Poetry – Greed – The killer – a poem for the death of profit

Poetry – Greed – The killer – a poem for the death of profit


This modern world is not a pleasant place to have sweet thoughts – not while there are people around.

Everything is an opportunity for profit.

There are 8 billion people to exploit.

They would (and are) selling the planet.

To distract us from this game, they use religion, TV, sport and alcohol.

Greed, escalation, progress and profit. It is killing us. It is killing everything.

Greed is the killer.



Greed is the killer –

Divvying it up

For profit.


Religion the sop –

Faces in the shit

For prophet.


Sport the distraction –

Trying it on

For pro-fit.


Nature the loser –

No longer



Opher 18.9.2016

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Poetry – This is a Hit Song – A poem about the lowest common denominator

Poetry – This is a Hit Song – A poem about the lowest common denominator


This is a hit song


I am always amazed by the tendency of human beings to shut themselves off from reality and live in a nice little bubble. They fill the bubble with froth in a shallow, unchallenging mindlessness. They do not want to involve themselves with the real issues. They would rather live in a world of gossip and celebrity.

Pop music is created for the mass market. It takes care to not make any waves. It is sanitised and vacuous.

If you want to sell lots of ‘unit’ you take care not to upset anyone.

It’s a background nothing. It is pointless consumerism.

I want something that involves my brain and feelings.

Pop music doesn’t have to be drivel. It can be art. It can have substance.


This is a hit song


This is a hit song –

Two and a half minutes long;

Radio friendly,

Nothing contentious ,

Totally trendy.


This is a hit song

Won’t offend anyone;

Says nothing,

In a sharp way,

On nothing.


This is a hit song;

Set for I-tunes.

Sweet melody

To tweek the ears

So easily.


Racing up the charts

Straight to number one

Charging into I-pods

Selling a million and one.


This is a hit song.


Opher 15.3.2016

Leon Rosselson – Palaces of Gold – Meaningful lyrics.

Leon Rosselson – Palaces of Gold – Meaningful lyrics.


I love Leon Rosselson. I think he is one of Britain’s greatest song writers, perceptive, astute and intelligent.
In this age where the Tories are intent on bringing their dogma to bear and using austerity as an excuse to slash public services (While giving tax hand-outs to the rich) we desperately need people like Leon to point out the inequality and what it means.
Leon and I stand for fairness.
I saw what the Tory cuts did to education first hand as both a teacher and Headteacher.
They are heartless and uncaring when it comes to ordinary people. As far as they are concerned the money could be better spent on larger profits for business.
Their own sons and daughters have the privilege of Public schools, private health-care and gated communities. They have no need for the public services and despise the majority who do. They resent every penny spent on them. If they had to use the same public services the rest of us do there would be a miraculous improvement.
Leon says it better in his song.

Palaces of Gold

If the sons of company directors,
And judges’ private daughters,
Had to got to school in a slum school,
Dumped by some joker in a damp back alley,
Had to herd into classrooms cramped with worry,
With a view onto slagheaps and stagnant pools,
Had to file through corridors grey with age,
And play in a crackpot concrete cage.
Chorus (after each verse):Buttons would be pressed,
Rules would be broken.
Strings would be pulled
And magic words spoken.
Invisible fingers would mould
Palaces of gold.
If prime ministers and advertising executives,
Royal personages and bank managers’ wives
Had to live out their lives in dank rooms,
Blinded by smoke and the foul air of sewers.
Rot on the walls and rats in the cellars,
In rows of dumb houses like mouldering tombs.
Had to bring up their children and watch them grow
In a wasteland of dead streets where nothing will grow.

I’m not suggesting any kind of a plot,
Everyone knows there’s not,
But you unborn millions might like to be warned
That if you don’t want to be buried alive by slagheaps,
Pit-falls and damp walls and rat-traps and dead streets,
Arrange to be democratically born
The son of a company director
Or a judge’s fine and private daughter.

American Irrationalism and Trump

American Irrationalism

I find it quite scary what these rich people get away with. They pay less tax than me and I’m a pensioner!
To deny what is happening to the environment is not just madness it is unforgiveable. That, if nothing else, makes Trump unelectable.

