Perfect Blue
Kona Macphee
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Commentary: Gonorrhoea

I would dearly love to be able to write biting, incisive satirical verse, but when I try it usually goes haywire and becomes either too light and comical, or too self-righteous and splenetic. I think that the best satire is driven by anger, and that's an emotion that I'm not entirely comfortable with. I'm sure I tend to favour pathos over satire because I'm much more at ease with feelings of sadness and loss than with expressions of rage.

In my head this started out as a satirical poem, but instead of parodying his superiors (as I'd intended), it shifted towards empathising with the plight of Private Fenton; thus, despite its bitter humour, the poem arcs inevitably towards pity rather than mockery.

This poem was partly inspired by Spike Milligan's accounts of his wartime service, and particularly (perhaps in more ways than one) by his comment about "bromide tea" (the rumour that soldiers were plied with bromide-laced tea to suppress their libidos): "I don't think that bromide had any lasting effect, the only way to stop a British soldier feeling randy is to load bromide into a 300lb shell and fire it at him from the waist down."

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