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Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Poem In Three Languages In Support Of Supreme Court Challenge By Joan Collins T.D. To Bank Bailout

Joan Collins T.D. today began a Supreme Court challenge to the promisory note which was the means via which billions of Euro of Irish taxpayers's money was handed to the bankrupt Irish banks.

No vote was ever taken in the Dáil (Irish parliament) on the issuing of the promisory note, by the far the biggest financial decision ever taken by any Irish government.

I wish Joan well with her challenge.

Below, in three different languages, is my poem 'Austerity Mantra' which as well as being published here in Ireland has also appeared in translation in journals in both Greece and Italy.

Austerity Mantra

Everything must be on the table.
Your ninety seven year old granny
is no longer cost effective, would
benefit greatly from being brought face to face
with a compassionate baseball bat.
The figures speak for themselves and will
be worse by morning. The paraplegic
in his insanely expensive wheelchair
will have to crawl as God intended.
Here are the figures that won’t stop
speaking for themselves, this is the table
everything must be on. Yesterday my name was
Temporary Fiscal Adjustment.

Tonight, the insect in the radio calls me
The Inevitable. When the economist
puts his hand up, take care not to cough.
Everything’s on the table and
the table’s tiny. I’d send you a pillow
to hold hard over the child’s face
‘til the kicking stops, but at current rates
there’ll be no pillow. I am the unthinkable
but you will think me. Pack her mouth
with tea towels, hold down firmly
your old mildewed raincoat,
‘til there’s no more breath.

Tomorrow I’ll be known as
Four Year Consolidation Package.
Lock the cat in the oven and bake
at two hundred degrees centigrade.
Tie your last plastic bag over
your own head. The figures speak for themselves
and there is no table.

Greek translation
Το Μάντρα της Λιτότητας


Όλα πρέπει να μπουν στο τραπέζι
η ενενηνταεπτάχρονη γιαγιά σου
δεν είναι πλέον οικονομικά αποδοτική,
θα είχε όφελος αν την έφερναν καταπρόσωπο
με κανένα πονόψυχο μπαστούνι του μπέιζμπολ.
Τα νούμερα μιλάνε μόνα τους και θα ‘χουν
χειροτερεύσει ως το πρωί. Ο παραπληγικός
στην  εξωφρενικά ακριβή αναπηρική του καρέκλα
αναγκαστικά θα έρπει, όπως το θέλησε ο Θεός.
Ορίστε τα νούμερα που δεν σταματούν
να μιλάνε μόνα τους, αυτό είναι το τραπέζι
που πάνω θα τα βάλουμε όλα. Χθες το όνομά μου ήταν
Προσωρινή Φορολογική Προσαρμογή.

Σήμερα, το έντομο στο ραδιόφωνο με αποκαλεί
το Αναπόφευκτο. Όταν ο οικονομολόγος
σηκώνει το χέρι, πρόσεξε μην βήξεις.
Όλα είναι πάνω στο τραπέζι και
το τραπέζι είναι κούτσικο. Θα σου ’στελνα μαξιλάρι
να το κρατήσεις γερά πάνω στο πρόσωπο του παιδιού
μέχρι να σταματήσουν οι κλωτσιές, με τις σημερινές τιμές όμως
μαξιλάρι δεν έχει. Είμαι το αδιανόητο
όμως εσύ θα με διανοηθείς. Στούμπωσε το στόμα της
με ποτηρόπανα, πάτησε κάτω γερά
το παλιό σου μουχλιασμένο αδιάβροχο
ώσπου να μην έχει άλλη ανάσα.

Αύριο θα με ξέρετε ως
Τετραετές Πακέτο Σταθεροποίησης.
Κλείσε τη γάτα στο φούρνο και ψήσε την
στους διακόσους βαθμούς κελσίου.
Δέσε την τελευταία σου πλαστική σακούλα
γύρω από το κεφάλι σου. Τα νούμερα μιλάνε μόνα τους
και τραπέζι δεν υπάρχει.
Kevin Higgins
Μετάφραση: Λίνα Σιπιτάνου

Italian translation
Mantra dell’Austerità

Tutto deve essere messo in conto.
La tua nonnina di 97 anni
non è più redditizia, trarrebbe
enormi vantaggi dall’essere messa faccia a faccia
con una compassionevole mazza da baseball.
Le cifre parlano da sole e
staranno anche peggio domattina. Il paraplegico
sulla sua sedia a rotelle assurdamente costosa
dovrà strisciare come Dio comanda.
Queste sono le cifre e non smetteranno
di parlare, questo è il conto
tutto deve esservi incluso. Ieri il mio nome era
Correzione Fiscale Temporanea.

Stasera, l'insetto alla radio mi chiama
L'Inevitabile. Quando l'economista
alza la mano, attento a non tossire.
Tutto va messo in conto e
il conto è davvero esiguo. Ti invierei un cuscino
da tenere premuto sulla faccia di tuo figlio
finché non smetta di scalciare, ma ai tassi correnti
non potrà esserci alcun cuscino. Io sono l'impensabile
ma tu mi penserai. Riempile la bocca
di stracci, tieni premuto saldamente
il tuo vecchio e ammuffito impermeabile,
finché non smetta di respirare.

Domani sarò conosciuto come
Pacchetto di Consolidamento Quadriennale.
Chiudi il gatto nel forno e cuocilo
a 200 gradi centigradi.
Legati l’ultimo sacchetto di plastica
in testa. Le cifre parlano da sole
e il conto è ormai esaurito.