as at the end of Mr Lowell's poem,
there will be - mainly - savage servility.
As for me, a tame resistance
is the spoiled best of my ability.
Sunday, 31 October 2021
as at the end of Mr Lowell's poem,
The least-harmful humans
are those that are stillborn
and will never water a front lawn -
for with every human birth
comes more devastation of the earth.
Saturday, 30 October 2021
of Happiness will be held
where grave-diggers weep
at the Metropolitan Abattoir
for Silly* Sheep.
*In its original sense of 'defenceless'.
It is unlikely that many care.
I was refused a degree because every one of my 9 papers on the philosophy of Schopenhauer was considered to be an adolescent, quasi-Nietzschean rant against Western philosophy in general.
My professor, Bryce Gallie, actually came to my delightful rural home (no electricity, no hot water, no indoor lavatory, beautiful dog) to express his regrets. I had to comfort him and cheer him up - because I never had the slightest wish to obtain a degree. I did a 3-year course in philosophy in order to become wiser, not to qualify myself for a job in mind-smothering academe.
As a result, George Zarnecki of the Courtauld Institute was very sorry, some years later, that he could not offer me a doctorate for my original work and fieldwork (mostly funded by my travel-loving mother, since I was, of course, happily unemployed) on 'marginal' romanesque and later mediæval sculptures. I didn't mind at all. I awarded myself the doctorate but almost never mentioned it. Not a single paragraph of my thesis* (sadly reduced by a 'respectable' publisher to a badly-illustrated book) has been plagiarised. That book is now way out of print and has been superseded by a website and pdf.- which have, of course, been rifled for their photos.
*The Iconography of Exhibitionism in Western European Medieval Sculpture.
Friday, 29 October 2021
the meritoxicocracy of America,
falls apart, I will suggest a new national anthem
for the northern and western republic:
It is very sad that the wonderful song
John Brown's Body (which I learned as a small child in Belfast)
was turned into the hideous, triumphalist Battle Hymn of the Republic
(which I learned later in my sickly underclass-battering school)
by a well-meaning, sickly-pietist honky-woman:
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me.
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
While God is marching on.
not to mention fraternity.
Thursday, 28 October 2021
Wednesday, 27 October 2021
Tuesday, 26 October 2021
is that you are no longer
a reluctant human,
and are losing your 'sense of self'.
We seem to be back in the 1930s.
Fascism (although watered down)
is rising yet again all over Europe
- and in the USA. Nasty and corrupt dictatorships
rule far and wide across the world.
In the 1930s
people like me were aghast at
the terrible, stoppable rise of demagogues
backed by big businesses,
at the weakness and ineptitude of politicians
in quasi-democratic countries.
There was a widespread feeling
that another world war was coming or inevitable.
But they didn't foresee just how terrible it would be,
nor could they imagine the atomic bomb.
Since it was dropped we have poisoned the world
for our comfort. This time round the wars will be many
and long and appalling and linked to unstoppable
changes in climate and movements of people.
Few of us realise that if the poisoning stopped tomorrow
the world would keep on warming, the oceans keep on rising
for centuries, if not millennia to come.
Only 'Apocalypse-mongers, Doomsdayers' like me
realise - or much care - that the tipping-point
has passed already in the brief period of the Anthropocene,
our short and bloody, vicious anthropo-obscenity.
The raving Revelations of St John were not so ludicrous and wrong -
except that there will be no second coming of a saviour,
and, because of a quirk of evolution
all the rough beasts will have long since gone.
With every successful human birth
yet more destruction of the earth.
Forensic details here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3ct2kyp
'We actually live only a small part of our lives.
All the rest isn't life but the mindless filling of time.'
I will be 'outlived by' the socks I'm wearing,
which my mother knitted me six years before she died.
Monday, 25 October 2021
with the desire to do well.
Beneath the load of shit
they serve up to 'brainwashed' proletariats
of the 77-year old Fourth Reich,
they sneak in excellent films from Romania,
Argentina, Iceland, Italy...and terrific documentaries
like this German one (may not be available in the USA).
(The subtitles are unusually good.)
Sunday, 24 October 2021
Saturday, 23 October 2021
Friday, 22 October 2021
Thursday, 21 October 2021
The bigger the army
the more dangerous the enemy.
The more police there are
the more criminals there turn out to be.
The Panglossian Professor Pinker defines Rationality
as The use of Reason to Achieve Goals...
which tells us much about the acclaimed author
and the assertive, aspirational, greedy
and aggressive culture that is so rationally
melting the poles.
Wednesday, 20 October 2021
The Secret is that there are always other secrets.
The Truth is that there are always
further or older truths - and contradictions.
The Lie is that the secret is this
and the truth is that
and are here or there,
and that the Secret and the Truth
There was a moment
when cinema moved from merely imitating life
and life started imitating cinema.
Now we are all yawning or sleeping
or slinking our way through
the long, slow-motion disaster movie
into which we have turned the world.
And I feel guilty about drinking coffee.
Tuesday, 19 October 2021
There are serial rapists,
and there are monogamous rapists.
to civilisation mean its demise
could eliminate meaning in galaxy for ever,’
says idiot scientist in today's newspaper.
Never mind the amazing biodiversity
which tragically allowed human civilisation
to arise, prosper and destroy
the amazing biodiversity!
(It hardly needs pointing out that meaning is a silly abstract construct
of the overheating human brain.)
Monday, 18 October 2021
can be aggressive
or all three at once.
"He doesn't speak English, Miss.
He comes from the Congo, Miss.
I translate for you, Miss.
He says that the bad men kill his grandfather, Miss.
He says that the bad men kill his grandmother, Miss.
He says that the bad men kill his dad, Miss.
He says that the bad men kill his mum, Miss.
