Here’s my latest poem

Here is my contribution to the debate, having joined the Labour Party, been told that I can’t vote, paid the extra £25 (thanks to a friend) and now fuming about the entire process.

Jeremy’s Enemies

 

We know he’s not the chosen one

(though the initials are JC)

but he was chosen by us all –

that’s democracy.

 

Yet, though he was elected

you all pop up to oust him,

to say he’s unelectable:

and you will joust him

 

and if we join to keep him in

you try to price us out

and if we pay, we’ll pay again-

we have no clout

 

But who was it you wanted?

One in a light-blue suit

fresh off the Milliband-wagon

some GM fruit?

You want the flesh of government

but scatter like the rind

the promises and policies

you Left behind;

 

for what has JC ever done

that you should fear the guy?

Not mouthed the National Anthem?

Not worn a tie?

No weathercock at Westminster

he stands on solid ground

dug in with quiet dignity –

you spin around.

 

You, out of touch with deeper roots

whose policies are grass –

take care, for you will reap the fruits;

you can keep your shiny suits;

your name is written on your boots:

it’s Ozymandias.

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This is a particularly futile question, but I can’t help asking it.  I’m sure right now millions of others are asking the same question.  Why?  What on earth made you think it was a good idea to plough a lorry through a pedestrianised area and kill dozens of people?  How does that help whatever cause you think you have?  What conceivable god could be in your heart telling you to do that?  What, if anything, is in your heart besides anger?

I don’t think I shall ever understand the things people do in the name of god.  I once heard a story of a nun who shouted ‘God!  Is!  Love!’ at a child, beating him with a book on every syllable.

I don’t think I shall ever understand why people think they can enter paradise by killing others.

I don’t think I shall ever understand the excitement that runs through you as you plan your killing.  Why don’t you see the blood, why don’t you feel the pain?  Why don’t you hear the children?

You must be excited, I guess.  You must be fuelled by adrenaline as you jump into that lorry in the hills, armed with your fierce intention, holding the steering-wheel like an AK47, driving the truck like a bomb.  Your heart is a missile.

I don’t think I will ever understand.

Your purpose is steely as you head for the town.  Do you think about the people who will die?  Do you see them?  Or are they just devils to you: devils in cafes and shops; devils with their devil families, devils on terraces drinking wine and enjoying the satanic evening sun?  That must be it, I guess.  You couldn’t do it otherwise.

We must all be devils to you.  I am a little demon eating my muesli and watching the news: my children are succubi and my husband has cloven hooves.  My friends are Lucifer and Mammon.  We drink satanic wine and chat on the terrace.

Because you have divided us.  You have divided us into good and evil; angels and demons.  You yourself are on the side of the angels, and to prove it you must blow up a few devils from time to time.  Else the Archangel Gabriel will get cross with you and throw you out of heaven.  You must prove your loyalty; here, now.

You must prove your honour.

Here is your honour.  On the bloody bodies.  Here is your honour, written on the dead bodies of the children.  here is your honour on the splattered streets and torn cafes, on the fear and chaos and mayhem.

Don’t speak to me of honour.  Because I will never understand.

RIP the victims of Nice.

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Honey I Left the EU

Last night I watched Panorama documentary about people in the West Midlands who voted for Brexit.  (Incidentally, I voted ‘shake it all about’ – where are my views represented?)  Anyway, it was a really interesting watch.  He interviewed a dozen or so people about why they voted for Out: they were all white and working-class and although not overtly racist there was a persistent perception that immigrants and refugees get houses and services ‘ahead of’ them.  So far, so predictable.  But there was a strain in their thinking which I hadn’t been aware of.  A lot of Brexiteers seem to want to turn the clock back to some kind of golden age; and whereas for many this is a time when Britain was ‘great’ – 1966, perhaps, or when we had an empire – others (and these were the ones represented in the documentary) simply want a time when there were jobs and an industrial base.  And I can’t blame them for that.  Where I obviously differ from them is in who’s responsible.  Whereas they tend to blame foreign workers for undercutting them I would point the finger at the system which fosters this ‘divide and rule’ mentality, ie global capitalism.  This probably highlights a difference in our thinking: I am happy dealing with abstract concepts whereas they see things in more concrete terms.

The thing is, though; the thing that really got to me, is that every one of these interviewees said, over and over ‘nobody’s listening to us.’  And you know what?  They’re probably right.  It’s too easy to categorise them as ill-informed racists or uneducated tabloid-fodder; it’s too easy to dismiss their views.  But they have a point; and the fact that they feel so ignored and sidelined made me feel sad.  And it made me feel a little guilty, too.

What’s good about it is that the referendum engaged people who were otherwise disengaged: many people had voted for the first time because for the first time they felt they had a voice, and that people would listen.  And that’s why – though I hate the thought more than I can say – we have to go through with it.  God knows I don’t want to: I think it’s a bloody disaster and I feel those who voted for it are in for a massive disappointment – but if I want the Labour party to respect Corbyn’s appointment (and I do) I have to want the government to respect this vote.  Otherwise those who voted for the first time will lapse back into anger, apathy and resentment.  Otherwise it’s a betrayal of democracy.  Otherwise we don’t deserve to be trusted.

