The Glass of Water

szklankathey say that some
upon seeing the same glass of water
see it as half full
while others as half empty
but I know
that regardless of it
being half full or half empty
you can drown in it
or drown somebody
because there are also people
ready to kill for this water
and others
for whom a glass of clean water
will remain an image seen in a film on TV
in which they will never play a part
as these were cast long time ago
and roles didn’t go to the poor, hungry and thirsty
there are also others
who will pour this glass down the drain
not even thinking about the fact
that it might save somebody’s life
I am sometimes one of those people
so give me some water
before I die of thirst
somebody might indeed die
but instead of me
it will rather be them

Translated by Anna Hyde

exegi monumentum

I’ve erected a monument
more durable than brass
only today
of a plastic bottle
a yoghurt pot
a beer can
some chewing gum
three plastic bags
after I finish eating and drinking
they will take 450 years to disintegrate
there is also some other packaging
that I don’t know
how long it will take to decompose
but definitely longer than I will
I’m not talking about recycled paper
that won’t outlive me
even if I was to write a poem
on every single
paper bag
bags are one thing
carbon dioxide is another
10 tonnes of black gold
currently in a gas state
hovers over my head
and I’m glad that it hovers
as I wouldn’t know where to store it
10 tonnes just this year
and not less in the previous years
300 tonnes by the age of 30
and I’m not planning to die just yet
(even though there are people who plan it for me at times)
several nice trucks
a little suburban house
made of carbon dioxide, waste and smoke
and all of it is mine
mine mine mine
my precious
just imagine that I’m saying it like Gollum
we even look alike
I’ve erected a monument more durable than brass
and so did you
to each his own Mordor
and to some a bit of other’s as well

translated by Anna Hyde

Nature in the sky: a sixpenny song for Billy Bragg

[map 42 - Singapore]

[map 42 – Singapore]



When the rich get richer

and pretty as a Monet picture

when the common touch

don’t mean that much

we’ll build nature in the sky


with palm trees and grass

and a deck-chair for the arse

we’ll enjoy the show

dying down there below

from our nature eyrie  in the sky


When you don’t count

and cannot amount

to a lump of coal

in a mining hole

or my ode to nature in the sky


we’ll kiss the world goodbye


Tony Birch