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,
Covered, subsumed, consumed,
By bureaucratic slime.

Friday, 16 February 2018

“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.

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.

Tuesday Evening Mid Feb.

It’s that ‘nearly half past five and not yet dark’ time,
That mud and soggy grass and flagstone slime time,
That skidding bringing in the coal and landing in the grime time,
And using washing powder with an enzyme.
It’s that soggy, fatty pancake drenched in lime time,
That acid reflux, Rennie crunching, writing rhyme time,
That wishing one could aim at the sublime time,
But finding that one can’t be arsed to climb. 

“When the past no longer illuminates the future, the spirit walks in darkness“. Alexis de Tocqueville

The spirit must not walk in darkness now;
A guide’s required to help us comprehend -
The Past illuminates, shows what we know:

To act in wisdom’s never to kowtow
To fashion which is worthless and pretend.
The spirit must not walk in darkness now

There’s no Utopia, its far off glow
Is marsh gas, which I cannot recommend.
The past illuminates, shows what we know:

Collective wisdom, customs will allow
interpretation, they will change and bend.
The spirit must not walk in darkness now

There is no need, it’s day, so why endow
black shadows with the nature of a friend?
The past illuminates, shows what we know:

We must hold fast to good, not disavow.
The future always is some antique blend.
The spirit must not walk in darkness now

The past illuminates, shows what we know. 

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Do You Self Identify As Fat? (Tomorrow’s ‘Woman’s Hour’ Phone In)

Do you self identify as fat?
Phone us or get in touch by text,
Are you a lard arse, or what?
Is your self identification a pretext
For self obsession?
Do you think continually about your weight
While harping bitterly about those you hate,
Those who seem determined to teach you a lesson
About giving up binge eating and taking up exercise?
Are you eating away at yourself, while eating a way all day?
Or is your self identification,
A kind of self protection,
Do you feel you own your obesity and are wise
To its power, do you admire your flab while in the shower,
Marvelling at its roly-poly layers?
Are you Rubenesque?
Do you give thanks to those who portray us
As desirable, in our mounds of flesh, or think their work toxic,
Yourself grotesque,
Do you see weight as a force for good,
Are you truly one of us, one of the sisterhood,
Or just anorexic?

Sunday, 11 February 2018

The Past Life Of Jordan Peterson. Or 5 Rules For A Perfect Canine Existence

On pondering the nature of the man,
And searching for the thing he most resembled,
I realised it was the thing he’d been before,
That spoke to me, and made me such a fan.
The various features of the person all assembled,
His big brown eyes, dark brow, and good strong jaw,
His gruffly voice, his attitude, his ‘yes I can’
Defiance, beside which so many others had trembled:

Ah! My long dead love, 
My fierce, well meaning, terrifying Labrador.
The dog who’d loved me most, with all his soul,
And carried to extremes his guarding role.

On hearing Jordan’s barking and his growls,
I thought of Towser and his singing howls,
When caged to stop him trying to kill
Some visitor whom he despised, and of each rule
That he’d devised, for canine life, 
And wondering how he came to make his choice.
I played a game, awake at night,
And heard him then, inside my head, recite
In Jordan’s voice.

Rule number one:  

Don’t let anyone through the door
Unless you trust them instinctively and know
At any moment you can pin them down and rip their throat out.
When God expelled Adam and Eve from Paradise
He left them vulnerable, immature,
They needed some protection, someone who could show
Them courage, someone who could shout
And go on shouting, someone who could offer advice
By growling and letting his hair stand on end,
Someone who understood his duty to defend.

But it’s no good, being all mouth and no action
Everyday you must set out to recognise
The wolf within, and give him satisfaction.
Carl Jung explained this and there’s no better description
Of how to live a fully canine existence and realise
Your potential than Jung’s ‘Lupus’.
But your violence must be obvious and honest,
Show all your guests straightforwardly what you intend,
You’re not some smarmy back stabbing Brutus.

Rule number two:  
Don’t allow your humans to speak on the telephone.
There may be nobody about,
The day might be calm and slow,
Your human might seem safe and quite alone,
You might be dozing by the fire, on the floor,
Head on the lap of your true love, everything nice,
When some stranger calls through space.
This is danger, you can’t see his face,
You don’t know what he’s plotting, he may have some bone
To pick, he may be quoting some high price,
For some cheap job you could do yourself if you had a thumb on each paw.
The point is, you don’t know,
But you have to show
Who’s boss, at every opportunity, and this device,
This weird contraption
That lets humans communicate, is dangerous, it’s not wise
To allow people to make conversation, Nietzsche
Advocated loneliness and the silent struggle,
But not all humans understand this, you have to be their teacher
Bark and go on barking, end the discussion,
Your human may be mad at you, 
but afterwards you can lick their face
And have a cuddle.

