28 February 2007

february ends

moon looms large at dawn
bloody tides reveal nothing
winter declining

under trees flowers
daffodils proclaim springtime
seaonal notice

life continuing
stars in their cycles declare
time goes by swiftly

to murmur name upon name

too many seeds are here for us to plant
the labourer must get the meed of hire
we observe the true creation all aslant

there's much to do that i will surely grant
the signals run urgently along the wire
too many seeds are here for us to plant

we'll imitate the locust not the ant
that's all our service will of us require
we observe the true creation all aslant

with ease the watching eye we will enchant
the watcher wakes all sunken in the mire
too many seeds are here for us to plant

against all changes vainly shall we rant
the medicines tomorrow shall expire
we observe the true creation all aslant

against the power that comes we cannot chant
what we have got will not be raised much higher
too many seeds are here for us to plant
we observe the true creation all aslant

constant springs hope

not many things are done to meet the grade

whose expectations fly may make the shore

there's always something changing or far more

enticing something you hope won't ever fade

but that will still be left back in the shade

you'll feel yourself deprived or even poor

compared to the most noble elite corps

when all you've got is the plain hoe and spade

not for all this would we be freed from pain

beyond the moment and beyond the day

to see the time come when the law is clear

that sets a certain limit to the ass's reign

permits the weariest a truly even way

and leads us all at last to the brightest air

there are no monsters

we ask each other what things may be done
to keep in order each distinctive name
determination by decree who's lost or won
a dragon is a beast that's never tame

discarding what we know to be the case
we point the finger to apportion blame
each worried at the risk of losing face
a dragon is a beast that's never tame

each undertaking brings us to the time
when we are faced with honour or with shame
if victory we weep while we curse crime
a dragon is a beast that's never tame

revolving with the earth we meet the day
we'd know the moment if it never came
each step leads us on to the proper way
a dragon is a beast that's never tame

at night we hear the sweet birds serenade
the sunrise cocks and grackles will proclaim
each has its part in lifes proper parade
a dragon is a beast that's never tame

the year turns on and we've not paid our due
we know that someday there will be a claim
but we may not be numbered in that few
a dragon is a beast that's never tame

it's time to go we say yet at each door
there is a moment between pride and shame
we pause to say a single good thing more
a dragon is a beast that's never tame

the heart's delight

we've had our time and to the edge we've come
all life would seem on this day to have slowed
the only proper cure's a drink of rum

the answers don't add up to a full sum
we've paid in full but still there's something owed
we've had our time and to the edge we've come

we had the pie but could not find the plum
the poem we've got doesn't quite make an ode
the only proper cure's a drink of rum

in point of fact if we were deaf or dumb
we'd find ourselves protected on the road
we've had our time and to the edge we've come

we've seen the city turn to a huge slum
the secret to that's not locked in a code
the only proper cure's a drink of rum

we have made off with nothing but a crumb
the trick to that would make a head explode
we've had our time and to the edge we've come
the only proper cure's a drink of rum

in the end the only duty

what's lost we cannot find although we try
those things we make are never really pure
of all our powers we never can be sure
there's more to do than work or sell or buy
but when we work it out we have to fly
beyond the places where life can endure
faced with the ill for which there is no cure
we know that in the end we have to die
but while we're here each of us plays a part
in a great play which each of us must write
in borrowed words to take our proper place
as makers and critics of the human art
to hold back for a time the fall of night
and when we make our exit show some grace

what we want

we want to life in freedom so we say
to rule our lives is our greatest desire
the thing to which we every day aspire
that's the condition we wish to stay
to choose whether we work or play
we can conceive of nothing truly higher
for liberty we would go through the fire
and claim that it is truly the only way
yet we insist that we must here be led
for ruling ones to point us on the path
and that we are freest when not alone
our contradictions demand now to be fed
without a leader we'll explode in wrath
or else each sink like a despairing stone

27 February 2007

annotations

there's time enough for all the things we dare
what magics we find are not hard to trace
their presence lingers in the morning air

not where we wanted but with time to spare
we've occupied what's not infinite space
there's time enough for all the things we dare

the messages that come tell us we're square
with those who want to redefine the case
their presence lingers in the morning air

the difference between truth and lie's a hair
or so say those whose merit is disgrace
there's time enough for all the things we dare

what's left of civil justice seems to be a smear
some traces here our hearts need to replace
their presence lingers in the morning air

all that's left of honour and equity we'll share
with those who show to us a human face
there's time enough for all the things we dare
their presence lingers in the morning air

coming up on four years

george's mind won't open a crack
to common sense he turns his back
we're in for a ride
because of his pride
so we'll all be long stuck in iraq

now he's not got much sense or wit
an idea into his mind won't fit
but he will endure
for his mind is pure
and there's no smell at all to his shit

there's thousands of wounded and dead
the veterans their dignity shred
but having to beg
while lacking one leg
that idea won't fit in george's head

now most of us have the good luck
to be far from the mire and the muck
far from war's noise
george is keeping his poise
and for the dead he just doesn't give a fuck

remembering music

the rules of life and music make most sense
when we're in awe of the orchestral sound
the motions of the the players seem profound
the layers of the tune are rich and dense
and yet we're on the wrong side of the fence
we're on a dim and misty foreign ground
where conscious echoes provide the surround
the whole experience is warm and intense
in memory now the echoes faintly form
light on the trees reminds me of the tone
in my minds eye the picture takes its shape
the thought's enough to keep a body warm
the sound has sunk in to the very bone
and as i sit my mind unreels the tape

looking outside

everywhere around we see first signs of spring
buds on the branches white and pinkish blooms
so now this day all life seems to be blossoming

outside my window more birds seem to sing
there's now an end to winter and its glooms
everywhere around we see first signs of spring

through half-open blinds i see the flash of wing
we've had enough of laws and rules and dooms
so now this day all life seems to be blossoming

what sorrows we have here are only those we bring
far away the sounds of traffic and its fumes
everywhere around we see first signs of spring

we fear that winter still may keep some sting
in its reserve only for a moment this fear looms
so now this day all life seems to be blossoming

the time has come for life to rise and do its thing
the season's one for new hoping and new brooms
everywhere around we see first signs of spring
so now this day all life seems to be blossoming

new season new life

silvery light dawns
february will be warm
snow in far places

we begin a new
nest like birds in early spring
trees in the sunset

morning's too early
but winter vanishes now
season is turning

even in this place
where now i make my dwelling
the calm has rewards

while in my office
i hear the birds of morning
life never silent

others too hear them
the common voice of springtime
heralding the green

the corner's turned

name the words and you've lost nothing
the banner and the labels will suffice
showing you've truly cast the dice
fortune herself will do the needful thing
not our task now to worry but to bring
the product out of the disguising ice
to speak the value and to set the price
to all the world our challenge do we fling
never before have we had such success
the measure of our power is not small
but here we come to ask what it is for
the ends of action we find in process
our servant concepts answer when we call
this is the limit there is nothing more

