Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Reading Red Shelley
At last! - I found a copy of Paul Foot's Red Shelley in the local Oxfam bookshop last week, and won't have to rely on someone else returning the increasingly well-thumbed copy to the local library. Reading it yet again in the early hours of this morning I was impressed by the following lines that Shelley wrote in "A Tale of Society it is", a story of a lonely and impoverished old woman whose son was press-ganged into the army:
But, when the tyrant’s bloodhounds forced the child
For his cursed power unhallowed arms to wield—
Bend to another’s will— become a thing
More senseless than the sword of battlefield—
Then did she feel keen sorrow’s keenest sting.....

The reason why these lines held a particular resonance was that I have just been reading about the case of Mehmet Tarhan - who has been sentenced to 4 years in jail for refusing to co-operate with the Turkish state's attempts to conscript him into the army.

You can read the complete text of Shelley's poem on the excellent literaturemania website:
and you can read all about Mehmet Tarhan on the War Resisters International website:
and here: