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Poetry and Literature in Wales & the World, Page

Image: when the rhondda remembers its dead

When the Rhondda
Remembers its dead

by Poet

When the Rhondda remembers its dead...

it won't recall traitors but heroes instead.


And its glorious thinkers

who dared to stand firm


To the certain sure knowledge

that evil will burn


when people accept we are one.



When the Rhondda remembers its past,

it won' recall haters, but lovers, at last.


Who believe in the wisdom

of modesty's prayer


Look up to a standard

they raised in the air


Bigger and better than one.



When the Rhondda remembers its dead

It will lift up its skirts and

 be happy instead


and the bliss hate has plundered

will fill up its head


When the Rhondda


its dead.

Image: what shall we tell our children

What Shall We Tell Our Children?

by Margaret Burroughs


What shall we tell our children who are black?

What shall we tell our children who are white?

What shall we tell children of every race and hue?

For all children are the children of all of us

And all of us bear responsibility for all children

What shall we tell them?

How can we show them the conditions of their lives

So they will see how they can change them?

Those who are poverty stricken in the midst of plenty

Who must live in rat-infested slums

While decent homes stand empty

Who go to bed hungry

While grocery shelves are heavy

Who huddle in tattered rags

While racks in stores are sagging

Who yearn for a good education

But languish in programmed illiteracy

Whose intellectual growth is stunted

And whose ignorance is compounded

While the Academies produce more drones for the labour colony

What shall we tell them?

How can we show them the conditions of their lives

So they will see how they can change them?

What shall we tell our children

The men and women of the future?

We shall tell them the truth

It is our bounden duty to tell them the truth

It may be painful. We must tell them the truth

We may be criticized. We must tell them the truth 

We may be castigated. We must tell them the truth 

The truth it shall be, shall show them the conditions of their lives

Of a glorified way of life, the greatest in the world

Which is not concerned with people, but with profits

Not with the well-being of many, but with the interests of a few

Not with the welfare and future of the people

But only with the profit-making present

We shall tell them the truth about a way of life

The greatest in the world

Where freedom and equality is granted to every man, woman, and child

Where everyone, providing he is willing to do what is necessary

Can become rich and wealthy by doing others before they do you

Where everyone, including you

Can acquire life's most important goodies

Like split-level houses, with wall-to-wall carpeting completely furnished 

And two cars and two colour T.V.'s

And the latest style clothes and minks

And schminks and everything!

We shall tell them the truth

About a way of life

The greatest in the world

Which rejects the wisdom of its seers and sages

And whose culture is dictated and delineated by

Violent, vicious, destructive 

Murderous, unfeeling, crude

And quick on the draw supermen

Who deem the men and women of the future

As expendable and shunt them off to

Purposeless death in the name of patria and patriotism

Who slaughter the innocents who protest or speak for Peace

We shall tell them the truth

We shall tell them the truth

About a way of life, the greatest in the world

Whose primal motivation is material acquisition

Wherein the majority of the people derive happiness

From having things which others do not have

Whose all high, omnipotent

All powerful Jehovah, Jesus, Lord

God, Allah and all Supreme

Is the adulated, sought after, live for,

Steal for, murder for, Almighty D-O-L-L-A-R dollar!

We shall tell them the truth

About a way of life, the greatest in the world

Which manipulates and expends young lives

So that parasites may live and survive

Whose aim is but to acquire and kill

And kill and acquire again and again

At home and abroad and everywhere

We shall tell them the truth

We shall urge them to examine their way of life,

The greatest in the world

Which deliberately depresses the conditions of life

Which offers no bright future

But instead keeps people in fear

Insecurity and in constant turmoil

Which decimates their ranks

With endless predatory wars

We shall tell them the truth

About what life could be made to be

And how they themselves can help to make it

Bright, happy and secure. 

We shall show them that life

Is ever in motion, constantly going through

Processes of change, shall strengthen them in the belief

That it is possible for men and women,

For they themselves, for all of us

To live in harmony with our environment

And the Universe

Shall teach them that our knowledge increases

The more we gain control over our envirnment

And exploit it not for private gain but for our own happiness

We shall tell them the truth

We shall encourage them to expand their knowledge 

Of the known and the unknown

To destroy the cobwebs of superstition 

To find that there are no mysteries

Either in life or in nature

And that above all there is nothing to fear but fear itself. 

We shall tell them the truth

Shall suggest this way of life

Can truly be made to be among the 

Greatest in the world

That through their own efforts

They can forge a new way

A superior way, a good way of life

Which is in harmony with the true purpose of life

Wherein the people themselves control the conditions of their labour

Wherein the people have the total benefits of their labour

And where men, women, and children

Live lives free from exploitation. 

We shall tell them that a way of life is possible

Wherein the people may own the means and tools of production

And use them solely for the abundance of the whole people

And not for the aggrandizement of a few

As in the old way.

We shall tell them the truth

We shall arm them with the knowledge of how to survive

In an atmosphere fraught with danger and hostility

We shall urge them to heed

The wisdom bequeathed to us by the elders

And to have faith. To have faith.

In people, in themselves and their fellow human beings

And to have respect and love for all of humankind.

We shall tell them

To keep the belief that the purpose of life

Is to continue to grow and create

And to contribute to growth and create

And to contribute to growth and

Creativity toward a better life

For people now and for generations to come

What shall we tell our children?

We shall tell them the truth

We shall imbue them with the vision of the new tomorrow

Seemingly far, but yet so near

We shall tell them that they hold

 the power in their own hands

To make this new way

A reality in our own life time.

Image: Beauty


by Louise Abeita Chewiwi


Beauty is seen

in the sunlight.

The trees, the birds.

Corn growing and people working

Or dancing for their harvest.


Beauty is heard

In the night.

Wind sighing, rain falling,

Or a singer chanting

Anything in earnest.


Beauty is in yourself.

Good deeds, happy thoughts

That repeat themselves

In your dreams.

On the Western Front

by Alfred Noyes


I found a dreadful acre of the dead,

Marked with the only sign on earth that saves.

The wings of death were hurrying overhead,

The loose earth shook on those unquiet graves;


For the deep gun-pits, with quick stabs of flame,

Made their own thunders of the sunlit air;

Yet, as I read the crosses, name by name,

Rank after rank, it seemed that peace was there;


Sunlight and peace, a peace too deep for thought,

The peace of tides that underlie our strife,

The peace with which the moving heavens are fraught,

The peace that is our everlasting life.


The loose earth shook. The very hills were stirred.

The silence of the dead was all I heard.




We, who lie here, have nothing more to pray.

To all your praises we are deaf and blind.

We may not ever know if you betray

Our hope, to make earth better for mankind.


Only our silence, in the night, shall grow

More silent, as the stars grow in the sky;

And, while you deck our graves, you shall not know

How many scornful legions pass you by.


For we have heard you say (when we were living)

That some small dream of good would “cost too much.”

But when the foe struck, we have watched you giving,

And seen you move the mountains with one touch.


What can be done, we know. But, have no fear!

If you fail now, we shall not see or hear.

Image: Juergen Habermas

German Philosopher Turns Down 

Zayed Book Award over Ties to

 UAE Political System

May 3rd 12:58pm (FNA) 

Germany’s prominent philosopher Juergen Habermas

 rejected the high-priced Sheikh Zayed Book Award 

from the United Arab Emirates over ties to the 

Persian Gulf state's political system.


91-year-old Habermas, who is considered Germany's

most eminent contemporary philosopher, announced 

on Sunday that he reversed his earlier decision to 

accept the literary award after he found out that 

the institution which presents the prize is 

connected to the political system in 

the UAE.


“I declared my willingness to accept this year's Sheikh 

Zayed Book Award. That was a wrong decision, which

 I correct hereby,” he said in a statement which his 

publisher Suhrkamp Verlag passed on to the 

German news site Spiegel Online.


Habermas added, “I didn't sufficiently make clear to myself 

the very close connection of the institution, which awards 

these prizes in Abu Dhabi, with the existing political 

system there.”


The Zayed Book Award had named Habermas "Cultural 

Personality of the Year 2021 in recognition of a long 

career that extends for more than half a century".


The “Cultural Personality of the Year” winner receives

 a prize of one million UAE dirhams ($272,249).


The UAE has been frequently slammed 

over its poor human rights situation.


In January, a US think tank said that the United 

Arab Emirates has contributed to humanitarian 

crises and instability in the Middle East region.


The UAE is a key member of the Saudi-led 

aggression and siege against Yemen.


Riyadh and a number of its regional allies 

launched the devastating war on Yemen 

in March 2015 in order to bring former 

President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi 

back to power and crush the 

popular Ansarullah movement.


The Saudi-led military aggression has left 

hundreds of thousands of Yemenis dead, 

and displaced millions of people.


It has also destroyed Yemen's infrastructure 

and spread famine and infectious diseases 

across the country.




Image: israel's shrinking palestine

by Jonathan Azaziah*
August 1st, 2018

The poem is most certainly mightier than the occupation.
36-year old Palestinian poet, Dareen Tatour, has been
sentenced to 5 more months in prison, by the
usurping Zionist cancer, for a poem she
 wrote in the Autumn of 2015, called:

 “Qawem Ya Sha3bi, Qawemhoum
(Resist, My People, Resist Them)”.

She already spent 3 months in a Jewish dungeon after
she was initially arrested in October of 2015 and has
been on house arrest, with invasive and despicable
IOF monitoring, for nearly 3 years since. Her prison
sentence, which starts next Wednesday, isn’t the
end of her nightmare either. As of this moment,
she’s still banned from using the Internet and
 cell phones, as well as publishing any of
her poetry.

Yes, this is exactly like a Zionized version of one of those
dystopian, totalitarian sci-fi flicks Jewish Hollywood is
always producing – only the dystopian totalitarianism
of Jewish supremacy is very real. An indigenous
woman is going to prison - again - for writing a
poem that calls on her fellow indigenous
brethren --- not to make “peace” with the
bloodthirsty, supremacist terrorists who
have been stealing their land, hurting
their culture and destabilizing their
region, in one capacity or another,
for nearly a century and a half.

In May, Dareen, who’s from the 1948 Muslim-Christian town
of Reineh near Nasira in Al-Jalil, was convicted of online
incitement of “terrorism”. These were the lines that the
Zionist kangaroo court used for its “case” against the
Mouqawamist poet, whose words cut deep into the
blackened being of the Zio-Tumour and its fifth
columnists within Palestine, who want to sign
 a surrender treaty and betray their cause:

 “I will not succumb to the ‘peaceful solution’.
I will never lower my flags. Until I evict
from my land.”

Beautiful. Resistant perfection. The illegitimate Jewish entity
isn’t just terrified of these words --- but the thought process it
will inspire among Palestinians of all ages, especially shabab.

Because Tatour the Tigress is one who doesn’t believe in the
false idea of sharing what is rightfully hers; what is rightfully
her people’s; what is rightfully Palestine’s. She believes in
the expulsion of the land thieves. The Hizbullah-Algeria
option. ‘Israel’ wants a Palestinian population that is
so pacified, liberalized and Judaized, that it won’t
even see the next mass-expulsion coming.

Dareen the Dauntless wants her brethren
awakened. Resisting. With Intifada
Consciousness (‘Israel’ also
charged her for supporting
Islamic Jihad’s call for a
new Intifada -- and for
defending Al-Aqsa).

An understanding of the Culture of Martyrdom (‘Israel’
charged her in relation to this too, for posting a photo
on Ziobook, with the tag “I am the next martyr”). A
strength that will see Palestine liberated from the
River to the Sea. A Palestinian woman, whose
principles are uncompromising, and whose
pen is more explosive than any butterfly
bullet her oppressors could shoot at her.

Indeed, this is what keeps the policymakers of
 ‘Israel’ who so desperately want to preserve
their Halakhic-Talmudic project, awake
at night.

After her conviction, Dareen said,

“The whole world will hear my story. The whole world
will hear --- what the ‘democracy’ of ‘Israel’ is. A
democracy for Jews only. Arabs, and Arabs
alone, go to jail. The court said I am
convicted of terrorism. Fine. If
that’s my terrorism, I give the
world a terrorism of love.”

It is her love of Palestine, its cause and the Mouqawamah
of her people, that is keeping her going and presumably,
writing, even though the baby-killing Zionist devils are
preventing the world from reading her gemstone-like
prose. And after her sentencing, she said:

“I was arrested and put on trial because of the Arabic
language, and I call on the entire Arab public to
continue writing and expressing itself in
our language.”

One would imagine that this call-to-poetic-arms extends
to all those who support Palestine, regardless of their
language, as well, because World Zionism is cracking
down on anyone exercising their right to freedom of
speech and freedom of thought, in both the Global
North and the Global South.

We know that Shlomo has a penchant for killing creative
personalities. Ghassan Kanafani. Writer. Kamal Nasser.
Poet. Wael Zuaiter. Writer. Naji al-Ali. Cartoonist. Hujjat
al-Islam Sayyed Moussa Ali al-Kazimi of Iraq. Poet.
Juliano Mer-Khamis. Filmmaker. Muhammad Abou
Amr. Artist. My uncle Ishaq-Hussein Azaziah.
Writer. Apart from the Mighty Moujahideen
of Hizbullah and Iran’s IRGC, ‘Israel’ fears
nothing more, than Arabs and Muslims
with artistic talents gifted to them by
ALLAH (SWT), who are using such
talents, to spark a cultural
revolution: in which, Anti-
Zionism, Anti-Parasitism,
 Anti-Imperialism and
Liberationist Zeal,
are the pillars.

And as more and more artists follow in the footsteps of
these legends, the Zio-Tumour realizes that it cannot
kill everyone. It cannot silence everyone. It cannot
bully everyone into accepting its rabbinical edicts
on what can and can’t be said, in relation to the
shaytanic, fake existence of its shaytanic, fake
entity. Imprisonment isn’t a deterrent anymore
because the inspiration while exiled, on house
arrest or locked behind bars, only grows

So heed the call of Dareen Tatour! And write. Rhyme. Sing.
Spit. Draw. Paint. Film. Script. Photograph. Document.
Report. Whether in the Mother Tongue of Arabic,
English, Urdu, Farsi, Hindi, Spanish, Swedish or
Neptune-ese, if that’s what you have at your
disposal. Just let the artistry flow, until the
Nazarene Poet-Warrioress, and all of
Palestine’s political prisoners, still
rotting in Zion’s dungeons, are free.

Resist, my people, resist them… Those sons of Jahannam
masquerading as “the chosen”… Until not a one remains
and Falasteen is whole again.



