Sunday, 31 March 2013

Birds

 I was having a little read about the symbolism of birds and what they represent in different cultures, the other day. There are interesting interpretations ranging from Christian to Middle East and Indian mythology. There's a good little article on it here - http://www.squidoo.com/divine-birds 

This piece was a quick one aimed at representing the symbolism within a 24-hour cycle.


The night owl hooted its call through quiet streets, and darkened doors, in still corridors of night, And received nothing but an echo from a slumbering world. Through the wisdom and virtue that is strangely and solely cultivated in the darkness, 

He longed for his companion, the great falcon whose eyes never faltered to closing, even in sleep; guardian and protector.
But no such arrival beckoned.
Only in the distance, could he hear the nightingale's faint song as her silhouette; barely visible, distorted the symmetry of the old oak tree. 
For hours she stayed there, viewing the world from the tallest branch, as hours passed, 
Singing for lovers, for lonely souls, for artists whose flash of inspiration had sparked as light dimmed and day slipped.  
All through night's hours longing, wistfully awaiting the lark's sweet song of dawn. 
And as the first drops of light broke through a dewy morning and the larks' chorus lifted and swept, the birds flocked and soared skies with the call of day. 
Departed souls swinging the skyline, a fleeting, swiftness bridging the gap of here and beyond. The eagles leading through tumultuous blues, inviting rebirth, escaping to horizon's core as light's blaze reverberated, providing daylight. 
Dreamers scoping the skies for the drift of the crane and seeing in all the beauty, that it is all of one and in.
Daylight drifts, sun sets, and twilight fixes, 
Until only the echo of the nightingale is heard once again to souls conscious of her lamenting contemplation. 
And as the world sleeps, she sings.

Bustbowl?

'For man, unlike anything organic or inorganic in the universe, grows beyond his works, walks up the stairs of his concepts, emerges ahead of his accomplishments. This you may know of man - when theories change and crash, when schools, philosophies, when narrow dark alleys of thought, national, religious, economic, grow and disintegrate, man reaches, stumbles forward, painfully, mistakenly sometimes. Having stepped forward he may slip back, but only half a step, never the full step back', Chapter 14, Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck

The Dustbowl, 1930s, America
Vivid altruism in a world that sinks in dust,
Vivid altruism in a world that sinks in dust,
As dusky morning bathes in homes turning to rust.
Drifting through the country, old jalopies, wagons, trains,
Into camps, heavy hearts, bodies twitching with pains.
They belonged somewhere, sometime, someplace,
Until faceless banks rendered them displaced.
To storm, to blast, to settle in a scene unknown,
Anxious to restore themselves, set something solid in stone.
To live, to dwell, to produce, to dream,
And with them endless souls, hope a mere gleam.
Sweet dreamers dreaming that sweet pick of fruit,
Evicted from their homes by the man in the suit.
Too much they owed,
Never reaping what they sowed.
In anticipation of the beauty they would see,
Sharing all they had, these honest families.
A cloud of hard labour, tired face, hungry soul,
The unacknowledged heroes of the Dust bowl.

It has happened and happened before and before.
And no-doubt will arise again.

The Rustbowl, 1980s, America and Britain 

Driving necessity in a world that boomed to bust.
As morning rain drifts, in terraced streets of needs-must.
Another welfare line, another strike on at the mine
Another week of politicians telling us we're fine.
Macro over micro, Thatcherism and Reaganomics
Makes no difference when there's nothing in the bank requiring economics.
They belonged somewhere, sometime, some-place,
Until faceless banks rendered them displaced.
To storm, to blast, to settle in a scene unknown,
Anxious to restore themselves, set something solid in stone.
To live, to dwell, to produce, to dream,
And with them endless souls, hope a mere gleam.
Boarded-up windows, riots and cuts,
Job losses, break-ups, and continue they must.
Too much they owed,
To maintain and keep hold.
A chasm created, an unlevel playing field,
And honest people, merely hoping to yield.
A cloud of injustice, tired face, hungry soul,
The unacknowledged heroes of the Rustbowl.


