Thursday, July 25, 2013

Happy Birthday, John Siddique!

Today is my friend the British poet John Siddique's birthday. I reviewed his best-selling book of poems, Full Blood, for the Dawn and after that we became good friends. We met last year in his home town of Hebden Bridge, a beautiful, idyllic village in Yorkshire, set amongst rolling green hills, deep valleys, and flowing rivers - the perfect place to be a writer, I think.

John is small and slight, with an Irish twinkle in his deep, India-ink brown eyes. He has a ready smile and a steady laugh, a melodious voice with a Northern burr, and a shaven head because some skulls are too beautiful to remain hidden by hair.

As a person, he is true-hearted and sweet, sincere and honest. He's also slightly daft, as most writers need to be, is wonderful with children, and exceptionally kind to everyone. He knows how to take pain deep into the belly and turn it into poetry that sings of love, hope, and redemption.

Happy birthday, John! May your light always shine brightly in this dark, shifting world. You make the dark times easier to bear.

Imagine thirst without knowing water.
And you ask me what freedom means.
Imagine love without love.
Some things are unthinkable,
until one day the unthinkable is here.
Imagine thirst without knowing water.
Some things we assume just are as they are,
no action is taken to make or sustain them.
Imagine love without love.
It is fear that eats the heart: fear and
endless talk, and not risking a step.
Imagine thirst without knowing water.
Fold away your beautiful thoughts.
Talk away curiosity, chatter away truth.
Imagine love without love.
Imagine believing in the whispers,
the screams and the gossip. Dancing to a tune
with no song to sing inside you.
Imagine love without love.

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