He doesn't know how he got here, Miss.
He can't say how he got here, Miss..."
Sunday, 17 October 2021
not so long ago
wore shackles, anklets
or collars to signify their lack of status
if the colour of their skins was not enough.
Now, quasi-voluntary drones,
their multi-ethnic successors, much less tough,
must carry mobile phones.
If a plastic Bag for Life
lasts less than a month
in the countries of the rich
before being discarded
(because it doesn't look new
or has a stain or two)
we can deduce that - by the rich -
climate change is disregarded.
Saturday, 16 October 2021
Gardeners love exotic plants
and collect them from all over the world.
They are forever trying to suppress their native species -
dandelions, daisies, ground elder, brambles...
On the other hand, white gardeners tend not
to like exotic people from anywhere
(especially not richly-coloured ones).
In distant, former-colony Singapore, I read,
dandelions are not a 'weed',
but a glorious exotic species, tended carefully
and grown from carefully-imported and selected seed.
Liberty! Equality! Fraternity!
Liberty without equality
Fraternity without equality
Hierarchy is essential
Thus Spake Swami Vṛka.
Friday, 15 October 2021
At the beginning of the 19th century
more soldiers were ordered to advance
against hand-weavers in England
than against Napoleon's armies in France.
Thursday, 14 October 2021
Wednesday, 13 October 2021
Tuesday, 12 October 2021
& meretricious line from a popular song :
'Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose.'
Does it mean that you're only free
when you are without food or home or shoes,
and so must beg on the street or be
or be locked up or raped as a refugee -
which is no freedom at all ?
Or is it another way of saying
that freedom comes with your last breath
when you rise or fall
into heaven or nothingness -
that liberty is death ?
(Or am I just obtuse ?)
Monday, 11 October 2021
that many men make
to think of literary fiction
as frivolous or escapist.
On the contrary, it is often
a many-layered means of insight
into the racked complexities
of human minds and cultures.
Good fiction is meta-truth
more penetrating than mere fact.
"Sometimes when he was dealing with people, he felt like he was operating one of those claw machines on a boardwalk, those shovel things with which you tried to scoop up a prize but the controls were too unwieldy and you worked at too great a remove."
- Anne Tyler, Redhead by the Side of the Road, 2020.
Sunday, 10 October 2021
Saturday, 9 October 2021
simply known as Rumi,
Never appear to be what you are not.
Unfortunately, this is difficult for sheople
because it runs counter to the ethos of almost
every civilised society, where compulsory pretence
and hypocrisy soon turn childish authenticity
to adult slime and slick and rot.
Rūmī also said:
Religions are like candles,
useful for finding your way in the dark.
But now we have LED torches and electric light
- until we burn the world up in our childish spite.
in the Christian Gospels
is that Jesus had no interest at all
in Family Values.
Friday, 8 October 2021
At the age of eighty
I have almost gotten used to
being in my late fifties.
Thursday, 7 October 2021
is an ingredient
Regarding your latest, desperately upbeat book,
we are, unfortunately for the biosphere,
not 'rational beings'. We are cunning,
calculating, crisis-creating creatures,
who have not, by any stretch of the imagination
'made the world a better place'.
We use reason mostly for self-glorification,
destruction, denialism - and saving face.
Wednesday, 6 October 2021
Tuesday, 5 October 2021
Indeed, I didn't realise it myself
until I was over seventy-five,
in fact nearly eighty.
Maybe they mistook my confident naivety
for a new kind of maturity.
Some may have simply decided
that my earnest innocence
should not be challenged or derided...
Monday, 4 October 2021
I am a not-very-happy
changeling/prisoner on your planet.
Because of Covid and lack of transport
I have not been able to get back
to Cynotopia Minor.
But thanks for your financial support
during my compulsory sojourn.
They are saying that the countryside
has been destroyed by lava-flow -
but the countryside was ravaged
by humans long ago.
Sunday, 3 October 2021
of the dastardly crime of
from the late Paul Cézanne
and Juán Gris...»
deep-sea mining :
the war against the world
is not declining.
In a zero-sum struggle that nobody wins
we dump bits of the planet
in colour-coded bins.
Saturday, 2 October 2021
I recently volunteered to fill in a sociological questionnaire
with the typical 'tick the applicable box' questions.
Half-way through I was confronted with the question
Are you right-handed / left-handed / ambidextrous ?
I am none of these. I am one of - possibly millions -
of people who were punished for being left-handed,
and, being right-handed in some tasks, left-handed in others,
can be defined as confused.
The stupid (and eminent and probably right-handed)
compiler of the questionnaire was evidently unaware
of this small - but important - demographic.
I did not complete the questionnaire. I wrote to its compiler
and received no reply. I conclude that the statistics
derived from box-ticking questionnaires are unreliable.
Friday, 1 October 2021
in a book I was reading on a train to Spain
(though I alighted at Toulouse)
it occurred to me that it may have come
from ¿ Habla [español] ?
Indeed a similar word with the same meaning
entered Middle Dutch at the time of the Spanish
occupation of the southern low countries...
Babble comes from Babel and its many-tongued tower,
and Greeks called non-Greek speakers [ba-ba-] Barbaroi.
A World War One song
(probably originating in Armentières in 1915)
Mademoiselle from Armentieres, parley-voo...
A World War 2 version of this began:
Two German officers crossed the Rhine, parley-voo
Two German officers crossed the Rhine
to fuck the women and drink the wine,
'Inky Pinky' was a Scottish children's name for parsnip and potato cakes, but it has been suggested that an onomatopoeic reference to the sound of bed-springs is a more likely soldier's ribald derivation.'
Another version has Inky-Dinky, which might be a jocular corruption of the German Ich denke.
Ich denke, also bin ich.