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From Jason seeking Joy

A SUNNY DAY IN HERSELF,

AS BRIGHT AND PRETTY AS AIR,

QUICK WITH LIFE AND TENDER,

SHE LOVED ALL THE WORLD

AND HER NAME WAS JOY.

THE WORLD LOVED HER IN RETURN

AND THE LOVE OF THE WORLD IS A HEAVY WEIGHT,

IT NEARLY SUCKED HER DRY.

JOY THOUGHT SHE BROKE MANY MEN’S HEARTS

THAT HAD BEEN SHATTERED LONG BEFORE –

SHE SIMPLY COULD NOT MEND THEM.

STILL TOO YOUNG TO KNOW HER OWN SOUL

AND CARING FOR THE WORLD AROUND HER

JOY DETERMINED TO CONSOLE THESE HEARTS;

IN THIS WAY WOMEN’S FEELINGS ARE CRUSHED

AND MEN, DREAMING OF RULING THE ROOST,

PLAY WITH DANGEROUS TOYS.

WITH SIMPLE GENEROSITY

JOY PLAYED HER GAMES WITH MANY MEN,

CREATING HOPES SHE COULDN’T SATISFY.

THEY GATHERED ROUND HER LIKE HUNGRY BABES

BUT ALAS, THEY WERE NOT HER CHILDREN

ONLY LOST AND SELFISH MEN.

JOY’S FIRST BEAUTIFUL HOPES WERE CRUSHED

AND HER ANGER GREW AND GREW

UNTIL AT LAST SHE HAD THE STRENGTH TO PROTEST:

“MY HOME IS BEING POISONED

AND TURNED INTO A BATTLE GROUND

BY MEN WHO TRY TO IMPRESS ME

BY RIPPING OUT THEIR HEART

AND LAYING IT IN MY HAND.

I THROW DOWN YOUR BLOODY MEAT!

YOU WON’T MAKE MEAT OF ME.

I HAVE SOME SPACE AROUND ME,

IT SHALL BE CLEAN AND GOOD.

I WILL NOT TOLERATE EVIL, MISERY OR DIRT

THEY SHALL NOT COME NEAR ME,

AND IF YOU LOVE ME

MAKE PEACE AS I HAVE DONE.”

NOW JOY’S BEAUTY WAS HER OWN CREATION

WHEN IT SHOULD HAVE BELONGED TO THE WORLD

BUT SHE WAS STILL LOVELY

BECOMING A PALACE,

ELEGANT AND COLD

NOT HARD TO FIND, EASY TO ADMIRE,

BUT IMPOSSIBLE TO ENTER

WITHOUT FAVOUR, BOLDNESS OR LOW CUNNING.

LUCKY THE FEW WHO DO NOT SEEK SUCH SHELTER

AND BRAVE THE FREEDOM OUTSIDE,

FOR PALACES ARE ONLY KEPT WARM

BY OFFERING UP THE DEAD

AND WHEN THEY CRUMBLE

THEY LEAVE AN EMPTY SPACE.

JOY HAD BUILT HER HOME

BUT AS SOON AS SHE MADE IT SECURE

SHE LOOKED OUTSIDE HER WINDOW

AND SAW THE WORLD WAS MADE OF GLASS.

 

[The collaboration between John Hansard Gallery and local poets continues and will again once it relocates to Guldhall Square.
My effort in response to this theme was only put on the reserve list but, with five such engaging poets in performance, even I didn’t feel the loss too badly.
nevertheless, for the record, here’s the poem I came up with]:

You Must Read the Signs Correctly

She loved me, I screwed it up
At least that’s how I like to look at it. Nowadays
As one must take responsibility for every aspect of one’s life
Every aspect of life itself, existence and all,
Which is only limited by the limits of our perception;
Your whole life is only that which you can perceive

So the senses must be acute, trained, stimulated, added to if possible
And we like to think that we can learn from what we’ve seen and sensed,
Maybe accept some guidance on occasion from the experience of others
Those who have some special knowledge, training, wisdom, insight, ability, influence
Which we might be able to apply when, inevitably
One goes over those situations in life
That didn’t turn out as one hoped they might.

It’s cheating in a way, of course –
Everything happens at once and only once –
But just in case by some miracle
Or because of the circles we are contained in
By the limits of our perception
We do get a second chance, we want to be ready,
Hope to find some fresh insight so profound
That it might turn a damaging perception around.
So, for example, when I say I love somebody, or any other word
I should always consider what that might mean to them –
To me the natural fulfilment of many a dream
To them an onerous invitation to accept some uncalled for obligation.

I may see love as a beautiful gift
Declare it as an author pronounces his latest truth
While anyone denoted by such a weighty word as love
Must refer to their own understanding of what it entails.
It may mean a lot to me, but in tennis love means nothing
And that is what I find myself served
Though the fault may be mine and the way I keep score.

The Wherehouse

Grant David Read jpf freeway night 2.2 2

Where is it, where is that house?
The one you remember being yourself in
The one where the windows seemed haunted
Because when you looked at the world through them you couldn’t care.
The house you could see from miles away
Because that’s where you were always going
To see all the important people there, and all your stuff
Where is it now, that house, did it ever even exist?
Could it really be in that exact same place,
Unchanged but for your not being there?

23rd February, 2010

Peace Drone

This could happen now

But who would profit by such a thing?

~

A craft the size of a building, difficult but not impossible to destroy

Could land on or hover over the streets or fields

Of the peoples we peoples don’t want to be enemies with any more,

Not there to invade or destroy but to share and display.

