Archive | January, 2013

Newspeak (inspired by 1984)

30 Jan

Inspired by reading Orwell’s 1984 and thinking about the modern political jargon we hear, a Newspeak for 2013.

Newspeak

All I hear is Newspeak,
Every hour,
every day, every week.
One nation,
War on terror, negative growth the jargon of our time,
To be a Deficit denier is a thoughtcrime.
Blackwhite,
Skivers/strivers/shirkers/workers our two minute hate,
Words with no meaning they demonstrate,
Vacuous jargon, babble, swallow it you should,
Big Brother can never be anything other than,
Doubleplusgood.

Holocaust Memorial Day 2013

26 Jan

Last year, I wrote a poem or the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust called ‘Would you speak?’

Would you speak if they came for me?
I may differ in colour to you,
In costume,
I may not dress like you,
Sound like you,
But would you speak for me?
Would you have the courage of a lion,
Courage of your conviction?
I may believe in a different god, or no god, But our belief in justice binds us, you and me.
So if they came, pistols loaded to take me away, Would you speak out, speak out for me today?

This year I have written another called ‘Through the eyes of a child’. On this day we remember those millions of Jews, Roma, and many others who died in the Holocaust and we live in hope that nothing like this ever happens again.

Through the eyes of a child

Through the eyes of a child, you see not hatred,
ancient prejudice is unknown,
Blood libels aren’t the tales we read from,
the eyes of a child do not differentiate,
Discriminate between the colour of the skin,
the way they speak,
the god they believe in.
They do not throw books and people to burn,
Against their very neighbours burn,
They do not seek to commit atrocity,
Though the eyes of a child you see innocence,
Though the eyes of a child you see humanity.

The walk out (EU poem)

23 Jan

On the day Cameron announces an in out referendum if he is re-elected PM, a poem on the future of relationship with the EU.

The Walk out (EU)

Are you going to walk out,
close the door behind you,
alone in the biting winds,
on the outside looking in?
One pane of glass to separate might as well be the English Channel,
23 miles yet a gulf so great.

Are you going to leave,
walk it alone,
leave this house warm with fellowship, reconciliation,
collaboration?
We have room for a continent and an island in here.

Yes we have our problems, but can you remember these 40 years together,
good times we had
good times we can still have.
It wasn’t all a one way street, remember that.
In sickness and in health,
In recession or wealth together.

How can we resolve our differences when you walk away?
So choose,
will you walk out of this door,
or can we work it out,
will you stay?

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Clement Attlee, a politician with a poetic heart!

22 Jan

Some of you may know, others may be surprised (as I was) to learn that the great Clement Attlee was also a poet.

In 1909, he wrote this poem, Limehouse about the area he served as MP for 27 years until 1950.

In Limehouse, in Limehouse, before the break of day,
I hear the feet of many men who go upon their way,
Who wander through the City,
The grey and cruel City,
Through streets that have no pity
The streets where men decay.

In Limehouse, in Limehouse, by night as well as day,
I hear the feet of children who go to work or play,
Of children born of sorrow,
The workers of tomorrow
How shall they work tomorrow
Who get no bread today?.

In Limehouse, in Limehouse, today and every day
I see the weary mothers who sweat their souls away:
Poor, tired mothers, trying
To hush the feeble crying
Of little babies dying
For want of bread today.

In Limehouse, in Limehouse, I’m dreaming of the day
When evil time shall perish and be driven clean away,
When father, child and mother
Shall live and love each other,
And brother help his brother
In happy work and play.

This is a very direct poem addressing the very wretched lives of this part of the world, and as ‘Clem the Gem‘ states, “these are not the words of some prim and paltry lawyer, nor the vainglorious bombast of some posing buffoon.” In an age of apathy where many feel the identikit politicians are ‘all the same’, maybe we need another figure like Attlee, a poetic wordsmith who sought to describe the problems of his day, and by his actions follow up on his words to make positive change.

Many thanks to Mike Paterson and Clem the Gem .

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High street high noon

18 Jan

Shutters down,
doors and windows boarded up,
where once there was life, a sterile emptiness.

Tumbleweed blows beyond the threshold,
the music that made you want to dance down the street now silenced.
More and the more the dominoes fall, the town empties.

No alien invasion,
no apocalypse caused this,
It’s the economy stupid!
It’s past high noon for the high street,
the sun’s gone in.

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Recession in humanity

8 Jan

With today being the day the governments plans to cap benefit rises is voted on, and the poisonous rhetoric of division, with words like ‘striver’ and ‘skiver’ being used, this is a poem to lament the seeming recession of humanity that is seemingly prevalent.

Recession in humanity

Sometimes I really do weep, lament,
there seems a recession in humanity,
compassion like the treasury seems spent.
Using words to scapegoat, demonise,
To divide,
Those who ‘strive’ those who ‘skive’,
Rancid rhetoric,
Rancid bill, rancid politics,
To pit one against another,
Sister against brother.
Words do matter,
Sometimes I do weep, lament,
For there seems a recession in humanity,
Compassion like the treasure seems all but spent.

“But this rancid Bill is not about fairness or affordability. It reeks of politics, the politics of dividing lines that the current Government spent so much time denouncing when they were in Opposition in the dog days of the Brown Administration. It says a lot that within two years it has fallen into the same trap.

We all know the style. Invent your own enemy. Spin your campaign to a newspaper editor short on facts – or high on prejudice. “Frame” the debate.

But the enemy within is unemployment not the unemployed. And I don’t want to live in a society where we pretend that we can enjoy the good life while our neighbours lose their life chances.”

David Miliband’s speech in the welfare debate- http://davidmiliband.net/speech/speech-on-welfare-debate/

Teacher and the student

1 Jan

Teacher and the student

 

They say the teacher teaches the student,

but the teacher is always learning,

curiosity burning within him like a candle.

 

Is the master not also an apprentice,

for the sum of knowledge is more than even he can handle,

a thirst never satisfied.

 

they say the teacher teachers the student,

but the teacher keeps on learning,

his curiosity for the mysteries of life burning, burning.