Here’s the programme:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b07k7m4x/panorama-why-we-voted-to-leave-britain-speaks

Kirk out

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Honey I Melted The Oven

Oh dear.  That is all I can say about the sorry saga of the mini-aga.  Since our oven is on the blink we were given a halogen oven with all its bits but sans instruction booklet.  I looked it up on the internet but found nothing about putting it together so I just used my common sense.  But there was a bit left over (a bit of oven, not a bit of common sense).  Never mind, I thought.  It’s probably just some special gadget for roasting ostriches or something.  Wrong: it was an essential twingy to go between the very hot plastic top and the glass bottom.  Well, how was I to know?  My experience with halogen ovens to date has been extremely limited.  So I tried cooking pizza.  First the top sizzled while the base was uncooked.  Then the whole thing heated slowly without getting cooked to any appreciable degree.  And then the top of the oven melted, part of it attaching itself briefly to my arm and causing a rather dramatic burn.  ouch!  And now the oven sits there cold, melted and absolutely refusing to work.

* sigh *

Since returning from Sheringham I have been reading Bill Bryson.  I’ve come in for rather a lot of cheap or free books lately, though I did pay full price for a crime thriller by a local author in Sheringham’s rather splendid bookshop.  I can’t remember what it was called but it had a lot of local info in it so it was an interesting read.  Sheringham also boasts a new museum featuring the fishing industry and a spanking new section full of whizzy graphics about the offshore windfarm, which you can see every clear day doing its slow sad semaphore on the horizon.  I was pretty active on holiday: I walked, swam in the sea and cycled.  But it was on the steam trains that I made my best find: tucked away in a cubby-hole on Holt station was a tiny bookshop and in that bookshop I found ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho.  This was an excellent read, somewhere between Borges and The Prophet; and it kept me going in between a Peter May book (which I left at the cottage) and the crime thriller by the local author.

Bill Bryson happened after I got back: Andy was giving away some books and I scooped up a handful including ‘Notes from a Small Island’.  I can’t possibly give you a notion of how hilarious it is; all I can say is that I laughed out loud so many times that I was practically laughing the whole way through.  I demand that you read it.  I may even give you my copy.

Kirk out

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Weapons of Mass – Oo look, a talking duck!

OMG.  That is all I can say about what’s coming out of the Chilcot enquiry.  I wondered whether, after all this time, it would be a damp squid (yes, that’s what I said) but far from it – if BBC reports are to be believed it does everything short of calling Blair a liar.  There were no weapons of mass distraction (yes, that’s what I said) he should have asked more questions and told more people and discussed it with ministers and oh my god, everything we thought at the time was true, was in fact true.  All this while Blair bleats from the sidelines ‘don’t call me a liar.  I didn’t know!’  Yeah, right.  Is it me or is he starting to sound really panicky?

Just returned from a delightful week in Sheringham where I swam, walked the coast path, visited a 14th century church, travelled on the steam trains and cycled to Blakeney and back getting black mud up to the ankles (don’t ask.)  The weather was not even bad.  Then on Sunday to Andy’s where I picked up a couple of books including Bill Bryson’s excellent ‘Notes from a Small Island’ which made me laugh out loud so many times it’s a wonder I don’t have stomach ache.  The only joke I can remember is about him hiring a Ford Thesaurus.  His love for our country is truly touching.  Plus, I know someone who knows him as they are both supporters of the Campaign for the Preservation of Rural England.  She’s German and he’s American.

LOL.

Kirk out

 

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Land of Hop and Glory

Today I’m sad.  I’m sad not only because we lost but because of the reasons why we lost.  I’m sad because many people (not all) seem to have been swayed by xenophobia and the illusion that Britain can ‘go it alone’ – a glorious ship sailing clear island waters unfettered by the mainland.  I’m sad because there’s a nastiness about this referendum (and not all on one side) that I don’t remember before, even in the Thatcher years.  And I’m sad because I don’t know where we go from here.  Wounds must be healed, and with people like Farage and Johnson doing a victory dance all over the place, that’s going to be hard.

I’m not proud to be British today.  I’m ashamed of the way we’ve fought this referendum, and I’m ashamed of the result.

Kirk out (but voted In)

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Stairway to Riches?

Well, did Led Zep rip off a rather dull number by an obscure band to produce Stairway to Heaven?  If so, I’m quite glad they did, since the original is quite dull and soporific whereas Stairway to Heaven is an enduring work of genius.  But plagiarism is fraught with complications.  Creative people often have similar ideas at similar moments; there is a sort of cross-pollination in the air which also affects other things such as scientific discoveries.  To be sure, the chord-sequences running through both songs are eerily similar (and in the same key) but does that prove plagiarism?  You’d have to prove first I guess that Led Zep heard Spirit’s song, which they say they ‘don’t remember’ doing.  It could be true, then again perhaps it’s a convenient way of covering up the truth.

But here’s the thing: we all take from each other.  Every poet I’ve ever read or heard has given me something – how could it be otherwise?  Yet why would I bother plagiarising any of them?  No disrespect, but I’m quite capable of writing my own original work, thank you – just as Led Zep were quite capable of writing original songs.

But there’s nothing new under the sun.  That chord sequence is probably in a hundred pieces by Bach: it’s what you do with it that counts.  Led Zep took it and made it genius.  So if they did plagiarise the original song I’m quite glad – because the original was utterly boring.

These cases are ultimately about money.  And in the end the only winners are the lawyers.  Anyway, listen and compare:

Kirk out

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