiographical, often political, sometimes dark and frequently pins his colours to the mast of climate change and how a few humans are trashing the Earth. In 2013, he published an anthology of the poetry (including his own) of an international group of poets, who met on Twitter in 2011. He produced, edited and steered the product of this work, "Petrichor Rising", to publication by Aquillrelle. His sort of strap-line reads: “ iWrite iSing iDance iChi iVolunteer ”

6 thoughts on “Blind Alley

  1. This was a wonderful interpretation of the photo, I think. And yes, it did make me stop and think – how easy it is to get caught up in ideology not our own. Awareness is key, of course, but sometimes in the struggle to keep Ego in check, those other entities (corporate, commercial and/or political) can creep in to take its place. You know, it just occurred to me that religion can do the same thing. Thanks for the piece, John. It is well done.


  2. Yes, it did get me thinking. I don’t think my work drained my soul, it kept my spirit alive and flourishing. What worries me is the commercialism – even without watching TV very much or reading popular magazines, I know I am impacted by what “they” tell me I need in order to be…


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