It has happened and happened before and before.
And no-doubt will arise again.

The Bustbowl? Now, Worldwide.

Competitive ambition in a world where money's lust,
As winds of change sweep, worldwide, this harsh gust.
Another new agenda, another guised cutback,
Another drift from aspirational credit to cash setback.
Coalition and contradictions, and playing with statistics,
Not counting the invisible ones, for they don't meet our best interests.
They belonged somewhere, sometime, some-place,
Until faceless banks rendered them displaced.
To storm, to blast, to settle in a scene unknown,
Anxious to restore themselves, set something solid in stone.
To live, to dwell, to produce, to dream,
And with them endless souls, hope a mere gleam.
Boarded-up windows, class-structures and cuts,
Job losses, break-ups, and continue they must.
Too much they owed,
Credit's desire ran cold.
A chasm perpetuated, a damaged social structure,
And aims at reparation less than lack-lustre
A cloud of injustice, tired face, hungry soul,
What should we call it, international bustbowl?

It has happened and happened before and before.
And no-doubt will arise again.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Simplicity In All Its Complexity

And the man with the sunshine eyes who shone and never spoke.
And transcended with a flicker, a gleam, a chance.
And the investment of work in today,
And the hope of what tomorrow will bring,
And simplicity in all its complexity.


And the innate humanity of maintaining our ethics in adversity.
And the life-lovers, and the grafters, and the hopers, and the ethical, and the party people, 


And the nights that started quiet enough and ended longer, later and more raucous than predicted.
And the songs we turn up that inspire, enrich, and engender in us all those notions of love, and fun,and life,
And those silent still moments,
And simplicity in all its complexity.

And the pounding beat of the rhythms we love, and the seekers of stillness,
And the man with the sunshine eyes who shone and never spoke, and transcended this simplicity;
Simplicity in all its complexity.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

The Man From Clifden Fair

A little St. Patrick's Day number for you all today. Based on 'High and Low' by James Cousins, here:

He stumbled home from Clifden fair
With drunken song, and cheeks aglow.
Yet there was something in his air
That told of kingship long ago.
I sighed -- and inly cried
With grief that one so high should fall so low.

But he snatched a flower and sniffed its scent,
And waved it toward the sunset sky.
Some old sweet rapture through him went
And kindled in his bloodshot eye.
I turned -- and inly burned
With joy that one so low should rise so high
.


As I lay down tonight to sleep, 
A blanket of stars approach me.
And the shadows of who I have been, 
Surround and they encroach me.
And the dawning of a new day, 
Seems to me forever miles away.
But as the dusk soaks up the skyline,
Well I know my soul is still mine.


And I'm right where I want to be,
I'm right where I long to be,
Though my dreams and aspirations 
Are far away from me.

Have you ever seen the sunlight 
Breaking through the mist?
Or ever possessed the knowledge 
You were well and truly pissed?
And through all the lonely years
Of chemical alteration,
My soul has met the landscape 
Of ephemeral jubilation.

Now I'm right where I want to be,
I'm right where I long to be,
Though my dreams and aspirations 
Are far away from me.

Through the sands of time you drifted,

Oh sweet clarity.
Left me rendered and subjected, 
Pleading strangers' charity. 
And I know the clock is ticking, 
On a world continually unwound,
But my friend do not be mistaken, 
For this soul is glory-bound.

Now I'm right where I want to be,
I'm right where I long to be,
Though my dreams and aspirations 
Are far away from me.

Well I once was a rich man, 
Though you wouldn't believe it to see me,

And endless people as friends, 
Perpetually gathered around me.
But through all the trappings of wealth, 
Of amounts that you would envy,
Well a loneliness surrounded, 
And abounded all around me.

Now I'm right where I want to be,
I'm right where I long to be,
Though my dreams and aspirations 
Are far away from me.