26 February 2007

magnolias and cloudless sky

we do not know where goes what we sent forth
this day that blesses us with radiant hue
of spring not winter while the bitter north

gets what is seen as the season's normal due
the bitter cold and driving wind and rain
that's not what we see here not what's new

the season that we have is marked by pain
in other places here we've got it nice and warm
and yet we've got the same old stress and strain

we sense that this mild winter's not the norm
we're not so bold this blessing to reject
for once we're out of all the flood and storm

time's chosen a taste of spring to interject
into our lives to give us some new hope
before we dive into some new project

the year's still climbing on its upward slope
new demons we will with no effort find
but with the old we can for this time cope

not because we've made ourselves so blind
as not to see what's right before each nose
but with the weather all our thoughts turn kind

it's not so easy as some might suppose
who've never had to face the normal task
but will their naive conceptions interpose

we can't do anything if we don't get to ask
how to improve the things that we have got
but honesty can sometimes be a mask

for what turns out to be a thorough rot
of all our hopes and all our true desires
there's nothing that now clearly marks the spot

where all the embers burst into new fires
and all the fireflies lit up young boy's jars
all obstacles turned into mere pismires

and all our faces looked up at the stars

hour of the rabbit

vanishing words mean more than can be said
triumphant symbols of a world gone sour
the living have much in common with the dead

takes more than hair to make someone a dread
beneath their helmets even the strong cower
vanishing words mean more than can be said

promiscuous colours come down to plain red
at night we're woken by the sudden shower
the living have much in common with the dead


each day we struggle for some crumbs of bread
yet a small cottage trumps the greatest tower
vanishing words mean more than can be said

from here to there all vagrant thoughts are sped
casualties of what seems a wayward power
the living have much in common with the dead

at last we've triumphed inside each wary head
this is we deem fate's long-awaited hour
vanishing words mean more than can be said
the living have much in common with the dead

no need for searching

what's gone into deep spaces will stay lost
there's nothing here allows us to recover
and what we always do is pay full cost

on this fine day we've gone right past the frost
this is the season of the friend and lover
what's gone into deep spaces will stay lost

the coin lands on its edge when tossed
no secrets left for wise ones to uncover
and what we always do is pay full cost

we do our jobs there's no need to be bossed
no spirit at our shoulders waits to hover
what's gone into deep spaces will stay lost

old treebark that for long days has been mossed
still hangs on bare wood as a simple cover
and what we always do is pay full cost

no messages will in this space be crossed
no new things will we for now discover
what's gone into deep spaces will stay lost
and what we always do is pay full cost

25 February 2007

and now the stars

who vanishes but who was never here
not for such folk the vagaries of place
they come and go without a single trace
we do not even see them on their bier
they will be far away who we think near
and that is what we call normative case
the sheer plasticity of human space
matters not at all to those we hold dear
now gone to ground like an escaping fox
that flash of colour was the single sign
that things occurred and once were seen
we close the door but cannot set the locks
the fruit appears full-ripened on the vine
and what we saw occur has never been

Facing the warm dark

We have no need to invent ourselves a Hell
our lives are sufficient torment to do that;
from light to darkness in five seconds flat,
from highest tower to bottom of dark well,
we know the sunny music does not swell
in fine orchestral form. An hour of chat
with someone who will give you answers pat
doesn't get rid of the monsters that dwell
deep in the heart. We know what we've been,
we've heard the roaring voices and their call
out of this world; we long so much to cease
the tiring battle, to lie beneath the green
and welcoming earth. To be silent and not bawl
at all the noises that prevent our peace,
for this, for all, we'd welcome the unseen.

Facing the warm dark

We have no need to invent ourselves a Hell
our lives are sufficient torment to do that;
from light to darkness in five seconds flat,
from highest tower to bottom of dark well,
we know the sunny music does not swell
in fine orchestral form. An hour of chat
with someone who will give you answers pat
doesn't get rid of the monsters that dwell
deep in the heart. We know what we've been,
we've heard the roaring voices and their call
out of this world; we long so much to cease
the tiring battle, to lie beneath the green
and welcoming earth. To be silent and not bawl
at all the noises that prevent our peace,
for this, for all, we'd welcome the unseen.

an absence of magic

naming the dragon does not end its power
there's nothing that can do that but a god
still we gain safety though only for an hour

we could in some dark corner wail and cower
wondering on what innocents it had trod
naming the dragon does not end its power

life's sweetness in due time will become sour
we live or die awaiting a monster's nod
still we gain safety though only for an hour

we hope and pray to avoid that deadly glower
our feet are light and we are softly shod
naming the dragon does not end its power

it is not blackened heath or ruined tower
that marks our fear those would not be odd
still we gain safety though only for an hour

we wait the blooming of a deadly flower
meanwhile past deadly sleeping beast we plod
naming the dragon does not end its power
still we gain safety though only for an hour

youth

not given much to thought and less to duty
a generation without compass or map
caught up already in the cellphone trap
each girl convinced she really is a cutie
each boy believing that he needs more booty
no time to think no time to rest or nap
identity's thug clothing and backward cap
just to avoid anything that looks fruity
there's nothing here that hasn't been before
each thinks himself and friends unique
each thinks herself about to become queen
they're going out through that one-way door
but few will find the thing they really seek
at most they're guilty of being young and green

to a large corporation

may their hours of sleep not give them any rest
their waking hours be filled with woe and pain
they've failed when brought unto the final test

may their lives lack all hope of joy and zest
their work be hard and give them little gain
may their hours of sleep not give them any rest

each of them send on an endless useless quest
to slay the thing that cannot ever be slain
they've failed when brought unto the final test

may each one daily suffer a malignant pest
and all their hope for relief be in vain
may their hours of sleep not give them any rest

each of their endeavours is evil and unblessed
they've given others only work and strain
they've failed when brought unto the final test

it's been a torture building our own nest
enough to explode the most complaisant brain
may their hours of sleep not give them any rest
they've failed when brought unto the final test

23 February 2007

in time of war

the citizens of this great imperial nation
require new serenity of peace and quiet
that's better for good exercise and diet
than awful queries about an ugly situation
no one would want to get above their station
or grab a rival country's flag and fly it
though that would be good reason for a riot
so above all they eschew desperation
what being would accept an honest favour
only to turn around and hurt the giver
through sheer excess of honest awkwardness
you want to taste the moment simply savour
the simple frisson the delighted shiver
as someone else takes blame for all the mess

in the forest

there's definition for the law of night
appreciation of the raptor's power
chances of retribution are but slight

the owl's not interrupted in her flight
down to the earth from crumbling tower
there's definition for the law of night

mouse that squeaks in existential fright
apprehended far from odoriferous bower
chances of retribution are but slight

the hunter's law is not justice but might
her shadow makes tremulous beasties cower
there's definition for the law of night

each fearful creature knows its final plight
what's left from the dark air will shower
chances of retribution are but slight

in these dark places is now law or right
hunger alone must celebrate its hour
there's definition for the law of night
chances of retribution are but slight

perseus

not here not now the anger of the light
before this hour was never night or day
and now a man will the great dragon slay
declaring that in the moment his might
gave greater force to power too bright
to be comprehended in a normal way
and yet inside he feels fear and dismay
all power that came was slow and slight
never before had we been given hope
not for our kind assurance or support
the wall must go up just to keep us out
we stand here now on a gigantic slope
above we watch the happy lions sport
while below us there is revel and rout

here's a straight answer

the final step approaches that's now clear
what's done is over and the bell will ring
comes a new morning and a different air

nothing can happen before we're aware
yet when it comes we seem to feel a sting
the final step approaches that's now clear

so much to worry over so much to care
but still there's time for a single final fling
comes a new morning and a different air

we've run the numbers identified what's fair
we'll run affairs with more than a shoestring
the final step approaches that's now clear

there's never time simply to stop and stare
the sunrise offers something new to bring
comes a new morning and a different air

we turn to hope rejecting all despair
now heart and mind will rejoice and sing
the final step approaches that's now clear
comes a new morning and a different air

