Poetry – Meaning

Meaning

 

Forged in the centre of a star

Where atoms are stripped

And split,

The molecules of my mind were created.

 

As it spewed its substance forth

In a supernova blast,

Condensing,

The nascent energy permeated.

 

Into matter, carbon and DNA

In wondrous meaning

Evolving,

As if all life was fated.

 

The unique fire was lit,

A spark of consciousness,

Of life,

A spark that cannot be equated.

 

For without that spark

The whole infinite universe

Is meaningless

In darkness unalleviated.

 

Opher – 19.12.2019

 

 

I find it hard to imagine and a joy to wonder at, that all the matter and energy in the universe blasted into existence in the instant of the Big Bang. That naked, basic matter, condensed in stars, nuclear dynamos of heat and pressure, in which the more complex elements were created.

So all the atoms of my planet and my body emanated from the inferno of a star.

Those suns spawned matter and give light and warmth to nourish life. They are truly the gods of the heavens. No wonder primitive people worshiped them.

But it is us that give this incredible spectacle meaning.

Doc Brad’s Weekend Breaks – a short story

Doc Brad’s Weekend Breaks

Adj and Meena Mur were completely invisible, as were all their companions. That was the delight. They were voyeurs. Nobody knew they were there so they were able to see everything – and I do mean everything. Doc had a liking for the lurid.

Adj was an avid fan of Doc Brad and his Magical Mystery Tours. He loved them, went on at least twenty a year and had been doing so for five hundred years, ever since he had retired. It made for such a fun weekend. You never knew where you would end up.

Doc Brad had a reputation as a bit of a skinflint and shyster. Well, maybe. You certainly could not describe the trips as upmarket. The old rust buckets they used were always breaking down. But that was all part of the fun. Adj did not care. It was great value for money and he, his wife and chums always had a good laugh. They took plenty of narcojuice along and Brad always took them somewhere different and interesting, off the beaten track where nobody had ever gone before. They had managed to see parts of the universe others did not even know existed. They were not always salubrious but were usually strangely fascinating. That was part of the fun – not knowing. Anything could happen.

‘Gosh, it really stinks here,’ Meena snorted, scrunching up her nose, but still eagerly peering out of the viewport as they endeavoured to ascertain where they were. ‘It’s making my nose tingle.’ She coughed twice. ‘Strewth, it’s already getting to my chest.’

‘Never seen anything like this before,’ Adj exclaimed, noting the grubby streets teeming with strange aliens all bustling about among the noisy traffic and fumes.

‘There’s millions of them,’ Meena said, studying the funny looking bipeds. ‘Look, that one’s got a little creature with it.’

Doc set them down in a convenient square where they could watch the aliens up close and stare around at the tall buildings and weird vehicles. Adj looked at the sorry looking vegetation, droopy flowers in rows, and straggly trees caked in soot.

Bull cracked open a few narcos and they settled down to start the weekend with some heavy drinking, while Gan and Drew set up the gandit board.

But Adj could not settle. All the while he kept peering around at the peculiar looking aliens in their funny clothes. Something was nagging at him.

After a while Doc took them up and they had a zoom round, settling themselves for a while in a range of other places to soak up the sights all over the planet. It was different everywhere they went, colours, clothes and sounds, the shape of the buildings, but some things did not change – the grubby streets, milling crowds, busy traffic and fumes.

Adj watched out the viewport at the odd bird flitting between the shrubs. He watched a furry creature peering out through a window.

There were roars of laughter as the Gandit game reached a climax and many more narcos were downed. Meena had lost interest in what was outside but Adj could not settle. Something was eating away at him.

As they flew up through the sky he looked down at the highways with their snaking vehicles, the patchwork fields, and hazy air.

What was this place? Something kept bugging him.

At the end of the second day, having toured through many sprawling cities and much fenced land of uniform crops, Doc made his announcement.

‘Ladies and Gentlemen, this concludes our tour. I hope you enjoyed your visit to Terra!’

A whoop of cheers went up from the inebriated trippers.

Adj sat back pensive, looking quizzically at the scene outside. Terra. The name was familiar. Then it came to him. This was Terra. Back at the beginning, hundreds of years ago, on one of their first trips, he had visited here with Meena.

‘Meena,’ he said, tapping her on the shoulder, ‘we’ve been here before.’