*Views expressed by Guest Authors are their own,
Rhondda Records and Fort Russ News (original
source) publish these, for research and
educational purposes.

Image: bread and roses award


‘The Candidate: Jeremy Corbyn’s Improbable Path to Power’
 by Alex Nunns, wins the Bread & Roses Award for Radical
 Publishing, 2017

The Alliance of Radical Booksellers (ARB) is delighted to
 announce the winner of this year’s Bread and Roses
Award for Radical Publishing as ‘The Candidate:
Jeremy Corbyn’s Improbable Path to Power’ by
 Alex Nunns and published by OR Books.

The judges greatly appreciated this exploration of the deep
roots of the Corbyn phenomenon. In The Candidate, Nunns
shows that Corbyn’s victories weren’t the accidental
consequence of other candidates’ failures, but were
 built on the work of an energised, thoughtful and
committed movement of citizen-campaigners.

Cogent, optimistic, well-written and thoroughly researched,
 this hugely topical book records with great intimacy and
insight an historical moment whose lessons mustn’t be
forgotten, while also exposing the persistent forces
 which continue to work against social change.

Alex Nunn’s was awarded the prize and a cheque for £500
 by guest judge Joan Anim-Addo at this year’s London
Radical Bookfair, hosted as ever by the ARB.

2017’s prize money was generously granted
 by the General Federation of Trade Unions.

Guest judge Joan Anim-Addo presented
 Alex Nunn’s with the award.

Book summary

In September 2015 an earthquake shook the foundations
 of British politics. Jeremy Corbyn, a lifelong and
uncompromising socialist, was elected to head
the Labour Party. Corbyn didn’t just win the
leadership contest, he trounced opponents.
The establishment was aghast. The official
opposition now had as its leader a man
 with a plan, according to the Daily
Telegraph, “to turn Britain into

How this remarkable twist of events occurre is the
subject of Alex Nunns’ highly readable and richly
researched account. Drawing on 1st-hand inter-
views with those involved in the campaign,
 including its most senior figures, Nunns
traces the origins of Corbyn’s victory in
 the dissatisfaction with Blairism stirred
 by the Iraq War and the 2008 financial
 crash, the move to the left of the trade
unions, and changes in the electoral
rules of the Labour Party that turned
 out to be surreally at odds with the
 intentions of those who introduced
them. The system of one-member-
one-vote, that delivered Corbyn’s
 success, was opposed by those
 on the left and was heralded by
 Tony Blair who described it as
“a long overdue reform that…
I should have done myself.”

Giving full justice to the dramatic swings & nail-biting
 tensions of an extraordinary summer in UK politics,
Nunns’ telling of a story that has received wide-
spread attention but little understanding is as
 illuminating as it is entertaining. He teases
out a plotline of such improbability that it
would be unusable in a work of fiction,
giving the first convincing explanation
 of a remarkable phenomenon with
enormous consequences for the
 left in Britain and beyond.

For more info please visit the OR Book website:


Tabloid Fury Is
Very Satisfying’

June 7th

Subversive artist DARREN CULLEN talks about
the Tories, and making bad people angry,
with Ben Cowles.

On the Tories’ general election campaign paraphernalia
 you won’t find any mention of the deaths of almost
10,000 sick and disabled people between 2011 and
2014 as a result of their politically driven
 austerity measures.

Luckily, one satirical artist has done that for them using
 subvertising — an art form which subverts and satirises
 corporate and political messages with their own logos,
 slogans and adverts.

What might appear at first glance as the Tories’ tree logo
 on a bus stop poster is in fact a mushroom cloud
 over London.

This is but one example of the work of Darren Cullen, a
 30-something, Yorkshire born, London-based artist
whose works usually appear under the moniker
Spelling Mistakes Cost Lives.

Not only is he attempting to reverse Tory propaganda
but the subvertising virtuoso has been undermining
the entire military-industrial-media complex for years.

I caught up with the renegade creator this week, to
 find out more about the motivations behind his work.

What was it that drew you into subvertising?

I originally thought I wanted to go into advertising and
 was studying it for a few years, but the more I learnt,
the more I started to see advertising as little more
a gigantic machine for creating human misery.

It’s a sustained psychological assault on the population
 and I think it’s hard to overstate the brutal and
permanent damage it does to us as individuals,
to society, and to the planet itself.

I’m attracted to subvertising because it’s a way of
taking the language and context of advertising
 and turning it back on itself to get across
better, more progressive messages.

But it also has the added bonus of destroying or hiding
an existing corporate advert in the process, which can
only be a good thing.

Your latest work has been directed at the Tory Party.
 Can you tell us a bit about your motivations for
 this project?

There are a million reasons to hate this government;
 their cruel and irrational austerity policies are killing
 thousands and damning hundreds of thousands
 more, to misery and poverty.

Then there’s the charade of the piecemeal destruction of
 the NHS, not least because these market fundamentalists
 are ideologically opposed to its existence.

I was also prompted by Theresa May’s willingness to
unquestioningly follow the petulant US President
Donald Trump, whose tantrums may well lead
 us all into large-scale conventional or nuclear
 war before the next four years are up.

How do you see Britain’s future if the Tories win?
Do you have any artistic plans for that depressing
 reality if/when that happens?

I don’t see a future if they win.
I’ve been working on an anti-Thatcher museum
 for the last two years, which will only be more
necessary, if the Tories win another term.

But no matter who gets in, the problems of militarism,
global warming, rampant consumerism and the arms
trade, among many many others, will still be there.

The struggle continues, no matter who is in Number 10.

It’s not about winning; it’s about taking the bastards apart.

You work often draws attention to consumerist society’s
 indoctrination of children. How do you feel about
 children being marketed to?

I think child-focused advertising is one of the most
 disturbing and unethical practices of our age.

Kids are being groomed by corporations because
 they know that if they capture the imagination of
 a child, they can rely on that child to become
an adult customer for their entire life.

I cannot understand how anyone can justify the
 psychological manipulation of children for profit.

The people who do this for a living should be in jail.

You say on your website that your work is pro-soldier
but anti-military. Can you explain what you mean by this?

I see soldiers as being among the many (often working-
class) victims of the military-industrial complex.

Often they are economically conscripted, signed
from poor areas while they are 16, after being

bombarded by slick million-pound recruitment
advertising that more resembles a music video
 than a serious explanation -- about the life and
death situations they are going to be placed in.

Servicemen and women can also be powerful allies
the fight against militarism, as we’ve seen with

Veterans for Peace UK.

If we’re going to win the argument about dismantling
modern British imperialism and the war machine, we
need former soldiers on our side, Their condemnation
 of militarism carries a lot of weight.

Your work must generate plenty of abuse for you.
 Is it your aim to make conservative types angry
or is there something else you want to elicit
 within people?

I enjoy making bad people angry and good people laugh.
 It’s debatable whether that’s an effective strategy for
 changing anything.

But I also often attempt to reframe old, tired issues, in a
 way that allows people to see them as if it's the first time.

The Birth of Palestine is a comic I’ve been working on
set in the future, when the UN decides to give the
Palestinian people their own homeland in
 what was formerly known as Spain.

 So the Palestinians become the Israelis and the
Europeans are the Arab nations. And the rest
the book is basically seeing how far I can

stretch that metaphor... before it breaks.