22 February 2007

shock of the moment

on wall wolf shadow
heart leaps before seeing truth
a broom and plant pots

swift are tiny birds
on and off the porch they flit
above others sing

pale blue the vision
nature smiles at the soft breeze
evergreens dancing

signal of the spring
the tender buds that appear
on stark bare branches

a perfect aerial hue

in time the colours will not seem so bland
lines in the planking indicate what's true
the tools we need come easily to hand

it doesn't matter if we don't understand
the smoke that rises from the hidden flue
in time the colours will not seem so bland

words serve uneasy waiting my command
yet when they're wanted i find the symbols due
the tools we need come easily to hand

the things that happen are not always planned
there's always an element calls for review
in time the colours will not seem so bland

true meanings will be hidden if not banned
for who knows what new traumas will ensue
the tools we need come easily to hand

the secrets that are told throughout the land
are of long standing there is nothing new
in time the colours will not seem so bland
the tools we need come easily to hand

listening to the birds

tell us that there's nothing that has no name
and we'll look for a thing that will confound
what we've been told nothing square or round
exists that we won't at once seek to tame
to our small purposes we're beings without shame
knock us and we'll hit you on the rebound
what's hidden we'll dig up and say we found
it fresh and new life's just a long long game
as far as we're concerned and what else should
we do but play it unless we want to choose
not life but emptiness and early to the grave
but that's not our bag and even if we could
give up that easily we never really seek to lose
and even the coward will claim that he is brave

listening to beethoven

now here we find the music straight and pure
across the cables and through space it flows
in manner certain and with method sure
i visualise the musicians in their neat rows
the string players as a mass moving their bows
behind the horns and woodwinds play their part
this is the composer's and conductor's noble art
no halt or hesitation no coughs to mar the sound
in my mind's eye i watch trained fingers dart
from simplest action comes what's most profound

if in some dank dungeon you would me immure
i could with music the darkest spirits oppose
though i've never learned to read the partiture
on each days journey driven from desired repose
the sound in my head's divine almost it glows
it bears me through the workplace and the mart
and when it ends once more i make it start
the tireless players return for one more round
in tiniest package whole orchestras i cart
from simplest action comes what's most profound

though some may carp this music will endure
long after we've left the concerts and shows
snug in our brains in comfort most secure
we know its pleasures even in the final throes
of pain and torment it's the sound that goes
straight and direct to lodge within the heart
although life deals us strokes that burn and smart
the thought of music will all fears confound
we'll find hope and consolation on the chart
from simplest action comes what's most profound

prince in not many hours we will this place depart
not for the sake of music nor yet for the upstart
cacophonies that in these dull days abound
to other ears our words and thoughts impart
and all this melody we'll soon again restart
from simplest action comes what's most profound

the season's hinge

i look southwest and do not see my goal
there's nothing here to keep us any more
the ground upon which we shall stand is whole

the horse that races now was once a foal
could barely make it through the stable door
i look southwest and do not see my goal

the sky is blank today no clouds will roll
no rains will from above upon us pour
the ground upon which we shall stand is whole

the singing birds have not ceased their patrol
we feel there's still some soundness at the core
i look southwest and do not see my goal

beyond this moment who shall have control
that is the question for who knows the score
the ground upon which we shall stand is whole

it's almost the due time we've given our parole
matters return to the pattern of before
i look southwest and do not see my goal
the ground upon which we shall stand is whole

clearing my desk

clear cloudless blue the covering of the sky
polished and bright on this winter day
the sparkle of the fountain across the way
the breeze is soft a solitary bird goes by
there's too much on my plate i cannot try
each single taste of work or even play
this has been home but now i cannot stay
there's lack of tears i do not want to cry
i stare at the brown leaves against the blue
at the bare branches and the evergreens
and flowing water shining in the sun
what's here is going from us that is true
we'll feast our eyes on other pleasant scenes
it's time to go though never time to run

21 February 2007

journey through nightfall

winter now retreats
this battle is not over
yet war is turning

reviving spirits
this shining afternoon sun
long hours remaining

even at this late hour
duty obliges action
yet thought fast fading

accepting that minds
exhaust faster than bodies
is never easy

relax tomorrow
the race begins in earnest
finish line nearing

yet only after
full sleep has been completed
can action begin

order and freedom

twixt law and love is battle ever drawn
the prize is always power in the state
the case of government is always worn

under the cloak there is a hidden thorn
it symbolises that most meanings grate
twixt law and love is battle ever drawn

each archetype is crowned with a horn
donated by the other for at any rate
the case of government is always worn

each proclaims justice as its dearest spawn
but neither keeps an honest open slate
twixt law and love is battle ever drawn

each emits dreadful monsters newly born
rivers of blood have entered into spate
the case of government is always worn

and we who hope for a returning dawn
still our progenitors' mistakes berate
twixt law and love is battle ever drawn
the case of government is always worn

the lesson learnt

we're all defended by a simple rule
no action can endure beyond its time
purposes are not acquired in school

one who knows all is the truest fool
for although any answer is sublime
we're all defended by a simple rule

our language is a mere service tool
abetting or punishing every crime
purposes are not acquired in school

all humans sit on an uncertain stool
one tiny slip and all are in the slime
we're all defended by a simple rule

a wind will blow now warm now cool
all wait for sunrise to begin our climb
purposes are not acquired in school

of all our gifts this is the very jewel
story is known when we reach our prime
we're all defended by a simple rule
purposes are not acquired in school

there are no shadows

at times it seems we're stuck in a deep cave
with entrance that is hidden from plain sight
and yet there is no perpetual deep night
but light that comes in long wave after wave
each step we take makes each feel like a slave
but in the strange yet most completely white
illumination that makes every side seem bright
we wonder what we have that we can save
no wonder that there's not a chance for peace
when the last bell has rung for the last time
entrapped by life itself we fight or else we flee
in the strange place we'll wander without cease
nor will we cheer the pleasant distant chime
since we seek out the roots of the world-tree

