Poetry – A New Layer of Hope

A New Layer of Hope

Layers of hope

Built on sands of time,

Dripping into eternity.

Layers of hope

Buried beneath lies,

Rotting into oblivion.

Layers of hope

Vitrified into rock,

Locked into history.

Layers of hope

Through generations,

Fading into obscurity.

Now there’s a new layer!

Exposed to the air,

Breathing,

Gleaming in the dark.

A beacon,

An opportunity,

A new chance.

Will it just become

Another layer

Among the many

Optimistic strata

Of human endeavour?

Opher – 9.6.2020

How many times have we put our faith in leaders promising to solve all the problems only to have those hopes dashed.

We are dumping Trump. We will replace Johnson, Bolsonaro, Erdogan and Modi with sane leaders.

Or will we?

Will we fall for the rhetoric of the narcissists and psychopaths, bewitched by their promises, beguiled by propaganda?

Will hope become another layer in the fossilised remains?

Poetry – The Hope Machine

The Hope Machine

I’ve got this little hope machine I always carry around.

When I want some hope I lay it on the ground.

It conjures up the hopes and dreams of the whole wide world

Of every man and woman and every tree unfelled.

The hope machine is built of dreams

Of how the world might seem

For every man, woman and child

And everything that’s wild.

If only our politicians could access my machine

They’d create a world not half so mean

A world in which all had a place

And no web is left unlaced.

So share with me my hope machine

Together we could love and dream

And put the world to right

Our hopes would set the universe alight.

Opher – 21.5.2020

It is not difficult to devise a fairer system, one of greater equality that rewards hard effort.

It is not difficult to find a way of living in harmony with nature so that we live sustainably and are not pillaging the planet.

It is not difficult to banish poverty, war and disease.

It is just that those in charge have vested interests in maintaining a system that grossly favours them.

But I still have hopes.

Schizoid – A Sci-fi novel – Utopia, hope, capitalism and war.

This is the sequel but it stands alone.

Schizoid

 Opher April 22, 2020

The sequel to Quantum Fever.

Three hundred years have passed.

The aliens are ruining the planet Terra and are on the brink of war.

Children of the Primitives on planet Hope are rebelling …

President Woud of The System is angered.

The Consortium is stirring up trouble………

Extract

Prologue

In many ways, the Chromus solar system was a bold experiment. Nowhere else did such a thing exist. The three habitable planets in the Chromus system were all vastly different. Throughout the rest of the Galactic System – all one thousand five hundred and eighty-seven inhabited planets – every other planet was identical.

You could say that this displayed a lack of drive or imagination and you would largely be right. Culture, science and technology within the system had been stagnant for thousands of years. Where was the need to develop? They had found a formula that worked and were content to pursue it. They were not a progressive people. Dynamism had been sacrificed on the altar of population control.

But in the Chromus solar system the pattern had been disrupted. There was no uniformity whatsoever. Only Nubilum conformed to the System’s model. This was a standard tiered world with layers of doms housing over two trillion people. It had its beltways, jumptubes and infrastructure built on the standard pattern. You could easily have swapped Nubilum for any other planet in the System and nobody would have noticed.

Terra, on the other hand, was completely different. The planet had been given over to the aliens – that extinct race of intelligent beings that had been discovered as petrified relics on that very planet. Both they and the flora and fauna of their world had been reconstituted from the DNA in their fossil remains. The planet had been reinvented as it was back in the days when the aliens had first evolved. The reconstructed aliens had been given a level of technology on a par with their earliest civilised development and released into their natural surrounds – just a few hundred thousand of them.

In the past their race, through their own stupidity, had destroyed themselves along with their planet. Now they had been given a second chance.

Staggeringly, within a mere three hundred years that three hundred thousand had increased in numbers to total in excess of four billion. They had developed their science and technology to the point where they had mastered the internal combustion engine, flight, energy production as well as producing a huge variety of machines and instruments. It was true that a lot of this progress was stimulated by, and related to, military one-upmanship, as they strove to outdo each other in warfare, in domination and control, but none-the-less it was impressive.

