Wednesday, 30 December 2020

Burke Quotes

'A State without the means of some change is without the means of its conservation.'

'But the age of chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists, and calculators has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished'

'It is not, what a lawyer tells me I may do; but what humanity, reason, and justice, tell me I ought to do.

Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.;

'There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men.'

'Whenever a separation is made between liberty and justice, neither, in my opinion, is safe.'

A State which cannot change lacks the ability

To provide for its own conservation.

The age of chivalry is gone, our age lacks principles, stability,

And sophistry churns up the conversation. 

And yet we have the means of restoration,

We are not lacking in facility

To act with reason, justice, in our nation.

A State which cannot change lacks the ability

To thrive, yet we must value what is good, futility

Lies in attempts to hoard up all in preservation,

In non judgemental imbecility.

To provide for its own conservation

A State must prize what profits the next generation

Yet act with caution and humility

Which knows to act on prophecy can be causation. 

The age of chivalry is gone, our age lacks principles, stability,

And calculators and economists with great agility

In statistical lies, manipulation,

Seem to dominate, abuse our sad docility,

And sophistry churns up the conversation.

But who sets up himself a judge of truth, seeks adulation,

Receives but laughter from the Gods who know the fallibility

Of narcissistic men and in frustration

Bring about their end. We must be wise to our fragility,

Which cannot change.  

Tuesday, 29 December 2020

Society - Burke Rondeau Redouble

“Society is a partnership in all science; a partnership in all art; a partnership in every virtue and in all perfection. As the ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are dead and those who are to be born.

Burke called society a partnership

In science, art, virtue, all perfection

And thus it must require the membership

Of many an earlier generation.

Our aims don’t ever reach fruition

Within a season, not one haw or hip

Is ripe for either harvest or rejection.

Burke called society a partnership

And the serving of a long apprenticeship

Allowing for sagacious intervention

From voices past, in their instructorship

In science, art, virtue, all perfection.

Society’s not changed by mere election

We guard against the ills of brinksmanship.

Society’s a link a great connection

And thus it must require the membership

Of those as yet unborn, custodianship

Means taking care, not mad destruction.

We needs must spend much time in contemplation

Of many an earlier generation,

Their thinking, and put aside frustration

And childish annoyance, at their wardship.

To teach the future of their wisdom is our obligation

To keep preserved, in tact, curated, the protectorship

Burke called society 

Saturday, 26 December 2020

A Contrast

 When days were very long

And nights were filled with stars,

Beheld in wonder through small child’s eyes

And full moon shone upon the reservoirs

And gleamed where crowds of seagulls lay asleep,

Who’d settled with the setting sun,

Whose winter pink had glinted

Where the moon’s path now reflected platinum,

And back indoors

The coal smoke in great clouds 

Went up the sooty chimney breast

Was drawn directly, not inclined to fill the room,

Or drift out gently by the inglenook,

And there were teddybears as gifts from grandmamas

One felt chapped lips and snotty nose

And aching ears and legs and throat so sore,

That one could hardly speak at all,

One woke in terror saw the flowers of the paper on the wall

Rise up as if they grew upon some sheer cliff

Scared, alone, in illness and despair,

And wet the bed and really didn’t care.

Because in innocence there is no guilt,

And no responsibility, just honest pain,

And dread of ghosts and dark and loneliness.

It’s only now, with passing years

And looking through tired eyes which strain

To tell the planets from the twinkling lights

That sprinkle Heaven or the Milky way

On bright, but yet polluted Christmas nights,

Remembered moments from those childhood dreams,

Impose in such a way to stop one still,

And focus on the coming of one’s death,

And symptoms which were taken in one’s stride

And borne, as part of childhood’s grotty state,

Create a kind of terror in the mind,

And thoughts of un-starred darkness and last breath

Conflate, elide.

Wednesday, 23 December 2020

God or the Great Re Set?

 Would you recognise the Devil, if he spoke to you of science,

Would you think him merely rational, a voice of wisdom, sanity?

And what of economics, would you act in shocked defiance

If he said you must accept the latest, ill thought out inanity?

