Sunday, 31 March 2013

The Suicidal Tree

Trees have feelings. Back in 1644 on this day, army deserter Phillip Greensmith was strung up on a elm  tree at Coton-in-the-Elms, near Burton upon Trent in Staffordshire. The elm was so mortified by this misuse of its branches that it either decided to end it all, or went into terminal shock. From that day, its leaves and leaves began to wither, and within a year it was dead.
This is very much in keeping with the traditional personality of the elm. It is said that if you cut one down, a neighbouring elm will die of grief. Such a sentimental species proved an easy target for Dutch elm disease.
It is said that ' the elm and the vine do so naturally entwine'. Shakespeare alludes to the notion in The Comedy of Errors, in which Adriana says to her husband Antipholus of Syracuse:

Thou art an elm, my husband, I am a vine
Whose weakness married to thy stronger state
Makes me with thy strength to communicate.

The elm not only has deep-rooted emotions: it is also an arbiter of quality. The old maxims ' A good elm never grew on bad land' and 'Good elm, good barley' reveal its status as a crp and field guide. And how did the barley-grower cope when there was no handy, leafy, elm around for reference?

When the elmen leaf's big as a mouse's ear,
Then to sow barley never fear;
When the elmen's leaf's big as an ox's eye,
Then says I, ' Hie, boys, hie!'

Friday, 29 March 2013

Quietude - for R.S Thomas , (29/3/13 -25/9/00 ) on the centenary of his birth

Wake up to quietude
no rush, tension is outside,
go on journeys, take one step at a time,
slowly step out into the garden
swathed in mist, remembering
that all life is difficult.

Look for truth
among the hedgegerows,
dream on earth, behold paradise
capture y teimlad - the feeling,
mornings full of mystery and innocence
before we slip into the unknown.

Every doubt, every suspicion
can becomes a quite ripple,
every unkind word
thoughtless act, cancelled out,
the joy of living still in the moment
the sound of silence such a precious gift.

Each birth of  day,
surrenders a flash of gentleness
puzzles of thought, floating by
supernatural winds of sensation,
amulets of revelation, revolution
mind in quiet reflection.

In quietude,
no borders are necessary,
stillness encompassing
enlightenment presents itself,
as the riches of our gardens leap,
and the seeds of wild profusion grow.

(Happy Easter Weekend, heddwch/Peace)

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

iain duncan smith - you ratbag

Mr Ian Duncan Smith had been called to speak  to defend savage , Con-Dem Welfare cuts,when campaigner Willie Black rose to his feet and shouted " You're a ratbag."
Ian Duncan Smith is not a ratbag though, he is lower than vermin, even the word scumbag is too good a word for him.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Carlos Castanada ( 25/12/25 -27/4/98) - To Seek Freedom

' To seek freedom is the only driving force I know. Freedom to fly off into that infinity out there. Freedom to dissolve, to lift off, to be like a flame of a candle, which, in spite  of being up against the light of a billion stars, remains intact, because it never pretended to more than what it is, a mere candle.'

Monday, 25 March 2013

Samer Issawi is dying

Samer Issawi, aged 33 has been on hunger strike now for 246 days.
He is being detained without trial, indefinitely, under a policy known as administrative detention.
His strike is not for his own personal freedom, but is a collective one, for every brother, husband ,sister, mother, child who has seen their trees torn down,lands confiscated, homes demolished. Samer Issawi's freedom is Palestines freedom.

His heartbeat is down to 28 beats per minute, his heart could stop at any moment. He is suffering from breathing problems, constant dizziness and severe pains in the abdomen,still hungry for freedom.The media continues to be deadly silent about his predicament that is why we have to scream.

I stand in solidarity with Samer Issawi.

