Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Hungry for Freedom


'Donate a Poem for Freedom' is a fundraising campaign for Freedom Bookshop after the firebombing 1/2/13. If you are a poet/know a poet  who would like to contribute, here is a link to the facebook page.
https://www.facebook.com/DonateAPoemForFreedom
The collection will be published via LULU and proceeds will go to Freedom Bookshop.
Submission  topics: freedom, liberty,oppression free speech.
Deadline: 1st March
The following is one of my own contributions.

Hungry for Freedom

So long as a human being thirsts for freedom
and is shackled in a concrete cage
without charge under a policy universally condemned
called administrative detention
I will sound alarms.

and if my poetry drifts towards polemic
I will make no apology
with the absence of the unseen in mainstream news
I will spread their dreams and hopes.

So long as bulldozers
destroy peoples homes
and walls are built that divide and uproot
I will raise my voice.

and when peoples lands are stolen
daily from under their feet
I will not be cowed into silence.

When rules of law are twisted
that allow voices to be unheard
I will not feign blindness
pretend ignorance
I will try to be an echoe.

and if some are allowed
to steal the richness
from peoples souls
I will stand up
and stamp my feet.

and will proudly raise my fist
proudly raise my fist.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Lawrence Ferlinghetti( b.24/3/19) - Poetry as Insurgent Art

Lawrence Ferlinghetti I consider to be  one of my favorite poets, a legend who in 1953, founded the City Lights bookstore.A prominent voice of the wide-open poetry movement that began in the 1950s, he has written poetry, translation, fiction, theater, art criticism, film narration and essays. Often concerned with politics and social issues. His work countered the literary elites definition of art and the artists role in the world. Though  imbued with the commonplace, his poetry cannot be simply described as polemic  or personal protest, for  it stands  on his craftmanship, thematics and grounding in tradition. Born in Yonkers, New York in 1919 , an activist whose beats still goes on, still brave enough and daring to challenge peoples beliefs, a painter too, but still active as a poet 90 plus years young. His life  has seen him act as a catalyst for numerous literary careers and for the Beat movement itself, publishing the eaerly work of Allen Ginsberg, Kerouac and Gary Snyder.
Making poetry accessible to all, with his lucid views he has long watered my senses. His bookstore quickly became an iconic literary institution that  has embodied social change and literary freedom. A truly remarkable person, and a great inspiration.
What follows is what   I would regard as his tour de force,although a work in progress, it is a a fine poetic manifesto nontheless, that  proves he's still got the edge, still got the force.His innovative poetics incorporate slang, pop cultural references wry humour to examine the human condition. Here he  shows us his purpose, I guess its up to us to do it ourselves.

I am signalling you through the flames.

The North Pole is not where it used to be.

Manifest Destiny is no longer manifest.

Civilisation self-destructs.

Nemesis is knocking at the door.

What are poets for, in such an age?
What is the use of poetry?

The state of the world calls out for poetry to save it.

If you would be a poet, create works capable of answering the challenge of apocalyptic times,
even if this meaning sounds apocalyptic.

You are Whitman, you are Poe, you are Mark Twain, you are Emily Dickinson and Edna St. Vincent Millay,
you are Neruda and Mayakovsky and Pasolini,
you arean American or an non-American, you can conquer the conqueree with words.

If you would be a poet, write living newspapers.
Be a reporter from outer space,
filing dispatches to some supreme managing editor 
who believes in full disclosure,
and has a low tolerance for bullshit.

If you would be a poet, experiment with all manner of poetic, erotic broken grammers,
ecstatc religions, heathen outpourings speaking in tongues,
bombast public speech, automatic scribblings, surrealist sensings,
streams of consiousness, found sounds, rants and raves-
to create your own limbie, your own underlying, your ur voice.

If you call yourself a poet, don't just sit there.
Poetry is mot a sedentary occupation, not a "take your seat" practice.
Stand up and let them have it.

If you would be a poet, invent a new language, anyone could understand.
If you would be apoet, speak new truths that the world can't deny.

Through art, create order out of the chaos of the living.

Make it new news.

Write beyond time.

Reinvent the idea of beauty.

Question everything and everyone, including Socrates who questioned everything.

Be subversive, constantly questioning reality and the status quo.