You get quite a lot of flak from the right-wing press,
your works on the military. What do you think
their reporting?

Tabloid fury is very satisfying when it’s directed at you, for
 something you did in order to make them furious. There’s
a symbiotic relationship there.

I know for a fact a lot of these journalists for right-wing rags
 don’t believe a word they type. I had one Sun journalist tell
me she actually loved my anti-Trident posters while the
 story she wrote was full of fury and outrage.

I don’t care as long as they’re printing my images
 and getting them into their readers’ brains.

Is subversive art an effective form of highlighting
hypocrisies & injustices of our consumerist,

neoliberal, militaristic times?

I think it can be effective at highlighting things, whether it
changes anyone’s mind is another question. I think there
 also comes a stage, and I see it more and more, whereby
 capitalism and militarism are doing a pretty good job of
satirising themselves.

I’ve made a few satirical dystopian toys -- like
Action Man:
Battlefield Casualties and Baby’s
First Baby -- but if you
go to a real toy shop,
you’ll find boxes of Playmobil
Riot Police
and the British military’s own toy range,

HM Armed Forces, with a Reaper drone
(ages 5+).

 I don’t know how you can top that with actual satire.

You can find more of Darren Cullen’s work at
 spellingmistakescostlives.com or find him
Twitter: @darren_cullen.

 Ben Cowles is the deputy features editor
 of the Morning Star.

Reminder Of
Poetry’s Possibilities
And Responsibilities

21st century poetry, with Andy Croft

The  Algerian war of independence, from 1954 to 1962,
was one of the bloodiest post-1945 liberation struggles.

Characterised by civilian massacres and the widespread
 use of torture, it led to the death and displacement of
 two million people.

It was also the first major conflict since the Spanish civil war
to mobilise a generation of writers and artists to protest
 against the conduct of the war, most notably in Frantz
 Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth and Gillo Pontecorvo’s
The Battle of Algiers.

In 1960, many of France’s leading writers and intellectuals —
 including Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, Andre
Breton, Pierre Boulez, Francois Truffaut and Marguerite
 Duras — signed Le Manifeste des 121, calling on the
 French government to renounce the use of torture
in Algeria.

As a result, many writers found themselves on the frontline.

The Algerian writer Mouloud Feraoun was assassinated by
the fascist paramilitary organisation OAS in 1962. It also tried,
unsuccessfully, to kill Madeleine Riffaud, who reported on the
 war for the communist newspaper L’Humanite.

There were two attempts on Sartre’s life.

Edited by Francis Combes and translated by Alan Dent,
 Poets and the Algerian War (Smokestack, £7.99) features
 some of the French poets who opposed the war, including
Louis Aragon, Jacques Gaucheron, Riffaud, Henri Deluy
and Guillevic, as well as Algerian poets like Jean Senac,
Kateb Yacine, Bachir Hadj Ali, Noureddine Aba and
Mohamed Saleh Baouiya.

The Algerian poet Messaour Boulanouar,
imprisoned during the conflict, wrote:

“I write so that life can be respected by all...
I give my light to those suffocated by shadow
Those who will triumph over shame and vermin
I write for the man in pain the blind man
The man closed in by sadness
The man hidden from the day’s splendour...
So we might respect
The tree which rises
The corn which grows
The grass in the desert
The hope of men.”

Many of these, such as Riffaud, tried to draw attention
 to the widespread use of torture by France's authorities:

“They kill them with fire, water, electricity
Those who lived far from springs
Dreaming of water all their life
Those who shivered, without coal
In Mouloud’s frozen sun.
Those who lay awake in the dark
Buried in a gloomy slum.”

And this is Gabriel Cousin:

“In a police station near the autumnal
park, electrodes are placed on a
man whose body fills with cries and dizziness.
He is Algerian.
To muffle his cries the policemen
turn on the radio which brings the voice
of Monsieur André Malraux:
‘I assert that torture has stopped in Algeria.’”

The book also includes a remarkable series of poems
 first published in the magazine Action Poetique in
 memory of Maurice Audin, a young university
 lecturer and member of the Algerian Communist
 Party who was tortured and murdered by the
 French authorities. Jo Guglielmi wrote:

“Someone is dead
We know in which town which street in which house
A cell remains empty
We know very well who did the killing.”

And this is part of a long poem by Jean Perret:

 “Maurice Audin, I write your name
I carry your name in my anger
On my heart and my reason
My wife carries your name
My children carry your name
Lenin bears your name.”

Poets and the Algerian War is an important historical
document. But it is also a reminder of the possibilities
and of the responsibilities of poetry, in our own times.

(Original article appeared in Morning Star)

 Ode to the NeoCons —
The Charge of the White Hat Brigade
by Rob Slane? (who can drum up a good tune?)
Originally appeared at The Blog Mire

The White Hats and the Black Hats stood on each side,
Eyeball to eyeball across the divide.
Neither advanced nor retreated one inch,
The world held its breath to see who would flinch.

But the fears were misplaced for as it transpired,
The Black Hats retreated – no shot being fired.
The cost of the standoff just too much to pay,
They packed up their stuff and went on their way.

Well the White Hats rejoiced and in triumph did shout,
“Our victory marks history’s end, there’s no doubt.
We’re children of destiny, reigning supreme,
There’s no time to lose, let’s get on with our dream.”

“We’re the White Hats, the White Hats, the White Hat Brigade,
And now we’ll go round this world we have made.
Bringing White Hats to the people ourselves,
And generally saving them all from themselves.”

So they began their incredible mission,
To bring the whole world into White Hat submission.
They dropped lots of bombs, good ones of course,
Generous bombs for a generous cause.

When some complained that this just wasn’t right,
They pointed towards their hats which were white.
“White Hats can never do wrong,” they affirmed,
“Therefore we always are right,” they confirmed.

“We’re the White Hats, the White Hats, the White Hats are we,
Ours is a lonely and high destiny.
Bringing White Hats to folks everywhere,
Whether they like it or not we don’t care.”

They invented untruths of gargantuan size,
Not bad ones of course, but White Hatted lies,
Deceptions, psyops, huge fabrications,
To sell their benevolent wars to the nations.

“He’s the New Hitler,” they cried in alarm,
“He’s armed to the teeth and intent on our harm.
He must be removed, we mustn’t appease,
Let’s kill him and show our commitment to peace.”

“We’re the White Hats, the White Hats, the White Hats R Us,
When we bomb, maim and kill, please don’t make a fuss.
We’re just doing good and they’ll love us you’ll see,
When we bring them our White Hats and de-moc-racy.

So the bombs kept on falling, but rather than order,
Came havoc and mayhem from border to border.
What lessons were learned, what warnings were heeded?
“Cleverer tactics and more bombs are needed.”

And so they aligned with death-cult Wahhabists,
White Hatted armies of proxy jihadists.
To carve up a nation, its leader as well,
“We came and we saw and he died!” Ain’t that swell!

“We’re the White Hats, the White Hats, we’re nobody’s fools,
We’re history’s actors, and we make the rules,
Creating a world that you can’t comprehend,
The means always being justified by the end.”

No respite could come because every place,
Had to submit to the White Hats or face,
Chaos, regime change, demonization,
Plus mainstream Pravda insulting their nation.

Missiles 4 Peace dropped from White Hatted drones,
Globalist White-Hatted tapping of phones.
“Moderate” head-chopping terrorists too,
Cookies 4 Peace for a White Hatted coup.

