Helpless Discontent

Alongside the glitter of the sand
where tiny quartzes sparkle
Discontent rides strong
No hiding, it flaunts openly under the sun
As much on display as bikini clad bottoms.

As if this day which should be enough
is wasting, watching and waiting for comeuppance.
Today I cannot stop the tide of shoulds
with their follow-on words be full, gratitude
As if beauty could do a job beyond just being.

Come on rippling water invade the sand,
drop weed, slip tide higher on the beach
take this warm skin, see the air between sea and sky
between colors, green and black and gold.
You don’t tell me of joy and life’s becoming.

Not happening here.
Today I can’t forget the where
There where children have been caged
There where the ill despair and then enraged
Find themselves jailed by bars or poverty.

Sometimes I think I wait with glee
for sea to rise and take this hedonistic summer joy,
drown it with my deep despairing helplessness.
So in  some future now unthought
Creatures will talk of the mythic beings.

The Beachers who lie in dark sand hollows
Watered graves unmarked by quartz or spark of life
Once walked as if they owned the rights.
They chose forgetting, entitlement
Forgot to rise for shame of blames I am remembering.



Emergence, a wreck?


Photo from one of Armagh’s cathedral sites. There are also some of John Hewitt’s words there, a more hopeful and generous perspective.

When I saw the title with South County
My mind reversed the words.
From a childhood place
I see Armagh, the county south
of my own county,
A place of orchards and apples.

Small hills topped by two cathedrals
Both called St. Patrick
Looking at each other across the town
Glaring rather. Or ignoring.
More, I am the high point here,
So long as I pretend you are not there.

Emergent intolerance and ignorance.
Trouble. I wish I saw a change.
I think I see the brittle ribs of hate
Slipped a little while under the sand.
The cathedrals on the hills still stand.
Waiting. Watching. Ignoring their arrogance.


When I write poetry I think I am often simply exercising “free association”. Is this is why prompts enable me to get around to it? The prompt on this occasion, here in USA, was in a “South County news report” with a headline “shipwreck buried under sand emerges on Charleston Beach”



The king was in the Counting House

for a more ordered view on the subject of this poem look at what Ivo Mosley’s writes

The king was in the Counting House…

Banking is business
That’s what we do.
We produce money
and sell it to you.
We make it from nothing
[it’s not really real]
Everyone trusts us
There’s no need to steal.

You didn’t know this
Well that’s no surprise
It’s not that it’s secret
just hidden from eyes
behind lots of numbers
and labels and jargon
You need lots of patience
to get a translation.

In fact when we say
“We promise to pay”
it’s really quite funny
it’s never your money.
We’re owing you money
that we have just made.
We say that on the paper
And you are misled.

It’s a sort of in-joke
more a pig-in-a-poke
what you think is your money
is always a debt.
Whether yours or some others’
does not much matter
somebody owes us
and interest gets fatter.

you look for your earnings
the products of work
so does the businessman
he’s not a jerk.
You both use up energy
make things of worth
that’s goods and services
needed from birth.

These things of worth
start from gifts that are free.
The sun and the rain
fall on our earth
bring harvests of bounty.
Yes they ask for your effort
your skill and your sweat
Sharing them round is not happening yet.

If we make the money
then sell debt to you
Your work pays us back
Always more than was due.
For banking is business
and that’s what it does
But who ever decided
We wanted to lose?

Money is thinking
Just an idea
To help us move something
From somewhere to here
To privilege banking
above all our gifts
is saying capital isn’t for us,
just the risks!

Bosses and workers
Are both the bank clients
Their money is debt
It’s not rocket science.
The bank’s interest is interest
So everyone’s stressed
by the law that allows banks
to say debt is best.

Why is the money
issued this way?
if it’s just an idea
to help plan our days?
Just as the sun and the rain are for free
We can decide if we want to be!
We could decide
how we’d make the money!

Let the banks do the managing
They do that well.
Take from them the privilege
that acts like a spell.
As if we were unable
ever to choose
how the need for the money
could be planned for our use.

Freedom to choose
brings trusting and risk
that’s why we duck it
and give up our task.
That’s why we labour
give power to the banks
give up our lives
and forget to give thanks

For the freedom to live
For the free gift of life
For the capital in us
For sharing not strife.
For the money we could
if we wanted agree
Belongs to us all for our needs
Make it free.

