Home | Poetry Collections | Epic Poems | Plays | Short Stories | Essays | Children's Stories | Children's Poems | German | Photographs | Contact

Subsribe to this Page

MOST RECENT POEMS
(to go to a poetry collection, click on its title)

This page is always kept up to date, with the latest poem at the top; if nothing has been added for a while, it means I haven't been writing lately.

You can also follow me on my Poetry Facebook page where I publish every new poem.


Parental Advice

Do not go down that road, my child!
That’s no respectable career;
you would be hated and reviled
for spreading misery and fear.
Though it may seem like easy money,
the consequences won’t be funny.

You’d live on others’ hard-earned pay,
extorting money from the poor,
you’d break up homes, and you’d betray
those trusting you whom you abhor.
You’d be insulted, shunned and highly
despised despite the life of Reilly.

You’d snub the vulnerable which
depend on you whom once you knew,
be at the mercy of your rich
superiors whose bidding you
must do, regardless of the morals
you may have left, to earn your laurels.

And we will not have anything
to do with you if you should see
it through; think twice before you bring
dishonour on our family
and live with hatred and suspicion;
do not become a politician!

20-21/05/6258 RT (2017 CE), added to Nail on the Head


The Jetsam of My Ancient Past

Now that the roundtrip is completed
and I approach the port once more,
I see some of the ancient jetsam
that I’ve thrown overboard before.

No indication of the satchel
remains, but near the daunting Caves
of Yesterday I spot some pages
of school books floating on the waves.

Some of the old piano’s hammers
and untuned strings still drift around,
but now, without the sunken keyboard,
they sometimes meet but make no sound.

Yet there’s no sign of the detested
black Sunday suit I wouldn’t keep
which must be resting at the bottom
where it rests well beneath the deep.

And while the east wind takes me westwards,
I check as closely as I can
what else there is I could be shedding
to safely reach the port again.

18/05/6258 RT (2017 CE), added to Away and Back


Possibilities

Each step I took on Earth led me away
from other tempting destinations while
random decisions guided, mile for mile,
my journey and determined where to stay.

Each step I took in life led me to go
forth from another opportunity;
random encounters shaped my destiny,
and of the ones I missed I’ll never know.

Of all the trillion places I could be
today, some certainly are better and
a lot of them much worse, but here I stand,
for where I am is good enough for me.

17/05/6258 RT (2017 CE), added to Away and Back


City Lights

Reflecting every city light,
the rain-soaked streets glow in the dark;
the river dances in the night.

An unsuspecting swan takes flight,
disturbed by an approaching barque,
reflecting every city light.

The flashing neon signs invite
the restless in to leave their mark.
The river dances in the night.

She speaks, and her clear eyes shine bright
with an invigorating spark,
reflecting every city light.

And as we slowly stroll where white
dim lamps illuminate the park,
the river dances in the night.

And yet she will not hear my plight,
and to my pleas she will not hark.
Reflecting every city light,
the river dances in the night.

10-11/05/6258 RT (2017 CE), added to The Secret Marble Stair


Procrastination

Our destiny remains unsure
until our fate unfolds,
but one thing that I know for sure
is what the future holds.

The future holds a .44
and points it at my back,
‘Don’t move until I’ve shut the door
behind me with a smack!’

8/05/6258 RT (2017 CE), added to Nail on the Head


Leaving the Neanderthal

Farewell, my dear Neanderthal! I’ll miss
your rugged features, and I dread to face
a life away from you without the bliss
of sleeping safely in your tight embrace.

You have provided for me, even though
at times quite sparsely, but my thanks are due,
yet often I - I thought I’d let you know -
wondered if I meant anything to you.

The joys and woes you brought I can’t describe,
and I would love to stay, I must declare,
but since the mammoths have moved North, our tribe
must follow lest we perish in your care.

No more will I lay eyes upon your caves,
your precipice, your sprinkling waterfall,
your grotto with our ancestors’ cold graves
nor you; farewell, my dear Neanderthal!

29-30/04/6258 RT (2017 CE), added to From the Titans to the Titanic


The Heron

Wedges of wild geese in motion
noisily approach their known
destination near the ocean,
but the heron flies alone.

Wedges of mute swans have clustered,
still but for the monotone
beating of their wings, unflustered,
but the heron flies alone.

Birds and humans of a feather,
as biology has shown
many times, will flock together,
but the heron flies alone.

28-29/04/6258 RT (2017 CE), added to Lines from the Spectrum


No Point in Making Friends

The little boy avoided other children
on what was called the playground by them all.
‘What is the point in making friends?’ he pondered,
strolling along the home’s enclosing wall.

All those he’d played with kept on disappearing,
and therefore his desire for friendship shrank;
the healthy ones were sold to wealthy couples,
the others buried in the septic tank.

His mother was imprisoned in the laundries
for giving birth to him and now, above
all else it was important to instruct them
about the Saviour’s unconditional love.

(inspired by the account of Bon Secours survivor John Pascal Rodgers)

21/04/6258 RT (2017 CE), added to High Kings and Taoiseachs


The Spray of Mullaghmore

The haggard ageing lady
staggered along the shore,
unwittingly embracing
the spray of Mullaghmore.

When she was young, her parents
had died of cholera,
and she was left to fend for
her smaller siblings, far
from anyone who’d help her,
and even though she strived
to nourish and support them,
not one of them survived.

At night she would be walking
along the lonely shore,
unwittingly embracing
the spray of Mullaghmore.

One stormy day her husband,
out of necessity,
had set out on his trawler
and soon was lost at sea;
the mourning hardened widow
after the tragedy
took up the job of feeding
a dwindling family.

Night after night she wandered
along the roaring shore,
unwillingly embracing
the spray of Mullaghmore.

All her surviving children
had boarded ships to reach
America which grieved her,
but she’d encouraged each
of them to seek their fortune
across the ocean when
the country hungered, never
to hear from them again.

At midnight she still rambles
aimlessly at the shore,
unwillingly embracing
the spray of Mullaghmore.

8-10/04/6258 RT (2017 CE), added to The Sligo Poems


Humanity Inspects Earth

Mankind may be redeemed, he pondered,
though baulking at the cost,
but when he saw their children buried,
he knew all hope was lost.

All ignorance and hatred vanish
with knowledge, by and by,
and understanding can be fostered -
but not where children die.

And so he left our hopeless planet,
aware it was too late:
a world in which one child is buried
can never be set straight!

29/03/6258 RT (2017 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


Screamtime

When ignorance ascended,
the truth went deaf and dumb;
the days of silence are over,
the time to scream has come!

With our minds perpetually battered
and our brains perpetually numb,
the days of silence are over,
the time to scream has come!

The unluckiest fight for survival
while the happiest still are glum;
the days of silence are over,
the time to scream has come!

And ignorance now leads the masses
which once again march to her drum;
the days of silence are over,
the time to scream has come!

Mankind has elected a nightmare
that vowed to fulfil their dream.
There’s no time left now for silence;
the time has come to scream!

13/03/6258 RT (2017 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


Trojan Rider

They have called me the Trojan Rider
when I rode the Aegean tide,
and the Ilian gates opened wider
as I entered, concluding my ride.
Using horsepower rather than force,
I was riding the Trojan Horse.

They still call me the Trojan Rider;
like a wombat in combat you try
to get out of the intricate spider
web of contracts you signed for free pie.
Those who started must finish the course
as I’m riding the Trojan Horse.

You will fear me, the Trojan Rider,
when your screen takes a life of its own
just because you clicked ‘Ads by Provider’,
though you should already have known.
While you count on your system restores,
I’ll be riding the Trojan Horse.

I’m forever the Trojan Rider,
crossing walls that aren’t guarded with care,
your unseen excitement provider:
unexpected, unwanted, but there.
Without any delight or remorse
I am riding the Trojan Horse.

7-10/03/6258 RT (2017 CE), added to This Doesn't Make Sense, Does It?


Paradise

We once lived in a land of plenty,
providing fruit from many a tree,
sufficient game to feed our people
and lots of shellfish from the sea.

Then white men came and took our country
as if they were this planet’s heirs,
enforced their so-called civilisation
and claimed the land and sea were theirs.

Now fruit and game are in locations
they labelled ‘private property’,
and we are not allowed to harvest
mussels and oysters from the sea.

Now we’ve to earn Earth’s produce working
upon the land they took away;
meanwhile, to make ends meet, our children
must labour in the mines all day.

And if we dare demand our country
or human rights, our claims are not
considered, but we are quite clearly
told to appreciate our lot:

‘You ought to be a bit more grateful,
for you were savages, you see,
but we have brought you full employment
and a robust economy!’

3/03/6258 RT (2017 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


The Gruesome Ballad of the Lamentable Demise of Klaus Störtebeker and His Executioner

Near Stockholm an acquainted captain
sent warnings to all privateers,
and Captain Störtebeker gathered
his dedicated crew of peers.

‘Queen Margaret has defeated Albert
of Sweden who inanely led
his troops to slaughter, and his letter
of marque is worthless now,’ he said.

‘Shall we get settled in East Frisia,
find work and give up everything,
or shall we do what we’ve been doing
without permission from a king?’

‘Get settled? Surely you are joking,’
they mocked Klaus Störtebeker’s call.
‘We will go on as North Sea pirates -
God’s friends and enemies of all!’

And as, for more than one more decade,
the jolly crew attacked and seized
the ships and cargoes of the Hanse,
their wealth and ruthlessness increased.

One morning as their ship was anchored
in Heligoland to stock more ale,
a fleet of cogs approached their vessel,
and Klaus decided to set sail.

One of the pirates had, however,
at dead of night when darkness loomed,
cast molten lead onto the rudder,
and so their enterprise was doomed.

After a short but bloody battle
the captain and, succumbed in style,
six dozen of his men were captured
and brought to Hamburg to stand trial.

And there he offered the lord mayor
a tempting ransom for them all:
a golden chain that could be fitted
around the extensive city wall.

His generous offer was rejected:
‘We shall save more by killing you,’
and after six long months in prison
last meals were served for Klaus and crew.

Grasbrook beside the harbour bustled
with life: magicians could be seen,
musicians, minstrels, jugglers, actors
and children playing on the green.

The prisoners were then escorted
to the location near the dock;
Klaus was the first of all the pirates
to put his head upon the block.

‘One last request?’ the mayor asked him.
‘But don’t request that you be spared!’ -
‘Free all the men whom I succeed to
run past after my neck is bared.’

All the spectators burst out laughing,
including Störtebeker’s crew -
even the members of the Senate.
The mayor said, ‘That we can do!’

The axe came down, and Störtebeker
got up, ran like a headless hen
and, by the time the headsman tripped him,
had passed eleven of his men.

And soon the crowd saw, loudly cheering,
seventy-three men’s heads impaled
along the Elbe, a deterrent
to demonstrate the law prevailed.

The mayor thanked and paid and lauded
the executioner whose smirk
still hadn’t vanished, ‘You, my fellow,
must be exhausted from your work.’

‘Oh, not at all,’ he told the mayor,
‘I have sufficient energy
left over to behead the Senate,’
the headsman jested artlessly.

The Senate lacked the sense of humour
required to let him live, and so
their youngest senator was honoured
to strike a busy day’s last blow.

And where the chopping hill at Grasbrook
spread rampant fears of vengeful dead,
you now can walk along the river
where people rarely lose their head.

But every now and then a chopping
sound can be heard from an obscure
locale, most likely from the harbour...
but then again, you can’t be sure.

This was a project in which I decided to write a poem simultaneously in both English and German (rather than translating it from one language into the other).
This is the German version of it:

Die grausige Moritat des beklagenswerten Ablebens des Klaus Störtebeker und seines Henkers

Freibeuter auf dem Weg nach Stockholm
wurden gewarnt, und nach dem Schreck
versammelte Klaus Störtebeker
die ganze Mannschaft auf dem Deck.

“Albrecht von Schweden ist geschlagen;
die Dänen haben triumphiert,
und unser Kaperbrief ist wertlos!”
Der Kapitän war recht frustriert.

“Sollten wir nach Ostfriesland ziehen
und Arbeit finden, oder glaubt
ihr dass wir weitermachen sollten,
auch wenn kein König es erlaubt?”

“Landratten werden?” - Alle lachten.
“Wir bleiben, da es uns gefällt,
Nordseepiraten - Freunde Gottes
und Feinde der gesamten Welt!”

So überfielen die Piraten
zwölf Jahre länger, Helden gleich,
die Hanseschiffe auf der Nordsee
und wurden rücksichtslos und reich.

Doch eines Morgens an der Küste
von Helgoland bemerkte Klaus
das Näherkommen einer Flotte
von Friedeschiffen und lief aus.

Einer der Mannschaft hatte aber
bei Nacht, so dass es keiner sah,
Blei auf das Schiffsruder gegossen,
so dass die Flucht unmöglich war.

Letztendlich wurde Störtebeker
nach einer kurzen wilden Schlacht
mitsamt sechs Dutzend seiner Männer
nach Hamburg vor Gericht gebracht.

Und dort bot Klaus dem Bürgermeister
ein Lösegeld, das keinem gleicht,
für alle: eine goldne Kette,
die um die Mauern Hamburgs reicht.

Sein Angebot fand keinen Anklang:
“Wir sparen mehr durch euren Tod”,
und nach sechs Monaten im Kerker
brachen die Männer letztes Brot.

Am Grasbrook herrschte Jahrmarktstimmung:
es waren Bühnen aufgestellt
für Zauberer und Minnesänger,
und Kinder spielten auf dem Feld.

Dann brachten Wächter die Piraten;
alles war still mit einem Schlag,
und Klaus war dann der erste, dessen
Kopf auf dem kalten Richtblock lag.

“Ein letzter Wunsch?” - Der Bürgermeister
setzte ein dünnes Lächeln auf.
“Lasst alle Männer frei, an denen
ich ohne Kopf vorüberlauf!”

Da lachten alle, die es hörten;
selbst die Piraten, unverzagt,
und der Senat, sonst immer ernsthaft.
“Sehr gerne”, wurde ihm gesagt.

Das Richtbeil fiel, und Störtebeker
lief an elf Mann vorbei bevor
der Henker ihm ein Bein gestellt hat
und er sein Gleichgewicht verlor.

Ein wenig später aber wurden
am Ufer wo der Fenchel sprießt
die dreiundsiebzig Räuberköpfe
entlang der Elbe aufgespießt.

Der Bürgermeister sprach zum Henker:
“Das ging ja wirklich Schlag auf Schlag;
Ihr seid gewiss schon recht ermüdet
nach diesem langen harten Tag.”

“Nein, überhaupt nicht!”, sprach der Henker.
“Ich könnte jetzt noch den Senat
unserer schönen Stadt enthaupten”,
und lachte wie ein Strandpirat.

Um ihn am Leben zu belassen
hat der Senat dann nicht genug
Humor gehabt, so dass sein jüngster
den letzten Hieb des Tages schlug.

Wo einst der Henkersberg am Grasbrook
Grauen verbreitet hat, spaziert
man heut um die Kehrwiederspitze,
wo keiner mehr den Kopf verliert.

Doch manchmal kann man etwas hören
wie einen scharfen Schlag; ganz dicht,
vermutlich vom Containerhafen,
aber... ganz sicher ist man nicht.

22-28/02/6258 RT (2017 CE), added to The Miracle of Mortality and Schwarz wie der Tag


The Sands

I have promised you a castle,
and I shall, without a doubt,
build it while we’re still together,
though the sands are running out.

First I try it in the meadow
where the fretful bitterns shout,
and the moat is almost finished,
but the sands are running out.

Then I try it in the forest
where the hidden mushrooms sprout,
and I work on the foundation,
but the sands are running out.

But today I’ll build the castle
you’ve been asking me about,
for I’ll take you to the seashore
where the sands can not run out.

19/02/6258 RT (2017 CE), added to This Doesn't Make Sense, Does It?


Blood on the Saviour’s Hands

At Calvary Mary was watching
the soldiers who hammered the nails
through the flesh of her son, and as darkness
enshrouded the mountains and vales,
she said to herself, ‘His disciples
will always remember this day;
the blood on the hands of the saviour
can never be washed away!’

In his name, with a passionate fury,
the Emperor Constantine
assaulted the Didyman temple
and oracle of the divine;
the priests of Apollo were tortured
to death and then left to decay;
the blood on the hands of the saviour
can never be washed away!

In his name Charles the Great went to Verden
where the Saxons who would not submit
to Christianity had been assembled
to be judged as the monarch saw fit.
Later four and a half thousand bodies
lay headless on gory display;
the blood on the hands of the saviour
can never be washed away!

In his name multitudes of crusaders
ventured out to rob, without qualm,
the ‘Holy Land’ from its natives,
conquer realms or extinguish Islam.
The crusades of the past killed two millions
(not including crusades of today);
the blood on the hands of the saviour
can never be washed away!

Even those who follow his doctrine
disagree about details and killed
one another about the correctest
way to worship; the Old World was filled
with the corpses of millions whose credo
diverged from the faith of the day;
the blood on the hands of the saviour
can never be washed away!

In his name intellectual, envied
and unwanted people around
were accused of practising witchcraft;
some were burnt, some were hanged, some were drowned.
A few hundred thousands have perished
since hysteria cast her grim ray;
the blood on the hands of the saviour
can never be washed away!

In his name his disciples from Europe
taught all nations without their request;
they massacred hundreds of millions,
took their land and made slaves of the rest.
To this day these are being exploited
by the people who prey as they pray;
the blood on the hands of the saviour
can never be washed away!

In his name the church persecuted
the Jews for rejecting his creed
for centuries, culminating
in genocide, furthered by greed.
With gypsies, disabled and critics
six millions were slaughtered like prey;
the blood on the hands of the saviour
can never be washed away!

And still there are Christians who murder
because of their faith and who spew
their hate in the name of Jesus
who’ll save us from what he will do
if we do not accept him but punish
the ones who refuse to obey;
the blood on the hands of the saviour
can never be washed away!

4-5/02/6258 RT (2017 CE), added to From the Titans to the Titanic and Friday School


The Ghost Dance

‘We need protection and we need it now. Indians are dancing in the snow.’
- Daniel F. Royer, Indian Agent

Stand in the circle and hold hands and shout,
dance, sing and pray until you all pass out!

My brothers, I bring news from your departed
fathers the ghosts who march to join your fight
together with the kind and tender-hearted
Messiah who has listened to your plight.

The white man will become the world’s pariah,
and you will see your prophecies fulfilled
with the assured return of the Messiah
who first appeared to them and whom they killed.

And this time he will not be disappearing
into the clouds the way he did before
but stay with you, his chosen people, clearing
your land of the invaders, shore to shore.

Stand in the circle and hold hands and shout,
dance, sing and pray until you all pass out!

He led me up to Heaven on a ladder
of clouds; there Wakan Tanka and his wife
showed me the lavish camping grounds of gladder
red men and told me, ‘This will be your life.

‘Come spring, your land will once again be teeming
with grass and trees and buffalo galore,
and once again clear rivers will be streaming
across the prairie as in moons of yore.

‘The new world I’ll create will be a better
one than the one before the white man came
whom I’ll drive out so he may never fetter
your happiness again but dwell in shame.’

Stand in the circle and hold hands and shout,
dance, sing and pray until you all pass out!

‘Your noble brothers’ teepees will be spreading
across a smiling land between the coasts,
and in this world there will no more shedding
of blood and no more military posts.

‘And in that life which I shall be attending,
you will be reunited with your kin
who have passed on to live in never-ending
rapture and peace with no more crime or sin.

‘But don’t attempt to fight the vile aggressor
yourselves, although your souls be clenched and grim;
don’t raise your hand against your pale oppressor:
it’s the Messiah who will deal with him.’

Stand in the circle and hold hands and shout,
dance, sing and pray until you all pass out!

He gave me ghost shirts which will be protecting
the dancers from the bullets of the foe,
and if you dance, he soon will be erecting
his kingdom where there’ll be no pain nor woe.

Then the Messiah brought me back from Heaven;
before I left, the mighty Lord of Hosts
taught me the dance which must be danced in seven
directions to invoke your fathers’ ghosts.

Dance East and South and West and North with passion,
dance skywards and towards Earth without complaint,
dance inwards in the holy prophets’ fashion,
dance, sing and pray for peace until you faint!

Stand in the circle and hold hands and shout,
dance, sing and pray until you all pass out!

Another movement teaching that the answers
to life are found in spirituality,
the Ghost Dance died with hundreds of its dancers
one frosty winter’s morn at Wounded Knee.

31/01-3/02/6258 RT (2017 CE), added to From the Titans to the Titanic


The Changeling

The fairy mother told her little daughter,
‘It’s time you learned the ways we deal with man;
tonight I’ll take you with me to their village,
and we will help the good ones where we can.

‘A child just perished in her sleep which happens
occasionally, and if we fairies make
it there in time, we will replace their baby
with one of ours before the parents wake.

‘Her loving parents then won’t have to suffer
their newborn’s loss,’ she clarified her aim.
‘But won’t they notice that the child is different?’
her daughter asked. - 'No, she will look the same.’

‘When she grows older, will she not remember
in time that she’d been one of us before?’ -
‘She sometimes may experience the feeling
she’s from a fairer place, but nothing more.’

‘And will the way she acts not be quite different
from humans?’ - 'Now and then her kin may find
her odd, yet they would not suspect their children
are not their children but a different kind.

‘Changelings help humans, though they rarely notice,
because they question things and bring our range
of kindness, art and knowledge to the people;
changelings are needed so the world can change.’

She and her daughter sneaked into the bedroom.
They gently placed the changeling in the cot
and took the human child to have her buried;
they heard a noise and rushed to leave the spot.

The mother stirred. ‘I feel that something happened;
could you please see if baby is all right?’
Her husband checked the cot; he reassured her,
‘Siofra is fine,’ and kissed their girl goodnight.

