Chris Nash

Chris Nash

Chris Nash writes international ‘poetry without borders’ and is now working on a collection of ‘songs’ for species threatened by extinction called ‘Is this Goodbye?’. See www.chrisnashpoetry.com.

Let Us Face the Future
Friday, 17 April 2020 08:01

Let Us Face the Future

Published in Poetry

ronavirusLet Us Face the Future

by Chris Nash

Common and apart, we stand in defiant windows,
Each in a viral, personal Grenfell, care of uk.gov,
we’re refugees like all the rest, too late we know
our land’s no longer ours, beyond the heal of love:

An invisible hand locks our lives in data series,
all the roads we assembled to the future together,
are needlessly dissolved in self-inflicted fevers
to end in malls, they commandeer as mortuaries.

The poorest she that is in England screams for relief,
ghosts of daffodils shake masked heads in disbelief:
When and how did we allow our golden western isles
to be consumed cut-price, in death’s supermarket aisle?

From the doorstep shore, oh yes, we’ll clap our NHS,
Remembering whose 21 votes stopped its progress
We will rise, raise our eyes from TV’s slumbering view,
to see from island isolation, over white cliffs, a world anew.

Author's Notes:

Let Us Face the Future was the title of the Labour Party’s visionary 1945 Election Manifesto.
‘Ghosts of daffodils’ is an echo of Wordsworth’s vision of our holy, golden islands.
The Tories voted 21 times to stop the passage of the NHS legislation. Winston ‘Boris’ Churchill said it ‘was the first step to turn Britain into a National Socialist economy’.
‘The poorest she that is in England’ is an echo of the famous words of Thomas Rainsborough in the Putney Debates 1647.
‘TV slumber’ is an echo of the revolutionary lines of Percy Shelley in The Masque of Anarchy 1819 - ‘Rise like lions after slumber’.

RIP - the criminal Tory lack of preparation, and mishandling of our people - more St Bodge than St George.

The precarious lives of working people: Hokusai's Return
Thursday, 16 April 2020 17:40

The precarious lives of working people: Hokusai's Return

Published in Visual Arts

Hokusai’s Return

by Chris Nash

Rowers bent over in labour
and reaching for a nowhere
where you can / you cannot
drive further, drive through
oshiokuri bune frail prows,
oars in rhyme with the rampages
of the terror’s watery surge

you must / you must not
drown under this shunga wave,
Prussian-blue hair in cascades
where silver fingers of light
invite you higher into her crest,
as she curls over to engulf you.

Rowers in the ocean’s spit hollow
she carries you further, on beyond death,
and you’re swallowed alive, as whole
as depths of the sea's salt breath.

Notes:
This poem is a response to crisis. In the 1820's Hokusai's personal life was engulfed in crisis. Yet at the same time he produced his iconic work 'Under the Great Wave off Kanagawa', including innovative use of the daring colour 'Prussian Blue' introduced from Europe. 'oshiokuri bune' is the Japanese name for the distinctive fishing boats in the picture.

I think it expresses the frail balance between life and death we all find ourselves in now, and especially the precarious lives of working people.

Begin again
Friday, 13 December 2019 18:42

Begin again

Published in Poetry

Begin Again
(For Jack Merrit)

by Chris Nash

Breathe in the bitter despair,
Now breathe out the freer air
And join, deep out - deep in
This morning, crisp and clear...

Yes, it’s true, ice and undeniable
Those golden leaves of reason
Have been shaken to earth again,
Once again they’ve made us fools
To believe their season of mis-rule
Is nature, eternal, unchangeable...

Once again, yes, once again,
They’ve started up that machine
Their disguise, that lies and drains
Every bright colour from the world,
Till as numb as frostbite, it seems
Our eyes hues, our mind’s pigments
Will bleach as blank as their hearts...

We put up a good fight, we always do
And now we have ice-cold comforts,
A homelessness of insatiable greed,
Deaths on the frozen pavement of austerity,
A weary, wasteland eternity to look forward to,
Wintering, till only a memory survives...