“We’re the White Hats, the White Hats, from the day of our birth,
We’ve been destined to rule and inherit the earth,
The world needs a policeman, and whom may we ask,
Is better equipped than us for this task?”

Yet slowly but surely there were more and more folks,
That started to ask, “Are their white hats a hoax?
They say they’re about bringing peace, law and order,
Yet it sure looks to us more like war and disorder.”

But whenever their actions were held to the light,
And questions were asked if they really were right.
The White Hats lashed out with uncontained fury,
“We are the judge, prosecution and jury.”

“We’re the White Hats, the White Hats, and don’t you forget,
We run the world and you’re all in our debt.
We keep you safe from all Black Hatted strife,
We are the Way and the Truth and the Life.”

So any critique of their actions and vision,
Was greeted with furious howls of derision:
“It’s Fake News and Hate Views from Black Hatted trolls,
Vile propagandists; Deplorable goals.

All our plans, which are good, are at risk from this stuff,
Our motives are pure but we’ve now had enough.
Freedom of speech is too precious to lose,
And so we must shut down alternative views.”

“We’re the White Hats, the White Hats, Exceptionally so,
And we’re indispensably running this show,
We can’t have our narrative subject to flack,
By haters and bigots whose hats are quite black.”

But the day is approaching, and come yes it must,
When the dreams of the White Hats will crumble to dust,
And all their ambitions will teeter and fall,
As a handwritten message declares on a wall:

“The days of your kingdom, to an end have been brought,
And so has the world domination you’ve sought.
Weighed in the scales, the verdict is in,
The end of the White Hats is in history’s bin.”

The White Hats, the White Hats, well what do you know,
It turns out they weren’t really running the show,
Let their end be a lesson, and shout it out loud,
“God raises the humble, but brings down the proud.”


Song/poem sung for the
brave people of Donbass


How many songs are unwritten yet?
Tell me, cuckoo, sing it to me
Where should I live, in the city or outside
Lie like a stone or shine like a star
Like a star

 My sun, come on, look at me
 My palm turned into a fist
And if there's gunpowder, give me fire
 That's how it is

 Who's going to follow my lonely track
The strong and brave laid down their lives
On the battlefield, in fight
Few of them remained in our memory
 Sober-minded, with the steady hand, in arms
 In arms

My sun, come on, look at me
 My palm turned into a fist
And if there's gunpowder, give me fire
That's how it is

 Where are you now, my liberal freedom
Who are you meeting sweet sunrise with
Give me an answer
It's good to live with you and hard without you
The head and patient shoulders
To put under whip lashes,
whip lashes

You my sun, come on, look at me
 My palm turned into a fist
And if there's gunpowder, give me fire
 It's like this (x2)

The minute they realise

you might succeed in changing

more than the occasional

light bulb in the new

old community centre,

where the anti-apartheid

meetings used to happen; 


the late Lord Lambton 

climbs out from between 

two prostitutes and into

the next available issue

of the Daily Express 

to urge votes for anyone

but you; Earl Haig 


gets up from his grave

to bang the table and tell us

you’ve not successfully 

organised enough death

to properly understand 

Britain’s defence needs

in the twenty first century. 


The Telegraph mutters

into its whiskers about your lack

of experience – how you never once

so much as successfully destroyed a bank; 

as former comedians gather 

in darkest Norwich and Lincolnshire

to speak of your beige zip-up jackets. 


LBC Radio exclusively reveals your plan 

to give each failed asylum-seeker,

and anyone who’s ever

taken an axe to a child,

their own seat in 

the House of Lords;

the same day, The Spectator 

gives retired General

Franco space to expose your 

long term associations 

with known vegetarians

and Mexican importers 

of fair trade coffee. 


While on Radio Four’s Women’s Hour 

the former editor of the News of The World

and Dame Myra Hindley agree:

the last thing this country needs

right now is you.  



Image: Winners Are People like you welsh

Together. Stronger.

Look into your heart,
not the scar on your wrist

That blow opened it

Opened you

It isn't what has happened
But how you react to it


Family, friends, even enemies
Celebrate purity

We all fly between
pleasure and pain

Together. Stronger.

Take a bow

Image: red jewel


In his last interview before death, noted German

 author Gunter Grass warned about  ”sleepwalking
 towards another world war.” He told the Spanish
 newspaper El Pais:

“We have on the one side Ukraine, whose situation
 is not improving; in Israel and Palestine things are
 getting worse; the disaster the Americans left in
Iraq, the atrocities of Islamic state, and the
of Syria.”

“There is war everywhere. We run the risk of
committing the same mistakes as before. So
without realizing it, we can get into a world
war as if we were sleepwalking.”

“All of this together makes me realize that
 things are finite --- that we don’t have an
 indefinite amount of time,” Grass explained.


Before you know kindness
as the deepest thing inside

You must know sorrow as
the other deepest thing.

You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you can see the size of the cloth.

Naomi Shihab Nye.



Youngsters ask, "what is fascism?"
I struggle to answer, because the
 answer must be right, or we won't
stop it this time.

Hungary, the first fascist government
in Europe, before World War 2, now has
a statue in its main square to a fascist.

Their most voted for party, is fascist.

Croatia has been fascist ever since
NATO destroyed Yugoslavia.


In memoriam Kurt Waldheim*
 by Thomas Ország-Land
Small world, what, Excellency? We shall not shake hands.
I do not care how you manage to live with the murder of children
among the conquered women and spoilt vineyards and olivegroves
back in the Balkans, back in your youth: that is your affair.
But what you have done, to me and my world, that’s mine.
At last, our final meeting. You were an obedient officer
ordered to make a corpse of me,  perforce a small one.
I have survived the mayhem to make a poem of you.
I am more generous than you and far more consistent.
Old soldiers like you in public life can still be of use.
Admit the past for the sake of the future, and go in peace
at the mercy of your smouldering, sordid, meandering memories.
Or dare to persist in denying the truth and the value of life,
pretend that nothing occurred to stir your attention,
and I promise you will never escape the stench of corpses:
for I will record your name as well as the crimes
from which you say you averted your indifferent eyes,
in tales of horror to be recounted throughout the ages
till the end of the march of innocent future generations
to weigh up anew, again and again, and recoil from your life.

*Kurt Waldheim, (1918-2007), former president
 of Austria, secretary-general of the UN and
 intelligence officer of Hitler’s Wehrmacht...
 died peacefully days after publicly repenting
his silence over the atrocities he oversaw.


Fascism causes atrocities, because it's a way of
fooling working people to hate,
so that they don't
rearrange their societies
and remove the banking
elite's power.

"Immigrants", "gays", "communists", "Jews", "scroungers",
all receive
the passionate hatred of those who are turned
 from being loving socialists... in
to murderous racists.

Nigel Farage says he admires Putin over Ukraine.

Hitler and Mussolini both spoke reflecting popular
ideas, including a belief in socialism and progress,

then got people to hate others, helpless minorities,
externalising anger, deflecting it away from banks.

They were funded by US banks and local oligarchs.

So, my definition of fascism?

- the corporate state merged with a nationalism, fueled
by hatred and with no dissent allowed - is inadequate,

a failure by socialists to build a better way, and the
collapse of
hope, also fuels the road there.