Walked through mountainous grounds this morning, 
Picking flowers through wilderness,
And to lost souls let this be a warning, 
Yet to come are sweet moments of bliss.
As I examined the delicate petals, 
Held them up to the pedestal of skies,
Well a warmth consumed the silence, 
And this I soon realised

That I'm right where I want to be,
I'm right where I long to be,
Will forever be connected,
To a phalanx much larger than me.
And I'm right where I want to be,
I'm right where I long to be,
And my dreams and aspirations 
Are not so far away from me.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

The Language Of Dreams

When you're sleeping, when you're sleeping and reality's miles away, 
And in the dream you're at a party, and it's some kind of a familiar building - perhaps starting at your local pub, then morphing to an old corridor of your old School, then a friend's home, though all in perfect symmetry.
The cocktail glasses, smartly dressed men and women, old and new faces combined, though all familiar.
Some kind of music, it's in the background, one that denotes civility and elegance, not one you're intimately acquainted with in your waking wanderings anyway.


 When you're sleeping, when you're sleeping and reality's miles away, 
And at this party that spans many locations with fluidity, you join a conversation and it makes no sense.
So you wander a bit, join another, and again, it seems somehow alien.
And so you're wandering, wandering and blagging, 
And the tones are dissonant, incongruous somehow.
And the chatter and the clamour, well it's removed somehow.
And the great contenders of your imagination's musings or memory's contorting, begin to talk in a different tongue, 

You find yourself conversing in this language,
One that the physical consciousness cannot expand awareness to - The language of dreams.
And it seeps, winds, wanders and infiltrates ears and eyes and tongue and mind's comprehension.
Is it unknown?
Or unknowingly known?
Or fabricated, or created?
Or embellished - The language of dreams. 

And at some point, the light starts to fade, the booze runs dry, the frocks sweep, the hairs hang, the make-up slips, and in hazy awakening eyes you wonder is that the language of your soul?
Is the language of drifted consciousness so hugely different? 
Or a fabrication of forms where the resting mind sometimes wanders? 
An idle reckoning, a confusion, or a part of yourself you have no idea of - the language of dreams and all it presents.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Mothers Day

Another Mothers Day is swiftly on its way,
And I for one am grateful for this person everyday.
The one who in my childhood alone provided me,
With love, support, kindness and honest stability.
Who put me, my brother, and sister, above anyone,
Who has since been my guide and support on each mile life has run.
The one who in my childhood, raised me to stand proud and tall,
And through the times I've fallen has been there at a single call.
The person who gave birth to me, and through her actions inspires me,
And instils in me a love that is rare in life to see.
The one who to this day takes interest in my interests,
Who brings me back down to earth and tells me when I need to rest.
The one I am myself with, and whose advice is given freely,
And even when I don't take it, well she'll still be there for me.
The one who made me realise not by her words but deeds,
That life isn't always about happiness in wants but contentment in meeting needs.
Who has worked, then worked harder, and then worked a little more,
Who I can always rely on, her intentions are always pure.
So as another Mothers Day is swiftly on it's way,
I'll be thankful to the one I have and hope I'll be the same one day.

The Field Where The Wild Flowers Grow

Meet me in the field, where the wild flowers grow.
There will take flight to fancies, where burdens remain low.
And when the sun sets, lines of heaven and earth merge,
There we'll creep in shadows, and gaze without longing or urge.
Meet me in the morning, among petals laden with dew,
There we'll dream of forgotten times, the language we'll speak renewed. 
We'll have no need to sigh, or speak, or dream, or even ponder.
Just lie as hazy clouds drift and sweep, view beauty with awe and wonder.
Bring a blanket, we'll have a picnic, surrounded by delicacies
And idle through those hopes we hold, swift visions of our dreams.
From the smallest detail of the pigment in the flowers,
To the sun cascading through the day's wandering hours,
All this will belong to us, a gift for you and me.
When the alarm hits on Monday morning, when we're back to reality.
We'll look back on those steps in the field, 
And know heart's fortunes we are to yield.

Friday, 8 March 2013

We Were Swimming

We were swimming, we were swimming in a beautiful tide.
It was glistening, it was glistening with brilliant sunshine. 
And the water, the water was softly rippling, 
And the coastline, the coastline was in view and inviting. 
And on the beach, on the beach was a blanket of freedom. 
And the sand dunes, the sand dunes' peak laden with opportunity 
But to scale them, to scale them became a frightful labour.
The sand's granules, the sand's granules sharp with fears.

