Forced Entry

Well, my fellow blogster, perhaps you know what it’s like to go several days longer than usual between posts and still find yourself with little to say and even less inclination to say it?

My urge is to say something … anything! Best to come clean, I reckon, and confess that my hunger for input has exceeded my desire to output.

If you have the time, here is a link to something I’ve been reading. It’s plenty long enough without any more from me but I’d really like to hear what you think. Are we really entering an era when there is no point saying anything?

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/aug/03/denialism-what-drives-people-to-reject-the-truth

Image result for denial

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Renga to Return

Here is the finished poem.

I am very grateful to those who have contributed their own words. Their sites, all of which I can recommend, are hyperlinked below.

10 lines are mine – the first and final tankas.

Eyes down for stray coins
Or lonesome tweets. So what, if
Dull skies lack twitter?

Where are the swifts blown? Summer’s
On hold till they’re back on course.

Of course, coins enrich,
as much as the swift’s sweet song,
while tweets leave minds dull.

Autumn, elevate my thoughts
on gentle, warming updrafts.                                     theceaselessreaderwrites

Random thoughts sail away
thinking of winter’s cold breath,
for a time to come.

Summer’s warmth will carry us
through the snow, and biting winds!                         Alex

or perhaps stardust–
sparks lingering, seasonless
and filled with wishes come true                                memadtwo

But now with winds low
Bathed in a silver moonlight
I dream of fortune.

Coins tossed in a sacred well
To protect the innocent.                                              Christine Valentor

The seasons return,
Untainted by human hand,
Playgrounds for fresh thoughts.

Look – old nests new tenanted –
And above, tweets and cartwheels.

 

 

Image result for swifts

 

 

Image: Oxford Mail

Moon Shot


Related image

Every so often – well, once in a blue moon! – I start off a poem in the hope that others will join in and the whole thing turns out to be somehow greater than the sum of its parts …

Each contribution is a tanka, a Japanese stanza form comprising 5 lines with a suggested syllable count of 5-7-5  7-7. My opening tanka follows this pattern but, hey, what’s a syllable more or less between friends?

Please feel free to take the poem in any direction you want, provided there’s some sort of content link – however tenuous! – with the last two lines of the previous tanka.

To keep things tidy I’ll try and keep the poem updated with new contributions, although please check comments below for more recent additions. I’ll round things off when the time seems right and publish the finished poem, including hyperlinks to my fellow contributors’ sites.

The poem so far:

Eyes down for stray coins
Or lonesome tweets. So what, if
Dull skies lack twitter?

Where are the swifts blown? Summer’s
On hold till they’re back on course.

Of course, coins enrich,
as much as the swift’s sweet song,
while tweets leave minds dull.

Autumn, elevate my thoughts
on gentle, warming updrafts.                                     theceaselessreaderwrites

Random thoughts sail away
thinking of winter’s cold breath,
for a time to come.

Summer’s warmth will carry us
through the snow, and biting winds!                         Alex

or perhaps stardust–
sparks lingering, seasonless
and filled with wishes come true                                memadtwo

But now with winds low
Bathed in a silver moonlight
I dream of fortune.

Coins tossed in a sacred well
To protect the innocent.                                              Christine Valentor

Fare Thee Well! (3/3)

Greetings, Earth Dwellers!

Zog from Alpha Centauri here. May it bring some consolation amid the inescapable trials and tribulations of uncommon sentience to know that your musical artistry, travelling at the speed of light, has inspired us to make the most of our final days. To dance and sing as if this could revive our sterile oceans, our polluted skies, our dying flora and fauna – as if we had somehow remembered just in time the blessings of a simple life before our crazed stampede to the edge … the eve … the brink of  …

Ah, for once I cannot blame my communication breakdown upon this old steam-driven inter-galactic language-transposer of mine! The words are there if I can only bring myself to use them. And now our last log is in the wood burner to keep the water bubbling – the stream of translation flowing – a little longer.

Our very last log.

Oh, with life itself at stake I expected a battle but in the end … well, none of us could come up with a better idea than to send you this token of our gratitude. All the more surprising, perhaps, as our message to love is no more than a shot in the dark with no expectation of ever receiving a reply.

Send us your response, by all means, although there may be nobody here to listen. Eight Earth years is a long time when your place in nature is so imperilled. Please think of us as you celebrate your own narrow escape from the jaws of extinction, hearkening just in time to the piper at the gates of dawn who smiles and plays our death knell.

I watch the embers darken.  Too late now to open the subsequent boxes of delight you beamed through careless timespace and perceive for ourselves the renaissance unfolding like a universal flower that surely must have followed your Aquarian awakening – a golden age where new communities discover how mutual sharing and sensitive collaboration can create aesthetic and scientific wonders far beyond the scope of mere self-interest?

How it hurts to realise that runaway competition and its concomitant over-consumption wrecked whole words with idiotic duplication and insane destruction when all we really needed was the infinite variety of nature left to her own mysterious devices. The choice was ours – to learn at her feet or lead her by the nose. We grew impatient and chased quick kicks instead of slow satisfactions.

Almost the only relic of our better days was the compunction to smile, forced where once it was freely given. Who wants a world, asks one of your Woodstock organisers, where you are afraid to smile? Or, I might add, where you are afraid not to smile? Perhaps we can agree – who wants a world where you are afraid?

Our lights begin to flicker and the steam-gauge falls. These words are raindrops on a drydust desert … wo whoa woe a turning point has passed … has past … the past is never dead – it’s not even past … 3 days of loving peace … 3 million years … waterproof that it can happen … the I that is all of us … forget yourself and live together … it’s only the beginning … but whatever it is, you can’t buy it, man!

Zzzzog out …

Post Scriptum … hell and high water, post every damn thing, did Brian Wilson ever get to Smile?

 

Far Gone (2/3)

Satireday

Greetings, Earth Dwellers!

Zog from Alpha Centauri here. So far my old steam-driven inter-galactic language-transposer appears to be working – touch wood! 

Well, I wood if I could but must wait and hope that quaint idiom of yours retains none of its superstitious force as there isn’t a single tree left standing within four light years!

That was a joke, by the way. Even the loss of our beautiful forests can be turned to laughter. We have learned this from your own comedy magicians.

Impatient for a reply to my previous communication – eight years is an eternity when worlds are burning – I opened your 1960s music box anyway and streamed its contents across our stricken solar system.

Who knew tears and smiles were so close? Unlike you, we grin when unhappy and weep for joy but such minor distinctions vanish in times of overwhelming emotion.

Overnight, it seems, our helpless mourning for dying nature has transformed into visions of beauteous renewal. Had we forgotten that art can be an open portal to fresh futures? And what else but shared dreams – especially ones catapulted across space and time – can move mountains and waken sleeping giants?

What you experienced over years, remember, has arrived here all at once. Perhaps continuous grief sharpens perception and deepens understanding but somehow the zeitgeist of your 1960s has become ours in an instant.

After all, we have our own folk tales. It comes as no surprise that four young men can bring exhilaration and relief to a society still in shock at the loss of a charismatic leader. Or that competition can turn into collaboration and catastrophe become triumph in the twinkling of an enlightened eye. Or that joyous economies of shared pleasure can supplant sad profligacies of solitary gratification.

When the time is right, my broodmother never tired of telling all 94 of us, everything is possible. 

Touch wood. Today I went out and planted seedlings. May Alpha Centauri (I won’t trouble you with the local name as it’s all consonants!) replenish what her children have squandered!

 

 

 

Crazy Mixed Up Universe (1/3)

Chewsday

Greetings, Earth Dwellers!

Zog from Alpha Centauri here. Just a quick radio burst to thank you for all the cool sounds you’ve been sending us. We’ve been working through the backlog – rather slow, I’m afraid, as our department for Monitoring Outer Space Signals (MOSS) is a woefully low funding-priority in the face of impending eco-catastrophe.

