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Proud to be Jewish?

Proud to be Jewish?
So, you’re not an Israeli
I mean, you refuse to live in that sacred land
Until it has been properly cleansed by reconciliation

By reconciliation and forgiveness
Forgiveness for all the blood that has been spilt
The blood of each tribe
That has been spilt
Spilt on that sacred ground
The sacred ground of all the world

The sacred ground of all the world
Will always be cared for carefully
To be cleansed of the blood
The blood of each tribe
That has been spilt
Spilt on that sacred ground

The sacred ground of all the world
Can only be sacred if it belongs to all the world

Mad Bard, Dangerous to Know

1. Driven Mad

Once there was a poet, gentle sweet and kind

So those without a poem in them decided

To drive him out of his mind.

They laughed at his art and mocked his belief

Made everything seem tawdry and cheap;

His despair was their only hope of relief.

Could he be so wrong and they be so right?

He asked this every day; their rejection became an obsession

His only escape was to hide away and seek release in the night.

His only true comfort, the love that believed in his art

Was turned into gossip to set them apart

Until he was driven mad by a broken heart.


2. Becomes Bad

Defeated at last, success seeped into him.

Accepted and treated as an amusing case,

He thought only of what he might skim.

They want a clown, he thought, so I’ll become one

Seek meaningless events and live off buffet food

Demand pity while proclaiming art to be fun.

Hurt furtive, snatching what he could

Sensitive, not to the world but only to his pride.

There’s no point, his madness decided, in trying to be good.

His fame grew like a colourful mould

“It’s all about the kids!” he said, licking his lips.

Each chance to be tempted making him more bold, more cold.


3. Dangerous to know

Now he’s respected, but in whispers he’s painted

As rude and mean and absurdly vain

And not to be trusted, his soul’s so tainted,

To be laughed at, if not openly hated

Another case against poetic dreams

One more moral fable to be retailed and related.

He might bite your head off for no reason

He may weep and beg for the price of a drink

Terribly aware he’s near the end of his season,

But this isn’t why he’s dangerous to know

It’s the same old fear, that you might catch his eye

And be taken to places you never meant to go.

You Were a Child

You were a child when that bad thing happened

And when bad things have happened since then

You become a child again.

You thought you’d better act like a grown up

Don’t cry, don’t add to the problem but try to help.

When it happens now that’s the last thing that you want to do

You want to curl into a ball until someone looks after you.

That child who kept it all in

Who coped by letting others cope for him

Forgot that his job was being a child

When he tried to do more he clowned or frowned.

If only something colourful or frivolous would catch his eye

And lead him back to innocence

So beautiful things never tum ugly

And the ugly things never seem so bad.

The Time Might Have Gone

I think the time when I might expect

Any particular love I feel to be returned has gone

Perhaps I should’ve learned that lesson long ago

Given up indulging in all that awful suspenseful defining

Of what might be the perfect sign or symbolic word

That would finally indicate my greedy love’s ultimate requital,

Though it wasn’t meanness or jealousy that made me insecure

Just what seemed a sensible fear of causing pain

By asking for a returning passion where it couldn’t be

Throwing away any real friendship for the sake of my vanity.

I may at last be able to bear my love alone

Not make it someone else’s problem

Not make it my big excuse,

A debt to be made good by anyone but me,

But keep it as a secret burden of my own

Which my carrying gladly might bring some unexpected joy

Or just enough relief to my love to help her through,

That’s really what I ought to do

But before too long I know I will return to that childish dream

In which, all excited, I run to my beloved and say

Look, look at this fantastic lovely thing

Isn’t it bright? Isn’t it great?

Wasn’t it worth the wait?

Plumbing the Depths

We don’t know each other well enough yet
She’s still starry eyed
I refer to some modest half achievement
And it seems she believes that this jewel -
Hacked at, polished and bartered with so many times
That it’s no longer genuine except for official purposes -
Is just one item from some Aladdin’s cave,
That the sparkling discoveries will never cease.

She doesn’t just surrender, she comes up to you
And her friendly smile, her warmth
Her admiring echoing of what you say
Leave you cold and suspicious.
Is this what a woman does when she loves?
Does she open herself in this way
Or will l have to understand
That her words and actions were not meant for me at all?

Love’s approach fires the brain and chills the heart
Get over the panic, seek common ground
Try to share ordinary moments of happiness
As you would with a friend
Don’t imagine anything, appreciate the time you spend together
Time enough for fear and regret when you’re apart
Only question love if you want to destroy it
An unexpected guest usually doesn’t stay for long.

With this in mind
It’s hard to focus on another person
One minute she’s a glimpse of a tigress in the wild
All colour and grace and danger
The next it’s someone you would pass in the street
Without longing or a backward glance.
Well, like it or not, we must both be on our guard
As it seems I intend to plumb her depths.


It’s been done

It’s been done

And it will be done again

A crime will be committed or revealed

A word of love returned or cruelly spurned

A day’s work done or avoided

A masterpiece poorly imitated or surpassed

Somebody will unexpectedly fall pregnant

Someone will finally die

A lie will be told and believed

The truth will be heard but ignored

A boy will hurt himself and may be consoled

A girl might change her mind but still feel bored

We strive to be original, find or create something new

But the world continues turning much longer than me or you

JPF’s Revenge!