Stop Making Sense

Chris Hedges writes for Truthdig:

There is no shortage of signs of impending environmental catastrophe, including the melting of the polar ice caps and the rise of atmospheric carbon to above 400 parts per million. The earth’s sixth mass extinction is underway. It is not taking place because of planetary forces. Homo sapiens is orchestrating it. Americans are at the same time bankrupting themselves by waging endless and unwinnable wars. We have allowed our elites to push more than half the U.S. population into poverty through deindustrialization. We do nothing to halt the waves of nihilistic violence by enraged citizens who carry out periodic mass shootings in schools, malls, movie theaters and other public places. The political and financial elites flaunt their greed and corruption. Donald Trump appears to pay no federal income taxes. Hillary and Bill Clinton use their foundation as a tool for legalized bribery. Our largest…

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Tribute to Rock Genius – Linton Kwesi Johnson

Tribute to Rock Genius – Linton Kwesi Johnson

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Linton Kwesi Johnson

Looking more like an Oxford Don than a fiery Reggae Poet Linton Kwesi is none the less a mean dub poet with strong political overtones and an unflinching honesty, integrity and willingness to tell it how it is. He hails from Brixton via Jamaica and took up the cause of the Blacks during the turbulent times of the late seventies and eighties when the National Front took racism on the streets, the police harassed and added to the problem; the result was riots and murder. Where-ever there was injustice, prejudice or conflict Linton was there to chronicle it, put it in verse in Jamaican patois and reveal the cause and effect. It was like having a Black Woody Guthrie with a reggae vibe.

He teamed up with the Reggae producer and musician Dennis Bovell to put his vitriolic couplets to a reggae beat.

Dread Beat and Blood saw Linton fixing on the Brixton discrimination and oppression that led to the Brixton riots. It was very prophetic.  The chilling ‘All Wi Doin is Defendin’, ‘Dread, Beat and Blood’ and ‘Five Nights of Bleeding’ were followed by the even better defiant ‘Forces of Victory’ with its brilliant ‘Sonny’s Lettah (Anti-Sus Poem)’, ‘Fite Dem Back’ and ‘Time Come’. The Bass Culture album was more of the same with ‘Reggae fi Peach’ and ‘Iglan is a Bitch’.

I saw Linton in Hull reading his poetry, standing there in his three-piece suit and spectacles like the University Professor he is. The poetry burned holes in your brain.

We need more like Linton. We need more of that stuff from Linton. Linton where are you? Where is that rich voice of yours?  Where are those words that send the blood coursing through parts of the body usually dry? It’s not just Blacks who feel injustice; we can all feed off your words.

If you are liking my tributes you might like my book. You will find numerous brilliant artists you may never have heard of plus all the familiar ones. Why not find out what I’ve got to say about them?

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John Cooper Clarke – Twat – an hilarious poem put to music.

John Cooper Clarke – Twat – an hilarious poem put to music.

John Cooper Clarke is hilarious. He’s more of a stand up comic than a poet – though his words are special.

This poem is probably the funniest thing I’ve ever heard put to music. His delivery is perfect.

Johnny started up at the same time as Punk and his sensibilities fitted straight in. His repartee is infamous – put down to a heckler – ‘Sorry mate, I can’t hear what you’re saying – Your mouth’s too full of shit.’

I can think of a few people I’d like to play this to.


    • Like a Night Club in the morning, you’re the bitter end.


    • Like a recently disinfected shit-house, you’re clean round the bend.


    • You give me the horrors


    • too bad to be true


    • All of my tomorrow’s


    • are lousy coz of you.

You put the Shat in Shatter
Put the Pain in Spain
Your germs are splattered about
Your face is just a stain

You’re certainly no raver, commonly known as a drag.
Do us all a favour, here… wear this polythene bag.

You’re like a dose of scabies,
I’ve got you under my skin.
You make life a fairy tale… Grimm!

People mention murder, the moment you arrive.
I’d consider killing you if I thought you were alive.
You’ve got this slippery quality,
it makes me think of phlegm,
and a dual personality
I hate both of them.

Your bad breath, vamps disease, destruction, and decay.
Please, please, please, please, take yourself away.
Like a death a birthday party,
you ruin all the fun.
Like a sucked and spat our smartie,
you’re no use to anyone.
Like the shadow of the guillotine
on a dead consumptive’s face.
Speaking as an outsider,
what do you think of the human race

You went to a progressive psychiatrist.
He recommended suicide…
before scratching your bad name off his list,
and pointing the way outside.

