Poetry – An Invisible Machine

An Invisible Machine

There is an invisible machine

Relentlessly churning around the world.

Into its maw goes forests, lakes

And whole oceans.

Out of its rear

It excretes plastic trinkets

And control.

Its gears drip with blood and sap.

Sitting astride this behemoth,

This slow-motion holocaust,

The gleeful sneering drivers spray champagne down upon us.

In its wake the controlled

Buy trinkets and are distracted

By the addictive effluent

As they desperately strive to climb on board.

Their dream

Is that they too might live to spray champagne.

When its job is done

And all the wonders have been transformed to junk

It will consume itself.

Opher 18.9.2016

An Invisible Machine

I wrote this poem on the way back from a Roy Harper gig in Scotland. We discussed the environmental damage being wreaked upon the world by the selfish, greedy minority who control the capitalist machine that is destroying the planet.

Five billion people live in poverty and despair while a few hundred thousand squander everything in a senseless orgy of extravagance.

The forests, lakes and seas are being consumed. The chimps, elephants and rhinos machine-gunned.

I suggested Roy wrote an epic song on this subject. He told me that he was writing one about what goes on in people’s minds. That is where the madness is conceived!

As we are distracted with booze, sex and TV, religion, psuedodemocracy and talent shows, tribute bands, muzac  and nostalgia, fashion, glamour and celebrity, the real world is being ripped apart before our very eyes!!!

The Introduction to ‘Poems For Hard Times’

Introduction

Well who would have believed that I would have eight books of poetry in me?

Once again I have enjoyed compiling these poems and writing the prose that sits alongside. I am not sure that they are really poems. Who dares say?

Sometimes I write long pieces and sometimes I write short pieces. Sometimes I call them novels, sometimes stories and, particularly with the shorter ones, I call some poems.

Some of my poems scan and rhyme and some do not.

They come into my head and I write them down.

I do not care what you call them. There are no rules – only proven means, previous success, and things that have worked in the past. We adopt the methods that work best and stick to the basics so that we can all understand and share – grammar and punctuation have a purpose but still – there are no rules. I make up rules as I go along. You never get anywhere by doing things the same as everyone else.

This volume was largely written at the end of 2016 and on into 2017 so it is overshadowed by the scourge of Brexit and Trump. Some of the poems reflect that.

For me overpopulation and the wanton destruction of nature are the two compelling drivers. I perceive that we are destroying the planet and it grieves me. I want some sanity and a universal approach to dealing with poverty, overpopulation, environmental degradation and pollution. Something has to happen fast or it will be too late. Both Brexit and Trump seem to me to be quantum leaps backwards in this regard. They represent insular, narrow nationalistic attitudes based on fear and hatred that are the opposite of the ideals I aspire to.

We can but hope and go on dreaming.

Opher 15.4.2017 (written in a cabin on the Megellan on the Arabian Sea)

Poetry – Victims of Greed

Victims of Greed

Acid skies and fermented seas,

Arid lands and drowned trees,

Whirling fury and the great freeze!

Millions of ears all deaf to pleas!

Etched away by dollar signs;

Sacrificed to grand designs.

Concrete piles in straight lines –

Plastic world – multitudes of crimes.

Bewildered beasts stumble in black smoke

Seeking refuge from hot winds that choke,

The carcinogenic rain in which they soak

And machete madness for their last stroke.

Majestic giants are toppled to earth,

Felled to the ground though so thick of girth,

Axed to death for all they are worth,

Victims of a plethora of births.

Opher – 1.1.2016

Victims of Greed

The big corporate capitalist machine goes forth in search of profit. Buying land to mine and fell and trinkets to sell. There is no law, rule or restriction that can withstand the power of the dollar or the lawyers command.

Armies of brains are deployed, politicians bribed, media purchased and opinions bought.

Sold down the river.

Fed with mindless popular culture entertainment until narcotised and catatonic.

The forests ripped and burnt. The air full of smoke. The wild-life butchered. Nature abused and raped.

Money made.

Progress.

A tiny few prosper from death, war, destruction, poverty and the devastation of the planet – making a tidy packet out of misery.

Trees topple as the future is sold.

Who profits from war?

Who profits from poverty?

Who profits from ecological disaster?

Who profits from killing the wild-life?

Who runs the big non-tax paying multinationals?

How is it cheaper to employ an army of lawyers than obey laws?

In whose interest is all this misery and destruction?

Who runs the show?

What will our grandchildren inherit?

Is this the world you want to live in?

Ron Forsythe – Green – a Sci-fi novel

It’s the sixties – the three thousand one hundred and sixties. The Federation is in conflict with the Confederation. The Troman war rages. There is a civil rights issue with the Androvians. Youth all across the galaxy are in revolt. Rock Music, on an intergalactic scale, is the medium of the rebellion. Zargos Ecstasy and the Terminal Brain Grope are providing the impetus for the rebellion. Zargos, a larger than life character based on Bob Dylan, Hendrix, Jagger, Jim Morrison and Bowie, struts the stage, putting his poems to music and rousing the spacefreaks to seek social justice.

If you lived through the sixties you’ll recognise it all.

Amazon Customer5.0 out of 5 stars Green But Wise Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 6 August 2016 Harrowing, timely and thrilling. An astute observation, written as fiction, into the potentially disastrous environmental impact of our present way of treating the planet. Set in the future, abounding in wonderful gizmos, women presidents, and disaffected terrorists, it is part philosophical text, part detective novel and all rip-roaring action adventure.

Highly recommended.

