music and opinion from Wales' wandering poet.
Poetry and Literature in Wales & the World, Page
“The Autumn Wind’s a Pirate
Blustering in from the sea;
With a rollicking song, he sweeps along
His skin is weather-beaten;
He wears a yellow sash
With a handkerchief red about his head
And a bristling black mustache.
He laughs as he storms the country,
A laugh that’s loud and bold;
And all the trees quake and shiver and shake,
As he robs them of their gold.
The autumn wind’s a pirate,
Pillaging’s just for fun!
He’ll snatch your hat as quick as that
And laugh to see you run!”
by John Facenda
by Louise Abeita Chewiwi
Beauty is seen
in the sunlight.
The trees, the birds.
Corn growing and people working
Or dancing for their harvest.
Beauty is heard
In the night.
Wind sighing, rain falling,
Or a singer chanting
Anything in earnest.
Beauty is in yourself.
Good deeds, happy thoughts
That repeat themselves
In your dreams.
Iran’s literary icon Ebtehaj
laid to rest in home city
August 27th, 9:33am
The body of the distinguished contemporary Iranian poet,
Amir-Hushang Ebtehaj Samiei Gilani, who died earlier
this month at the age of 94, has been laid to rest in his home town, in the northern province of Gilan.
Ebtehaj, best known under his nom de plume of Sayeh
(The Shadow), was buried in Mohtasham Garden of
the northern Iranian city of Rasht on Saturday, in the presence of his family and a deluge of his fans and friends.
Hundreds of Iranians had a day earlier attended his
funeral service in the capital, Tehran, to pay
farewell to the literary icon, who shot to
prominence... after composing lyrical
poems themed on love and solitude
as well as reflections on the woes of life.
Ebtehaj died of renal failure in his home in Cologne,
Germany, on August 10th, and his body was
transferred to Iran ahead of Friday's
service, which was attended by a
crowd of officials, artists
“Father always said: I want to return to Rasht where
I belong,” Ebtehaj’s daughter, Yalda, said, at the
gathering..... “Although his body will be buried,
he will live on in this country with his poetry
…he always was, with the Iranian people
in their sorrow and happiness; his heart
was full of the love of Iranian people."
The renowned contemporary poet... was one of
the founders of the Iranian Writers' Association
(IWA), established in 1968.
In a message, Iran's President Ebrahim Raeisi lauded
the poet for "his role in the rich treasure of Persian
literature" and for his "anti-hegemony" poems.
On the Western Front
by Alfred Noyes
I found a dreadful acre of the dead,
Marked with the only sign on earth that saves.
The wings of death were hurrying overhead,
The loose earth shook on those unquiet graves;
For the deep gun-pits, with quick stabs of flame,
Made their own thunders of the sunlit air;
Yet, as I read the crosses, name by name,
Rank after rank, it seemed that peace was there;
Sunlight and peace, a peace too deep for thought,
The peace of tides that underlie our strife,
The peace with which the moving heavens are fraught,
The peace that is our everlasting life.
The loose earth shook. The very hills were stirred.
The silence of the dead was all I heard.
We, who lie here, have nothing more to pray.
To all your praises we are deaf and blind.
We may not ever know if you betray
Our hope, to make earth better for mankind.
Only our silence, in the night, shall grow
More silent, as the stars grow in the sky;
And, while you deck our graves, you shall not know
How many scornful legions pass you by.
For we have heard you say (when we were living)
That some small dream of good would “cost too much.”
But when the foe struck, we have watched you giving,
And seen you move the mountains with one touch.
What can be done, we know. But, have no fear!
If you fail now, we shall not see or hear.
German Philosopher Turns Down
Zayed Book Award over Ties to
UAE Political System
May 3rd 12:58pm (FNA)
Germany’s prominent philosopher Juergen Habermas
rejected the high-priced Sheikh Zayed Book Award
from the United Arab Emirates over ties to the
Persian Gulf state's political system.
91-year-old Habermas, who is considered Germany's
most eminent contemporary philosopher, announced
on Sunday that he reversed his earlier decision to
accept the literary award after he found out that
the institution which presents the prize is
connected to the political system in
“I declared my willingness to accept this year's Sheikh
Zayed Book Award. That was a wrong decision, which
I correct hereby,” he said in a statement which his
publisher Suhrkamp Verlag passed on to the
German news site Spiegel Online.
Habermas added, “I didn't sufficiently make clear to myself
the very close connection of the institution, which awards
these prizes in Abu Dhabi, with the existing political
The Zayed Book Award had named Habermas "Cultural
Personality of the Year 2021 in recognition of a long
career that extends for more than half a century".
The “Cultural Personality of the Year” winner receives
a prize of one million UAE dirhams ($272,249).
The UAE has been frequently slammed
over its poor human rights situation.
In January, a US think tank said that the United
Arab Emirates has contributed to humanitarian
crises and instability in the Middle East region.
The UAE is a key member of the Saudi-led
aggression and siege against Yemen.
Riyadh and a number of its regional allies
launched the devastating war on Yemen
in March 2015 in order to bring former
President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi
back to power and crush the
popular Ansarullah movement.
The Saudi-led military aggression has left
hundreds of thousands of Yemenis dead,
and displaced millions of people.
It has also destroyed Yemen's infrastructure
and spread famine and infectious diseases
across the country.
THE POEM IS MIGHTIER THAN THE ENTITY: PALESTINIAN POET DAREEN TATOUR IMPRISONED BY ‘ISRAEL’FOR POWERFUL WORDS ALONE by Jonathan Azaziah* August 1st, 2018
The poem is most certainly mightier than the occupation. 36-year old Palestinian poet, Dareen Tatour, has been sentenced to 5 more months in prison, by the usurping Zionist cancer, for a poem she wrote in the Autumn of 2015, called:
“Qawem Ya Sha3bi, Qawemhoum (Resist, My People, Resist Them)”.
She already spent 3 months in a Jewish dungeon after she was initially arrested in October of 2015 and has been on house arrest, with invasive and despicable IOF monitoring, for nearly 3 years since. Her prison sentence, which starts next Wednesday, isn’t the end of her nightmare either. As of this moment, she’s still banned from using the Internet and cell phones, as well as publishing any of her poetry.
Yes, this is exactly like a Zionized version of one of those dystopian, totalitarian sci-fi flicks Jewish Hollywood is always producing – only the dystopian totalitarianism of Jewish supremacy is very real. An indigenous woman is going to prison - again - for writing a poem that calls on her fellow indigenous brethren --- not to make “peace” with the bloodthirsty, supremacist terrorists who have been stealing their land, hurting their culture and destabilizing their region, in one capacity or another, for nearly a century and a half.