The scientists, who were studying the development of these aliens, were convinced that they were on the cusp of major strides forward in both science and technology. Within a short while they would go from primitive flight to space travel and beyond, from simple electricity to fission, from simple machines to highly sophisticated electronics and computing. Their rate of progress was staggering. Unfortunately, their social progress was not of the same spectacular order. They remained superstitious, tribal and competitive, with a lack of respect for life and a propensity towards violence and cruelty. It remained to be seen whether they would continue to use their development in a belligerent manner or whether they would learn to temper their aggressive natures.

For now, they were a great and growing concern.

The third planet, Hope, had been recreated for a group of dissidents from the System. They had rebelled against the social control and uniformity of the System, with its drugs and immersive tridee, and had wanted to live in a more natural lifestyle. After much upheaval with the Consortium, a group of elitist capitalist profiteers, the planet now called Hope had been given to them. The ancient flora and fauna of Haven, the initial home planet of the System, had been reconstituted. The dissidents, known colloquially as ‘Primitives’, lived a more natural life, harmoniously with nature. Their population on the planet, through the constitution set up by its founder, Hari Tarn, in order to retain its harmony with nature, was limited to a mere three billion.

So, the three planets existed alongside each other and their effect on each other was the focus of conjecture.

The scientists and psychologists were fascinated by this arrangement. The permutations were enormous. Three totally dissimilar planets to study. Three cultures to observe. They could not wait to see how they might interact with one another.

What would be the effect on the alien psychology to discover there was a superior, intelligent form of life inhabiting their own solar system? How would that impact on their development? Would it make them more or less aggressive? Would it undermine their drive? Or would it drive them forward into a competitive mode?

Likewise, what would be the impact of the presence of such a dynamic alien race on the System’s culture? Would it act as a spur and introduce more dynamism into the System’s moribund culture? Or would it create a negative reaction?

Then there were the ‘Primitives’ to consider. Would their natural way of living have a psychological impact on the rest of the system? Or would they gradually be subsumed back into the mainstream culture?

Never before had such an interesting dynamic arisen. The scientists themselves were invigorated by the arrangement.

For the politicians it was another matter altogether. These two maverick planets had a destabilising effect. Politicians preferred everything nice and orderly. Uniformity was excellent. Variety was problematic.

They viewed the alien culture with suspicion and fear. These aliens were so very different. They were lively, individualistic and highly aggressive. The politicians were sceptical, they could foresee problems ahead.

This dynamism and individuality did not fit easy with the way of the System. President Woud Nussio liked the population she was in charge of quiescent and contented.

It was all very simple right now. The aliens were contained on their planet with no means of interacting with the System. They only possessed rudimentary technology. But their rate of progress was alarming. Within mere decades, if the computer modelling was to be believed, they could be developing nuclear power, space travel and hugely destructive weapons that could certainly threaten the other two planets in their solar system. Would the System have to start developing protection against threats from Terra? From missiles and nuclear devices? The thought was horrifying. They had never had to develop weapons or defences throughout the entirety of their civilised existence. The idea of having to do that now was alarming.

The question being posed was – would it not be better to nip this little experiment in the bud? Terminate the project before it was allowed to become too advanced? Or at least to step in now and control the aliens before they became a threat? A number of the elite thought so.

Then there was Hope. It had proved quite useful in its inception – a dumping ground for all the troublesome ‘Primitives’ who were causing so many problems at the time. But then it had ceased to be of much use. The limit of a population of three billion meant that the System could not really deposit its problems there. The number of dissidents it bred far exceeded the number it could ship To Hope. The situation was most unhelpful. Indeed, there was much evidence that the very presence of such a place in their midst was acting as a stimulus to further disaffect. Hope was actively breeding disaffection. Far from being a solution it had become an instigator of trouble.

If President Woud Nussio had her way she would conclude both experiments. She would rest happier with a uniform System. Life would be so much easier.

She liked the easy life.

For now, she was merely pressing for a few million more dissidents to be sent to Hope. It would alleviate her problem and maybe lead to the planet being properly developed, like everywhere else.

Chapter 1

Else Tarn had left home, run away to Liberty.

-*-

The newly risen sun streamed through the Plexiglas of the front of the dom waking Erghat Tarn. ‘The polluxing Grand Council Meeting’, the first thought that came into his head, ‘polloxing Else’, the second. He silently cursed as he flexed the knotted muscles of his bronzed torso, rolling his shoulders and tilting his head. He sighed, catching a glimpse of his reflection in the mirroglaz and grimaced. Still with the boyish features but not so young looking these days. His curls and beard now tinged with grey and his face heavily lined. Tres told him that it made him look distinguished. Erghat was not so sure. Nothing felt right these days. He did not like what he saw one bit.

