PEN, SWORD AND THE SOCIETYHome l Cover l Next page
'The pen is mightier than the sword' Edward Bulwer and perhaps
a host of other writers might preposterously claim. Ah, pen, who
in the world writes with it anymore save to sign cheques, loan
contracts, or pre-nups that with time impoverish and depress?
Swords belong to another time; to a storybook era and 'Die Another Day'.
In our time, machine guns and long range missiles rule rough, denying soldiers the evil pleasure of looking their victims in the eye - mostly idiots like themselves that follow orders of bloodthirsty rulers who send them to kill one another while they sit back in their palaces, voyeurs extraordinaire peeping at gory images of the dead and dying, the death of youth, the destruction of struggling civilizations on plasma screens, they enjoy caviar, martinis, guffaw into mouthpieces of cell phones, and sleep with wives - while their youth orphan and widow the weak, their own necks hanging like baits to be blasted and blown away.
Ah writers! Poor bloody writers! Defenders of the world! Oh, no, they are
an over-abundant, over-egoistic, over-opinionated pestilence. Oh my, writers! Especially of poetry - a bunch of over-passionate souls trapped in a quagmire; quadrangle of debate, with self mostly,
only avoiding psychiatric sectioning by ranting in front of mirrors behind closed doors of bedrooms, or studies heavy with books, or cafes filled with their kind.
Why write at all? To give wings to needy egos? The love of the word? To engage, spew views, subvert, blackmail, harass, arouse, yet entertain and hope, with a little bit of verse here, a little bit of verse there, whisk up political thought or sentiment, political action, massage numb populations
out of their slumber, passivity, fatalism, confusion, disorientation, madness, stupidity, unfounded trust of politicians and the rhetorics of their spin doctors.
In our time, the pen may yet become mightier than the sword, but it must first emerge from its increasingly more metaphorical than utilitarian consigning and speak a language that will knock obscurantism in the head, so that heads of states and armies may, should they ever take time off war games and manipulating minds of their subject masses, read a poem or so, then contrive, to somehow work out not just what it is about, but what it is really about - the subliminal cuts buried in the body of screaming words. There are some opaque poems in the poets against war website. Who are those poems for? Surely George Bush would never understand such complex weaving of words. I did not understand them either. The Pen must learn to communicate better.
Don't you see? To be mightier than the sword, a pen must be like the sword:
sharp, straight, magnificent, lethal, unambiguous in purpose but bolder
and its users true sentinels of their time at guard, rain or shine, night or day, ill or well, by the gates of their hearts.
London, February 1, 2003