You hear laughter breaking through, it makes you want to fart.
You’re heading for a breakdown,
better pull yourself apart.

Your dirty name gets passed about when something goes amiss.
Your attitudes are platitudes,
just make me wanna piss.

What kind of creature bore you
Was is some kind of bat
They can’t find a good word for you,
but I can…

Poetry – History



Blood, pain and games

Down the desert wastes of history;

A struggle

For wealth and power

Where the winners

Write the wrongs

And most

Just disappear.



To slay, torture and desire,

With impunity,

In a game

That has no rules;

Where compassion

Is a stranger.


Opher – 19.12.2019



History is no more than a record of the wealthy and powerful in their ridiculous games; tales of intrigue and cruelty, greed, passion and fury in which ordinary lives are of no consequence.

It is peppered with violence and ruled by the worst of human nature.

History is a record of our failure.

Poetry – Summer Dreams from Childhood – the idyll of nature

Poetry – Summer Dreams from Childhood – the idyll of nature

IMG_2124 Vice and Verse cover Prose Cons and poetry cover 51K9Up4uCYL__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ 61U89AzgoAL__AA160_ Rituals, Odes & Mystic anxieties

Summer Dreams from Childhood

In the fifty five years that separate me from those days the world has changed immeasurably. The meadows are no longer full of colour and sound. The grass still dries in the hot sun but there are no longer the rustles of insects or drone of bees. The flowers are gone and the insects killed by pesticide. It is a silent world.

The ponds and streams are devoid of frogs, newts and sticklebacks, the countryside bereft of reptiles.

It is a sad world now. The poems of nature have been shredded by the carelessness and profit of the modern world and I cannot help thinking that we are all the less for it.

I plucked these pictures from my memory.


Summer Dreams from childhood

I walk the meadows

Alive with splashed colour –

Impressionist’s dream

Of oxtail daisy, poppy and purple vetch.

By the hedgerow

The cowparsley stood bold

Above the feather-tops of grass,

Like cocky acacia on a diminutive British savannah.

In the cool of the shade,

By the reed rimmed pond,

The frogs jumped and splashed

As I passed by,

Pond skaters danced on invisible skin

And tadpoles cruised the depths,

Nosing the weed on which newts clung,

Still as statues

Alert with beady eyes.

Caterpillars spun their silken webs

Around the nettle heads

And clumped in colonies

Of black and yellow spiny families.

The green grass baked in the dynamo of heat’s electricity.

Only a soft breeze stirred the leaves in lazy caress,

To suck the moisture free

And rob the drying plants;

To carry off the spoils

Of the seeds and scents of a million petals,

Arid blades and seared soil.

The hum of nature –

The stridulation of grasshoppers

Merged with the rustle of tiny feet

On crisp leaves;

The drone of bees

As they trundle from flower-head to nectary

Laden down with yellow pollen-swollen legs,

Drunk with the heady sweet fumes.

Above, the butterflies silently dance

In tumbling multi-coloured clouds,

Spilling on the breeze in gay gavotte.

In the streams the sticklebacks,

With red bellies like aquatic robins,

Dash for cover

And dart from weed to bank, to hide

Safe within protective caverns

Hollowed out by crystal clear water,

As the currents eat out the overhangs

To which they zig-zag in a flash.

Grass-snakes, slow-worms and lizards bask

In the hot sun

And slide into the undergrowth

At the first vibration of footfall on soil –

Lizards jumping through the

Raffia grass with loud clatter

As I delight.

Pigeons coo and woo

As songbirds sought the highest perches

To sing their songs of love and fury –

Laying claim to all that they surveyed.

The world alive with scent, colour and life.

Summer sang with a song on interwoven melodies, big and small,

That set the spirit free,

In harmony

Of pleasure and peace.

Lying in the long grass,

Surrounded by bobbing flowers and creeping creatures,

In an island

Adrift from civilisation,

As the yellow sun

Gleamed down from a deep blue infinity,

Giving perspective

Through the lazy suds of clouds.

With all the time in the world.

Wanting for nothing more.

A world now locked away in the past,

In my memories,

And gone.


Opher 30.10.2016

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Phil Ochs – Opher’s World pays tribute to a genius.

Phil Ochs – Opher’s World pays tribute to a genius.