(earlier post)

for up to date information

Sunday, 24 March 2013

China Achebe ( 16/11/36 -21/3/13) R.I.P

Nigerian author China Achube was the author of 'Things Fall Apart' which was published in 1958. The book chronicled the life of thr Okonkwo and the complications that arise when white missionaries arrive in his village. The clash between colonialisation and traditional culture  still makes the book relevent in today's globalised world. He was also a poet, professor, critic, humanist and friend of Palestine. He described himself as a storyteller. R.I.P

Interview on CNN African Voices

'The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceful with his religion, but we were amused by his foolishness and allowed him to satay. Now he has one our brother and our clan can no longer act like one. He had put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.'

-  China Achebe ( from his book, ' Things fall apart.')

Cecil Beaton ( 14/1/04 - 18/1/80) - Be Daring, Be Different.











Thursday, 21 March 2013

Percy Byshe Shelley (4/8/1792 -8/7/22) - In defence of Poetry

Today to mark World Poetry Day day an extract from Shelley's celebrated  essay written in 1821 but published posththumously in 1870, from Essays, letters from Abroad, Translated and fragments.

' Poetry is the record of the best and happiest moments of the happiest and best minds. We are aware of evanescent visitations of thought and feeling sometimes associated  with place or person, sometimes regarding our own mind alone, and always arising unforseen and departing unbidden, but elevating and delightful beyond expression: so that even in the desire and regret they leave, therte cannot but be pleasure, participating as it does in the nature of its object. It is as it were the interpenetration of a diviner nature through our own; but its footsteps are like those of a wind over the sea, which the coming calm erases, and whose traces remain only, as on the wrinkled sand which paves it. These and corresponding conditions of being are experienced principally by those of the most delicate sensibility and the most enlarged imagination; and the state of mind produced by them is at war with every base desire. The enthusiasm of virtue, love, patriotism, and friendship, is essentially linked with such emotions; and whilst they last, self appears as what it is, an atom to a universe. Poets are not only subject to these experiences as spirits of the most refined organisation, but they can colour all they combine with the evanescent hues of this eternal world; a world, a trait in the  representation of a scene or a passion, will touch the enchanted chord, and reanimate, in those who have ever experienced these emotions, the sleeping, the cold, the buried image of the past. Poetry thus makes immortal all that is best and most beautiful in the world; it arrests the vanishing apparitions which haunt the interlunations of life, and veiling them, or in language or in form, sends them forth among mankind, bearing sweet news of kindred joy to those with whom their sisters abide - abide, because there is no portal of expression from the caverns of the spirit which they inhabit into the universe of the things. Poetry redeems from decay the visitations of the divinity in man.
  Poetry turns all things to loveliness, ; it exalts the beauty of that which is most beautiful, and it adds beauty to that which is most deformed; it marries exultation and horror, grief and pleasure, eternity and change; it subdues to union under its light yoke all irreconcilable things. It transmutes all that it touches, and every form moving within the radiance of its presence is changed by wondrous sympathy to an incarnation of the spirit which it breathes: its secret alchemy turns to potable gold the poisonous waters which flow from death through life; it strips the veil of familaiarity from the world, and lays bare the naked and sleeping beauty, which is the spirit of its forms.
  All things exist as they are percieved; at least in relation to the precipient. ' The mind is its own place, and of itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.' But poetry defeats the curse which blinds us to be subjected to the accident of surrounding impressions. And whether it spreads its own figured curtains, or withdraws life's dark veil from before the scene of things, it equally createss for us a being within our being. It makes us the inhabitants of a world to which the familiar world is a chaos. It reproduces the common universe of which we are portions and percipients, and it purges from our inward sight the film of familiarity which obscures from us the wonder of our being. It compels us to feel that which we percieve, and to imagine, that which we know. It creates anew the universe, after it has been annihilated in our minds by the recurrence of impressions blunted by reitiration. It justifies the bold and true words of Tasso: Non merita noms di creatore, se non Iddio ed il Poeta.'