In May, Dareen, who’s from the 1948 Muslim-Christian town of Reineh near Nasira in Al-Jalil, was convicted of online incitement of “terrorism”. These were the lines that the Zionist kangaroo court used for its “case” against the Mouqawamist poet, whose words cut deep into the blackened being of the Zio-Tumour and its fifth columnists within Palestine, who want to sign a surrender treaty and betray their cause:
“I will not succumb to the ‘peaceful solution’. I will never lower my flags. Until I evict them from my land.”
Beautiful. Resistant perfection. The illegitimate Jewish entity isn’t just terrified of these words --- but the thought process it will inspire among Palestinians of all ages, especially shabab.
Because Tatour the Tigress is one who doesn’t believe in the false idea of sharing what is rightfully hers; what is rightfully her people’s; what is rightfully Palestine’s. She believes in the expulsion of the land thieves. The Hizbullah-Algeria option. ‘Israel’ wants a Palestinian population that is so pacified, liberalized and Judaized, that it won’t even see the next mass-expulsion coming.
Dareen the Dauntless wants her brethren awakened. Resisting. With Intifada Consciousness (‘Israel’ also charged her for supporting Islamic Jihad’s call for a new Intifada -- and for defending Al-Aqsa).
An understanding of the Culture of Martyrdom (‘Israel’ charged her in relation to this too, for posting a photo on Ziobook, with the tag “I am the next martyr”). A strength that will see Palestine liberated from the River to the Sea. A Palestinian woman, whose principles are uncompromising, and whose pen is more explosive than any butterfly bullet her oppressors could shoot at her.
Indeed, this is what keeps the policymakers of ‘Israel’ who so desperately want to preserve their Halakhic-Talmudic project, awake at night.
After her conviction, Dareen said,
“The whole world will hear my story. The whole world will hear --- what the ‘democracy’ of ‘Israel’ is. A democracy for Jews only. Arabs, and Arabs alone, go to jail. The court said I am convicted of terrorism. Fine. If that’s my terrorism, I give the world a terrorism of love.”
It is her love of Palestine, its cause and the Mouqawamah of her people, that is keeping her going and presumably, writing, even though the baby-killing Zionist devils are preventing the world from reading her gemstone-like prose. And after her sentencing, she said:
“I was arrested and put on trial because of the Arabic language, and I call on the entire Arab public to continue writing and expressing itself in our language.”
One would imagine that this call-to-poetic-arms extends to all those who support Palestine, regardless of their language, as well, because World Zionism is cracking down on anyone exercising their right to freedom of speech and freedom of thought, in both the Global North and the Global South.
We know that Shlomo has a penchant for killing creative personalities. Ghassan Kanafani. Writer. Kamal Nasser. Poet. Wael Zuaiter. Writer. Naji al-Ali. Cartoonist. Hujjat al-Islam Sayyed Moussa Ali al-Kazimi of Iraq. Poet. Juliano Mer-Khamis. Filmmaker. Muhammad Abou Amr. Artist. My uncle Ishaq-Hussein Azaziah. Writer. Apart from the Mighty Moujahideen of Hizbullah and Iran’s IRGC, ‘Israel’ fears nothing more, than Arabs and Muslims with artistic talents gifted to them by ALLAH (SWT), who are using such talents, to spark a cultural revolution: in which, Anti- Zionism, Anti-Parasitism, Anti-Imperialism and Liberationist Zeal, are the pillars.
And as more and more artists follow in the footsteps of these legends, the Zio-Tumour realizes that it cannot kill everyone. It cannot silence everyone. It cannot bully everyone into accepting its rabbinical edicts on what can and can’t be said, in relation to the shaytanic, fake existence of its shaytanic, fake entity. Imprisonment isn’t a deterrent anymore because the inspiration while exiled, on house arrest or locked behind bars, only grows stronger.
So heed the call of Dareen Tatour! And write. Rhyme. Sing. Spit. Draw. Paint. Film. Script. Photograph. Document. Report. Whether in the Mother Tongue of Arabic, English, Urdu, Farsi, Hindi, Spanish, Swedish or Neptune-ese, if that’s what you have at your disposal. Just let the artistry flow, until the Nazarene Poet-Warrioress, and all of Palestine’s political prisoners, still rotting in Zion’s dungeons, are free.
Resist, my people, resist them… Those sons of Jahannam masquerading as “the chosen”… Until not a one remains and Falasteen is whole again.
*Views expressed by Guest Authors are their own, Rhondda Records and Fort Russ News (original source) publish these, for research and educational purposes.
BREAD AND ROSES AWARD FOR RADICAL PUBLISHING
‘The Candidate: Jeremy Corbyn’s Improbable Path to Power’ by Alex Nunns, wins the Bread & Roses Award for Radical Publishing, 2017
The Alliance of Radical Booksellers (ARB) is delighted to announce the winner of this year’s Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing as ‘The Candidate: Jeremy Corbyn’s Improbable Path to Power’ by Alex Nunns and published by OR Books.
The judges greatly appreciated this exploration of the deep roots of the Corbyn phenomenon. In The Candidate, Nunns shows that Corbyn’s victories weren’t the accidental consequence of other candidates’ failures, but were built on the work of an energised, thoughtful and committed movement of citizen-campaigners.
Cogent, optimistic, well-written and thoroughly researched, this hugely topical book records with great intimacy and insight an historical moment whose lessons mustn’t be forgotten, while also exposing the persistent forces which continue to work against social change.
Alex Nunn’s was awarded the prize and a cheque for £500 by guest judge Joan Anim-Addo at this year’s London Radical Bookfair, hosted as ever by the ARB.
2017’s prize money was generously granted by the General Federation of Trade Unions.
Guest judge Joan Anim-Addo presented Alex Nunn’s with the award.
In September 2015 an earthquake shook the foundations of British politics. Jeremy Corbyn, a lifelong and uncompromising socialist, was elected to head the Labour Party. Corbyn didn’t just win the leadership contest, he trounced opponents. The establishment was aghast. The official opposition now had as its leader a man with a plan, according to the Daily Telegraph, “to turn Britain into Zimbabwe.”
How this remarkable twist of events occurre is the subject of Alex Nunns’ highly readable and richly researched account. Drawing on 1st-hand inter- views with those involved in the campaign, including its most senior figures, Nunns traces the origins of Corbyn’s victory in the dissatisfaction with Blairism stirred by the Iraq War and the 2008 financial crash, the move to the left of the trade unions, and changes in the electoral rules of the Labour Party that turned out to be surreally at odds with the intentions of those who introduced them. The system of one-member- one-vote, that delivered Corbyn’s success, was opposed by those on the left and was heralded by Tony Blair who described it as “a long overdue reform that… I should have done myself.”
Giving full justice to the dramatic swings & nail-biting tensions of an extraordinary summer in UK politics, Nunns’ telling of a story that has received wide- spread attention but little understanding is as illuminating as it is entertaining. He teases out a plotline of such improbability that it would be unusable in a work of fiction, giving the first convincing explanation of a remarkable phenomenon with enormous consequences for the left in Britain and beyond.
