I wrote this poem about 20 years ago. It seems, now, to reflect things that have happened in Britain – how we have been snared in a tangle of information – some of it clearly spreading propaganda, division and hate. Some of it is more subtle and nuanced. The virtual evolves into a near-tangible creature – sometimes of its own, and sometimes of guiding forces with ambitions that were not ours, but somehow become a part of us. Language mutates in our ears, and we lose understanding of what is artificial, and what we really want.
The man who had a seed in his ear
Just when the seed got into his ear he didn’t know.
He ignored the discomfort and the deafness
as it sprouted, and a green tip grew out.
He ignored it when became a small tree,
and didn’t hear the rustling when the leaves
covered his eyes so he couldn’t see.
But he ignored the impairment,
considering it his own fault.
And when roots got into his brain, limiting his thought
it didn’t matter to him when they lashed his tongue
and bound his heart.
The tree grew through his bones
And seeds spread all about.