24-25/01/6258 RT (2017 CE), added to From the Titans to the Titanic


Apocalypse

It all began when... well, nobody knows
just when it started, but the dreadful close
always seemed near for some millennia
and always will as long as humans star
in Earth’s experimental drama with
a plot inspired and backed by many a myth,
a script that isn’t finished and a stage
without a curtain. The antagonists rage
against each other and in turn destroy
each other’s people though they still enjoy
their nemeses’ companionship when they
discuss an armistice or peace that may
never take place; and if it does, a new
archenemy will, as they always do,
show up around the corner. All the piles
of compostable bodies without aisles
between are good for business, we’re assured,
and that’s what makes worthwhile the pain endured.
We are disposable extras in a play
we didn’t choose, and we don’t have a say
in what our part is; neither do we know
how long it is and when we’ll have to go.
We often hear, as all our hopes disperse,
one chorus chanting, ‘Now it can’t get worse,’
the other chorus chanting, ‘It’s the end!’
aware that both are wrong. And as we fend
for both ourselves and ours, we know quite well
of people who experience the hell
of fire and brimstone every single day,
and those who flee are being sent away
from every other place. Some of us trust
the ancient voices that repeat we must
continue fighting enemies as long
as they exist, but that our side is strong -
just one more carpet bombing, one more race
to be eliminated from the face
of the earth, and afterwards we will be done:
mankind will live in concord once we’ve won.
The road to victory and peace, we’re told,
is almost travelled, and that we should hold
out just a little longer and not doubt;
that road, however, is a roundabout.
Every few decades Sanity, quite shy,
pops up his head amidst the daisies by
the arid roadside just before a grim
squadron of heavy tanks rolls over him.
Most extras play their parts as ordered, yet
more and more minor actors on the set
call out for a protagonist to save
the incoherent play and those who crave
a sane new world instead of the eclipse
of man; until that time, the Apocalypse
is ongoing.

18-19/01/6258 RT (2017 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


The Decision

When Fear went to the ballots,
he trusted voices that
blamed others, so he voted
for the hateful candidate.

Defending his decision,
he blustered, ‘To be free,
we must destroy the people
who cause our misery!’

When Hope went to the ballots,
he contemplated that
things might improve and voted
for the sanguine candidate.

And with an optimistic
smile he explained his stance,
‘Though things may not get better,
at least there is a chance.’

16/01/6258 RT (2017 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


The Migrant

The Mediterranean was in motion:
hundreds of thousands fled,
and thousands drowned amidst the ocean
that won’t return its dead.

Escaping war and prosecution,
they brought naught but their skin;
the boat trip seemed the sole solution
to save their lives and kin.

From war-torn Europe they were pouring
into the Middle East;
one man arrived, set on restoring
his pride - his life at least.

Ashore, a Syrian provided
refreshments, nice though plain,
for him and others, and he guided
the people to their train.

Wrapped up in blankets from the depot
they waited, quite amazed,
for their transferral to Aleppo
where shelters had been raised.

He told the Syrian, ‘I never
met such goodwill, it’s true,
and we can not repay you ever
for everything you do.’

The Syrian replied demurely,
‘Relax and stop that fuss,
for if the tables turned, you surely
would do the same for us.’

15/01/6258 RT (2017 CE), added to From the Titans to the Titanic


Armistice

The church bells all rang out to celebrate
the armistice that morning; getting dressed,
Harriet watched the people pass their gate:
'Wilfred will soon be home now,’ she professed.

The war to end all wars had ended, and
a happy crowd rejoiced out on the street.
Harriet gently touched her husband’s hand:
‘Wilfred will soon be home; we’ll be complete.’

His poems on the savagery of war
had made their son a small celebrity,
and shortly he’d be standing at their door:
‘Wilfred will soon be home with you and me.’

A messenger then rang the doorbell: ‘Ma’am,
I am afraid I bring a telegram.’

(About war poet Winfred Owen)

2-3/01/6258 RT (2017 CE), added to From the Titans to the Titanic


Palindromic Haiku

Faced a maid at a
deli ere I led a tad:
I am a decaf!

31/12/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to This Doesn't Make Sense, Does It?


Those Who Were

As every year, this one has claimed
millions before their time, a few
of whom were never even named
nor buried and remain perdu.

Following others’ boundless greed
a multitude of people died,
often because their basic need
for food and water was denied.

Zeal and blind hatred have achieved
many a bloody killing spree,
and some were slain who were perceived
as burdens to society.

Many were killed out of a sense
of privileged entitlement,
and others under the pretence
that they’re inferior by descent.

Some are not human in the eyes
of their oppressors, so they slay
them for opposing their demise
or simply getting in the way.

Preventable diseases take
a larger toll of death each year,
and wars and occupations make
people and peoples disappear.

And as amidst our revelry
another year knocks at the door
with grim demeanour, my thoughts will be
with those who were and are no more.

26/12/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


A Winter’s Day in Hamburg

Ships and boats are hibernating
in the still canals, the river
rolls along like contemplating
o’er a future yet unknown,
and seasonally slow molecules deliver
the pensive wailing of a saxophone.

And the melody enriches
the experience of jolly
folk who promenade the bridges
and, in groups or on their own,
subconsciously embrace the melancholy
and pensive wailing of the saxophone.

And the tune is like a trusted
theme that makes the actors calmer:
city life appears adjusted
to what seems the widely known
musical score of some nostalgic drama,
the pensive wailing of a saxophone.

Some turn round and try locating
the elusive jazz musician
at the port who is creating
airs to lift their monotone
existence with a passionate rendition,
the pensive wailing of his saxophone.

18-24/12/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to Spirit of Beauty


Ballysadare Falls

The salmon leap (while they still can) with pride,
performing acrobatics in midair;
they fear no weir and swim against the tide
at the falls of Ballysadare.

Montbretias tangerine the grassy bank
that sites the looming ghost estate, and there
butterfly bushes form a purple flank
at the falls of Ballysadare.

And as you turn your eyes towards Knocknarea,
the summer breeze caressing face and hair,
you feel the gushing rapids’ cooling spray
at the falls of Ballysadare.

You watch torrential water raging through
the peaceful village though it knows not where
the current takes it, very much like you
at the falls of Ballysadare.

14/12/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to The Sligo Poems


When Shakespeare Got a Day Job

The glover’s son had great ambitions
and future plans he didn’t hide.
‘I’ll be a playwright and an actor,’
he told his parents, full of pride.

‘Quit dreaming,’ said his hidebound father,
‘that is no steady type of work,
but I’ve secured you a position
in Marlowe’s Spices as a clerk.’

So William Shakespeare got a day job
and kept accounts day in, day out,
while in his head he made up stories
of kings and heroes, trust and doubt.

Once his employer checked his notes and
read out, ‘”To be or not to be” -
what does that mean?’ - ‘It’s an idea
I have to write a tragedy.’ -

‘I’m paying you for your accounting,
not to write plays or marching tunes;
you’ve time to scribble in the evenings,
the nights and Sunday afternoons.’

So William worked and spent the evenings
with wife and children, and he’d keep
his writing to a few short verses
after the children went to sleep.

And on his fifty-second birthday
he met with friends to celebrate,
but later, with one ale too many,
William collapsed and met his fate.

The priest said at his grave, ‘We’re grieving
today with this man’s family
who lost their husband and their father,
a man of great integrity.

‘He was a generous provider
who had a way with words and ink;
in his spare time he did some writing,
played billiards and enjoyed a drink.’

4+6/12/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to Nail on the Head


The Wolf Cub

‘Do as the leaders tell you,’
the wolf said to his son,
‘or else they might expel you,
for that’s how things are done.

‘Make sure you never trigger
their anger and stay back,
and you, as you grow bigger,
may head your own small pack.’ -

‘I’ll go my own direction,
a brave lone wolf,’ he growled.
‘Without the pack’s protection?’
his fearful mother howled.

‘It may be hard to swallow,
but this is what I need:
I wasn’t born to follow
and have no urge to lead.’

21/11/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to Horses Can Fly


The Wolf

‘The wolf is beautiful!’ the cavegirl shouted.
‘Could we not catch and tame him for
our family?’ – Her father softly answered,
‘Then he would be a wolf no more.’

19/11/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


The Cows of the Dungeon

The cows of the dungeon had gathered
around the Sicilian bull
as the songbirds were tarred and feathered
and the quails reimbursed in full.

Then there was a call for the warder
on the Tucker telephone
who received the momentous order
to vacate for reasons unknown.

And amidst the complaints of the peon
the dungeon’s swansong was sung,
for the cows disappeared with the eon,
and all that is left now is dung.

18-19/11/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to This Doesn't Make Sense, Does It?


The Sonnet of the Breaking Point

‘They can’t afford water? Let them drink wine!’

Since time began, a self-declared elite
has claimed their rank entitles them to be
sustained by common people whom they treat
as mere providers for their luxury.

They, though they leave the commoners bled dry,
keep claiming more and more as time goes on,
convinced there is a limitless supply
of blood to build their monuments upon.

Yet there’s a breaking point as we have seen,
such as in France in 1789
and Russia in October ’17,
and now in Western countries that decline.

But what the masses deem the remedy
failed Germany in 1933.

13/11/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


Autumnal Garbs

The moon-white birch has dyed her dainty leaves
with lucid saffron in a bid to mark
this bright occasion with a joyful spark
before she lets them fall amongst the sheaves.

And at the hedge the mountain ash has hung
her branches with vermillion berries, proud
to do her bit and feed the noisy crowd
of blackbirds and the thrushes with their young.

And past the fields, the chestnut in the wood
gilded her foliage and spreads maroon
fruits in the forest as the afternoon
sun shines upon the season as it should.

And while the others wave their autumn flags,
the whin bush still shows off her vernal rags.

11-12/11/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to Spirit of Beauty


How to Become a Hero

Was it because the last surviving Tommy
became the centre of attention with
warmongers drooling over him who vainly
tried to convince him to endorse the myth
of wars being justified while he kept stating
that war is organised mass murder? No,
that’s not how Harry Patch became a hero.
Was it how the unworthy did bestow
titles and tinsel on the man they’d call
a hero for his service? Not at all,
that’s not how Harry Patch became a hero.

Was it because when Harry was conscripted
to fight in World War I, he made a pact
with fellow soldiers, pledging he would never
kill? Keeping his humanity intact
came at the risk of facing a court martial
and firing squad if he had been found out,
and yet he never took a life, defying
his orders with convictions firm and stout.
His silent but effective bravery
was disobeying rogue authority;
yes, that’s how Harry Patch became a hero!

8-9/11/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to From the Titans to the Titanic


The Slaughter of the Innocents

Desperate and greatly flurried,
Colonel York approached the store’s
entrance with some fifty worried
riders and got off his horse.

Kate, the owners’ sensual daughter,
greeted him and asked him in,
offered him a drink of water
and revealed a bit of skin.

Affably he was positioned
in the ‘honour seat’ before
one large curtain that partitioned
living area and store.

As Ma Bender started cooking,
Kate remarked, ‘If you allow,
John, my husband, will be looking
after all your horses now.’

With a side glance to her mother,
Kate enquired, ‘What brings you here?’
Colonel York replied, ‘My brother
vanished earlier this year.

‘He was looking for a party
who themselves had disappeared,
and they’d all stayed here.’ The hearty
woman said, ‘This town is feared.

‘There have been a lot of cases
since the Indians were removed;
they still lurk around these places,
and their methods have improved.’

Then she claimed, ‘I hear your brother,’
closed her eyes and raised her head.
‘She’s a medium,’ her mother
pointed out, ‘and calls the dead.’

Old Pa Bender grimly uttered
something, but there was no way
of deducing what he muttered.
‘And, what does my brother say?’ -

‘Sir, he wills you to locate and
execute the Osage who
robbed and killed him; hesitate, and
they’ll be out of reach for you.’

Right behind him, undetected,
John stood ready but withdrew;
psychopathically connected
to his spouse, he got the cue.

Colonel York then left to question
other homesteads near the site.
‘I’ll consider your suggestion,
but the thugs may well be white.’

Soon a meeting of all decent
men was hosted to propound
their ideas about the recent
disappearances around.

Brockman said, ‘What ails our village
are the Osage, doubt me not!
Since they were removed, they pillage,
and they kill. Let’s slay the lot!’

John and old Pa Bender strongly
nodded, but one neighbour’s claim
was, ‘The Indians are wrongly
feared - the Benders are to blame!’

‘Which is possible if awful,’
York concluded. ‘We should look
at all homesteads, but the lawful
way; we’ll do this by the book!’

As he waited for the warrants
which, he hoped, would turn the tide,
all the Osage suffered torrents
of abuse and homicide.

After days he was alerted
that amidst the township’s fears
Bender’s place had been deserted,
so he sent some volunteers.

As they pulled the place asunder,
they were in for quite a treat,
for they found a trap door under
the suspicious ‘honour seat’.

An unholy smell ascended
from the bloodstained pit below,
and the Colonel recommended
they start digging high and low.

Finally he found his brother
in the field as evening fell;
in the morning hours, eight other
bodies were unearthed as well.

They’d been bludgeoned through the curtain
with a hammer to the head,
and their wide-slit throats made certain
they were genuinely dead.

One girl had been spared that trial,
though she, too, did not survive;
sadly, there was no denial
that they’d buried her alive.

When the story broke, the vendors
sold more papers and supplied
details since the Bloody Benders
now were wanted nationwide.

Following these revelations,
scores of vigilantes killed
them in dozens of locations,
as their victims would have willed.

30/10-1/11/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to The Miracle of Mortality


Fear is a City

Fear is a city. Its majestic gate
stands open and unguarded night and day,
yet no one dares approach it, for the fate
of those who leave remains unknown. They say
what lies beyond is worse than what we bear,
although they’ve never been there nor have heard
a witness’ tale, but all the same they swear
the fact no one returned is proof. Each word
is carefully selected to ensure
it cannot be misquoted, and at night,
to demonstrate their way of life is pure,
citizens don’t draw curtains, and the light
stays on to show they’ve naught to hide as they
observe their neighbours with suspicion, and,
if those are interviewed and dragged away
from home to disappear, they understand
that their suspicions had been justified.

Fearians love their freedom and their pride.

24/10/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to The Paradise of Darkness


Mr Thirteenth

Charity Butler claimed her freedom
and that of her two children since
she’d spent six months in Pennsylvania
which, she attempted to convince
a sceptic jury, did entitle
them to demand their freedom and
refuse the order of their owner
that they return to Maryland.

Thaddeus Stevens, representing
her owner, in a sober tone
explained, ‘She’s been on some short visits
with Mrs Gillegand, unbeknown
to Mr Bruce, not on his orders
as is required; it’s also fact
the stay must be uninterrupted
to satisfy the cited act.’

He won the case. The devastated
young mother then was dragged away;
Thaddeus Stevens kept on hearing
her muffled screams throughout the day.
They never left him; he decided
his mission was the futile fight
against an evil institution:
‘This is a wrong we have to right!’

Henceforth he never represented
slaveholders but their slaves instead,
and anyone who couldn’t pay him
was still looked after. Once he had
to stop at a provincial guest house
in Maryland whose smug and sly
owner he knew; he signed the guest book
and heard one of his slave girls cry.

‘What is it?’ Stevens asked the woman.
‘He’ll sell my husband,’ she replied.
He turned around and faced the landlord,
‘You sell your flesh and blood?’ he tried
to keep his temper as he shouted.
‘I need the money urgently,’
so Stevens reached inside his pocket,
purchased the slave and set him free.

As Pennsylvania legislator
he saved the public schooling act
from being repealed by demonstrating
the rich saved money as an effect,
the boons of educated voters,
the fate of children left behind:
‘Build not your monuments of marble
but of an everlasting mind!’

He set up house with a mulatto
lady in Lancaster who brought
her sons along, and they provided
a safe house for the slaves who sought
shelter as they escaped to freedom
via the secret Underground
Railroad where they were fed and cared for,
ensuring they would not be found.

The Compromise of 1850
saw many a concession for
the slave states, and a disappointed
Congressman Stevens took the floor,
‘I’m rational, and though I welcome
a compromise when it unites
opposing parties, I abhor it
where it refers to human rights.

‘Since you believe this institution
is but a blessing for the slave
who is looked after, fed and happy,
how would it matter if you gave
the man a choice about his future?
Then let the slaves who choose go free
and freemen who so choose be chattel,
and either will be fine with me.’

Should Women, Too, Hold Civil Office?
This touchy subject was explored
at length in Fulton Hall, and Stevens
the radical went overboard
once more and claimed, ‘I’ve no objections,
for women are, if I may note,
not only fit for public office
but also fit to have a vote!’

A congressman from California
proposed a tariff on cleaned rice,
and Stevens pointed out the measure
intended to increase its price:
‘Your state has been discriminating
against Chinese Americans
for long enough!’ - The vote that followed
put a quick end to Sargent’s plans.

When Abraham Lincoln was elected,
the Southerners who, at a glance,
feared rising taxes, higher tariffs
on produce and his party’s stance
against the further spread of thralldom
despite the clear and solemn pledge
of Lincoln not to interfere with
their institution, felt on edge.

And so the Southern states seceded,
as was their constitutional right;
Lincoln invoked the Perpetual Union
for which he was prepared to fight.
When shots were fired against Fort Sumter,
he went to war for unity;
his zealous party colleague Stevens
supported Lincoln eagerly.

Stevens proposed a resolution
to free all slaves who choose to leave
their masters or support the Union
which failed, but still it did achieve
attention, and he begged of Lincoln
to set the slaves of the nation free:
‘Don’t let this be about the union,
make it a war for liberty!’

‘Now’s not the time for such an action,’
Lincoln replied as oft before.
‘You can’t take on an institution
like this and think you’ll win the war.
You radicals are too impatient,
and with your ardour you just may
risk this great country’s fast reunion;
tomorrow is another day.’ -

‘You call me radical for stating
all homo sapiens are the same;
regardless of our rank and station,
our race, our origin and name,
we all belong to one fine species.
If, as our fathers did decree,
all humans are created equal,
they must be treated equally!

‘They laugh at us all over Europe,
even before this war began,
where slavery has been abolished
for decades as a blight on man.
I once believed I had to follow
the most revolting of our laws;
since then I’ve fought against this evil,
not waiting for the crowd’s applause.’ -

‘I wouldn’t call a slave my equal,’
Lincoln replied, ‘but nonetheless,
in time we shall address this matter;
soon after victory, I guess.
Besides, we have to find a country
for them, a land with open gates,
since we can’t have a flood of freedmen
let loose on the United States.’ -

‘Sir, your society deported
thousands of former slaves so far
and colonised them in the regions
of Haiti and Liberia;
soon, hopefully, there’ll be four million
freed slaves who, I insist, should stay;
you could not justify nor finance
your plan to send them all away.’

One year had passed since Stevens’ motion
when Lincoln’s proclamation freed
the slaves outside his jurisdiction
(not in the border states) to speed
the process up as it encouraged
Confederation slaves to flee
and join the troubled Union Army,
knowing that henceforth they’d be free.

General Early rode to Stevens’
mills where he planned to hang him, cut
his bones and send them out in parcels
to the Confederation, but
he wasn’t home, and so the soldiers
burned down his ironworks instead.
’If we accomplish abolition,
it is a bargain price,’ he said.

Thaddeus Stevens kept on pushing
for an amendment, and the House
eventually voted for the second
time on the matter. ‘Don’t arouse
allied conservatives by claiming
more than it offers,’ he was urged.
‘Don’t talk of blacks as equals, voters
or congressmen lest we be purged!’

His heart was clenched as he asserted
views that weren’t his and even lies,
and semi-willingly he tasted
the nausea of compromise.
The Thirteenth passed. This was the moment
when all the nation’s slaves were free -
the House broke into celebration
with freemen on the gallery.

When Lincoln was assassinated
amidst the nation’s discontent,
the negrophobic Andrew Johnson
became the country’s president
who vetoed every motion granting
rights to the blacks and others while
Thaddeus Stevens kept on fighting
for them in his distinctive style.

A bill to put the Indians under
state laws for being hostile had
been tabled. ‘Do you mean the carnage
of white Chief Chivington?’ he said,
referring to the recent slaughter
of Indians by the army who
had massacred and scalped a peaceful
village. The bill did not go through.

Because he sabotaged all progress,
President Johnson was impeached;
Stevens, in failing health, was carried
into the Senate he beseeched,
‘This offspring of assassination
turned on the Senate - make him pay!’
The President was not convicted,
and Stevens soon got carried away.

Weeks later Stevens voted for the
Fourteenth which he had drafted, though
it had been watered down and only
addressed citizenship. ‘I know,
I live with men and not with angels;
let’s take the offered slice but still
demand the cake.’ Once more he’d suffered
a compromise with his firm will.

Before he died, he learned the graveyard
his plot was in accepted whites
only and chose an interracial
burial place instead. ‘My fights
for human dignity are over
at last, and their rewards are small;
I shall be buried with my brothers
and sisters, black and white and all!’

13-18/10/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to From the Titans to the Titanic


The Blackboard Mind

My mind is like a student’s blackboard
for random topics that I chose,
containing all the information
I need for poems I compose.

And when at last my piece is written,
the board’s wiped clean of its entire
content, providing space for knowledge
my future project will require.

6-12/10/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to Away and Back


Creation and Subjugation

After he’d spent eternity alone,
god Arivu, who was the only thing
that did exist back in the olden days,
got bored and finally decided that
he would do something with his life. He tore
some of his hairs out, rolled them in a ball
and started to create the universe.

And after all the galaxies and stars,
the planets and the satellites were shaped,
he took another look at Planet Earth
and populated it with lots of plants
and many creatures whom he brought to life.

When man came on the scene, the god ensured
they had enough to eat and oftentimes
appeared to them in human form to help
and settle petty squabbles that broke out
amongst their families or tribes. On one
of these occasions Arivu laid eyes
on Peracai, a lissom maiden who
was fetching water from the village well,
and fell in love. They married on the spot,
and Arivu saw fit to deify
the girl and have a goddess by his side.

But Peracai was hardly satisfied
with anything he had to offer her;
whatever he would give her, she’d demand
a multiple of it, be it the pearls
he used to decorate her lavish crown
or all the marble for the temples that
he built for her. While he looked after man,
she craved the little they possessed and claimed
that as a goddess she’s entitled to
whatever she desires without regard
for humans and their sufferings and deaths.

Soon Peracai found out she was with child,
and she devised a plan to rule mankind,
helped by the son she carried, and one night
she poisoned Arivu with hemlock wine.

The widowed pregnant goddess afterwards
travelled the world, instructing every tribe
in worship, pray’r and sacrifice to her,
with her instructions being different for
each of the tribes, while stressing that the way
to worship her would have to be observed
in every detail. Every family
each year would have to sacrifice at least
twelve cows; who did not have them was allowed
to sacrifice a human in their stead.
‘But we shall starve!’ some chiefs entreated her,
to which the goddess callously replied,
‘The more you sacrifice to me, the more
I’ll give you in return,’ but failed to state
the nature of the blessings she’d bestow.
‘And once he is a man, I’ll send my son
to help you with your problems and to cope
with any difficulties you may face.’