You think you’d act with reason, but that is really not sufficient,

For reason is the basis of our mere, human will,

And the Devil is persuasive and well practised and efficient

And his arguments are pleasing and they’re made with skill.

But that’s not to say our human goodness, is never scientific

Or economic wisdom is not possible for man,

Only that our focus as we try to find a course of action,

To fix the endless holes in the bursting dam,

Created by the state in response to science fiction,

Should not be on Mammon, but on God’s plan.

Tuesday, 22 December 2020

God Often Comes As A Little Child

 God often comes as a little child

At least we think he does,

And after deep depression,

Like the weather turned quite mild.

He speaks to us,

We listen

And act upon His words,

And sense a great profundity

In all that is around,

The stillness and the balmy air,

The singing of the birds,

The snouts of first spring flowers

Protruding from the ground.

God often comes as a little child,

He has that great propensity,

And speaks to us aloud,

And shocks like electricity,

We sense Him all about,

And we can sometimes see His face

Behind some sunlit mass of cloud,

Before our eccentricity

Is quietly snuffed out.

We take great comfort in the thought

We're being quite conventional,

And feeling as we ought

When faced with this immensity

We act with an intentional

Subservience, a doing as we're taught.

A good example we would set

Till our small children must exert

A counteracting force of will,

And when God leaves us, we forget

To pray, to marvel and distil

The sum of peace we've known

In sudden moments when alone.

And tempers fray

Though we're alert

To all the evil of the day

We have not strength to fend it off

And madness is not far away

Monday, 14 December 2020

The Blue Rinse Brigade

 From Tory lady, dressed with care

To lefty loon sans underwear,

The shift in politics, of hair,

Is noticeable, everywhere.

Yet Tories too, are punks, these days,

They dress as if some teenage phase

Has stuck and they’re in Neverland

Yet still they have the upper hand. 

Committed to Ensuring A Hostile Culture of Mutual Antipathy and Intolerance

In the wake of a row at Cambridge about ‘respect’ versus ‘tolerance’ the chief big wig sent out a message to staff telling them that the university was committed to ensuring their work place would be a respectful and supportive sort of a place - words to that effect. Any way, Douglas Murray, writing in Unherd, brought up the old fashioned notion that you should turn statements the opposite way about, before making them  and ask yourself if anyone would ever propose what you are declaring yourself against, before putting them out there to be scoffed at. So he asked would anyone ever say “we are committed to ensuring a culture of mutual antipathy and intolerance”?  Of course the answer is no, but the comments sections in online publications is the natural home for people like me, who like doing battle with other people’s idiotic ideas, hence my response:

Here, in the comments’ section,

We are committed to ensuring 

A culture of mutual antipathy and intolerance

Most hostile,

Every day we shall make a selection

Of remarks our fellows have made

And pour on them scorn and rejection

Because there’s nothing half so enduring

And guaranteed to make one smile,

As the feeling of satisfaction

One gets from being vile.

Friday, 11 December 2020

’Of Risky Enjoyment And Bold Adventures’ Roger Scruton


‘Of Risky Enjoyment And Bold Adventures’

Before I grow ancient and need to wear dentures,

I’ll partake, every day, in a calm, English way,

Of Risky enjoyment and bold adventures. 

And though this might cause some alarm

In those who spend every day

Not living, but keeping from harm,

To them I shall say

Have some fun, go and play

Invest not in bonds but debentures. 

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

'When You Speak'

 I had a fragment of a tune

Floating in my mind,

A mere three notes, 

Not Claire de Lune,

Or something of that kind,

Whose opening trinity gives away

The whole thing in an instant,

But three notes from some central part,

Which still excited, set my heart

To race,

In competition with my head

Which searched a life time's hoard of scores,

As I lay anxious in my bed,

At breakneck speed to find the phrase,

At least some helpful little trace

Of some few words which might pertain

To this mere trey

Within my brain,

Which yet belonged, in some sad song,

This snippet, which had gone astray.

The three notes were from Kurt Weil's setting of Ogden Nash's poem, ' Speak Low', hence the title.