Strive to change the world in such a way that there's no further need to be a dissident.

Hip Hop and Rap your way to liberation.

Your poems must be more than want adds for broken hearts.

Words can save you where guns can't.

Give a voice to the tongueless street.

See the rose through world-clored glasses.

Be an eye among the blind.

Be naive, non-cynical, as if you had just landed on earth,
astonshed by what tou have fallen upon.

Dig folk singers who are the true
singing poets of yesterday and today.

Think subjectively, write objectively.

Like a field of sunflowers, a poem should not have to be explained.

Haunt bookstores.

Cultivate dissidence and critical thinking.
First though may be worst thought.

Sow your poems with the salt of the earth.

Don't ever believe poetry is irrelevant in dark times.

Make new wine out of the grapes of wrath.

Be the gadfly of the state and also its firefly.

Poetry is making something out of nothing, and can be about nothing and still mean something.

from Poetry as  Insurgent Art
New Directions Press 2007

http://www.citylights.com/book/?GCOI=87286100900740&fa=author&person_id=4854


Sunday, 24 February 2013

Côr Cochion Caerdydd - Not in my name



This weekend marks Bradley Manning's 100th day in captivity without charge.
This track  is by Cor Cochion Caerdydd a Welsh Campagn group who work timelessly to raise awareness about world injusstices and illegal acts of war, which we have been witnesses to in recent years.
 Profits from the sale of this single go towards the legal defence case of this heroic Welsh America, and thereafrter to the international peace movent via C.N.D Cymru.
Blowing whistes on war crimes is not a crime. While criminal bankers enjoy immunity because 'they are big to fail,' Bradley Manning faces life for exposing the truth.

http://www.corcochion.org.uk/

http://couragetoresist.org/

http://www.cndcymru.org/



Collateral Murder

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Upon a Lunar Sea (for Kevin Ayers 14/8/44 -18/2/13 R.I.P)

A tribute to one of my favourite
singer, songwriters.

We sailed upon a lunar sea,
passed cracks in horizons,
with submerged dreams,
plunged the depths of oceans.
Under the influence of heady, sweet wine,
moved towards nearest perimeter,
primal navigators, looking like stowaways.

Taking many directions,
we couldn't find our way back home,
followed blossoming fragments that made
                                                     us  sway,
as the wind tore the clothes right of our
                                                      backs,
lost kind souls kept on calling,
in the distance we saw the twinkling of lights,
heard bells that softly rang, like voices of the
                                                          elements.
A rainbow tribe joined the congregation,
our playground full of adventure,
helped rid ourselves of staleness,
as we tumbled, roared  through time and space.

Stars sang, as we sailed on through,
with our slurred words of endurance,
as pages rained down, littered with inspiration.
All through the night, riptides toar us away,
from deep swells of trouble,
as a shaman blew wisdom, with soft gentle breath,
the music of the spheres played on and on,
and  the deeper we sang, we discovered,
everyone is love.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Boycott Apartheid ft M1 (Dead Prez) and Lowkey



Thia video was made in the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, whose sovreignty never ceded.

The video was  made by the following BDS supporters

Camera: Fabio Cavadini

Lightning and Sound: Amanda  King

Music (oud and daf): Mohamed Youssef

Music recordist: Richie Belkner

Music composer: Osloob of Katibeh 5

Video editor: Adrian Warburton

Produced by: Rihab Charida and Aamer Rahman

Thanks to Salwa El-Shaikh, Jason De Santolo, Stephen Dobson, Fred Deveson, Sally Osborne and Theo Fatseas.

Video in order of appearance:

Mutulu "M1" Olugbala

Peter Manning

Milan Ring

Lowkey (Kareem Denis)

Tuva El-Shaikh

Kerrie McGrath

Fatima Mawas

Awate Suleiman

Anthony  Loewenstein

Anika Moeen

Asmer Rahman


Currently consumer confidence has plunged as a result  of the horsemeat scandal  and supermarkets are desperately trying to reassure shoppers that the food we buy is safe and correctly labelled.
But mislabelling in supermarkets is actually a wider issue- and in the case of produce from illegal Israeli settlements it has been systematic and long standing.
All Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are illegal under international law. Many shoppers  who wish to buy ethically avoid buying  from suppliers who profit from the crimes of occupation. To do that you need to know where the food you buy is coming from. Recently their have been thousands of emails sent to supermarket CEOs calling  on them to follow the Co-operative's lead in implementing an ethical sourcing policy, and not using companies which deal in produce from the settlements. 
Their is a broad consensus among Palestinian civil society, about thhe need  for a wide and sustained Campaign for Boycott, Disvestment and Sanctions. These kind of actions are effective economic, political and cultural expressions of action, with many people  joining this call.  As a means of expessing their dissatisfaction with Israels apartheid policies.

More infomation on this subject can be found below

http://www.palestinecampaign.org/information/factsheets/bds/

http://www.bdsmovement.net/2013/farming-injustice-briefing-10547

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

At home with Dave - Divide and conquer



The real Tory policies,  catch up with  Dave, as tells it how it is.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Quintilian (Marcus Fabus; 35CE -95CE) - How the orator should employ a lie

Quintillian was a Roman writer on rhetoric, and during the reign of the Emporor Domitian he was charged with the education of the Emporor's two great-nephews. It is with their training in eloquence that Quintillian concerns himseld in his Institutio Oratoria -  the most thorough treastment of an orator's education in classical literature. Here Quinttilian deals with how the orator may make the best use of falsehood. Politicians take note.

' Sometimes, too, we get a false statement of facts; these, as far as actual pleading is concerned, fall into two classes. In the first case the statement depends on external support; Publius Clodius, for instance, relied on his witnesses, when he stated that he was at Interamna on the nght when he committed abominable sacrilege at Rome. The other has to be supported by the speaker's native talent, and sometimes consists simply in an assumption of modesty, which is, I imagine, the reasonwhy it is called a gloss, while at other times it will be concerned with the question at issue. Whichever of these two forms we employ, we must take care, first that our fiction is within the bounds of possibility, secondly that it is consistent with the persons, data and places involved, and thirdly that it presents a character and a sequence that are not beyond belief: if possible, it should be connected with something that is admttedly true and should be supported by some argument that forms part of the actual case. For if we draw our fictions entirely from circumstances lying outside the case, the liberty which we have taken in resorting to falsehood will stand revealed. Above all we must see that we do not contradict ourselves, a slip which is far from rare on the part of spinners of fiction; for some things may put a more favourable complexion on portions of our case, and yet fail to agree as a whole. Further, what we say must not be at variance with the admitted truth. Even in the schools, if we desire a gloss, we must not look for it outside the facts laid down by our theme. In either case the orator should bear clearly in mind throughout his whole speech what the fiction is to which he has committed himself, since we are apt to forget our falsehoods, and there is no doubt about the truth of the proverb that a liar should have a good memory. But whereas, if the question turns on some act of our own, we must make one statement and stick to it, if it turns on an act committed by others, we may cast suspicion on a number of different points. In certain controversial themes of the schools, however, in which it is to be assumed that we have put a question and recieved no reply, we are at liberty to enumerate all the possible answers that might have been given. But we must remember only to invent such things as cannot be checked by evidence: I refer to occasions when we make our own minds speak (and we are the only persons who are in their secret) or put words in the mouth of the dead (for what they say is not liable to contradiction) or again in the mouth of someone whose interests are identical with our (for he will not contradict), or finally in the mouth of our opponent (for he will no be believed if he does not deny).'

Quintillian, The Institute, trans. H.E. Butler, Heinemann, 1921

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Listening Post - Game of drones



From Al-Jazeera English

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), better known as drones, have crept into modern warfare as quietly as the airborne killing machines themselves and on the whole, media reporting on them has been just as subdued.

Last week, the veil of  silence was finally lifted when two of the most important and influential newspapers in the United States - the New York Times and the Washington Post - ran stories on a secret airbase in Saudi Arabia from which the US military has operated its 'drone war' campaign over Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen for the past two years.

However, as the story broke, it also came to light that reporters at both newspapers had known about the base long before the story went to print. They had agreed to conceal newsworthy infomation at the request of the US intelligence establishment, on the basis that reporting the truth would have harmed American national security interests.

The complicity of journalist with government officials to keep the base a secret has been justified on grounds of national security but the issue has raised troubling questions of when military secrets- as defined by the government - pull rank on the public duty of the fourth estate to inform.
-

Thursday, 14 February 2013

A different kind of Love song

Picture by Banksy

trouble, trouble,boils and bubbles
with the bedroom tax, a storm is brewing
and the government making their friends rich,
while making the rest of us poor,
with their voices of capital they try to drown our
                                                         song.
Time for some love making, time to keep warm,
feel the touch and comfort of raptures  arms,
taste and feel the anchor of love,
that makes their power redundant,
in acts of unconditional embrace,
roaring wild in the evenings taste.
Surrender to gentle heartbeat,
that simultaneously melt and mend,
in the morning awake,
paint the days with the pulse of passion,
follow ports of possibility,
a million hearts beating in resistance.
We make buds,
then petals, then leafs.
Outside
darkness drives
in the other
direction,
we struggle on,
connecting others,
hand on hand,
shoulder to shoulder,
draw breath, reach out,
resusicate hungry mouths.
Ah, it's a beautiful feeling,
this thing called love.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Free Samer Issawi


Samer Issawi is currently living his last hours inside an Israeli prision hospital after over 200 days on an open-ended hunger strike demanding justice and his freedom since July 29th 2012. Being illegally detained without charges or given a fair trial since July 2th 2012. He is still placed in solitary confinement.
There have been many more Palestinian hunger strikers before him; Khader Adnan, Hana Shabi and Mahmoud Sarsak.
They have gone on hunger strike to allow their voices to be heard. Protesting against the inhumane conditions that they live in. Using nonviolent means to express their plights. In 1943 their was Ghandi and in the 1980s their were the Irish hunger strikers, which at the time got a lot of attention in the  world wide news and drew a lot of support, but today the international media is ignoring the plight of the Palestinian hunger striker.
Back in October 2011, Issawi was released as part of the Shalit prisoners exchange deal, and they were told their would be no restriction on their movement, however eight months after his release, Issawi was re-arrested in Hizma. Israel claimed that he had broke the terms of his release by leaving Jerusalem, yet Israels own maps show that Hizma is within the borders of the municipility of Jerusalem. Proving that Israel never abides by any agreement or treaty and ignores all international laws. This has happened to many other Palestinians released under the prisoner exchange agreements.
Samer's life now hangs in a thread, back in December 24th he released a short message via his lawyers ' My detention is unjust and illegal, just like the occupation is. My demands are legitimate and just. Thus I will not withdraw from the battle for freedom, waiting for either victory and freedom - or martyrdom.'
His condition is now critical, having lost more than 80lbs  of weight, vision worsening day by day, continuous diarrhea, acute B12 vitamin deficiency,excruciating pain , vomiting blood, with great difficuly breathing, but still he remains shackled. Still bravely battling on for his freedom and for that of others.I have raised the issue with my local M.P , perhaps you could do the same. Remember too the company G48 that provides equipment for the prison administration. G48 realises that they are used in non-humanitarian ways against Palestinian prisoners. It must be held accountable  for its responsibilty to these prisoners and its partnership to the occupation in its inhumane practices.He is currently living his last hours, this plight of administrative detention, is  barbaric and must stop. He has a right to live , to not die without a charge. His situation  is urgent and critical and is the worst since he started his strike. According to the Red Cross he  is in his last dying moments.Still hungry for freedom.
Samer himself has lost many family members over the years, murdered by the Israeli occupation. In 1989 his grandmother Fatima was shot by the Israeli Occupying Forces.Hunger strikes have proven to be an effective means for Palestinian Political prisoner to protest. They are protesting against the inhumanr conditions that they are forced to live in. These non-violent hungers have arippling effect on all Palestinian prisoners. Their movement has commenced  many detainess passing away and others gaining freedom. Their protest a peaceful weapon of resistance  has been largely ignored by the B.B.C  using cruel and bizzare excuses for doing so http://electronicintifada.net/content/bbcs-cruel-excuses-ignoring-palestinian-hunger-strikes/12072. I urge you to write or subit a complaint on line about their lack of reportage on this issue, which clearly shows a form of bias.
I for one will not forget them.


Captive Bird - Fadawa Fagan

The echoe of your melody reaches us, flying over narrowness with love, over the bars.

Captive bird, blend of darkness and pain.

