21 Poems for the 21st Century - Volume 5



It’s that time of year again. The leafless trees can no longer protect us from the sunshine or hide the crows seeking security and a place to rest. It’s often below freezing in the morning and much more difficult to break free from the warm, secure covers on the bed. The Christmas Season has replaced the chilling, death-like November atmosphere and has succeeded in inserting a certain frenzied motion into most people, much like an energy pill or shot of cocaine. Not to say that eating all those wonderful cookies and candies and drinking hot, sweetened wine isn’t appealing, but still I can’t repress the feeling that there’s something unnatural about Christmas, that something’s been invented to dupe the masses into an unhealthy spending spree. Many would call these last two sentences hypocritical, as I-theatre producer Grantly Marshall-profit quite nicely from two productions of Charles Dickens` A CHRISTMAS CAROL. But perhaps hiding in my soul is the ghost of SCROOGE, not the reformed person who at the end of this Dickens’ classic learns how to „keep Christmas“ but the one described at the beginning of the story as „a hard, cold man.“ And it is precisely these lifeless elements which make up the conception-bed for most of my poetry.
For December is also the time when a new volume of 21 POEMS FOR THE 21st CENTURY appears on the marketplace.

I will probably never be a famous poet, or ever even be regarded as a poet at all. And quite honestly I don’t care. Writing poetry isn’t about material gain or spiritual fame, it is simply about writing poetry. It is something that I do often as a fill in for lonely, meaningless moments, like taking a shower in the morning or brushing my teeth. It has become my personal tradition to publish one volume of poetry each year and even if my sparse audience wouldn’t miss this tradition, I would be personally disappointed in myself if it were to be discontinued.
So here we are again: 21 POEMS FOR THE 21st CENTURY, Vol. V.

All of the poems published in this volume were written in Calendar Year 2003. And since under my „hard, cold“ cover there still remains a trace of sensitivity, I could not walk through 2003 without being affected by the things around me or better stated, world events. Having not been born yesterday, it is clear to me that all things which come to be classified as „world events“ are happenings, natural or manmade, which are able to command centre stage. Natural disasters tend to be short-lived headline makers.
The occasional flood, volcanic eruption, forest fire or flue epidemic is usually a hit and run event, here today, gone tomorrow. Events (entertainment) planned and carried out by humans are another story. Movies and sports matches are very eye-catching, but none match up to the attention given to a good, old down to earth, blood and guts war. And publicize this war as the ultimate fight to protect western civilization against a brutal dictator armed to the teeth with weapons of mass destruction, and you have long running play. Especially if the man on the white horse is called George W. Bush. For those of you wondering what this US president has to do with a book of poems, I answer in the following way: He was kind enough to give me the subject matter for a number of the poems you might be about to read. To those of you who might then respond that you are fed up with hearing about George Bush and had hoped for something different in my poetry, I can only reply that I am fed up with him too and that you should be a little patient, because next year I will have a lot of new energy and a lot of new things to write about, after someone else has taken his place.

Volume V follows the same format of Volumes I-IV, it has a prologue, an epilogue and a few poems in German. I hope it will be interesting reading for you.


Grantly „SCROOGE“ Marshall Munich, December 2003