World Poetry Day, March 21st 2021

It’s World Poetry Day today – a lovely thing in such dark and difficult days. I’ve posted this poem before, a couple of times, because it becomes more relevant and sinister by the day. It is part of my 2018 collection, Poems from the Swamp which explores the psychogeography of an imagined version of the East Marsh where I live; it’s material reality and the unconscious and mythic layers that exist beyond the thinnest of veils. Each poem is written from the point of view of characters I have created. These characters now inhabit the novel I am currently writing.

There are Gauleiters everywhere, enabled by their pigs. We have seen them in action recently. They are as likely to be found on the streets, violently suppressing peaceful protest as they are to be found on the benches of the House of Commons. We live in a time where pigs are handed obscene prizes by their Gauleiters, whether that is PPE contracts for equipment that never arrives or for Test and Trace systems that are not fit for purpose. The sty is certainly seamier even than it was when I first wrote this in 2017.

My thanks to Sophie Ashton for her drawing of the pig. My apologies to pigs, which in truth are lovely animals. Also thanks again to Nick Triplow who painstakingly edited Poems from the the Swamp and to who I am indebted.

Nick has co-curated Hull Noir, one of the UK’s premier crime fiction festivals this weekend. Follow this link to catch up with what’s on at the festival

The Gauleiter and His Pig


Transcribed and translated by George Lydda

The Gauleiter and his pig reside here

in the swamp, a septic, infected sty,

poisoned with wormwoods for false prophecy.

Their respectability has that stink

of swill that clings like thin grease, that chokes throats,

an insinuation of rancid filth.

They can wash their hands, insipid Pilates,

and never know what it is to be clean.

The people have spoken, so it is claimed

the people shriek their will, so it is claimed

across  this newly grim, unpleasant land

where mandrakes strike and strangle healthy plants,

spread tendrils of  fervour amidst the sane,

sanguine folk of  once fair-minded islands

made pestilential and sabre-rattling

when pigs and Gauleiters take command.

This pig and Gauleiter feed on censure ,

patrol the streets, sniff out the shunned ,

hunt the dreamers, the effete, the forceless

poison the water, spread lies, deception

that find keen reception in willing ears.

These  guardians of now lost Albion

with pig battalions in eager service

goose step, relentless over small town swamps

spreading venom and violence as they go.

People need their pigs in lipstick, panders,

apologists, pimps  and patsies.

These quiet and not so quiet fascists

impose their spurious jurisdiction,

shift the paradigm of civilisation,

spawn bleak new dawns of moral disaster,

bring terror, trauma and catastrophe.

This Gauleiter and his wallowing pig

inhabit the swamp imperiously,

belch and fart out obscene absurdity,

at which the cowed folk quake and shiver,

scuttle with truffles to please and appease,

to sate and satisfy lusty tumescence,

with  Destroying Angel, Fly Agaric,

to avoid the cosh, the truncheon, baton.

But nothing placates appetites like these

where only the hunger, the greed is fed.

The sty turns seamier, with deepening stench,

while mists from the quagmire hint and hiss,

meander in serpentine gyres and twists,

layering the space where once the light lay

with impenetrable shadows of boundless black.

Once before, in still living memory

the fair-minded folk of a place like this

thrilled in denouncing friends and neighbours,

those whose faces no longer fit.

Trucks rattled the bones of human cargo

along tracks destined for nightmarish swamps,

as pigs and Gauleiters squealed and capered,

wallowed in a surfeit of harrowing loss,

caroused at perdition and extermination,

a Saturnalia of uncountable cost. 

This Gauleiter, pig, and the onlookers 

are droghers who’ll carry the weight of the swamp,

a shipment of shame beyond all atoning

long after this tale and its tellers are gone.

Poems from the Swamp Josie Moon
Poems from the Swamp

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: