Poetry On And On


What am I?
A violent robotic agent of Death
Trained to kill without asking why
For a cause beyond my capacity to understand?
Not to reason, just to dare and maybe die?
I am told I am to take action for a valid purpose
With licence to slaughter
Approved by the shapers of my existence
Bravery for me is not a reckless thing
But a fulfilment of my destiny
I am to save my native land, so the argument goes
That is my legacy, my chosen fate, and if I die
My name will be written on an honour board
With an asterisk
As the insignia of my heroism
And what of my enemy?
Is he coldly calculating my demise
Or is he afraid like me?
Are his family missing him too
And has he also left a new wife longing for his return?
If we were to meet in peace,
What would define our togetherness?
Contempt? Expostulation? Words of hatred?
Or would we conspire to abandon our weapons
And walk away together, arm in arm and alive?
I am not permitted to think such thoughts
I must believe in a danger
Defined by the crucial vested interests
That control opinion in the land I am ordered to defend
So let me answer the call
I must confront my foe who is out there somewhere
Aha! There he is
We look so alike; indeed he could be me
Stand back please; I am ready
Now one of us is about to die – yes now yes now now…


Have you noticed
The packet is never full when you buy it
Always there is space between the contents and the package top
So you make a false assumption of quantity
And willingly pay a little more for nothingness
This strategy of deception is simply the spirit of the age
Smart, enhanced appearance
With buyers tuned in to what isn’t there and paying for it
Profit equals price minus cost
But first you have to make the sale
Any artifice will do as long as it works, and Rob’s your uncle
You can see it all the time in television advertisements
The young man sprays his hair
And dandruff disappears before your eyes
A siren with almost impossible beauty
Looks at him longingly, seductively
As a consequence of his purchase
A car for sale stops suddenly
After clearly breaking the speed limit
And you learn the way with-it people drive and buy
A synthetically joyous family dines on sugar-laced cereals
Visually stimulating images of gormandised junk food
Increase sales dramatically
Wise old people buy insurance bonds
And enter paradise early
The home you can never own is sold by a master seller
Who bangs his fist exorbitantly on a receipt book
In the street outside
Food of the gods, chocolate,
Is devoured temptingly only by glamorous women
And so life, or in other words the economy, moves on
Fiction thrives excitingly, provocatively
In other ways too
But the gods of commerce are clearly and roisterously contented
With typical human existence
And all’s right with the balance sheet

Dog Whistle

Listen to him
Proclaiming his virtue and integrity
As if he were a saint
But condemning evil half-heartedly
To let the villains know he can be on their side
In the right factional context
The subtly aimed politically active message
Understood by a particular group
Is the deadly fuel for dubious change
Secret, sinister encouragement for shady deals
While the leading player remains undetected
Reigning supreme in his ill gotten power
And deciding the fate of less fortunate mortals
So be alert for signals, you lovers of morality
Note well the characteristic self praise
That adorns his every speech
Look out for clues to his guilt
When he responds to every criticism
With an irrelevant superlative detailing his fictitious merit
Walk with others to the Eden of truth
Where honesty is real and integrity the norm
Where lies and secret agendas
Are untended growths that wither on the vine
Where kindness and love decide the fate of everything
And words are the allies of justice and peace

Atomic Fishing

“Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”
Robert Oppenheimer

Atomic age machinery
They claim it is the cheapest source of power
But what of unmentioned costs?
Hidden consequences?
Assertions are in the air
That modern technology
Should be trusted to make all dreams come true
But what of the failures
The broken dreams?
Fukushima and Chernobyl are shattered holy grails
Catastrophes not to be repeated,
Yet can we be sure
They won’t be?
And is it not right to fear
Concentrated death that mocks eternity
Filth that never goes away
Dirt that you cannot scrub clean
Pain that reaches out to you as you pass by
Racking, searing, piercing, intense, raging danger
That outlives time?
I hear what you say but have to question what you do
And what of the sun and the wind?
Energy laden falling water and waves of the sea?
So cheap
Power so readily available
Just waiting for the will to invest with vision
In the vastness of Australia
In these mighty powers crying out for attention
And for vested interests
To stop pretending these wonders cannot work
So when you throw that switch
Turn on the sun, the wind and all things free
And let the atoms serve in medicine alone
If you are fishing for a nuclear mission


Tomorrow is a very uncertain place
Some voices are saying that man’s inventive wit
Will provide answers to global warming
At some potent, and undetermined future time
Machines not yet invented
Will compensate for current destructive vandalism
So let industry, just as it is, go churning on
With jobs intact
To preserve the best of all possible worlds
Fires that burn and destroy your future?
Floods that wash away your destiny?
Droughts that empty rivers once teeming with life?
Heat that melts the poles and kills the aged and infirm?
The formative words we have heard
Tend to fall to the ground like meaningless clutter
Turning our arena of life into a Hades of despair
The need for revised thinking is desperate…
If you are one of the climate incendiarists
Please focus your thoughts
On a possible involvement in a medical emergency
Let us learn of your peace of mind
If your life in that urgent situation
Depended on a device yet to be invented
As Hamlet says, “…ay, there’s the rub…”
What folly
Would link life or death to such unfinished business!
Let us be frank
Something more than vague dreaming is required
If safety and composure
Are to be ours in the world of tomorrow


Poetry Lives On


The many
Turned into one
A place where you can become aware
Of wisdom that gives energy to countless minds
Where knowledge is a sacred thing
Free of greed or the self interest of business
And exists for itself in triumph over ignorance
Learning there down all time
Has come
Before self aggrandisement and commerce
But not today alas
Now it is the tormented child of dealing
A link in a chain of venture and enterprise
Led not by a prince of academe but by a CEO
Learning based on profit
Or choice determined by cost
Is a travesty that would wither the flowers
In Plato’s garden*
Laws creating financial pain for students
Are tainted deeds derived from a twisted vision of need
The kind of fallacy
That graduate schools were once designed to vanquish
So rage on you merchants of selected knowledge
Count your profits and promote your agenda
But beware
Somewhere amidst the chaos you create
A voice from the past will be heard
Just a gentle sound but sense from the ages
And it will stir a giant of understanding
To turn your profit into loss
And let academic integrity rise again in all its glory

*Plato’s garden was named after his hero Akadēmos.

Dorothy Dix**

Would the minister update the house
On our latest achievements
And is he aware of any different policies?
What a sham!
Parliamentary questions are meant to seek the truth
Not to be a doorway for propaganda
Enquiries in a legislative arena are sacred things
Words belonging to the people
And must not provide diversionary information
That walks blandly along pathways of biased deception
This misdemeanour is so common
In the parliament we know presently
Every day of every session you will see it
Just listen to the orchestrated answers
Superlatives concocted lies dressed deceptively in silk
All in response to questions by Dorothy
To make Utopia seem alive and well
A paradise for dunces
Described in precise detail by government yes-men
Creating an illusion of perfection to hide evidence of failure
Followed by scorn
And muttered anathemas for the Opposition
A tainted array of malediction again to camouflage incompetence
O breathes there a man who is not repulsed by this inanity?
Who longs to observe integrity where laws are made?
Who values time
And writhes in agony at the trivial, trifling, negligible empty oratory
That poses as questions in the parliament of fools
The active, focused, infamous enemies of enlightenment?