Meena gave him an enquiring look. ‘Are you sure?’ she asked disbelievingly, glancing out the viewport at the scruffy city outside. ‘I don’t remember seeing anything like this.’

‘Yes,’ Adj insisted, ‘about five hundred years ago. We came here. It was magical.’

Meena studied the scene outside and shook her head. ‘I don’t remember anything like this.’ She sneezed. ‘I certainly wouldn’t call it magical – grimy and dirty maybe. Not one of Doc’s best choices.’ She coughed again and blew her nose. ‘I certainly wouldn’t want to come back here.’

Adj did not reply, he was sadly thinking back to his memories of that previous trip. There had not been big cities or vehicles back then, just forests and plains all teeming with life. Was it just nostalgia?

(793 words)

Anecdote – My Dad and a mug

Anecdote – My Dad and a mug

My Dad and a mug
My old man worked up in Fleet Street. He ran a news reporters office. They all called him Ron. He demanded high standards and made sure he worked harder and longer than anyone else.
Every day he was up at half past six. He smoked a roll up and drink a cup of tea before sorting his breakfast. He’d catch the seven thirty to Waterloo and be in the office by nine. He finished at five thirty and was home at six thirty. Mum would have his tea on the table. He’d eat an then sit on the soafa reading all the newspapers, (he had every single national paper), checking out the stories, places and names, and watch a bit of telly. He’d either smoke his pipe or roll-ups. At ten he would make a milky drink and go to bed.
I used to think the Kinks – Well Respected Man – had some resonance with his life. It was regulated. There did not seem room for anything else. He worked Saturday and Sunday followed a pattern. He’d mow the grass, carve the joint and occasionally go down the pub for a pint on the green.
I think he found his work satisfying, maybe fulfilling, but to me it looked drab. I despised the predictability and the way it demanded all of him. My mum resented it too. She did not like the way he put his entire being into it. She said he never turned off. I wanted something more out of life. Work was not going to steal my spirit.
When I was seven or eight he took me up to work with him. We went up on the train. I enjoyed the bustle of it. It was exciting to go into his office. I remember him walking into the place with confidence and purpose. He was the boss. As he walked through the door the teaboy handed him a mug of tea – milk and two sugars – he did not even break stride. It was as if he had been waiting. He probably had. Dad was like clockwork. I was super impressed.
Dad took me to his office. We sat with mugs of tea while dad checked all the raw reports sitting in his in-tray. He corrected grammar and spelling and sent it off to the editorial office or filed it elsewhere.
I watched the office. I was intrigued. Dad had thirty people working for him on telephones plus a bunch of ancillary staff such as the teaboy and clerical staff. All of the telephone reported sat in little carels with headphones on and a Remington typewriter. Reporters at the scene would phone in their raw reports. The telephone reporter typed it up. They had to type at the speed the news reporter spoke – and sometimes they spoke fast. The task of a telephone reporter was to type fast enough to get it down and to ensure grammar, spelling and punctuation was correct. That was quite an ask.
I sat and watched, mesmerised, by it all. All around there were typewriters rattling away, mugs of tea being delivered and drunk, fags smoked and ashtrays filling to overflowing. There was a blue haze in the room. My dad sat in his office as report after report rolled in. He scrutinised, corrected and sent them on their way. Phones were continually ringing, people rushing about and a general buzz of excitement.
This was where the news happened. It was intense. You could taste the adrenaline.
Dad’s role was crucial. He hired and fired and ran the office. He sorted and made decisions about what to pass on and where it went. He corrected the script. There were deadlines and sometimes great spurts of activity so that he was inundated. Then it might ease off for a while.
Dad had a good team. He only employed the best. He told me his system. He always met with the person applying then he gave them a test that probed their weaknesses. It was a speed typing test with punctuation and spelling. He told me he had two tests – extremely hard and impossible. If he liked the applicant he gave them the extremely hard one. If they passed he hired them. If he did not like them he gave them the impossible one.
I enjoyed my day at his office. I was pampered by the clerical staff and the reporters. I could see that they liked and respected dad. I could also see that the adrenaline and frenetic nature of the job was addictive. There was a camaraderie and professionalism. It was hard, intense and required skills and concentration.
But what impressed me most was the way that mug of tea had been placed in his hand as he walked in. That spoke reams.

