A pet-name, a common name.  Best-selling brand, curt 

graffito.  A laugh; a cough. A syndicate.  A specious 

gift.  Scoffed-at horned phonograph.

The starting-cry of a race.  A name to conjure with.”

Geoffrey Hill’s Mercian Hymns, II


Offa, King Offa.  And, yes, the f-word is there, inside the echoes in our heads.

Words always have multiple meanings, multiple uses, multiple applications.  Trump’s use of words is a superb example.  The language of truth denouncing the truth.  News is fake, the necessary implication: he knows the truth, and yet he is the propagator untruth.

Orwellian language, Orwellian ideas.

Doublespeak.  Thought police.  Ministry of Truth.


Geoffrey Hill’s poetry is about the interface between language, self-knowledge, Christianity, political and social truth.  And words.  And how the narrative of history, and words, are pliable.

I do words.

Having been useless at words when I was at primary school, so useless I didn’t believe I could read at all until I was in what would now be Year 5, I take a disproportionate interest in trying to get them right.

I’m middle-aged, middle-income.  Mostly bald. Short tempered.  Take photographs,  write poems, comment.

Day job: solicitor –  specialist in bottom-feeding business of accident claims, almost universally reviled, despite the numerous complicated personal tragedies, the lives knocked, or severely damaged, by corporate profit, or NHS performance pressure, or just appalling neglect.

John Holtom

February 2017