** Dorothy Dix was the nom de plume of Elizabeth Meriwether (1870-1951) an American journalist who ran a question-and-answer column.


An official order to do something
Such as
Thou shalt not kill
Thou shalt not steal
Thou shalt not commit adultery
No public disobedience here
And those who disobey are condemned
And punished
According to the true and accepted nature of the law
People do not march in protest
With banners of hatred flying
To demand the right to kill, to steal or commit adultery
Why is this so?
It is because the evil is accepted and understood
Opinion unquestioned, a part of human existence down the ages
What else should shape opinion?
Scientia, sapientia, prudentia, sophia…
Knowledge, good sense, prudence, wisdom
The desperately needed tools of survival for struggling humanity
The essential model or signpost for human behaviour
If science is to be the trusted and proved source of our knowledge,
Good sense, prudence and wisdom decree
That we must accept it as a true shaper of our destiny
To deny it,
Rebel against a mandate linked to the preservation of human life,
Ranks highly in the list of human follies
And every person who dies as a consequence of this behaviour
Will be remembered as a victim
Of stubborn, tragically aggressive wrong decisions
So come back to our ranks please
You would be deniers of essential, valid laws
We will welcome you with open arms, alive and well

Empty Vessel

Oh Dear!
How that politician prattles on
His voice has a rattle
Like a train at night on an endless line
A flood of words that seems predestined never to stop
Filled with praise about fictitious happy days
We are told how lucky we are
To have voted for this man and his phalanx
The paradise described is a fake reality
Awkward questions are interpreted as applause
By deliberate misinterpretation
Everything in his garden is so lovely
We learn from his non-stop tourist guide of paradise
That all is well this side of Hell
A light of infinite fictitious virtue gleams from his eyes
This is such a pungent disaster
Such a slander of untruths
That if it continues to hide the reality of actual policies
The world as we know it will crumble into disrepair
And democracy will die a thousand deaths
Even though this voluble mouthpiece of disaster
Still babbles on in hallways close to empty
Peopled by the hearing impaired
Whose hearing aids don’t work
And whose vision is stultified by self interest

A Tempestuous Lesson

First came the wind
Moderate at first and then it seemed to lose its temper
You could hear the rain
Light to begin with and then a torrent
Beating on our outhouse roof like fingers drumming
It was very dark
Lightning came like an errant strobe
Then the hail
Small at first but soon big, like Thor’s marbles
Beating resistance into submission
The wind grew stronger
Not merely angry this time,
Infuriated, tearing the roof and throwing it away
As if it were but paper
Thunder and lightning came almost simultaneously
Grandfather’s old oak tree was uprooted
Like a pathetic seedling
And hurtled out into the street to crush a car irreparably
Water from the river fled its banks
Sweeping our front fence away, gates and all
One of the side walls caved inwards
A terrifying consequence of the tempest
Dylan, my dog, died under the falling bricks
Little Susie was hit by one
It made an ugly purple bruise on her leg
Nothing was broken
So her mother’s comfort was all she needed
The storm didn’t want to stop
It kept attacking us like a fascist after communists
We were drenched to the core of our existence
Afraid, cold and despondent
Because of this, I am sure you will understand
Why I spend all my present days
Actively demanding real action to contend with global warming


Yet Still More Poems


He taught me to think
When I stood on the verge of ignorance
Helped me to see things as they really are
And not as they merely seem to be
Gave me the power to read the messages of wonder
That now bring light to my darkened way
Showed me the paths of writing
That now and forever will let me be known
How can I thank that person from my distant past
Who understood my needs and shaped my deeds?
Shared his wisdom in a gentle way
Understood my struggle and stayed resourcefully calm
Too late now for words
But they were not needed as he did what he did
For love of me as a child of destiny
Placed in his care by the gods of authority
He is long dead anyway, and yet he lives still
Every time I find the right path through the forest of learning
Whenever I decode a written word
Or learn from a page the wonderment of the human mind
I am thankful to him
As I write I confirm the benefit of his life
Which reaches out across time like a lighthouse in a storm
And lets me share his wisdom as well as my own
A teacher can never measure the outcomes of his labour
Their echoes are infinite, but one result is clear
That hand that helped that child
And gave him the power to read and write and think
Wrote and still writes on the wall of eternity

The Doing Of A Deal

A bank is a place that will lend you money
if you can prove that you don’t need it
. Bob Hope

Have you ever been lost?
Nowhere to go, threatened by the world, and panicking?
Join the crowd
There are so many of us torn apart by circumstance
For example
Fragmented by the market where lies are bought and sold
Money is the drug abounding there
The exotic, erotic narcotic that stultifies reason
And takes so many on journeys of no return
This addiction is very widespread
Have you heard the cries
Echoing in valleys of despair
Where investors have gone astray?
Errors have a strange place in free competition
Make a mistake and you’re dead
Make two and you might find yourself a CEO
In the shifting sands of business opportunity
Freedom is the adage but often
It’s freedom to fail
Usually at the hands of a potent and ruthless rival
A magnate who rejoices in profit
Gets costs down and wages lower
This the defining spirit of private enterprise
So what can be done for relief?
Is there a solution, a way out for the loser?
The key to every conversation is money
Because money talks
And what makes addiction work in the world of hallucinogens?
Why, for all intents and purposes it’s the dealer
So gather around all of you lost souls writhing in penury
Follow the lead of presidents, impresarios and robber barons
Have something to sell that somebody wants
Stand tall with the glint of victory in your eyes
Get real, affix the seal, and with a commanding flourish do a deal


You were close to me in a dual alliance
We trusted each other
A willing acceptance of obligation built on love
And the sharing of existence
How the world changed for me in your company!
Life was a new experience
Once colourless, lifeless, jejune, bland
I was changed by your influence
Into a thinking reed who spoke a new language
And cared about what you thought of me
You gave me a newness that would surprise my old friends
And a spirit of enquiry you had set on fire
I walked with you to so many places
Learnt to observe with a critical discerning eye
What previously I had gullibly praised
That world that you gave me lingers on
A part of my awareness
Still with me at times when fate promotes despair
A memory that refuses to fade
That is it then
You have gone your way now with another
Beguiled by seduction to destroy the world that we knew
Found a new broken icon to repair
And I am left alone
Yet solitude is not my destiny any more
That momentum I achieved with you
Has let me wander pathways undreamed of before I met you
New friends and other love
I have found on that new and exciting journey
We shall never meet again
But for all that, you still walk with me
Not ahead of me but beside me
With me yet
In your rightful place, still a cogent part of my existence

The Drums Of War

To Whoever Is Responsible For This

I hear you beating that empty vessel of disdain
I read your mind and the print is very clear
In bold and italics
To stress your deadly dream of death
Hatred is in your blood and stirs the venom
Of your deadly lust for war.
Your reasons too are obvious
You need distraction from your failures
Attention diverted from your misdemeanours
To hide the chaos wrought by your incompetent hands
In your economy of poverty, sickness and unrest
Your folly that haunts a world you ruin with so much zest
So let disaster reign
Add distraction as your warped solution
Single out an enemy
Not real but created by your twisted mind
The solution to the troubles you have created
Beat that drum O musician of dismay
Recruit the would be soldiers
To die young for a cause you have created
March them off to Hell
To the sound of your sham percussion anthem
Inject them with hatred of a contrived foe
Teach them how to abhor
And how to kill
Give them medals for all untimely death
Glorify their virtual obedient suicide
Build a monument to their unwitting bravery
With bells sound the knell of death
At an annual celebration
Play the last post on that day
Then smile as you accept the triumph of political duplicity


For Greta Thunberg

Desultory barriers to reason are everywhere today
You can hear the wind moaning in despair
And Thor thunders his anger in the heavens above
Death is in the air yet some demand freedom to mingle
Rising temperature is a warning of illness
And the earth has a fever
Yet voices like sounding brass demand getting on with business
Change is in the air
Not balanced, logical, planned progression
But destruction of a world once blessed with infinite beauty
In harmony with all living things
On the plains, on the mountains and in the deep ocean
Sirens, half man half burro, have their voices
Echoing in the air waves
Luring mankind to destruction
With the pathetic feasibility of their songs
The rods of extreme tyranny now beat on our doors
Demanding entry and crushing resistance with violence
The lust for power diverts normal discussion
Into tirade, diatribe, polemic, rant and fulmination
People talking and not listening
Sounds as barbs stabbing the silence without mercy
Within the chaos of this existence
Privileged oligarchs rule with power supreme
Our lives are their tools to manipulate as they please
We are the paving of their paths and they walk on us
Shaping our destines according to their needs
From criticism they are relatively safe
As the press and other media pretend integrity
Masquerade as agents of truth
And so the world crumbles seemingly doomed to die
An ugly death
Yet as sometimes happens, a single voice may dominate the din
It has been so today and the voice of a child rings stunningly clear
With the eternal strength of truth and is heard by the great numbers

Needed to make us think: perhaps all is still not lost


More Poems To Share

Sheep In Wolf’s Clothing

Be silent always, when you doubt your sense;
And speak, though sure, with seeming diffidence:

‘Tis hard to say if greater want of skill
Appear in writing or in judging ill,
But of the two less dangerous is the offense
To tire our patience than mislead our sense

Alexander Pope: An Essay On Criticism

Can you hear it?
Misstatement disguised as reality
Threatening rhetoric crudely linked to freedom
Can you hear that man of straw spruiking
He is not selling strip tease at the Cross
But advocating something truly iniquitous
Depraved, villainous, nefarious, vicious
He wants us to run the risk of death
Of suffering
Of mental and physical anguish
For already suffering professional fellow humans
By breaking valid laws for COVID
No name is given here
But you will know him by his demeanour
He is loud
Vociferous in the extreme
Willing to label the objects of his scorn
Use violent symbols of aggressive hate
Despise science and be repulsed by logical argument
But nevertheless he has sufficient skills
To win the support of powerful patrons and underwriters
Quite an achievement for a burnt out relic of a past age
And yet there is one compensation
A thought to give us strength to face the wilderness
He is part of an unworthy and highly inept minority


For A Fallen Hero

So you have gone astray
Somewhere in your distant past
Nefarious thoughts invaded your reason
And caused you to act in a way you now regret
For you are a different person now
You understand your folly
And the agony of that past temptation
Now haunts your present
Tears the image of yourself asunder
And leaves you no choice but to withdraw yourself
As a leader of men…
But breathes there a man who never played the fool?
Is there a soul on earth who never went astray?
Alas there are far too many
Who rise to glory as a consequence of sins
Who admit nothing
And fashion fruitful fantasy
To underwrite a future based on lies
They are the true dangers to us all
Not the errant ones like you
Who have learnt a painful lesson as part of their humanity
So hear this now
You are forgiven in the halls of understanding
By the real people who matter in every life
The history makers who tell the story of mankind
For they know that dissembling is the true reason
For distress in our circle of existence
Rise up again O sullied man
Join the multitude of wrongdoers who haunt each day
But stand tall in the chosen few
Who admit their guilt
Learn their lesson
And share an imperfect life with the rest of us


Pretence it is a tarnished deed
By those who perform chicanery in public life
Everywhere you look you’ll find examples
So many, you could draft a book
Take the crafty, autocratic politician as a case in point
The one who creates a vision
So different from reality
Recorded by design so cleverly
In every news hour
Because of this, he could be indeed a different person
Have you seen him drinking beer in a crowded bar
With a stranger carefully chosen
By his staff for the shot
Or the pre-arranged child who gets a smile
And a filmed ride on his lap
Or the meeting with a corporate boss that is carefully recorded
With hard hats worn and an orange coat
And the wheels of industry turning
To imply progress is his doing
There’s a press conference too where when he’s found out
He vehemently abuses his rivals
Words for him are so critical always
When there is a recording as he speaks
Euphemisms vie with superlatives but O how the modelling reeks
True, he doesn’t sell cigarettes
Despite the death warning on the packets
He doesn’t use stimulating images to sell junk food
Or visual lies to sell other products
He is not guilty there
But his is the power to decide our destinies
His vision largely creates the life that we lead
And that is why he needs a valid and independent commission
To define a straight and narrow path of action
Far different from a so called election mandate
Achieved with the votes of a majority of gullible fools


Freedom is a valued thing
Beloved from pole to pole
But freedom to do something wrong
Alas in truth is licence!
It cannot be condoned
Some people alive today
Have lived through many wars
Some have felt free to try to stop them
They marched to stop conscription
They marched to stop invasions
They marched to stop the war crime of killing civilians
The main reason always was to prevent death
Freedom to cause death however
Is a travesty that cannot be approved
Not with a gun
Not with a knife
And not with angry demonstrations
Millions are dying from COVID
Personal contact is the cause
So a poster advocating freedom to mingle
Is a murder weapon
That echoes in the halls of anarchy
Now the times are changing
How strange in this old world
At last to find a majority doing what is right
Salutations to the husbands and wives, children and old folk
Who have had the strength to isolate as needed
Bravo to the health workers, the food deliverers, the posties
And all the others who have carried on
Bravely in the face of danger for the good of us all
As to the others
The intrepid minority, even though you have spread the disease
We are your brothers and sisters
Mercy is here
As the aim of most of us is to help us all survive