We were swimming, we were swimming in a beautiful tide. 

But in the current, in the current was a struggle I couldn't hide.
I started paddling, started paddling furiously underneath, 
Though at surface, at surface it was all with ease.
And the ripples, the ripples started to show, 
And on my face, on my face restrained tears edged to flow. 
But you grabbed my, you grabbed my hand 
And pulled me through, pulled me through to take a look back to land
As we looked up, we looked up the beach appeared as the sky, 
Miles away now, miles away now but we'll one day be safe and dry. 

So I'll keep swimming, I'll keep swimming in a beautiful tide.
And hope you'll be there, hope you'll be there by my side.
And when we finally, when we finally reach the beach, 
We'll keep working, keep working towards our dreams.
Though they're different, though they're different they're the same,
And in freedom, in freedom we'll meet our aim. 
And the sand dunes, the sand dunes of opportunity, 
Through each sharp granule, each granule we'll climb you and me.

The Elderly

Last week, I popped in to see a man who was a neighbour of my family's home for as long as I can remember. He is now living in temporary accommodation, which formed the basis of this piece. This isn't meant as a personal criticism of the specific place he was in, but it made me really question the nature of services we as a society collectively provide for the elderly, and is meant as an evaluation of this. 


That old hospital smell sifts and swells through the cream corridors. And on reception they're not exactly sure who you mean, until realising 'Oh yes, he's been here a while' and pointing vaguely to the right.


Venturing into the room, with its thin blue slatted blind, and tiny cabinet by narrow rubber mattressed bed, and a chair, splattered with batteries, each unattached from their corresponding gadget - shaver, phone and radio tangled. 

The familiar face sitting there smartly dressed and friendly, staring at the blank wall for another day of blank wall staring, where time and space and hope become confused. And after the greetings, the question 'Where will I be going again?' Where are they moving him on to, after a lifetime of autonomous decisions.


 His warm reception, your seeping recollections of the pristine house, their pride and care, the Saturday mornings you saw them swing out of the driveway in the car for his wife's hair appointment and the weekly shop. The kindness they always leant to you and interest they always showed, the moments of childhood embarrassment of throwing a ball over the fence and repeatedly knocking for its various retrievals. The times you argued with siblings and realised an adult had overheard, while they planted shrubs and watered plants. The kind face and greeting of each morning in your youth as you left the house in uniform, then for college, then back to Uni after a break, then employment, then visits - a whir of your entire life in their eyes, and of their ageing process in yours. 


And no one helps to charge those batteries, or accustom them with their corresponding gadget. And no one encourages him to the day room for provision is limited. And no one offers a book, a newspaper, a smile. Meal after meal after meal- the breakfast, lunch and dinners, the snacks in-between, each all delivered and served, then eaten in isolation against that blank wall. 
Back out to the corridor, that hospital smell sifting and swelling, and the heart in chest longing.

A kindly nurse opens the blinds, a view of the garden at least. It's a sad indictment of how we treat our elderly, and sadder still, is that this is one of the better places.

 Ageing is a ruthless process, taking health, vanity, friends, companions, spouses. 
Ageing is a beautiful process, bringing knowledge, wisdom, liberation from expectations and perceptions that may have previously dominated.

There is much we can learn, much we can be enriched by, in the voices of experience, 
There is much we don't take on board. 
And what is it truly borne of? 
Resources yes, but how about attitudes? 
Does it scare us to face mortality so profoundly?
 Is it just not sexy enough?
 Could it be our arrogance? For then we are justified to patronise.
Serving two functions -  Enabling us to consider ourselves furthered, and silencing the voices of those who, enriched with knowledge of the past may challenge our current perceptions?

Those Starry Souls

Those starry souls who, in back street bars and coffee shops, sit and hide from the world for a bit.
Ruminating and illuminating,
Sharing, discussing, drifting, pointing, planning.
Those starry souls who step back into the world and improve the content of its character.