He frowned and turned away. He knew he looked weary. There were dark bags under his eyes. Once again, he had hardly slept. As usual he had woken with his stomach churning and his mind in turmoil. For the thousandth time he cursed his distant ancestor Hari Tarn, the man who had not only designed this dom so that the sun ensured nobody slept in late, but also implemented the system of government that was now making his life so miserable.

The dom was large, consisting of an interconnecting series of geodesic domes, all ultratransparent, so that the greenery, with its multitude of creatures all around, some vines actually festooned across it, left one with the impression of not just being in the midst of nature, but actually in it and part of it. By System standards it was palatial. A hundred System doms could fit in this place, though, at this moment, Erghat might well have swapped the airy spaciousness and scent of wild flowers and foliage for the dark, cramped staleness of a standard System dom with its artificial air and synthetic food, if it allowed him a bit more sleep and a few less worries.

Erghat put aside his fear of the Grand Council, and their desire to take over Hope, and then managed to push his daughter Else out of his mind. He started to worry about the business of today’s meeting. The usual nerves started to jangle.

It did not help to know that as soon as he took his place in the chamber, and the business was underway, the nerves would dissipate and he would feel totally in control. Erghat Tarn was a born worrier. He knew that he actually did a good job, but that did not help either. There were so many grey areas, so many things that could go wrong, so many of his decisions that could adversely affect people. What if he was wrong? What if he made a wrong decision?

The business of governing was ageing him prematurely.

Then, what of Else? He could not prevent his mind from straying back to her.

He sighed again, and cursed her again. Else was not his favourite person at this moment in time.

Scowling, he tried to kick his metabolism into gear and clear the mussiness from his mind. Time was pressing. He had to be in for the council meeting.

Looking across at the angelic, unlined face of his partner he envied Tres her stress-free life. If only he had the day to himself. He could have been outside composing and playing music, or even join Tres for the day painting. He could be care-free. His life could be so very different.

Once again, as he lay on his back, he found his mind straying onto Else and what to do about the Else crisis. There was no easy answer. The problem with Else was eating away at both of them. It had to be solved. He knew things would not get back to normal until Else was back home. Since Else had gone, nothing was right.

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Poetry – A New Layer of Hope

A New Layer of Hope

Layers of hope

Built on sands of time,

Dripping into eternity.

Layers of hope

Buried beneath lies,

Rotting into oblivion.

Layers of hope

Vitrified into rock,

Locked into history.

Layers of hope

Through generations,

Fading into obscurity.

Now there’s a new layer!

Exposed to the air,

Breathing,

Gleaming in the dark.

A beacon,

An opportunity,

A new chance.

Will it just become

Another layer

Among the many

Optimistic strata

Of human endeavour?

Opher – 9.6.2020

How many times have we put our faith in leaders promising to solve all the problems only to have those hopes dashed.

We are dumping Trump. We will replace Johnson, Bolsonaro, Erdogan and Modi with sane leaders.

Or will we?

Will we fall for the rhetoric of the narcissists and psychopaths, bewitched by their promises, beguiled by propaganda?

Will hope become another layer in the fossilised remains?

Poetry – War

War.

Down the ages,

                Every race,

                                Every nation,

                                                Every tribe,

Has fought,

                Waged war,

                                And died.

History littered

                With forts,

                                Castles

                                                And citadels.

Graveyards

                Crammed

                                With crosses

                                                And tombs.

Nations bled dry

                By cost

                                Loss

                                                And defence.

Cities burnt,

                Pillaged,

                                Flattened

                                                And destroyed.

People tortured,

                Maimed,

                                Starved

                                                And traumatised.

Madness from a genetic flaw.

Opher 22.1.2022

There is no hope for us as a species. We are all imbued with this lust for violence, this yearning for power and greed for more.

Instead of love we are ensnared in hate, petty tribalism and a sense of superiority. We have to impose our views on others.

There is no hope.

Poetry – My Culture – a poem about the struggle for freedom and equality.

Poetry – My Culture – a poem about the struggle for freedom and equality.