She named her son Veruppu, and she taught
him that the Earth was theirs with everything
that lived on it. They saw their cattle herds
and slave gangs grow each year when humans brought
their offerings, and when he had grown up
she sent him to the villages and tribes,
intending to divert their anger from
the unloved goddess to their fellowmen.

And so he waded through the corpses of
the famine victims till he reached the tribes,
and he informed the men about the true
reasons for all their sufferings and pain,
which were, according to his mother, but
the sins of their respective neighbours who
worshipped her incorrectly and who sneaked
into their sheds at night to milk their cows
and steal their eggs; ‘Just look at them,’ he urged,
‘they’re different from yourselves - in fact, they are
not even really human, and as long
as they’re alive and dwelling next to you,
you cannot prosper nor exist in peace!’
And for a little while he’d stay to watch
the bloodshed he had caused and then move on
to the next tribe. Eventually he returned
home to his mother, to their large estate
which covers most of the entire world
and their vast herds which never will provide
milk, food or winter clothes for anyone;
possessions merely for possession’s sake.

Nothing has changed. We all still spend our lives
catering for the leeches, and we blame
each other for our poverty and thrall.
Our blind compliance is her only strength,
so if we simply ceased our offerings
to Peracai and started to ignore
Veruppu’s bilious advice, we all
would once again live in a world of plenty
for everyone, just like in the beginning.

26/09-1/10/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to From the Titans to the Titanic


Thinking

When people tell you you should think,
they are quite right, and it is nice
to be reminded now and then:
to think is always good advice.

It is a power we should use
more often when we act or chat;
although our brains were made to think,
most adult brains aren’t used for that.

So if somebody says to you
that you should think, it should be done;
but if they tell you what to think,
run, run as fast as you can run!

25/09/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to Horses Can Fly


The Most Threatened People

Afraid to go to sleep because you may
not see the morning of another drear
day for a rightless group in disarray:
a Semite who was born to live in fear.

Afraid to leave the house once you awoke,
because while walking to your neighbour’s place
you might be shot by any of the folk
considering themselves the master race.

Afraid of open spaces since you could
be maimed or killed, with no one taking heed,
by soldiers or civilians, and they would
not even have to answer for their deed.

Who could be more afraid, I underline,
than Palestinians in Palestine?

22-23/09/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


History

History is being written,
and the victor, we behold,
hires a scribe who like a smitten
schoolboy does as he is told.

Thus will future generations
learn how right and good prevailed,
unexposed to the narrations
of antagonists who failed.

Where the victor builds his temple
on the ruins left, forsooth,
on the ground which people trample,
in the rubble lies the truth.

17/09/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


The Recipe

The recipe straight from our manifesto:
you take some gold, titanium and just
a smidgen of samarium - hey presto,
here is an individual to trust!

7-8/09/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to This Doesn't Make Sense, Does It?


Into the Light

After he had watched her dancing
with a soldier in the hall,
laughing while not even glancing
at her man, he left the ball.
And the Novachord kept playing
Irrlicht as the storm clouds veiled
Longdendale’s full moon while, straying
in the wilderness, he paled.

On the moor his concentration
failed him as he sought his way
home, and his predestination
led him more and more astray.
And the Novachord kept playing
Irrlicht as the storm clouds veiled
Longdendale’s full moon while, straying
in the wilderness, he paled.

Soon the vault of darkness coated
vale and mountains in the night,
but upon the ridge he noted
an emerging gentle light.
And the Novachord kept playing
Irrlicht as the storm clouds veiled
Longdendale’s full moon while, straying
in the wilderness, he paled.

6-7/09/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to The Paradise of Darkness


The Truth Puts On Its Shoes

When it saw that in the hurry
its right shoe was on the left
foot, the truth began to worry
that its foe might be more deft,
and the world enjoyed a snooze
while the truth put on its shoes.

It corrected its position,
and it held its tongue to trace
back the cord in one big mission
to untangle the knotted lace,
and the world enjoyed a snooze
while the truth put on its shoes.

Then it spent another while at
it to feed the lace back in,
noticed it had missed an eyelet
and went back and rubbed its chin,
and the world enjoyed a snooze
while the truth put on its shoes.

The procedure was repeated
with the left, the knots tied tight,
and it uttered, unconceited,
‘First I had to get it right.’
And the world enjoyed a snooze
while the truth put on its shoes.

When the truth, now good and ready,
stepped outside with facts to share,
its opponent had already
staked its claims out everywhere,
for the world enjoyed a snooze
while the truth put on its shoes.

4-6/09/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to Nail on the Head


Basic Philosophy

Why is the world so crooked?
A horn of plenty once,
it nursed, but greed since took it
and made mankind a dunce.

And soon the fear of others
was planted in our brains;
now paranoia smothers
humanity’s remains.

While its perpetual coffers
supply for me and you,
most of what nature offers
is taken by a few.

And we just let them, fighting
their wars on states and men,
knowing we can’t be righting
most of these wrongs again.

And yet there is potential
for happiness for all
by following essential
advice as in the call,

‘Don’t kill or hurt your brother
or made-up enemies,
and don’t deprive another
of bare necessities.’

How long will evolution
withhold through fear that blinds
so simple a solution
from simple human minds?

3-4/09/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


Regret

Regret is the view of the mountain
we decided we wouldn’t climb,
the aftertaste of the dinner
we chose not to taste at the time.

When the poisonous sting of a bygone
opportunity burns, never say,
‘I wish I had seized that occasion,’
say instead, ‘I know better today.’

Regret fogs the path to the future
of the person it came to beset;
regret is a waste of the present
which soon you may come to regret.

27-28/08/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


Research

Who else can still recall the days of yore
when for our research, oftentimes in vain,
we’d comb newspaper archives or remain
in reference libraries to find out more?

We’d order costly volumes at the store
which we could not afford for little gain,
just on the off chance that they might contain
the information we were looking for.

But times have changed: today there is no need
to spend much cash and time on books that might
be relevant; we’re fortunate indeed.

We have the Internet all day and night
where information spreads at WiFi speed
and misinformation at the speed of light.

21/08/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


The Autistic Poet Reads from His Works

Although the days are gone when I’d stand frozen
before the audience and clench my sheet,
afraid my hands and voice might start to tremble,
reciting still remains a taxing feat.

First I remind myself to take it easy,
because the listeners appreciate
a poem that’s not rushed while I am tempted
to get it over with at any rate.

So I start reading from my compositions,
afraid I’ll get my tongue in quite a twist,
which I will anyway. And when that happens,
I read the line more clearly and persist.

A truck drives past; due to its booming engine
I can not hear myself and speculate
whether the others do. ‘Would it be better
to read the verse again?’ I self-debate.

I pause and think, ‘Should this not be a plural?’
My eyes scan back to see if it was wrong
to use the singular and find it wasn’t;
relief! - I hope I didn’t pause too long.

Somebody whispers. Would it be related
to my recital? Did he take offence
at something, did I mispronounce a certain
word, or did what I’ve read fail to make sense?

Again I hesitate, this time reflecting
on whether I have missed a beat when I
composed the poem, so I count the stresses
and see I got them right; this cup passed by.

‘He built a little hut where he was hiding;’
have I explained the reason why he hid?
I check the poem’s first and second stanza,
and soon I’m satisfied to find I did.

The air conditioning comes on. Its buzzing
makes it a challenge not to lose the plot;
not knowing how the others feel, I wonder
whether to subtly raise my voice or not.

‘The heir was shot point-blank;’ I read and ponder
what ‘point-blank’ means, for clearly the tycoon
had not been shot with blanks, so I decide to
look up the source of this expression soon.

After my turn I do my best to listen
to those performing after me that night,
but think, ‘Have I made one complete and utter
fool of myself or did it go all right?’

13-14/08/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to Away and Back


The Evanescing Curse

The playful gods afflicted me
with many a waggish curse for fun
but spared me from the worst of all
they call the evanescing one.

There is a curse that makes you weird,
and one that never lets you win
at life, but there’s a curse that’s worse,
and that’s the curse of fitting in.

All the accursed ones have become
invisible, removed from view,
for none of them will change the world,
and none will fashion something new.

Thus for the life of me I can’t,
despite the trials through which I’ve been,
imagine anything that’s worse
than this: the curse of fitting in.

30/07+10/08/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to Away and Back


What the Future Holds

Slowly our destiny unfolds,
briskly our minds are getting older;
we wonder what the future holds
as we grow fragiler and bolder.

Though the elusive lady hides
within the fog that has enshrined her
since time began where’er she strides,
I figured out where I could find her.

I saw her as she ventured out,
indulging in her New World diet:
the future holds a pint of stout
and hostages to keep us quiet.

8-9/08/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to This Doesn't Make Sense, Does It?


The Funeral of Reason

The funeral of reason
was an adverse affair;
the undertaker acted
before the nurse was there.

No wake was held before they
removed him from his place;
none of the congregation
could bear to see his face.

A rout of keening women
wailed loudly to drown out
the subtle voice of reason,
should it still be about.

And soon the world’s first cleric
said a few words, alack,
but none of resurrection;
nobody wished him back.

No plaque amidst the graveyard,
however overgrown,
reminds us he existed,
no marker and no stone.

Yet since the sad occasion
twelve guardians surround
his resting place, ensuring
that he stays underground.

We know not where he’s buried,
and we don’t even know
if there were any mourners;
it was so long ago.

25-26/07/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to This Doesn't Make Sense, Does It?


The Couched Guardians of the Status Quo

But that the dread of [...]
the undiscovered country from whose bourn
no traveller returns, puzzles the will
and makes us rather bear those ills we have
than fly to others that we know not of.
- William Shakespeare, Hamlet

You say the world we live in needs some changes
for being unsustainable and rife
with pure injustice, but who rearranges
the world will also rearrange our life.
You claim there always is a better option,
a fairer system waiting in the wing,
but we can’t fathom what the rash adoption
of an unproved philosophy may bring.

There’s nothing we can do about the present
to ease our lot, and though the status quo
admittedly is but the most unpleasant
and costliest system, it’s the one we know.
It’s true that others suffer from unkinder
yokes than we do, but we can not reverse
their fate which serves us as a stern reminder
that life for us could be a whole lot worse.

We know that you mean well, and while we greatly
appreciate the heroes of the past
who fought to overcome the wrongs innately
incorporated in their culture, classed
as ineluctability, we surely
oppose attempts to change reality
at present, and to do so prematurely;
the world’s not perfect, it’ll never be.

Although you’re right and all injustice grieves us,
there’s things that never will be right, we know;
therefore, unless a miracle relieves us,
we’ll passively protect the status quo.

22-23/07/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


Walking on Walls

Do you remember when as children
we had to climb each wall
we saw to train our sense of balance
and to feel ten feet tall?

Defying any separation
of promenade and sea,
of field or garden and the footpath,
we felt aloft and free.

At first we held dad’s hand for safety
but soon let go and, prone
to insecurities, we proudly
succeeded on our own.

Today we do not climb partitions
the way we did before,
we don’t admire the world beneath us
and walk on walls no more.

17/07/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


Hearts of Teflon™

You know that hearts of Teflon™
withstand volcanic heat
as well as absolute zero,
which is a striking feat.

And when you’ve cooked up something
with someone who’ll confess
they weren’t really hungry,
it leaves no sticky mess.

Teflon™ protects its owner
through rain and thunderstorm;
it will resist all friction
and never change its form.

It can’t be touched by fluids,
rejecting hopes and fears;
with care, a heart of Teflon™
can last a hundred years!

9-13/07/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to The Reaper's Valentine


The Irish Army

The army of our leader
with all his lackeys rules
the world and, spreading freedom,
bombs hospitals and schools.
Not so the Irish Army;
we only can defend
our country in our country,
not an invaded land.
So here we fight the battle
of banks and buccaneers
by shooting all the cattle
of farmers in arrears.

Deployed by ruthless bankers
and CEOs, we tour
the country where we gladly
wage war upon the poor.
If someone missed a payment
because he’s broke today
from bailing out the bankers,
he still will have to pay.
That’s why we fight the battle
of banks and buccaneers
by shooting all the cattle
of farmers in arrears.

7+9/07/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to Irish Ways


Memories

When the souvenirs have faded
and the pictures on the wall,
when the memory is jaded
from our efforts to recall,
when the others who were present
left and therefore can not share,
we take solace in the pleasant
knowledge we at least were there.

4/07/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


Shattered Dreams

We’ve all had shattered dreams, and we may weep
or throw a fit when seeing we can’t win,
pick up the pieces, hurl them in the bin,
or walk away; they’re nothing we would keep.

A little girl once lay in slumber deep;
a pleasant dream was ready to begin,
but, by a terrifying force within,
that dream was shattered while she was asleep.

Before she woke, her relatives debated
what could be done if she should cry and scream;
her optimism was quite underrated.

There was no disappointment and no stream
of tears; instead the little girl created
a great mosaic from her shattered dream.

28-29/06/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


Benbulben

Where Benbulben’s vanguard towers
like a prow to part the bay,
where his arctic-alpine flowers
bloom along the winding way
and the uncorrupted powers
of a people past still sway
all our destinies, the stage
now is set for one more age.

Once the mighty Dagda’s table,
afterwards the hunting ground
of the Fianna as the fable
tells us, when the dreadful sound
of Dord Fiann left foes unable
to advance or move around
on his slopes, Benbulben loomed
over all he blessed or doomed.

The primeval mountain greeted
heroes fighting in the sticks,
from cursed Diarmait who defeated
the wild boar to the Noble Six;
he saw history repeated
oftentimes without a fix
since he came to overlook
Columb’s Battle of the Book.

This majestic rock formation
oversees each main event,
be it the annihilation
the Armada underwent,
famine, war or emigration;
he, a timeless monument,
keeps the records of our strives
as he dominates our lives.

25-26/06/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to The Sligo Poems


The Hiders

As soon as they’d managed to quell our inherent
commitment to sensibility’s call,
the hiders of sense have concealed the apparent
and sell us the emperor’s clothes for the ball.

What remains of our sanity will be subjected
to the whip of community, sentencing sooth,
until we concede hiders must be protected
from challenging facts and the beaten truth.

With our reason and judgement sedated severely,
not permitted to open our eyes while awake,
we encourage the hiders to leave us with merely
one crumb they are calling our piece of the cake.

24/06/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


Fingerprints of Fate

On that warm day when Theia
ran into us to bring
this planet’s panacea,
no birds would fly or sing.

The impact left us reeling
with fear, and before late
her relics were revealing
the fingerprints of Fate.

And when Pangaea started
to fall apart and shift,
there was no noble-hearted
friend as she went adrift.

But those who were not staying
home managed to locate
her few remains displaying
the fingerprints of Fate.

Forensics in their millions
were able to create
a profile from the billions
of fingerprints of Fate.

And now they build the scaffold,
of mindfulness bereft,
though one thing leaves them baffled:
all prints were from her left.

19/06/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to This Doesn't Make Sense, Does It?


Mocambo

‘You know we’ll have no negro in our club,’
the owner pointed out, ‘not as a guest,
and surely not on stage!’ - And with that snub
he thought he’d put the argument to rest.

‘If you engage her, I’ll be there as well
and book a table at the front for all
her shows!’ - ‘You’d really do that? What the hell,
if that’s the case, I shall reverse my call!’

A few days later, to the crowd’s delight,
Ella Fitzgerald would perform her show,
and at the front sat, every single night,
just as she’d promised, Marilyn Monroe.

(Because three other black performers had previously played at the Mocambo
club - Eartha Kitt, Joyce Bryant and Herb Jeffries - some sources suggest that Ella’s
race had nothing to do with her initial rejection. However, all three performers were
already famous and guaranteed to draw an audience which is why the owners decided
to make an exception to their race policy.)

16/06/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to Big Train From Memphis


The Mountaineer’s Advice

You have been working all your life
to reach your goal, upset
that all your long-continued strife
went unrewarded yet.

And so you reminisce on how
your plans have gone askew,
‘It’s useless since my goal is now
entirely out of view.’

The mountaineer who notes your plight
will smilingly declare,
‘It’s when the peak is out of sight
I know I’m almost there.’

10/06/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


Turns

Seven times out of ten when I am hiking
I miss a turn and keep on walking, long
before I ever notice I am wrong,
but deem the random outcome just as striking.

And at my unintended new location
I’d marvel at the scenery I found
by getting lost but wonder all around
what it would be like at my destination.

I have matured (at least I have grown older),
appreciating where I am today;
sometimes I turn around to view the way
I’ve come so far with the eye of the beholder.

But oftentimes I pause, reflect and yearn
to know how often I have missed a turn
in life.

6/06/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to Away and Back


The Pebbles

Grounded in the bed of reason,
moved by strong but futile love
for mankind, we sense the turmoil
of the busy world above.
When the angry storm clouds gather
and the waves pile high and break,
we will hardly shift positions,
like a pebble in the lake.
We will hardly shift positions,
like a pebble in the lake.

Gently swayed beneath the surface,
safely resting in the sand,
we stay calm through the tornado
we don’t care to understand.
When amidst the rolling thunder
all the Earth’s foundations quake,
we await the end of madness,
like a pebble in the lake.
We await the end of madness,
like a pebble in the lake.

5/06/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


Falling Asleep

Feel the wrath of night approaching
when the day is analysed
and the nightmares are encroaching
on a mind unsupervised.

From a conscience overflowing
with a billion words unsaid
by the world, your fear is growing
like a weed out of the dead.

Feel the night of wrath approaching
characters like me and you,
freeing demons we’ve been poaching
so our nightmares may come true.

3/06/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to The Paradise of Darkness


The Big Freeze

With no contacts or relations,
in the gatehouse to the posh
castle for the Lord’s vacations
where Atlantic waters wash
its dramatic coastline lived
Fred McHugh, a man adrift.

In what was the harshest winter
of his life, his state was dire,
and he salvaged every splinter
he could find to fuel the fire;
when his furniture was shred
he burnt slats from his own bed.

Once he braved the bitter weather
and got matches from the shop;
at the end of Freddy’s tether
he decided on a stop,
sat and, as he took a break,
fell asleep to never wake.

All alone, not missed by any
friends or neighbours in these parts,
Fred McHugh was one of many
victims of the frozen hearts
in a world that, come what may,
still grows colder by the day.

30/05-1/06/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to The Sligo Poems


Holocausts

The guard sniffed Joshua like he was a turd.
‘You stink,’ he said and added with a smirk,
‘you should be whipped, but I’ll put in a word
for you to get a shower after work.’

The boy knew what this meant, for often he
had to dig trenches for the corpses which
came out of there while forced to joyfully
sing Onward Christian Soldiers in the ditch.

‘I can not wait for that great day to come,’
the fervent guard addressed the warder, ‘when
our country will be free of Jewish scum,
thanks to the tireless efforts of our men.

‘Praise God that in his wisdom he saw fit
to send a leader who, by Jesus’ grace,
will rid us of subhumans and won’t quit
until the master race reclaims its place.

‘These rats will nevermore control our lives
and stick their crooked noses in affairs
not theirs, nor interfere with virtuous wives
and daughters since we emptied out their lairs.

‘And now the enemy who tried to heist
our country lies defeated and will pay
the price God charges for rejecting Christ -
what are these heathens good for, anyway?’

‘Karl carved a world map on a Jewish hide,’
the warder winked at him, ‘which is no small
feat,’ and his colleague giggled and replied,
‘So they may serve a purpose after all.’

Joshua who feared the closing of the day
prayed for a miracle to happen, yards
from his tormentors, list’ning in dismay,
when the commander went up to the guards.

He told them, ‘I’m afraid I’ll have to damp
your merry spirits; Himmler has at last
sent orders to evacuate the camp
because the Soviets are approaching fast.’

A few years later Joshua led his troop
into the Promised Land, the rich reward
for suffering, and he addressed the group,
No mercy is the motto of the Lord!

‘We have been given half a country; now
we have to cleanse it of the parasites
it is infested with, and we shall vow
to slaughter those who disregard our rights.

‘The Palestinians who have refused
to leave their homes and flee the country must
be killed on sight, and any weapon used
is good enough for them; our cause is just!

‘God has commanded us, because we are
his chosen people, to exterminate
these foul abominable vermin bar
none for their sloth, their godlessness and hate.

‘And before long we’ll also take the rest
of what was promised to our people by
the Lord of Hosts, and there will be no nest
for the unchosen ones to hide; they’ll die.’

A family ran past them, and his men
managed to shoot two children in a trice.
The rest sought shelter in the mosque; that’s when
Joshua set off an anti-tank device.

And as he checked, there was no single trace
of any person in the empty hall,
but then he noticed, past the vacant space,
their flattened bodies sticking to the wall.

‘Come here,’ he told the others, ‘and admire
this stunning work of art; does it not look
like a Chagall? This image could inspire
our future artists to a children’s book.

‘All these barbarians don’t care about
our moral values and don’t know our pow’rs;
we shall not rest until they’re all wiped out
and the entire Holy Land is ours!'

15-22/05/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to From the Titans to the Titanic


The Panther

In Jardin des Plantes, Paris

His gaze has tired from passing bars that break up
his mind; he holds no more, a spirit furled.
He thinks there are a thousand bars that make up
his life, and past a thousand bars no world.

Firm paces in a mellow stride tread longly
around the tiniest circle like a mill
wheel, like a dance of pow’r that orbits strongly
the axis of a numbed but mighty will.

Rarely the curtain of his eye is lifted
to let an image enter; like a dart
it travels through tense limbs where it is shifted
and ceases being in the heart.

(Translation of Rainer Maria Rilke’s Der Panther)

16-17/05/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


Seven Days away from Nietzsche

This must be the strangest feature
my conviction ever found,
seven days away from Nietzsche
and a furlong underground.

From the hallways of spare neurons
it approached me to release
what we now call Epicurons,
those transmitters aimed to please.

Life is such a useless teacher,
and uncertainties abound
seven days away from Nietzsche
and a furlong underground.

Leaving mortals none the wiser,
life departs, oft unannounced,
from both squanderer and miser;
thus by life and death we’re trounced.

One last time I heard the creature
make its captivating sound
seven days away from Nietzsche
and a furlong underground.

7-9/05/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to This Doesn't Make Sense, Does It?


Bound

Sixteen tons and forty acres
are the means to keep us slaves
in our place and make us follow
from our cradles to our graves.

We have learned to fear our owners,
serving them as many years
as the universe has layers
with our labour and our tears.

The arcana of us minors
is to numb our angry souls,
and we find our heart’s ambitions
emptied out like Aubrey holes.

