Sunday, 21 May 2017

Forgetting Ourselves

Language is absent – then is here,
Unprovenanced, from nowhere heard.
We drowse, think silence is entire,
Till emptiness is full of word.

Sudden arrived, bubbles of speech
Will burst on worlds as intrusion;
An undeliberate overflow,
Perhaps convoked with our collusion.

Selves are the same, they loiter quiet,
Even, we fear, may not exist,
Until the moment, called to parley,
Our being, promptly, does enlist.

For you and I make you and I,
You summon me from ‘no one,’
From the cave I lurk and blither in
To dress me with my ‘someone.’

Thus present, things from other spheres,
(Horizons resting close on ours),
Reveal themselves - realities,
Beyond the sanest doubts as powers.

To carelessly forget such selves,
Without which observation dies,
We overlook the secret hereness
Wherein the human profit lies.

This world of objects can deceive
Us, make us think we are not here,
Be too much with us, stealthily,
Cause human being to disappear!

And Science conspires in such illusion,
Declares us here like dog and jay,
But calls on privilege of pronouncement,
Describes as only humans may.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

The Capital

Seventy miles away from here
Antennae stir in deepening night,
A bristling City casts weak light,
Beneath an ink black hemisphere.

There, straining discs - deaf ears cupped,
Unhook data from the skies,
Assurance given there are no lies,
The information’s not corrupt.

Assured that Science will decode
The worm that seeks to infiltrate,
For experts can eradicate
Defects that might discommode.

The river’s black beside the towers,
The Hotel’s wall is tall and bare.
Well-illumined, this is where,
Below the bridge, a knifed man cowers.

Monday, 15 May 2017

The Solipsism of the Liberal

Perhaps it's stating the obvious that providing a few individuals with a pretext for posture, striking attitudes and brandishing their credentials as ersatz crusaders does not number among the main functions of our long-evolved political process.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Mental Fight

Tectonic plates of intellect now slide
And hammer, jockeying for place, collide.
Like Sumos, foothold and position sought
Will purchase an advantage bought
By these manoeuvres. Calculation wins
When arguments will fall in place and sins
Secreted in opponents' logic shows,
Laid bare and flowering like a beaded rose.

Thursday, 11 May 2017


There are various theories as to the cause of anorexia the victims of which are largely adolescent girls. Here are a few:

1) A suicidal desire to self-harm stemming from low self-esteem.
2) A desire to control and manipulate members of their family and, by extension, members of the medical profession.
3) The pressure of the patriarchy to conform to unrealistic standards of female beauty.

My view is that, thought all of these may play a part the real reason is different. Adolescence for girls means inexorable progress towards full womanhood. This is to state the obvious and the things by which a woman is practically defined in contrast to a man. One of the many things womanhood is is the assumption of the pleasure, power, burden or responsibility (depending on how you look at it) of being the creature who attracts the attention that leads to courtship and procreation in the human species. Procreation means, again, the pleasures, burdens, responsibilities and dangers attendant on pregnancy and childbirth.

As young girls become aware of their progress towards this end some can react in extreme ways. Some will react with terror and I’d guess that this terror can be expressed in an attempt to arrest their own development through becoming anorexic. They simply don’t wish to grow up as a result of a frightened Wendy and Peter Pan syndrome. Perhaps such unfortunate creatures simply need reassurance.

I think there is a second reaction to the advance towards womanhood, though. Some young women will feel a kind of rage at not having been consulted by Nature, God or Evolution (depending on your viewpoint) regarding their fate as gendered creatures. As a result their opting to take the anorexic route is a kind of rebellious protest against that fate. This may be more true in a cultural climate which can regard being endowed with womanhood as coming off second best. Instead of accepting and rejoicing in what they are, they declare war on it and punish it in their own bodies. In doing so, they also exercise a kind of power in destroying the work of nature in themselves. They want to be the ones who choose what they will be. What they really want is the small matter of power over creation.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Some Light Electoral Satire



What you are saying by voting Tory is:

I want the NHS to be razed to the ground and replaced with a string of palisaded private hospitals for the wealthy nestling behind barbed wire while the aged and sick expire in the muddy environs.

I want unaccountable and gratuitous sadism to become our new national bloodsport.

I want the remnant of our manufacturing industry diverted into making jackboots and Zyklon B.

I want baby-mincing machines installed in community halls.

I want starving pot-bellied children like they have in Yemen and Southern Sudan on the streets of Bolton.

I want the right to kick impoverished disabled people out of their wheelchairs whenever I’m feeling, you know, a bit grumpy.

I want the well-off to swagger down our streets carelessly pushing the homeless into rain-soaked gutters before flicking their still-burning cigar butts in their direction.

I want to be ruled over by a cackling woman with fangs and a tail curled up inside her cape who lives in a gloomy castle on a remote bat-infested promontory.



The “Rigged System”

Launching his campaign with his recently characteristic confected anger today Jeremy Corbyn described British society as a ‘rigged system.” This suggests a shadowy hand with a deliberate intelligence behind it calculatingly manipulating the macro-economy. The chief benefit and attraction of this account is that it is simple and easy to digest. It is politics for those on fluids and semi-solids. You know who the ‘baddies’ are which is tremendously reassuring.

The late poet and Oxford Professor of Poetry, Geoffrey Hill, in contrast to this, more correctly described our society as a “chaotic plutocracy.” “Chaotic” suggests no scheme or intelligence, just a free-for-all where profit, venality and greed rule the roost and displace any higher values. This is more likely to suggest, instead of the presence of, the absence of a deliberate and directing intelligence. This seems much more likely to me although, of course, if it's true, it makes it much harder, from our impregnable positions of goodness, to locate and target the true villains. For sure there were the voracious bankers and traders who wrecked the economy but I don’t think their scheming even considered the effects on society overall. They didn’t think much beyond the lining of their own pockets. And then there is globalisation, which has allowed the trans-nationals to avoid tax on a wholesale scale. But is this an example of “rigging?” It’s more likely that, just as with the unforeseen effects of the Industrial Revolution, because it had never happened before, no one foresaw this happening; and happen is just what it did. It’s a ‘happenstance’ rather than a conspiracy, which is not to say that it doesn’t, now, need to be addressed.

Opting for the simple account and the short cut to a childishly simple explanation testifies to the fact that Jeremy Corbyn is either a little cynical and shameless, secretly scornful of his constituency, or an intellectual lightweight; in other words to his, well.....simplicity. Is his account an insult to the intelligence of the electorate? We shall see.