Who are struck with inspiration on their afternoon cigarette breaks. 
Who, restless with ideas, gaze out of night-stained windows, questioning.
Who wake bleary-eyed and curious.
Who, dream, not just in sleep, but waking wonder.
Who distort the familiar so all is open to question.
Who assume little, presume less, and pre-judge nothing.
Who indulge in sweet foods, sweeter thoughts and the sweetest inebriations.
Who shift the coffee, to the wine, to the whiskey in seamless narrative (albeit perhaps, not in a universally shared time ethic)
Who scrawling, etching, noting, relentlessly make connections that the heart knows well before the head.
Who tearing, scratching, inscribing,
At scraps of paper, torn, frayed edges,
Temperamental pens that
Etch traces of formations of lettering, to etch traces of formations of the essence.

Those starry souls who in one mind, have a million ideas 
Corresponding to several sectors, whirring in minds eye: 
-  Scripts half written,
-  Lyrics without melody, 
- Objectives without Missions,
-  Characters without scenes, 
- Outcomes without targets, 
- Revolutions without Manifestos,
- Artworks without form,
- Action Plans without Strategies,
- Evaluation without data. 

Seeds of soul's ideas softly sowing: 
- Some whose root is so embedded in the soil of their heads it is never touched.
- Some haphazardly executed and swiftly abandoned.
- Some that have flourished and blossomed to be their successes.
Who find their heart strings plug in a myriad of directions, 
Who have never lost their affinity with the world, 
Who have never lost their compassion for those in the world.
Who are thought to be idealists and romanticists.
Who labour long and play longer.
Who never quite fit and never quite don't fit. 
Who long for that moment of transition, freedom, creativity, equality. 
Who drift, who float, who listlessly wonder. 
Who transcend, who catalyse, who procrastinate, who reflect.

Those starry souls, who in back street bars and coffee shops, sit and hide from the world for a bit. 
Ruminating and illuminating,
Sharing, discussing, drifting, pointing, planning.
Those starry souls who, no matter how small the change, step back into the world and improve the content of its character.

Tea And Cake And Things To Do

The cup lay on the saucer in its slot,
China against china, patterns and symmetry.
Awaiting the brewing of bags in pot that stood stout and proud nearby.
The cakes, awkwardly perched, lurching on one another.
The intention for their arrangement was one of aesthetic pleasure no-doubt,
Though they seemed somehow stilted and precarious.
It all seemed rather elaborate for a Tuesday afternoon brew,
Clocking up to-do lists
Feeling that slight knot in the stomach that precedes multi-tasking action, 
Snippets of conversation,
Mind working overtime.
Checking emails on the phone,
But then, why shouldn't we be elaborate?Every circumstance deserves edges of persuasion.The teacup slotted into saucer,The cakes' arrangement unravelled as sugar coated lips,And the list of things to do could be conquered yet.


Saturday, 2 March 2013

A Beautiful Gig

On seeing Richard Thompson play at The Barbican, 26/02/13

Through the wood he spoke.
And I, and many others, 
Faces in the crowd, 
Sitting still and pensive, 
Wide eyed staring. 
And the strands of light, 
The purples and the greens,
Twisting and cascading 
White shapes of light beaming, floating overhead. 
And the tones intricate and beautiful, 
And their rhythm softly winding,
From reflective to experimental. 
And the tone in voice, the pitch and inflections, 
The complexities and nuances, portraying vibrant stories,
Sweeping us along on the journey,
Landing us in contemplation,
Through intricate webs - 
And the grounded, funny lines,
Underpinning the chapters of proceedings. 
And I and many others, faces in the crowd; spellbound.

Flicking Channels At Home

Flicking at the screen, 
Flicking ash at the door, 
To the outisde floor, 
With arm overhanging from living room viewing.
Flicking the screen,
Flicking the ash, 
Slurping the tea,
And flicking the ash. 
Flicking the ash,
And flicking the screen, 
And viewing mere remnants of etches of scenes.