For full essay:

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Budget Day 2013

Today, George Osborne is expected to unveil a further £2.5 bn in cuts but their programme of austerity is simply not working. It will be undoubtedly the same root, he will tell us their is no alternative, to his slash and burn approach to economics, but to all who can see, the Tory's austerity measures are not working, and the bankers are still sitting pretty and laughing.
Where was the opposition yesterday, when they abandoned support for the poorest by allowing Ian Duncan Smith's retrospect workare legislation to pass into law virtually unimpeded. The mind boggles!!

well at least Spring has arrived.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Tony Blair is a psychopath says Arundhati Roy - and Obama's no better

Writer and activist Arundhati Roy, interviewed on Democracy Now  on the tenth anniversary of the Iraq invasion, 19 March 2013. She also says Barak Obama is no different from Bush or Blair.
Fresh evidence has been revealed about how M.I.6 and the C.I.A were told through secret channels by Saddam Husseins foreign minister and his head of intelligence that Iraq had not active weapons of mass destruction. despite this Bush and Blair led us into nothing more than organised mass murder.Their support for this unjust invasion has long been seen as morally indefensible. They are nothing more than war criminals.
Long since the removal of Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi people have experienced violence and political disputes. All they long for now is peace and security.

Sunday, 17 March 2013


We are living at the tail end of the Twentieth Century
Where imagination no longer has the capacity to try,
Because intellect no longer can keep up
With barrage of pictures and words invading,
Last night, went looking for reason
Because nothing made sense anymore,
How far are they gonna take us
Before the push becomes too great,
When we wake up in the morning
And everythings gone,
Everything worth looking at
Erased from our eyes,
As paper turns into clouds
The trail of glistening strands,
When  the ink has dried
And things seem lost
Cross all divisions out,
Takes refuge in language
The politics of bardic dream,
If you can twist sound into speech
You'll still be a vapour that survives.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Rachel Corrie! You will never be forgotten!

Today I remember and pay tribute to Rachel Corrie, Peace activist and humanitarian. Her courage and determination and resistance on behalf of the Palestinian people will never be forgotten. R.I.P Rachel, she has inspired many of us and her spirit lives on.
Brutally murdered by the illegal occupation she was crushed to death by an Israeli armoured bulldozer in Rafah, Southern part of the Gaza strip, on March 16th, 2003. Justice has never been served for her, along with many others who have been killed under the Israeli regime. In 2005 Corrie's parents filed a civil lawsuit against the state of Israel. The lawsuit charged Israel with not conducting a full and credible investigation into the case and with responsibility for her death. They sued for a symbolic one U.S dollar in damages  to make the point that that the case was about justice for heir daughter and the Palestinian cause, she had been defending. In August 2012, an Israeli court rejected their suit.
The struggle continues against demolition and occupation of Palestinian homes and lands.

David Roviks - A song for Rachel Corrie

Rachel Corrie - Interview

Friday, 15 March 2013

The Spirit of the Age - Ken Loach

Looking forward to seeing this new documentary by one of my favourite film makers Ken Loach. Which is in cinemas from today.
On all accounts an impassioned documentary about the spirit  of unity which buoyed Britain during the war years. Carried through to create a vision  of a fairer, united society.

'1945 was a pivotal year in British history. The unity that carried Britain through the war allied to the bitter memories of the inter-war years led to a vision of a better society. The spirit of the age was to be our brother's and our sister's keeper. Ken Loach has used film from Britain's regional and national archives, alongside sound recordings and contemporary interviews to create a rich political and social narrative. The Spirit of'45 hopes to illuminate and celebrate a period of unprecedented community spirit in the UK, the impact of which endured for many years and which may yet be rediscovered today. 1945 was a pivotal year in British history. The Unity that carried Britain through the war allied to the bitter memories of inter-war years led to a vision of a better society. The impact of this unprecedented  community spirit in the UK, has endured for many years and which may be rediscovered today.'

