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Tuesday, June 26, 2018


by Neil Creighton

This week, two stories.
One beautiful, sad, heart-rending.
The other?
Make up your own mind.

In one story an inflated emptiness
struts and preens in hollow vanity,
boasting of wealth and power
as his mirror audience
claps and cheers and chants

whilst the world fills with tears
from children of the poor,
hiding under space blankets,
their crying for their mothers

rising high above the clamour,
the lies and self-justifications,
the heartless mis-use of law and Bible,
the faux “I’m a mother and a catholic” outrage.

In the other story Koko,
the western lowland gorilla,
dies peacefully,
aged forty six.

Intelligent Koko,
who could sign 1000 words
and understand 2000.

Gentle Koko,
who, tired and near the end,
signed to her friend
“I’m getting old”.

Loving Koko,
who, though childless,
raised two kittens
and thought of them as hers.

Mourned Koko,
missed by Ndume,
who, arranging blankets around her body,
signed  “I know” and “Cry”.

let me also mourn for you.
Let me praise you too.
Strange consolation
to know of life such as yours,
intelligent, simple and pure,
utterly without vanity,
a light in the darkness
of all the coiffed, self-serving horror
now strutting the stage of the world
and beating at the hollow chest
of its own vast emptiness.

Neil Creighton is an Australian poet whose work as a teacher of English and Drama has brought him into close contact with thousands of young lives, most happy and triumphant but too many tragically filled with neglect. It also made him intensely aware of how opportunity is so unequally proportioned and his work reflects strong interest in social justice and the tragedies involved in colonisation. His poetry has appeared in various places, both online and in hard-copy. He is a Contributing Editor at Verse-Virtual.