Told that with hard work and effort
we may, too, be masters, we
spend our lives to feed our owners
and support their gluttony.

Crammed under our masters’ table
we compete for every crumb:
sixteen tons and forty acres
make the world go round for some.

Chanting mantras as instructed,
we all leave our dreams unvoiced;
sixteen tons and forty acres
keep the scales unequipoised.

29-30/04/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


Centenary

Walked along the rolling Liffey
past what once was Liberty Hall
where the volunteers did answer
the Republic’s ardent call.

Sauntered down the thoroughfare that
in those days was Sackville Street
to the GPO where rebels
then prepared their final feat.

Passed the very spot where Patrick
Pearse proclaimed, as work begun,
a republic made of equals,
looking after everyone.

Tens of thousands celebrated
Ireland’s great Centenary
and commemorated heroes
in an Ireland still unfree.

18/04/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to High Kings and Taoiseachs


The Windigo Society

The old ones told us of the Windigo,
a fiend that feeds and thrives on human flesh,
and every meal would make the creature grow,
so, getting hungry, it would start afresh.

The more it eats, the more it grows in height;
the more it grows, the hungrier it gets,
so the ungentle giant’s appetite
sends it on killing sprees with no regrets.

When in the end the Windigo destroyed
all human life around it, it is doomed
to starve amidst the vast and barren void
that it created when it last consumed.

Is it not scary how in days of yore
a storytelling Cree’s perceptive mind
foresaw Capitalism long before
the beast emerged to terminate mankind?

16-18/04/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


Invitation to the Afterlife

After his victory Ahmose held
a meeting with the priests. ‘Now, thanks to my
campaigns, we have defeated and expelled
the Hyksos, but we’re still surrounded by
enemies who would love to get their hands
on Egypt’s treasures and our fertile lands.

‘The Hatti and the Nubians just wait
for signs of weakness,’ the young pharaoh said,
‘so we must think of ways to shield the state
from more invasions; foreigners should dread
a dedicated army, and I fear
this is the problem, to be blunt and clear.

‘We are conscripting peasants to defend
our realm and offer little in return,
so what incentive have they when we send
them off to fight for us? We have to learn
that taking them away from home and field
turns them against us, as the past revealed.

‘What difference does it make to them if they
are subjects of a foreign nation or
of Egypt; they still have to serve and pay
their fees and tributes as they did before.
So if we order them to lift our sword
we’ll have to offer them some small reward.’

The priests objected. ‘We can’t possibly
pay all our soldiers,’ one exclaimed. ‘We’ve just
emerged from war, and now we’ll have to see
to the restructure of the state. You must
be realistic!’ But the pharaoh said,
‘What I’ve in mind won’t cost a slice of bread.

‘I think of fully compensating all
the commoners for their hard work and strife
by tearing down the penetrable wall
of birthright, giving them the Afterlife,
so those who can afford embalming are
able to travel on the boat with Ra.’

‘The Afterlife for peasants? That’s insane!
The sacred scriptures clearly are at odds
with this idea, and no one can ordain
such edicts but the everlasting gods.’ -
‘And am I not a god myself? In that
capacity I’ll sign the concordat!’

And since that day the commoners enjoy
the prospect of a paradise for poor
but loyal subjects; nothing can destroy
their ardour as they patiently endure
all hardships and injustices they face
in expectation of a better place.

11/04/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to From the Titans to the Titanic


Space Programme

When the space explorers were gathered
to discuss the commanders’ plan
for the aeon ahead, one requested
to visit a planet again
he had passed on a previous mission
through a massive galaxy;
‘I think we should be exploring
its potentiality.’

The general smiled. ‘And what planet
is this? Are there civilised forms
of life?’ - ‘I think there’s potential,
albeit not yet by our norms;
you know that little blue planet
my fellow astronauts scoff
and where the dominant species
is killing each other off.’

‘You would try to contact an anthill
to figure out how it reacts;
we look for intelligent species
to exchange ideas and facts.
We’re not in the habit of teaching
barbarians while we explore;
besides, by the time you would get there
they won’t be around any more.’

7+9/04/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


Free World Problem Solving

The starving farmer stumbled past
his master’s overflowing store;
he reached his mansion on his last
legs and kept knocking at the door.
‘I’m sorry to disturb you,’ he
implored the man he came to meet,
‘but once we pay your tribute, we
ourselves have nothing left to eat.’ -
‘I know exactly how you feel,
but times are bad,’ his lord replied,
still chewing on his lavish meal,
‘yet there’s one thing that can be tried.’
So they went down on bended knee
and prayed to the economy.

In a forgotten ghost estate
a man lay on the doorstep of
a barricaded house, a fate
he chose so he’d escape the scoff
of passers-by in town, and when
the owner sauntered past he said,
‘I have no place to live, I can
not wash myself, and now I dread
the freezing winter which I fear
I mayn’t survive.’ The owner frowned
and claimed, ‘I hear you loud and clear,
but there’s a way to keep you sound.’
So they went down on bended knee
and prayed to the economy.

A pale tormented father came
into the doctor’s office. ‘Please,’
he asked and hung his head in shame,
‘my daughter has a rare disease,
and now she is about to die
because we simply can’t afford
the treatment.’ With a heavy sigh
the doctor slowly turned toward
the troubled man. ‘I feel your pain;
wish I could be of help to you
since this must be an awful strain,
but there is one thing we can do.’
So they went down on bended knee
and prayed to the economy.

They did not know on whom the mild
goddess of affluence confers
her gifts; who was not born her child
will never be a child of hers.

3/04/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


The Calling

When Anna Mary had retired
she grasped the opportunity
to spend a lot of time pursuing
her passion for embroidery.

But soon she suffered from arthritis
which made it painful, and she had
to look for something else; her sister
suggested she should paint instead.

Thus Grandma Moses picked up painting
when she was over seventy-eight;
so when you feel you found your calling,
don’t ever think that it’s too late.

31/03/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


The War of the Bottles

Hans Island is a barren rock which lies
amidst the hostile Arctic Ocean, far
from any human bustle, yet it is
claimed both by Denmark and by Canada.

Canadian troops take down the Danish flag
and hoist their own before they are away,
leaving some whisky bottles with the note,
‘Welcome to Canada! Enjoy your stay.’

The Danish troops take down the Maple Leaf
and hoist the Danish flag without delay,
leaving schnapps bottles with the friendly note,
‘Welcome to Denmark! Have a pleasant day.’

No casualties upon the bottlefield
call for more blood to flow, and all the while
no one gets hurt, no buildings are destroyed,
and foreigners are welcomed to the isle.

So here’s to Denmark and to Canada
who found a cultured way to disagree
and civilised the handling of disputes:
three cheers, for this is war as war should be!

16/03/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


Enlightenment at the Wheel

Those who grow up with superstitions find
it hard to shake them off and to achieve
enlightenment, but many do and leave
their childhood inculcation far behind.

The lucky ones who grow up unexposed
to faiths and creeds will never fall for one
since their immunity can’t be undone:
an open mind can nevermore be closed.

And thus enlightenment will gather more
and more freethinkers where free thought is rife
and take them for a ride through real life
while priests will yearn for darker days of yore.

This is each god’s inevitable curse:
enlightenment does not drive in reverse!

13-14/03/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to Friday School


Down in Uncanny Valley

Amongst unnatural slopes casting shadows
on its pastures whose ominous chill we can feel
lies a valley with studios, gardens and meadows
where everything functions and nothing is real.

The flowers are perfect in Uncanny Valley,
but nothing will ever grow or die;
its rivers and lakes look like liquid blue jelly,
and all living creatures perturbedly pass by.

The locals of Uncanny Valley are gentle
unless they’ve been programmed otherwise,
but, though they are mindless, there is something mental
about them which shows in their speech and their eyes.

Set up as a fairground of tourist attractions,
the village is shunned like a bog in the night,
for the residents’ language, demeanour and actions
appear almost human, but still not quite.

They creep out the visitors while they are giving
the children a scare who then try to abscond;
their valley, my friend, is no place for the living,
and no one discovered what lies beyond.

12/03/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to The Paradise of Darkness


The Gratifying Art of Adaptation

When your pursuit of happiness,
due to the Fates’ harassment,
ends in a cul de sac, I guess
it’s time for reassessment.

Then be no grouch who just despairs
and lives for life’s resentment
but take a breath, dismiss your cares
and settle for contentment.

5/03/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


The Dawn of Time

When precisely was the dawn of time?
Was it when the universe once more
started to expand, or not before
creatures rose from thick primeval slime?

Was it when a weary humanoid
gave his hands a rest and walked on foot?
Was it when the first smart caveman put
on a fire he and his mates enjoyed?

Anyway, it finally dawned on us
that there’s time, and that it’s moving on;
yet one day (or night) it might be gone
like a jaded driver from a bus.

But what time of day of time is it now?
Are we living in the noon of time?
Is it dusk already? Will it climb
out of sight just like the sun, and how?

We don’t know; the end of time, we learn,
may be nigher, may be farther than
we believe. Nobody knows its plan,
and it may or it may not return.

4/03/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to This Doesn't Make Sense, Does It?


The Blood of Verden

The priest addressed his frightened congregation,
the children, men and women in their grief,
‘Though we are tested by the powers of darkness,
we shall not waver in our firm belief!

‘We do not know why Donar kept his silence
when the barbarians marched in and felled
his sacred Irminsul, and why the heaven
did not fall down on those who have rebelled.

‘We do not know why Wodan hasn’t punished
the faithless infidels, why Freyja stays
away from us, but this we know for certain
in all: the gods work in mysterious ways.

‘These unbelievers worship inside houses
their gods can’t enter, and they pray to cold
and lifeless images, but in their wisdom
our gods will soon repay them hundredfold.

‘The preachers of false gods now seem to triumph,
but we all know that in the gods’ great plan
these strangers in the end will meet their downfall
and see the one true faith prevail again.

‘Wodan, in his eternal grace and mercy,
though our own land be watered with our blood,
eventually will sentence the intruders
and kill them in an even bigger flood.

‘Though we be slain today as Wodan’s martyrs
we shan’t allow them to achieve their goal:
we must not bow to any graven image
to save our lives lest we should lose our soul.

‘Should we betray the ones who gently guided
our lives? How could we possibly renounce
the gods who have so generously blessed us
and those we cherish on so many counts?

‘Those who submit will never see Valhalla
nor meet their faithful loved ones at its hearth;
therefore don’t cast away your life eternal
for the few years you may have left on Earth.

‘Preserve your piety; the blood of Verden
will scream out to the everlasting gods
to be avenged against the cruel invaders -
naught shall remain of them but earthly clods.

‘The blood of Verden on their hands will mark them
as long as they shall live, but like a gust
they’ll soon be gone, and if they are remembered
it’ll be as persecutors of the just.

‘Dying for Wodan is the greatest honour,
and entering his hall we’ll feel no loss;
we’ll yield our earthly lives instead of kneeling
before those silly idols or the cross.’

Put to the sword, the dauntless congregation
used their last breath to praise the gods and pray;
four thousand Saxons proudly died as martyrs
for their unshakeable belief that day.

25-26/02/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to From the Titans to the Titanic


After Noon

The dayflower addressed the setting sun,
‘I shall be dying with your light and would
quite like to understand why when you stood
highest, you never taught me of your run.

‘Since I believed that life had just begun
when it got close to noon, you really should
have notified me that this was as good
as it would get before my day is done.

‘You should have pointed out my peak’, she said,
‘and you should have encouraged me to quaff
your light upon a path I won’t retread.’

The sun however answered with a laugh,
‘You would have hung your petals and your head
in deep despair and missed the second half.’

19/02/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


The Lone Wolf and the Feral Donkey

As they were running from the raging
bushfire to reach a safer spot,
a lone wolf and a feral donkey
commenced to talk about their lot.

‘I used to live and hunt with others’,
the wolf remembered with a groan;
‘their herd mentality annoyed me,
and I fare better on my own.’

‘I used to be a beast of burden’,
the donkey brayed, ‘but by and by
I figured out it’s not my purpose
to carry others’ loads and die.’

‘Though we’ve been burnt’, the wolf concluded,
our independence stayed intact;
it’s clear we were not meant to live as
pack animals, and that’s a fact.’

16/02/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


Ballypotemkin

The picturesque village of Ballypotemkin
outdoes every place in the world with its style,
and its ivory tower of wealth can be spotted
from any point on the Emerald Isle.
Its palace is made out of tea stone marble,
there’s a market where fates are bought and sold,
a mall lined with milk and honey fountains,
and its streets are paved with solid gold.

The parlours are crawling with rulers and merchants,
with moneychangers and their wives,
their offspring and the several others
who have never done a day’s work in their lives.
Their days are spent with entertainment,
with money laundering and debates
inside their village, and commoners aren’t
allowed within fifty miles of its gates.

The only ones ever leaving the village
are the tax collectors who have to be quick:
to finance their masters’ extravagant lifestyle
they rob all the workers, the poor and the sick.
They know no mercy and have no compassion,
and those who beg beg to no avail,
for those who have nothing are forced from their houses
out onto the streets, or they’re thrown into gaol.

The villagers welcome guests from rich countries,
be they business partners or tourists who pay,
‘Céad Mile Fáilte to our country,
we hope you will have a pleasant stay.
But don’t venture too far from Ballypotemkin
since this land is, despite all the troops we deploy,
full of sinister savages who are rejecting
the prosperous way of life we enjoy.’

18/01/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to High Kings and Taoiseachs


Al-Nakba

This genocide is now officially declared
open, and there are many reasons to be scared:
the British ceased their occupation to replace
it with a foreign people to invade our space,
to take our land and exile us from where we’ve dwelled
from ages immemorial to be dispelled,
and those who lost their home will always have to roam.

Eight hundred thousand have to leave their homes behind;
Semites displaced by Semites who regard their kind
as the superior race and chosen people who
are justified by God in everything they do,
strongly supported by the powers that insist
that both our people and our country don’t exist,
and those who lost their home will always have to roam.

And so our exodus begins; we have to yield
each orange orchard, olive grove and mustard field
that has provided for our happy families
with its abundance over bygone centuries.
Villages are demolished and our blood is spilled
as those refusing to evacuate are killed,
but those who lost their home will always have to roam.

The never ending train of refugees leaves tracks:
Muslims and Christians are now forced to turn their backs
on their own heritage, not knowing where to go
nor how to get there, with their spirits being low.
While some find shelter in what’s left of Palestine
for the time being, most of us have no design,
and those who lost their home will always have to roam.

Of those who didn’t starve to death and who weren’t shot
there’s hardly anybody who will find a spot
to settle. An unwanted people, we endure
the knowledge that our lives will never be secure.
We’re outlaws in our stolen country; anyone
may kill us on the street with nothing being done,
and those who lost their home will always have to roam.

The future that awaits us will be bleaker still:
the scrap of land which the UN has left us will
be occupied as well. Millions of refugees
will languish in our neighbours’ camps; our future sees
two million people murdered for their native land
amidst a nescient world that fails to understand
while those who lost their home will always have to roam.

30/12/6256 RT (2015 CE)- 4/01/6257 RT (2016 CE), added to From the Titans to the Titanic


The Zombie Mill

The bokors of this world drug other mortals
into a stupor and control their will
to make them readily queue at the portals
and operate their nocent zombie mill.

They are rewarded with their daily soma
after they worked the treadwheel nine to five,
the zombie powder that prolongs their coma
while causing them to think that they’re alive.

They ridicule the notion they’re unliving
and boast about their productivity;
as long as their possessors keep on giving
them soma, they insist, their souls are free.

And as the zombies footslog to their fife,
the bokors in their fortress live the life.

28/12/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


The Heavenly Accountant

The heavenly accountant keeps
records of me and you,
and in the end he’ll pay or charge
us the amount we’re due.

Ultimate fairness is his trade,
and you won’t see him flinch
from holding up accounting law;
he’ll never budge an inch.

I do the things he tells me to
and never ask him why,
knowing I’ll be rewarded with
high interest in the sky.

For all my kind unselfish deeds
I ask for a receipt;
for these he’ll credit bonus points
towards my balance sheet.

All those opposing him or me,
his client, are but fools
who’ll find their credit rating drop
to reinforce the rules.

And those who wronged me with intent
or otherwise displeased
him will be fined by their accounts
being frozen and then seized.

And if I harm someone myself,
I’ll simply tell him that
I’m sorry, and he’ll leniently
write off my awful debt.

When our accounts are being closed,
of this I have no doubt,
all the positions on our sheets
will finally even out.

24/12/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to Friday School


Ludwigian Spacetime

If time existed for a reason
and were a transmagnetic loop
around the universe, each season
it would be leaping through that hoop.

The gravity of such a motion
would certainly lead time astray,
but since we’re atoms in time’s ocean,
we wouldn’t notice, anyway.

The force would leave the barrier brittle
and throw all space right out of place
but not affect the grain-sized tittle
of space we occupy in space.

Outside observers without stricture
may watch, but they will never find
our world because the bigger picture,
I’m sure, will not include mankind.

18/12/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to This Doesn't Make Sense, Does It?


Salesman Fear

Fear is a salesman with no competition:
in order to create a market, he
needs to create intolerance, suspicion
and boastful ignorance for all to see.

For starters he will warn you of the dangers
of the unknown and different creeping in
and then point out your neighbours are but strangers,
secretly plotting to destroy your kin.

As soon as he has scared you into hiring
his services after your peace has popped,
he will convince your neighbours you’re conspiring
against them and demand you must be stopped.

He’ll kindle tensions while assisting neither
of the two parties and, just like a tyke,
impatiently await the day when either
side will be launching the preemptive strike.

You’ll turn to him to seek revenge, quite willing
to give him all you have so he’ll wipe out
all of your hated enemies, fulfilling
your wish for peace under his watchful clout.

Just like your adversaries, he’ll direct you
to hand him over all your funds and, too,
your rights and freedom so he may protect you
from those whom he, in turn, protects from you.

He stands above the ashes in elation,
a Machiavellian salesman filled with glee,
the only one to gain from his creation:
a feud he’ll fuel for all eternity.

11/12/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


Building the Trans-Siberian Railway

How to build the longest railway in the world without the funds
is a story that needs telling, and I’ll only tell it once.
From the port of Vladivostok to the Muscovite arcades
one cheap set of tracks was thought to be sufficient, and brigades
of surveyors were sent out to chart Siberia far and wide;
using their imagination, no one set a foot outside,
and their laziness and caution that excused them from the freeze
led to many complications, setbacks and fatalities.

As the natives were unwilling, convicts had to do the work,
labourers from China, Persia, Italy and many a Turk:
armed with picks and wooden shovels we attacked the frozen ground
to prepare it for the railway with the elements around.
In the evenings we’d be eating unidentifiable soup,
oft with added meat from prostrate horses to delight the group,
and then go to sleep in shabby tents or shacks prepared on site
with the convicts being shackled to wheelbarrows for the night.

Never knowing what’s around the corner in this hostile land
we were in for some surprises: rivers, mountains, forests and
bogs where tundra was expected so we had to watch our steps,
and quite often we were falling for the vast Siberian Traps.
Building bridges over rivers was the most ungrateful task
and most dangerous because there was no man who dared to ask
for a safety line, so many of the workers lost their grip
or their foothold in the arctic cold and took their final slip.

We dug tunnels through the granite rock formations with just picks,
hatchets, hand drills and whatever we could find out in the sticks.
Modern countries have pneumatic drills and lots of dynamite;
we, as we removed the debris, pulled wheel barrows through the tight
tunnels just like beasts of burden, struggling hard for strength and breath,
and it’s hardly a surprise that many a worker met his death.
Here, as anywhere along the railway, tragedies were rife,
and Tunguska was the only site that never claimed a life.

In the taiga there’s a forest darker than the world of yore
with its trees so tall and dense that sunlight never touched its floor.
When we felled the trees, the warming sunbeams reached the ice below;
thus the place became a stream which carried with its forceful flow
both our men and our equipment downwood to an unknown fate
like a punishment for humans who have dared to desecrate
Nature’s jealously protected last arboreal sanctuary,
ruling that it would be taking one of us for every tree.

Places mapped as steppe quite often turned out to be swamp or wood
where we’d fight mosquitoes, and the thickest lay’r of clothing could
not protect us from the nasty sting of the Siberian gnat;
thus infections spread like wildfire which reduced our numbers at
an alarming rate and added to the casualties of those
who had lost their lives in grisly accidents and those who froze
to their deaths throughout the winters, and I swear upon my soul
there has been no undertaking of mankind with such a toll.

Hundreds of thousands built the railway, thousands died along the way
as we spread six thousand miles of brittle steel so others may
travel on the rails that angry natives call the ‘Iron Scar’;
as you ride the Trans-Siberian train, the brainchild of the Tsar,
you may well enjoy the comforts that the operator boasts,
but while touring through the sleeping land you may espy our ghosts,
scattered through the vast Siberian landscape where we risked our necks,
where we laboured, where we suffered, where we died and left our tracks.

5-7/12/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to From the Titans to the Titanic


The Cabin of the Dead

The funny things Life gave to me,
if strung like beads upon a thread,
could help me inadvertently
to build the cabin of the dead.

A little peephole to the West
will do; no skylight and no vent,
no door suggesting that our rest
is any less than permanent.

And in the storm to take mankind
we will be sheltered who have fled,
and we will be at peace of mind
inside the cabin of the dead.

4/12/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to This Doesn't Make Sense, Does It?


Patchwork Mankind

Our lives are patches with their own motif,
their different shapes and sizes randomly
assigned and patched together; we don’t see
too far beyond our own and our belief.

Our lives will touch each other for a brief
and unknown time span, and the more that we
appreciate each opportunity,
the less we’ll feel regret within our grief.

Our impossibility to touch the past
and limited ability to touch
the future should not leave ourselves resigned;
we all can make an impact that may last
by our mere effort and contribute such
to the unceasing patchwork of mankind.

29/11/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


The Yule Ride

It’s when the days are at their darkest
and when the nights are long and cold
that all the world’s good little children
will be rewarded hundredfold.

They’ll leave a boot beside the chimney,
filled up with carrots and with hay,
before they go to bed and dream of
the treats already on their way.

And in the night an old white-bearded
man will be riding on his mount
across the still deserted night sky
beneath the stars he scarce can count.

Wherever boots are on the rooftops
his eight-legged horse which knows the drill
will lick its lips and be descending
to greedily devour its fill.

The sage will stuff the boots with candy
and toys and mount his steed anew
whose shiny nose is red from drinking
the blood of those its master slew.

