‘The Blasphemer’s Banquet’ by Tony Harrison.

from : The Shadow of Hiroshima and other film poemsby Tony Harrison.

When you are in hiding , tuned to the BBC,
I hope you get some joy in watching me
raise my glass to The Satanic Verses,
to its brilliance and, yes, its blasphemy.

Its Blasphemy enabled man
to break free from the bible and the Koran
with their life-denying fundamentalists
and hell-fire such fanatics love to fan.

Omar loves ‘this fleeting life’ and knows
that everything will vanish with the rose
and yet, instead of paradise prefers
this life of passion, pain and passing shows.

Omar writes how nothing stays the same
and it’s an irony of fleeting fame
that this tandoori, Omar Khayam today
Tomorrow will be called another name.

I do recommend the civil arts of reading poetry and expanding the mind, after all we have suffered under the imprimatur for far too long.

Image from the Chester Beatty Library Image Gallery.

The newly minted Irish Defamation Bill amendment (enacted January the first 2010) will go to a Referendum to Delete the offence of Blasphemy from the Irish Constitution, in October 2010. The Greens and Fianna Fáil decided that it was a Constitutional Imperative and shoved the offence through under guillotined debate.

EDIT :  Referendum on blasphemy apparently now delayed until January 2011.

Update : December 2011, No sign of a Blasphemy Referendum in Ireland, the second anniversary of the criminalisation/amendment  approaches on January the first 2012.

EDIT :  The offence of blasphemy has not yet been removed from the Irish Constitution,  October 2012.

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