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Peace on Earth

[In other news, here’s this start of a poem]


Peace on Earth


All this time I thought it was me

When it was them

Now I’m inclined to think it was me again

So smug and slow and so wrong


When nothing changes or it takes too long

The anger rages inside

So it’s hard to believe Peace on Earth can ever be here

Though you are holding onto it so tightly








Peace on Earth

So, are we all agreed that to mutter towards the Prime Minister, a phrase such as “Stupid Woman” or, before too long, such as “Stupid people” is now to be considered beyond the pale and illegal?


Wishing you are Cary Grant

A lovely account of this great star’s life, aspects of which sound like a fairy tale – grim but ending happily.

One of Life’s little paradoxes

When you really care about people

You want to know they’ll be alright without you

So, knowing they do well enough without you

You never see them, while

Time begins to lie heavy on you

What to do?

Get on with your life

Make new friends

Hope the tide drifts you

Toward the shores of those you miss

The Dark Lady

She says she loves me

And she’s not lying

In this moment she’s not lying

But moments do not last

And in that moment my cruel heart

Can only ask,

She loves me and she’s not lying

But will she lie with me

So this precious moment will last a little longer?

No, moments do not last

But some rewire the brain permanently

And my sad, cruel heart has yet to learn

To pass that precious moment on

Before it burns, and burns its brightness out.

Paul Foot on Shelly

Thanks for sharing this reminder of the true importance of poetry, Graham Henderson Presents: “The Real Percy Bysshe Shelley”, especially at a time when literature continues to be pushed to the sidelines of the latest education and exam syllabus.


Image result

We boldly went

Where no people had gone before

And I am proud to be considered

The first African American woman

To be accepted into the regular cast

Of a populist TV show

Transported from the mid twentieth century place of my birth

To the hopeful future we dared to imagine then,

Reaching out with our hearts, minds and hopes

Using our sciences to expand into the universe

Explore those new worlds.

Communications Officer, I was in that crew

And that is a serious, hard learned skill;

I wasn’t there just to answer the phone

Show a bit of leg and defer,

I had my journey, my mission,

See my current position in the Star Fleet

Dream, work hard, aspire and follow me.


[This poem was written as a result of attending a talk by Pearl John, Public Engagement Leader for the Department of Physics and Astronomy, at the John Hansard Gallery, in which she bemoaned the low level of engagement of women with the sciences. Nichols herself, as the linked Wikipedia article explains, did much to encourage women’s involvement in space exploration.]

Stephen Foster, Beautiful Dreamer

Tue 31 Jul 1Tue 31 Jul 18 11:40 Harmony Lane 1935 Musical. Director: Joseph Santley. Stars Douglass Montgomery, Evelyn Venable & Adrienne Ames. The life and loves of composer Stephen Foster who was the influence for the early Minstrel shows.8

This short film gives a vivid account of the life of Stephen Foster,  composer of dozens of songs that will always repay reinterpretation, as, for example, James Taylor proves in his version of .





JPF Defends Poetry

Shopgirls, a vivid, wide slice of social history

Dr Pamela Cox does a fine job of introducing this history of people we see every day – those who have worked in shops, department stores, supermarkets, boutiques etc. I suppose most of us have done time as one of this ‘nation of shopkeepers’, with many a fond or not so fond memory.

As a customer, however, this account, with plenty of archive, reminds us all that those who serve us, with a minimum of fuss, preferably, and without pretending to be particular friends (unless, heaven help them, their customer wants them to be, or the management does) deserve our respect.

There is a twist in this tale, however, as Dr Cox concludes her otherwise faultless account by citing Margaret Thatcher as ‘the most famous shopgirl ever’.

Ah well, I shall continue to check my change and spurn unctuous displays of friendliness, quoting Biba’s founder’s principle,  “Any assistant who addresses a customer with ‘Can I help you?’ gets the sack.”


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