20 February 2007

evening rain

rainwater glistening on the dark tarmac
tells us that winter once again is warm
the temperature is back above the norm
and yet we wait for the season to attack
in this southland we do not feel the lack
of cold and snow a matter of bad form
we'll get the ice again with the next storm
and then wish we could give her the sack
send winter back for thorough reformation
demand instead a better season's feel
not one where rival climes compete
but that is not our place or proper station
from such power the human mind must reel
instead we move ahead on normal feet

we have the power

slow tempo of the morning little measure
of what will happen shortly not a chance
that what we find will really be a treasure

no choices come upon us in advance
we contemplate in fine no magic forces
across the fields no phantom ponies prance

objects of our desire have their own courses
we do not hold them unless they need to be
held in restraint like apollo's golden horses

from no kindness does any need to flee
in shape and power the moment passes
none that we've known or wish ever to see

we see the lions plain without our glasses
they stalk the plain but do not find their prey
around us move unknowing silent masses

those who are frightened of the open day
giving no voice to what they most desire
but all are yearning to find the proper way

to unleash all the tempest and the fire
that we keep hidden sulking in our cage
we've never had the half we could acquire

and that will keep us in a thorough rage
mistaking our compliance for our pain
these matters come out clearly on the page

each of us tainted by the human stain
endures the sting of love or hope or night
not knowing that what we can see plain

comes from our own unmistaking light
jewel that forms when we the moment shatter
each facet that we note is burnished bright

the glow and glory over all we scatter
not for us such valued things to hoard
all that is true will come one day to matter

through every river we shall find a ford
this is the natural and the human art
to push our way through heavy wall and board

and snuggle firmly in the happy heart

complete in fragmentation

this divine wind that calms each vagrant dream
yet cannot cool down my overheating brain
i wipe my sweating brow and in the mental strain
confuse what is from what might merely seem
to have real weight like a freshly-bought ream
of printer paper now today we're promised rain
with every working thought nothing comes plain
all cerebration flows through a narrow stream
this is a winter day i know yet it is far too warm
the mind reels under all such contradictions
here i'm alone that's fact but i hear many voices
the need is here that's given for a sufficient form
to overcome the limits of truths and fictions
but still this day we have too many choices

distant noises

we hear the sirens punctuate the dawn
the thoughts that grab us are not very kind
dead bodies lying on the street or lawn

it would take someone with an empty mind
to think that peace and order are secure
as humans we're all caught in the same bind

we want to think our motives are all pure
but what we do does not assure at all
each year the decent ones get ever fewer

we wonder who will cry or weep or bawl
nowhere to hide as morning comes on fast
someone will be set up to take the fall

that's how it's been on every morning past
there's someone who will get the final bill
as for their fate the die is always cast

there isn't much here that can cheer or thrill
before hard facts we cannot hesitate
we act by other's hope or whim or will

our thoughts are bound to organise too late
there's never time to think anything through
we blame the actions of an unkind fate

what we behold is hidden from plain view
by those whose answers would not satisfy
we're held in place by some impressive glue

trapped by our thoughts into the easy lie
that nothing matters no one is our friend
and let the funeral cort├Ęge pass us by

alone we contemplate the sort of end
that comes in silent undeclared small wars
but then our minds will find another trend

meanwhile the day has banished all the stars

sitting here alone

herewith we name all fears and see them die
our breaths are deep in the fresh morning air
few clouds now pass across the bluing sky

not far from here the towers rise up high
not foggy now we see them all quite clear
herewith we name all fears and see them die

what's needed most we cannot simply buy
and yet we will not find the price too dear
few clouds now pass across the bluing sky

nowhere do our conclusions seem more sly
than in this place where we confront our care
herewith we name all fears and see them die

our friends and colleagues now we do not spy
all have been captured by the morning's snare
few clouds now pass across the bluing sky

and yet we're frightened that our hopes will lie
we're still uncertain of the growing year
herewith we name all fears and see them die
few clouds now pass across the bluing sky

arriving at work early

what tales they told we have not ever heard
the silent fowl that in the mornings fly
across the grass avoiding heights of sky
each one a worm-seeking hungry early bird
not any noise not even a chirrup slurred
these creatures flit past the observing eye
at least they're honest their actions don't lie
but what we want is a confirming word
in quiet morning dark while many sleep
life seeks out life in order just to feed
a story's here one that's been often told
and yet we know a fact that will not keep
what drives these beings isn't simple need
and their desire can't just be bought or sold

19 February 2007

thoughts before class

sunset in winter
bare branches grasp cold blue sky
cannot hold the light

clouds puffy serene
tell lies about the season
sun has no warming

waiting for students
the light tells me sad stories
nightfall must happen

a heart to heart

the time has come to speak of what is not
to talk about the things that will not be
discuss the shores of the imagined sea
and speak of the exigent nonexistent plot
fit no tab into what's just a notional slot
refuse to count either thought or silence free
dig for no rounds around the non-world tree
to all your tasks no sum of time allot
that which is there is not there at the last
the present does not have an ounce of being
speak of the future it will never come
and nothing matter's once it's in the past
what's seen will not be measured by the seeing
and no beat comes from the imagined drum


conservative talk radio

far easier than to love it is to hate
the stranger with the funny look
the one whose nose is like a hook
who let these fellows through the gate
who told them gay was good as straight
the ones with noses in their book
the ones who like to drink and cook
they should not be part of our fate
and so we pass these fellows by
we do not ask what's in each heart
we do not really want to know
we've told ourselves the easy lie
we've ignored every human part
nothing of decency will we show

it always takes some time

the thing we want does not lack grace
it keeps us going for a long while
some answer's written on each face

not for our sort the sense of place
what matters more is sense of style
the thing we want does not lack grace

when we each of our options trace
it's hard to separate from the pile
some answer's written in each face

the prize is always worth the chase
there's no response that has no guile
the thing we want does not lack grace

what's most desired we must embrace
we're nothing if not versatile
some answer's written in each face

though we obtain our needed space
only by journeying many a long mile
the thing we want does not lack grace
some answer's written in each face

18 February 2007

dreamscape

what light has gone we will no longer see
beyond the day and far beyond the night
a presence glows without emitting light
it issues no command and no decree
but of the day and night it has the key
we wail and cry and ask it by what right
it has the power to dim or to make bright
though of its presence few of us are free
yet all that's seen will come to us again
its force will come upon us in odd shape
not in our thoughts but always as a vision
it comes upon us with both joy and pain
once in its grasp we know there's no escape
but neither is there any true decision

always some hope

in this soft place all winter is november
moving from autumn warmth to sharply cold
the fire of life will never reach an ember

the sunlight on the trees makes us remember
that we are strong though slowly growing old
in this soft place all winter is november

the sharpest freeze does not make it december
even in february the sun's still very bold
the fire of life will never reach an ember

still leaves are green as in sweet september
the fluffy clouds in warmth will us enfold
in this soft place all winter is november

the harshest winds do not our souls dismember
there's much to hope for that will still unfold
the fire of life will never reach an ember

sweet world of life of which i am a member
rewards my patience with this morning's gold
in this soft place all winter is november
the fire of life will never reach an ember

For Jeremy at 19

at winter's turning
we celebrate your birthday
wishing you the best

make much of this year
time moves so swiftly onward
never returning

be bold and flourish
show forth your noblest metal
be victorious

enjoy the moment
this is your day be happy
know that you are loved

rowing home

the changes all seem so tiny although the work has been long
too much of the dark of the night has been taken up with thought
we've made once again that distinction between the is and the ought
but no one thinks that any of it is worth a simple little song
we've got the clearest terms to use they are only right and wrong
the way we've come with difficulties still is dangerously fraught
but we've moved successfully onward nothing we do is for naught
those things that do not defeat us will make us hearty and strong
now shaping the words of the sonnet we are given a final choice
to sing all of the tale of the journey whether we like it or not
or to define in a minute all the large steps of the race
we have to speak out very loudly given our limited voice
nothing we do will allow us all of the road to retrace
we have alas only to go on the last of the gifts we have got

17 February 2007

empathetic villanelle

Behind each mask there lurks an injured soul,
we do not note or see it while we pass,
hurt eyes observe us, vacant as a whole.