Image: the precious blood jewel of freedom

 The poetry of struggle - Fit To Work: Poets Against Atos

(section taken from the Morning Star article)

Mark Burnhope is editor of the website Fit to Work: Poets Against Atos.

"We want to change the meaning of 'fit to work' from a condemnatory
life sentence to a recognition that everyone is fit to - and wants to -
 work, in dignity and security at the work of their choice," he says.

"We believe that these circumstances are often off-limits -
we are fit to work, but by and large our corporate culture
is not fit for anyone to work in.

"That's amplified by the experience of physical
or mental illness and disability."

Burnhope sees Atos and the work capability assessment programme
"the corporatisation of the Department for Work and Pensions.

To say the programme isn't working is a gross understatement,"

"WH Auden's line 'poetry makes nothing happen' has been taken
out of context and made into a challenge - one we're accepting."

"Amid the misery of the coalition government there have been
flashes of excitement as a coalition is being created on the
streets, in squats, in occupations and in community groups.

"We've seen disabled and disability activists at the forefront of
student fees protests, and the benefits cuts are leading to an
alliance around disability rights between disability activists and
other campaigners. We're making contacts as we go - building
bridges between poetry and disability arts communities, finding
contributors from all around, and they're finding us, which is nice.

"I'm just a 'proactivist' or a 'reactivist' - I've watched the
government swing a wrecking ball through the sick and
disabled community and I've had to say no. Publicly.

"Like race, gender and sexuality, disability has often been invisible
on the left or regarded as an add-on - but now people are seeing
that it's not a supplementary, minority issue but central and
far-reaching. Disabled people have always faced a dominant
culture which sees their complaints and demands as quaint.

"But we're now seeing the effects of a government and media-
manufactured culture that sees benefit claimants - any benefit
claimants, the average Joe doesn't differentiate - as 'scroungers.'

"The overwhelming mood among the disabled and sick people I
know and have met through social networks is that this protest
has become synonymous with disabled rights as a whole. These
times could be the most significant for disabled rights in recent
history. We're taking back the movement from a government that
makes every effort to undo its achievements."

 What inspired the project? 

"The combined effects of simultaneous vicious attacks on the
99 per cent and how they affect people with disabilities -
universal credit, the personal independence payment and
employment support allowance, the bedroom tax, the
continued outsourcing of the work capability assessment
programme - with the free market, profit-led values it promotes.

"This is intensified by the tabloid media's language of 'scrounging'
  & 'skiving,' all of which undermine any gains made in dismantling
the disabling public perceptions of people with disabilities.

"It's the horrible paradox where [Minister for Disabled People]
Esther McVey claims she is helping (helpless) people with
disabilities out of the oppression of benefits - double-speak
for depriving us of what we need to participate in an 'ablist'
society on our own terms."

  "Both the poetry community in this country and the disability
arts and activism community have shown their support by
submitting work, reading the site and sharing it.

"We've got a WriteToThem link on the site so that readers can
share it with their MPs, and we're waiting to see what - if any -
responses we get, which we'll post on the site.

"So far all but a - legendary - handful of MPs have been very quiet
about the total eradication of a fair benefits system, and we're
hoping against hope that the poems and statements on the site
wake them up to the real effects on their constituents.

"We're also running a GoFundMe campaign to support the site,
which we're running independently and for free. But we know
that many of our contributors and readers are all struggling in
the same economic situation. We'd like to raise enough money
to enlarge the project, maybe with a print book, and even live
reading events & workshops, thus increasing visibility further."

Any public events planned? 

"Does anyone have an accessible - and public
transport accessible - venue with sign-language
and hearing aid provision?" 

"If so, we'd love to hear from you, so we can bring
our poets and our audience together. Get in touch!"

For more information visit
Fit To Work: Poets Against Atos

or their Facebook page.



by Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif

They are criminals, increasing their crimes.
They are criminals, claiming to be peace-loving.
They are criminals, torturing the hunger strikers.
They are artists of torture,
They are artists of pain and fatigue,
They are artists of insults and humiliation.
They are faithless—traitors and cowards—
They have surpassed devils with their criminal acts.
They do not respect the law,
They do not respect men,
They do not spare the elderly,
They do not spare the baby-toothed child.
They leave us in prison for years, uncharged,
Because we are Muslims.
Where is the world to save us from torture?
Where is the world to save us from the fire and sadness?
Where is the world to save the hunger strikers?
But we are content, on the side of justice and right,
Worshipping the Almighty.
And our motto on this island is, salaam.


Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, a 27-year-old Yemeni
from a family of modest means, was the victim
 of a 1994 accident that resulted in serious head
 injuries, Latif spent much of the rest of the decade
 seeking affordable medical treatment in Jordan,
 Afghanistan, and Pakistan. After the 9/11 attacks
 on the United States, he was taken into custody
 by Pakistani forces and turned over to the US for
 a $5,000 bounty. He was eventually flown to
 Guantánamo and kept for a time in an open-air
 kennel exposed to the elements, causing further
 deterioration of his health. He died after joining
 the latest hunger strike, which is ongoing...



Prominent Chilean bards, several Mapuches among
them, participated in celebrating World Poetry Day
in 2013, along with Chilean blues groups.

The celebration took place in Providencia, a town
of the capital city, sponsored by the municipality,
and produced by ChilePoesia (PoetryChile).

Every year this international meeting's venue
is Chile, homeland of Gabriela Mistral, Vicente
Huidobro, Pablo de Rokha and Pablo Neruda.

Prominent poets read their works from the
balconies and columns of the Palacio
Consistorial (Council Palace).

Poets participating in the celebration included
Leonel Lienlaf, Teresa Calderon, Jaime Huenun,
Loreley Saavedra, Magdalena Pulgar, Karen Hermosilla,
Jose Maria Memet, Elicura Chihuailaf, A'scar Saavedra,
Faumelisa Manquepillan and Mauricio Redoles.

Chilean blues groups Ivan Torres & Zapatillas
Social Blues, Tito Escarate and Los Galanes
Suplentes and La Bandadel Capitán Corneta
also performed.

The recital was broadcast by a 'streaming' system
which connected the celebration in Chile with other
countries of the world, allowing poets from all over
the world, to participate.

Leading up to the celebration, in the morning, roving
recitals took place in the Santiago de Chile subway.

From the 25th to 28th March, documentaries were
screened about the great Chilean and world poets.

World Poetry Day is celebrated every March 21st,
the date established by UNESCO during its 30th
meeting, held in Paris, in 1999.


The Bards Of Wales

 Edward the king, the English king,
Bestrides his tawny steed,
'For I will see if Wales,' said he,
'Accepts my rule indeed.

'Are stream and mountain fair to see?
Are meadow grasses good?
Do corn-lands bear a crop more rare
Since wash'd with rebel's blood?

'And are the wretched people there,
Whose insolence I broke
As happy as the oxen are
Beneath the driver's yoke?

'In truth this Wales, Sire, is a gem,
The fairest in your crown:
The stream and field rich harvest yield,
And fair are dale and down.

'And all the wretched people there
Are calm as man could crave;
Their hovels stand throughout the land
As silent as the grave.'

Edward the king, the English King
Bestrides his tawny steed;
A silence deep his subjects keep
And Wales is mute indeed.

The castle named Montgomery
Ends that day's journeying;
The castle's lord, Montgomery,
Must entertain the king.

