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.

Pan, God of the Wild

Listening to Debussy: Pan, God of the Wild.

Pan, god of the wild, has voices for all, all seasons.
Music rises, reminds my mind of soft mild summer wind
insinuating gentleness, whispering to the senses
blood rising, shifting, lifting.
The breeze dies leaving mind blank to find hallucination
Vision and voice fill emptiness.
Birds seen through glass do not sing
Each foot settles soundless on a wintry twig
No tale told. No leaves sussurating sound.
Spring entombed nameless, waiting for sap to rise.

Music finds an inner ear away from light and sight
that the night may be auspicious.
Passion brings the dancer with the castanets
Rhythm packing heartbeat, invention
An Egyptian woman, exotic, skilled in enamoration, persuasion.
Convention. No modern view. No arab spring.
Sapped energy, re-enactment. Again vision, envision that bird
Throat throbbing boundless call
moving solid air from tree to tree, awaiting response.
It is spring, cool, grey sky in monotone holds all colours.
Give thanks to the morning rain.

At Reid Concert Hall free lunchtime program Margaret Wakeford and Simon Coverdale piano duo: Works by Debussy, Hindemith and Schubert. The Debussy was Six Epigraphes Antiques and we were offered this wording:

1. To invoke Pan, God of the summer wind

2. For a nameless tomb

3. That the night may be auspicious

4. For the dancer with castanets

5. For the Egyptian woman

6. To give thanks to the morning rain.

After writing the poem, I looked up more about it, and discovered that the music was written in homage to Pierre Louys‘ poetry celebrating lesbian love: The Songs of Bilitis.

I am happy that the poem I wrote in response to the music and the six phrases was for me a celebration of all, everyone, everywhere, however different, and somehow nameless. Though I didn’t catch that Debussy piece originated via his friend Louys from one of the loves that cannot speak its name, it still seems that what I heard matched the music played. I was listening.

The Top Drawer

Writing 201: Day 8 prompt, form and device are – drawer, ode, apostrophe – which means that the speaker in the poem addresses another person or an object (usually personified) directly. I did not know that was what that device was called.

Ode to the Top Drawer

You know you are rarely opened.
You know you are small, though close to hand.
Always the top drawer in whatever bedroom I inhabit.

Such important content you keep safe.
These items each are small, easily lost in a crowd.
I need you, the careful placement you offer in your safe closure.

I surf the net, I dream and plan.
I make decisions, shop, take the suitcase, fly.
I empty you of passport, visa and spare credit card.

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.