Nothing becomes us like our daily role
in the human drama,we all show our class;
behind each mask there lurks an injured soul.

Surviving the day, that's our normal goal,
not showing that we're brittler than glass;
hurt eyes observe us, vacant as a whole.

Our hearts have been entombed at the south pole
and we've been bound into a solid mass;
behind each mask there lurks an injured soul.

What pain we feel, burns inside like a coal
that's solid though it seems just like a gas;
hurt eyes observe us, vacant as a whole.

Where once was heart, now there is just a hole,
what once was gold now seems like cheapest brass.
Behind each mask there lurks an injured soul;
hurt eyes observe us, vacant as a whole.

long working day

there's not much left to say so silence sits
about our heads like a warm loving smoke
the music doesn't disturb it seems to soak
into the beigy walls in starts and little fits
the tunes are old another century's hits
written beneath the shade of ash and oak
no thorns lurk here to tear or jab or poke
the tunes and silence stimulate our wits
not for this night is graceless will or power
the calm that rules here has a deeper source
nothing here can break the lovely night
in time we hope to see the valley flower
know that the stream is in its proper course
and that we stand for what is truly right

the schedule matters that is all we know

in no way can we devise a working trap
to hold in place the life that now is lost
there's too much done at such great cost
we can't expect things to fall into our lap
not if we want something simple to cap
the efforts we made or when we tossed
the golden coin and saw all turn to frost
the world is not symbolised by the map
now if we find a way to name each pace
from birth till now we'd know it for a lie
we'd see the rank confusion in each face
and wait for all the hubbub down to die
all that is known is simple clear and plain
it's far too late to catch the morning train

sources of happiness

we'll find a way our hearts to please
with work and love and other joys
and sandwiches of toasted cheese

days come and go there is no ease
it seems that all we have are toys
we'll find a way our hearts to please

the whole thing seems to be a wheeze
we celebrate the girls and boys
and sandwiches of toasted cheese

avoiding here all slime and sleaze
there's nothing here that us annoys
we'll find a way our hearts to please

we want our drinks to cool or freeze
we've time to make some joyous noise
and sandwiches of toasted cheese

we're happy for the gentle breeze
that helps us keep our equipoise
we'll find a way out hearts to please
and sandwiches of toasted cheese

For JGML on his 19th birthday

So now, my lad, we've reached the time of year
when, once again, we note your natal day;
we wonder at the time, while on the way
to celebrate your birth we praise the care

it's taken to produce your long thick hair
and, with a smile, just how you've made a play
of all your work, or what you have to say
when contemplating all the joys of this affair.

You're nineteen now, young, strong, and fine
ready to face the world, and draw it well;
confronting what is real with a firm gaze

that sees and reproduces in firm, neat line
the tales that you have in you now to tell,
thoughts that from your mind emerge and blaze.

That might be just enough for these dull days,
but there is more, for we know you will shine
and learning do your job and do it well.

You're coming into better, grown up ways
you've learned your sensibility to refine,
your virtue we hear clearer than a loud bell.

Now, this is for you, my most dear young son;
may your life in the best of grooves now run.

a cloudy saturday

this the sort of day to stay all snug in bed
but duty calls and there's so much to do
no time to stop and just admire the view
there's much to do once we've all been fed
and not just earning of our daily bread
there's preparation for entry to the new
so much to finish before the day is through
it seems enough to overwhelm one's head
still we believe the whole thing is worthwhile
though duty is a beast upon our backs
we nonetheless will make each step our own
the end result should bring forth a big smile
though getting there will all our efforts tax
it isn't as if we were marching to the unknown

16 February 2007

out with the old

what's best we know but not always what's nice
we make our choices based on quite few things
decision has its worthiness but still it brings
not only what is sweet but also the harshest spice
that's so but still we're aware it can't suffice
to lead us through the woods to sweetest springs
our desires advance further on swiftlybeating wings
and we will not accept the old-fashioned bowl of rice
now where we went does not tell us what we are
but tells us how to measure each weary working stage
with reasonable judgment in dealing with each case
our journeys are convoluted they take us very far
but still we work with one script clear on every page
and before leaving we've learned our proper place

15 February 2007

happy birthday a s

winterborn lady
snow blossoms for you today
felicitations

winter journey

you've come into the city from the night
the air is cold you do not know the place
and all around is snow that's purest white

worried that you'd miss the second flight
with muscles tense your thoughts race
you've come into the city from the night

the day before was wedded to delight
but now anxiety sits on your face
and all around is snow that's purest white

uncertainty now that's the truest plight
the card in hand's a joker not an ace
you've come into the city from the night

there you sit and this is what you write
action must be adapted for each case
and all around is snow that's purest white

far in the distance there's a newer light
warming the heart with sympathy and grace
you've come into the city from the night
and all around is snow that's purest white

14 February 2007

nearing exhaustion

the most that we expect won't meet the case
against the tide's the way to sweat and strain
the answer's written on each human face

beyond the day there's never been a trace
of yesterday's efforts with might and main
the most that we expect won't meet the case

events and facts they dance and interlace
but what we learn in truth is the refrain
the answer's written on each human face

now when we act there's nothing to replace
nor have we reason now to entertain
the most that we expect won't meet the case

what most that we expect to have to face
affected by the wind and cold and rain
the answer's written on each human face

now that we've come to the last sticking place
we don't receive deterrence from the pain
the most that we expect won't meet the case
the answer's written on each human face

rites of passage

we wait in rows to see the great ones pass
the sun beats down but still we have to wait
we itch and cry impatience at the rate
the heat oppresses us till the loud brass
of trumpets in tones that can surpass
the loudest chatter tells us plain and straight
that we are in the presence of the great
and so we bow and cheer to show our class
the moment over we must now disperse
back to our private selves and our own hearts
wondering at the massive noise and fuss
but happy matters had not turned out worse
glad that we'd carried out our proper parts
and mindful that the show was not for us

valentine's day 2007

to say that this marks a gigantic turn
is not enough for words convey so much
but cannot hope indeed to reach or touch
the human things that we may hope to earn
all the plans we make all the facts we learn
obliged to lean on an uncertain crutch
still there's a pole which we may clutch
and in our hearts a golden fire will burn
now this great step that we together take
will lead to roots a simple place to stand
and sastisfy our need for light and space
the life we share requires a home we make
a place where all comes readily to hand
and gives our hearts a proper dwelling-place