And once the presents are delivered,
Odin will swing his axe to seize
the men and gods who have opposed him
and butcher all his enemies.

At dawn a lot of happy children
will check their boots and have a ball.
In case that Odin didn’t get you,
a happy Yuletide to you all!

26/11/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to Nail on the Head


Erich Kästner and the Gordian Knot

When Alexander the supposedly
Great conquered Gordium (I guess a lot
of you learned this in school), he was approached
and challenged to untie the Gordian Knot.

Thought to be ununtiable, this work
of art, this masterpiece made out of cord
that’d lasted for two thousand years or more,
was sliced by Alexander with his sword.

His soldiers cheered and praised their fervent king’s
intelligence and ingenuity,
but the young conqueror was lucky that
my mother didn’t see his victory.

If I, no less original and smart
than Alexander, ever would have tried
to cut the string of a tied box, she would
have told me off and pocketed my pride.

And if she’d been in Gordium, no way
would she have praised or even feared the king:
‘Alex, one does not cut through knots,’ she would
have told him. ‘There is always use for string.’

And in a world still torn by many a sword
the Alexandrian solution is,
in fact, the problem; thus we should express
ourselves in other ways than copying his.

The Macedonian king should not have cut
the knot a gifted artist did create;
and when he did, his men shouldn’t have cheered;
and when they did, he shouldn’t have felt great.

(based on Erich Kästner’s ‘Der gordische Knoten’)

13/11/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


The Feral Horses

We haven’t always roamed this free and easy;
our ancestors lived in an era when
they were imprisoned in corrals and stables
and forced to work and carry goods and men.

We have to thank the many daring heroes
who, facing punishment, stayed brave and strong,
who shed their ploughs and who escaped their masters
to get back to the wild where we belong.

That’s how they freed themselves from all those people
who think we’re property to own and tame,
and as we watch them in their cars and houses,
we wonder why they haven’t done the same.

13/11/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


Edgar and the Assassins

I first noticed the Assassins when I wasn’t even three
and we children all were gathered at our mother’s bed as she,
never suffering senescence, closed her eyes for evermore
and her spirit hence was tethered to the Night’s Plutonian shore.
Clothed in black, with sombre faces, they awaited her demise,
disappearing in the darkness once they had secured their prize;
since your humble servant chases happiness with bated breath,
left forever in the starkness of a life entombed in death.

Feeling grown in adolescence I became courageous and
eagerly and fiercely courted Jane, the mother of a friend,
but the hideous Assassins soon appeared again and claimed
her who has inspired, supported and reviewed my not yet famed
poems written to entreat her into feeling what I felt.
In the evenings, armed with flowers, oft afront her plot I knelt,
wishing I once more could meet her, feel the comfort that she gave,
and I cannot count the hours I spent weeping at her grave.

As a sergeant major, serving far away, I once received
news that my dear foster mother, like the one for whom I’d grieved
long before, and whose unswerving love protected me, was ill
with consumption. Like no other she perceived me; in the still
of that eve I saw her lying in the dim caliginous light;
the malign Assassins’ shady shadows led her into night.
Knowing that she’d soon be dying, sharing my true mother’s fate,
I took leave to see the lady once again but came too late.

Then the tide, it seemed, was turning: happiness approached my life
on the day that I got married to Virginia, and my wife
lit a torch that kept on burning in the dungeons of my mind
as the joyfulness she carried took me over with its blind
blissfulness that knows no error, never asking when or why.
Once she sang for me and others in our sitting room when I
heard her cough and then, in terror, saw a blood drop on her lip:
the disease that’d killed my mothers held Virginia in its grip!

And behind the grand piano the Assassins stood and smirked
who had left their place of hiding where so many years they’d lurked.
They extinguished her soprano, watched her suffer and decay;
when it looked like she was gliding into nothingness one day,
suddenly they disappeared and soon my wife seemed on the road
to recovery and cheating death from what he thought she owed.
Gradually her symptoms cleared and she felt better, but I learned
soon enough all hope is fleeting: the Assassins had returned.

Many years they kept on playing their perverse sadistic game,
hide and seek with one who’d gladly give his life, his soul, his fame
to redeem the one decaying in his very arms who then
shows improvement just to sadly fall into decline again.
As malicious tongues were speeding up the process with their art,
hope and sheer despair were ripping heart and mind of mine apart;
then her body kept receding and her pupils lost their spark
till the one I loved was slipping into everlasting dark.

Two years later as I travelled to the Richmond of my youth
I looked up my childhood darling; finally the ugly truth
of our split was being unravelled - though we’d been engaged, her stout
father who was always snarling at me had, as she found out,
intercepted all our letters, told her to forget me which
she found futile, called her wild and married her to someone rich.
Widowed like myself, no fetters bound Elmira - eagerly
I proposed to her; she smiled and after weeks said yes to me.

We decided I’d collect my aunt and my entire estate
from New York, and by November we would set a wedding date.
But I started to suspect my fortune, knowing life forsook
me too often, and remember all the darkness as I took
leave of her and heavy-heartedly prepared to say goodbye,
pondering why fate dictated that the ones I love must die.
Was she spared because we parted timely? Must my love be feared?
- Then, as if they long had waited, the Assassins reappeared.

‘Edgar, darling, you have fainted!’ I could hear Elmira yell.
‘You should stay right here,’ she pleaded, ‘for a while until you’re well.’
But I could not get acquainted to the thought of more delay;
furthermore, some business needed looking after on the way.
I believed that I could handle such a trip, against her will,
and I told her I’d be taking the next boat; my fever still
held no candle to the gnawing inner illness that I bore,
and although my limbs were shaking I set off to Baltimore.

There I took the train to flatter an aspiring poetess
up in Philadelphia, finding that she wasn’t home; I guess
that she didn’t get my letter to discuss her work. I went
to see friends who kept reminding me that I should not torment
my sick body and who nursed me for some days until I packed
my belongings; I felt bad to turn them down despite being racked.
Even though the fever cursed me and my compass lost its torque
I informed them that I had to travel onwards to New York.

Walking to the railway station I reflected on my case:
Must I watch my sweetheart perish till she rests in night’s embrace?
Witness her annihilation? Could I free her if I died?
I might save the one I cherish, I concluded, if I tried.
And I reached into my pocket where I had been keeping some
laudanum for my depression, for the times I’m feeling glum,
next to dear Elmira’s locket, my fresh source of joy and woe,
whom I love with all the passion of some twenty years ago.

Maryland would hold elections on the third, and so I changed
plans, rode back to Baltimore and thought my end could be arranged
in a way that my connections think that I’d been drugged and cooped.
On the train a transient wore and fondled tattered rags and whooped:
‘Mister, can you spare a quarter?’ - I just smiled at him and rose:
‘I don’t have a cent,’ I told him, ‘but you’re welcome to my clothes.’
Shielded by a friendly porter we swapped clothes, which was my plan;
may a better outfit mould him to become a luckier man.

After I’ve been sleeping rough to stay unknown, all I desired
was my death; I once had tried this when my darling wife expired.
This time I shall take enough to make well sure my end is quick,
and the bottle that’s inside this coat should neatly to do the trick.
Laudanum, my sweet Nepenthe, set my troubled spirit free,
let me leave this vale of dolour in a shroud of mystery.
Heavens, heavens, kindly send the angels down to her to bless
dear Elmira, Hebe’s scholar: may she age in happiness.

Now my selfishness of living ends beside a polling place,
and I soon shall see the meadows of the underworld, embrace
deities who are forgiving and, far from this planet’s dearth,
meet my loved ones in the shadows who have haunted me on earth.

7-10/11/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to From the Titans to the Titanic


Moonshine on Inishmurray

The moonshine nurtured Inishmurray
from ages immemorial
where cormorants and gannets scurry
at ease since no raptorial
predator’s there to pose a danger,
nor would a human be a stranger.

I can recall the holy well in
the island’s sunlight and its cool
water, the house we used to dwell in,
the fulmars nesting near the school
and all my classmates’ smiling faces
in this, the happiest of places.

But though we love our birthplace dearly,
its craggy nature and its strand,
it is impossible to merely
live off the ocean or the land,
and so for aeons we’ve been filling
the gap by mountain dew distilling.

Mainland police came oft to visit
the island since they were inclined
to end our trade and asked ‘Where is it?’;
we wouldn’t tell, they wouldn’t find.
And yet, despite our different labels,
we made them welcome at our tables.

But on occasions they discovered
our kegs and sent our men to gaol,
so pending hardship always hovered
above our heads and more travail;
at times they found more than the shipment
and confiscated the equipment.

Then came Gardaí; we aren’t skittish,
but they, as soon we understood,
were more committed than the British
to stamping out our livelihood;
with all the still houses demolished,
our business had to be abolished.

The island life is unforgiving,
and in the end we all have swerved
from home so we can make a living;
today the moon shines unobserved
on Inishmurray as the island’s
desertion bore a pensive silence.

The spirit that so long has slumbered
will never cease to live and breathe,
and though my days on Earth be numbered
which soon I’ll watch from underneath,
there’ll be no gravedigger to bury
my memories of Inishmurray.

9-11/10/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to The Sligo Poems


Restlessness

When peace at last approached his weary mind
and the relief for which he so did yearn,
he gazed upon the coast where he would learn
to leave the worries of the past behind.

He’d wandered through the jungle where he’d pined
for peace and safety as his heart did burn,
with unknown dangers lurking at each turn
and challenges no other man could find.

And finally he reached the peaceful shore
with golden sand, blue waters, verdant swards
and nothing to be scared of any more.

His days flowed slowly and they struck no chords,
and in the peace he thought of days of yore,
shouldered his bindle and strolled junglewards.

30/09-1/10/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


The Insecure Door

Once the doubtful door proclaimed:
‘I’m aware that I’ve been framed,
if you will excuse my railings;
I’m aware of all my failings.

‘I’m not sure if I’m supposed
to be open or be closed,
and the tenant is a vandal
with a touch that’s hard to handle.

‘That’s the reason I have cringed,
and I start to feel unhinged.’
It was taken out thereafter
as the doorbell rang with laughter.

24/09-1/10/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to This Doesn't Make Sense, Does It?


Quango, Quango, Quango

(Tune: Quando, Quando, Quando)

Tell us, when will you be ours,
tell us, quango, quango, quango,
with no price caps and the pow’rs
to charge anything we like?

Every trickle twelve cents,
every bath is a tenner;
there’ll be no more pretence
that we care about the world.

It will be our company
and no quango, quango, quango,
with the profits flowing free
when the next election’s closed.

Every trickle twelve cents,
every bath is a tenner;
there’ll be no more pretence
that we care about the world.

28/09/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to Irish Ways


Going Shopping with Mum and Sensory Overload

Voices, noises all around me
put my mind in such a spin
that it feels that they have drowned me
in a pool of sticks and tin.

Humming tremors from the freezer,
drumming fingers on the shelves
and the ringing tills are teaser
cacophonies in themselves.

People talking to each other,
people talking on the phone
and the background music smother
all my thoughts and things I’ve known.

Different smells of different persons
and of different brands incite
all my senses, and it worsens
with the fluorescent light.

While these stimuli affect me,
you complain I don’t obey;
how the hell do you expect me
to discern a word you say?

15-17/09/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to Away and Back


Sligo Bay Sunset

When you watch the sunset at the harbour
with its sailing boats against the clear
sky, remember that in times of famine
things were less idyllic at the pier.

Those who felt that Ireland held no future
for them gathered at the harbour gate:
overcrowded coffin ships were leaving
for a better world or grisly fate.

That was in the distant past, however,
and as you admire the day’s remains,
you won’t see a soul without a future,
for today they leave on aeroplanes.

Therefore nothing blemishes the scenic
quietude out here at close of day,
and you can enjoy the tranquil stillness
when the sun sets over Sligo Bay.

13-14/09/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to The Sligo Poems


The Decline of Sitting Bull

‘What am I doing in this place?’, the aging
chief wondered loudly and laid down his pen.
‘I should be with my tribe instead of staging
my own defeat to entertain white men.

‘I fought when white invaders violated
the treaty after they discovered gold
upon our land rather than watch the hated
intruders massacre our young and old.

‘Their rifles couldn’t quell our angry voices,
we didn’t budge when we were being mobbed.
They told us: “Sell or starve – these are your choices”,
and when we chose to starve our land was robbed.

‘And yet we held out longer than all others
in Canada before we were undone,
and I shall be remembered by my brothers
as the last Sioux forced to lay down his gun.

‘And now I’m but the pale invaders’ flunkey,
riding around the theatre each night,
performing like a broken circus monkey
for the oppressors that I used to fight.

‘These days I’m merely travelling, rehearsing
and putting on a show for old and young,
my only pleasure being that of cursing
the audiences in my native tongue.

‘I was the last to stand against the traitors
who foully breached our treaty, that’s for sure,
and here I’m sitting charging some spectators
for signing autographs to feed the poor.

‘I shall rejoin the people of my nation,
I shall return to where my tribe was thrown:
the barren wastelands of our reservation
to suffer, starve and die amongst my own.’

10-11/09/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to From the Titans to the Titanic


The Refugee

We’re not a faceless mass of otherness,
we’re individuals who try to get
through life, just like yourself, but have to fear
that now this very life is under threat.

Bombed by your master and his satellites,
exploited by your corporations, starved
for others’ profit and expelled from what
we called our home, our destiny was carved.

We’re fellow human beings, nothing less,
just take a closer look at us to see
it for yourself, and this is all we ask:
the right to live, and live with dignity.

7/09/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


Dromahair Road

Starlings sing their joyful chorus,
lambs are bleating everywhere,
and the sunshine warms the tarmac
on the road to Dromahair.

Through the ancient walls and hedges
I can see the distant hills
and amongst the slender birches
patches of young daffodils.

Where the persevering farmers
drove their cattle to the fair
I must walk without companions
on the road to Dromahair.

Looking back I see the stations
I have covered on my way:
there’s the fading town of Sligo
and the mound of Knocknarea.

Soon I’ll reach the Bonet, pending
like a salmon in the air,
for my fate shall be unravelled
once I've passed through Dromahair.

29-30/08/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to The Sligo Poems


The Demon Duck of Doom

When visiting the Miocene
in North Australia, my dear child,
remember many unforeseen
dangers are lurking in the wild.

There’s a particularly grim
example of Anatidae:
a duck that doesn’t fly nor swim
but roams the forests hunting prey.

At eight foot tall, it’s understood,
five hundred pounds of feathered greed
will chase you through the ancient wood:
the demon duck of doom must feed!

So when you innocently rove
the woods and stumble o’er a knag
and hear a quack from yonder grove,
best leave your breadcrumbs in the bag.

11-12/08/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to Nail on the Head


The Denis O'Brien Song

I bought this country fair and square,
lock, stock and barrel; pout,
but people must not be aware
of how this came about.
I milk the cow that I don’t feed,
push profits to the max,
and all the same I do indeed
not pay a cent in tax.
I shall protect my reputation
from truth and its design;
I’ve purchased the entire nation -
it’s mine, it’s mine, it’s mine!

I own the state, I call the shots,
tenders I want I get
as I, from one of many yachts,
instruct the cabinet.
My corporate welfare won’t be cut
as long as I keep on
sponsoring those in power, but
my calm may soon be gone.
I shall protect my reputation
from truth and its design;
I’ve purchased the entire nation -
it’s mine, it’s mine, it’s mine!

Some tell my story; I take steps
to silence them through fear,
and if they do not shut their traps,
my lawyers get in gear.
I sue the press when it incites
awareness, and I sue
wayward TDs and satire sites
that publish what I do.
I shall protect my reputation
from truth and its design;
I’ve purchased the entire nation -
it’s mine, it’s mine, it’s mine!

I have the right to privacy
while tightening your chain;
I’ll sue all those who mention me
or take my name in vain.
My wrath is terrible but just,
my viewpoint well opined;
I’ll silence Ireland if I must
to keep the facts confined.
I shall protect my reputation
from truth and its design;
I’ve purchased the entire nation -
it’s mine, it’s mine, it’s mine!

7-8/08/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to Irish Ways


Emile and the Medusa’s Head

Emile enjoyed his cheese and tried to write,
but no idea would call on him, so he
summoned Athena: ‘Goddess, hear my plight
and be my inspiration - answer me!’

‘Thank goddess’, he declared, surprised she’d yield
to novelists but soon was filled with dread
as on Athena’s awe-inspiring shield
he recognised Medusa’s ugly head.

The petrified Emile observed the stern
expression on its face and uttered: ‘Please,
if this is it, I beg you do not turn
me into stone; just turn me into cheese!’

- When you enjoy a cheese plate with your cola,
remember who created gorgonzola!

2-4/08/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to This Doesn't Make Sense, Does It?


Guilt

Atrocities have haunted humans
since time began, as scrolls have shown,
and history describes the leaders
as if they’d acted on their own.

A psycho and the ones infected
with his ideas who set the stage
bear equal guilt to one who murdered
another in a frenzied rage.

Regardless of how many follow
his evil doctrine and his reign,
their terror and abuse could quickly
be stopped by those remaining sane.

The biggest problem aren’t fanatics
nor those believing every lie:
the utmost guilty ones are surely
those who know better and stand by.

29/07/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


Ashbourne Annie is a fictional working class character created by the 'Labour' party in a pathetic attempt to get their voters back.

Ashbourne Annie Votes Labour

When Ashbourne Annie voted Labour,
her husband lost his job, you see,
and was, just like their next-door neighbour,
forced onto JobsBridge to work for free.

Though they spent less and less on eating,
the bank they’d saved was unimpressed,
and though they cancelled creche and heating,
their little home was repossessed.

They now sleep in the streets of Dublin
where stars are twinkling from afar;
as if this wasn’t amply troublin’,
one child died of pneumonia.

‘Things will get better now’, her Labour
TD vowed canvassing one day;
if Ashbourne Annie still votes Labour,
she sure deserves what comes her way.

26-27/07/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to Irish Ways


Pluto’s Heart

Persephone picked flowers in
the fields, and as she twirled,
a cunning Pluto carried her
off to the Underworld.

And once the maiden had calmed down,
Pluto professed his love
which was requited, but the girl
still missed the world above.

Demeter, her splenetic mum,
demanded her return,
but back above Persephone
for her lost love did yearn.

And so they reached a compromise:
six months of every year
she’d spend on Earth at Mother’s side,
the others with her dear.

Demeter still preserved her grudge
and grew it like a pod,
claiming her hated son-in-law
is but a heartless god.

Three thousand years have passed, but now
the truth we can impart:
the new horizons clearly show
that Pluto has a heart!

22/07/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to This Doesn't Make Sense, Does It?


Ant City

Ants in Ant City have to work all day
to serve their greedy queen who idly lounges
within the nest they built for it; their pay
are scraps of all the fodder that it scrounges
off them; each morning they’re assigned to labour,
provided they are faster than their neighbour,
while those without assignment face damnation:
they and their families confront starvation.

The foragers and workers never shirk
but gather food around the town to fatten
the immobile queen who never had to work
but lies and chews in a cocoon of satin
while soldiers are attacking every charger;
sadly, just like a windigo grows larger
by being fed and hungrier by growing,
there’ll be no end to this one’s greed nor slowing.

Other than other ants they reproduce
within their caste; the queen claims those with ardour
may some fine day (this thought is quite abstruse)
turn into queens by working more and harder.
Meanwhile its own descendents, growing bolder,
keep thriving with it and, as they grow older,
take over or, by taking one large plunge from
their nest, found other colonies to sponge from.

A worker once lamented with a frown:
‘Why feed that gorging ogre? It assures us
that once it’s full, the food will trickle down,
but it won’t e’er be full and just up-yours us.
It lives in luxury while we are bleeding:
there must be more to life than work and feeding
the bloody queen’, he ranted, and thereafter
he heard the city echoing with laughter.

5-19/07/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


Aisling 2016

‘Born to an unwed mother, Independence,’
the spéirbhean told me of young Ireland’s grief,
‘the Church immured her due to her descendance
and held her captive for the priest’s relief.

‘And when she came of age and thus the cleric
at last was done with her, he sold her to
the moneychanger, known for the barbaric
way that he treats his slaves, both old and new.

‘Today she works for nothing, suffers deeply,
does not get fed and, making matters worse,
gets whipped each evening just before she’s cheaply
whored out to pay for debts that are not hers.

‘There’s just one way that we can put things right:
let Ireland and her mother reunite!’

30/06/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to High Kings and Taoiseachs


Avenging the Children

Khrabanas and his wife Khrabina strutted
across the cornfield as the sun stood high,
but when a burst of gunshots barely missed them,
they sought the shelter of the woods nearby.

After the shock, they made their journey homewards
and checked that all their young ones were all right,
and, to be safe, the two stayed on the lookout
throughout the evening and throughout the night.

Next day their oldest one announced: ‘I’m ready
to leave the nest and Mummy’s apron strings’,
but Father said: ‘It’ll be another fortnight
before the lot of you can spread your wings.’

‘Don’t get your glossy feathers in a ruffle’,
his son replied, got up and stood upon
the threshold of their elevated eyrie:
‘Watch, I can fly!’, he shouted and was gone.

He flapped a little on his travel downwards
and landed in the bushes on his back;
the farmer’s drooling dog came running over,
considering the raven chick a snack.

It soon let go as the protective parents
kept pecking at its head and fled in fear;
the chick was brought to safety, but they worried:
‘Let’s hope it doesn’t lead the farmer here!’

When later on they found a rabbit’s carcass
amidst the field, Khrabanas played it safe:
‘The farmer may have laced the corpse with poison;
let’s feed the dog to find out if it’s trayf.’

And so he soared above the shabby doghouse
and dropped a bone beside the creature’s head;
as he returned to it a short time later,
the troublesome revolting dog was dead.

One morning as the mother fed the young ones,
the foaming farmer shouted: ‘You are done!
Now that I’ve found your nest, you bloody ravens
will go to hell!’, spat out and aimed his gun.

The parents swooped at him, but at that moment
the gun went off and killed the chicks; they flew
around their blood-stained eyrie as the farmer
kept firing, smirked and swore: ‘I’ll get you, too!’

When realising there were no survivors,
the broken-hearted couple did depart
to find another place to build an eyrie,
and far away they heard an engine start.

‘We won’t be safe as long as there’s the farmer,
nor will our future chicks, and it seems right
that I take vengeance for our murdered children’,
Khrabanas croaked and left the building site.

Later that evening he returned in triumph:
‘The hated farmer joined his filthy dog;
as he was chasing me, the nasty human
took his own life and now lies in the bog.