Subversive artist DARREN CULLEN talks about the Tories, and making bad people angry, with Ben Cowles.
On the Tories’ general election campaign paraphernalia you won’t find any mention of the deaths of almost 10,000 sick and disabled people between 2011 and 2014 as a result of their politically driven austerity measures.
Luckily, one satirical artist has done that for them using subvertising — an art form which subverts and satirises corporate and political messages with their own logos, slogans and adverts.
What might appear at first glance as the Tories’ tree logo on a bus stop poster is in fact a mushroom cloud over London.
This is but one example of the work of Darren Cullen, a 30-something, Yorkshire born, London-based artist whose works usually appear under the moniker Spelling Mistakes Cost Lives.
Not only is he attempting to reverse Tory propaganda but the subvertising virtuoso has been undermining the entire military-industrial-media complex for years.
I caught up with the renegade creator this week, to find out more about the motivations behind his work.
What was it that drew you into subvertising?
I originally thought I wanted to go into advertising and was studying it for a few years, but the more I learnt, the more I started to see advertising as little more than a gigantic machine for creating human misery.
It’s a sustained psychological assault on the population and I think it’s hard to overstate the brutal and permanent damage it does to us as individuals, to society, and to the planet itself.
I’m attracted to subvertising because it’s a way of taking the language and context of advertising and turning it back on itself to get across better, more progressive messages.
But it also has the added bonus of destroying or hiding an existing corporate advert in the process, which can only be a good thing.
Your latest work has been directed at the Tory Party. Can you tell us a bit about your motivations for this project?
There are a million reasons to hate this government; their cruel and irrational austerity policies are killing thousands and damning hundreds of thousands more, to misery and poverty.
Then there’s the charade of the piecemeal destruction of the NHS, not least because these market fundamentalists are ideologically opposed to its existence.
I was also prompted by Theresa May’s willingness to unquestioningly follow the petulant US President Donald Trump, whose tantrums may well lead us all into large-scale conventional or nuclear war before the next four years are up.
How do you see Britain’s future if the Tories win? Do you have any artistic plans for that depressing reality if/when that happens?
I don’t see a future if they win. I’ve been working on an anti-Thatcher museum for the last two years, which will only be more necessary, if the Tories win another term.
But no matter who gets in, the problems of militarism, global warming, rampant consumerism and the arms trade, among many many others, will still be there.
The struggle continues, no matter who is in Number 10.
It’s not about winning; it’s about taking the bastards apart.
You work often draws attention to consumerist society’s indoctrination of children. How do you feel about children being marketed to?
I think child-focused advertising is one of the most disturbing and unethical practices of our age.
Kids are being groomed by corporations because they know that if they capture the imagination of a child, they can rely on that child to become an adult customer for their entire life.
I cannot understand how anyone can justify the psychological manipulation of children for profit.
The people who do this for a living should be in jail.
You say on your website that your work is pro-soldier but anti-military. Can you explain what you mean by this?
I see soldiers as being among the many (often working- class) victims of the military-industrial complex.
Often they are economically conscripted, signed up from poor areas while they are 16, after being bombarded by slick million-pound recruitment advertising that more resembles a music video than a serious explanation -- about the life and death situations they are going to be placed in.
Servicemen and women can also be powerful allies in the fight against militarism, as we’ve seen with Veterans for Peace UK.
If we’re going to win the argument about dismantling modern British imperialism and the war machine, we need former soldiers on our side, Their condemnation of militarism carries a lot of weight.
Your work must generate plenty of abuse for you. Is it your aim to make conservative types angry or is there something else you want to elicit within people?
I enjoy making bad people angry and good people laugh. It’s debatable whether that’s an effective strategy for changing anything.
But I also often attempt to reframe old, tired issues, in a way that allows people to see them as if it's the first time.
The Birth of Palestine is a comic I’ve been working on set in the future, when the UN decides to give the Palestinian people their own homeland in what was formerly known as Spain.
So the Palestinians become the Israelis and the Europeans are the Arab nations. And the rest of the book is basically seeing how far I can stretch that metaphor... before it breaks.
You get quite a lot of flak from the right-wing press, over your works on the military. What do you think of their reporting?
Tabloid fury is very satisfying when it’s directed at you, for something you did in order to make them furious. There’s a symbiotic relationship there.
I know for a fact a lot of these journalists for right-wing rags don’t believe a word they type. I had one Sun journalist tell me she actually loved my anti-Trident posters while the story she wrote was full of fury and outrage.
I don’t care as long as they’re printing my images and getting them into their readers’ brains.
Is subversive art an effective form of highlighting the hypocrisies & injustices of our consumerist, neoliberal, militaristic times?
I think it can be effective at highlighting things, whether it changes anyone’s mind is another question. I think there also comes a stage, and I see it more and more, whereby capitalism and militarism are doing a pretty good job of satirising themselves.
I’ve made a few satirical dystopian toys -- like Action Man: Battlefield Casualties and Baby’s First Baby -- but if you go to a real toy shop, you’ll find boxes of Playmobil Riot Police and the British military’s own toy range, HM Armed Forces, with a Reaper drone playset (ages 5+).
I don’t know how you can top that with actual satire.
You can find more of Darren Cullen’s work at spellingmistakescostlives.com or find him on Twitter: @darren_cullen.
Ben Cowles is the deputy features editor of the Morning Star.
Reminder Of Poetry’s Possibilities And Responsibilities
21st century poetry, with Andy Croft
The Algerian war of independence, from 1954 to 1962, was one of the bloodiest post-1945 liberation struggles.
Characterised by civilian massacres and the widespread use of torture, it led to the death and displacement of two million people.
It was also the first major conflict since the Spanish civil war to mobilise a generation of writers and artists to protest against the conduct of the war, most notably in Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth and Gillo Pontecorvo’s The Battle of Algiers.
In 1960, many of France’s leading writers and intellectuals — including Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, Andre Breton, Pierre Boulez, Francois Truffaut and Marguerite Duras — signed Le Manifeste des 121, calling on the French government to renounce the use of torture in Algeria.
As a result, many writers found themselves on the frontline.
The Algerian writer Mouloud Feraoun was assassinated by the fascist paramilitary organisation OAS in 1962. It also tried, unsuccessfully, to kill Madeleine Riffaud, who reported on the war for the communist newspaper L’Humanite.
There were two attempts on Sartre’s life.
Edited by Francis Combes and translated by Alan Dent, Poets and the Algerian War (Smokestack, £7.99) features some of the French poets who opposed the war, including Louis Aragon, Jacques Gaucheron, Riffaud, Henri Deluy and Guillevic, as well as Algerian poets like Jean Senac, Kateb Yacine, Bachir Hadj Ali, Noureddine Aba and Mohamed Saleh Baouiya.