13 February 2007

tankas for an early spring

heartless desiring
winter's harshness now ceasing
to end its long reign
the weight of spring rain cleansing
the dull grey dust off our souls

heartfelt reminding
winter's dark centre leaving
passing to southward
the rain pelts down not waiting
for its official season

waiting is ending

we see the final product and are pleased
now ours the task to quantify and pay
to sign the myriad documents on the way
to have our old fears and worries eased
the last drops of our hoarding squeezed
to serve the needs of long-awaited day
this marks a new act in the well-known play
to have the moment and the future seized
what we do now we've thought and planned
the work and the achievement here combined
in what we hope will be a new-found ease
all that we need is here ready to hand
the products of our actions all refined
ready to serve and readier to please

blossoms in february

there's no reason for change or alteration
but pink blossoms on the winter trees
the feel of warm moisture in the breeze
the daily changing of the solar declination
we see the change of season and station
and winter cries out urgently to cease
to move at once to a time of greater ease
no reason now for fear or perturbation
still with the time we wonder at the scene
that's set for us by hazy warmer days
when cold can strike with complete surprise
still the warm rain will shine and clean
the sun will warm us with returning rays
and fresher sights will come before our eyes

12 February 2007

to rejoice in the day

in winter we live for the sudden warm days
that steal in suddenly each a small spring
coming upon us on swift stealthy wing
surprising us with their kind gentle ways
above a bird in cloudless blue sky plays
we wonder what other gifts it may bring
our coats we take off heavy clothes we fling
aside we rejoice in bright sun's blaze
but this is just a break and not the end
winter returns and does so with great force
still we are glad to feel this gentle air
though warmer and more stormy is the trend
still winter must follow it's steady course
but on such days we see the springtime clear

taxonomies

each bit of dirt should have a unique name
a label that will allocate true place
define the object and define its space
speech is a complex sort of human game
but no opprobrium attaches no blame
for failing in a thorough way to trace
the ways in which all things interlace
other events will give us guilt and shame
the language doesn't have sufficient weight
to let us balance each and every thought
in order that we properly may class
with proper member at appropriate date
all that falls between our is and ought
and cut off the escapees at the pass

four car crash

who they were i may never know
all i saw was the crumpled steel
no body visible behind a wheel
and everything moved in a slow
pavane of death we cry out no
not this not now none had time to feel
anything the metal seems to peel
i call for help but then i must go
nothing explodes there's no blaze
just people running faces full of pain
nothing to do nowhere to leap
for these dead ones as in a daze
my mind goes over it all again
and thankful i am living now i weep

11 February 2007

the magic has retreated

fervently awaiting the coming of a power
the men and women in the prayer camp
built in the name heaven a long ramp
for the great master at the chose hour
to descend at last and on his servants dower
the seal and sign the very noble stamp
to indicate that each was a true lamp
that would upon the day of glory flower
now this group was by no means the first
to hope for their god's imminent return
and would like all be ready with excuse
when weakened by hunger and long thirst
the least convinced the sacred letters burned
and put their aching knees to better use

instructional requirements

to shape the words into the proper sense
requires both thought and patience combined
we must live forever in the present tense

the ones who learn will soon go forth from hence
we send them off in hope that they're refined
to shape the words into the proper sense

the ones who lag behind not always dense
are fearful they'll be sundered from their kind
we must live forever in the present tense

in all this work the struggle's most intense
to open eyes and heal the ones who are blind
to shape the words into the proper sense

repeated often there's now no suspense
about what happens and what we'll find
we must live forever in the present tense

whatever happens we'll not allow pretense
we seek in action but to free the mind
to shape the words into the proper sense
we must live forever in the present tense

the birds circle below

against the bright cold sky memory brings
a different blue one rich with tropic heat
above the deep forested gully complete
with birds riding the thermals thought sings
of warm days' work the valuable things
one learns when walking with the steady feet
of path-making goats setting the beat
while looking down at the large birds wings
the clouds above i counted on that day
but can't recall the number when i think
of all that's past and who i was back then
looking not north but southward for the way
to escape from always walking on the brink
of narrow places that the spirits pen

Wha sweet Nanny Goat

Wha sweet Nanny Goat
Common Sense

John Maxwell
Sunday, February 11, 2007

Paradoxically, journalists in the western world tend to have less freedom of expression than most of their fellow citizens. Their freedom is often circumscribed by their employment.

In Jamaica, their freedom is further restricted by the presence in the media of people masquerading as journalists whose main qualification appears to be an inability to keep their mouths shut, especially when the subject is as exotic and arcane as politics and the environment.

Most of them do not understand the first thing about human rights in general and freedom of the press in particular. Even some real journalists appear not to have informed themselves on the subject as completely as they
ought, despite decades of journalistic experience.

And relative newcomers such as the cartoonist Las May really owe it to themselves to find out what it really means, his pitiful cartoons on the subject notwithstanding. His most egregious: picturing himself as an icon for freedom of the press, having been stabbed in the back by Desmond Richards, president of the Press Association. If he regards that as a stab in the back, this column to him must count as the attempted assassination of press freedom.

Freedom of the press does not belong to the press, as many imagine. Freedom of the press is a human right derived from the freedom of expression guaranteed supposedly in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and documents such as the Jamaican and Trinidad Constitution. Freedom of the press, being a human right, cannot belong to corporations.

As I said in my fourth column for this newspaper, in April 1996: "Of all the people in the English speaking world, editors have the least real freedom, the most restricted human rights. In France, and many European countries, editors and editorial boards really do run their papers, and the proprietors behave as they do in any other business, leaving the management to the managers. Their relations are governed by 'statutes' which define policy and mark out territory for both sides."

Those remarks were provoked by a controversy in Trinidad, where freedom of the press is supposedly guaranteed in the constitution. That did not prevent

Mr Anthony Sagba, the head honcho of McAl Alston, the Trinidad Guardian's parent company, telling his editorial employees some years ago to shut up and mind their business. Mr Sagba refused to allow his journalists to question the behaviour of the conglomerate which owned the paper and its dealings with the government.

In graphic language, Mr Sagba was reported to have said that in addition to employing journalists he sold things like razor blades in his supermarkets and he wasn't about to let his
Journalists damage him any more than he would allow his throat be cut by one of his razor blades. To him, the newspaper was simply another commodity.

SIMMER DOWN

The Jamaica Gleaner, in its comment on the matter, was upset that nearly a dozen journalists had resigned because of the dispute. Journalists, it said "should not concern themselves with management decisions which were outside of their competence. They should settle down and go back to their jobs."

At that, I quoted AJ Liebling who had sarcastically said " Freedom of the press belongs to those who own one".
As I tell my students in my Journalistic Ethics class, my rights end where yours begin. If we all enjoy equal rights, nobody can claim a right that supersedes anyone else's.

Yet, that is precisely the argument put forward by my old colleagues Ken Chaplin and Ken Jones. In defending the scurrilous cartoon authored by Las May and published by the Gleaner, Ken Jones is puzzled by the righteous anger provoked by the cartoon. Referring to Desmond Richards, Jones says that the president of the Press Association "does not take the broader view that female politicians claiming [sic] equal rights must be prepared to accept equal treatment in the rough and tumble of the political arena."

As one defender of press freedom has said "if the political kings have bled for years at the cartoonists' hands why should the emergent queens be granted special immunity."

In the first place, I challenge Jones and anyone else to show me a cartoon as viciously offensive directed at any other politician in our history. Las May's cartoon is right out of the gutter. The prime minister is depicted as a common street 'gal', exposing her behind, shoeless and with a nose ring the purpose of which is obscure but obviously pejorative.

EMERGENT QUEENS?

