Friday, 7 July 2017

Poem / Pessimism is for lightweights

Salena Godden gifts Jeremy Corbyn her paperback copy of 'The Good Immigrant'

Pessimism is for lightweights

Think of those that marched this road before
And those that will march here in years to come
The road in shadow and the road in the sun
The road before us and the road all done
History is watching us and what will we become

This road is all flags and milestones
Immigrant blood and sweat and tears
Built this city, built this country
Made this road last all these years

This road is made of protest
And those not permitted to vote
And those that are still fighting to speak
With a boot stamping on their throat

Pessimism is for lightweights
This path is never easy nor straight
But I know one thing, living is about living alive
and love will conquer hate

Since time began its all power and greed
But the language is always the same
Them and us and us and them
Building walls in blood and shame in God's name

They re-brand human trafficking
And call slavery something new
Whilst eroding all our human rights
But we are many and ... they are few

If there is one thing this road teaches us
It's the same cycle with a blatant flaw
That the rich need to get rich
By keeping the poor, poor, poor

Every king, queen, knight and pawn knows this
All the kings soldiers and all the kings men
But the ghosts of slavery rise up and shout
No, not this shit again

Pessimism is for lightweights
We're under fire, bombarded like hail stones
Every morning more negativity
Buzz buzz buzzing in your iPhones

Each day a new fresh hell
A hot take and more fake news
And that's just Mrs May
Finding excuses to fill soldiers shoes

And your children and your grandchildren
Not now, but in the tomorrow after
Will be charged for air, water and sunlight
And taxed for dreams and laughter

Ah yes, the future is so bleak
There's no point marching to Downing Street
But they want you to feel powerless, voiceless
So get up and out and on your feet

Pessimism is for lightweights
This path is never easy and straight
But I know living is all about living alive
and that love will conquer hate

There is power and strength in optimism
To have faith and to stay true to you
Because if you can look in the mirror
And have belief and promise you
Will share wonder in living things
Beauty, dreams, books and art
Love your neighbour and be kind
And have an open heart

Then you're already winning at living
You speak up, you show up and stand tall
It's a silence that is complicit
It's apathy that hurts us all
Pessimism is for lightweights
Don't eat low-hanging bitter fruit
Pessimism is for lightweights
Put the doubt on mute

Oh Jackanory tell me your stories
All about the closet Tories
Pretending they have got your back
Bit casually racist, but I'm alright Jack

Pessimism is what pessimism does
Feeds all the negatives because
As long as you're feeding ignorance and fear
There's no need to imagine a better world dear

To believe in love takes balls and heart and guts
If you can keep your head, whilst the rest of the world goes nuts
Shoulder to shoulder we fight the same fights as all our grandparents yesterday
And they didn't win then and they won't silence us today

Pessimism is for lightweights
Losing the path is for flocks of sheep
If you believe in growing and learning
Then you're the company I want to keep

Pessimism is for lightweights
The street is no straight white line
It's the bumps and curves and obstacles
That make this time, this road, yours and mine

It takes a giant super power inside you
Something big and strong and great
To believe me and repeat loud and clear
Pessimism is for lightweights

Pessimism is for lightweights
Pessimism is for lightweights
Pessimism is for lightweights
Pessimism is for lightweights
This road is not easy and straight
And living is all about living alive and lively
And love will conquer hate

(c) Salena Godden / London 2017
Work in progress, first draft, poem written for John Higgs
Performed at Corbyn 'For the Many' Gig, Kentish Town Forum July 6th 2017


Thanks for tuning in. This poem is the poem I read last night. This is first draft of a commission to write a poem for John Higgs. I need you to know this is a John Higgs line, not my words, these are Higgs words - Pessimism is for lightweights - but it rings so true to me. I used this line as my starting point and anchor in this work and it has quickly become my mantra every day. I look at the news and twitter and and chant Pessimism is for lightweights pretty much every morning right now.  

The 'road' I'm referring to in this poem is Watling Street. It is the road from Dover to Angelsey, an old English road of legend, of witches and ghosts, queens and highwaymen, of history and fiction and myth, it is the road in Chaucers Canterbury Tales, the road Boudica met her end ... and more ... Check it out for yourself, John Higgs Watling Street is an epic and captivating read and its out now! 

Last night's 'For The Many' gig at The Kentish Town Forum was so inspirational. Thank you to Francesca Martinez for the invitation. It was an enormous pleaure to meet our real PM last night. My personal mission was to give Mr Corbyn my own paperback copy of 'The Good Immigrant' I felt that if anyone might enjoy this book, get this book, it is Jezza. I explained to him it was crowd funded, that this was a book of essays written by 21 immigrants, funded, promoted and shared by thousands of people who want these stories, our stories, told, seen and shared... We are all immigrants, proud children of immigrants. In the picture above Mr Corbyn is reading the chapter by the wonderful Darren Chetty titled "You can't say that! Stories have to be about white people!"

I'm looking forward to some glorious gigs and festivals and parties over the coming weeks. Let us meet in a field and drink cider under the dog star together. Please scroll down for dates and links! Thank you for following this page and these fiercely independent adventures in poetry and books and sweet idealism. 

The summer of LOVE is here and now .... sgxx










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