A View Of Time

There seems to be a widespread fear of time passing
Abroad in the modern world
Anxiety about growing old is one reason
Another is your envy of youth compared to your apparent senility
A point of interest however
Is a totally different, surprising experience with chronology
Memory when it is still with you
Can be such a nostalgic enrichment of your last days
A kind of beatification of your life
So many things you remember
That are unknown to the arrogant youths around you
Look at some of these
There was the postie who blew a whistle for example
When he delivered your mail
He remains still today your friend in your mind
Dedicated to the service he provided
The baker and milkman who came to your house
Were other personal contacts
With their cheerful words on arrival
In days before the advent of supermarkets
This was company with real people instead of checkout queues
And the grocer who sold you your butter and your cheese
All wrapped in white paper with no plastic
You chose and he wrapped
And in some places rabbit sellers also called
With that cheap, delicious food that Mum cooked
People interacted far more in those days as you remember it
Personal relationships were more important and frequent
Than self-service isolation
Radios were all you had as home based media
They worked with valves
And were too big to fit into your pocket
Time with them was limited
So the bondage with television didn’t exist
Conversation and home performance with family
Mattered infinitely more
The picture show was where you saw news long after it happened
And where you fell in love with celestial movie stars
Again you mixed more with people there
And getting that ice cream at interval
Was part of a social experience
Fish and chips wrapped in recyclable newspaper
Were a common experience too
You tore open the paper to get that delicious first chip
And did no damage to the environment
And there were far fewer cars to pollute the air
In traffic jams especially
And another human being
Checked your tyres and your oil and gave you petrol
While often you just sat in the car
Mind you, it was not paradise
Many of the wonders of the present were missing
Especially linked to health and learning
But sometimes that old world you remember
Gives you relief from tension
It’s very often people your mind rekindles from the past
Characters who valued your patronage and gave you a smile
So for a brief time
In the present, you are not part of the lonely crowd


Poetry Lingers Still


There I was
Unsure of my existence
Anxious and afraid
Body mechanisms just not working
I wondered if my time had come
His voice was gentle
That greeting almost tender
The concern for me was obvious
He was calmly so proficient
He checked my blood pressure
Felt my pulse
Looked carefully at my eyes and face
All the time talking in a friendly, unruffled way
His aura of proficiency gave me peace of mind
Fear drifted away quite quickly
A stretcher on wheels took me smoothly to the ambulance
That new friend watching over me with the driver
Skilfully placed me on board and secured me with a belt
He sat beside me during that journey
Gently but efficiently when we arrived
Taking the essential details of my personal life
Then came the sanctuary of the hospital
Where I was saved from that current pain and trouble
And given more time to live
Now here I sit writing this verse
In better health than I endured before
With only the memory of that man who changed my life
What can I do to thank him?
We shall probably never meet again
All I have are these words I write
And the overwhelming wish
To support those wondrous men and women
Who reach out and hold the hand
Of struggling souls like me


Love, it is an active thing
A performer with many faces
A reaching out to another
There is so much pain it replaces
It can weave a subtle magic spell
With its silken thread of kindness
It can take away your loneliness
And cure your insular blindness
So try it: entwine yourself in another life
Though stupidity around you is rife
That love will gently tinker with your fate
And show you the power of love over hate
Even when your downfall seems decided
It will give you power to reshape your life
Where concern and care are derided
So reach out now to that untried friend
Find a way to share magnanimity
To help another’s troubles to end
With a joy that relates to divinity
Notice then as a consequence
The dramatic change in you
A different arena you will discover
Where even dreams can come true
As you have no fear and are bound to recover
With a second self to admire
If you share your thoughts, set your spirit afire
Two can turn into one
Then you will find a change has begun
In the moon and the sun and the air and the sky
And everything else on earth
A reshaping unseen by you before
In all time since your birth

A Hole In The Wall

Come with me now
Over here
By this hole in the wall
Listen to them talking
These Apates * who determine our destiny
Hear their twisted, cunning discourse of deceit
Warnings of dangers that don’t exist
To justify spending on weapons of war
Melodious canine music in support of extremists
Who attack your rivals
High praise for fictitious solutions to global warming
That will do more harm than good
Plans to earn tainted money by selling fossil fuels
As long as the market exists
Furtive PR conniving with the media
To create the myth of concern for the common man
And portray counterfeit camaraderie
Tax concessions for the wealthy and pathos for the poor
Machinations with rich backers to destroy public ownership
For the profit of the few
Endorse yes-men on radio by giving them your time
Praise our way of life with empty euphemisms
Sign your fate away in treaties with money and power
Make Satan the true hero of Paradise Lost
And pose as a guardian of the nation’s future
There you have it
Do you see what I mean when I say
It’s such a crucial source of knowledge that wall opening?
What should we do?
What course of action can we of little influence follow?
Mend that wall I say, and walk away
Towards a humane future of trust and peace
And, dare I say it, compassion for the needy

*In Greek mythology Apate was the personification of deceit.

The Unknown Citizen

There he lies
In The Hall Of Recollections
The Unknown Citizen
Quite young he was – a mere sixteen
Still at school
Loved his dog who died with him
Made a kite that once flew boldly over the roofs of his village
Dreamed of being a pilot with his country’s airlines
Was his school champion at distance running
Also aspired to an Olympic destiny
His father was dead so he lifted heavy things for his mother
And helped his aged grandparents who were both deaf
And needed aid to walk and to talk
He worked in the family garden which was so important
As they were very poor
Tended the poultry too: six hens and a rooster
In a very small enclosure
Fed them every day and collected the eggs
Went fishing by the river after school for more needed food
And mended the roof with palm leaves when the rain burst through
He was an only child of his solitary parent for most of his life
As his younger sister died of typhoid fever
Nobody knows the details you have here read
As his body was burned beyond recognition
And his entire village was destroyed
That body now lies with words of due regard
Beside the Unknown Soldier
As an ostensible token of regret and respect by a nation…
At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month
A trumpet sounds to disturb his peace
As a wreath is laid…
For the rest of the year he is forgotten


Listen to you, so cunning you are
Condemning violence
Yet claiming understanding of the reasons for it
So you are not truly disparaging
But equivocating, dodging, pussyfooting around
Almost in favour
And thus you in reality befriend the extremists…
You are actually one of them
Because your condemnation is ephemeral
Almost faint praise
So be it
That is the modus operandi of your politics
You’re not an overt reality
Only what seems to be
A performer
An actor on a violent stage
Therefore please understand my rage
For in my lifetime I have seen violence destroy conciliation
Murders become a political strategy
And subtly aimed political whistles
Transform themselves into symphonies of success
This is my memo to you
Note well now and forever more
I hear what you say but I see what you do
The truth about you thunders above you
Lightning flashes from that storm
Seeking a pathway to the ground
A tower of deception exists
It will be struck and destroyed
And that doomed edifice
Because of your sordid reality
Will be you


And More Still


I wandered lonely as an honest man
Amidst a crowd of politicians
My torch in daylight outdid Diogenes as it had batteries
But the result was the same
Still I wandered, ever hopeful
Ah! There was one
A large hat accompanied by a man
He looked honest
In a head piece like that and the sun so hot
You could cook eggs on the ground
So I thought I would listen to his words
He said that if the world’s buying it,
There’s a market for it
How interesting I thought
Could he mean tobacco, cocaine, heroin or illicit weapons?
Oh no! Fancy that
He was speaking of coal
So I had to assign him a different role
He was not my honest man
The search continued with my torch alight
I went to the office of the Sydney Times
But they failed my test as they were obsessed with crimes
They were not my honest men
An estate agent next caught my eye
But there I detected a plant who helped the agent to rant
And make the price climb higher
That was not my honest man
Next was an ad-man who seemed not a bad man
Until he declared junk food was good for the nation
He was not my honest man
And so the day wore on seemingly coming to a sorry end
One more guy caught my eye
A Prime Minister attending a rally
But the boos and jeers that struck my ears
Defined him as an Aunt Sally
He was not my honest man
The sun was getting ready to set
It was time for me to go home
I switched off my torch and wended my weary way
Almost home, I passed a man who was sweeping the street
Reaching for my key I disturbed my Canadian Gold Maple Leaf coin
It is extremely valuable
It rolled out of my reach and disappeared
I searched in vain
Suddenly the street sweeper called out to me
“Here it is. Under my broom. Saved from the maintenance hole.”
I had found my honest man
Or, more accurately, my honest man found me

Trophy Madness

And it’s not for the sake of a ribboned coat,
Or the selfish hope of a season’s fame,
But his Captain’s hand on his shoulder smote —
‘Play up! play up! and play the game!’