Then game and fish and ev'ry dish
That lures the taste and sight
A hundred hurrying servants bear
To please the appetite.

With all of worth the isle brings forth
In dainty drink and food,
And all the wines of foreign vines
Beyond the distant flood.

'You lords, you lords, will none consent
His glass with mine to ring?
What? Each one fails, you dogs of Wales,
To toast the English king?

'Though game and fish and ev'ry dish
That lures the taste and sight
Your hand supplies, your mood defies
My person with a slight.

'You rascal lords, you dogs of Wales,
Will none for Edward cheer?
To serve my needs and chant my deeds
Then let a bard appear!'

The nobles gaze in fierce amaze,
Their cheeks grow deadly pale;
Not fear but rage their looks engage,
They blanch but do not quail.

All voices cease in soundless peace,
All breathe in silent pain;
Then at the door a harpist hoar
Comes in with grave disdain:

'Lo, here I stand, at your command,
To chant your deeds, O king!'
And weapons clash and hauberks crash
Responsive to his string.

'Harsh weapons clash and hauberks crash,
And sunset sees us bleed,
The crow and wolf our dead engulf -
This, Edward, is your deed!

'A thousand lie beneath the sky,
They rot beneath the sun,
And we who live shall not forgive
This deed your hand hath done!'

'Now let him perish! I must have'
(The monarch's voice is hard)
'Your softest songs, and not your wrongs!'
In steps a boyish bard:

'The breeze is soft at eve, that oft
From Milford Havens moans;
It whispers maidens' stifled cries,
It breathes of widows' groans.

'You maidens, bear no captive babes!
You mothers, rear them not!'
The fierce king nods. The lad is seiz'd
And hurried from the spot.

Unbidden then, among the men,
There comes a dauntless third
With speech of fire he tunes his lyre,
And bitter is his word:

'Our bravest died to slake your pride -
Proud Edward, hear my lays!
No Welsh bards live who e'er will give
Your name a song of praise.

'Our harps with dead men's memories weep.
Welsh bards to you will sing
One changeless verse - our blackest curse
To blast your soul, O king!'

'No more! Enough!' - cries out the king.
In rage his orders break:
'Seek through these vales all bards of Wales
And burn them at the stake!'

His men ride forth to south and north,
They ride to west and east.
Thus ends in grim Montgomery
The celebrated feast.

Edward the king, the English king
Spurs on his tawny steed;
Across the skies red flames arise
As if Wales burned indeed.

In martyrship, with song on lip,
Five hundred Welsh bards died;
Not one was mov'd to say he lov'd
The tyrant in his pride.

''Ods blood! What songs this night resound
Upon our London streets?
The mayor shall feel my irate heel
If aught that sound repeats!

Each voice is hush'd; through silent lanes
To silent homes they creep.
'Now dies the hound that makes a sound;
The sick king cannot sleep.'

'Ha! Bring me fife and drum and horn,
And let the trumpet blare!
In ceaseless hum their curses come -
I see their dead eyes glare…'

But high above all drum and fife
and trumpets' shrill debate,
Five hundred martyr'd voices chant
Their hymn of deathless hate

Janos Arany

Image: Tomas Borge

Tomas Borge died recently. We remember him.

He was the last of Nicaragua's Sandinista leaders

who faced Somoza's National Guard and the army of

Contra cut-throats sent by "cuddly" President Reagan

to terrorise people into betraying their revolution.

Now Nicaragua has a Sandinista government which

is raising its people from poverty, yet sits in

a sea of US-controlled narco-terror states.

Tomas Borge was tortured unspeakably by Contra

elements backed by the US. The torture included

being forced to watch his wife being gang-raped

and then murdered. He went on to write this poem

with Luis Enrique Mejía Godoy about forgiveness:

My Personal Revenge

My personal revenge will be the right
of your children to school and to flowers;
My personal revenge will be to offer you
this florid song without fears;
My personal revenge will be to show you
the good there is in the eyes of my people,
always unyielding in combat
and most steadfast and generous in victory.
My personal revenge will be to say to you
good morning, without beggars in the streets,
when instead of jailing you I intend
you shake the sorrow from your eyes;
when you, practitioner of torture,
can no longer so much as lift your gaze,
my personal revenge will be to offer you
these hands you once maltreated
without being able to make them forsake tenderness.
And it was the people who hated you most
when the song was a language of violence;
But the people today beneath its skin
of red and black* has its heart uplifted.

The colours of the Nicaraguan flag.

Pure poetry for an impure people:

"Occupy USA: Democracy Is Coming"

by Leonard Cohen

(Tell EVERYONE of the 99% to watch it
on Youtube - IT's BRILLIANT !)

Image: war, wrong way


"We would rather be ruined than changed;

We would rather die in our dread

Than climb across the moment

And let our illusions die."

- W.H. Auden

Image: progress of self

They hang the man and flog the woman
That steal the goose from off the common,
But let the greater villain loose,
That steals the common from the goose.

Image: cakra

The Jeju Jewel called
‘Take your cruel weight of concrete stars from our feet.’
And where it slides into the sea, through this surf of truth
Red green yellow orange shiny from the silver lips of fishes,
The dance of weed,
‘This land this earth and all its souls is just
One perfect clasp
Between two foolish cruel walls.’
‘Time – long overtime
To Stop.
Take your sour ships of hate, suspicion and waste
from our clear skies of ocean.’

The rock holds hands
as we do,
yes, as we do - in the south, so the north, the east, the west.

Jill Gough


Image: wales flag


Words are energy;
let's gather, store and offer them
with utmost care.


"If you think you are beaten, you are;
If you think you dare not, you don't.
If you'd like to win, but think you can't
It's almost a cinch you won't.

If you think you'll lose, you've lost.
For out in the world we find
Success begins with a fellow's will:
It's all in his state of mind.

If you think you're outclassed, you are:
You've got to think high to rise,
You've got to be sure of yourself before
You'll ever win that prize.

Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But sooner or later the man who wins
Is the one who thinks he can."

Attributed to Author Napoleon Hill circa 1973

Image: Escher hands

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

~ Rumi

Image: we are all one

I'm Working On The World

I'm working on the world,
revised, improved edition,
featuring fun for fools,
blues for brooders,
combs for bald pates,
tricks for old dogs.

Here's one chapter: The Speech
of Animals and Plants.
Each species comes, of course,
with its own dictionary.
Even a simple "Hi there,"
when traded with a fish,
make both the fish and you
feel quite extraordinary.

The long-suspected meanings
of rustlings, chirps, and growls!
Soliloquies of forests!
The epic hoot of owls!
Those crafty hedgehogs drafting
aphorisms after dark,
while we blindly believe
they are sleeping in the park!

Time (Chapter Two) retains
its sacred right to meddle
in each earthly affair.
Still, time's unbounded power
that makes a mountain crumble,
moves seas, rotates a star,
won't be enough to tear
lovers apart: they are
too naked, too embraced,
too much like timid sparrows.

Old age is, in my book,
the price that felons pay,
so don't whine that it's steep:
you'll stay young if you're good.
Suffering (Chapter Three)
doesn't insult the body.
Death? It comes in your sleep,
exactly as it should.

When it comes, you'll be dreaming
that you don't need to breathe;
that breathless silence is
the music of the dark
and it's part of the rhythm
to vanish like a spark.
Only a death like that. A rose
could prick you harder, I suppose;
you'd feel more terror at the sound
of petals falling to the ground.