A touch screen menu could offer assistance and choices

Help to find and channel water and other resources

Feed and regenerate the soil, plant and process food,

Build shelters, homes, hospitals and schools,

Roads and bridges, all manner of communications

We could share our skills and information

Accept and explore that other culture’s experience and views

Not just bellow our leaders’ billious demands and agendas,

Look at each others’ faces, lives, communities and realities

Talk to and learn from each other

~

This could happen now

But who would profit by such a thing?

~

Such devices already exist

And are shot into the far reaches of outer space

Such keen traders are the human race

With a childish need to show off, make a deal

Sell a vision of our civilization, impress ourselves, at least,

Always hoping to get the best of any exchange.

Even the most savage attacks are fired with the force of love

Passion for the riches, to protect the family or some idea,

But our love bombs, our loving bombs will not answer our hopes

If we value our lives above others’, seek to crush what others love

If the vision we have wont admit what other eyes can see.

~

The technology we have now could bring peace to the world

But who would profit by such a thing?

LATE FILM

Sorry my post is late this week, so here’s a film:

https://youtu.be/0pgUznL7L1Y  (Thanks to Tony Curtis Movies for sharing this). Good to add this to the Curtis oeuvre, and most of this 1953 film is set in  Macao, so it’s interesting to see how that location was perceived by Universal International in those days. It’s hard to see how Philadelphia gets involved in the final vital scenes, but it does.

Everyone is Different and the Same

Sometimes when you feel different you want to be the same

Sometimes when you feel the same you want to be different

Sometimes when you think you’re being different you’re actually being the same

Sometimes when you think you’re being the same you’re actually being quite different

It’s no wonder that when people try to see how you are different

When actually you’re the same

Or try to see you as the same

When you’re actually quite different

It’s no wonder that you seem to feel quite different when actually you feel just the same

Or seem to feel the same when you actually feel differently

Differences arise when you see the same thing in me

To you it looks different to the same thing you see in yourself

Just as things that are actually different seem the same

We are different in the same way

In different ways we are the same

The Chocolate Fairy

In days of old, a tale was told

The tale of the chocolate fairy

A myth designed to soothe the mind

Of a boy in a garret

Or a maid in a dairy.

*

If you go to bed, so it was said,

With a piece of chocolate slipped under your pillow

After a night dreaming of all that love might bring

The fairy will melt that special person’s heart

And you will wake to find them saying “hello”.

*

So, full of belief, after brushing my teeth

I offer my final square or slice of confection

To the magical sprite who I hope just might

Take pity and sympathise

With my attempts to find affection.

*

Yet, when I open my eyes, to my constant surprise

And more than a little personal pain

Of fairy or love divine there is no sign

No hint of my dream coming true

Nothing but a nasty brown stain.

The Good Clean Air of Hampshire

i

That’s my clothes hanging out on the line

In the good morning air of Hampshire!

In the cold, damp air of a grey So’ton morn.

Too early for me, but good to see my clothes at least

Get the benefit of the cold, crisp, misty Hampshire air

Knowing that soon the sun will warm and dry

The things I shall wear, along with the air,

The good, clean air of Hampshire!

ii

So, the clothes on the line are happy as ever they shall be,

Dancing freely, in the breezy air of Hampshire!

Happy in their perfect moment (as Robert Browning would say).

And then what? Iron out the jolly wrinkles they’ve been given

By the brisk, brisk, moist air of Hampshire?

So I can wear them to rags with the sweat of my labour

While others strut in their latest duds

In love with the good, healthy air of Hampshire!

iii

Now my line is empty and slack, sad and swinging wildly

At the mercy once again, of the gusts in the air of Hampshire!

But it won’t break or go to waste, this old skipping rope; it’s the only line I have

Where precious things might hang on display proudly

To dry and salute, for all to see, or just for me, and the good air of Hampshire!

What sign can I put on show to add weight to my line?

Some old flag? Dead game? This puppy? That child?

Who wants to swing, in the good clean air of Hampshire!

Tongue Twister and Tense Questions

[Should you spot any grammatical errors in the following, please note them in the comments section below; I think there’s only one!]

I shall, I’m sure

I’m sure I shall, are you?

I’m sure you shan’t be unsure I shall, I shan’t,

But should you be unsure I shall, I’d be surprised, as you should be sure, shouldn’t you?

Should you be unsure, I’m sure I shan’t, as should you.

Tellyofftober week one: not yet thinking outside of the box.

It’s another wasted effort, a failure, an ever diminishing set of possiblities that point to a grim future, which will continue to be dominated by concerns great and small, crowded out by petty distractions. Such are the thoughts that keep me awake when I attempt to ‘go hard core’ and cope with what passes for total silence when media sources other than television are also switched off, on the rare occasions when that actually happens.

Ah well, baby steps.

Perhaps this experience will help me understand the effect years of resorting to the box has had on my mind. It’s style of presentation – items neatly summarised and repeated so that one needn’t concentrate fully, knowing that there will be regular reminders of the main points, to be superficially absorbed and quickly forgotten without ever being explored – apeals to the need to do other things and remain on the lookout for the latest novelty. This leads to an accumulation of half heard, half understood ‘knowledge’, along with all the propaganda, which, try as one might, will have its insidious effect on the way one views the world.

Too late, I have caught myself giving offence to a dear friend by resorting to a cheap jibe based on a staple of US tv comedy so familiar to me that I assumed an ironic distance from its inherent racism would be applied automatically. It wasn’t, and I don’t doubt that that is just an example of the sort of rubbish I’ve allowed to burrow its way into my brain.

Agnes Torok

Spoken word poet & workshop leader

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