PRESBYOPIA by Allan Cameron
My sight it fades
and fading faded forms reveals;
ageing looks beyond its age
to shrivelled centuries beyond decades.
The presbyopic poet cannot focus on “the self as subject”, but only on what is distant. This collection of poetry attempts to detach the writer from the obsessions that have dominated poetry for so long: sentiment, love, feelings and the autobiographical in general. To completely dispose of these would be dogmatic, and Cameron argues that some of the greatest poets are both presbyopic and myopic.
And yet he fell apart,
and headstrong held to that one truth, while falling and parting
for his way, his lonely way of wanting justice for the damned.
This poetry is unfashionably but unashamedly political and philosophical. Cameron continues to express in another form the contempt he feels for utilitarianism in general and in particular its crude and extreme form, as peddled by neo-conservative politicians and their intellectual bag-carriers. At the same time he attempts to invent new poetic forms. Inspired by some Italian poets, he uses metre and rhyme, but then breaks it up using enjambement and internal rhymes instead. There are English influences too: most surprisingly Rudyard Kipling’s “Mary Gloster” in part inspired “Zarathustra’s Last Interview”, the longest narrative poem in this collection.
We thank thee Lord for having made us free
to rule the world and liberate its inner need to be
so much more like us.
This poetry is unashamedly anti-imperialist.
That war with wings of death does twist and crush and kill
the flimsy leathered bag of flesh and bone and liquid life
that spills upon the sands, requires no second telling.
This poetry is unashamedly anti-war.
Only this empty moment which I spectate is in my clasp;
amongst this fractured stillness, something knowable
comes close and just eludes the closing fingers of my mind’s grasp.
This poetry is for those who have more doubts than certainties.
I often well evaded words will search
in searching to affirm myself,
the little man, whose longed-for line
would time encase, and parcel up
those joys, …