This week, without any warning, the BBC took no less than £37.62p direct from my bank account, without any warning! None that I remember, anyway. No doubt they will claim that this was a quarterly payment toward ‘their’ notorious licence fee, at a time when, ironically enough, I don’t possess a television.


So, my revenge for this inconvenience is to pinch a movie off them and post it here, with a link which the Beeb says will only be good for the next three weeks, the cheapskates!

This 1946 Hollywood film itself seems a cheap option for the BBC to broadcast, though as ‘Falcon’ pictures go it’s a mite above average, with unusually tight and witty scripting by Paul Yawitz and direction by Ray McCarey (never heard of either of them; is the latter any relation to Leo?). Elisha Cook Jr is in a key role – which demonstrates that if he wasn’t an early exponent of the intense style of acting developed by Montgomery Clift, James Dean and so on, then he really was quite a nutcase!  Cook plays a DJ, and I’d love to find a soundtrack album of the ‘hep’  score which at least name checks Gene Krupa and the Cole Trio and includes a couple of bouncy songs performed by Jane Greer , the same who took a cameo role in ‘Twin Peaks’  years later.

All right, I do view on line, and there’s several BBC tv and radio channels to pay for, but – at a time when ‘Auntie Beeb’s’ swing to the right is such that it has made a media star out of the likes of Nigel Farrago or whatever his name is, shows a shocking bias in favour of  World War One among others and has up to now failed to report fully on the miserable suffering and deaths caused by recent welfare ‘reforms’ – one has to ask: is the licence fee good value for money, and exactly what are we paying for?  Please comment and let us know what you think.

At least we get a chance to catch up with little pictures like this, though regular readers might wish I spent more time writing poetry. Apologies to you all for my deficiencies in that respect; I’m blocked by distressing incidents such as the above. Perhaps, now I’ve given them a little publicity, the BBC could repay and compensate me by returning the favour. In the meantime, my revenge is complete.




JPF’s Characteristic Meal

This scene from A Poet’s Life reveals some of the secrets of the one dish I have ever dared to claim authorship of, in a lifetime of gourmandism.

It is a substantial and versatile dish, easy to make and, at least potentially, tasty and economic – enough to help at least one aspiring poet through financially constrained times.

The film sequence is spoilt for me rather, as the playing of my reciting over it seems somewhat undignified; the cooking action is dramatic enough! The final comparison to the art of poetry is, of course, good.

Here then, published for the very first time, is the recipe, in the clearest form in which I can attempt to record such a ‘movable feast’:


Olive oil
Vegetables including tomatoes (if that is a vegetable), garlic and onions.
Tin of fish (may work with fresh, who knows?) which might be pilchards or mackerel; tuna fish tends to be rather dry. Could be in brine or tomato sauce, as available.
Mustard, chili and/or  hot pepper bean paste by Sunchang Gochujang, that you can get from that Korean supermarket opposite Tesco’s on St Marys Street.
Tin of chopped tomatoes.
Italian herbs, salt and pepper etc to taste.
Spaghetti or, for even greater health benefits, rice.
(Leave out the fish if you’re a pescatarian or whatever you call it)


Heat olive oil in a big pan and gently fry vegetables in it, starting with garlic, onions and such hard wearing items as carrots and greens. Add hot spicy items, then whatever remaining vegetables are available (sweetcorn? Lemon?), finally introducing real and then tinned tomatoes, seasoned with salt, pepper and basil.
The aim is to have something with enough liquid to gently simmer and reduce while the spaghetti or rice is prepared. So add wine, beer or lemonade as available, maybe even Greek yoghurt or cream.
Cook your starchy items and combine the two as appropriate.
And that’s it! Bon appetite!


I did once, with this dish in mind, buy 10 tins of mackerel as a long term economy measure, but that was going too far!


[No cookery book for the foreseeable, but the poem featured in this clip can be enjoyed in rather more suitable form by purchasing the collection featured  here: with-love-from-jpf/  Go on, try it!]










The Malevolent Brain

Use your brain or your brain

Will use you up

How many of us are disengaged from reality

Solving each new problem

With the same faulty mechanisms?

Distracted by the relentless machinery

Of a brain poorly maintained,

Which runs its casually input perceptions

Through synaesthetic synapses sparking sputteringly

Along a badly wired mainframe.

No wonder people feel the need

To switch off and get ‘brainless’.

The brain can feel like a vicious animal

Burrowing its way through your skull

Trying to break free of the body’s pull.

For grown-ups only!


Dishonored Lady ( 1947 ) Full Movie

It’s interesting to note that Anais Nin, as she mentions in her journal, was friendly with Hedy Lamarr around this time. What a sight those two must’ve made wandering around town!
The heroine of this little picture is also sensitive, intelligent and attractively neurotic.
The plot is as good as an episode of ‘Law and Order’ if you like that sort of thing (I do!), with a murder and courtroom revelations!
Directed by Robert Stevenson, with some of the soundtrack music by Wagner, I think.
Beware, this film is for adults only, and advocates absolute honesty. It also illustrates the value of leaving a chap a nice note before flying off.

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