The Enlightenment – An overview

The Enlightenment – An overview

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The Enlightenment came about in the 18th century and freed Western civilisation from the stranglehold of religious fundamentalism. It enabled all the progress we now take for granted.

Prior to this time there was a type of extreme fundamentalism that was akin to ISIS. It was illegal to oppose Christian religious belief. Europe was a theocracy. The word of god was the only rule. Heretics, or those the Church/establishment deemed to be heretic could be tortured to death to save their souls. All methods of torture were devised and deployed including the most barbaric that can be imagined.

To even publish the Bible in English was an offence punishable by death. The Church wanted the power and that resided with the clergy. It was not right for ordinary people to have access to the teachings; they could misinterpret the meaning.

It was a regular event to have blasphemers, witches and heretics publicly burnt to death. Science and rationalism were not permitted.

What is obvious is that all this was much more to do with power than religion.

In the 1620s there was a scientific revolution which brought about a wave of rationalism and doubt. The theological certainties of flat earth, earth at the centre of creation and even man in god’s image were brought into question.

In the 18th Century philosophers such as Kant developed the philosophy of rationalism. This grew among the intellectual classes and led to a movement to create a society based on reason. This led to the separation of religion from politics and the formation of a secular culture.

Secular politics was based on tolerance and reason.

The philosopher Locke the radical idea that government should be through the consent of the people and not the imposition of religious dogma.

This led to a flourishing of the Arts and Science which created the greatest impetus of social development in the history of the world. The West flourished.

The enlightenment led to the ethos of the French Revolution – Equality, Liberty and Fraternity.

It separated the state from religion.

It led to the American revolution and the enshrined doctrine of freedom, religious freedom and individuality.

It has enabled the West to create democracy, pluralism, tolerance, freedom, science, liberalisation, the arts and a diverse and vital culture.

If we had not had an enlightenment and reformation we would still be in medieval costume burning Catholics, Muslims and anyone who was different in our public squares.

Long Live the Enlightenment! Something worth fighting for!

Poetry – What we stand for – I can’t hear you!

Poetry – What we stand for – I can’t hear you!

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What we stand for

The freedoms we have, the standards we enjoy, have been well fought for with blood, thought and bravery. Nothing is given lightly and the freedoms and standard are rapidly eroded.

We are paid with sops while the top table dine on swallows’ eggs.

The inequality that runs the world is creating poverty, war and disease. It is time we stopped electing psychopaths and began to look at a fairer way of running things.

This inequality breeds fundamental madness.

In order to look into the future it is best to have a firm knowledge of the past.

Britain has achieved much but there is still much worth fighting for. The world is in a mess.

The planet is being trashed. Wild-life is being decimated. There is mass migration due to fascism, fundamentalism, climate change, overpopulation and war.

Who’s shouting?

I can’t hear you?

 

What we stood for

 

There is resilience.

There is determination.

There is skill.

There’s a sense of justice.

Tolerance

And ‘trouble at mill’.

 

Industrial revolution,

The enlightenment,

And Trade Unions too;

Scientific discovery,

Evolutionary theory,

And a benevolence or two.

 

Individuality

With revolutionary style,

Education for the masses

And going the extra mile.

Fighting for a worker’s rights

With intelligence and guile.

Forcing through new laws

To create fairness in the trial.

 

So much we owe

To so many in the past.

Still more to do

To make their efforts last.

 

Opher 11.12.2015

Anthropocene Apocalypse – Imagine a world without Chimpanzees, Elephants, Gorillas, Rhinos, Orang-utans, Hippos, Tigers and thousands more. That’s what we are heading towards.

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All over the world the population of humans is soaring, the habitats are being polluted or destroyed, jungles being cleared, strip mining, logging and farming are taking their toll, and the animals are being slaughtered for meat or superstitious medicine.

We seem to be sleep-walking towards a concrete jungle.

The seas and rivers are overfished, the natural world is built over.

It’s time to make clear lines of demarcation – 50% for us and 50% for the rest of the animal life.

It is almost too late.

Consciousness – a poem

Consciousness 

Firing electricity through
Throbbing pink jelly
To create
A version of reality.

Altering perception
Flooding with chemistry
Making
A new world to see.

An unreal world
Not the real deal
Just Biology
Pretending to be real.