Remember to look at Positive Money, and all the resources available there, if you want to learn more about what money really is in today’s global world.


A prompt: “It never reaches earth except as ashes” from Robert Frost’s A Loose Mountain.

Icarus aimed high
A modern sort of man, filled with ambition
Intent, calculating, planning,
most definitely achieving.
If they had had a Wall Street, he would have fitted right in.

But, no Wall Street,
And Hercules already had the strong market cornered
Apollo clearly understood grooming,
In its many senses.
So there with not a lot left, he dreamed of the sun.

Maybe not a financier go-getter
Maybe lying on sun-warmed grass
Idly scratching where the hay had got under his chiton
Hearing chirps and chitterings.
He dreamed about flying sky high, beyond the chattering.

A watching blue-jay startled from its pecking
A gull wheeled and yawed on a drift of wind
A goose  whonk-ed, quark-ed, beating easy elegant wings
Icarus too, flew, beyond his care.
Beyond reality. Dreams never reach the earth except as ashes.


What’s in a Name?

Last weekend I was at a gathering on Block Island where the Frantzich Brothers [Tim and Paul] sang, and while singing, suggested remembering. Hence two poems surfaced, the first all as it came is on a different post, this is the second which was unusual for me in that I could not ‘just write’ but had to get home to look up John Hewitt’s poems [Ulster Names, Postscript1984] and check my names spelling for the villages in one of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan.

I remember when I was a child
John Hewitt wrote music from the Ulster names
Dreaming words from Moy to Crossmaglen.
And then
A postscript.
History came to Crossmaglen
And there they lived a little hell, not well.
With grief of kin and murderous men.

Another time
A world away holds wider names
Mansehra, Jabba, AAhl.
Are they on the road to Chitti Gatti
Khanajan, Kurmang and Kohistan?
Hell knows the strangest places
Strange music sounds. Difference comes.
And I remember, once, long ago
A man came from Samaria.

Pussy Riot

Pussy Riot is the name of a group of women in Moscow, where in mid-August three women were jailed for ‘hooliganism’. They had interrupted a church service and criticized Putin. I do not know enough about their circumstances before or after the protest, instinctively feel they did not protest wisely or well, and might be wrong, but do not feel that what happened to them is right. [Reminders of London young people jailed for rioting a year previously]. I wrote this poem in the middle of a group session at a weekend on Block Island led by the Frantzich Brothers, where someone had brought the Pussy Rioters story in to the group discussions of injustice. Tim was playing guitar.

I remember
Trying to do damage
Making my own pussy riot
Pushing, penetrating, piling it on
So they would listen
Someone should listen
Without that
I would feel fucked.

I remember
I remember hurt and hurting
Remembering the power in the wish
Remembering the pain in the fist
I arrive on the road to compassion.

Swallow Bird

This is for someone very special to me. Should she, or anyone, recognize who inspired the poem in me, please remember that this is poetry, with licence to write a feeling which arose at a moment in time, from my need, not hers. She does not need to connect here. If the poem does connect, then we will have another different poem to share. [I am working on that one right now]

Swallow Bird                                   

Richard Lettinger photos

Love on the Wing:
Are they feeding, fighting or calling to each other?

I find it hard to love
my swallow bird.
She sweeps by
on winds I have not heard.
She dips to music
drumming from some silent beat
dictated from her own heart zone.

Like all the tea from all the leaf in china
Like all the quartz glister from every grain of sand
My soul tumbles into fractions
Fractals fold, enfold in twist and turn
I find I cannot want to take her hand.

I hate my fractious hating thoughts
I hate the bones and joints which ache
I hate the threatening tears that fall in anger.
Frustration carves a worn and weathered face.

Voice silenced. Listen. Love the hate, its me.
Just start afresh. Drop the need to love and care.
Hate is real and passions need to leave their mark
Like footprints in the sand.

The wind will blow soft sand one day
My sad and lonely swallow comes in on the wind.
I will not love the broken wing
But I will hold her hand.

April 2012 at Block Island.

Swallow picture from Richard Lettinger thanks.