Rule Number Three:
Go for anyone who approaches when out walking.
This should be obvious, it’s common sense,
But you’d be amazed by the number of dogs who just wait,
Meekly, quietly, even allowing their humans to put on their 
While the intruder stands there talking.
The dangers are immense,
Human beings are distracted by language, they never concentrate
On smells, they really have no idea about strangers.
“I am the way and the life”.  The way is an important theme
In all archetypal myths.  For dogs the way represents 
Freedom and the opportunity to bear responsibility.
The dog who walks to heel is one who does not heed
The dangers on all sides, a real dog never consents
To let the human be in charge.  
A real dog does not stick to the narrow way, 
He may be quite close by
At times, but mostly he traverses the way at large,
Back and forth, hunting, returning, keeping a watchful eye.

Rule Number four:

Insist on eating everything.
In the story of Hansel and Gretel
The children are lured to the house of the witch
Because it’s made of gingerbread.
Human beings do not understand the need to be fed
Constantly, they have a hormone grellin, instead,
Designed to deceive them into thinking their stomachs are full.
A dog is not so stupid, and neither is a bitch.
Never get into a situation where you can be tempted by food,
Eat everything you can get your paws on
And jaws round, then you’ll never be in the mood
To follow some dangerous old woman 
And your instincts will tell you she’d be better dead,
So see to it.

Rule Number five:
Always sleep on your human’s bed.
In the story of Cain and Abel
Cain dwells in The Land of Nod,
Having killed his brother, he spends his days roaming,
In the dessert, over the moor 
Obviously this wares him out 
And he needs to sleep safely.
So do not condescend to sleep on the floor.
The Land of Nod is where all humans go in dreams.
Their dreams are strange,
They don’t involve hunting,
But there are often recurring themes,
To which Jung refers.
Sleep by your human’s side,
As close as possible, however wide
The mattress.  So you can interpret the processes
By which they are developing their thoughts
And you can help to calm them down,
When they wake themselves up with their snorts.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

On The Need For Leadership

“Milton! thou shouldst be living at this hour:
England hath need of thee”, but then again
Any leader, in his prime, would do, strong men
With wisdom, wit and humour could empow’r
Us to act, to fight for justice, they’d not cower
Before these ‘representatives’ who when
Just scratched reveal they represent not ten
In any hundred thousand, yet who tower
And dominate as if they speak for all. 
We needs must ‘wipe them out by peaceful means’
With decent revolution which still cleans
As thoroughly as violence,  yet restores,
So we regain the courage of the fall

That sent us, willing, out through Eden’s doors. 

Friday, 2 February 2018

Gifts or Rights

Perhaps love feels it is disgraced
As gifts by rights have been replaced.
And gratitude, replaced by claims,
Begets resentment, whose black games
Fuel fires which then are never traced
Back to their origin.  Misplaced
Ideas of charity, distaste
At what is freely given maims
If love is truly interlaced
Between us, rights are then debased
For tolerance, sans stated aims,
Trumps that which legislation frames.
That which is God can’t be defaced -

Satan in Various Disguises Tempts Mrs May

Sweet lady fair, so powerful you are,
This pig trough, deep I bring before your eyes,
Which by bureaucracy is always filled;
Here, eat of it and gain your rightful prize,
Which is not freedom, that your forebear won,
Nor knowledge of such good or evil walks
The world, but is authority, distilled.
It is a liquor of great strength, so far
You’ve only sipped at it, and seemed to shun
Its sweet effects, but what harm can be done?
We have remade a paradise on earth,
Where once free men can little children be,
And here is room for all.
But we are Gods, because we are more wise,
And so each day constrain their liberty.
We spin a soft and silky thread so light,
It barely seems a real substantial thing,
Then weave with it, a sticky, complex net,
Which thickening becomes a smothering quilt,
That comforts, warms and stifles, through the night,
And when dawn breaks the free men soon forget,
That life was different once.  They feel no guilt,
No sorrow:  giving up their agency
Seems to their impoverished minds to bring
A sense of great relief, for they suppose
That regulation, order, rules, are worth
The loss of all they once held true and dear.
So bide a while beside the well filled trough,
Think not of men who tried before to gain 
Total authority, caused dread and fear,
Our ways are of an anaesthetic balm,
We aim to gently, slowly suffocate,
Those whom we subjugate feel no alarm,
The subtle ways in which we enervate,
Work over time, and patience is enough,
You can become a God, so what’s the harm,
Of feeding here?  You know that chaos dwells
Without the garden’s wall.