Sing, yes, because if the iron deprives you of the vast sky.It will never be able to shut our ears.

Sing, yes, because the grip of the night never closes the way of hope.

Your song reminds me of your times bent from the sands of time. When with  a light step, you would  free

your wings, to the cloister shadow of jasmine, they were leading you to the womb, and you told us about the

dreams, and the pride and the strength you would laud, and closer you would get the stars to the ground,

and we listened to the fiellds made green by you, the splendour of hillocks, and the whisper of perfumes,

pride without rising,unless you win. .

Sing bird for u, from prison, over the humiliation and beyond the darkness, a horizon still full of dreams.

A sun yet readily ambush. White glory of light sings happily, sings a future homeland for our dreams,

sings of vivid dreams not lost. Sing yes, for the hope is always there, the road is still and radiant,

although around us, the anger of the night thickens.

from Nablus 1st March 1917 till 12th of December 2008

Poem translated by  Elettra Luisa

Hunger - Doc Jazz ( Free Samer Issawi)


song dedicated to the courageous Palestinian hunger strikers among those held in so called administration detention by the occupation  forces of the Zionist entity that calls itself 'Israel.  This song was inspired specifically by Samer Issawi on his 199th day of hunger strike at the upload of this video.

Production by Doc Jazz - The Musical intifada
http://www.docjazz.com

Join the Free Samer Issawi Campaign on facebook
https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-free-Samer-Issawi-Campaign/194111744067340

Check out and disseminate the Free Samer website
http://www.freesamer.org

and the Free Samer Issawi website
http://www.freesamerissawi.org

Check out http://www.addameer.org to learn more about Palestinian prisoners





Saturday, 9 February 2013

Edwin Muir (15/5/1887 -3/1/59) - Orkney's Visionary Poet

Edwin Muir described himself thus: " I was born before the Industrial Revolution, and am now about two hundred years old. But I have skipped a hundred and fifty of them. I was really born in 1737, and till I was fourteen no time accidents happened to me. Then in 1751, I set out from Orkney for Glasgow. When I arrived I found thatit was not 1751. but 1901, and that a hundred and fifty years had been burned up in my two day's journey. But I myself was still in 1751, and remained there for a long time. All my life since I havebeen trying to overhaul the invisible leeway. No longer I am obsessed with Time." (Extract from Diary 1937 -39)

He was born at Deerness on Orkney, Scotland in 1887, and educated at Kirkwall Burgh School. Sadly, his family lost their farm which was known as 'The Bur' a place that he loved dearly, that held special resonance in his heart.
Unfortunately a combination of high rents and poverty forced a move to Glagow. Moving from his beloved  homeland , he was also forced to take on  a number of menial jobs, and became increasingly involved and interested in left wing politics. He taught himself German, read Nietzsch and joined the Independent Labour Party. This was followed by a number of sad events, first his father died, then his two brothers and finally his mother. In 1919 he married Willy Anderson after a peroid of depression and seld doubting,and they subsequently moved to London in search of work, a move he did not take lightly as he viwed his former life in Orkney as a kind of 'Eden, and this transition he thought of as a journey to hell. In 1921, they moved to Prague where he wrote journalism and essays that earned him acclaim in England and America.
He was a relatively late developer with his writing, and only came to real prominence with the publication of his book The  Labyrinth in 1949.Most of his best work was written after the age of fifty. Many of the poems in this book were based on Muir's experiences while working for the British Council in Prague immediately after the war, and the book remains one of the most consistent and serious collections of poems to be published since 1941.He became rather prolific, and his work  marked his reputation as a severe and very Scottish writer whose work sometimes seems marred by an excessive plainess of style, but his best work rises to a massive seriousness.Informed by the Scottish ballads and incidents from his Orkney childhood and Calvinist background, they seem to me to be mystical and visionary, confronting the struggles between  good and evil, life and history as an existential journey. With his wife he was the first to translate the writings of Franz Kafka and Heinrich Mann, and  into English and became increaingly interested by developments in modernist European literature.
Today he is identified as one of the central figures of the modern Scottish literary Renaissance, both for his poems and his book Scott and Scotland (1936) - in which he argued controversially that Scottish literature would have a better chance of international recognition if it were  written in English, a line that brought him into direct opposition to the Lallans movement of Hugh Mac Diarmid, another literary force of this era.
He and his wife travelled extensively to Italy, Prague. Salzburg, Vienna.Spending considerable time on the continent, which allowed him to immerse himself in its culture. He had a long association too with his fellow Orcadian poet George Mackay Brown. Whether abroad or at home in London he did all that he could  to keep in touch with Scottish affars, and in his autobiography he expressed his yearning for its independence, and more than likely would have approved of the calls for home rule that are being called for at this moment in time in Scotland.
In 1946 he was appointed Director of the British Council. In 1950 he became warden of Newbattle Abbey College, a college for working class men,  and iin 1955 he was made Norton Professor of English at Harvaed University.Though he had been a staunch socialist in his earlier years, through his experinces of living  and travelling Czechoslavakia, he had witnessed totaltarianism at first hand, and his later poems took on a more cynical air. The influence of his strict Calvinist upbringing and strong religious faith, remained undimmed , but nevertheless he did not let the human spirit go unchallenged.He still had the need to question and probe.Though I personally have no religious faith, I  still respect his poetic pulse and the clarity of his vision. An intriguing writer nevertheless, whatever your beliefs.
He died in 1959 and is buried at Swaffham Priory, near Cambridge.