The Algerian poet Messaour Boulanouar, imprisoned during the conflict, wrote:
“I write so that life can be respected by all... I give my light to those suffocated by shadow Those who will triumph over shame and vermin I write for the man in pain the blind man The man closed in by sadness The man hidden from the day’s splendour... So we might respect The tree which rises The corn which grows The grass in the desert The hope of men.”
Many of these, such as Riffaud, tried to draw attention to the widespread use of torture by France's authorities:
“They kill them with fire, water, electricity Those who lived far from springs Dreaming of water all their life Those who shivered, without coal In Mouloud’s frozen sun. Those who lay awake in the dark Buried in a gloomy slum.”
And this is Gabriel Cousin:
“In a police station near the autumnal park, electrodes are placed on a man whose body fills with cries and dizziness. He is Algerian. To muffle his cries the policemen turn on the radio which brings the voice of Monsieur André Malraux: ‘I assert that torture has stopped in Algeria.’”
The book also includes a remarkable series of poems first published in the magazine Action Poetique in memory of Maurice Audin, a young university lecturer and member of the Algerian Communist Party who was tortured and murdered by the French authorities. Jo Guglielmi wrote:
“Someone is dead We know in which town which street in which house A cell remains empty We know very well who did the killing.”
And this is part of a long poem by Jean Perret:
“Maurice Audin, I write your name I carry your name in my anger On my heart and my reason My wife carries your name My children carry your name Lenin bears your name.”
Poets and the Algerian War is an important historical document. But it is also a reminder of the possibilities and of the responsibilities of poetry, in our own times.
(Original article appeared in Morning Star)
Ode to the NeoCons — The Charge of the White Hat Brigade by Rob Slane? (who can drum up a good tune?) Originally appeared at The Blog Mire
The White Hats and the Black Hats stood on each side, Eyeball to eyeball across the divide. Neither advanced nor retreated one inch, The world held its breath to see who would flinch.
But the fears were misplaced for as it transpired, The Black Hats retreated – no shot being fired. The cost of the standoff just too much to pay, They packed up their stuff and went on their way.
Well the White Hats rejoiced and in triumph did shout, “Our victory marks history’s end, there’s no doubt. We’re children of destiny, reigning supreme, There’s no time to lose, let’s get on with our dream.”
“We’re the White Hats, the White Hats, the White Hat Brigade, And now we’ll go round this world we have made. Bringing White Hats to the people ourselves, And generally saving them all from themselves.”
So they began their incredible mission, To bring the whole world into White Hat submission. They dropped lots of bombs, good ones of course, Generous bombs for a generous cause.
When some complained that this just wasn’t right, They pointed towards their hats which were white. “White Hats can never do wrong,” they affirmed, “Therefore we always are right,” they confirmed.
“We’re the White Hats, the White Hats, the White Hats are we, Ours is a lonely and high destiny. Bringing White Hats to folks everywhere, Whether they like it or not we don’t care.”
They invented untruths of gargantuan size, Not bad ones of course, but White Hatted lies, Deceptions, psyops, huge fabrications, To sell their benevolent wars to the nations.
“He’s the New Hitler,” they cried in alarm, “He’s armed to the teeth and intent on our harm. He must be removed, we mustn’t appease, Let’s kill him and show our commitment to peace.”
“We’re the White Hats, the White Hats, the White Hats R Us, When we bomb, maim and kill, please don’t make a fuss. We’re just doing good and they’ll love us you’ll see, When we bring them our White Hats and de-moc-racy.
So the bombs kept on falling, but rather than order, Came havoc and mayhem from border to border. What lessons were learned, what warnings were heeded? “Cleverer tactics and more bombs are needed.”
And so they aligned with death-cult Wahhabists, White Hatted armies of proxy jihadists. To carve up a nation, its leader as well, “We came and we saw and he died!” Ain’t that swell!
“We’re the White Hats, the White Hats, we’re nobody’s fools, We’re history’s actors, and we make the rules, Creating a world that you can’t comprehend, The means always being justified by the end.”
No respite could come because every place, Had to submit to the White Hats or face, Chaos, regime change, demonization, Plus mainstream Pravda insulting their nation.
Missiles 4 Peace dropped from White Hatted drones, Globalist White-Hatted tapping of phones. “Moderate” head-chopping terrorists too, Cookies 4 Peace for a White Hatted coup.
“We’re the White Hats, the White Hats, from the day of our birth, We’ve been destined to rule and inherit the earth, The world needs a policeman, and whom may we ask, Is better equipped than us for this task?”
Yet slowly but surely there were more and more folks, That started to ask, “Are their white hats a hoax? They say they’re about bringing peace, law and order, Yet it sure looks to us more like war and disorder.”
But whenever their actions were held to the light, And questions were asked if they really were right. The White Hats lashed out with uncontained fury, “We are the judge, prosecution and jury.”
“We’re the White Hats, the White Hats, and don’t you forget, We run the world and you’re all in our debt. We keep you safe from all Black Hatted strife, We are the Way and the Truth and the Life.”
So any critique of their actions and vision, Was greeted with furious howls of derision: “It’s Fake News and Hate Views from Black Hatted trolls, Vile propagandists; Deplorable goals.
All our plans, which are good, are at risk from this stuff, Our motives are pure but we’ve now had enough. Freedom of speech is too precious to lose, And so we must shut down alternative views.”
“We’re the White Hats, the White Hats, Exceptionally so, And we’re indispensably running this show, We can’t have our narrative subject to flack, By haters and bigots whose hats are quite black.”
But the day is approaching, and come yes it must, When the dreams of the White Hats will crumble to dust, And all their ambitions will teeter and fall, As a handwritten message declares on a wall:
“The days of your kingdom, to an end have been brought, And so has the world domination you’ve sought. Weighed in the scales, the verdict is in, The end of the White Hats is in history’s bin.”
The White Hats, the White Hats, well what do you know, It turns out they weren’t really running the show, Let their end be a lesson, and shout it out loud, “God raises the humble, but brings down the proud.”
Song/poem sung for the brave people of Donbass
How many songs are unwritten yet? Tell me, cuckoo, sing it to me Where should I live, in the city or outside Lie like a stone or shine like a star Like a star
My sun, come on, look at me My palm turned into a fist And if there's gunpowder, give me fire That's how it is
Who's going to follow my lonely track The strong and brave laid down their lives On the battlefield, in fight Few of them remained in our memory Sober-minded, with the steady hand, in arms In arms
My sun, come on, look at me My palm turned into a fist And if there's gunpowder, give me fire That's how it is
Where are you now, my liberal freedom Who are you meeting sweet sunrise with Give me an answer It's good to live with you and hard without you The head and patient shoulders To put under whip lashes, whip lashes
You my sun, come on, look at me My palm turned into a fist And if there's gunpowder, give me fire It's like this (x2)
The minute they realise
you might succeed in changing
more than the occasional
light bulb in the new
old community centre,
where the anti-apartheid
meetings used to happen;
the late Lord Lambton
climbs out from between
two prostitutes and into
the next available issue
of the Daily Express
to urge votes for anyone
but you; Earl Haig
gets up from his grave
to bang the table and tell us
you’ve not successfully
organised enough death
to properly understand
Britain’s defence needs
in the twenty first century.
