Category Archives: musings

The Darkening Glass

The weather grows
Hot. Girl’s clothes
Are short.
I aught
To recollect my age!

This brightly lit stage
Will go dark,
And the lark
Cease to sing.

Spring
And summer pass.
While lad and lass
Must pass
Before the darkening glass.

Cover Up

The journal Pulse reports that:

“the BMA believes face coverings should be worn at all times where practicable, including outdoors, in case social distancing is not observed for whatever reason.” (see http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/news/bma-calls-for-the-public-to-be-required-to-wear-face-masks-in-all-settings/20041054.article).

I have the greatest respect for the medical profession. They saved my life as a small child by removing a blood clot from my brain. Doctors, nurses and other medical professionals work extremely hard, and have put themselves at great risk during the Corona pandemic in the line of duty.

I do, however hope that the UK government resists calls by the BMA for the wearing of face coverings “in all settings”.

We have been told that, when outside, the risk of contracting the virus is greatly reduced due to the circulation of air. Indeed the first lockdown restrictions to be lifted pertained to allowing people (not from the same household) to socialise outdoors. Yet we are now being advised (or told depending on how one interprets it), by the BMA that we should all be wearing masks as a matter of routine in all settings.

I for one would rather take the risk when in a park, strolling through the woods, or in some other place of beauty where the air is good, of not wearing a mask and actually feeling that I’m living a life (rather than merely existing)

Are we to be medicated to the extent that we remain “safe” whilst joy dies?

I accept the need for face coverings on public transport where social distancing is frequently impossible. However imposing the wearing of masks/face coverings “in all settings” is a step to far, and I sincerely hope that the government does not act on the advice of the BMA in this instance.

Are we really going to turn into a society where policemen pop out from behind trees in the forest and say, “excuse me, why are you not wearing a face covering?” The very idea is, at the same time both risible and rather sinister.

When the Tender and Lovely Dawn

When the tender and lovely dawn
Entered my bedchamber this very morn,
I gazed at the sky
And pondered deeply on why,
Dawn tramples all over my lawn!

 

Braille Editions of My Books

As a registered blind person and a user of braille, I believe that my books should be available in accessible formats, including braille.

My Old Clock I Wind” is available in braille for loan or sale, from the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).

To order please email library@rnib.org.uk, or call RNIB on 0303 123 9999 (quoting order number 25870603.

Lost in the Labyrinth of My Mind” is also available in braille from RNIB, and can be ordered (as above), by quoting order number 25686204.

Due to the Corona virus, the RNIB transcription service is not currently accepting orders for the production of braille books. I am, however working with a private transcription company arranging for my recently released poetry collection, “Light and Shade” to be transcribed into braille.

If you are interested in obtaining “Light and Shade” in braille, please email me at kmorrispoet (at) gmail dot com, putting “Light and Shade”, Braille edition in the subject line of your message. (My email address is rendered thus in an attempt to defeat spammers).

All of my books are also available, with text to speech enabled, from Amazon, which ensures they can be read by those who are unable to read print.

To visit my Amazon author page (which contains links to my books) please click here, https://www.amazon.com/K.-Morris/e/B00CEECWHY/.
“Light and Shade” is currently not displayed on my author page. It can, however be found by clicking here, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08B37VVKV/.

In Defense of Churchill

It appears to be the latest fashion to attack those who can no longer defend themselves, including the great Winston Churchill. I was recently involved in an event during which one of the participants labelled Churchill as a “war criminal”.

Whilst Churchill did, as with all of us possess faults, he was no “war criminal”, nor can one equate him with Hitler as some remarkably stupid people have done.

Below are a couple of interesting article which counteract some of the accusations leveled against Churchill:

https://winstonchurchill.hillsdale.edu/white-supremacy/. (An article about Churchill’s alleged white supremacist views).
https://openthemagazine.com/essay/churchill-a-war-criminal-get-your-history-right/. (An article by an Indian historian in which he argues that Churchill was no “war criminal”).
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/feb/17/eugenics-skeleton-rattles-loudest-closet-left. (An interesting article which mentions Churchill’s support for eugenics. However the main point of the article is to highlight the left’s (including the Fabian Society’s) support for eugenic measures. I find it interesting that those who criticise Churchill are (for the most part) silent on the advocacy by many Socialists of eugenics policies in the early part of the 20th century. Double standards?).