A particular favourite poem of mine by him is the Horses, which takes him into the realms of science fiction. A terrifying picture of a world after nuclear disaster painted in the opening section, is then beautifully contrasted with the arrival later of the mythical horses. They remind me  a little of the white horses of the Camargue as they appear in a famous French slow-motion film, but in fact they are the farm horses which Muir remembered from his childhood in the Orkneys. This is perhaps the most movingly optimistic poem to have come out of the world of the hydrogen bomb.

The Horses

Barely a twelvemonth after
The seven days war that put the world to sleep,
Late in the evening the strange horses  came.
By then we had made our covenance with silence,
But in the first few days it was so still
We listened to our breathing and were afraid.
On the second day
The radios failed; we turned the knobs; no answer.
On the third day a warship passed us, heading north.
Dead bodies piled on the deck. On the sixth day
A plane plunged over us into the sea. Thereafter
Nothing. The radio dumb;
And still they stand in corners of our kitchens,
And stand, perhaps, turned on, in a million rooms
All over the world. But now if they should speak,
If on a sudden they should speak again,
If on the stroke of noon a voice should speak,
We would not listen, we would not let it bring
That old bad world that swallowed its children quick
At one great gulp. We would not have it again.
Sometimes we think of the nations lying asleep,
Curled blindly in impenetrable sorrow,
And then the thought confounds us with its strangeness.
The tractors lie about our fields; at evening
They look like dank sea-monsters couched and waiting.
We leave them where they are and let them rust:
'They'll moulder away and be like other loam.'
We make our oxen drag our rusty ploughs,
Long laid aside. We have gone back
Far past our fathers' land.
                                       And then, that evening
Late in the summer the strange horses came.
We heard a distant tapping on the road,
A deepening drumming; it stopped, went on again
And at the corner changed to hollow thunder.
We saw the heads
Like a wild wave charging and we were afraid.
We had sold our horses in our fathers' time
To buy new tractors. Now they were strange to us
As fabulous steeds set on an ancient shield
Or illustrations in a book of knights.
We did not dare go near them. Yet they waited,
Stubborn and shy, as  if they had been sent
By an old command to find our whereabouts
And that long-lost archaic companianship.
In the first moment we had never a thought
That they were creatures to be owned and used.
Among them were some half-a-dozen colts
Dropped in some wilderness of the broken world.
Yet new as if they had come from their own Eden,
Since then they have pulled our ploughs and borne our
   loads,
But that free servitude still can pierce our hearts.
Our life changed, their coming our beginning.

The White horses of Camargue


The following poem  , clearly draws on one of Kafkas main themes,  conveying the helplessness of civilians in the face of officialdom.


The Interrogation


We could have crossed the road but hesitated,
And then came the patrol:
The leader conscientious and intent,
The men surly, indifferent.
While we stood by and waited
The interrogation began. He says the whole
Must come out now, who what we are,
Where we have come from, with what purpose, whose
Country or camp we plot for or betray,
Question on question
We have stood and answered through the standing day
And watched across the road beyond the hedge
The careless lovers in pairs go by'
Hand linked in hand, wandering another star,
So near we could shout to them. We cannot choose
Answer or action here,
Though still the careless lovers saunter by
And the thougtless field is near.
We are on the very edge,
Endurance almost done,
And still the interrogation is going on.