The Telegraph mutters
into its whiskers about your lack
of experience – how you never once
so much as successfully destroyed a bank;
as former comedians gather
in darkest Norwich and Lincolnshire
to speak of your beige zip-up jackets.
LBC Radio exclusively reveals your plan
to give each failed asylum-seeker,
and anyone who’s ever
taken an axe to a child,
their own seat in
the House of Lords;
the same day, The Spectator
gives retired General
Franco space to expose your
long term associations
with known vegetarians
and Mexican importers
of fair trade coffee.
While on Radio Four’s Women’s Hour
the former editor of the News of The World
and Dame Myra Hindley agree:
the last thing this country needs
right now is you.
by KEVIN HIGGINS
Look into your heart, not the scar on your wrist
That blow opened it
It isn't what has happened But how you react to it
Family, friends, even enemies Celebrate purity
We all fly between pleasure and pain
Take a bow
WAKE UP AND ACT NOW: GUNTER GRASS's LAST WORDS
In his last interview before death, noted German author Gunter Grass warned about ”sleepwalking towards another world war.” He told the Spanish newspaper El Pais:
“We have on the one side Ukraine, whose situation is not improving; in Israel and Palestine things are getting worse; the disaster the Americans left in Iraq, the atrocities of Islamic state, and the problem of Syria.”
“There is war everywhere. We run the risk of committing the same mistakes as before. So without realizing it, we can get into a world war as if we were sleepwalking.”
“All of this together makes me realize that things are finite --- that we don’t have an indefinite amount of time,” Grass explained.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside You must know sorrow as the other deepest thing. You must wake up with sorrow. You must speak to it till your voice catches the thread of all sorrows and you can see the size of the cloth.
Naomi Shihab Nye.
Youngsters ask, "what is fascism?" I struggle to answer, because the answer must be right, or we won't stop it this time.
Hungary, the first fascist government in Europe, before World War 2, now has a statue in its main square to a fascist.
Their most voted for party, is fascist.
Croatia has been fascist ever since NATO destroyed Yugoslavia.
Meetings In memoriam Kurt Waldheim* by Thomas Ország-Land Small world, what, Excellency? We shall not shake hands. I do not care how you manage to live with the murder of children among the conquered women and spoilt vineyards and olivegroves back in the Balkans, back in your youth: that is your affair. But what you have done, to me and my world, that’s mine. At last, our final meeting. You were an obedient officer ordered to make a corpse of me, perforce a small one. I have survived the mayhem to make a poem of you. I am more generous than you and far more consistent. Old soldiers like you in public life can still be of use. Admit the past for the sake of the future, and go in peace at the mercy of your smouldering, sordid, meandering memories. Or dare to persist in denying the truth and the value of life, pretend that nothing occurred to stir your attention, and I promise you will never escape the stench of corpses: for I will record your name as well as the crimes from which you say you averted your indifferent eyes, in tales of horror to be recounted throughout the ages till the end of the march of innocent future generations to weigh up anew, again and again, and recoil from your life.
*Kurt Waldheim, (1918-2007), former president of Austria, secretary-general of the UN and intelligence officer of Hitler’s Wehrmacht... died peacefully days after publicly repenting his silence over the atrocities he oversaw.
Fascism causes atrocities, because it's a way of fooling working people to hate, so that they don't rearrange their societies and remove the banking elite's power.
"Immigrants", "gays", "communists", "Jews", "scroungers", all receive the passionate hatred of those who are turned from being loving socialists... into murderous racists.
Nigel Farage says he admires Putin over Ukraine.
Hitler and Mussolini both spoke reflecting popular ideas, including a belief in socialism and progress, then got people to hate others, helpless minorities, externalising anger, deflecting it away from banks.
They were funded by US banks and local oligarchs.
So, my definition of fascism?
- the corporate state merged with a nationalism, fueled by hatred and with no dissent allowed - is inadequate, because...
a failure by socialists to build a better way, and the collapse of hope, also fuels the road there.
The poetry of struggle - Fit To Work: Poets Against Atos (section taken from the Morning Star article)
Mark Burnhope is editor of the website Fit to Work: Poets Against Atos.
"We want to change the meaning of 'fit to work' from a condemnatory life sentence to a recognition that everyone is fit to - and wants to - work, in dignity and security at the work of their choice," he says.
"We believe that these circumstances are often off-limits - we are fit to work, but by and large our corporate culture is not fit for anyone to work in.
"That's amplified by the experience of physical or mental illness and disability."
Burnhope sees Atos and the work capability assessment programme as "the corporatisation of the Department for Work and Pensions. To say the programme isn't working is a gross understatement,"
"WH Auden's line 'poetry makes nothing happen' has been taken out of context and made into a challenge - one we're accepting."
"Amid the misery of the coalition government there have been flashes of excitement as a coalition is being created on the streets, in squats, in occupations and in community groups.
"We've seen disabled and disability activists at the forefront of student fees protests, and the benefits cuts are leading to an alliance around disability rights between disability activists and other campaigners. We're making contacts as we go - building bridges between poetry and disability arts communities, finding contributors from all around, and they're finding us, which is nice.
"I'm just a 'proactivist' or a 'reactivist' - I've watched the government swing a wrecking ball through the sick and disabled community and I've had to say no. Publicly.
"Like race, gender and sexuality, disability has often been invisible on the left or regarded as an add-on - but now people are seeing that it's not a supplementary, minority issue but central and far-reaching. Disabled people have always faced a dominant culture which sees their complaints and demands as quaint.
"But we're now seeing the effects of a government and media- manufactured culture that sees benefit claimants - any benefit claimants, the average Joe doesn't differentiate - as 'scroungers.'
"The overwhelming mood among the disabled and sick people I know and have met through social networks is that this protest has become synonymous with disabled rights as a whole. These times could be the most significant for disabled rights in recent history. We're taking back the movement from a government that makes every effort to undo its achievements."
What inspired the project?
"The combined effects of simultaneous vicious attacks on the 99 per cent and how they affect people with disabilities - universal credit, the personal independence payment and employment support allowance, the bedroom tax, the continued outsourcing of the work capability assessment programme - with the free market, profit-led values it promotes.
"This is intensified by the tabloid media's language of 'scrounging' & 'skiving,' all of which undermine any gains made in dismantling the disabling public perceptions of people with disabilities.
"It's the horrible paradox where [Minister for Disabled People] Esther McVey claims she is helping (helpless) people with disabilities out of the oppression of benefits - double-speak for depriving us of what we need to participate in an 'ablist' society on our own terms."