Book Review: “Libertarianism: What Everyone Needs to Know”, by Jason Brennan

I have just finished listening to the audio edition of “Libertarianism: What Everyone Needs to Know” by Jason Brennan, (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Libertarianism-What-Everyone-Needs-Know/dp/B00I4LGTJI/).

In “Libertarianism”, Brennan examines what libertarians believe and explores the different schools of the libertarian philosophy.

Brennan distinguishes between hard and soft libertarians. Hard Libertarians, he argues believe that we have a moral duty to help the poor. However the state has no right to force us to do so through taxation, as we have an absolute right to do as we please with our property (provided that we respect the property rights of others), and government has no right to force us (through taxation) to assist the needy. In contrast soft libertarians contend that some form of social welfare may be justified. Brennan sights, for example Milton Friedman’s support for some form of basic income.

Both hard and soft libertarians believe that the best way to help “the poor” is by removing barriers to them entering the labour market. For example libertarians oppose minimum wages due to their belief that these reduce employment amongst the unskilled. They contend that minimum wages cause employers to hire less workers, introduce technology which reduces the need for workers or, in some instances even go out of business. This, they argue benefits neither the poor nor the employer.

Libertarians also favour abolishing labour market regulations, or, at the very least greatly reducing their scope on the grounds that regulations prevent poor people from starting businesses thereby trapping them in poverty. Brennan sights the example of an African-American wishing to offer eyebrow threading. In order to do so she needs a hairdressing license. She can not afford this (in his view) unnecessary license, therefore she is deprived of a source of income and remains poor.

Many libertarians support doing away with immigration controls. They believe that it is morally wrong to condemn the poor to a life of poverty in the third/developing world when there are jobs for them to do in the richer west. Allowing poor people to immigrate into richer countries, enhances their economic opportunities and also benefits those who are willing to employ them. It is, in effect a win win situation for all concerned.

Libertarians respond to concerns that uncontrolled immigration would lead to a ballooning welfare state by pointing out that, under a libertarian regime there would exist no (government) welfare. Therefore immigrants would (along with the native born population) have to support themselves or rely on private charitable provision.

Libertarians are not Conservatives, although they do, as Brennan points out, share with the latter a belief in private property as a bulwark against tyrany and as a means of enhancing the freedom of the individual.

There is, within Conservatism a school of thought which advocates state intervention to protect the poor. For example the Conservative Party in the UK introduced the Living Wage. It is illegal to pay someone an amount under the Living Wage, something which is seen as anti competitive by other strands within the Conservative Party (and by all libertarians).

Whilst Brennan’s case against immigration controls possesses a certain superficial attraction, he does not answer the question as to where all these new entrants to the USA (and other developed countries) would live. As there would be no state provision, I, for one have visions of the development of vast shanty towns with the rise in crime that plagues such places in countries such as Brazil. When people are desperate (and they have no social welfare safety net) some of them will turn to crime in order to survive. The libertarian advocacy of no immigration controls has the potential to lead to disaster.

Are libertarians selfish?

Brennan argues that libertarians are no more or less selfish than the adherents of Conservatism or Socialism. One finds selfish and altruistic Conservatives and Socialists. The same holds true for libertarians. Granted libertarians tend to oppose a welfare state, but many of them do give to charity which gives the lie to the idea that libertarians are selfish.

Brennan is, I believe correct that one can not label libertarians as selfish. Many of them do give to charity. However one can legitimately ask whether a libertarian society (one lacking any form of social welfare) would be more humane than societies in which social welfare is provided. The answer is, I would argue, no. Whilst private charity can (and does) play an important role in aleviating poverty, it can not fill all the gaps currently being plugged (admittedly not always successfully) by welfare states. So, whilst they are undoubtedly well meaning, libertarians who are sincere in their belief that unfettered free markets are the answer to almost all social problems, they are, I believe hopelessly optimistic (even naive) in their advocacy of unfettered markets.

Libertarians (rightly) criticise Socialists for their advocacy of failed collectivist solutions to social and economic problems. However in there blind belief that market solutions are (in almost every case) the only possible solutions, they are just as blinkered as the Socialist collectivists.