Dylan accused Ochs of being a journalist. That was far from the truth. Phil, like Bob, did scout through the newspapers to find stories and causes that would resonate with his ideals. But that isn’t all he did. He chose his words and aimed them at their targets with honesty and craft.

Phil was a part of that early sixties Folk scene in Greenwich Village. He was the most political and outspoken of them all. He was a ‘Protest’ singer. There’s nothing wrong in being a protest singer. There’s a lot that needs protesting about. It got itself a bad name after Dylan popularised ‘Protest’ and made it a commercial success. The media coined the phrase, ridiculed it, pigeon-holed it and every Tom Dick and Harry jumped on the band-wagon. They all wanted a bit of that fame and fortune that Dylan had grabbed. We need our protest singers. We need to protest. If only we had our Och’s and early Dylan’s to high-light the woeful capitalist exploitation, global inequality, war and wanton of destruction of the environment we might be better placed to deal with it. Where are the singers writing songs about the butchery of the elephants, rhinos and apes? When are we going to hear songs about the crazy overpopulation crisis that is destroying the world? Surely the new generations have the talent but do they have the sensibilities, the compassion and idealism that Phil and Bob possessed? Can they create a zeitgeist to carry a whole generation along with them like Bob and Phil did?

Both Dylan and Ochs baled out of ‘Protest’ into more poetic expressions of artistic depths. Phil always seemed to walk in Bob Dylan’s shadow and was consumed with jealousy and destroyed by alcoholism before killing himself.

But should not detract from the work he produced. His early work was full of fervour and idealism. He tirelessly set about writing his songs of hope. He shone a searchlight on the issues going on around us and by highlighting them raised them up into everyone’s consciousness. He brought those issues to life and wakened the consciousness of a generation. We became enlightened to the atrocities going on around us and activated to protest about it.

Phil targeted the civil rights war that was being fought particularly in the Southern States where the Blacks were free but still kept in slavery, where they were denied votes, rights and equality and lived in poverty and fear. Where racism was endemic, the Klu-Klux-Klan ruled and people still got lynched, beaten and tortured for speaking out or stepping out of line, where there was no justice. He sang about the assignation of Medgar Evans, the murder of civil rights campaigners and the way the hierarchy supported the suppression of black rights. People had been killed for less.

Phil targeted the war in Vietnam and American foreign policy where they felt entitled to invade other countries with impunity and sanctimoniously set themselves up as Cops of the World, dishing out their gum, rape, casual violence and disdain.

Phil targeted injustice and fought for a strong union system to protect the rights of workers yet he felt free to criticise the unions in their stance to Blacks and Communists. He had no faith in government, the establishment or the legal system. They all had their snouts in the same trough.

Phil was a man of integrity who followed on in the tradition set by Woody Guthrie. He wasn’t afraid to put his face where his words were. His songs were full of intent yet he deployed humour and produced well-crafted works of art. He was unique and that was probably his downfall. He was a little too quirky and out of step with the times. He did not easily slip into the long-haired freaks of the sixties counter-culture. He was a bit too political, too extreme and too different. He did not adopt the same uniform of freakdom or produce music with the right instrumentation for the times. He did get heavily involved with the YIPPIE political group and all their antics but he was still a little left-field. He did espouse all the right causes but he did it his way and did not quite fit in to the zeitgeist of the time. Where Dylan easily slipped from Protest to an equally incredible stream of consciousness and mercurial new sound that rode the crest of the new consciousness Phil’s created a sound that was not so much of the moment.

In hindsight it is possible to appreciate the later songs and albums. They had depth and intricacy that was just as wonderful as his early protest material. You can sense his desperation and disillusionment seeping through. He deserved much more. If he had not been so ignored and put down he probably would have blossomed even more. Who knows?

Phil left us a legacy of greatness with songs like ‘Cops of the World’, ‘Links on the chain’, ‘Here’s to the State of Mississippi’, ‘Too many martyrs’, ‘I ain’t marching anymore’. ‘There but for fortune’, ‘When I’m gone’, ‘Changes’ and so many more, that still resonate to this day!

Phil was an outspoken genius. We are desperate for more like him. Perhaps he will inspire a new generation who will create a new positive zeitgeist, highlight the wrongs and put us back on the right road.

We miss you Phil.