Loach wants to follow up the general release, with Q &;A sessions to debate the feasibility of a new left party.
In the end Unity is strength, and I welcome Mr Loach's contribution,and support too, all  those that  fight back, but I do not look anymore to Parliament for rescue. Right now , in this age of austerity, our beloved Welare State is being torn apart, by a wrecking crew long past caring. We need a new spirit , a coalition of resistance, as the failure of capitalism implodes all around.
Meanwhile on the screens tonight, this evil spirit of nauseousness and nastiness, the smell of sulphur fills the air.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

London Poll Tax Riot Documentary 1990 - The Battle of Trafalgar FULL

This should be watched with consideration to all other media accounts of rioting:

'The Battle of Trafalgar: An account of the anti-poll tax demonstration 31st March 1990, one that is radically different from that presented by TV news.
Eye witness tell their stories against a backdrop of footage showing the days events as they unfolded. Demonstrators' testiomonies raise some uncomfortable questions. Questions about public order policing, the independence and accountability of the media and the right to demonstrate.'
Next month sees the introduction of the Bedroom Tax, a policy  that seems to be in total chaos at the moment. We must not forget that the Poll Tax was eventually overturned  because resistance was so high. When the bedroom tax hits us, again the people will not take it quietly. When people get the taste of bitterness and venom there will be implications, and it will not be pretty.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Just a Cut Up

Bad poems I sometimes cut into pieces
Don't  like to throw them away,
This one hangs by a thread
Perhaps if I add a word like rescue
It might just about save her
Or a random phrase,a statement of intent,
And if I now reveal, there is no spring
Only the waiting and anticipation,
Outside, knitted together, pencilled with menace.
There is uncertainty in every thought
These  words could disappear in a moment,
Tomorrow, could reappear in another arrangement
Perhaps you will hear nothing, only emptiness
Maybe this will be enough ,for this one to survive.

Friday, 8 March 2013

No to Fascists on the Streets of Wales: No to the National Front in Swansea 9th March

On 9th March the National Front will be holding a parade on the streets of Swansea, where they will be out spewing their brand of racial hatred. I will be going up tomorrow morning to stand with others in solidarity to to show that they are not wanted in Wales or anywhere else.
Their presence is an insult to all Welsh people who fought against fascism in the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War, and the many people maimed and murdered in the Swansea blitz.
The National Front are gathering as part of World WideWhite Pride Day , this is not about pride though just an excuse to promote their bigoted fascist ideals. I believe in freedom of speech but  the National Front have no right to march, their insidious ideas a direct opposite to all that freedom stands for, they are an unapologetic neo-nazi organisation who would crush the diversity and openess that fly under freedom's wings. Their ideology linked  historically in  opposition to all concepts of fraternity and equality, brutally supressing all opposition and criticism.
Where they gather however small, their evil  is released and must be oppossed. If such groups as the National Front, the English Defence Leaque and the British National Party and their various offshoots are not confronted then they will inevitably grow in size, look at Golden Dawn in Greece as a recent example.
These are some of the reasons why I am travelling to Swansea to vent my opposition to their insidious views.
Fighting fascism has long been a proud Welsh tradition. Wherever they emerge  from their dark holes they have been face with loud hostile opposition. They are simply not welcome on our streets.
Their is verified information that the National Front will be forced to undertake a static protest in a back street car park near the strand area of Swansea. United Against Fasism will be holding a counter demo in the Strand Quay. So it is possible  their will be a kettle situation, we must take their actions seriously and oppose any attempt to bring their hate to our streets.
Stay safe. No Pasaran.

More details here

No to National Front White Pride Demo in Swansea/Facebook

Woody Guthrie - All you fascist bound to lose

Arundhati Roy ( b.24/11/62)- "Another world is not only possible, she is on her way.".

For International Women's Day

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Uno de los imprescindibles /The Indispensable ones - Bertolt Brecht ( for Hugo Chavez 10/2/54 - 5/3/13 R.I.P)

Uno de los imprescidibles/ The indispensable ones

Those who are weak don't fight.
Those who are stronger might fight
for an hour.
Those who are stronger still might fight
for many years.
The strongest fight
their whole life.
They are the indispensable ones.