"Both the poetry community in this country and the disability arts and activism community have shown their support by submitting work, reading the site and sharing it.
"We've got a WriteToThem link on the site so that readers can share it with their MPs, and we're waiting to see what - if any - responses we get, which we'll post on the site.
"So far all but a - legendary - handful of MPs have been very quiet about the total eradication of a fair benefits system, and we're hoping against hope that the poems and statements on the site wake them up to the real effects on their constituents.
"We're also running a GoFundMe campaign to support the site, which we're running independently and for free. But we know that many of our contributors and readers are all struggling in the same economic situation. We'd like to raise enough money to enlarge the project, maybe with a print book, and even live reading events & workshops, thus increasing visibility further."
Any public events planned?
"Does anyone have an accessible - and public transport accessible - venue with sign-language and hearing aid provision?"
"If so, we'd love to hear from you, so we can bring our poets and our audience together. Get in touch!"
They are criminals, increasing their crimes. They are criminals, claiming to be peace-loving. They are criminals, torturing the hunger strikers. They are artists of torture, They are artists of pain and fatigue, They are artists of insults and humiliation. They are faithless—traitors and cowards— They have surpassed devils with their criminal acts. They do not respect the law, They do not respect men, They do not spare the elderly, They do not spare the baby-toothed child. They leave us in prison for years, uncharged, Because we are Muslims. Where is the world to save us from torture? Where is the world to save us from the fire and sadness? Where is the world to save the hunger strikers? But we are content, on the side of justice and right, Worshipping the Almighty. And our motto on this island is, salaam.
ADNAN FARHAN ABDUL LATIF
Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, a 27-year-old Yemeni from a family of modest means, was the victim of a 1994 accident that resulted in serious head injuries, Latif spent much of the rest of the decade seeking affordable medical treatment in Jordan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. After the 9/11 attacks on the United States, he was taken into custody by Pakistani forces and turned over to the US for a $5,000 bounty. He was eventually flown to Guantánamo and kept for a time in an open-air kennel exposed to the elements, causing further deterioration of his health. He died after joining the latest hunger strike, which is ongoing...
SOUTH AMERICA's SPIRIT THE PUREST POETRY
Prominent Chilean bards, several Mapuches among them, participated in celebrating World Poetry Day in 2013, along with Chilean blues groups.
The celebration took place in Providencia, a town of the capital city, sponsored by the municipality, and produced by ChilePoesia (PoetryChile).
Every year this international meeting's venue is Chile, homeland of Gabriela Mistral, Vicente Huidobro, Pablo de Rokha and Pablo Neruda.
Prominent poets read their works from the balconies and columns of the Palacio Consistorial (Council Palace).
Poets participating in the celebration included Leonel Lienlaf, Teresa Calderon, Jaime Huenun, Loreley Saavedra, Magdalena Pulgar, Karen Hermosilla, Jose Maria Memet, Elicura Chihuailaf, A'scar Saavedra, Faumelisa Manquepillan and Mauricio Redoles.
Chilean blues groups Ivan Torres & Zapatillas Social Blues, Tito Escarate and Los Galanes Suplentes and La Bandadel Capitán Corneta also performed.
The recital was broadcast by a 'streaming' system which connected the celebration in Chile with other countries of the world, allowing poets from all over the world, to participate.
Leading up to the celebration, in the morning, roving recitals took place in the Santiago de Chile subway.
From the 25th to 28th March, documentaries were screened about the great Chilean and world poets.
World Poetry Day is celebrated every March 21st, the date established by UNESCO during its 30th meeting, held in Paris, in 1999.
The Bards Of Wales
Edward the king, the English king, Bestrides his tawny steed, 'For I will see if Wales,' said he, 'Accepts my rule indeed.
'Are stream and mountain fair to see? Are meadow grasses good? Do corn-lands bear a crop more rare Since wash'd with rebel's blood?
'And are the wretched people there, Whose insolence I broke As happy as the oxen are Beneath the driver's yoke?
'In truth this Wales, Sire, is a gem, The fairest in your crown: The stream and field rich harvest yield, And fair are dale and down.
'And all the wretched people there Are calm as man could crave; Their hovels stand throughout the land As silent as the grave.'
Edward the king, the English King Bestrides his tawny steed; A silence deep his subjects keep And Wales is mute indeed.
The castle named Montgomery Ends that day's journeying; The castle's lord, Montgomery, Must entertain the king.
Then game and fish and ev'ry dish That lures the taste and sight A hundred hurrying servants bear To please the appetite.
With all of worth the isle brings forth In dainty drink and food, And all the wines of foreign vines Beyond the distant flood.
'You lords, you lords, will none consent His glass with mine to ring? What? Each one fails, you dogs of Wales, To toast the English king?
'Though game and fish and ev'ry dish That lures the taste and sight Your hand supplies, your mood defies My person with a slight.
'You rascal lords, you dogs of Wales, Will none for Edward cheer? To serve my needs and chant my deeds Then let a bard appear!'
The nobles gaze in fierce amaze, Their cheeks grow deadly pale; Not fear but rage their looks engage, They blanch but do not quail.
All voices cease in soundless peace, All breathe in silent pain; Then at the door a harpist hoar Comes in with grave disdain:
'Lo, here I stand, at your command, To chant your deeds, O king!' And weapons clash and hauberks crash Responsive to his string.
'Harsh weapons clash and hauberks crash, And sunset sees us bleed, The crow and wolf our dead engulf - This, Edward, is your deed!
'A thousand lie beneath the sky, They rot beneath the sun, And we who live shall not forgive This deed your hand hath done!'
'Now let him perish! I must have' (The monarch's voice is hard) 'Your softest songs, and not your wrongs!' In steps a boyish bard:
'The breeze is soft at eve, that oft From Milford Havens moans; It whispers maidens' stifled cries, It breathes of widows' groans.
'You maidens, bear no captive babes! You mothers, rear them not!' The fierce king nods. The lad is seiz'd And hurried from the spot.
Unbidden then, among the men, There comes a dauntless third With speech of fire he tunes his lyre, And bitter is his word:
'Our bravest died to slake your pride - Proud Edward, hear my lays! No Welsh bards live who e'er will give Your name a song of praise.
'Our harps with dead men's memories weep. Welsh bards to you will sing One changeless verse - our blackest curse To blast your soul, O king!'
'No more! Enough!' - cries out the king. In rage his orders break: 'Seek through these vales all bards of Wales And burn them at the stake!'
His men ride forth to south and north, They ride to west and east. Thus ends in grim Montgomery The celebrated feast.
Edward the king, the English king Spurs on his tawny steed; Across the skies red flames arise As if Wales burned indeed.
In martyrship, with song on lip, Five hundred Welsh bards died; Not one was mov'd to say he lov'd The tyrant in his pride.