The following two express his  visionary  religious impulses. His eternal quest so to speak.

Merlin

O merlin in your crystal cave
Deep in the diamond of the day,
Will there ever be a singer
Whose music will smooth away
The furrow drawn by Adam's finger
Across the memory and the wave?
Or a runner who'll outrun
Man's long shadow driving on,
Break through the gate of memory
And  hang the apple on the tree?
Will your magic ever show
The sleeping bride shut in her bower,
The day wreathed in its mound of snow
and Time locked in his tower.

The Good Man in Hell

If a good man were ever housed in Hell
   By  needful error of the qualities
Perhaps to prove the rule or shame the devil,
  Or speak the truth only a stranger sees,

Would he, surrendering quick to obvious hate,
  Fill half eternity with cries and tears,
Or watch beside Hell's little wicket gate
  In patience for the first ten thousand years,

Feeling the curse climb slowly to his throat
 That, uttered, dooms him to rescindles ill,
Forcing his prsying tongue to run by rote,
Eternity entire before him still?

Would he at last, grown faithful in his station,
  Kindle a little hope in hopeless Hell,
And now among the damned the damned doubts of damnation,
  Since here someone could live and could live well?

One doubt of evil would bring down such a grace,
  Open such a gate, all Eden could enter in,
Hell be a place like any other place,
  And love and hate and life and death begin.

and finally this one which I think is rather magificent  with wonderful  powerful imagery.

Scotland's Winter 

Now the ice lays its smooth claws on the sill,
The sun looks from the hill
Helmed in hus winter saket,
And sweeps his artic sword across the sky.
The water at the mill
Sounds more hoarse and dull
The miller's daughter walking by
With frozen fingers soldiered to her basket
Seems to be knocking
Upon a hundred leagues of floor
With her light heels, and mocking
Percy and Douglas dead,
And Bruce on his burial bed,
Where he lies white as may
With wars and leprosy,
And all the kings before
This land was songless,
This land that with its dead and living waits the judgement day.
But they, the powerless dead,
Listening can hear no more
Than a hard tapping on the floor
A little overhead
Of common heels that do not know
Whence they come or where they go
And are content
with their  frozen life and shallow banishment.

Further Reading

An Autobiography :- Faber 1954

Collected Poems 1921-1951 :-Faber 1952

Collected Poems :- Oxford University Press 1965




Wednesday, 6 February 2013

An Iraqi child asks Tony Blair and George Bush: Are you happy now? - Heathcote Williams



An Iraqi child written by Heathcotte Williams
Narration and montage Alan Cox

An Iraqi Child

An Iraqi child
is drawing bombers, like those
Which nearly killed him.

The bombs have left his face
Swollen with fierce injuries-
Marks of angry pain.

He draws the bombers,
Though his arm and some fingers
Are amputated.

Now they're bandaged up,
With three crayons firmly taped
To the ends of his stumps.

He draws, bleak, black lines
Chronichling his fistory.
"Who did this to me?"

"They had many planes.
They'd brought bombs to fit into each
Of their cruel planes."

"Why didn't they think
Of the people below?
Who drove all these planes?"

"One was called George Bush;
And one was called Tony Blair
With his friend, Campbell.

They'd made good friends
With lots of oil companies.
They wanted your oil.

To get into power
They'd made friends with newspapers
Who all said, "Yes, bomb Iraq'.

Rupert Murdoch, boss
Of News International,
Told a hundred and twenty

Of his newspapers
To write a leader
Urging reader's to support war.

No one was immune:
Even the Guardian
(Financed by Auto Trader).

Was saying 'Bomb!'
Claiming that Gulf Wars
Were humanitarian'  'wars'''.

