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What’s in a Name

My name is Bond, James Bond

My name is Brown, James Brown

My name is Stewart, James Stewart, aw, Jimmy Stewart

My name is James, Henry James

My name is James, Etta James

My name is Joyce, James Joyce

My name is, my name is

Hello James, my name is M, Eminem

Mmm, M & Ms

My name is Goodman, John Goodman

But now I’ve said that

You’re probably thinking of someone else

As am I, and her name is…

But that’s another story.

So, what name do you go by?

In what memorable and endearing way

Do you introduce yourself, or others introduce you,

Or are you one who avoids introductions and just is?

More where that came from

The probability of probability being probable

Is probably less probable than you think

The coincidence of two coincidences coincidentally coinciding

Is considerably less considerable than you may consider.

The incredible credulity of the credulous is credited

With creating creative creations by the creative

But the concept of conceptual conception is a misconception

Formed in the formative years by a formation of formidable formulas

Forming a structure consisting of consistently, constrictingly strict instructions.

Beginning, then, where I began, I have begun to begin

Boasting to boost the best and best the best of the boastful

And so, toasting the tasteful and taking a taste of tactfully tested toadstool

I proceed down the passage of the past’s impassioned impressions

Aimlessly ambling at an, admittedly, ambivelently amiable pace

Five Friends of my Mother

The woman who flirted with her son

To stop him flirting

The woman who fought the devil

Battling smack before the crack attack

The woman who tended a garden

Keeping the quarry at bay

That shouting woman who taught me to read

All words but necessary, whose name I forget

And Mrs Bellamy, who cleaned up our flat

Until it got messed up again by her daughter Pat

These five friends of my mother

Are sisters she never met.

The Nation

Perhaps, a hundred years from now, in 2115

We shall be remembered as

“That brave, lost generation

Whose lives were marked and sacrificed for…”

Not a great global war

Like the one that, a hundred years before,

Reaped the finest of 1915

The lives of this generation are now being taken

By the terrible conflicts of 2015,

Made to give their lives to

“the realites of the current economic situation”

In defence of the nation

The nation, the nation, the nation

Is it a national disgrace?

Is it egg all over the face

Of a nation that once held a peculiar grace?

All to extend the boundaries

Of the sphere of influence

Of those who were too influential already

Too boorish in trumpeting their own

In some ways noble version of the values of the nation.

However, 2015, in this nation at least

Is an election year, one that will be a great test

Of this nation’s mind and spirit,

Will it be a wonderful new start

When this nation comes out of this wicked spell and

Finds its presently troubled, naturally much more affable heart?

Will the people’s choices save this, our nation

Must it wallow in the sludge of drudgery,

Forever trading wounds in a stinging storm of petty debate,

Or can this nation be saved before it’s too late?

The nation, the nation, the nation

Is it a national disgrace?

Is it egg all over the face

Of a nation that once held a peculiar grace?


Sadly opposed, I don’t want to be loving someone who isn’t here

But it seems, and has all my life, that I must

Allow someone to follow their own lonely path.

I stand in the way, blindly groping, reaching

Trying to be solid, hoping to be clung to

Too full of solitude to be fed by any more of it

But you, you need to be comfortable with yourself

Before you can meet the eye of anyone else

And why should you, how could you impose your chaos?

The world is too small for the both of us

Together, we are too big for the world

So it storms always and nature places bottomless voids between us

Until, fearless together, we insist on the vision that might

Keep us safe in each other’s worlds, clear eyed with mutual delight.

Invitation to the Dance

I have never seen you dance

This must be arranged at once

How could I ever know you truly

If I’ve never seen you dance?

It’s a difficult time for you to receive such a shove

We know nothing less forgiving than the gaze

Of a man who wants to be in love

But I do not want love for you, it’s here

So now I want us to dance

Humbly offer to keep you steady

Hold you in the gentlest, warmest embrace

Watch the steps that take us closer when we’re ready

To share and celebrate your lovely grace

Dance by the glow in your beautiful face.

[This example will lead on to a prose piece on modern poetry’s hot topic – performance. But that can wait till the holiday season has been successfully enjoyed by every faithful reader of this Blog, I hope.]

Being Happy is the Greatest Protest of all

The definitions of the world on offer are inadequate

We can devise better ones of our own

Let us agree that being happy is the finest form of rebellion

And tyranny, whether in powerful or petty forms, to be met

With a carefree but understanding smile

Because, no matter what forces conspire

Whatever miseries attempt to take over and drive us apart

No measure or distance can divide us

Or break the conspiracy of our hearts

If joy is the purpose of our revolt

Then love must be our weapon of choice

Tenderness dispensed without mercy or favour

Mutual respect and regard the only agenda.

When we take charge we can take responsibility

For urgent debts and making everything better

But keeping it nice must be the primary law.

I need to talk

But the music of the human voice is the one sound

That can call away my attention

From my sad internal reverie

And place before me another being’s mind and thought.

Though a melody sometimes softens the walls of isolation

Or reaches into the heart and finds some tenderness

Maybe plays into a moment in one’s memories

Gets fingers tapping or a stamp of the foot

Only someone’s words, preferably spoken

Awake the mind and provoke a conversation

Or at least the possibility of one.

Wallow and lose yourself, risk being drowned

Or get in the way of speech

Where another mind may yet be found.

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.

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