search
Barnsley
Batley
Bedale
Beverley
Bingley
Bradford
Bridlington
Brighouse
Castleford
Catterick Garrison
Cleckheaton
Cottingham
Darlington
Dewsbury
Doncaster
Driffield
Elland
Filey
Goole
Guisborough
Halifax
Harrogate
Hawes
Hebden Bridge
Heckmondwike
Hessle
Holmfirth
Huddersfield
Hull
Ilkley
Keighley
Knaresborough
Knottingley
Leeds
Leyburn
Liversedge
Malton
Mexborough
Middlesborough
Mirfield
Morley
Normanton
Northallerton
Ossett
Otley
Pickering
Pontetfract
Pudsey
Redcar
Richmond
Ripon
Rotherham
Saltburn-by-the-Sea
Scarborough
Selby
Settle
Sheffield
Shipley
Skipton
Sowerby Bridge
Stockton-on-Tees
Tadcaster
Thirsk
Todmorden
Wakefield
Wetherby
Whitby
Yarm
York
Poem Of The Week: ‘Tyndale’ By Dai George
Steve Whitaker, Literary Correspondent
Dai George and the cover of 'The Claims Office'
Welsh poet Dai George’s fine poem leaves nothing to chance in a forensic dissection of our present socio-cultural landscape. Coolly observational, ‘Tyndale’ acquires greater relevance as the balloon of populism swells and bloats on its own ill-informed hubris.

Everyman, the collective Vox populi, is the narrative target here: the non-specific attitude, the prevailing genera whose voice is heard everywhere, insinuated into living rooms, overhead on streets, caught in rhetorical mode in the ‘snugs of heritage pubs’.

Tyndale

On panel shows I see them,
in the heat of online arguments,
indignant in the snugs of heritage
pubs, in headshots opposite the agony
aunt beside the going-up-and-going-down
sidebar in Sunday papers: these atheists,
uncombed and open-necked. They
rant about bobbins and fairy tales
and the goals of science and fallacies
they enumerate and link to from online
encyclopaedias. They are quite
funny. They are being retweeted.
They are in the staff room, the tube carriage;
they are patrolling the census figures.
When I think of how there is blood
in their throats when they shout
and of their carping comfort, I tense
for the fight they so dearly want,
but instead of argument

comes the thought of him
hounded to Antwerp, unravelling
the Pentateuch’s secret so that soon,
somewhere back in Gloucestershire,
a ploughboy may know God’s Fiat lux
in the ragged light of his own tongue.


The metrical heft of George’s lines mimics the relentless effluvial flow of ‘information’, of opinion, of posturing, of words in the aether amounting to noise. In an era when everyone has a voice – online platforms and social media confer an illusory parity on participants – the digital playing field is open to all-comers, to the hacks, the trolls, the grudging and the grateful, and to those preoccupied by psycho-babble, the specious and the fantastical, who:

‘rant about bobbins and fairy tales
and the goals of science and fallacies
they enumerate and link to from online
encyclopaedias.’


Also by Steve Whitaker...
Taking A View: Landscape Photographer Of The Year – Collection 12
Poem Of The Week: ‘Authentic Victorian Mermaid’ By Cliff Forshaw
Banksy & Hockney: A Tale Of Two Auctions
‘Ye Are Many’: Film Review - Peterloo
Bantams, Bum Bandages And Book Signings: The Diary Of A Yorkshire Vet By Julian Norton
That George’s is a view like any other need not amount to a derogation of his slightly patrician stance: he makes profoundly important points as to how access to limitless forms of communication seem to encourage the worst in us, especially when we are concealed behind a mask of supposed anonymity.

The cool detachment which characterises the tone of much of ‘Tyndale’ breaks only briefly before the Larkinesque abstraction of the concluding sestet yields corrective, hypermetropic balance. The sixteenth century scholar William Tyndale, whose translation of the Bible into English help spread Protestantism from mainland Europe, and became the text upon which all subsequent works were formulated, gave the layman the means of seeing and feeling the divine light - Fiat lux - in a vernacular that was not, like Latin, accessible only to the clergy or the educated. More, it conferred upon the ploughboy the power of words, and therefore threatened the ivory tower of institutionalised Catholicism and the entrenchment of the status quo.

Small wonder, then, that Tyndale was hounded out in Holland and strangled before being burned at the stake. His legacy, George appears to be saying, is soaked through in Promethean irony: the newly inflamed ‘ragged tongue’ of the Tudor peasant is now lost in an ocean of the anodyne where too much information, too much communication, threatens to overwhelm our capacity to disentangle informed opinion from populism, fiction from non-fiction, truth from fallacy.

Dai George’s concise and measured examination of a contemporary landscape which is erring towards a frightening dystopia, is increasingly persuasive.

‘Tyndale’ is taken from The Claims Office and is published by Seren Books.

Poem Of The Week: ‘Tyndale’ By Dai George, 1st November 2018, 8:48 AM