Introducing the April 2008 Readers – 4. Joy Hendry

Joy Hendry edits Chapman – Scotland’s Quality Literary Magazine and is also a poet, playwright, critic and broadcaster, appearing regularly particularly on radio and has given lectures on various cultural subjects all over the world. Over the years, she has become involved in many cultural movements – the campaign for a Scottish Parliament, the National Theatre, the Scots Language movement and generally agititates for anything she believes beneficial to Scotland and her cultural wellbeing.

For this compulsive activity and meddling, she was given an Honorary D Litt by Edinburgh University in 2005. Though her activities have recently been restricted due to chronic fatigue syndrome, which she has been fighting for 10 years, she is now anxious to get back much more into the public arena.

Waving and . . .
(PEN Conference, Dubrovnik, 1993)

What of poetry, of writers?
What of hopeful waving
from war-struck friends who hope so much of us?
In Dubrovnik of the shattered roofs
the fight remains.

We are there to listen,
and tell the world
by power of pen
the everyday tales of war.

Tinny transistors blare
like in every Scottish shop
for footabll cup finals.
But here the news
is not of goals, but new bombs
and victims
in Zadar.

We listen.
And everybody knows
the barbed frontiers of despair,
the black edge of drunkenness,
or abandonment, or hysteria,
or the access of conscience.
We listen. Maybe we will write,
or say, something?

In the midst of all this death
we hold hands, kissing, as if tenderness
were the only way to hold the world together.

And part,
as if, like the world,
we know nothing about how
to solve
this awful
war.

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