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Dragon Father Wakens

DRAGON FATHER WAKENS

A righteous rage bursts forth; a mighty roar
Too long coiled within its egg incubating
Sets the skies alight with livid lightning:
“No! No more! Dragon seed, prepare for war!”
A vile canker festers from shore to shore;
Views land, people just there for ravishing
Yet no amount of pillaging and killing
Can ever quench that bellowing greedy maw.

Leaves sore ears ringing, deaf to all reasoning.
Comes now a settling of accounts: a day of reckoning.
For Mother Earth has suffered for too long.
Her newly risen son sings the dragon song.
His voice rings out from shore to sea-swept shore:
“No! No more! Dragon seed, prepare for war!”

Many-coloured Fingers

MANY-COLOURED FINGERS

So many fingers
Yet it only makes one hand
To show them all one

A Handful Of Sexualities

A HANDFUL OF SEXUALITIES

Four fingers, one thumb.
Various parts; the same hand.
Words; names; attitudes.
Different, not separate.
Cut one off and all feel pain.

The Future History of the Two Human Races: A Parable

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The Future History of the Two Human Races: A Parable.
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Lest We Forget

LEST WE FORGET

Mother Earth
Earth Mother
And all we
Her children

Native

NATIVE

Penguins don’t drive cars
Extinguish other species
Overpopulate
Humans on the other hand
Do not belong to the Earth

Embedded

EMBEDDED

Part of the problem
Or part of the solution?
The jury’s still out.

Veteran

VETERAN by Richard Harris

I met an old horse in a field,
waiting, with one hoof cocked, as if
always ready for flight or fight.
And as I came forward with a handful of grass,
his ears did not flatten,
nor did his nostrils flare.
But the eyes! I saw his eyes.

Eyes that had seen more than any man.
Eyes that chose paths through mud and fallen men
pulling the guns at Passchendaele.
Eyes wide with the mad charge they made,
the Light Brigade.
Eyes that watched with the Corsican as
he lost his final Waterloo,
that glinted in the rising sun with
Chinggis and his terror-horde,
stared dumb with Cortez at
the great Pacific,
looked blankly on while Alexander wept
at burning Persepolis.

He took the grass, obediently, gracefully; no –
magisterially, in his acceptance of
a field, a bite to eat; of a stall, a coat in winter;
and, as he looked beyond me.
Of all that he had ever seen and been before.

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Another fine poem of Richard’s. You may find more of his work here.

Autoimmune

AUTOIMMUNE

Earth the earth mother births forth throughout all time
Fresh oceans and jungles, sand dunes and waterfalls
Mountains and dewdrops, snowdrops and hurricanes

Animal, vegetable, mineral: all relations under one roof
Relations with relationships, even the local hub her Sun
Though that’s another story (Any family has its secrets)

Symbiotic miracles manifest in an ecological ecologic
Self-sustaining, with immunity to exogenous disaster
Then enter stage right the loup-garou, immune to logic

Humanity, wolverine, acts as an autoimmune disease
Fighting against not external foes but its own family
Renegade berserker, out of control and without a cure

Corporate drug baron fat on steroids plays mind games
Touts temporary solutions that suppress the symptoms
While steadfastly ignoring the most obvious causations

Lethal cash infections further weaken the body politic
Peddle profitable pills that promise only artificial health
While side effects are busy destroying something else

A toxin poisoning the heart where love’s dream expires
Stoking fiery emotions where patience once held sway
Eating through the bones whose power is but a memory

Unexplained fevers erupt in rage on the nightly newscast
So-called progress is just a progression of the sickness
An extreme fatigue? Yes, extremely tired of the insanity

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This was created in conjunction with Kimberly Wilhelmina Floria. Please check out her sites:

http://silentlyheardonce.wordpress.com

http://meverselupus.blogspot.co.uk

The Name Game

Today I came across an ancient article of mine. While some of the references have dated, the underlying message is as relevant as ever, and not only to this specific sphere of human endeavour.