There is much in Brennan’s book with which libertarians (with a small l) would agree. The libertarian belief that the state/society has no right to dictate how consenting adults live (including their sexual preferences) is a view with which I strongly agree. Again, the support of libertarians for civil liberties is something with which most of us (in the west at least) would agree.

As libertarians point out, “the war on drugs” is not working. Whilst many libertarians would like to see the wholesale decriminalisation of drugs, there are arguments in favour of controlled legalisation (I.E. places where those addicted to drugs can legally obtain them, together with the help they need to kick their addiction). Such a policy would not be a “free for all”, but a compromise between the unworkable “war on drugs” and the libertarian “free for all”.

In conclusion, as someone who would describe themselves as a libertarian (with a small l), there is much in libertarianism with which I agree. Libertarians are correct that private property is essential to personal freedom. They are, I believe also right to highlight the failings of collectivism and to press for limits to be placed on the power of the state. Where they are wrong is in their blind, almost slavish belief that free markets can solve almost every problem. Certainly the lack of markets in Communist societies caused huge problems in terms of sluggish economic growth and the lack of personal freedom. But unregulated Capitalism can lead to child labour, the growth of slums and other social ills. So, in short a very good read but I’m not going to join the UK Libertarian Party any time soon.

Poet Kevin Morris To Be Interviewed on Vancouver Co-Op Radio’s The World Poetry Reading Series, on Thursday 25 June 2020

I am pleased to announce that I shall be interviewed by Ariadne Sawyer of The World Poetry Reading Series, on Thursday 25 June, (https://worldpoetry.ca/).

The interview will take place at 11 am (Vancouver time), which equates to 7 pm (UK time). Due to the Corona pandemic, my interview will take place over Zoom and be broadcast at a later date.

During the interview, I will read from and discuss my recently published collection, “Light and Shade: Serious (and Not so Serious) Poems.

Once my interview goes live, I shall post a link to it here.

You can find links to “Light and Shade” below:

For amazon.com customers please click here https://www.amazon.com/Light-Shade-serious-not-poems-ebook/dp/B08B4X3GVX/ (for the Kindle edition), and here https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08B37VVKV/ (for the paperback).

For amazon.co.uk customers please follow this link https://www.amazon.co.uk/Light-Shade-serious-not-poems-ebook/dp/B08B4X3GVX/ (for the Kindle edition), or click here https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08B37VVKV/ (for the paperback).

On 27 February 2020, I discussed my poetry with Ariadne Sawyer of the World Poetry Reading Series. For that appearance please visit, http://www.coopradio.org/content/world-poetry-caf%C3%A9-80.

The Kite

The delight
Of a kite
Flown high,
In the sky.

And when she descends
Her “Friends”
Will help her fly
High, again.
And forget her pain.

He who buys
A kite
Flies high,
And may touch the sky.

But does that middle-class guy
(Who does not supply)
Share the blame
For a kite
That burns in flight?

A 5 Star Review of my book, “Light and Shade: Serious (and Not So Serious) Poems”

I was delighted to receive the below review of “Light and Shade: Serious (and Not so Serious) Poems”:

“it was amazing
This is another enjoyable collection of poems by this author, where the poems are split in to a couple of different sections: one for more serious and
thought-provoking poetry, and another for humerous poetry. As is generally the case with collections like this, while I liked all the poems, I did enjoy
some of them more than others, with “The Point of Poetry” and “The Weather Was Chill” being my favourites from the first section of this collection, while
“Vanity” and “When a Young Lady Named Leigh” were my favourites from section two.

*Note: I was given a free copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review. This fact has in no way influenced either my opinion of the
book or the contents of this review.”

To read the original review please visit, https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3399756232?book_show_action=true&from_review_page=1.

To purchase or read a sample of “Light and Shade:

For amazon.com customers please click here

(for the Kindle edition), and here

(for the paperback).

For amazon.co.uk customers please follow this link

(for the Kindle edition), or click here

(for the paperback).

At Dead of Night

“Dalliance” was the first collection of poetry published by me. Or, to be absolutely accurate, the first collection of poetry (and prose) to be published by mme.

One of the poems appearing in “Dalliance” is entitled “Midnight”

You can find “Dalliance” here, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24498367-dalliance, and here https://www.amazon.com/Dalliance-collection-poetry-prose-Morris-ebook/dp/B00QQVJC7E/