"The simple cause",
Wrote the Guardian
In a pre-Iraq-war leader,

"At the end, is just."
And with the magic word,
'Humanitarian', cunning PR

Could make the liberal media
Mouth-pieces for war propoganda.
There  was a lifestyle

To be supported by Iraq's cheap oil,
So opinion formers in wine-bars and clubs
And in Parliamentary tea-rooms

And in TV studios' hospitality suites-
While not discussing their expenses
Or their mortgages and their fees

Or their cars or their lifestyles
Or their favourite restaurants
Or their children's private schools-

Would dip a toe in the zeitgest
And then bloviate
About regime change,

Like self-important sheep
Housing wolves
'I mean, obviously

"Well, they're all very rich."
"Maybe they'd buy my drawing?"
The boy says.

Thanks to below
for this one
http://www.stopwar.org.uk/

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Happy Birthday Uncle Bill (5/2/14 -2/8/97) - Fear and the Monkey

"Most of the trouble in this world has been caused by folks who can't mind their own business, because they have no business of their own to mind." - William Seward Burroughs.

To bad Bill that you aren't around to see the shape of things today, my beating heart thinks that on most things, you were probably right. Our plaintive meows still cry out. Nothing matters, nothing changes, happy 99th Birthday. Their are various forms of death, permutations gathering storms, but that does not mean that everything is lost. Everybody in, everybody out.

Fear and the Monkey
(August 1978)

This text arrange in my New York loft, which is the converted locker room of an old YMCA. Guests have reported the prescence of a ghost boy. So this is a Oui-Ja board poem taken from Dumb Instrument, a book of poems by Denton Welch, and spells and invocations from the Necronomicon, a highly secret magical text released in paberback. There is a pinch of Rimbaud, a dash of St-John Perse, an oblique reference to Toby Tyler with the Circus, andthe death of his pet monkey.

Turgid itch and the perfume of death
On a whispering south wind
A smell of abyss and of nothingness
Dark Angel of the wandereres howls through the loft
With sick smelling sleep
Morning dream of a lost monkey
Born and muffled under old whimsies
With rose leaves in closed jars
Fear and the monkey
Sour tastes of green fruit in the dawn
The air milky and spiced with the trade winds
White flesh was showing
His jeans were so old
Leg shadows by the sea
Morning light
On the sky light of a littlle shop
On the odour of cheap wine in the sailor's quarter
On the fountain sobbing in the police courtyards
On the statue of moldy stone
On the little boy whistling to stray dogs.
Wanderers cling to their fading home
A lost train whistle wan and muffled
In the loft night taste of water
Morning light on milky flesh
Turgid itch ghost hand
Sad as the death of monkeys
Thy father a falling star
Crystal bone into thin air
Night sky
Dispersal and emptiness


Originally published as William S.Burroughs. "Fear and the Monkey,"
Pearl 6 (Odense , Denmark:Fall/Winter, 1978)
Mine taken from
The Burroughs File, City Lights, 1984

Is Everybody in - William S. Burroughs


Words and Advice for young People -
William S. Burroughs

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Snowdrops / Amen

SNOWDROPS

After Imbolc, as spring awakens,
under inches of soil,
they are waiting to roar,
anticipitating the moment,
to thrust out, in vast spread.
Amorous sleepers,
that wake our senses,
year after year,
white heads,
that hang around in corners.
Temporary residents,
side by side,
go back to earth,
and hibernate.
Leave without struggle,
wait paitiently to waken,
and bloom again,
rise like hope,
pushed again,
from down below.



AMEN

Vulnerable as the birds that fly above,
their are some who are not among us,
who have forsaken music,
follow pains footprints in the dust,
alpha and omegas pulse.
The articulate,
who seek some learning,
lost in critical faith,
because of trust in ancient
books of judgement.
Gain strength,
in you answering back,
clinging in still ferocity,
to the clasp of heaven's touch.
They used to touch the earth,
feel its love, share humanity's depths,
now their rivulets run cold,
no riots of words, unless
it ends with amen,
in love with sadnesses rush.
Let the people sing.


Saturday, 2 February 2013

Palestinian Artist Shows Life Beyond Refugee Camps in Stop-Motion Film



Anas Al-Barbarawi is an artist from Jordan. Of Palestinian origin, he grew up in  the Talbieh Refugee Canp south of Amman. But he doesn't want that to be all you think of him.

In the short stop-motion film Matar (Rain) produced in conjunction with the Palestinian Memory Documentation Project. Al-Barbarawi hopes to cross borders and question stereotypes of the refugee life.