Mr Jones is being disingenuous. Mr Chaplin, from a lofty, apparently aristocratic perch, declares that "whether in the role of prime minister or as ordinary citizen, she is expected to act with dignity and decorum at all times" and opines that the "prime minister has tried hard to do this and succeeds at times."
She tries hard and succeeds at times, does she? How NICE of Mr Chaplin to notice!!!

Las May is therefore obviously justified in 'satirising Mrs Simpson Miller as a donette in an inner-city community.'
Mr Chaplin may have more experience of 'donettes' than I, but what I saw in the cartoon was a spiteful attempt not just to take the PM down a few pegs, but to portray her as a morally deficient and violent 'sketel' from whom any sensible person would be advised to keep her/his distance.

EDITORIAL RAPE

Fortunately for the rest of us there are others with, shall we say, a more balanced viewpoint. Mrs Doreen Frankson, president of the Jamaica Manufacturer's Association (but making the point that she was speaking for herself and not for the JMA), declared the cartoon equivalent to 'editorial rape'. Mrs Frankson said the cartoon demeaned all women, not simply the prime minister, an opinion with which I agree.

Mrs Frankson says the cartoon "assumes categorically that women will resort to debased behaviour to deal with issues in the public forum." How can any editor support this? Mrs Frankson asks:
It is a question that I also ask; especially since Mrs Frankson's letter was published in the Gleaner omitting the remarks noted in this column. Perhaps she wrote different letters to each newspaper?
And one wonders what the other members of the JMA think, since Mrs Frankson was obviously out there on her own.

Agostinho Pinnock in a letter to the editor of the Gleaner, suggested that the "levels of disrespect and contempt displayed by this cartoon are worrying signs, as they clearly communicate that "criticising the press is not a well-supported goal in this two-way press freedom relationship."

Mr Sameer Younis makes the excellent point that fair comment should be based on facts and that the cartoon failed this test. Of course it does and the law on defamation makes this very point. Ken Jones, in justifying this outrageous assault, which even he calls 'merciless' argues that the prime minister brought it upon herself by giving a flippant and facetious reply to serious questions about her use of public funds. Wow!

And the problem with rape, no doubt, is that many women bring it upon themselves by flippant and facetious behaviours that provoke the rapist.

SPECIAL LICENCE

What is even more bizarre about this journalistic disaster is that both Ken Jones and Ken Chaplin contend that cartoonists have special licence, not granted to other journalists. Mr Jones calls it 'lampooners' licence and says, in an aside, that "persons outside the profession may be excused for describing Mr May's work as vulgar."

The law, I am afraid, is not on the side of 'special licence' and I believe most people in or out of journalism regard the cartoon as vulgar in the extreme, vicious and in the worst possible taste.
One problem that all May's supporters ignore is the implicit reference in the cartoon to the prime minister's working class antecedents, and though they themselves may not endorse the belief, there are many men and women in Jamaica who feel the proper place for a poor black girl is a job as a domestic helper. If Mr May's journalistic antecedents were similarly explored, his defenders might not feel as comfortable backing him against the PM.

There are people who take a very strong line on freedom of the press when the threat is perceived to come from the left. When Michael Manley led a march to the Gleaner in the 1970s and intoned "Next time, Next Time" some people interpreted it as an attack on freedom of the press.

Their memories are too short. A few weeks before Independence in 1962 the Prime Minister, Sir Alexander Bustamante accompanied by the minister of development, one Edward Seaga, went to the offices of the Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation to demand that a commentator, one John Maxwell, be fired because he had said words amounting to the following: "After 300 years of exploiting Jamaica the British have presented us with a less than munificent going away present. They have given us enough money to pay the civil service for 11 days and have generously presented us with Up Park Camp which they can't take back to Britain."

On Bustamante's and Seaga's instructions I was fired by the chairman of the JBC. I was reinstated by the rest of the board, which was in turn fired by Mr Seaga after which I was again sent packing by the new board. Two years after Independence the government attempted to edit the JBC news, and fired George Lee, now Mayor of Portmore and Adrian Rodway, both news editors of the JBC, because they didn't agree.

That led to a strike which led eventually to the total destruction of the JBC's reputation and eventually, of the JBC itself.

RUDE AND INDECENT!

In 1964 when I had been editor of Public Opinion for two years, government ministers increased the ferocity of their public threats about what they were going to do to me and to one of my contributors, Bill Carr, an English lecturer at the University. The Work Permit law was introduced hopefully to deal with such as Bill Carr but failed, because of the objections of our partners in the UWI. There was even a debate about Public Opinion in Parliament, where I presented a special difficulty to the government, because though they could deport Carr other ways had to be found to shut me up.

What was my offence? Saying that Bustamante, as everybody knew, was too old for the job and should resign and allow Donald Sangster to be prime minister in name as well as in fact. My criticisms of the PM were denounced with fanciful epithets such as 'rude and indecent'.

Then came the bombshell. The government decided that civil servants would be fired if found with a copy of Public Opinion and in a circular issued by the financial secretary,
G Arthur Brown decreed that the paper should get no advertising from the government, while entities in receipt of any public funds were forbidden to enter into any contract with the City Printery which owned Public Opinion. Since we had just bought a press to fulfil a long-term printing contract with the UWI that was tantamount to cutting our throats.

The editor of the Gleaner and the president of the Jamaica Press Association Theodore Sealy in each case agreed that the government had the right to decide how it spent its funds. There was no reason to intervene, and anyway it was "All So Complex" according to an editorial in the Gleaner.

The Inter American Press Association, the celebrated IAPA, then meeting in Montego Bay, declined to intervene because they could see NO THREAT to press freedom.

The Jamaica Press Association immediately drew up a code of conduct to deal with people like Maxwell. The code of conduct is one of the most unusual journalists' codes in the world; its main emphasis is on protecting public figures from the assaults of journalists.

Ken Chaplin was secretary of the Press Association then, and on December 5, 2003, he published in his Observer column reminiscences of the PAJ. "Unfortunately, the code of ethics is not widely adhered to and very few journalists especially the younger ones, are aware of the provisions".

And he warned the PAJ to try and correct this because "today's journalists are more aggressive than those in the distant past."
Apparently not more aggressive than John Maxwell, whose behaviour provoked, among other strictures in the code prohibitions against "writing or publishing vulgarity aimed at individuals, institutions or groups as well as unwarranted attacks on their dignity, honour and prestige. Writing or publishing matter which may be subversive or harmful to the unity of the people or likely to lead to violence or to a breach of the peace" (Bustmante himself had publicly threatened to have me shot but 'only in the leg, because you have a pretty wife!')

My attacks on that prime minister, that is, my references to his age and competence, fell foul of these rules.
Mr Las May's vulgar abuse of this prime minister apparently does not.

One wonders what Messrs Chaplin and Jones said at that time. Unfortunately, we don't have to wonder what they say now.

