The above is one of the poems I am minded to read at a poetry reading on Thursday 4 July. This will be a private event (unfortunately not open to the public), hence I wanted to share this poem here in order that it may be more widely enjoyed.
When they say
That you can discern
Each twist and turn
Of the track
Leads us back
House where, be it early or late
The fire still burns, in the same old grate
And the king and queen seldom, if ever learn.
Our memory is like a garden, where we spend many hours
Watering fragrant flowers.
Yet sometimes we succeed
In fertilising a weed.
We take a perverse delight in watching it grow
We deny that it is so!
Let not the weed
But learn from it, then let it die,
For if it’s growth you do not control
It will succeed
And choke your soul.
According to recently published research, “Peasants in medieval London faced extreme violence”.
Skulls of peasants unearthed in the UK’s capital show a much greater number of fractures than do those of the upper classes and it is conjectured that many died soon after having received their injuries.
The researchers believe that due to the cost of the legal system, peasants in Medieval London had no ability to employ barristers so would frequently settle their disputes in bar or street brawls, many of which ended in death. Interestingly most of these brawls appear to have taken place on Sunday, which was the only day peasants had off.
In contrast the better off residents of London had recourse to legal representation to settle disputes or, if they did engage in duelling, they wore armour which greatly reduced the danger of death.
The weather is drear
And none save my dog is near.
The new year
Are here then gone.
The clock’s hands move on
I have no magic screen
To gaze into the future, but stupidity
And that age-old vice cupidity
Will, I venture to maintain
Continue to reign.
The human race
Has a face
Half devil and part divine.
There is a fine
Between the two.
History one finds dreams of utopia turning to hell,
Yet one can not tell
The idealist that he is wrong,
For he will answer you with the same old song,
“If everyone did such and such then all would be well”!
But we are saints with feet of clay
And the utopian’s way
Leads many to stray
Down the path to the ever lasting bonfire
Where the desire
To do good ends in the Gulag and the stamp
Of the fanatic’s boot in the concentration camp.
Small acts of kindness matter
And oft times achieve more than the chatter
Who would dragoon
Humanity into neat little rows.
And believe there is a man in the moon.
In the flames of this fire,
Fanning my desire
For a past when the publican laid logs
And drinker’s faces
Gathered around the blaze as their dogs
Lazed beside the eternal flame.
It is not the same
Since the pub changed hands. The beer
Remains unchanged, yet I fear
The flame does not burn as bright
Of a winter’s night
And the grate is too often cold.
The crack of the whip
The past bare.
Who would dare
To lift the curtain
For it is certain
To make the sensitive squirm.
Growing up in Liverpool I was told
A tale of how the city was built on slave owner’s gold.
Many there money gave
In the hope their soul to save
To schools and foundations
That dignify the nation.
What can one say
For it is a long way
Back and distance
Leads to resistance
For the Caribbean and African nations.
An injustice vast
Stains our past
But should the Europeans of today
Pay for the injustices of yesterday?
One can apologise for one’s own mistake
But what good can an apology make
For a wrong long gone
And done by another one?
Great Britain abolished slavery in 1807
And all was right and god was in his heaven.
Caused by slavery did persist,
But should one then insist
On the payment of gold
To right wrongs untold?
We can not and should not forget
We must move on.
The slave owners are gone
And to apply modern morality to the past
Is, perhaps a thankless task.
Can we in conscience ask the guiltless of today
To reparations pay?
And, if so to whom
For the gloom
Has long since closed
Who where so cruely whipped