And besides it makes a nice change from poetry. 🙂

THE NAME GAME

“Whatever it is can’t have a name, since it makes no difference what you call it”, says Paul Haines in the opening lines of “Escalator Over The Hill”. More familiar is Shakespeare’s observation that a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet. Neither of these assertions is of much consolation however in an era where it seems we are required to expend ever increasing amounts of energy struggling manfully to master a politically correct vocabulary or else run the risk of censure, or indeed blacklisting. This self-questioning and uncertainty have penetrated even into the peaceful existence of those of us working in the field of … well, can I pass on that for the moment?

Once upon a time it was quite acceptable to refer to someone as a moron, an idiot or an imbecile without the slightest qualm; why, the terms were even enshrined in legislation. These days, although we may still find a use for them, along with the more colourful “lunatic”, in drawing attention to some of the less comprehensible actions of our colleagues, they have become divorced from their original and proper usage, leaving a vacuum which we have yet to fill with any satisfactory replacements.

While the 1950s arguably represented a nadir in almost all aspects of culture, they at least served to provide us with a solid and serviceable concept of normality which, despite the full frontal assault of the 60s and 70s, can still be found at times, fossilised dinosaur-like in the pages of some of our more reactionary newspapers or called forth by the designers of a certain genre of advertisement. One benefit of this, albeit specious, certainty was that it allowed us quite happily to define some of our fellow citizens as subnormal or severely subnormal in the confident knowledge that we were not. Of course no one uses these classifications nowadays, not even in education where they continued for some years to peek out coyly from the acronyms ESN(M) and (S). In the foreground, a welter of more progressive terms has evolved, such as learning impaired, developmentally retarded, people with learning difficulties/disabilities, intellectually impaired, developmentally disabled and educationally retarded, to cite but a handful. Whilst one cannot help but admire such creativity, the prize must surely be awarded to “children with exceptional needs” or – perhaps the ultimate in positive discrimination – “exceptional children” Just how subversive the latter formulation is only becomes apparent when we transmute it into “exceptional adults”. This is distinctly uncomfortable: the “subnormal” effect in reverse.

The Mental Health Act of 1983 could have provided the ideal opportunity for us to express our reverence for American attempts at “normalisation” by emulating their use of mental deficiency (mentally deficient being held for some reason to be less stigmatising than our own, earlier, mentally defective) or mental retardation (though “retard”, of course, is something else again). However, we were eventually presented with a piece of legislation to help us deal with “mental impairment”, and it seems this term will continue to be the appellation of choice when the Act is revised. No doubt someone has a perfectly reasonable explanation as to why this should be the case.

Meanwhile that other American import, self-advocacy, was not without its effect as witness the way various institutions and organisations shifted, gradually and uneasily, from speaking of “the mentally handicapped” to “mentally handicapped people” (which played havoc with snappy acronyms like CMH, BIMH and APMH), then on to “people with mental handicap”, “people with a mental handicap” and even – full marks here – “people who are called mentally handicapped”. One can of course readily see that to say “the mentally handicapped” begs the question: “the mentally handicapped what?” Petroleum products or sandpaper, perhaps? After all, it is still possible occasionally to catch someone in an unguarded moment referring to someone else as “quite high grade, really”. Interestingly, even the Grammatik in my word processing package now offers me the advice, when I type in “mentally handicapped”: “If this refers to a physical or mental disability (as opposed to a handicap in a race or sport) consider revising”.

One rich vein of inspiration which has yet to be tapped in the search for less stigmatising labels is the terminology used to describe other groups of people with disabilities such as those who are blind or deaf. Though it’s hard to envisage “partially minded” or “hard of thinking” gaining common currency. Perhaps someone out there can come up with an improvement? In the meantime I suppose we shall all just have to carry on working with the good (and not so good) people whom we subject to all these peculiar epithets, wondering just who is trying to prove what to whom and comforting ourselves with the story of the poor man who, after being successively told that he was not poor but deprived, not deprived but disadvantaged, and not disadvantaged but underprivileged remarked: “Well, I’m still poor, but I have a great vocabulary”.