Copyright©2007 John Maxwell

cattle egrets

the bird sits calmly on the cow's high back
removing parasites if that's the word
the farmer's friend when poor farmers lack
the dips and sprays the wealthier preferred
to kill the ticks and aid the healthy herd
avian paradox that sits out in plain sight
the elegant egret most useful tick-bird
that comes from africa and yet is white

above us the high winds turn clouds to wrack
something like that we think must have occurred
the winds grabbed the birds up in their sack
and with a speed that should have blurred
the sight as somewhere we've referred
hurled these poor flyers westward in the night
new migrant status on each wing conferred
that comes from africa and yet is white

hard working mountain peasant in his shack
to wealthier men's opinions that deferred
now learns that these big fellows have the knack
to eat large vermin and are not deterred
by sight or sound or by restraining word
from relieving cattle in their itchy plight
the farmer will not have this helper slurred
that comes from africa and yet is white

prince in this opinion all men have concurred
that nature in her wisdom has the right
to send our farmers the companion bird
that comes from africa and yet is white

haikus after midnight

consider the bird
it sleeps in deepest silence
remaining quite warm

consider the clock
it stays awake the whole night
yet remains quite cold

consider the man
he remains awake till late
beholds clock shivers

10 February 2007

the wheel turns as it moves

in the cold quiet dark each motion magnifies
into a threatening force each step seems
filled with obscure meaning what one deems
right and proper for some other signifies
nothing at all the truth is that who reifies
all actions into things who constructs memes
that travel mind to mind like waking dreams
the are the ones who confuse truth and lies
now we turn the page and read nothing new
nothing that we did not know long years ago
arranged in ways that numb the weary brain
each generation thinks that its own view
is better than the last ones that it will show
we've learned at last to come in from the rain

adult and youth

fragments of memory rise and disappear
colour of places dominates and the signs
of coming headache we've felt the lines
appear and vanish in the sodden air
so much weight falls on my fourteenth year
the memory of people and locations where
the changes that affect young life inclines
me to recall the many teenage whines
that remind me of just how unaware
i was back then but now with adult gaze
i smile and i remember and then i take
the memories and render them in verse
so now i have a way to understand those days
abstracted in the poems that i make
and grateful now that they were not far worse

I am Magneto?

our results:
You are Magneto


































Magneto
69%
The Joker
53%
Apocalypse
51%
Dr. Doom
43%
Mr. Freeze
42%
Riddler
42%
Green Goblin
40%
Mystique
40%
Dark Phoenix
34%
Lex Luthor
33%
Poison Ivy
29%
Venom
24%
Two-Face
24%
Catwoman
22%
Juggernaut
16%
Kingpin
11%
You fear the persecution of those that are different or underprivileged so much that you are willing to fight and hurt others for your cause.


Click here to take the "Which Super Villain are you?" quiz...

the view from the hill

dim or bright they seem like stars the lights
in houses and by roads on the western plain
we see them even through this light rain
the twinkly harbingers of our warm nights
the ever-present memory never just requites
the struggles of that time but calms the strain
of dreams about the distant spanish main
and yet we have that moment dead to rights
for all its beauty i never loved that place
but from the height observing land and sea
by day or evening it was a site of dreams
and now as i through recollection trace
those things that were and can no longer be
i think of all those shiny little gleams

I know what I like

There's nothing gives bad dreams at night
as seeing the detailed, excessively bright,
crimes against taste
produced in great haste
by Kinkade, the painter of shite.

With gobs and gobs of fluorescent paint
he gives us a world with no taint
so bright and so twee
it's painful to see,
and would infuriate any saint.

Now, I've got nothing against light
nor cottages glowing at night,
but laid on so thick
it makes the heart sick
and the soul quails under the blight.

Kincade's work no product of luck,
he produces them all by the truck-
loads of crap
sent all over the map,
and real artists groan and say "fuck!"

To call this sugary stuff "art"
gives painters and sculptors a start;
they know it is bad
and what is so sad
is that Kincade just doesn't give a fart.

the barbarians have arrived

so this is what it's like to face the night
with back bent nearly double and sad face
to march so long and then to stand in place
as behind the mountain slowly dies the light
ahead of us looms darkly to our sight
grim marker of the century's disgrace
the one thing not considered in our case
that shows the limits raw power and might
what in the end must matter is the choice
to stand and wait or else to break and run
knowing that either way we confront fate
one way requires that we subdue each voice
and make our way without the hope of sun
the other leaves us panicked at the gate

the bird has told all

there's nothing here that matters but the sun
the morning's cold but the sky is blue and clear
with a good effort i'll get the whole job done

ahead i know there's a long course to run
we've reached the turning point of this new year
there's nothing here that matters but the sun

still a battle's to be fought but lost or won
we're attending now to all that's in our care
with a good effort i'll get the whole job done

the eye's been tricked but it's all in good plain fun
we know that we're not marked by what we wear
there's nothing here that matters but the sun

the deal's been finished now we're under the gun
this is quite common but for each it's rare
with a good effort i'll get the whole job done

we've passed the obstacles now there are none
a new taste seems to flow throughout the air
there's nothing here that matters but the sun
with a good effort i'll get the whole job done

09 February 2007

one road two views

everything in the valley seems quite small
the distance diminishes both sight and sound
the miniature farmer tills his tiny bit of ground
we cannot hear his shout from here at all
drying sheets spread out on the stone wall
look like slipcovers and each white mound
stands clearly out from a bright green surround
from our standpoint there's a long way to fall
now if we climb the road a little and look west
the view is different we view the distant sea
and the large slow ship going toward the sun
it's hard to choose at asking which was best
between the ocean and the inland lea
when i'll never on that road have cause to run

For Nalo Hopkinson

You've got the gift of turning thought to tale
in ways that make the reader sit and think;
you know well there's an urge to stop and drink,
but writing problems aren't resolved by ale.
At times the thought of typing makes you quail
but you go on although you're on the brink
for things can change in a simple eyeblink
and you're too good to let yourself just fail.
Words come and go, but stories have more bite
than just the conjoined meanings, in a way
we are the tale ourselves, not just the teller;
the whole thing comes out when we sit and write,
but we can choke not knowing what to say,
still our own deep need is oft the great impeller.

the play's the thing

we love and fear the shiny and the new
to be an adult is to know what weighs
and what can be put off for better days
there's so much we're not allowed to do
and much that we must if we but knew
what role we've been given in the plays
that make up life and what are the ways
to bring our own performance into view
then we'd take up the better dual roles
actor and critic wrapped up into one
going backstage to see all things in clear
light and then by knowing the wholes
seeing how scenes could be better done
and hoping others will be kind and fair

engage

the platonic forms are just not there
reality is what we all have made
there are no beings of the upper air

there's no perfect forming of a square
under the sun is only light and shade
the platonic forms are just not there

thinking about it drives you spare
all you have to do is make the grade
there are no beings of the upper air

the shadows on the wall are not a snare
all that is done will one day come to fade
the platonic forms are just not there

life is enough to make the holy swear
but everything we have will be arrayed
there are no beings of the upper air

what matters in the end is that we dare
all things that might make us afraid
the platonic forms are just not there
there are no beings of the upper air

saving the sum of things

the flag that's flown tells only half the tale
behind it march a motley mass of men
summoned to sore struggle yet again
all are expected to be fully fit to fail
yet gathered against the growing gale
presented here with all the power of pen
each will devour all devils in their den
and then abscond to consume ample ale
now roots are hard and gnarly we all know
but without them the tree is bound to fall
so with the ones who hold the tale together
on their hard feet towards the goal they go
we're proud to see them here standing tall
for us they gladly work in every weather