‘I guessed whatever hits us leaves his weapon
through holes which I blocked off with pebbles, so
the thing exploded in his face and killed him.’ -
‘I’d like to see it for myself.’ - ‘Let’s go!’

They found an empty scene. ‘He must have sunken
into the bog’, he said with hopeful heart.
‘I reckon so’, Khrabina told her husband
as far away they heard an engine start.

4+29-30/06/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to The Miracle of Mortality


When the Fleadh Returns to Sligo

Sligo Town will buzz with fiddlers,
visitors will tap their feet,
boys and girls in classic costumes
will be dancing in the street;
when the Fleadh returns to Sligo,
you and I once more shall meet.

Céilí bands will be competing,
gifted children without qualms
will be showing off their talents
as the maids show off their charms;
when the Fleadh returns to Sligo,
I shall hold you in my arms.

Sligo will be celebrating
with its guests from far and nigh,
there will be, before it’s over,
lots of fireworks in the sky;
when the Fleadh returns to Sligo,
we shall say our last goodbye.

24+27-28/06/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to The Sligo Poems


Harbour Train

The harbour train is calling,
the lonesome whistle blows,
and from the restless ocean
I’ll go where no one goes.

Across the grassy mainland
whose bovines take no heed
and past the vibrant cornfields
it rolls at heavy speed.

Its anxious engine pounding,
it jerks with every clack,
and halfway it abruptly
departs the beaten track.

To make our destination,
it steams ahead through green
forests, ravines and valleys
no one has ever seen.

The wheels race down the railway
with iron will and zeal,
and through the open window
I smell the sparking steel.

And when the ride is over,
beyond the final bend,
I’ll reach another ocean
upon my journey’s end.

15/06/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to Away and Back


Walking the God

I walk my god in public on a leash,
though it prefers to work behind the scenes,
and when it stops and barks at anyone,
I tell them just exactly what it means.

Each day I dress it up the way I like
and show it off to everyone I see;
it thinks the thoughts I think and judges you
by the same standards – we never disagree.

Sometimes it sneers at other gods that pass,
and while I have my god put on display
I laugh at those who can not see it; sure
those fools will be quite sorry one fine day!

3/06/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to Friday School


From Thebes to Lisheenacooravan

The watchful guardian awoke Tutmosis:
‘The queen was taken from her sacred tomb;
if she is not returned before the Khoiak,
she’ll be condemned to amaranthine doom!’

The pharaoh started up, breathed deeply, rose from
his sealed sarcophagus, and he exclaimed:
‘Not Neferura, dearest wife and sister!
No peace shall be on him who’s to be blamed!

‘My chariot at once’, Tutmosis ordered.
‘Make haste, make haste, don’t leave me in the lurch!’ -
‘Where will you search for her?’ - ‘Her ba is shining
bright as a star, I do not have to search!’

When Owen Phibbs at last returned from Egypt
home to Lisheenacooravan, he brought
a treasure of old daggers, swords and mummies,
attracting more attention than he’d thought.

He laid them out upstairs beneath the skylight
and called it his museum. ‘You’re a grave
robber’, his father said. ‘Have you not heard of
the punishment?’ - ‘I’m back now, so I’m safe.’

The pharaoh’s chariot raced through the night sky
en route to Sligo and approached the bay,
reached Seafield House and burst into the chamber
where his beloved Neferura lay.

As the foundations trembled and the china
broke into bits, the Phibbses, all in fear
of burglars or an earthquake, went to follow
the unholy noise: ‘What’s going on in here?’

Tutmosis faced the family in anger:
‘You robbed my consort from her resting place
and of her afterlife; unless I take her
back home, I’ll ne’er again shall see her face!’

That very moment, through the open skylight
an owl flew in; it rested on the queen
and pecked her heart out. ‘Dammit, Ammit!’, shouted
the king but couldn’t stop it fleeing the scene.

‘What in God’s name was that?’ - ‘That owl was Ammit,
a demon. Now’, the pharaoh caught his breath,
‘without her heart, my consort can no longer
travel with Ra; she died the second death.’

‘I am so sorry’, Owen told Tutmosis,
‘I wish that there was something we could do.’
His mother blessed herself; the fuming pharaoh
yelled from his lungs: ‘She died because of you!

‘I won’t find peace without her, yet I have to
travel with Ra until the end of days,
but I’ll send back my chariot each midnight
which shall remind you of your sinful ways!’

And back it came, night after night. The clamour
soon drove away the gardener who enticed
the other servants, and the Phibbses followed,
unable to expel the poltergeist.

Time watches. Seafield House is long abandoned,
and birds nest in the trees that grow inside,
the winds blow harshly through its stately ruins,
and all one hears at daytime is the tide.

But after dusk, a grim unearthly clatter
shakes its foundations every night anew
as, drawn by passionate Arabian horses,
the pharaoh’s chariot is passing through.

30/05-1/06/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to The Sligo Poems and From the Titans to the Titanic


The Mustard Fields of Gaza

The mustard fields of Gaza
lie waste, burnt to the ground,
but deep beneath the surface
the roots can still be found.

Come spring, their shiny flowers
will face the sun once more,
and little girls will pick them
just like they did before.

They’ll always be returning
with constancy that yields
joy to the playful children
in Gaza’s mustard fields.

24/05/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


Why We Oppose ‘Person First Language’

We guess you mean well when you call us 'a person
with autism'. Frankly, we don’t want to whinge,
but if someone would call you a person with maleness
or femaleness, wouldn’t you shudder and cringe?

Did you ever call someone a ‘person with blackness’
or a ‘person with left-handedness’? Surely not;
it conveys the idea something’s wrong with that person
and their feature, and you’d be rebuked on the spot.

To separate us from our trait is demeaning
and futile. You’re putting the person first?
Our personalities are autistic,
now let your old bubble eventually burst.

When parents of autists expect you to call them
‘a person with autism’ just as they do
while autists would like to be simply called autists,
then who is it you should be listening to?

18/05/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to Away and Back


The Quantum Mechanic

When you call the quantum mechanic,
the uncertainty principle, I’m
quite convinced, does apply, and you’ll find that
he’ll arrive in his own quantum time.

Then he’ll set up the scene for his mission,
take his particles out of the box
and the photoelectric cables
which, entangled, can generate shocks.

Testing string theories, he’ll involve you
as you offer refreshments, and full
of potential energy, huffing,
lift a finger and ask you to pull.

And his verbally weak interaction
bores you stiff since his wisdom contains
not a lot of quantum coherence
as he firmly dives into the mains.

With weak force he starts looking for constants,
quantum tunneling right through the wall,
before saying ‘I’ll finish this Friday;
for the moment, this would be all.’

Now the quantum state of your kitchen
would induce the Queen’s Life Guards to freak,
for he’s left you a quantum chaos
you’ll be tidying up for a week.

17-18/05/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to This Doesn't Make Sense, Does It?


Waiting for the UFO

Let the other children play
in the yard, I’m off the boat;
since this world is not for me,
I’m content to stay remote.
I’ll be sitting on the roof
after supper in the gloam,
waiting for the UFO
that will come and take me home.

Do not pressure me to join
in their sports and learn their names,
for their sphere is not my sphere,
and their games are not my games.
I’ll be sitting on the roof
after supper in the gloam,
waiting for the UFO
that will come and take me home.

I forgot what life is like
where I came from and my past,
but my mem’ry shall be jogged
by returning there at last.
I’ll be sitting on the roof
after supper in the gloam,
waiting for the UFO
that will come and take me home.

(Inspired by a childhood memory of Tiffany Varro)

16-17/04/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to The Supreme Blossom


Windigo Children

‘Children, even though we’re famished,
be not tempted to resort
to the custom we don’t speak of
lest your souls be torn athwart.

‘With the rotting corpses lying
all around us in the mud,
don’t eat anybody’s body,
don’t drink anybody’s blood.

‘If you do, you’ll have a nightmare,
and the Windigo will rise
from your dreams and wake you roughly
to an odious surprise.

‘You will smell his desiccated
suppurating yellow skin,
see his lipless face and antlers
and his diabolic grin.

‘With his massive claws he’ll grab you,
claws to penetrate and slash,
till he finally will sink his
jagged fangs into your flesh.

‘Growing as he eats but never
full, his stomach an abyss,
he is forced to keep on feeding
while remaining ravenous.

‘Once he has devoured your body,
he will prey on those nearby,
and it’s only by starvation
that the scrawny beast can die.'

‘twas a gloomy Sunday evening
and the children were in bed
when the Windigo came reaping
both the living and the dead.

16/05/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to The Miracle of Mortality


Two Options

Past generations of opposing sides
fought, with the losers left in cells and graves,
and where their animosity abides
the offspring of the masters and their slaves
look at the options that today provides.

One option is to rest, propose a toast
and learn from History; the other is
to skirmish with descendents of the host
who wronged their ancestors. And we know this:
the second option is preferred by most.

11+14/05/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


Standing Up and Standing Out

Be not soft with your opinions,
do not whisper what you think;
tell it as it is, don’t water
down the truth, and do not shrink.

Those who change the world for better
are not those who hide their views
in the face of opposition
from the mainstream’s sheepish queues.

Standing up against injustice
may be frowned upon at first;
standing out may be a hazard,
but it’s clearly not the worst.

Even though the herd may shun you
for positions they deplore,
you’ll see others stepping forward
who had been afraid before.

Be courageous, for the misfits
of today who speak their mind
are the heroes of tomorrow
and curators of mankind.

8/05/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


Non-Verbal Children

I may not talk, but I still listen
to everything you say
about me when you talk to others
and understand okay.

I may not talk, so you should listen
to what I try to tell
you with my actions and expressions;
it’s not that I rebel.

I may not talk, but if you teach me
to write or type, you’ll be
surprised at all the wit and knowledge
you don’t expect from me.

26/04/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to The Supreme Blossom


The Plant of Progress

There are seeds in the winds of the planet
of a plant that could alter its face,
but on reaching their marked destination
very few find a suitable place.

Some are crushed on the spot where they landed
till the life disappears from the germs,
and instead of providing a harvest
they provide a dessert for the worms.

Some are starting to grow in a garden
or a field with the soil that they need,
just to find themselves extirpated
by the ones who consider them weed.

Some are trimmed on a regular basis,
and they’re questioned, ‘Why can’t you just grow
like the other sweet flowers around you,
with some beautiful petals to show?’

While they may be abhorred or accepted,
they are never expected to thrive:
they’re regarded as plants with no purpose
which rely on largesse to survive.

One or two in a thousand may manage
to grow free into autism trees,
standing tall in the middle of nowhere
as convention’s revered escapees.

Each of these bears a fruit which is different
from all fruits that have yet been defined,
and their boughs dangle heavy and laden
as they benefit all of mankind.

22-23/04/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to Away and Back


Hungry Rock

If you decide to walk to Sligo Harbour,
a bag with your belongings on your back,
trying to get the ship, east of Coolaney
pause for a little moment on your track;
a boulder called the Hungry Rock is standing
beside the winding road, and if you throw
a stone against it, you will not go hungry
until your journey’s end, as locals know.

And if you’re lucky, someone who can spare it
may, as he passed, have left a loaf of bread
on top of it to feed the poorer craturs
who hardly can remember being fed;
but if you’re in the fortunate position
to have a loaf to spare yourself, then do
the same without reserve or hesitation
for those poor souls who need it more than you.

15-16/04/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to The Sligo Poems


Status Update

‘And are you happy now?’, they asked me after
I had embraced my self, and I replied,
taking a silent moment of reflection:
‘Not really happy, but I’m satisfied.’

For even if I had all things I fancy
and all the knowledge of the world belonged
to me, how could I possibly be happy
as long as anywhere a child is wronged?

15-16/04/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to Away and Back


Advanced Problem Solving

When Life keeps throwing boulders in your way
and manages to shock you with unpleasant
surprises every night and every day;

When every obstacle and woe is hurled
at you with barbarous determination,
then ask yourself: ‘Is this the end of the world?’

- If the answer’s No, just carry on,
and if the answer’s Yes, and there is nothing
that you can do about it, carry on.

11/04/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


Amongst Adults

We boredly watch your thighs and shopping bags
as you meet friends and neighbours on the street
and stop to chat while we’re supposed to stand
still and do nothing else than looking neat.

We try to get a glimpse of goings-on
around us from between your legs or stare
at handbags or the sky while you commence
to talk about us as if we weren’t there.

After you’ve waffled on for what appears
like hours to us, we sometimes pull your wrist,
your dress or coat to get away or just
to figure out whether we still exist.

When the ordeal at last is over, we
are quite relieved that finally we can go,
and as we trot beside you, we’re afraid
you may bump into someone else you know.

31/03 + 4/04/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to The Supreme Blossom


Dead Mountain

(The Dyatlov Pass Incident)

The nine skied stiff against the wind that froze their every limb,
and as the air around them thinned and wintertime turned grim,
Sasha kept shivering and said: ‘They’re after us, it’s true:
they want you to believe I’m mad so they can take you, too!’

‘We have no choice but to turn back’, Zena remarked. ‘We will
not be successful on our trek with Sasha being ill.
His hypothermia won’t allow him to go on for long;
we can not climb Otorten now, to do so would be wrong!’

‘I’d say we set up for the night’, Igor put down his pack.
‘Tomorrow morning at first light we shall be heading back.’
But suddenly a blazing flash blinded the mountaineers;
‘My face feels like it’s burnt to ash!’, Ludmilla cried in tears.

The light that stung like thousand darts had caught them by surprise.
‘They’re testing weapons in these parts’, said George and rubbed his eyes.
‘We’ll have to get away from here’, Igor, regaining sight,
expressed: ‘Dead Mountain is quite near, that’s where we’ll spend the night.’

‘You know that was no accident’, Sasha still wouldn’t quit.
The others soon put up the tent, and then the stove was lit.
They had their supper as outside the falling snow piled deep
and talked about their bumpy ride while Sasha fell asleep.

‘It’s called Dead Mountain’, Zena told the others, unafraid,
‘because back in the days of old nine Mansi hunters stayed
here overnight and died, and yet nobody found out how.’
Yuri replied, a bit upset: ‘That’ll be sufficient now.’

Rustem suggested: ‘Let us sing instead of telling tales
of horror which will only bring us down to no avails.’
He led, the others soon joined in, and Zena said: ‘You know,
you shouldn’t have left your mandolin back at the cache below.’

Sasha woke up, he looked around and said: ‘How could I miss
the obvious? Just now I found out that you’re in on this;
you all are from the KGB and try to snuff me out!’
‘Sure, Khrushchev’, laughed Ludmilla, ‘we are after you, no doubt.’

Grabbing a ski pole, Sasha rose, struck Rustem on the head
and cut the tip of George’s nose. ‘He’s gone completely mad –
get out!’, cried Igor frantically and punched him in the face;
the rest cut through the tent to flee and find a safer place.

Rustem got up, and even though he still felt slightly dazed
he fended off another blow using his knife and gazed
at Igor who knocked Sasha out, then both of them were good
to join the rest who were about to run into the wood.

Dressed for the night, they now were left out in the arctic cold;
freezing, they found themselves bereft of warmth and reached the bold
decision to put up a fire despite the jeopardy
that they were in, and the entire group sat beneath a tree.

Nick tried to climb the cedar where he could observe the tent
to see if Sasha was still there, but all the branches bent
or broke under his weight, and so Simon and Igor tried
the same but landed in the snow, the branches by their side.

‘He couldn’t wander very far in his condition; if
he left the camp, then chances are that he’s already stiff’,
said Zena. ‘Igor, Rustem and myself will venture back,
and if it’s safe when we ascend we’ll shout and hit the sack.’

The three set out to reach the camp, but Igor soon broke down,
heavily shaking in the damp new snow as if he’d drown.
He said: ‘Just leave me, I beseech you!’ with deflated breath,
but neither of his friends would reach the tent; they froze to death.

When Simon woke up from a deep slumber, he saw that Nick
and Ludmilla, too, were vast asleep, and almost became sick:
the elements had claimed a dire and terrifying toll -
Yuri and George slumped o’er the fire, their fingers burnt to coal.

‘They’re dead’, he said, ‘we may as well take some of their attire
to keep us warm; I think we shall not light another fire
but look for a more sheltered place down there in the ravine:
it’ll be more difficult to trace us where we can’t be seen.’

They dug a shelter, and they laid it out with twigs they found
and warmed each other, dead afraid of everything around.
At that time Sasha stumbled on Igor and lunged, but when
he heard the others he was gone to find their hidden den.

Standing in front of them, he struck Nick’s head with all his might,
and Simon tried, without much luck, to grab his pole; the fight
continued till eventually Sasha crushed Simon’s chest.
Ludmilla shouted: ‘Stop it! We aren’t spies, you are possessed!’

‘You’ve always had the sharpest tongue’, he said and cut it out,
he punched her in the face and swung his skiing pole about,
he smashed her ribs, and as she sunk into the blood-red snow
he staggered like a flustered drunk, collapsed and lay down low.

Simon awoke once more to be reminded, scared to look;
the last man, hardly standing, he froze bitterly and took
Ludmilla’s hat and coat, and when the world around turned white,
he slowly drifted off again into that frigid night.

23-31/03/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to From the Titans to the Titanic


The Prayer

With bleeding hands and landlocked spirits
they try to make things better,
believing that some magic phrases
get rid of chain and fetter.

Most close their eyes while they are praying
to justify their blindness:
no prayer ever changed as much as
a little act of kindness.

28/03/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to Friday School


The Astrophysicist’s Proposal

Since I have entered your event horizon
I’m out of orbit, and it is implied
no force will bring me back, thus I shall never
again be seen by anyone outside.

So strongly drawn to you, it’s clear our forceful
negative radial velocity
has caused a shift I can’t reverse and messes
with my accustomed radian frequency.

Now that there’s no way out at all, not even
the speed of light, I have to let you know
my deepest feelings and how much you matter,
so take me in and never let me go.

13-14/03/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to The Secret Marble Stair


The Garden of the Brain

Life is the garden of the brain,
and we should tend it while it’s ours
and not waste time by praying for rain
or doing headcounts of the flow’rs.

Let’s make the best of what is there
and sow the plants we want to see,
enjoy its challenges and share
its fruits in friendly company.

And like all those who lived before
have planted trees you now see grow,
make sure to plant one tree or more
for future dwellers you don’t know.

Some perfect moments can be had,
but be aware that they won’t stay
except in memory: be glad,
live long and prosper while you may!

(Inspired by Leonard Nimoy’s last tweet)

27/02-1/03/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


The Original Teddy Bear

Once Teddy Roosevelt went a hunting
in Mississippi with the boys;
while all the others got their bearskins,
he had no luck and lost his poise.

To make the president feel better
and offer him a victory,
the guides chased down a bear next morning
and tied him to a willow tree.

Their deed went unappreciated
and put the president to shame:
‘Your sense of sportsmanship is wanting -
you lads should know this is no game!’

He pointed out with disapproval
while looking at the guides askance
that, other than a human native,
a bear deserves a sporting chance.

20-22/02/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to Nail on the Head


The Manual

The curious young man was standing
at Nature’s workbench, made of pine,
as she described her many duties
and showed him an assembly line.

‘This is where I, without cessation,
produce the standard human brain
which I deliver with the body
and a short manual to explain.

‘But one in ten must be created
by hand, and that’s when I explore
new ways and try out new connections
that I have never tried before.

‘These function on a different level,
the brains with individual sights,
producing scientists and artists
and those who fight for human rights.’

‘Is there a manual for these then?’,
the man enquired about her craft.
‘A manual?’, Nature snorted roughly
and laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed.

14/02/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to Away and Back


The Buck that Wouldn’t Stop

‘I see a hunter’, said one of the does.
‘Don’t worry, I’ll protect you!’ - With a nod
the buck assured them: ‘If he comes this way,
I’ll spear him with my antlers like a clod.’

They heard a shot and looked around; the buck
was gone. A fawn said: ‘Typical! He brags
and then runs off, which demonstrates once more:
the biggest mouth has got the fastest legs!’

3/02/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


Irish Lullaby

It’s hard to live in poverty,
my child, but I’m afraid we all
have to make sacrifices for
less fortunate souls to ease their fall.

Denis must buy a brand new yacht,
allowing him to sail away
from business worries now and then;
that’s why your dad works without pay.

Angela needs a holiday
to visit Ischia, Trent and Rome
and take a break from politics;
that’s why we can not heat our home.

And Enda has to get a new
Mercedes-Benz as a reward
for all he’s done to help us out;
that’s why your brother went abroad.

For Joan the newest iPad helps
to face the struggle and the strife
of dealing with the great unwashed;
that’s why your uncle took his life.

Then Michael wants another suit
to look presentable and keep
his famed austere appearances;
that’s why you’re hungry going to sleep.

3/02/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to Irish Ways


Memories of Doggerland

Where shall we find a place like home where reindeer
and aurochs graze amidst the verdant plain,
with lakes and brooks providing clean fresh water
instead of us collecting dew and rain?

We shall not gaze upon the river delta
again nor climb the rolling Dogger Hills
to watch the travels of the woolly mammoths
and practice and perfect our hunting skills.

No more we’ll see the giant oak tops sticking
out of the sandy mudflats at low tide,
and all our forests, vales, lagoons and marshes
have disappeared with all they did provide.

We’ll go no more a fishing in the channel
where Thames and Rhine once merged with other streams,
and of our huts, our village and our people
nothing remains apart from us, it seems.

Now Doggerland is taken by the ocean
with its abundance and its beauty; thus,
though memories will stay throughout our lifetimes,
at last those images will die with us.

3/02/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to From the Titans to the Titanic


Shadows of the Night

The old ruin oversees
hill and grove with all its trees;
ancient dwellers left their mark
and deceased, but when it’s dark
one can see a dusky light
strangely, strangely in the night.

And that light casts shadows which,
blacker far than tar and pitch,
scare the hapless souls that find
out what’s going on behind
those grey walls while beasts take flight
strangely, strangely in the night.

Those who meet them can’t escape
their compelling force, change shape,
lose their selves and heed the call,
join the shadows in the hall
and forever share their plight
strangely, strangely in the night.

If you ever climb the hill
in that petrifying still
of a sombre night, stay clear
of the building where the drear
spirits of the past delight
strangely, strangely in the night.

25-26/01/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to The Paradise of Darkness


Where Fairies Go to Die

Where time is anything but short
under the azure skies,
I stood amidst the fairy fort
and closed my weary eyes.
I turned around three times and called
for a sane world, stood still,
opened my eyes and was appalled:
my back faced towards the hill.