Opher 22.6.2019

I’m always fascinated by our consciousness. We really believe we see and feel the universe as it is – which, of course, is a joke. All our consciousness is, is a product of chemistry and electricity.
If we stimulated our sensory nerves the brain would perceive things that did not exist. It makes things up anyway. What we see is not what it is.
Flood your brain with chemicals and reality changes.
Our conscious is a construct. It is not real.

Time we cared – a poem

Time we cared

 

Ice is melting – water rising

Up to their knees

And still denying.

 

Bird croaks it’s last fanfare

Frog’s last gasp

Of heated air.

 

We carry on without a care.

 

Heat increases – animals frying

Floods and droughts –

Not surprising.

 

Still they believe scientists are lying.

 

Concrete and plastic – land and sea

I’m alright Jack

Don’t worry about me!

 

Trophy hunting – forest clearing

Sounds to me

That no-ones hearing!

 

At least that’s what I’m a fearin’.

 

Making room for bird and tree

Before they pass

Into history.

 

Buried under life’s debris.

 

But it’s always the cash that counts

Stashed away

In large amounts.

 

Whatever they do it’s the cash

As long as they’ve got

Their share of the stash.

 

I think we’re heading for one ginormous crash.

 

Opher – 22.18.2019

 

 

I wrote this for the politically motivated climate change deniers! May they wake up soon!

Guanatanamo Bay – an offence to civilised behaviour.

Guantanamo Bay is a complete flouting of international war. It should be vilified by all civilised people. The fact that it exists at all is an illustration of what I believe is wrong with the USA.

Following Al Qaeda attack of 9/11 there was what was called ‘A War Against Terror’. Despite the fact that the 9/11 was carried out mainly by Saudi Arabians (an ally) with no Iraqis involved, it was decided to invade Iraq – and then Afghanistan (which at least did have some connection with the planning – although some planning was carried out in Germany and they weren’t bombed).

The turmoil in the Middle East resulted in the rise of various militant Islamic groups such as ISIS.

A lot of ISIS soldiers and other terrorist suspects were rounded up.

There was a new term in use – unlawful combatant.

Despite the fact that these people (Taliban and ISIS and Al Qaeda) were largely fighting in their own lands they were rounded up and designated ‘unlawful combatants’.

Nobody knew what to do with them. There were no ways of processing them. If released they might go back to fighting.

So they weren’t awarded prisoner of war status. They were not held on US territory. They were shipped to Guantanamo Bay where they could be held indefinitely in subhuman cages. They were not given a trial or any due process and were tortured.

This basically means that anybody could be rounded up, locked up and tortured at will. All human rights were denied.

Now, I know many will shout – ‘Good riddance’ ‘They deserve it!’ ‘They are a bunch of terrorists’.

Well I contend that if they are terrorists they should be tried in a court and punished accordingly. If they are soldiers they should be afforded prisoner of war status. And if they are innocent they should be set free.

Guantanamo seems to me to be a brutal, uncivilised way to treat human beings. If we are setting an example to the rest of the world I don’t think this is the way to do it.

Guantanamo is an outrage!

Neil Young – Seed Justice

I won’t quit either! Big corporations destroying land for greed. Big logging companies destroying habitat and killing animals. Big corporations selling modified seed, seed that does not produce viable seed, to farmers so they have to keep buying it. Big corporations greed destroying nature for profit!

Justice for all living creatures!!

I won’t quit!!

Show me the love
I won’t quit
I won’t quit
I won’t quit
I won’t quit
I won’t quit
Fighting for the farmer in the land
In the good old ways that were here
Since time began
Slapping and clapping at the corporations greedy hands
For trying to steal the farm credo
Turning soil into sand
I won’t quit
I won’t quit
Bring back seed justice to the land
Bring back seed justice to the land
Show me the love
Show me the love
Show me the love
Show me the love
In the way we treat the earth
And in all living things
Do we know what they are worth?
Show me the love
We keep poor creatures down
To stand in their own sh*t
Then we blindly go on
And kill it, to eat it
Show me the love
Show me the love
Show me the love
Show me the love
Show me the love
Show me the love
Show me the love
Show me the love
I won’t quit
I won’t quit
I won’t quit
I won’t quit
I won’t quit
Bring back seed justice to the land
Bring back seed justice to the land
I won’t quit
I won’t quit