Entirely self-inflicted, of course, so I won’t bore you with the details.

Our environmental disaster’s only plus is that Alpha Centaureans currently crave emotional escape and our money-making offshoot MOSS FM has attracted a little advertising revenue by broadcasting schmaltzy dance-band music from your 1920s and ’30s.

In case you’re thinking this is just another example of ‘fake news’, I’d better come clean. MOSS amounts to no more than yours truly and my old steam-driven inter-galactic language-transposer. It did have a bit of trouble with beatnik slang but is now well and truly back in the groove, daddio! Rock ‘n’ Roll came as a revelation after all those soporific crooners but (speaking as MOSS FM’s one and only DJ) I’m keeping Bill Haley and Elvis and all their hepcat pals under wraps in case, just like you, we get an outbreak of cinema seat-slashing and sexually-suggestive hip-action – whatever they are!

As my nervous sponsors would no doubt remind me, social chaos can occur without cinemas … or hips … or sex.

Yes, quite a backlog – or back catalogue, as you Earthfolk say! Me and my trusty (if rusty) translation machine have just arrived in 1959 with no sign of things slowing up or quietening down. I daren’t look in the bulging music box marked The 1960s

whensday

dwellings, earth greeters –

zog got big ask for you –

cheepskate tranzalationing masheen on blinkers so willbe briefs – Yes to day scent out to my fello Alfie Centurions what I thinking nice armless little 1959 sing about dancering & then all heel brake loos –

longstory short – officious policee that all rite with world just if you stayhome & keep your self to your self & your windo shut now in shred & tatts – peepul all outside & play this sing over & over & do hotnew dance call it The Little Walter – even dancering to gather & singing unison –

dont care what you heard this is a crazy mixed up world – more loud even than loud speaker wheel in tell them they happy – no they shout – downside up – more happy now we can say we not happy – not happy till now – now we dance & sing to gather –

but zog hear jumpy sponsas ask who buy & sell when all just dance & sing – and zog fear spumpy jonsas pulldaplug on moss fm – so zog not so happy his lissoners so happy they not so happy –

back to the bulgy 1960s mew sick box – to zog just like your schrodingers cat – safe and sorry –

and now that big ask –

only you knowhat the box con tains –

do zog open it up –

 

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Image: Me.me

So What?

 

Any education system that puts too much stress on getting ‘right’ answers runs the risk of crushing the natural instinct young people have to experiment. You don’t learn new things to impress others but to discover them for yourself. Extrinsic motivation is no substitute for the intrinsic purpose of finding out how the world works and determining your place in it. Making mistakes is the only way to learn what works. It’s all too easy to repress the discovery urge in children and to make them fearful of change.

Herbie Hancock’s story about Miles Davis has inspired me to riff on the theme. The uncertainty of the future calls for a creative response which is fearlessly experimental. Rule nothing out and incorporate everything. Natural evolution itself proceeds by accumulating past success and the cultural evolution that is our special invention should never be hijacked by political elements who wish to exclude particular influences. Art and science must remain open to the world.

To help myself argue from first principles, I’ve revisited the WordPress Daily Prompt site – now extinct – and its fitting final word: Retrospective.  I had to dig down in my own Archive for this draft post which, without a hasty bit of improvisation, might never have seen the light of day. And a word by itself is nothing – alongside others it can become everything.

Could mortal lip divine
The undeveloped Freight
Of a delivered syllable
‘Twould crumble with the weight.

Emily Dickinson

At risk of crumbling, then, here is my poem:

R each back into those days gone past.
E mbrace mistakes and forget fear.
T rial and error’s long and winding
R oad has led you thankful here.
O pen up your heart and mind to
S eek the lessons you have learned.
P erspective is the hard-won prize when
E very corner’s safely turned.
C oming up and straight ahead
T he way is still as yet unclear.
I f your SATNAV screen go dead
V alue common sense instead.
E ach step into dark bring cheer.

 

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Image: Imgur