My wish declined for lack of spin,
I sauntered up to see
the hillfort on the Marilyn
that’s known as Knocknashee,
its limestone ramparts and its grand
wild flowers in the breeze
and its deserted huts that stand
amongst the windswept trees.

And where the fairies once advised
the gods and kings around,
Fomors and giants exercised,
I couldn’t hear a sound;
some say they heard amongst the scree
a whisper or a sigh
in the wilderness of Knocknashee
where fairies go to die.

They say they hide behind the shales
and watch our every move
and show themselves and tell their tales
to people they approve.
And as I stood beside the cairn
atop of Knocknashee
I watched the Moy roll by and turn
en route to find the sea.

Where anything but time is short
the little people dwell,
and at their hidden fairy fort
life and the world seem well.
Just once again I’d like to see,
before my time goes by,
the wilderness of Knocknashee
where fairies go to die.

13-24/01/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to The Sligo Poems


Dehumanisation

All men have been created equal,
but some of them aren’t men, you see:
they’re pigs, rats, parasites or filthy
stray dogs: they are the enemy!
To slaughter them is but a service
to humankind, you think, because
they are subhumans, apes and therefore
not covered by our human laws.
Don’t look at pictures of the victims,
for they may open up your eyes;
just chant the chants and join the chorus:
Dehumanise! Dehumanise!

Their race, religion or their mental
or their developmental stage
disqualify from being human
and justify your bitter rage
against their mere existence, claiming
these animals need to be slain
for being dirty, strange, unwanted
or different, in a big campaign!
Don’t look at pictures of the victims,
for they may open up your eyes;
just chant the chants and join the chorus:
Dehumanise! Dehumanise!

18/01/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


Wing Clippings

When you clip your children’s wings,
cut them close and cut them tight,
even if they claim it stings,
otherwise they might take flight.

Should the wayward child rebel,
answer with a little smack;
best pull out the roots as well,
lest the feathers may grow back.

5/01/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to The Supreme Blossom


Discussion

When the doubts have all been doubted
and the reservations shared,
the opinions have been shouted
and the victory declared
by the loudest party, smile
as the popinjay repeats
his supreme position while
the philosopher retreats.

2/01/6256 RT (2015 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


The Thought

Wee-hee! The thought went racing down the axon
and jumped across the spacious recess thanks
to his own impetus, just like a Saxon
who’s on a mission to drive out the Franks.

He landed safely on another neuron,
and down its axon once again he slid,
faster than any rollercoaster you’re on
when you attend a fun fair with your kid.

And with the next synaptic gap approaching,
assisted by a friendly dendrite, he
soon found himself another time encroaching
upon a neuron with tenacity.

And on he raced in one velocious vortex
from cell to cell to cell, all on his own;
his frontal lobe trip in the busy cortex
took him to places he had never known.

Through every obstacle and situation
the thought skilfully managed to persist,
and finally he reached his destination
where he reported, just to be dismissed.

14/12/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


Indoctrination

You are a worthless piece of shit,
for that’s how God created you;
you’ll never meet his standards, but
there still is something you can do.

In days of old, when people sinned
they died as did their kith and kin,
for the Almighty had no choice
but to destroy them for their sin.

Those were God’s lessons way back when,
but then, to tidy up the mess,
he killed his child, so now he can
forgive your sins and worthlessness.

You just get down upon your knees
and tell him that you’re sorry for
being the waste of space you are,
and he will love you evermore.

And if you mention that you know
you’re as unworthy as can be
and thank him that he killed his child,
you’ll stay with him eternally.

12/12/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to Friday School


To the Slaughter

‘It was a good fight anyhow.’ – The O’Rahilly

On Good Friday he burst into Patrick Pearse’ study
and brandished a rifle: ‘Whoever should plan
to kidnap me, too, better be a bloody
quick shot!’, he exclaimed at the terrified man.

‘Calm down,' Pearse replied. 'It is hardly surprising
that you are upset, but Hobson is safe.
He’s only detained; he caught wind of the rising,
but we’ll free him on Sunday - now stop your chafe.’

The O’Rahilly laughed: ‘You have got no equipment
nor weapons; you’ll pay a terrible price!’ -
‘We’ve a chance, for tonight we’re expecting a shipment
from Germany.’ - ‘Hell, what a blood sacrifice!’

On Saturday calls for a cancellation
were made since the shipment was lost, and a fierce
O’Rahilly travelled the South of the nation
all night, countermanding the orders of Pearse.

On Easter Monday he rose and, finding
out the rising was going ahead, just like
a dart he dashed over: ‘Since I’ve helped winding
up the clock, I have come here to hear it strike!’

He was welcomed, and Constance asked him with gladness,
‘Did you not denounce this as mad?’ - He replied,
‘It’s madness all right, but it’s glorious madness!’
and joined the rebels with presage and pride.

From Liberty Hall, to remove Ireland’s gargets,
some four hundred passionate volunteers
spread out to seize their respective targets;
The O’Rahilly was assigned to Pearse.

They entered the GPO and gently
led staff and customers out of the door;
The O’Rahilly and some others intently
took up their posts on the busy first floor.

In a phone box he found a young soldier, unable
to post greeting cards at this awkward time
since Mick Collins had tied him with telephone cable:
‘Untie him – this man has committed no crime.’

Patrick Pearse proclaimed the Republic under
the Tricolour out on Sackville Street;
some sniggered at him and some gazed in wonder,
but most took no heed and kept moving their feet.

With the post office fortified, those in attendance
heard O’Rahilly say, ‘We’re dead meat now and thus
human sacrifices to Independence;
let’s hope that the Brits will accept them from us!’

A small troop of soldiers was sent to get answers
as to what went on and got caught in a blaze
of gunfire; the rebels shot four of the lancers
and a horse which lay dead on the road for five days.

The O’Rahilly watched as a crowd of civilians
entered shops through the broken windows and doors
and plundered fur coats and jewels worth millions:
‘We die for their freedom, and they loot the stores.’

On Tuesday evening Lord Wimborne, in writing,
declared martial law as the army clamped down
on the rebels; the GPO saw no fighting,
but they heard the gunfire throughout the town.

On Wednesday affairs got a little more iffy
when, being done with Liberty Hall,
a gunboat named Helga attacked from the Liffey
and artillery answered the rebels’ call.

Surprised at the heavy bombardment, the gritty
James Connolly took a deep breath and swore,
‘I didn’t expect them to shell the city
centre, being capitalists to the core.’

By Thursday when Sackville Street was burning
and the city centre cordoned off,
the lads came to terms with the very concerning
awareness of pending defeat and scoff.

On Friday afternoon, on the border
of doom, with the GPO on fire,
The O’Rahilly calmly received his last order
and remarked, ‘They keep saying that God loves a trier.’

Being asked to lead a small band as the curtain
for the rebels fell and attempt one last bold
dash for shelter, he said, ‘It’s the end for certain;
but what if we’d missed this and died of the cold?’

With a dozen men he ventured the sally,
but he was gunned down and collapsed in pain;
he managed to drag himself into an alley
and lay on a doorstep in Sackville Lane.

An ambulance passed in the night; the alerted
young driver got out to assist and went near,
but an officer ordered him back and asserted,
‘He’s important, we’ve orders to leave him here.’

On Saturday morn to his wife whom he cherished
he composed a note as he lingered on, clothed
in green uniform; then The O'Rahilly perished
for a cause he endorsed in a battle he loathed.

Besides being the most colourful and eccentric character of the insurrection, The O’Rahilly also embodies the ambivalent attitude of the Irish towards the Easter Rising.

4-6/12/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to High Kings and Taoiseachs and From the Titans to the Titanic


The Invisible

On a December evening
in Dublin, in plain view,
a man sits on a stairway
as many others do.
Many a Christmas shopper,
their spouses for to spoil,
walks round the homeless beggar
who sits across the Dáil.

On a December morning
in Dublin, in plain view,
a man dies on a stairway
as many others do.
Students, TDs and workers,
facing their daily toil,
walk past the lifeless body
which lies across the Dáil.

3/12/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to High Kings and Taoiseachs


Wealth

When money took the world, the roses
turned grey and hung their heads in shame,
the rats all wrinkled their small noses,
and ticks and leeches rose to fame.

The orchards were cut down discreetly,
the corn fields flattened out, the sound
of happy children hushed completely
and all the huts burnt to the ground.

When money took the world, no colour
was left, no palm or buttercup;
the world became a trifle duller,
the wells were poisoned or dried up.

The starved involuntary partakers
were sampling many different tastes
of dirt, and all the while the makers
of money partied in the wastes.

26/11/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


The Mermaid Rocks

The O’Dowd in autumn’s glowing
twilight wandered all alone,
musing on the things worth knowing
at the beach of Enniscrone.

There the gentle waves were bringing
weal to those who seize the day,
and a naked girl was singing
on a rock beside the bay.

The O’Dowd who raptly eyed her
marvelled at her voice and shape;
he sneaked closer, and beside her
on the ground he saw her cape.

He considered this pelagic
mermaid as a lucky gift
since her cape contained the magic
that allowed her shape to shift.

So he hid it with the notion
of a conquest, and he cried:
‘Now you have to shun the ocean -
come with me and be my bride!’

The O’Dowd and Meara married
while she wore her human skin,
but the homesick merrow carried
still the love for her own kin.

Meara did the cleaning, cooking,
and she brought his food and ale;
all the while she kept on looking
for her cape, to no avail.

She was seven times a mum in
just as many years gone by,
and the youngest one, a gamine,
was the apple of her eye.

Once she called in joyful temper:
‘Mum, come here and have a peek:
at the bottom of the hamper
I have found the cape you seek.’

Meara put it on, restoring
her beloved mermaid skin,
brought her children to the roaring
sea and told them to get in.

‘But we don’t have gills’, the older
children said, inclined to stay;
she turned each into a boulder
which can still be seen today.

Meara and her youngest daughter,
without ever looking back,
went into the icy water,
leaving not a trace nor track.

23/11/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to The Sligo Poems


Frankness

To be Frank, I am unable
to comply with any norm
since my independent nature
wasn’t programmed to conform.

To be Frank, my views are steadfast
if not challenged logicwise
since my strong determined spirit
wasn’t made to compromise.

To be Frank, some things I utter
meet reactions unforeseen
since my unperceptive frontal
lobe expresses what I mean.

26/10/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to Away and Back


Hazelnight

When slowly rising shadows mark
the exitus of one more day
and Hazelwood lies in the dark,
the salmon play at Half Moon Bay.

And when the creatures of the night
who never have been seen by man
do what they all believe is right,
the salmon leap while they still can.

When at the old abandoned house
the spectres gather for the feud
and recommit to ancient vows,
the salmon keep their attitude.

When the magenta streaks of dawn
have brushed the void of night away,
the seeds of a new day are sawn,
and salmon play at Half Moon Bay.

11/10/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to The Sligo Poems


An Garda Uisce:

Where car drivers run over children
while they are talking on their phones,
where homes get burgled, homeless murdered,
where foals are killed with sticks and stones,
and where the fearless gangland killers
have recommenced their bloody slaughter,
all our Gardai are far too busy
since they’re deployed by Irish Water
Temptation

When you’re taking a stroll through the meadows
with your thoughts in a hutch,
and the early October shadows
are evading your touch
but continue to follow you slyly
as you head for the strand
with foreboding ideas of some wily
insignificant land,
you may hear in the rustle of seaweed
the soft sound of the blind
with whose views you can never agree weed
through the bins of your mind,
give advice that you never have asked for
and extinguish a spark,
while the mermaids you stripped and unmasked for
will remain in the dark.
And the dark is a master with patience
who knows nothing but night
and commands all the dunces and nations
with the promise of light,
and his voice urges you through the breezy
panorama to shirk:
‘Oh how easy’, you ponder, ‘how easy
to find peace in that murk.’

3-5/10/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to This Doesn't Make Sense, Does It?


On Being Right

Knowing you’re right when everyone is wrong
can be distressing, and it is all right
to voice your disappointment if your plight
is scorned by those with viewpoints just as strong.

You’ll feel misunderstood, and before long
you will be overwrought as you invite
the others to see reason, but in spite
of all your efforts they won’t sing your song.

Throughout your life you’ve never been a quitter,
and in despair you lecture and petition
all your opponents as they rant and witter.

And even anger’s venial on your mission,
but if you realise you’re growing bitter,
it’s time to reconsider your position.

2/10/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


The Autistic Children’s Plight

Oh Mummy, please don’t bleach my anus
to break my spirit and enforce
your way of thinking and your murky
society’s unwritten laws.
Just give me freedom, space and choices,
explain the things I have to do,
and you will find that I am open
to reason once you’re getting through.

Mum, please don’t train me like a doggy
and make me fetch the sticks you throw
and pat me on the back whenever
I have performed like in a show.
Just treat me as a real person
whose agony you can relieve,
and don’t discourage me, no matter
what others think I can achieve.

Mum, please don’t let me die of measles
because you heard a quack who blames
vaccines for every sort of ailment
or other long refuted claims.
Just try to make your world transparent
and understand my point of view
and listen to the things I tell you:
work with me, and I’ll work with you!

1/10/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to Away and Back


The War to End All Wars

‘This war, like the next war, is a war to end war’ - David Lloyd George, 1916

When hundred years ago the trenches filled
with soldiers first, and with their corpses then,
there was a notion nevermore again
could there be war, nor that much blood be spilled.

The War to End All Wars would tomb the sword
and end in a new order of evolved
countries, their conflicts peacefully resolved
at the round table or the drawing board.

You know how well that went. Their magic spells
have failed us, and their battles didn’t cease;
today all nations of the world want peace,
albeit according to their terms, or else…

Thus armament producer, xenophobe,
cleric, tycoon and head of state agree,
commemorating the centenary
with multifarious wars around the globe.

29/09/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to Nail on the Head


Deep Sea World

Now the sea is calm and peaceful,
and the sunlight isn’t shy,
and the quiet ocean mirrors
an unclouded azure sky.

But below the pleasant surface,
far beneath the photic zone,
lies a world of cold and darkness
most of which remains unknown.

Where Leviathan delights in
questionable merriments,
this is where we witness Nature’s
hideous experiments.

Countless monsters under pressure
have to feed and procreate,
and each ray of light is nothing
but a predatory bait.

Every time you meet new people,
notably the ones who strike
you as friendly, you should wonder
what their deep sea world is like.

27/09/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to The Paradise of Darkness


Cockcrow in Killawaddy

When the cock in Killawaddy*
doesn’t crow at dawn, it’s said,
mischief lurks, so everybody
skips their work and stays in bed.

Days like these leave their indenture
on the village through all ranks
as the hidden people venture
out to play their little pranks.

When this happens on a Sunday,
which it often has, alas,
some stay home to make it fun day,
others still head out to Mass.

Seeing there’s no congregation,
Father Brennan stamped his feet,
mumbled something of damnation
and marched out into the street.

With his walking stick he strongly
knocked at every single door,
calling out the ones who wrongly
had abstained from Heaven’s store.

‘Father, hidden people’s missions
cost us all a heavy toll.’ -
‘Oust your pagan superstitions
lest the Devil have your soul!’

Once the sheep had been collected
who had left him in the lurch,
they all followed as directed,
but they couldn’t see the church.

As they gathered where in recent
times it stood, they gasped, of course,
while they witnessed an indecent
laughter from an unknown source.

*Killawaddy is a fictional village in Co. Sligo, first described by Joe McGowan in The Hidden People.

12+17/09/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to The Sligo Poems


The Smile of Daniel Emilfork

When you retire and say good night
to face the time of day you dread,
the smile of Daniel Emilfork
will find you when you go to bed.

You know the shepherd on the scene
as you are counting pliant sheep:
the smile of Daniel Emilfork
will harrow your uneasy sleep.

You’ll find the sandman in the vaults:
amongst the penetrating screams
the smile of Daniel Emilfork
will permeate your troubled dreams.

After you wake and smell the tea
your lover brings you in a cup,
the smile of Daniel Emilfork
will follow you when you get up.

30/08/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to The Paradise of Darkness


The Wakefield Legacy

So Andrew Wakefield got the patent
for his vaccine; a heart’ning sign,
but there’s a hurdle: the existing
vaccine is working fine.

To slam it, he composed a paper,
claiming that it caused Crohn’s disease;
that claim was very soon refuted,
but Wakefield didn’t cease.

Taking advantage of the needless
panic that swept the world by storm,
he now alleged it caused autism,
remaining true to form.

Parents refused to have their children
protected by vaccines, and so
children are dying of diseases
defeated long ago.

Though scientists disproved his findings
and found his methods to be slick,
unscientific and abusive,
he still makes people tick.

Struck off the register, dishonoured,
the world of science saw him gone,
but in the deaths of countless children
his legacy lives on.

29/08/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to Nail on the Head


Thunderstorm

Clouds arolling, clouds aroaring,
clouds aflashing in the night,
and the bucketfuls are pouring
as the thunderbolts ignite.

And I saunter through the pine wood
with my spirits on their knees,
but arising as cloud nine would,
high above my memories.

And the lightning keeps on flaring,
beams against the sombre-hued
skies that open in a blaring
symphony of disquietude.

Mighty Zeus, just keep on waging
booming weather on the pines,
till amidst the storm the raging
thunder of my heart declines.

25-27/08/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to The Reaper's Valentine


Sanity, VT

When we went on that day trip to Sanity
with the wind and the flies in our hair,
where we tried to save Sense from Humanity
and the handful of merchants who care,
we got caught in the trap of your vanity
with your kids and your buxom au pair.

Where American English is spanishing
we rejoiced, having been in the wrong,
and the interim people ceased banishing
the buffoons, and we left with a song;
with the lights back in Sanity vanishing,
we went back to the place we belong.

6239 RT (1998 CE) + 20-21/08/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to This Doesn't Make Sense, Does It?


God and the Tyrant

The tyrant looked around in puzzlement.
‘Heaven?’, he mused. ‘How come?’
‘You died, God answered, ‘therefore you were sent
to Heaven.’ - ‘Are you dumb?

‘Can you not smell the blood upon my hands
from wrath no deed could slake?
I have done evil and make no amends;
there must be some mistake.

‘I slaughtered all who didn’t vote for me
as well as those who stood
as candidates against me in a spree
to launch my tyranthood.

‘My subjects had to bow to me and sing
my praises; who refused,
just like the ones who didn’t call me King,
was tortured and abused.

‘I feasted on all foods than can be had,
and yet I must admit
when I met starving children with some bread
that I was eating it.

‘I threw a tantrum almost every day,
had my opponents burnt,
got rid of people that were in my way,
and even those who weren’t.

‘I chased a lot of families from their hearth
and even, with firm hand,
eliminated races from the Earth
in utter lust for land.

‘Those who spoke out against me had to call
for every child a hearse
as consequence, and when I, after all,
got angry, I was worse.’

‘My love for carnage and spreading terror can
not be unknown nearby,
for nothing gives me greater pleasure than
to see the innocent die.’

God smiled: ‘Such trifles will not see you flung
downstairs, you’re off the hook.
I was like that myself when I was young;
have you not read the book?’

11-12/08/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to Friday School


Her Ninetieth Birthday

With Minnie’s ninetieth birthday nighing,
the white-haired lady took at last
a closer look at her own humdrum
and dull unenterprising past.

She viewed her albums, thinking back to
all those conventional roles she chose:
strict mother, then a gentle granny,
now a great-grandmum in odd clothes.

She took the bus into the city
and had her snow-white hair dyed blue,
went to the studio at the corner
and there received her first tattoo.

As if this weren’t enough to make her
feel younger and a little hip,
for something even more outrageous
she got a piercing through her lip.

And then she went to her reception,
embarrassing, more than allowed,
her children and her great-grandchildren
while doing her grandchildren proud.

30/07-1/08/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


Pride

Right amongst the many people
proud of land and race, you’ll find
those who say the Earth’s their country,
and their people are mankind.

28/07/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


Real People

When settlers slaughtered Indians
to take their land and place,
and, with infected blankets,
tried to snuff out their race,
there were some prudent voices
who called for sympathy:
‘These people mustn’t suffer,
why don’t you leave them be?’
But, with a scornful timbre,
the others would reply:
‘These aren’t real people,
not such as you and I.’

When Blacks were kept like cattle,
branded and whipped and bred,
their families separated,
lives hanging by a thread,
there were some prudent voices
who called for sympathy:
‘These people mustn’t suffer,
why don’t you set them free?’ -
‘A person’s right to freedom
to them does not apply:
these aren’t real people,
not such as you and I.’

When Jews were persecuted
with pogroms everywhere
for their beliefs and customs
and living in despair,
there were some prudent voices
who called for sympathy:
‘These people mustn’t suffer,
why wouldn’t you agree?’ -
‘They’ll never be like others,
no matter how they try:
these aren’t real people,
not such as you and I.’

When Israel gets rid of
its natives by design,
massacring children, women
and men in Palestine,
there are some prudent voices
who call for sympathy:
‘These people mustn’t suffer,
but you refuse to see!’ -
‘We just defend our country,
that right you can’t deny;
these aren’t real people,
not such as you and I.’

When children are dismembered
in wombs at others’ whims
and writhe in pain and struggle
to hold on to their limbs,
there are some prudent voices
who call for sympathy:
‘These people mustn’t suffer,
will you not heed their plea?’
The answer is most likely
a condescending sigh:
‘These aren’t real people,
not such as you and I.’

There always will be people,
no matter what they do,
who aren’t just as human
as I and maybe you.

20/07/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


Home Is Never Far

‘Home is never far when you’re alive.’ – Maasai Proverb

When you are shipwrecked in the ocean’s foam,
lost in the wilderness that you explore,
stuck in a bog twelve thousand miles from home
or in the jungle where the tigers roar,
just keep in mind, as long as you survive,
that home is never far when you’re alive.

Those who have shuffled off their mortal coil
will never make it back, no matter how
close they may be to their indigenous soil,
therefore be grateful if the Fates allow
you to continue with your passing strive,
for home is never far when you’re alive.

17/07/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


Black Sheep

I’m black - so what? Diversity is nothing
to be ashamed of. I shan’t let you keep
your uninformed opinions; do you really
think that my colour makes me less of a sheep?

You say you sympathise and look for treatments;
I need appreciation and not cures.
I’m happy; when our fields get cold in winter,
my fleece absorbs more of the sun than yours.

And when, while you are getting sheared in springtime,
due to my colour I am left in peace,
do I not feel your anguish and allow you
to warm your trembling bodies at my fleece?