Once all I had to go on was a single long note, sung in a high treble voice. I was lying in the garden on a deckchair and this single note was like a beam from the sun, shining in to my head, beautiful but annoying since it took me ages to place it. It turned out to be the first sung note of Britten's setting of the Corpus Christi Carol


Saturday, 14 November 2020

Up On The Moors

 I met a man up on the moors,

In fog and mud and almost night,

In drizzle, dampness and in sight

Of no one else. No heather there, or yellow gorse,

Just barren emptiness and gloom

And yet on waking from this dream

I felt the scene had been my room

The chalky, grey green colour scheme

Through open eyes, while sleeping seen.

Who was the ragged man I met?

I felt, on waking, I had been

To make a pact, yet I forget

The nature of our strange contract.

Yet deep relief flowed through my veins,

I knew that things would be alright,

As if I'd burst my heavy chains,

And was now free and safe, despite

The lonely place I wandered in,

The only place with wonder in,

The place of dreams, which yet are real,

Which do not tell, and yet reveal

Such things we might not dare to know,

Much more than what they seem to show.

Thursday, 12 November 2020

Self Deception

 I thought I heard a curlew cry,

Beneath the dull November sky,

Somewhere above the drifts of fog,

Just for a moment, then I knew,

No curved billed bird would come in view,

It was a walker passing by,

Who whistled for his dog,

Instead. And yet it made my heart as glad

To hear that sound, as if I had

In truth experienced the bird

His haunting song, the one I’d heard,

Still filled my soul with pure, immense

Nostalgia from those hidden springs,

The geyser which with power flings

This sentimental substance through

One’s veins and up into one’s head

And so one is complicit in

Such self deceptions as improve

One’s spirits and elicit in

Oneself the comforting, Proustian mood

‘du temps perdu.’

Sunday, 8 November 2020

Not Silence, But Weeping (rondeau redouble)



When first we stood remembering, in grey November air,

In deep, thick mires, fogs, mists of grief

Despite stiff upper lipped despair,

We heard not stately silence, but in those moments, brief,

Collective weeping, sobbing, communal disbelief.

And generations later, we hear again, today

The sobbing of a people, who think on death, the thief.

When first we stood remembering in grey, November air

Still in our simple innocence, we did our best to bear

The loss, and vast incompetence of little men in chief

Who’d used us ill and with contempt and acted without care.

In deep, thick mires, fogs, mists of grief

Red poppied lampposts almost glow, among each life, each fallen leaf

To be replaced, yet not regrow, and freedom’s gone, we know not where.

Yet still returns a sad motif,

Despite stiff upper lipped despair,

We needs must lay our souls bare

 And weep once more for what we’ve lost and seek some means to find relief.

 For though a hundred years ago, we bowed our heads in silent prayer

We heard not stately silence, but in those moments, brief,

The weeping of a nation. And shall we say those men who fought may just as lief

Have given in, surrendered all? We would not dare,

Yet hypocrites, we will not fight, we merely dab a handkerchief

As liberty lies smashed, destroyed beyond repair,


Tuesday, 27 October 2020


 Bluey Greyey Green

Have you seen 

That bluey-greyey-green?

When was it made?

Is it starting to fade? 

It’s of greyish-bluish mintage

Of course it is, it’s vintage,

It’s Morris Minor, sea foam,

Soft mist above the deep loam,

It’s shapely Denby pottery,

Whose glaze is matt,

Yet snottery

Tending more to greyish green, than blue,

Do tell me the name of this satisfying hue.

It’s Eau de Nil- dull duck egg-sage,

It’s the timelessness of age,

It encapsulates good taste,

Looks rather nice with salmon paste,

It will not date, it’s all the rage.

Is it greeny- bluey grey,

Or does it only look that way

In the English light of early dawn?

Is it distant frost across the lawn,

Is it mentioned in a list

Of most ‘quintessential shades’?

Is it mix of moulds all milky?

Genteelly tattered, silky,

Country house curtains?

Shadow dappled glades?

Is it the kindly eyes

Of a friend most dear and wise,

With a cataract lately grown?

Do tell me the name of this satisfying tone. 

Sunday, 25 October 2020

Insomniac's Prayer

 I am the one who lies awake,

I wish I weren't, I hate the woke.