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My Culture

The society we live in did not come about by chance; it was fought for every inch of the way by people with vision and aspiration. The peasants and serfs were kept in poverty but they were not stupid. The robber barons stole the land from under their feet and they were powerless. The wealthy businessmen stole their products through guile. The State enacted laws to protect the establishment and keep the poor in their place.

With the coming of the industrial revolution ordinary people were kept down. They were paid a pittance in order to keep the profits high. The bosses creamed off huge wealth while the workers slaved. The owners and aristocrats lived in mansions and palaces with servants while the producers of the wealth lived in poverty and working conditions that were scandalous.

Gradually the ordinary people fought for representation, fair reward for labour given and justice. Ever so gradually the work conditions improved and the wages rose. Each step on the way was met with bleating and violence. The establishment was loath to give up its luxury; they feared the result of suffrage for ordinary people. They believed we might change the laws to create fairness.

They give us as little as they think they can buy us off with. Only through the unions was a living wage grudgingly conceded. Their fear is revolution.

This society we live in is the result of struggle. The freedoms we have are tenuous. The establishment claw back all they can. The wealth still sticks with the elite. The trickle down is as meagre as required to keep us docile. Zero hours contracts, austerity, unemployment and pay freezes are deployed while the rich get richer. We are all in it together is a lie. Information is biased and distorted – the Daily Mail and the rest of the press, even the BBC are all part of an establishment. He who tells the story controls the minds. The media moguls have a vested interest.

Democracy is a fragile thing and bought with blood – lots of blood.


My Culture

This is my culture – the wisdom of my ways.

Suppression and oppression – the order of past days.

Freed into the sunlight – on a democratic wave.

Released from penury – and the status of a slave.

The blood of my forebears sinks heavy in this soil

They paid dear for a share of the profits from their toil.

They fought for their rights and freedoms against a selfish few

Who garnered all the wealth away and propped up many a pew.

This is my culture – the result of battles fought.

Standing up for rights – against a great onslaught.

Liberty and equality – to stand tall and not in fear.

Freedom from King and God – is a right that we hold dear.

From the wealthy, the bishops and the kings

We wrested back our freedoms, among a host of things.

They grudgingly relented to give the very least

And we seized the goods on offer from the Baron and the Priest.

This is now my culture – value it we must!

If once our eyes do stray away – they’ll fling it in the dust.

Rights and freedoms – are febrile in the light.

They’ll rip them away – they have the power and the might.

I give thanks to the Levellers, the Chartists and rebels all,

Without all their struggles we would not have a life at all.

The suffragettes and Wilberforce struck blows for equality.

They chipped away at oppression and left us democracy.

This is that culture – worthy of a fight!

Free of church and monarchy – valiant and bright!

A culture to be proud of in which I take delight.

Proud to be an Englishman and put the world to right!

Not as an exploiter, a victor or an owner with his fee

But as a friend, a fellow traveller, a champion of the free.

Together we could stand to create justice without tyranny

Take the best from all our cultures and live in harmony.

I offer the hand of friendship

But keep a wary eye.

Freedom is a very rare thing,

But seize it we must try!

Opher 18.8.2015

Poetry – I’ve been waiting

I’ve been waiting

I’ve been waiting for a feeling

That’s as warm as any sun.

I’ve been searching for a meaning

That explains the holes inside.

Because I want to feel satisfied.

I’ve been seeking out a love

I could dive into and dissolve.

I’ve been wanting a truth

I would like to hold inside

It’s a hunger that cannot be denied.

Opher – 8.12.2019

It seems to me that life is a quest in which we seek love, knowledge and wonder on a journey to fulfilment.

I am excited by the search for answers and understanding. I am moved by spiritual connections to nature, sunsets and rainbows. I am seeking love and friendship

Maybe there will come a day when I feel replete.

Maybe.

Poetry – Choices

Choices

We stand at the apex of choice.

The road ahead forks.

The main track is clear,

More of the same,

As the trees dwindle

And the bird song dies

It becomes quiet.

To the side

There is a route that is verdant;

Alive with wings and rustles.

We have a choice.

Each decision has a cost.

Opher – 24.7.2019

We are trundling along on a juggernaut whose maw is gobbling up all before it and churning out plastic goods in its wake.

There is a decision to be made.