- Bertolt Brecht ( The Mother, a play)

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Ivor Cutler (Surrealist,humourist b. Ibrox, Glasgow 15/1/23- 3/3/06) - READY/ ASTONISHED

                                                Picture by Joyce Edwards

(ah Ivor, I still miss ya, your lovely whisper, the harmonium drifting among the clouds,beyond the dark places, the joy of cosy notion, in  the world you laughed at , but welcomed every glad day, ah Ivor, I'm still listening, to  your sacrement so sweet, I go the fields find smiles flashing in the undergrowth in an afternoon beyond convention... )


When the soldier arrived, I was ready
-packed. He let me sniff his uniform.
Thick fresh cloth, mid-blue.   We set
off through the spring fields. Imagine
two men in a line moving through a
land without trees, the only vertical
objests. Clouds, fat sheep grazing,
made another layer of country, and us
two, moving pinsWe should have swam,
or slithered, to keep the landscape
clear.We wandered on in circles,
what was the hurry,the view stayed
the same. I grew a thick beard and
became a bush. He bedded me in, saw
that I had everythin, shook my hand
and meandered away. So here I was,
near the sound of a stream. The land
was still. A green bird hopped on my
raised elbow, made a wispy nest in the
crook then sat there singing and laying
eggs and drinking the trears of happi-
ness as they slid off my chin.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Gillian Clarke (b.8/6/37) - Miracle on St David's Day

It has kind of become traditional  of me, on this blog to mark St David's Day (Dydd Gwyl Dewi) somehow. Today I offer you a poem by one of our foremost women contemporary poets. She is considered to be one of our greatest living poets, and is currently our national poet.Born in Cardiff, her work is rooted in our landscape, having lived and worked in Wales for most of her life.Since the 1980s  she has resided here in rural Ceredigion . I like what she writes a lot and find her poems  display her mastery of language with all its lucidity and power.
This one  comes  from her Collected Poems (Carcanet Press, 2008). Here she makes a personal recollection,  a true story after she was invited to read poetry to patients in the Occupational Therapy Department of a mental hospital in South Wales, organised to celebrate St Davids Day. The contrast between her opening quote and the rest of the poem, draws you in. Hers is set amongst enclosed walls, that are often closed to the outside world,that many people are unable to witness unless they have been unfortunate to have spent some time waiting for miracles, diving for stones,an almost invisible world that Gillian Clarke brings to life, providing a rare glimpse of an often private hidden world,  while the Wordsworth (the opening quote) poem which she returns to, looks outside for inspiration. I think it has much power and depth, and I find it very moving. I hope you enjoy.
                                                       Miracle on St David's Day
                              They flash upon that inward eye
                               Which is the bliss of solitude
                              - The Daffodils - William Worsworth  

An afternoon yellow and open-mouthed
with daffodils. The sun treads the path
among cedars and enormous oaks.
It might be a country house, guests strolling,
the rumps of gardeners between nursery shrubs.   

I am reading poetry to the insane.
An old woman, interrupting, offers
as many buckets of coals as I need.
A beautiful chestnut-haired boy listens
entirely absorbed. A schizophrenic      

on a good day, they tell me later.
In a cage of first March sun a woman
sits not listening, not seeing, not feeling.
In her neat clothes, the woman is absent.
A big mild man is tenderly led

to his chair. He has never spoken.
His labourer's hands of his knees, he rocks
gently to the rhythyms of the poems.
I read to their prescences, absences,
to the big, dumb labouring man as he rocks.

He is suddenly standing, silently,
huge and mild, but I feel afraid. Like slow
movement of spring water or the first bird
of the year in the breaking darkness,
the labourer's voice recites The Daffodils'.

The nurses are frozen, alert; the patients
seem to listen. He is hoarse but word-perfect.
Outside the daffodils are still as wax,
a thousand, ten thousand, their syllables
unspoken, their creams and yellows still.

Forty years ago, in a Valleys school,
the class recited poetry by rote.
Since the dumbness of misery fell
he has remembered there was a music
of speech and that once he had something to say.

When he's done, before the applause, we observe
the flowers' silence. A thrush sings
and the daffodils are aflame.

Reprinted from :-
Gillian Clarke:Collected Poems
Carcanet 1997
Originally from 
'Letter from a far Country; 1982

Happy St Davids Day/
Dydd Gwyl Dewi