“Vitai Lampada” – “The Torch of Life”
Henry Newbolt

Look at them
Hugging each other en masse
Jumping on the spot like fire walkers on hot coals
Apparent confetti flying everywhere
One of them holding a trophy on high
Flames leaping out of the ground with lascivious orgasmic delight
As cameras bring the excitement to the world
What a strange focus!
Winning is so important that you bury your opponent
The loser, in an unmarked grave
Those of us whom the years have not condemned
Will remember the dignity of Bradman
A touch of the cap in response to the thunderous applause
Perhaps a waving of the bat
And then on with the next century
Why is it so?
Why the trophy madness?
One answer could be Can-do Capitalism
Money is so ingrained in modern sport
That winning is a financial coup
Losing is just not good enough
It’s a disgrace and if you do it too often, you get the sack
As for the modern tools, the coach and his entourage of helpers,
Every step you take could be your last
Four losses in a row is like filing for bankruptcy
Any more and you’re gone
So here’s to the heroes
Those who played for nothing and inspired us all
They will live in memory
When all the balance sheets are waste paper

The Nil Hypothesis

Let it be
Clear the decks of wise and intelligent planning
Turn competition loose
And things will simply fix themselves
Give egotistic entrepreneurs unencumbered tax free licence
And things will fall into place
Paradise will be regained and maintained ad infinitum
By the mission linked to profit
Call it freedom and you can then wage highly lucrative wars
To defend it
Set the robber barons free
And all will be right with the world
Open all services to the free market
Link up with the wise and realise what a joy it is to privatise
Tie hospitals to profit, education to financial returns
Hand over the media to Midas and ignore how much he earns
Let free enterprise be you daily hymn
Ring it out loud and clear
Sell off every amenity
And you’ll have nothing to fear
If things go wrong just sing the song that echoes down the ages
Pass the buck to guiltless rivals maligned on Yellow Press pages
Never admit a planning error, invent an excuse as the reason
Let the guilty off the hook as if fools were then in season
This above all
Never stop talking about your own success
Spread it abroad on radio, TV and in the colourful press
It then shall follow as morning follows night
There will be no significant difference between specified populations
But triumph will come to the chosen few

A Study Of Lies

That politician just said that all politicians are liars
Oh dear! Can it be that he is telling the truth?
Epimenides has us then firmly in his grasp*
But let the paradox be
Let us examine lies more closely
It may indeed be worth the effort
In a world where pretence is so profitable…
Lies have many shapes and sizes
First for our attention, the inverted lie
When Nelson saw no signal at Trafalgar
He held the telescope to his blind eye
So in order to lie, Nelson actually told the truth
Then there is the racist politician who hates foreigners
But blames people smugglers
For his keeping refugees in indefinite detention
Next in the fabrication genre is the fuzzy lie
A high sounding statement with no real and clear foundation
Freedom, our way of life and our past history reveals
Are common examples of the language
The CIA overthrew Mohammad Mosaddegh in Iran in 1953
Largely over oil but the perjury was to foster a better way of life
Many more examples of this category exist…
Then alas, there is the mega lie
So potent it belongs to what we can call the master fabricator
The first example is the Trump fantasy of election fraud in 2020
There are still many, many believers all ready to act
Though it turns the Flat Earth Society into Nobel Prize geniuses
A second mega lie is linked to the GST in the Australia of 1955
When a heavy tax was imposed on the poor and the rich equally
Despite a mega lie by then Prime Minister John Howard
Who foretold its introduction with: “Never ever. It’s dead.”
Finally we end a mere introduction with the private lie
This above all: to thine own self be true**
All lies are deadly, but most lethal when you lie to yourself

*Epimenides was a Cretan who made one paradoxical statement: “All Cretans are liars.”.

** Shakespeare: Hamlet Act 1, Scene 3


Poetry Still


Enter the modeller…
The alchemist returns
Turns lead into gold in his model
It is pyrite disguised as platinum
And how well the deceiver stands in status
Paid with lucre fit for kings
With the well funded persona of counterfeit respectability
A well paid shadow in the persuasive halls of pretence
Free as a bird, a bird of prey,
To generate the illusion of accurate judgement
But hiding a dark reality
How strange it is that mathematical misdemeanours
Effigies in data
Drawn from false or non-existent prototypes
Can be declared masterstrokes of planning for government action
Then the apparent genius declares the big lie
With a fanfare of fake trumpets
And the mob bows its heads in wonder
Deceived by the deadly patter of unintelligibility
Befuddling their brains with cunning opacity
And so
The nation continues to burn coal, oil and natural gas
To generate power
To reduce forests to their last throes of existence
To generate wood and space
To produce consumer goods ad infinitum
To generate profit
Unmentioned by the consultant posing as a truthful scion of reality
Do you hear the praise the profiteers heap upon his kind of truth?
Deafening applause for the deceptive mock up
As the irrelevant music plays and we dance a destructive dance?


Look at me
I am a number
Just an outcome of mean and standard deviation
With all my virtues nullified by analysis of co-variance
It’s a funny feeling this
A kind of impersonal existence
Insensitive to love and hate, anxiety and fear
Just an equation ready for persuasion
The integer that I am
Will be determined by what I do on the net
By what I support publicly
By what I buy
More importantly
Decisions will be made about my life
Based entirely of formulaic movement of calculations
If they move a decimal even one point to the left
Considerable misery is likely
Two points to the right and we’ll all be in paradise
Unless we are dealing with disease
It all depends on the raison d’être of the mathematician
On the aims of the elected leaders
And how accurately their integrity is portrayed to the masses
To get them into power
That’s it then
Look carefully please at me
Will I die?
The probability is one
With things as they are, will I be happy before I die?
That probability is one divided by infinity