God, let me sleep, for pity"s sake,

My hand, don't reach and with one stroke

Turn on the screen before dawn’s break

And make me read and scroll and poke

And click and sigh and tutt and make

My mind more active.  Slam the brake,

Stall the engine, don"t provoke

With Mail Online and Breitbart News,

Confirming all my bleakest views,

Attempt not humour, don't amuse,

Respond to aspirin downed with booze,

Leave me to drift, dream, doze, snore, snooze.

Sunday, 11 October 2020

I’m a Liberal (Not)


I’m a ‘liberal’ l.o.l. (not)

But I haven’t been found out yet

Well, actually I’m a bit of a Trot,

I’m liderally , a Communist, always upset.

I make lovely statements, but I forget

Policy which I espouse often hits the opposite spot

To that which was intended. But don’t fret,

I’m a ‘liberal l.o.l. (not)

My ideas are warm and damp, ideal for causing rot,

But I mean well, that’s what counts. You can bet

On some harm resulting from my politics, mostly quite a lot,

But I haven’t been found out yet.

Consequences don’t count, if your statements are wet,

Well intentioned, framed so they will slot

Easily in place within unthinking minds, and on the internet.

Well, actually I’m a bit of a Trot,

I’m young, rich, well connected, hot.

I don’t care for prudence, bring on the debt!

Those who’ll pay the price just haven’t got what I’ve got.

I’m liderally a Communist, always upset,

Wanting equality, never having met

A working class person, I just like to plot

And scheme and dream with a cigarette 

Paper close at hand. You’re probably a bigot

I’m (not)

Thursday, 1 October 2020

Two Herons


A heron flew up northwards with the tide,

We watched his pterodactyl, slow beat strength,

Until, upon a whim, he turned, retraced the length.

Another, larger, came up on the left hand side,

And both birds passed each other in an arc,

And dropped their long legs downwards like two cranes,

Depicted on a screen, against a dark

And glossy ebonised sheen. Now what trace remains

Of this strange dance, a captured image in my mind

Described in words, which fail to tell of how it seemed

A token of some truth vouchsafed, but unredeemed

And irredeemable. For birds do not leave keys or codes behind.

And all the stories of the souls of human dead

Or end of plague, are fictions from some human head.

Sunday, 20 September 2020

Oppression (or unconscious bias training, taken to its logical conclusion)

I’ll write about my privilege, I’m white

And therefore privileged, despite

My poverty and homelessness and failing sight,

And sleeping on the cold, hard street at night.

I have unconscious bias, I’m not brown

And therefore am not really out and down,

I chose my life, and all my seeming lack

Of worldly goods is riches, still,

For I have everything, if I’m not black.

The richest, blackest King, has not my wealth,

The fittest, strongest black has not my health,

I may be broken, drunken, in the gutter, on my back,

But I have privilege you see,

Which means a vast great deal to me,

I say hooray for being a tramp

In my little cardboard camp

I’m free:

At least I’m not black! 

Thursday, 3 September 2020

Grave Digging

 Grave Digging

Bent double, coughing, 

Like the old hag, I know I am,

Now that you’re dead.

Beneath the black elder tree

Where the Wisteria vine 

Grows up, hangs down.

You were bought

As a gift for my daughter

Out of guilt,

For packing her off to boarding school,

After twelve years

Of home ed.

You got exactly three years more of that,

Than she,

The cat’s mother.

I've been dreaming of no more stinking piss, on floors,

Antique settees, sans fleas.

Tears, drip, merge with rain,

I’m trying not to puke into the grave,

In vain,

Hysteria grows up

Bursts out, calms down.

You learned to control yours,

I must control mine.

No coffin for the last cat

I didn’t try too hard to save.

But a little, shrunken grey

Cashmere pully washed away

To a fraction of its size,

As you were, at the end,

Old friend. 

Its arms embrace you in eternal sleep,

As paws once embraced mine,

But the woolly has no claws,

Will not purr as it slits you open,

Will not clamp its vice like jaws.

And a blue towel to hide you from my eyes

As I start to cover you in soil.

And realise,

Though deep,

I haven’t dug quite wide enough

And the phrase

“Too narrow breadth for naught”

Pops into my head

And I try to think instead, of Simpkin,

And his misdeeds and flaws.