Memory survives.

Just as the faintest warmed breath
For a mere moment, clears a misty window
We will remember what we saw,
A bud of Spring in a bare-forked bough
A curl of leaf in a shrivelly fist of bark,
A swell of song in the brittle, silenced,
choral branches…..
                   …..we saw it didn’t we!
The more they told us the world had died
The more we saw what they tried to hide,
The more the raw roots of shared re-growth
Clench frail fingers round a grain of truth.

Yes we saw what we saw
And no, we will never forget,
That too many have minds
Like screens, too easy to bind,
To illusions of power and profit.

Despair will not steal this dawn-breath away,
In the freezing wind of the morning’s derision
Lips chafed and sore, we can begin to sing...

Sing louder...

Sing louder...

Sing louder...

Till we believe that a new world of leaves,
Our people,
Will unfurl,
In the myriad voices of some other summer.

The election: Govesy's Dream
Monday, 02 December 2019 09:39

The election: Govesy's Dream

Published in Poetry

Govesy’s Dream -Take control
(Aka The Revolution will be Live)
dedicated to Gill Scott Heron

by Chris Nash, with image by Martin Gollan

There’s a Tory on my doorstep
Ah what you gonna to do?
I’m gonna talk that sucker down,
I’m gonna talk that sucker round
I’m gonna confront that tory
Till he’s red not blue.
Till she turns red not blue.

Buddy,
when the Bojo says,‘Take Control’,
The dude means like the NHS,
Take control, sell out to the good ol’ US!

Mate,
when the BJ says ‘Take control’
The dude means like universal credit
Take control, starve the kids, get it!

Mister,
when Boris the fibber says ‘Take control’
The dude means like the way Brexit
Makes it
For Etonians innit,
To well and truly fucks-it
For ever and ever, amen-wotsit

Text it,
If you gets it yet:

Brexit’s rich-shits,
Profits max-it!

Take control, simples.....

Got my Bojo working,
Got my Bojo working,
But it just don’t seem to work on you!

There’s a tory on my doorstep
Ah what you gonna do?
I’m gonna talk that sucker down
I’m gonna talk that sucker round,
I’m gonna confront that tory
Till he’s red not blue.
Till she turns red not blue.
Red not blue
Red not blue.

Brother,
when the Boris says ‘Take control’
The dude means like the way
His peeps gave control
To chartists,
BPM rave artists
Tolpuddle martyrists,
Funky young marxists
And anyone who gives a shit,
His peeps gave control of them away
To prison ships,
Truncheon licks,
anywhere that freedom rots.

The Earth,
The earth
The earth is on fire,
We don’t need no denier
Let the climate denier burn
Burn denier, burn.

Sister,
when Blo Jo says ‘Take control’
Does the dude mean, ‘control’
the means of production
our own reproduction
of ideology, state and education
the local radio station....

Take control,
Take control,
Take complete control,
Of your own situation?

‘Phworrr, that’s not it at all
That’s not what one meant at all.’

There’s a tory on my doorstep
Ah what you gonna do
I’m gonna talk that sucker down,
I’m gonna talk that sucker round
I’m gonna confront that tory
Till he’s red not blue.
Till she turns red not blue.
Red not blue
Red not blue....

(Brought to you by: ‘Blo-Jo’ Johnson, ‘Sweet Lips’ Rees, Govesy and the Parliament Mother-ship). Y’all remember to show your true De-votion on December 12th!

The election: Vomiticious
Wednesday, 06 November 2019 12:28

The election: Vomiticious

Published in Poetry

BJ and the One Percent Nation

by Chris Nash, with cartoon by Martin Gollan

So you voted with Facebook, not for the many, but the few,
For ‘the BJ’, his public school, anti-establishment crew,
Now thanks to an iPhone crony from Club Bullingdon
Let’s live-stream the election night, tax-payer celebration,
The feast of our humble representatives, the 1% nation;
Who’s got an invitation, it isn’t me and it isn’t you!

