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The Changing Face of Evil

Don’t panic, you’re not about to get a lecture on the current terrible state of the world, rather a bit of an observation on the dark characters we seem to be getting on the screen and in our books.

Nice Tie

I think it all started when we started taking what would have been traditionally evil characters and creatures, and made them a bit more friendly, more human (if indeed we are friendly). Suddenly werewolves were simply shape shifters following a social change agenda, wronged and mistreated. Vampires were just unlucky people who didn’t want a break in the summer sun. And ghosts were actually helpful, misunderstood souls who were in the wrong place due to some supernatural accident.

Noone knew his years on the dole

I remember growing up and evil was evil. Often there was no understanding of why the bad stuff was happening, why these dark things of the night wanted to do these horrible actions to us. They were simply evil. It seems with changing times and the acceptance that old ideas about different lifestyles, race and social classes are erroneous, our characters seem to reflect that. In fairness I remember it starting in “Cabal” by Clive Barker, a super novel I thoroughly enjoyed but one that invoked sympathy for the dark things, even if they were all far from perfect.

“Don’t you just love him and his lights!”

Maybe it is a good thing that art mirrors the times we are in, but forgive me if I crave that unfathomable entity that simply wants to destroy because that’s what it is. It has no understandable social make-up, no difficult back story, no sad tale of its own – it is simply evil. And it is distinctly un – human, bearing nothing of our qualities, unfathomable. I guess it’s because against such a thing we can throw the full weight of our aggression and defence, knowing there is nothing to understand, nothing to rectify in its past. Today’s depictions don’t allow us that luxury and in truth, neither does real life, and it really should not.

But this is fantasy so give me one more malevolent, undeniably evil being to pit my fragile heroes against. You know you want to.

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The Ponderings of a Past Poet

Lately I have been challenged when reading poetry with some of the wide differences in the voices of the past and those of the present. My father bought me a book of poetry by Yeats and reading it I began to wonder how he, or indeed anyone from a different time would react to the poetry of today. This poem flowed from that. It’s not a judgement or comment on today’s writings but rather a thought on how we see that which breaks our conventions. Is it modern and relevant, or are these people merely lazy and dismissing good form? Well that’s your decision.

When did poetry stop rhyming
With words and beat combining?
When did alliteration alight
And stark endings happen?
What would old poets say
To smiths who craft their way
Without reference to known style or grace
Cultured phrases lost without trace.

Am I just a fusspot, or poor in my sight,
That I flee from prose which although not trite
Occurs in a form that doesn’t suffice,
That neither flows or connects,
And loses its way in a mesh of
Exaggerated expletive and angered intent.

When did our words become free
And not molded by ourselves,
Broncos on the hoof, not birds on the wing.
When did all form collapse
So that now we write like a child,
Building his Lego from whatever is in the box.

Like the painter’s of my time,
We should tell of vivid but recognized colours
Of days that we recognize but honed
And polished into a creation
Which let’s us drive in comfort while
Allowing the road to be challenged.

It is prose, not poetry, Sir. And I reject it.

GR Jordan’s first book of his poetry “Four Life Emotions” is available at Amazon, Smashwords and other outlets.


G R Jordan author, poet, and top Dad apparently!