And the mind longs to focus on something at least,
Hand happens across channel and flicking has ceased.
And Brian Cox is there at sunset in a beautiful scene.
And he's talking about the definition of home,
While the camera pans out and begins its roam.
The scientific definition of home, he clarifies,
Is it provides all the things we need to survive - 
Atmosphere; temperature; water and food,
And the sentiment stirs a new revived mood.
A place of contentment, of warmth and pride.
A place of compassion where we sometimes might hide.
A place to relax and to treat ourselves well.
A place where we say things we may not usually tell.
A place of work, and a place of chores,
A place of comfort behind closed doors,
A place we may not always see, 

For it's hard sometimes when we're so busy.
A place where the d├ęcor expresses ourselves

Trinkets and ornaments into memories delve.
A place where we dwell and a place that provides
All the things that we need to survive.
Flicking the ash and slurping the tea,
There was nowhere else I longed to be.




In These Times Of Change Friends

In these times of change friends,
The rhythm of the heart is thumping.
The tired body doesn't seek sleep,
For fear of missing something.


In these times of change friends,
Attention does not divert.
From the moment we're living in,
The decisions we've come to assert.

In these times of change friends,
The temper frays with fears.
The unknown and unstable,
The dreams of so many years.

In these times of change friends,
The spirit soars and sweeps.
The mind jumps then jumps again,
And the stomach starts its leaps.

In these times of change friends,
Heartfelt laughters abound.
For if times such as this teach us one thing-
We are glory bound.

The Commmuters (Ode to the Working Class)

Different shapes, on the faces of those roaming. 
On the tube. stand in line, scramble for seats.
Different clothing, to allude, to a role is it? 
Different bodies swaying in motion and in heat.
Different shapes, on the faces of commuters. 
Some that fall in the shape of a smile, 
Some that fall tranquil and still,
As the tube churns home mile by mile.


Different tones of skin, and eyes, and heights, 
And shapes, and expressions, and profiles. 
Different stances, different viewpoints, different approaches.
As the eyes cast their way through the many coaches.
Different headphones in different ears on different faces,
For different soundtracks of the same event.
And all of the very same function, to work, and to make this month's rent.
Ode to the working man and the working woman,
The hours of hard graft that they give.
Those among them who are living to work, and those among them who are working to live.
Ode to the working classes who strive today,
And their pledge to continue day by day.

The Working Man

He'd got in from a long day at work; another of many others. 
And he was tired. 
His aching muscles were tired , 
His burning eyes were tired, 
His weary soul was tired. 
And yes, maybe he should read tonight or watch something that would expand his mind, 
And no, he couldn't bring himself to do it, for he couldn't take it in. 
And yes, he felt insufficient for it, for he knew at this rate, the gaps in knowledge would never be paved, or perhaps he possessed the pavings of experience, though not the cement of knowledge, the paving stones he had cultivated standing like miniature islands, close but distinctly separate not filled in with the competence of knowledge or the confidence of blaggery.
And no, he didn't know how to address this.
He flicked at the screen listlessly and the brain couldn't take it in. 

And the mind flicked from one duty to another, 
And it felt an endless rat race, when he'd rather just let it be. 


A constant list of tasks that consistently grew and always remained unconquered. 
And yes, he knew there were additional tasks 
And no, he couldn't bring himself to do them either. 
He clock watched all the long day to get through a job that provided perspiration over inspiration. 
And yes, he knew there must be another way. 
And no, he didn't know how to find it.

And he was one of many, just a flicker in a gleam -
Disposable at any moment and no closer to his dream. 
And with the mounting pressure of 'success' in society, 
Of perception guiding all things, competition and rivalry. 
Of the features so distinguished, that sometimes blend to one, 
When notions begin their churning on the trails of labour we run,
Of survival and of need, 
Of aspiration and of greed. 
And where does this honest man stand? 
And where does he find the way out? 
He must somehow carve his unique way, of that there is no doubt. 
But is this predetermined - An un-level playing field? 
Or could he break free, find confidence and from it build?
And for all this trouble and turmoil his wage was the minimum fee,
And with it the misperception that's where he deserved to be.