On An Infamous Grasping Trickster

Look at him
A pretentious icon of self interest
He has to be popular to survive
People have to choose him
So he praises himself by word and deed
Extremely overtly
Like a degenerate peacock
He puts himself into public gaze as if it were an accident
Instead, it is so deliberate
So calculating
So cunningly intruding into people’s attention
Things happen as if by chance
Whereas all is so carefully planned
He’ll go to a place where cameras just happen to be
Because of forewarning
He’ll drive past in an electric car as global warming pretence
And wave to the viewers
As if he didn’t know they would be there
He’ll flaunt himself in a factory wearing a hard hat
Shake hands demonstrably
With an old man he has never met before
And never will again
He will speak at a conference for fifty minutes
And say nothing
To make sure his backers are not compromised
He will laugh nonchalantly as often as a cameraman can find him
To imply a cheerful soul goodwill hunting
He will deny his mistakes and share his intentions as if beholden
And promise you the moon on a dark and moonless night
As if he owned Apollo 12
But instead, with face radiant and guile embellished with smiles,
He will sell you Apollo 13

On Not Being Understood

Sometimes despair hovers around you
Your words bounce off the minds of others
Like rain on a tin roof
And run away down a gutter of misunderstanding
To disappear
As if they had never happened
The challenge is
To keep on sharing your thoughts
To foster still the hope that springs eternal*
And believe that one day
You will touch minds with another thinking reed
Sometimes you win
More often alas you lose
Yet be not afraid to cast pearls before swine**
Dangerous as that is…
Victory can change the world in no small way
If even one mind, perhaps a young one,
Is touched by what you say
And is guided by your words to a better place
All will then be closer to well in a worried world
Than if you had been condemned by fear and dread
To furtive silence
So speak on despite the ignorance around you
Share your wisdom such as it is
For if you are wise,
Your words will stay afloat in a sea of incompetence
As potential salvation to someone
And if you are not
Some other soul who has been set free
Will utter words to save you

*A phrase from the Alexander Pope poem An Essay on Man

**…nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces (Matthew 7:6)

The Technical Crackpot

O have you heard of the Technical Crackpot
Who derides the sun and the wind?
He will babble on in his Hanging Garden
Say the sun doesn’t always shine
And the wind doesn’t always blow
So the power of the sun
And the strength of the wind
He just doesn’t want to know
And then with a twist if you get my gist
He does a confusing turn about
Soon with a tune that is linked to the moon
He gives technology a shout
His elocution is electrocution
As it gives every listener a shock
He says fire and drought, storm and flood
Can be easily nipped in the bud
All you need is yet to be invented technology
Whereupon people like you and me
Think his need is clinical psychology
How on earth can you save the earth
With inventions yet to be invented?
Such a plan has so little worth
And the planner seems clearly demented
So there you have it
We’ll all be doomed if they vote for him
It would be a fate worse than death
Our future then would be ever so grim
And our world would be on its last breath


Yet Again

The Answer Man

A Tribute To A Political Icon:
Identity Obvious

O have you met the Answer Man
Who always has a reply?
If you catch him out or discover his tricks
He will simply tell you a lie
His face radiates integrity
But he never provides any proof
He fakes a smile endorsed with guile
And pretends to tell you the truth
He’s quick off the mark, never hesitates
Ever ready with a solution
If you see through his game and question his fame
He’ll fake a revolution
Rapprochement is his stock in trade
Whenever the going gets tough
He’ll sign a treaty with the Devil
If the outcome puts a blanket on his bluff
He loves to find a media op
To divert attention from his crimes
He poses like a saint in a bed of roses
As on high ever upwards he climbs
If perchance by a whim of the gods
Your path and his should cross
You won’t get a word in when he speaks
Though his words are but fairy floss
So hear this now you would-be voters
When next there is an election
The only way you can save our world
Is to give him a vivisection

Chain Reaction

Strange things just happened in Eternity
A town in the USA
They altered the lives of so many people
On an otherwise normal day
It all began when a bird
Plucked a worm from the ground near a bush
This frightened a bee which hid in a flower
So that when a florist picked that flower
He was painfully stung by that bee
He gave forth a yell as loud as a bell
That frightened an arborist in a tree
Who dropped his saw
Which fell to earth in a highly dangerous way
Striking a passing tourist on the foot
The visitor let forth strong modes of expression
And painfully hopped away
He went too far with his hopping, overbalanced
And fell into a pond
A biologist was doing research in that pond
So a welcome was not forthcoming
The scientist gathered up his tools in a rage
And angrily left the scene
On his way home in his four-wheel drive
His anger ran away with driving skill
And he plunged off the road into a farm
Without opening the gate
The farmer was a quiet, gentle man as all farmers are,
So he hurried across to check on the health
Of his unintended visitor
All was well, apart from a broken light,
So the two began a friendly chat
That was when the rural man learned the truth of global warming
So impressed was he that soon he owned
The world’s first solar driven farm
Such an outcome from such a simple deed
Is why all children need to know about the birds and the bees

Apocalypse 2050

It was the worst of times
Mortal danger was in the air
Fear raised an ugly head
Riddled with snakes like Medusa’s
Nights were silent save for brain crushing thunder
Black but for lightning’s flashing scimitar
Wildfire devoured the forest and houses
Like a starving tyrannosaurus
The wind was a wailing banshee
Shrieking through your bones
Floods were clenched fists
Around everything that moved
And the heat was an incessant fire stoked in Hades
Throughout this maelstrom danced the effigies of fools
Denying reality like men of straw on steroids
Telling lies like Madoff in Wall Street
Creating a fantasia of excuses for not acting positively
In the face of truth about global warming
Never forget how they diverted your attention
From their inane lack of informed action
By replacing scientific verification of our deadly danger
With fairy tales at the bottom of a garden
As part of the destruction and decay of all living things
O how life cries out for mercy
In the face of everything wrongful existence incorporates
Tears stream from eyes beholding consequences
Productive landscapes for food are now deserts of iniquity
Architects’ dreams lie shattered in the rubble of chaos
Islands once havens of endless beauty
Now lie forever entombed beneath the sea
Creatures that once shared with you a varied and exciting world
Are now nothing but IDs of dead species in a text book
Yet still their ghosts look you in the eye
And seek to know with anguished voices
“Why oh why on earth did you do this to me?”


O is success your dream?
Or rather your sinister scheme?
Ride boldly then you unholy strategist
Into the fields of deception
Where the cleverest deceiver
Master of mere appearances and what people see
Becomes the King
Lord of Heaven and Earth
Arbiter of the destinies of gullible fools
Shape there as you will, the destinies of the greedy
Build your empires of unjust power
With the energy of tyrants born to rule
Create towers of dominance reaching to the sky
So that thinking reeds are never allowed to digress
Crush learning as the dangerous tool of the uninitiated
Build alliances
With the chosen affluent few
As you reach with your tainted hand to the stars
Guard your providence well
Bolster it with lies or threats of danger
Invent enemies to excuse your crass investment in war
But beware
Somewhere in a corner of your dark domain
There is a child of tomorrow
This sapling has escaped your control by learning the truth
From an old and dying victim of your curse
One day inevitably, that innocent will prove your guilt
To a new and awakening world