Star: Amazon.co.uk: Forsythe, Ron: 9798647632906: Books

A Life On Our Planet – David Attenborough

A Life On Our Planet – David Attenborough

I’m reading this incredible biography of David Attenborough.  It shows us just how much we have lost and how much more we are going to lose if we do not act.

For any deniers it should be compulsory reading.

YearWorld populationCarbon in the atmosphere in parts per millionRemaining wilderness
19372.3 billion28066%
19542.7 billion31064%
19603 billion31562%
19683.5 billion32359%
19713.7 billion32658%
19784.3 billion33555%
19895.1 billion35349%
19975.9 billion36046%
20207.8 billion41535%

It is incredible to reflect back to times in the past and read records. Life on the planet was plentiful. What we now have are the vestiges of what was once around. We have destroyed the bulk of it.

The incredibly complex web of life is being systematically taken apart. Aspects are so interwoven and specialized, having taken millions of years to develop, that there comes a point where it all just fails.

When that happens soil becomes sterile, oceans stagnant, oxygen not replenished, climate changes and life on the planet is no longer possible – at least not as we would recognize it.

The bacteria would survive.

It would have to start all over again.

Trump and the Degrading of America

I was reading (and agreeing) with this article written in the Guardian.

It seems to me that Trump is really nothing more that the expression of a vile attitude that has manifested itself in American culture over a long time. It is prevalent in a lot of Right Wing thinking – in the overt racism, the focus on individual rights and freedoms, evangelical Christianity and the right to bear arms. It is a way of thinking that resents all government and taxes and promotes a macho, winner takes all, mentality.

It found expression in the Tea Party with the likes of Sarah Palin, with its emphasis on small government and reduced taxes and reduction in spending on education, welfare and health care.. Then went on to produce a change in the Republican Party, a lurch to the right, and set up a populist agenda propelled by a fear of Muslim terrorism and mass immigration.

Trump, being a canny conman, tapped into this ideology, bigged it up and propelled himself into power.

Since then he has pandered to the populist agenda with his walls to keep immigrants out, harsh treatment of immigrants, support of evangelical policies, support of the National Rifle Association, banning of Muslims, support for far-right militia and white supremacists. He claims to ‘Put America First’ with his ‘Make America Great Again’ mantra while lining his own pockets, evading taxes and deploying overt cronyism and nepotism. His racist, misogynistic and crass comments have been not only forgiven but condoned as straight-talking free speech.

For me that brings shame on all who condone such behaviour.

In his attempt to put the economy above all else, putting profit and cash before people and the planet, he has denied climate change, disbanded scientific monitoring and pulled out of environmental agreements – such as the Paris Accord. He has reduced environmental constraints, opened up areas for exploitation, promoted fossil fuels, reduced environmental and health standards, reduced workers’ rights and sucked up to foreign despots.

All of which has been forgiven and even praised by his loyal following. They have accepted that the global warming is a hoax, environmental standards are unnecessary and that it is the American way to accept risks to life and limb.

They don’t care where the profits are going (usually off-shore into tax evading accounts) as long as they have jobs.

He reduced taxes (a short-term strategy to boost the economy with long-term consequences) and his supporters cheered. So the wealthy (including Trump) became a lot wealthier at the expense of the poor, welfare, education, infrastructure and health.

He claimed there was a ‘Deep State’ conspiracy involving Washington politicians and Hollywood stars that he was actively fighting. It was full of corruption, paedophiles and worse – and only he could drain the swamp.

The irony was that he was busy creating his own swamp of lies, corruption and sleaze.

His latest ploy is to deny the results of the election, claim there was widespread fraud and that he won the election. It has netted him over half a billion Dollars.

The sad thing is that, despite his continual lying, a majority of his fanatical supporters buy in to his lies. He has brought shame on America and undermined the whole democratic process.

This is what the Guardian had to say:

‘Trump has brought impunity to the highest office in the land, wielding a wrecking ball to the most precious windowpane of all – American democracy.’

‘The message? A president can obstruct special counsels’ investigations of his wrongdoing, push foreign officials to dig up dirt on political rivals, fire inspectors general who find corruption, order the entire executive branch to refuse congressional subpoenas, flood the Internet with fake information about his opponents, refuse to release his tax returns, accuse the press of being “fake media” and “enemies of the people”, and make money off his presidency.’

‘And he can get away with it. Almost half of the electorate will even vote for his reelection.’

Americans’ acceptance of Trump’s behavior will be his vilest legacy | Donald Trump | The Guardian

The Environment – little things can make a huge difference.

This is a hedge that has been recently flayed.

This is what it would have been like if it hadn’t been flayed – full of lush red berries for birds and animals to eat.

It doesn’t cost money or take a huge effort. If we left more of our hedgerows and verges to grow they would provide seed, fruit and shelter for wildlife.

Poetry – Hardly Started

Hardly Started

We’ve hardly started

Yet we’re already near the end.

In no time at all

We’ve overrun the planet

With numbers out of control

We’re setting a vile trend.

We’ve set the world alight

And are continuing to fan it.

Opher – 4.11.2020

It looks like we could take ourselves out. We are a new species with a spectacular rise in numbers. We think we are so clever we set ourselves apart from all other life, put ourselves on a pedestal.

We’re in danger of knocking ourselves off (and take everything else with us).

When more intelligent creatures, in some future time, come to look at our legacy, they’ll find a layer of rock rich with our bones along with a dearth of other forms of life. We will have killed them all off.

They will see humans as just another monkey.

Our arrogance and greed will be our downfall.