Intoxicated by fine wines and delectable thighs
How sweet this all tastes to a born to rule Tory,
victory dinners while the commons choke on austerity;
He’s speaking now, off the record, those visionary eyes...

Boasting ‘the economy, equality, everything’s on track
like our waiters this evening, everything’s back in the black,
Eat and drink till you’re puffed up to roll in a ditch
We’ll console ourselves with the burden of being rich.

At last it’s 1945 again, hurray, the clocks have all stopped
We’ve got Empire at the door to keep the table stocked,
provide plucky ethnic types to fight our future wars
No more picaninny faces, letter-box burqas on our shores’

A medley of media-fed lies made up the amuse-bouche
So refined they can’t digest anything resembling the truth;
Next industry dished up, spread about on cute canapés
Do you think it’s wages or dividends they’ll raise?

A gift Texas steak-carpaccio, our commonwealth NHS
Already sliced up in privacy, yes so easy to digest,
(Briefly, let’s cut to the workers in the Chequers kitchen
Skewered on zero-hour contracts, like waste-bits of chicken).

A financial crisis fricassee made up the second course
A delicacy of debtor brains, blown out on the Bourse,
Italian truffles, courtesy of the victor of Vote Leave
And a toast goes up, ‘To Beanfield and to Orgreave,
Crack working heads St Francis style, till they bleed.’

Over petit fours and assorted imported delicacies
They lick their lips, salivate and humbly debate
Their next steps to strangle 1945’s welfare state,
Sipping the Prosecco of their endless right to profit
‘Maggie showed the way, now we can finally off it’

They thought, passing around the cocaine and the port,
With media friends, to make ‘welfare’ a non-word of sorts,
The more to feed their addictions like fattening vultures
Scavenging shared public purses for privacy’s pleasures,
Yet screeching spoilt hypocrisies, ‘Oh, oh, the dependency culture’,
(Don’t we share what we have, with the people we treasure).

Then BJ introduced, with polished Etonian sincerity                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Five special guests, each a come-back celebrity,
Whose careers had dipped around 1950, mid-century
Thankfully back in fashion now, (all since the eighties):
First came a young girl, her face haggard and lank,
Want, the brand name behind your local food bank,
Next a mother, mind blank from opioids and stress
Disease, her sanity destroyed by austerity’s distress.

Then a boy, fist clenched from exclusion after exclusion
Educated Ignorance, for the fee-paying few, a freedom,
For the many, academy mind-closing childhood prisons,
After him a family, their life-nest terrorised by anxiety
The Squalor of infested rooms and rented insecurity,
Last Idleness, a youth, eyes glazed by the modern truth,
Permanently drugged-up to dull the daily monotony
Of taking his life as a spare part in their gig economy.

Can you see shivering ghosts pass in the shadows outside,
the unassuming architects of our commonwealth of ’45
Who turned their back on workhouse thinking for the poor
Reached out to the massed, struggling hands needing more
Never again a world without welfare, fit only for 1% wealth and war;
Ellen and Bevin, who hummed aloud songs, we sang in labour
Of our way, our her-story of the kindness of neighbours,
The humble builders of the better selves we aspire to be,
Now elbowed out of history, by BJ and his politico-celebrities
High on the age’s aphrodisiac, power without responsibility.

This BJ, pallid parasite, in borrowed Churchillian tones
And a crony crew of phoney Downton-politician drones,
They want us to forget, what should never be forgotten
Without your vote it’s lost, the new world the people won;
Spineless, sprawling Neo-Edwardians - they want it to return,
the glitter, the squalor, the dulce-decorum of nations at war.
wrecking common ground in unregulated patchwork provision
All loopholes for donors at dinner tables to wriggle in.

Before it’s gone, remember The People’s Project, begun 45-51,
It’s time to decide: ‘Hands together, let’s get the job done’;
We will speak, we the people, the commonwealth of Britain,
We’ll never be silenced, ‘a shared future calls us to come!’

This poem is brought to you by The National Poetry Board on behalf of the people of the commonwealth of Britain