To Write A Poem

So, that’s a good idea
Or, that’s not right
I think I’ll write a poem about it
So the adventure begins
Sometimes the words flow like a river in flood
Other times like a river in drought
That’s no good the rhythm is terrible
That’s better
Still a bit gauche though
What about a rhyme?
That’s better
Now the music’s starting to appear
But it’s a bit artificial though
What really matters is the rhyme of ideas
My best adviser, my son John,
Tells me that
He’s right of course
But my publisher tells me not to say of course
It’s arrogant
So I’ll withdraw it and just say
It seems to me
Meaning is the ultimate solution
You’ve got to find ways to make it crystal clear
Or even inspiring
The old tricks similes and metaphors
Hyperbole, alliteration and assonance for example
Are well known
I might add repetition and say it again
But they in themselves are not the answer
You can’t just push buttons and get a poem
Something else has got to happen
Speak to you from who knows where
Shake you and break you shiver you and shake you
And suddenly you seem free to do what’s necessary
Yes, that’s it
I think I’ll write a poem about that


Yet More Sharing


That portrait was my first wife
A happy smile the world beguiles
Contrary to modern trends
She was my very first lover
And I was very definitely mature
Our togetherness was like my first breath of life
A dawn revealing a landscape I didn’t know existed
Birds seemed to sing their songs just for me
The wind
Wrapping itself round the two of us was far more exciting
We shared music and plays and paintings
In ways that revealed the truth to both of us
I was not reborn, just a different person
And her interest in me made me boldly adventurous
A traveller in a hitherto unexplored land
In a partnership fashioned skilfully in paradise
Marriage came inevitably, and children
But time coldly stated its price
Not contempt but certainly familiarity
And an opportunity for a friend to take my place
Peter was his calling card
A musician who played a different tune
Cadenzas of seduction and drum beats of passion
I didn’t have a chance
She was drawn away from me as a moth to light
And I withered on my ageing vine
But all was not lost
Time can be a friend in the oddest of ways
It gave her time to sense the reality of passing affection
That was my chance so I welcomed her back to my side
And then she died
Suddenly and with little time for farewells
Her eyes still meet mine from my wall
That smile transcends so much else
There was a time with her when I could move mountains
That memory revokes all betrayal…trust me


See how your business acumen circles you
Casting aside irrelevant reality
From there you rule your flourishing domain
Like an absolute monarch of old
Free of such trivialities
As compassion for others
Or even awareness of their existence
Details of your regency knock on your door
Like servants from downstairs
Accounts of successful transactions get your attention
And inflate your ego
Mission statements are rewritten in the light of planned takeovers
Market movements
Capture your interest and stir your emotions
Like pushover tries in a Rugby Test
Everything that matters in your life is dealt with
By your well-paid workforce
Who know that if they blunder with a deal
They will be sacked
And thus you agitate within your circle of perception…
Unknown to you
That man who delivers your daily paper
Has just lost his father to COVID-19
Your lawyer, Smithers, has a son on drugs in intensive care
Andrews, the butcher who sells meat to your supermarket,
Has a wife dying of glioblastoma
Horiya, a secretary in your chain,
Has a sister longing for a visa in a Palestinian refugee camp
Elvira, a cleaner of yours, is a single mother of five
And Jonas, the CEO you recently replaced, has lymphoma…
But things are looking up for the corporation
The market share is brilliant and all’s right with the world

One More Time

So the years pass
In spite of everything you do
Leaving behind the wreckage of your schemes
And the constant reminders of what might have been
Vide these things
A broken promise here
A lie carefully crafted to achieve a questionable outcome
A balanced budget
Leaving the needy frantically ignored
A rich man’s pipe dream given a synthetic imprimatur
Praised to high heaven as progress
Funds raised by selling off resources that once belonged to all
Treaties signed
To verify your enemies through cultivated animosity
Frantic sales promotion of what you can dig up or cut down
Pride in achievement loquaciously confirmed
By praise of a strong economy and categorised data known as jobs
Thus the years dwindle away
Time for the next election arrives
This may well be my last, according to standardised chronology
I have been there before, so many times
Suffered the blunders that led to war or other chaos
Felt the pain
As the world I once knew
Was pilloried by the stock market or vested interest
Even the trees I once climbed all those years ago
Are now memories crushed by concrete
So be it; let it be no more
But all this still can change
I will play my frail hand one more time
And vote for the truth in my final effort to remedy the world’s pain
QED perchance

The Last Koala

That was the last koala I have seen
I think it was a male
There was a belligerent air about him
As he watched me from on high
He seemed to own the tree
Grasping it with his whole body
Climbing upwards to well-being with such assurance
And looking down on ground ridden me
With something akin to arrogance
Then he started eating leaves
Efficiently and with obvious satisfaction
Yet still watching me like some accredited scientific observer
He didn’t trust me obviously, even though I was no immediate threat
We both loved those trees
They gave me shade and him sanctuary and upmarket meals
Somehow I enjoyed his company
I thought back to my childhood and remembered
How I liked cuddly things
We stayed together for quite a while
Then he seemed to become bored with me
And moved to another tree and then another
Destined I thought for another meeting perhaps
A sojourn where the trees were thickest or perhaps a tryst
That meeting of ours was a little more than a year ago
I came back again only this morning
Found that tree again
It is nothing more than a black stump
All those other trees are but charred relics
It was a wildfire that did this
Killed five humans and injured more
As for my koala 

Nowhere to be seen on earth

Fallacious Scrutiny

Please tell me young man
Why are you learning?
What is the reason for your quest for knowledge?
Do you want to know why science
Is the life force of your existence?
Are you spellbound with wonder to discover
Why our deeds in the past
Have led to our follies in the present?
Does art cry on your shoulder and long to be understood?
Are you interested in exploring the chasms of the human mind
To discover why we do things and what we are?
Are you inspired by strangers from other lands
Who teach you new and different ways to think?
What is that you say?
None of those frilly things inspire you?
Your mission in life is precise and supported by tradition
Immediate consequences
Quick feedback on the reality of what you are
In other words, the examination
Aha! So that’s it
A tribal classification is your dream
An indoctrination to determine your destiny
A category system to point out the élite
And the hewers of wood and drawers of water
That is your reason for learning
Very well then
Remember this in your salad days
The highest award lies always beneath the sword of Damocles*
And the first and second quartiles are still half our future
So beware of false judgements
If you fail, remember
Time and truth are the only true determinants
And reality is mere conjecture in a time restricted test
The future as a friend can help you find what really matters
If you never cease to try

*Damocles, when he achieved fame, saw a sword above his head poised and ever ready to fall.


