This collection of poems is, I confess, a motley. But I write as I am bidden and my muse is pre-occupied with Israel. Were my prayers answered, the Middle East would not spike my happiness with bloody horror. Democracy would still be a knight on a charger, not an armoured American bulldozer in the hands of an ill-trained and probably vengeful Israeli reservist. The United Nations would be a conference of democratic states and an International Criminal Court would sit back-of-mind in every soldier from every country. We would certainly not be on the eve of war with Iraq. This poetry has some merits. It assails no ramparts, it flies no missiles into homes, it bulldozes no buildings onto people.  It does not rejoice in technology that kills from afar with arcade-game impunity. The cover, which questions the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, is but an antidote to my impotence as an individual. In the book, I use the term “Jewish” interchangeably with “Israeli” giving it the weight of the word “British”. This is deliberate, a nod towards the government of Israel who insist on calling that nation “the Jewish State”, even though it has hundreds of thousands of Arab-Israeli citizens. Elsewhere, I tread, no doubt indelicately, over the eggshells of Jewish sensitivities and doubtless with mistakes made out of ignorance. In a previous publication I referred to Jewish side locks as “pigtails” and in all innocence and without too much thought. Offence was caused and I seize this opportunity to apologise for it. For any such offences in the current publication, I apologise in advance. But the advantage of an internet edition is that I can make changes. IF I so choose.

The lighter verse that interweaves  and overlies the angst is the thin sun which chases between the clouds of a battlefield. A Christmas, football-playing truce. A, joyful grin of shared humanity.

Vernon Moyse

The Artist known as George III

17th March 2003

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