Only a world like that. To die
just that much. And to live just so.
And all the rest is Bach's fugue, played
for the time being
on a saw.

~ Wislawa Szymborska


We all understand that Capitalism relies upon
"individualism" to divide and rule us.
We might not want Mao's "Little Red Book",
and conformity, to free us from the disaster
of selfishness and greed... OR the old God
with a beard and lightning bolts...

yet there IS a unity which artists always fight
and struggle to express, which will save us all.

The Rhondda - at its finest - recognised Unity
and expressed it through international action...

Out Of Hiding

Someone said my name in the garden,
while I grew smaller
in the spreading shadow of the peonies,
grew larger by my absence to another,
grew older among the ants, ancient
under the opening heads of the flowers,
new to myself, and stranger.

When I heard my name again, it sounded far,
like the name of the child next door,
or a favorite cousin visiting for the summer,

while the quiet seemed my true name,
a near and inaudible singing
born of hidden ground.

Quiet to quiet, I called back.

And the birds declared my whereabouts all morning.

~ Li-Young Lee

Image: See yourself

This is the lyric to a George Harrison Song
and is his least played song on Youtube...
.. rather proving the point!!!


"It's easier to tell a lie than it is to tell the truth
It's easier to kill a fly than it is to turn it loose
It's easier to criticize somebody else
Than to see yourself

It's easier to give a sigh and be like all the rest
Who stand around and crucify you while you do your best
It's easier to see the books upon the shelf
Than to see yourself

It's easier to hurt someone and make them cry
Than it is to dry their eyes
I got tired of fooling around with other people's lies
I'd rather find someone that's true

It's easier to say you won't than it is to feel you can
It's easier to drag your feet than it is to be a man
It's easier to look at someone else's wealth
Than to see yourself."

Image: National Poet of Wales

Image: Gillian Clarke

National Poet of Wales, Gillian Clarke.

National Poet of Wales Gillian Clarke was born in
Cardiff in 1937 and now lives in rural Ceredigion
with her architect husband. She has 3 children.

In 1999 she received the Glyndwr Award for an
Outstanding Contribution to the Arts in Wales.

Gillian Clarke’s poetry is widely known and loved
by younger readers. In part this is because a
selection of her poems has been set for GCSE
English for some years now. Gillian has pioneered
the teaching of creative writing and co-founded
Ty Newydd, the writers’ centre in North Wales,
which has gone from strength to strength for
over 20 years.

According to the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy,
Gillian Clarke is "A superb performer of her own
work in her memorable and musical voice; a
tireless visitor to schools; a poet who for
decades has worked closely with teachers and
aspiring writers, Gillian Clarke is part of
the literary landscape of this country. As
such, it is easy to take for granted the impact
and influence of her work. Take an early poem,
perhaps, like ‘Letter from a Far Country’...

First heard on radio and published in the early
1980s, this poem subtly and lyrically describes
the everyday household responsibilities of a
woman with a full, ordered, demanding life at
home and a longed-for, free, dream-like life
elsewhere. We could read it as a poem about a
trapped housewife but it is so much more than
that. It is a moving and beautiful statement
about freedom and constraint. Freedom and
constraint - whether writing about women,
ecology, politics or the natural world - these
are the hallmarks of Gillian Clarke’s art."

Gillian Clarke:

"Poetry is the gift of our culture,
and poems come unbidden as spells,
prayers, dreams. I accept this medal
for Wales, and for all our poets."

Image: A helping Hand


‘Cordell Country’

The Cordell Country tourism marketing campaign
aims to change perceptions of the Valleys,
encourage more people to visit, and increase
the tourism spend in the area.

Alexander Cordell was inspired by the lives
and loves of the people of The Valleys...

and inspiration for all ages may be found
on the new-look Cordell Country website:


In 2010 the Cordell Festival was held at
Rhondda Heritage Park as one of a number of
events held to commemorate the centenary
of the Tonypandy Riots.

Image: Poetry around the world on the web


The Poetry Translation Centre’s Poem Podcast is
an ideal way to hear a diverse range of poetry
from some of the world’s best loved poets, read
both in their original language and in English.

You can subscribe to the weekly Poem Podcast on
iTunes where there are already more than a dozen
poems to enjoy, in languages ranging from Arabic
to Zapotec. A new poem is added every Monday.

Go here to visit The Poetry Translation Centre:


A Week in Estonia is Philip Gross’ new blog
on the University of Glamorgan’s website:


Philip, who is the son of an Estonian wartime
refugee, was born in 1952 in Delabole, Cornwall.
In 2010 he won both the T.S Eliot Poetry Prize,
for his collection The Water Table (Bloodaxe,
2009), and Wales Book of the Year for I Spy
Pinhole Eye (Cinnamon, 2009) which features
photographs by Simon Denison. Philip is the
Professor in Creative Writing at the University
of Glamorgan, & has been, since 2004.

Image: A Jacquard Shawl

A Jacquard Shawl

A pattern of curly acanthus leaves,
and woven into one corner
in blue block letters half an inch tall:
As it is with jacquards,
the design reverses to gray on blue
when you turn it over,
and the words run backward
into the past. The rest of the story
lies somewhere between one side
and the other, woven into
the plane where the colours reverse:
the circling dogs, the terrified sheep,
the meadow stippled with blood,
and the weaver by lamplight
feeding what wool she was able to save
into the faintly bleating, barking loom.

~ Ted Kooser

Image: Bhaerava cakra


I have read volumes,
Written volumes,
Taught from volumes.
Now my words are fewer,
More long breaths between them.
I look up after committing
A single phrase to paper,
Linger a while,
Note the long shadows
On blackjack oak
In the late afternoon sun.
At times, I give up
Words altogether, listen
To the wind, watch
The winter wheat grow, savor
The taste of silence,
And give myself over
To the speech of the stars.

~ Howard Stein



"I can't run no more with that lawless crowd
while the killers in high places say their prayers out loud.
But they've summoned, they've summoned up a thundercloud
and they're going to hear from me.
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in."

- Anthem, L. Cohen

In Aleppo, I saw carnage left by war.
and the shepherds who fled.
like others down winding dusty roads.
carved from centuries of wind and stone.
Here, among the freezes of the Hittites.
where myrtle mingles with the dead,
an ancient Syria rises up from its Citadel,
drenched in spume and blood.
Today, the newspapers and television.
tell of thousands slaughtered.
Night has spilled its black ink over Syria.
but the sun will burn again.
The rug vendors, coffee drinkers, and chess players.

will come out into the streets of Damascus,
with their fists raised.
The dry air will celebrate its bleached bones.

Luis Lázaro Tijerina, Burlington, Vermont, United States.

WB Auden’s words:


In the nightmare of the dark

All the dogs of Europe bark,

And the living nations wait,

Each sequestered in its hate;


Intellectual disgrace

Stares from every human face,

And the seas of pity lie

Locked and frozen in each eye.


Follow, poet, follow right

To the bottom of the night,

With your unconstraining voice

Still persuade us to rejoice;


With the farming of a verse

Make a vineyard of the curse,

Sing of human unsuccess

In a rapture of distress;


In the deserts of the heart

Let the healing fountain start,

In the prison of his days

Teach the free man how to praise.

Image: True Gold

A CHANGE, by Poet.







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