Words Still Matter

The Gift Of Learning

O I can build castles now
That look down on the twisted world
With understanding
I am aware of solutions
To uncertainty that once destroyed my self respect
The gift of learning is suddenly mine
And I have the power to see things as they really are
The rulers of my past
Sought the safety of my ignorance
And tried like overlords to sanction my erudition
But they did not succeed and now they never will
Understanding at this moment walks beside me
Through a troubled wilderness of stupidity
Energised by the power of awareness
Lies of dominant political figures
Now are confessions of guilt
Developers reveal their payola to me
Before they build their sanctioned effigies of greed
Defence industries now make weapons of mass destruction
Border security becomes a racist wall
And protecting our way of life
Turns into a triumph of vested interest
As well as this, I have learnt to experience
The wonder of the artist
The triumph of music over iniquity
From street song to symphony
The rapture of beauty untrammelled by personal gain
The power of satire by way of the written word
Which embarrasses the guilty
And the excitement of the theatre
Which reveals so truly the foibles of human existence
So heed this
All you null and void self-promoting counterfeit statesmen
I know who you are


Liar! Liar! The Earth’s on fire
Destiny’s controlled by a few
Can you not see a minority
Of arsonist leaders
Burning our future away?
Supporting with fake applause
Pathetically wrongful causes:
Acceptance of a methane disaster
Destructive fracking of gas
Or devastation by coal for the usual pieces of silver…
Those deeds will live on as unsurpassed iniquity
Consequences of what they do
Will forever curse mankind
Look at the consequences:
The heating of the globe beyond repair
Coral paradises cursed with doom
Species slaughtered by malevolence
Betrayal of tomorrow’s children
Denizens to be
In a world maliciously destroyed by greed
For the sake of devious balance sheets
Or spurious requisitions…
No contrition about emission
Exists in my awareness
They let the cattle eat our future away
Hell on Earth
Is not an opium dream but reality
Created by unscrupulous opportunists
Incineration! Incineration!
It’s all for the good of the nation
Fie on your false elation!
What nation are you talking about?
The proletariate of a doomed state?
A kingdom of fools?
Where is the propriety you claim to have?
Does it lie in the money bags of kleptomaniacs?
You are found out
Even children
Driven by you towards desperate activism
Understand what you do
And fight your folly with marches and rallies
Stirred by the sacred reality of science
What can we expect from you?
Righteous indignation
Pious utterances claiming integrity and reenforcing deceit
The usual unprincipled chatter of ne’er-do-wells
Defending the indefensible
Yet one thing stands with stark reality
Your doings will be written
In the annals of eternity for all the eyes of the future
And your children and their children
Will never escape
From the mortification you impose upon their lives


Thank you so much for your kindness
I appreciate the seat you gave me
It’s good to sit down
Thank you for the water too
It’s important at my age
Any age really
But look, there are one or two things I would like to say
Don’t feel too sorry for me
Even though, according to the usual viewpoint,
My days are numbered
One of the advantages I share in growing old
Unlike those who die young
Is I have an encyclopaedia of memories
I was there
When the grocer used to wrap up your butter for you
And cut off your piece of cheese
When you saw the only news on celluloid at the movies
When the baker and the milkman knocked on your door
When houses outnumbered apartments in the suburbs
When the last steam engine was put into endless sleep
When the trains ran on time
When buses had conductors who gave you a ticket
Helped you if needed, and supported the driver
I recall when sport was a game and not a business
I saw Bradman’s hundredth hundred at the SCG
I remember when century makers would doff their cap gently
And gently raise their bat to the applause
Instead of circumnavigating the globe via the stratosphere
And having a love affair with their headgear
O yes!
All very interesting.
But I was part of more potent history too.
I saw the lights go out in World War II
My heroes were not footballers but fighter pilots:
“Bluey” Truscott, “Killer” Caldwell, and “Paddy” Finucane
We lived in Woollahra when the Japanese shelled the harbour
And sent in their midget submarines.
I remember with horror the crimes of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
I read about them in the daily papers
I took one giant step for mankind on the moon
And voted against our Vietnam invasion
Traipsed William Street and past the Nazis as we demonstrated
I saw the first telecast in Australia
Having loved the radio to death
So there you see
I’ll leave my story there
With much more I could tell if the need arose
Dear Friend
Thank you for your kindness
We have shared a small part of a journey and we rest now
Time occasionally masquerades as an enemy
But it’s the same for everyone
Recollection can still be a joyous way of re-living
A panacea for your aches and pains and occasional sadness
Yes, that is the way of things

Were You There?

Were you there when they chose to go to war?
Did you vote so that innocents would die?
Were you there when they chose to go to war?
Do you lose sleep now because of what you’ve done?

Were you there when they imprisoned refugees?
Did you vote to have the blameless writhe in gaol ?
Were you there when they imprisoned refugees?
Do you lose sleep now because of what you’ve done?

Were you there when wildfire torched those people?
Did you vote to continue burning coal?
Were you there when wildfire torched those people?
Do you lose sleep now because of what you’ve done?

Were you there when the great whites mangled swimmers?
Did you vote to make the ocean warmer?
Were you there when the great whites mangled swimmers?
Do you lose sleep now because of what you’ve done?

Were you there when hundreds died in floods?
Did you vote to pay no heed to global warming?
Were you there when hundreds died in floods?
Do you lose sleep now because of what you’ve done?

Were you there when heat or cold killed millions?
Did you vote to condone a worthless plan?
Were you there when heat or cold killed millions?
Do you lose sleep now knowing what you haven’t done?


Every day
Young people give me hope for tomorrow
Not my future
As there are more years behind me than lie ahead
Humanity is in my mind however
But not just people
All the creatures of land and sea
All the plants, and notably the trees
All the rivers and mountains and the rain forest of the tropics
All the air, the wind and the clouds and the sun…
Young, clear thinking, vibrant mentors are needed
If our present world is to flourish or even survive…
Mature age vandals
Have damaged these precious miens of our lives
Almost beyond repair
With their harmful, hurtful, inimical vested interests
Their programs of aggrandisement for the rich and powerful
Even though they are so small in number,
Their inability to see beyond themselves
And I must admit when I see the desolation
Or listen to the lies disguised as integrity
Depression tends to sink into my soul
And yet
Quite often these days
A comforting ray of light lunges through the darkness
There is a voice too to uplift me
And then another, and then another
Emanating from upright, youthful, flexible bodies
And vibrant faces alight with fire and controlled energy
“Yes we can,” they say. “Yes we can. Yes we can.”

Voices Not Heard

Silence is a common device these days
Adroitly used by imposters and politicians
Please pardon the tautology
So you and I
As citizens who care about things
Need to explore this situation a little more closely
Evil triumphs
When good men (and women) do nothing*
That’s a pretty strong piece of wisdom
So let us explore it a little further
In my lifetime
Because it is quite long and increases every day
I’m still glad to say
A lot of sordid things have happened
Let us examine one or two to learn a little more about life…
In the Sixties, America invaded Vietnam
At the time
A majority of Australians thought this was a good idea
They were what Richard Nixon in1969 called “the silent majority”
And Scott Morrison in 2019 exploited as “the quiet Australians”
That was not me in those times
I joined the long-haired rebels, although I was short back and sides
And took to the streets with brothers and sisters, pacifists in vain
In the end events proved us right, we were listened to and won
When will they ever learn? said the song as it happened again
With Iraq in 2003
This time the war planners had an eye for Persian Gulf oil
Again our voices were not heard
All drowned out by weapons of mass destruction that didn’t exist
And the poor people of Iraq suffered – and still do
So what to we learn from these tales
Today silence is not golden
Net voices now are louder than ever before
I hear them day and night now, and they gently lull me to sleep

*It was not said by Edmund Burke. I don’t know who.


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