Thursday, 22 February 2018

On Listening To An Old Vinyl Record Of My Father Playing Gigges And Dompes Which Someone Had Uploaded To Youtube

I suppose it must have been 
The music that I used to hear in utero.
It reaches those parts other players can’t -
Heineken harpsichord harmony. 
Yet it doesn’t merely bathe my ears,
I’m not washed with some nostalgic flow
Of sentimental sadness, there are no tears.
The playing, crisp and clean,
Does not intermingle with ideas,
Does not influence my way of seeing.
Hearing him play Debussy on the piano,
That brings yearning for those carefree years,
But this is different, 
It’s as if my response is purely cellular,
As if this were the sound by which I came to grow,
The formation of my person,
From zygote to maturation,
And that now, as I hear,
I am re-formed, one crystal clear
Chord, drops into the saturated solution
Of my soul,
And chaos becomes order, in my entire being. 

“Every Revolution Evaporates, Leaving Only Bureaucratic Slime”. Franz Kafka

Brexit lies here,
The biggest, democratic
Revolution of our time,
We can just observe her outline, still,
Grecian beauty - the people’s will, 
But she’s about to disappear,
Coated, subsumed, consumed,

By bureaucratic slime.

Friday, 16 February 2018

To A Youthful Social Justice Warrior, Hoping To Change The World. (Two Quotes From Tolstoy)

“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time”.

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself”

If only you had patience and the time,
To change yourself and not the world, my dear,
You’d not demand enactment of this crime.

You’d think of things uplifting and sublime
And not of legislation, rule by fear,
If only you had patience and the time.

If all the hours before you, in your prime
Were spent in gaining knowledge year on year,
You’d not demand enactment of this crime,

And would be shocked by this dull pantomime,
This desire to make custom disappear.
If only you had patience and the time

To learn to see beyond the filth and grime
And bathe in one conservative idea,
You’d not demand enactment of this crime.

Nor wish to leave a vacuum where grows slime.
You’d wish to change yourself, your private sphere,
If only you had patience and the time

You’d not demand enactment of this crime. 

“We have arrived at an intellectual chaos”. Solzhenitsyn

“We have arrived at an intellectual chaos”.  Solzhenitsyn
We have arrived at an intellectual chaos, so,
how did we get here?
I think identity politics had much to do with it, though
Post Modernism came first, and won’t disappear.
Jaques Derrida was important and we fear
His influence is widespread in academia, where the verb to know
is regarded as blasphemous, along with concepts like being clear. 
We have arrived at an intellectual chaos, so, 
what are we going to do about it?  Intersectionality, seems to grow
into this vast sticky web, yet its proponents are all sincere,
they think that love of their fellow men, requires law, for it to show.
How did we get here?
How did they so misunderstand, Christ’s second commandment?  Why do they fear
freedom and seem desperate for legislation, what panic lies below
the surface of their thoughts that they’d take prison over being freer?
I think identity politics had much to do with it, though
that arose from this same impulse, libertarianism transmuted in to faux
outrage, which turned into this compulsion to clamp down, never to hear
the views of the other side. How far will it go?
Post Modernism came first, and won’t disappear
but each generation rejects what came before, each requires its own idea.
Does hope lie here? Or will the authoritarians borrow
the ways of the Medieval Church, Sharia, Soviet Russia, staying in or near
the seats of power, controlling the chaotic narrative, drowning us in slow
intellectual chaos.

“When truth is discovered by someone else, it loses something of its attractiveness”. Solzhenitsyn

Is Beauty Truth, Truth Beauty, still,
From Greenland down to South Brazil?
And is it held in high esteem,
Or do we sometimes plot and scheme,
Determined to seek out the thrill
Of slaying it, as we fulfil
A baser urge -our envy’s will?
Is Truth as someone else’s theme
Beauty, still?
Or do we gnaw away until
Rejecting it we start to kill
Our souls with bitterness, blaspheme
Because we weren’t the first to dream
This theory, finding its bright gleam

Beauty, still.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

“The name of ‘reform’ simply covers what is latently a process of the theft of the national heritage”

(Title quote from Alexander Solzhenitsyn)

Ah yes, why not strip all away, reform
The old, tear down the grey, the dull, reject
Each thing that’s gone before? Let’s not conform.
Let customs all be damned, let’s not select,
But smash the lot. Utopia requires
Tabula rasa, so let’s scratch out thought,
Religion, history, and start such fires
That there can be no hope of saving aught.
And we shall make men’s minds anew, so they
Shall never look to what has gone before,
Shall not consult an ancient wisdom, pray
To any higher power.  For less is more.
But let us act with guile, and be wise
Destruction needs a positive disguise.

“It is time in the west to defend not so much human rights as human obligations” Alexander Solzhenitsyn

What are our obligations, then?
How to oblige our fellow men?
When men have grown to think of rights
How shall we now re-set their sights,
And help them to begin again?
One can change minds, but how and when?
By words of love, or stroke of pen?
What makes us see by brighter lights?
What are our obligations, then?
We’re selfish creatures, one in ten
Think others needs within their ken,
The rest are blind and some start fights
Determined egos through black nights
Will not relent or say amen.

What are our obligations, then?