Still you insist that I become like others
and don’t stand out in your community.
An all-white flock is colourless and boring,
and I see nothing wrong with being me.

Bleat all you want, I shall not bleach my woolfell
to fit your standards, and I feel no shame:
you laugh at me because I am so different;
I laugh at you because you’re all the same.

(Inspired by the Jonathan Davis quote)

2-5/07/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to Nail on the Head


Reminder

On this brand new day arrives
the remainder of our lives.

27+29/06/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to Away and Back


The Sun of Varosha

The Sun of Varosha smiled brightly
on the vibrant small seaside resort
with its toffs who were taking life lightly
when Atilla invaded the port.

The Sun of Varosha stood silent
when tranquillity came to a halt
as Darkness assembled her violent
brigades and prepared for assault.

When things couldn’t get any posher,
the vacations of women and men
were cut short, and the Sun of Varosha
won’t shine on its beaches again.

24/06/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


Fitting in a Box

There is a box for politicians
(which prolly should be dumped or burnt),
there is a box for the accountants
with inventory, or so I learned.

There is a sable box for clergy
as well which slowly gathers dust,
there is a box for secretaries
where current fashions are discussed.

There is a box for lots of different
inhabitants. Without a doubt
this is the box for wayward autists:
here we fit in by standing out!

21/06/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to Nail on the Head


The Spirit of Democracy

Each night, to vex the ones they scoff
and play a game called ‘straining scum’,
the misoplebeian horde rides off
to raid the people in the slum.
They’d storm into their homes to eat
and take whatever they can find:
their food, their blankets and their peat;
their mission is to rob them blind.

And anyone who dares complain
that he is driven to the brink
is dragged outside and feels the cane
before he’s told: ‘Your people stink!
You all are rotten selfish brats:
you breathe our air, ungrateful grumps,
you drink our lake and eat our rats,
and then your corpses fill our dumps!’

The misoplebeian horde then rides
back home to their estates to rule
the country, to oblige their brides
or sip martinis by the pool.
But each quadrennial they face
a fleeting period of grief
when they are entering the race
as slum dwellers elect the chief.

At first many a gobshite cries:
‘Things will get better in my grip!’,
and then the country’s topshite tries
to hold on to his leadership:
‘This is no time for change’, he’d say;
‘If I stay chief, I’ll reimburse
those who were wronged - just stay away
from those, because they’ll rob you worse!’

Sometimes a slum dweller may run
for chiefdom, but there is a cure:
the misoplebeians sling for fun
a spoonful of some bull’s manure
at him and say in disbelief,
pointing at him whom they estrange:
‘Do you want him to be your chief?’,
ensuring things will never change.

One day somebody who had worked
his way up from the slum to be
a misoplebeian with a murked
sense of belonging asked with glee:
‘Why don’t we exile them? Those scabs
have no possessions, class or skills!’ -
‘Have you gone mad? We need the plebs
to do our work and pay our bills!’

19-21/06/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to Nail on the Head


Great Minds

When Alfred Russel Wallace wrote
to his friend Charles, suggesting
how species may emerge and showed
it could be proved by testing,

His evolutionary idea
by Darwin wasn’t doubted;
he had, now for the twentieth year,
worked on a book about it.

A presentation was prepared
by scientists of a feather,
and Wallace and Charles Darwin shared
its authorship together.

The moral of the story (you
may find it chauvinistic):
great minds do think alike, it’s true,
because they are autistic.

15-16/06/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to Nail on the Head


Eight Hundred Children in a Septic Tank

Eight hundred children in a septic tank,
killed by neglect, the punishment for being
born out of wedlock, bear grim witness to
the Church’s morals and her servants’ geeing.

While all their mothers, as their sentence, were
sold into life-long slavery to tattle
and wash the dirty laundry of the Church,
the kids were carted off to Tuam like cattle.

Entuamed in Ireland’s most unusual mass grave
(that we’re aware of), they were dumped like vermin;
their torturers felt morally superior
for reasons that no human can determine.

As we have noticed many times before,
the skeletons in Mother Church’s closet
consist of more than some saints’ relics, thus
the Church’s morals shouldn’t be a posit.

Eight hundred children in a tank are just
the tip of the one large corpse berg that now faces
her congregation; I suggest to search
for moral codes in more appropriate places.

4/06/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to High Kings and Taoiseachs


The Nerds’ Paean

If you’re a nerd and know the fact,
rejoice and hold your head up high,
because the way you think and act
is but your own, and you don’t try
to be like others and fit in
where nothing fits you in the least:
you don’t compete nor care to win
to see your own prestige increased.
You do not fit on any shelf
as others say you ought,
because you’re thinking for yourself
and not the way you’re taught.

Like no one else you know your stuff,
and nothing leads your mind astray;
sometimes it’s tough to be a buff,
but that’s a price you gladly pay.
Your train of thought will always run
outside the mainstream rails and take
you out to places others shun
or never dreamed of while awake.
Attempts to put you on their shelf
are vigorously fought,
because you’re thinking for yourself
and not the way you’re taught.

You do not follow, you don’t lead,
and you despise it when you’re told
what you should do, and you don’t heed
attempts to squeeze you in a mould.
While others see you as a creep,
you find their arguments absurd;
others appear to you as sheep,
and you know well you won’t be herd.
The likes of you don’t need a shelf
to find the place you sought
because you’re thinking for yourself
and not the way you’re taught.

1+5/05/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to Away and Back
Summoning Spartacus

The makers of imaginary money
hold us in thrall like puppets on a string,
the value of a human life is measured
in Dollars, just like every other thing;
man is an asset, easily replaced:
Where are you, Spartacus? Make haste!

Technology replaces manual labour;
with less to do, some people would be glad
to share - but firms, to maximise their profits,
make us compete for full-time jobs instead,
holding the individual in distaste:
Where are you, Spartacus? Make haste!

The world could easily be fed; today, though,
some thousands will be drawing their last breath,
like every other day, as hunger victims;
and every year, while millions starve to death,
most of this planet’s food is going to waste:
We need you, Spartacus – make haste!

26/04/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


The Spirits of the Living

Fear not the dead! They’re dead now, the slaves you raised by hand,
the ones you starved for profit, the ones you killed for land.
But while your former victims are dead and buried deep,
the spirits of the living will haunt you in your sleep!

In daylight they obey you and do as you compel,
but when you both are sleeping, they rise against their hell,
revealing without mercy the beast within the sheep:
the spirits of the living will haunt you in your sleep!

You get up in the morning and brush your dreams away,
as do your listless subjects, for in the light of day
the spirits of the living retire, and for your sake
you better keep on praying that they may never wake!

9-10/04/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to Nail on the Head


Autism Cured

Professor Meantwell found a cure
for autism that could
eradicate the feared disease
from humankind for good.

He also had a time machine
which he had learned to fly;
he took the potion and some nuts
and baked them in a pie.

He travelled back through space and time
and finally beheld
the cavern where the primal group
of Homo Sapiens dwelled.

A bunch of hairy cavefolk stared
at him, and when they saw
the flashlight he took out, they shrieked
and dropped their jaws in awe.

He gave them each a slice of pie
which (without fork, I guess)
was eagerly devoured; he deemed
his mission a success.

But when he flew his time machine
through dark foreboding skies
back to the present, he was in
for quite a big surprise:

A bunch of hairy cavefolk stared
at him, and when they saw
the flashlight he took out, they shrieked
and dropped their jaws in awe.

31/03-1/04/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to Nail on the Head


Bailout and Repossession

The blacksmith paid his rent and went to work;
he loved to forge and never tired of working,
when in the doorway of the workshop, smirking,
he saw the local moneylender lurk.

‘Are you not sick of paying rent?’, he asked.
‘Why don’t you buy your own? For just ten staters
a week, paid over seven years, those traitors
of landlords lose’, he said with greed unmasked.

And so the blacksmith signed the contract and
moved into his own building in the city,
until one day the mayor, void of pity,
burst in, the moneylender’s friend.

‘The lender’s bankrupt! We need money quick
to bail him out; give me two thousand staters
at once so we can fix the gaping craters
in his accounts, and dare not give him stick!’

‘Excuse me? If he doesn’t know his trade,
that’s his own business; he should cut his spending.’ -
‘Our whole economy depends on lending;
without him not a worker could be paid!’

‘But I don’t have that kind of money’, moaned
the smith who was the city’s sole purveyor.
‘Then you will have to sell your forge’, the mayor
replied, ‘this matter can not be postponed.’

And so the smith was left with little jobs
for which he didn’t need the forge. One morning
the lender wandered in without a warning
and looked just like the emperor of snobs.

Demanding payment with the usual threats,
he sniggered as the smith said in frustration:
‘You’ll have to take into consideration
that I’d to sell my forge to pay your debts:

‘My business has been ruined.’ Close to tears
the agitated blacksmith added meekly:
‘I can afford to pay five staters weekly,
and I shall pay them over twenty years.’

His offer was declined without a care,
and while the bankrupt lender in his mansion
is working on an opulent extension,
the smith sleeps rough amid the market square.

And every now and then the lender, known
not to remember customers, comes creeping
around and asks: ‘Are you not sick of sleeping
outside like this? Why don’t you buy your own?’

29/03/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to High Kings and Taoiseachs


The Necessity of World Hunger

Capitalism, as they say, creates
a better world for our society
through competition, freedom and the right
to choose from an immense variety.

How beneficial capitalism is
to humankind can easily be seen
in supermarkets where we buy our food,
in restaurants and in your firm’s canteen.

To maximise their profit, they prepare
and stock more food than needed; then, bar none,
the rest goes to the skip, prevented by
security from feeding anyone.

This wastage is imperative for them,
as anyone with eyes can plainly see,
because of course they’d sell a little less
if they left out the out-of-dates for free.

The food that’s wasted in the Western World
could feed this planet several times a day:
world hunger is a necessary part
of our beloved capitalistic way.

23/03/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to Nail on the Head


Holocene Days

It was an August night in Barcelona.
A weak old man limped forward in despair;
the ice cracked heavily beneath his footsteps
as he approached the fire lit in the square.

The others let him through to warm his body.
‘Thank you for that! I wish that I had been
born hundred years before my time to witness
the heydays of the joyful Holocene.’

‘What is a Holocene?’, somebody asked him,
a dimwitted expression on his face.
‘A metal band, another word for acid,
or just the name of some exotic place?’

‘It was a short eventful interglacial
in which most of the ice had thawed away;
the Holocene gave birth to modern humans
and slowly made us what we are today.

‘Our rivers and our lakes were never frozen,
not even in this northern latitude,
the Pyrenees entirely free of glaciers,
and people everywhere grew crops for food.

‘The countryside was green and full of wildlife,
and even in the city flowers bloomed,
tall trees were growing all along La Rambla,
but now the ice has all of them entombed.

‘The summers were so warm that people sweated
and wore no coats nor scarves this time of year;
they lay near naked in the parks, on beaches
and cooled themselves with ice cream or cold beer.

‘Sweet Holocene! My grandpa used to tell me
about the last few years when gradually
the ice returned and in some decades covered
the hills and plains as far as one could see.’

Of course this is a glimpse into the future
in which once more the Quaternary casts
her icy chills, so let’s, with merry spirits,
enjoy the interglacial while it lasts.

5-8/03/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to Nail on the Head


Asperger’s Wall

When my granny died I suffered,
having lost my only friend,
and I went upon a journey
- one that met a sudden end -
to my deepest inner feelings.
Something said: ‘You’ll carry through;
she is dead and gone forever,
there is nothing you can do.
Leave it be, or you will suffer
even more.’ – I saw a tall
wall that barred my way and calmly
read the writing on the wall:
‘For your sanity and reason,
stay away! You must avoid
thoughts that’d tear your heart asunder:
Turn or be destroyed!’

Once I met an older lady
with a spirit far from damp
who recounted all the horrors
of the concentration camp
where her children had been tortured,
starved and murdered in her sight
while she slaved for IG Farben
and got raped most every night.
As I listened to her story,
I was shaken to the core;
soon my world went into turmoil,
and I faced the wall once more:
‘For your sanity and reason,
stay away! You must avoid
thoughts that’d tear your heart asunder:
Turn or be destroyed!’

I have also seen the children
in the city of Bombay:
mutilated for the purpose
of arousing pity, they
roam the streets and beg for money
which their owners will collect
while a lot of these young children
die from hunger and neglect.
As my stomach kept on turning
I felt guilty being free;
close to tears, I felt like crying,
but the wall reminded me:
‘For your sanity and reason,
stay away! You must avoid
thoughts that’d tear your heart asunder:
Turn or be destroyed!’

Oft I think about the victims
of our wars and hold my breath,
starving and dismembered children,
men and women stoned to death,
people killed for their convictions,
the convictions of their kin,
for their lifestyle or their gender,
for the colour of their skin,
humans sacrificed to profit,
slaves who’ll never break their chain,
and I find myself, as always,
standing at the wall again:
‘For your sanity and reason,
stay away! You must avoid
thoughts that’d tear your heart asunder:
Turn or be destroyed!’

26-27/02/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to Away and Back


The Cat

‘If I should die before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take!’
That night it was Amanda’s goal
the Lord may take her little soul.

Her cat had passed away that day;
Amanda was inclined to stay
with her in Heaven, but she woke
at dawn, despite the pray’r she spoke.

So when she played outside, she ran
in front of some delivery van.
She smiled: ‘It’s Mittens I shall meet’
as she lay dying on the street.

And as her grieving parents cried
beside her grave, her father sighed:
‘I think we should have told her that
there is no Heaven for a cat.’

(Based on a true event in which the girl was lucky enough to survive.)

20/02/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to Friday School


Unherded and Unheard

The sheep were grazing in the field
when some of them approached their peers:
‘This is about the guy who shears
our fleece, and this must be revealed!

‘Do not believe his solemn vows
that he just wants what’s best for us;
when we’ve grown up, without much fuss,
he’ll send us to the slaughterhouse!’

‘How dare you utter such a thing?
The next time, could you spare us please
your old conspiracy theories
and chew your grass and wait for spring.’

‘These are some pictures where they slit
the throats of sheep before they’re bled
and cut to pieces; we’ll be dead
if we don’t run away from it!’

‘They’re photoshopped; you know quite well
no sheep hangs from its hooves like this!
The shepherd loves us, and it is
slander to tell the tales you tell!’

While all the docile sheep just frowned,
all the seditious sheep left home
and went outside the gate to roam
the forests and the fields around.

The docile sheep are now interred
in shepherd’s pies, on sale for cheap,
while all the free seditious sheep
remain unherded and unheard.

20-21/02/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to Nail on the Head


Views

Pointing out our views are strong
does not prove our views are wrong.

13/02/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to That's the Way It Is


Snow on the Dartry Mountains

I shall leave while the winter is calling
his elements forth, one by one,
while the snow on the Dartry Mountains
still reflects the white light of the sun.

I’ll return when the daffodils waver
to the song of the nightingale
and the snow on the Dartry Mountains
has melted and flows through the vale.

11/02/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to The Sligo Poems


Religion

From the sewers of ambition
sprung a slimy monster which,
being raised by superstition,
eats the poor and feeds the rich.

Filling every nook and cranny
in a human’s life, it was
every child’s appointed nanny
and each war’s and battle’s cause.

Growing up with this dark matter
all around our playgrounds, we
called it, since we knew no better,
fabric of society.

We, naïve and passion-driven,
breathed its homely scent that had
been the sign that we’d be given
something pleasant once we’re dead.

This unholy spirit slowly
spoils each thought our spirit lit,
and we even are – how lowly –
forced to wash our brains with it.

Can we take away its power,
clean ourselves and right its wrongs?
I propose a global shower:
send it back where it belongs!

8/02/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to Friday School


The Final Stop of Casey Jones

Casey Jones, a railroad man,
used to do things his own way,
like the whistle which he had
made himself from tubes one day.
When his piercing whistle wailed
far across the peaceful glen,
folk were turning in their bed:
‘There goes Casey Jones again.’
Always punctual, Casey deemed
being late a social crime
and was proud that all his runs
reached their final stop on time.
Station masters, engineers,
operators on their phones
and his passengers alike
set their watch by Casey Jones.

Once his fellow engineer
drove the train as Jones climbed out
to adjust the spark screen and
saw some children play about
on the tracks. They scattered soon,
but one girl froze to the spot;
seeing that she wouldn’t move,
Casey, who was getting hot,
rushed up to the pilot where,
to protect the child from harm,
he awaited impact and
caught the youngster in his arm.
Never one to count his feats,
not afraid of sticks and stones,
keen to do his job and help
others: that was Casey Jones.

When an engineer got sick,
Casey volunteered to drive
his night train from Memphis to
Canton which was ninety-five
minutes late: ‘We’re screwed, just try
to catch up a little, Son!’ -
‘I’ll convey the mail on time.’ -
‘That would be a record run!’
With Sim Webb, his fireman, Jones
set out through the rain and fog,
dashing down the sodden tracks:
‘Sim, put on another log! -
You remember’, he recalled
to the engine’s busy moans,
‘those two railmen who have died
on this line?’, mused Casey Jones.

More than half of the delay
was made up, to Jones’ content,
in Grenada, and he sped
to Winona and Durant.
Just five minutes late, they left
Goodman as his men did reel:
‘Someone’s showing off again!’ -
‘Sim, I promised you that we’ll
make it on the advertised’,
Casey Jones was glad and thrilled.
Sim clung to the nearest bar:
‘Lest you get somebody killed!’ -
‘We’re in Vaughan, and only two
minutes late, now stop your groans:
we’re as good as back on time!’,
celebrated Casey Jones.

‘Something’s on the tracks!’, Sim screamed.
‘What the devil can we do?’
Jones replied: ‘We’ll crash! Jump out!’
Sim jumped out: ‘And how ‘bout you?’
While afraid he’d cause his own
wife and children grief and pain,
Casey’s thoughts went out to all
wives and children on the train.
As his howling whistle warned
everybody in the night,
he reversed the throttle and
pulled the brake with all his might!
He held on until his own
train, emitting many sones,
smashed the other train’s caboose
with a curse from Casey Jones.

Since the speed had been reduced
by some forty miles, between
all the cars that were derailed
helpers coming to the scene
found amongst the many sprains,
bruises, cuts and broken bones,
only one fatality:
that of driver Casey Jones.

28/01-7/02/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to From the Titans to the Titanic


Stone Age Boy

‘It seems that for success in science or art a dash of autism is essential.’ - Hans Asperger

‘What would happen if the autism gene was eliminated from the gene pool?
You would have a bunch of people standing around in a cave, chatting and socializing and not getting anything done.’
- Temple Grandin

Karoo sat in the corner
from sunrise until dark,
he banged two stones together
and waited for the spark.

While all the other children
played hide and seek outside,
he didn’t feel like seeking
and didn’t want to hide.

The adults kept on talking
while sitting in a row
and eating food they’d gathered
from underneath the snow.

His father once went over
and asked the boy: ‘What good
is it to play with flintstones
and branches and dry wood?’

‘I’m trying to light a fire,
like that after the storm
in which we found the burning
tree branch that kept us warm.’

‘What makes you think that banging
two stones will light a fire
like thunderstorms are doing?’,
the father did enquire.

‘I saw it at a rockfall
beside the little pit:
one rock dropped on another,
and a small spark was lit.’

‘Good luck’, his father told him,
returning to his peers
to whom he told the story:
Karoo could see their sneers.

Karoo sat in the corner
from sunrise until dark,
he banged two stones together
and waited for the spark.

One day he saw a little
bright spark that lit the wood,
and soon the pile was burning
away the way it should.

The others gathered round him,
brought kindling and admired
his patience and his talent
and that he never tired.

Karoo was celebrated
and lauded by the lot:
‘Come sit with us, we’ll give you
the best of what we’ve got!’

He said: ‘I’m far too busy,
I won’t neglect my chore:
we’ll need a fire more often,
I need to practice more.’

Karoo sat in the corner
from sunrise until dark,
he banged two stones together
and waited for the spark.

19+23-24/01/6255 RT (2014 CE), added to Nail on the Head


Glorious Horseman

Translation of Joachim Witt’s Goldener Reiter

Right at the busy bypass outside our ominous city gates
our therapeutic centre stands as an eyesore that everyone hates.
It’s so enormous a complex all of our shopping malls would fit in,
when you reach breaking point, they’ll make you madder than you’ve ever been.
Hey, hey, hey, I was the glorious horseman, hey, hey, hey, I was a son of this town,
hey, hey, hey, I was too high up the stairway, then I went down, yeah, then I went down.

On my way down to the clinic I saw the city lights one last time,
burning my eyes like electric fire! I felt alone with a mountain to climb.
Hey, hey, hey, I was the glorious horseman, hey, hey, hey, I was a son of this town,
hey, hey, hey, I was too high up the stairway, but then I went down, yeah, then I went down.

Lights and emergency signals, psychoanalysis, group time and force,
new therapeutic centres will never fight the actual cause.
Hey, hey, hey, I was the glorious horseman, hey, hey, hey, I was a son of this town,
hey, hey, hey, I was too high up the stairway, but then I went down, yeah, then I went down.

More than thirty years ago Joachim Witt recorded his song Goldener Reiter which became the anthem of the New German Wave and remained in the charts for 29 weeks. I was surprised that I couldn't find a decent English translation and tried to fill the gap.
You can find the original song at this link on YouTube.


Joachim Witt and Frank L. Ludwig

6252/6253 RT (2011/2012 CE)


The Hills of Moneygall

You may talk about the weather man and whether you agree,
or how you work on Maggie's farm and struggle to be free,
who was the man on the grassy knoll, does Gorbachev drink tea?
But ask them all where’s Moneygall, and it’s still a mystery.

And if I could I’d build a field right here in Moneygall,
the Bulls, the Steam, and every team - my god I’d build it tall.
the White Sox and the Throwbacks, sure I'd invite them all.
We’d have our own Chicago in the hills of Moneygall
Yeah!! Chicago in the hills of Moneygall.

Joe Biden is on hold and the Security Council waits,
while I am here, enjoying some black stuff with Henry VIII,
the Afro-Irish culture is very much alive,
I sing along to every song while strangers kiss the wife.

And if I could I’d build a field right here in Moneygall,
the Bulls, the Steam, and every team - my god I’d build it tall.
the White Sox and the Throwbacks, sure I'd invite them all.
We’d have our own Chicago in the hills of Moneygall
Yeah!! Chicago in the hills of Moneygall.

24-25/06/6252 RT (2011 CE)


© Frank L. Ludwig


Subsribe