''Ods blood! What songs this night resound Upon our London streets? The mayor shall feel my irate heel If aught that sound repeats!
Each voice is hush'd; through silent lanes To silent homes they creep. 'Now dies the hound that makes a sound; The sick king cannot sleep.'
'Ha! Bring me fife and drum and horn, And let the trumpet blare! In ceaseless hum their curses come - I see their dead eyes glare…'
But high above all drum and fife and trumpets' shrill debate, Five hundred martyr'd voices chant Their hymn of deathless hate
Tomas Borge died recently. We remember him.
He was the last of Nicaragua's Sandinista leaders
who faced Somoza's National Guard and the army of
Contra cut-throats sent by "cuddly" President Reagan
to terrorise people into betraying their revolution.
Now Nicaragua has a Sandinista government which
is raising its people from poverty, yet sits in
a sea of US-controlled narco-terror states.
Tomas Borge was tortured unspeakably by Contra
elements backed by the US. The torture included
being forced to watch his wife being gang-raped
and then murdered. He went on to write this poem
with Luis Enrique Mejía Godoy about forgiveness:
My Personal Revenge My personal revenge will be the right of your children to school and to flowers; My personal revenge will be to offer you this florid song without fears; My personal revenge will be to show you the good there is in the eyes of my people, always unyielding in combat and most steadfast and generous in victory. My personal revenge will be to say to you good morning, without beggars in the streets, when instead of jailing you I intend you shake the sorrow from your eyes; when you, practitioner of torture, can no longer so much as lift your gaze, my personal revenge will be to offer you these hands you once maltreated without being able to make them forsake tenderness. And it was the people who hated you most when the song was a language of violence; But the people today beneath its skin of red and black* has its heart uplifted.
* The colours of the Nicaraguan flag.
Pure poetry for an impure people:
"Occupy USA: Democracy Is Coming"
by Leonard Cohen
(Tell EVERYONE of the 99% to watch it on Youtube - IT's BRILLIANT !)
IS THIS YOU?
"We would rather be ruined than changed;
We would rather die in our dread
Than climb across the moment
And let our illusions die."
- W.H. Auden
They hang the man and flog the woman That steal the goose from off the common, But let the greater villain loose, That steals the common from the goose.
The Jeju Jewel called ‘Take your cruel weight of concrete stars from our feet.’ And where it slides into the sea, through this surf of truth Red green yellow orange shiny from the silver lips of fishes, The dance of weed, Sang: ‘This land this earth and all its souls is just One perfect clasp Between two foolish cruel walls.’ ‘Time – long overtime To Stop. Take your sour ships of hate, suspicion and waste from our clear skies of ocean.’
Sub-marine The rock holds hands as we do, yes, as we do - in the south, so the north, the east, the west.
THE ULTIMATE HAIKU !!!
Words are energy; let's gather, store and offer them with utmost care.
AND THE WEST's DOGGEREL ANSWER?
"If you think you are beaten, you are; If you think you dare not, you don't. If you'd like to win, but think you can't It's almost a cinch you won't.
If you think you'll lose, you've lost. For out in the world we find Success begins with a fellow's will: It's all in his state of mind.
If you think you're outclassed, you are: You've got to think high to rise, You've got to be sure of yourself before You'll ever win that prize.
Life's battles don't always go To the stronger or faster man, But sooner or later the man who wins Is the one who thinks he can."
Attributed to Author Napoleon Hill circa 1973
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they're a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.
I'm Working On The World
I'm working on the world, revised, improved edition, featuring fun for fools, blues for brooders, combs for bald pates, tricks for old dogs.
Here's one chapter: The Speech of Animals and Plants. Each species comes, of course, with its own dictionary. Even a simple "Hi there," when traded with a fish, make both the fish and you feel quite extraordinary.
The long-suspected meanings of rustlings, chirps, and growls! Soliloquies of forests! The epic hoot of owls! Those crafty hedgehogs drafting aphorisms after dark, while we blindly believe they are sleeping in the park!
Time (Chapter Two) retains its sacred right to meddle in each earthly affair. Still, time's unbounded power that makes a mountain crumble, moves seas, rotates a star, won't be enough to tear lovers apart: they are too naked, too embraced, too much like timid sparrows.
Old age is, in my book, the price that felons pay, so don't whine that it's steep: you'll stay young if you're good. Suffering (Chapter Three) doesn't insult the body. Death? It comes in your sleep, exactly as it should.
When it comes, you'll be dreaming that you don't need to breathe; that breathless silence is the music of the dark and it's part of the rhythm to vanish like a spark. Only a death like that. A rose could prick you harder, I suppose; you'd feel more terror at the sound of petals falling to the ground.
Only a world like that. To die just that much. And to live just so. And all the rest is Bach's fugue, played for the time being on a saw.
~ Wislawa Szymborska
We all understand that Capitalism relies upon "individualism" to divide and rule us. We might not want Mao's "Little Red Book", and conformity, to free us from the disaster of selfishness and greed... OR the old God with a beard and lightning bolts...
yet there IS a unity which artists always fight and struggle to express, which will save us all.
The Rhondda - at its finest - recognised Unity and expressed it through international action...
Out Of Hiding Someone said my name in the garden, while I grew smaller in the spreading shadow of the peonies, grew larger by my absence to another, grew older among the ants, ancient under the opening heads of the flowers, new to myself, and stranger.
When I heard my name again, it sounded far, like the name of the child next door, or a favorite cousin visiting for the summer,
while the quiet seemed my true name, a near and inaudible singing born of hidden ground.
Quiet to quiet, I called back.
And the birds declared my whereabouts all morning.
~ Li-Young Lee
This is the lyric to a George Harrison Song and is his least played song on Youtube... .. rather proving the point!!!
SEE YOURSELF "It's easier to tell a lie than it is to tell the truth It's easier to kill a fly than it is to turn it loose It's easier to criticize somebody else Than to see yourself
It's easier to give a sigh and be like all the rest Who stand around and crucify you while you do your best It's easier to see the books upon the shelf Than to see yourself
It's easier to hurt someone and make them cry Than it is to dry their eyes I got tired of fooling around with other people's lies I'd rather find someone that's true
It's easier to say you won't than it is to feel you can It's easier to drag your feet than it is to be a man It's easier to look at someone else's wealth Than to see yourself."
National Poet of Wales, Gillian Clarke.
National Poet of Wales Gillian Clarke was born in Cardiff in 1937 and now lives in rural Ceredigion with her architect husband. She has 3 children.
In 1999 she received the Glyndwr Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Arts in Wales.
Gillian Clarke’s poetry is widely known and loved by younger readers. In part this is because a selection of her poems has been set for GCSE English for some years now. Gillian has pioneered the teaching of creative writing and co-founded Ty Newydd, the writers’ centre in North Wales, which has gone from strength to strength for over 20 years.
According to the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, Gillian Clarke is "A superb performer of her own work in her memorable and musical voice; a tireless visitor to schools; a poet who for decades has worked closely with teachers and aspiring writers, Gillian Clarke is part of the literary landscape of this country. As such, it is easy to take for granted the impact and influence of her work. Take an early poem, perhaps, like ‘Letter from a Far Country’...
First heard on radio and published in the early 1980s, this poem subtly and lyrically describes the everyday household responsibilities of a woman with a full, ordered, demanding life at home and a longed-for, free, dream-like life elsewhere. We could read it as a poem about a trapped housewife but it is so much more than that. It is a moving and beautiful statement about freedom and constraint. Freedom and constraint - whether writing about women, ecology, politics or the natural world - these are the hallmarks of Gillian Clarke’s art."
"Poetry is the gift of our culture, and poems come unbidden as spells, prayers, dreams. I accept this medal for Wales, and for all our poets."
The Cordell Country tourism marketing campaign aims to change perceptions of the Valleys, encourage more people to visit, and increase the tourism spend in the area.
Alexander Cordell was inspired by the lives and loves of the people of The Valleys...
and inspiration for all ages may be found on the new-look Cordell Country website: www.cordellcountry.org
In 2010 the Cordell Festival was held at Rhondda Heritage Park as one of a number of events held to commemorate the centenary of the Tonypandy Riots.
POETRY ON THE WEB
The Poetry Translation Centre’s Poem Podcast is an ideal way to hear a diverse range of poetry from some of the world’s best loved poets, read both in their original language and in English.
You can subscribe to the weekly Poem Podcast on iTunes where there are already more than a dozen poems to enjoy, in languages ranging from Arabic to Zapotec. A new poem is added every Monday.
Go here to visit The Poetry Translation Centre: http://www.poetrytranslation.org/downloads
A Week in Estonia is Philip Gross’ new blog on the University of Glamorgan’s website: http://philip-gross.blogs.glam.ac.uk/
Philip, who is the son of an Estonian wartime refugee, was born in 1952 in Delabole, Cornwall. In 2010 he won both the T.S Eliot Poetry Prize, for his collection The Water Table (Bloodaxe, 2009), and Wales Book of the Year for I Spy Pinhole Eye (Cinnamon, 2009) which features photographs by Simon Denison. Philip is the Professor in Creative Writing at the University of Glamorgan, & has been, since 2004.
A Jacquard Shawl A pattern of curly acanthus leaves, and woven into one corner in blue block letters half an inch tall: MADE FROM WOOL FROM SHEEP KILLED BY DOGS. 1778. As it is with jacquards, the design reverses to gray on blue when you turn it over, and the words run backward into the past. The rest of the story lies somewhere between one side and the other, woven into the plane where the colours reverse: the circling dogs, the terrified sheep, the meadow stippled with blood, and the weaver by lamplight feeding what wool she was able to save into the faintly bleating, barking loom.
~ Ted Kooser
Diminution I have read volumes, Written volumes, Taught from volumes. Now my words are fewer, More long breaths between them. I look up after committing A single phrase to paper, Linger a while, Note the long shadows On blackjack oak In the late afternoon sun. At times, I give up Words altogether, listen To the wind, watch The winter wheat grow, savor The taste of silence, And give myself over To the speech of the stars.
~ Howard Stein
"I can't run no more with that lawless crowd while the killers in high places say their prayers out loud. But they've summoned, they've summoned up a thundercloud and they're going to hear from me. Ring the bells that still can ring Forget your perfect offering There is a crack in everything That's how the light gets in."
- Anthem, L. Cohen
In Aleppo, I saw carnage left by war. and the shepherds who fled. like others down winding dusty roads. carved from centuries of wind and stone. Here, among the freezes of the Hittites. where myrtle mingles with the dead, an ancient Syria rises up from its Citadel, drenched in spume and blood. Today, the newspapers and television. tell of thousands slaughtered. Night has spilled its black ink over Syria. but the sun will burn again. The rug vendors, coffee drinkers, and chess players.
will come out into the streets of Damascus, with their fists raised. The dry air will celebrate its bleached bones.
Luis Lázaro Tijerina, Burlington, Vermont, United States.
WB Auden’s words:
In the nightmare of the dark
All the dogs of Europe bark,
And the living nations wait,
Each sequestered in its hate;
Stares from every human face,
And the seas of pity lie
Locked and frozen in each eye.
Follow, poet, follow right
To the bottom of the night,
With your unconstraining voice
Still persuade us to rejoice;
With the farming of a verse
Make a vineyard of the curse,
Sing of human unsuccess
In a rapture of distress;
In the deserts of the heart
Let the healing fountain start,
In the prison of his days
Teach the free man how to praise.
A CHANGE, by Poet.
I WAS BORN LIKE MY NEIGHBOURS IN THE CLEFT OF A MOUNTAIN SONG; WHERE A SULPHUR WIND WHISPERS OF A TIME WHEN THOSE WHO LOVE WERE STRONG: WHEN THE HEART OF THE FACH AND THE FAWR STILL BEAT TO FREEDOM'S DRUM. IT'S BEEN A LONG TIME COMING - NOW, A CHANGE HAS COME.
LIKE ORPHANS WE HAVE WANDERED STRIPPED OF DIGNITY AND PEACE, WHILE OUR LEADERS SHUFFLED CORRIDORS AND DINED ON LIES AND GREASE:- IN THE 'STUTE THEY TALKED TO SOCIALISTS THEN BUILT ANOTHER SLUM... IT'S BEEN A LONG TIME COMING NOW, A CHANGE HAS SURELY COME.
LET THOSE WHO WANTED WARRIORS BURIED ON PENRHYS, AND CHAPELS TURNED TO BINGO HALLS, WITH HEAVEN ON A LEASE... LISTEN TO THE HOWLING ROAR OF THOSE THEY THOUGHT WERE DUMB: IT'S BEEN A LONG TIME COMING - NOW, A CHANGE HAS COME !
TOO LONG WE ENDURED SEPARATE AS GLASS, MOUTHING SLOGANS TO SAVE A WORLD UNSOUND: LETTING ENEMIES THROUGH BROKEN GATES PASS, LEAVING SCARS ON OUR HEADLANDS AND VALLEYS DROWNED
NOW THE RED KITE SOARS AGAIN; WELSH OAKS ROOT, WHERE WELSH OAKS BELONG. NOW THE RHONDDA FLOWS CLEAR AGAIN NOW DREAMERS START, TO RIGHT EACH WRONG.
IF WE CAN SING TO THE HARPSTRUNG AIR, CLUTCHING A FLAME FROM THE MINERS' SOUL, IF WE GIVE EV'RYONE A BETTER SHARE - NOT SOME - THEN IT'S BEEN A LONG TIME COMING; BUT A CHANGE - THANK GOD! - HAS COME.