Rest thee Leonard

This year has taken many talented people – musicians, actors, comedians and more.

It has also been a year of political disappointment – Brexit, the election in the USA. Monsters have erupted out of the ground everywhere.

The far right moves across our Western world, openly. People collude knowingly or perhaps in ignorance, not believing that there is a swell of fascism under their noses. I find this hard to stomach – this kind of eery ignorance.

I have spoken often about the rise of fascism in recent months and feel that many don’t listen. Be aware. Know thyself.

And now Leonard Cohen has gone. Music is a precious gift we gave to ourselves. Use it wisely and with love, it will take us through times such as these.

I am spending the weekend with music. I cherish the musician, songwriter, singer and appreciate all that songs have done for me.

I also need to get back in to that rock choir and pluck a balalaika. Everything in the right order, at its own pace – winter is almost here.

 

Well I’ve heard there was a secret chord
That David played and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music, do you?
Well it goes like this:
The fourth, the fifth, the minor fall and the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

I like a man in a suit and trilby…I can listen to a baritone voice and some exceptionally beautiful, poetic lyrics. Rest in peace Leonard and thank you, for the songs.

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Progressive Poetry and a new festival in Yorkshire

I went to Cobbledy last week to listen to poets. There were many – around a hundred! A healthy turnout I would say. Mostly from Yorkshire.

I have much admiration for people who can stand up and perform their work, fill their poems with passion, expression and yes, make it poetry. The audience was cosy in both venues, a small group of people, keen to listen and  take part over the weekend. All very appreciative, all good listeners. It was really nice to see poetry alive and welcoming, It was good to hear empathy, anger, humour.

I couldn’t help but notice  that most of what I heard was nostalgic, reminiscent of old times – whether good or bad. So much was wonderfully working class – highly emotive, political – a blend of the mad, bad and funny.

I wondered if we were all hankering after a past which felt more empowering. It was, but only just. Our power was beginning to slide. We found ways to cling on to the good memories among the debris.

As I walked back down the cobbles I recalled the time spent in the old school room at parent and toddler group and how a few of us decided that something else was needed. We were a little bit forward thinking and created the very first under 5’s Woodcraft Folk group, hoping for a better way for our kids, an improved, progressive future.

What role does poetry have to play in our society today. I am always in search of the Fridas and Diegos. The artists who are not afraid of political expression. Over the weekend at this festival I heard such artists, unafraid to express their feelings, observations, experiences about the shafting of the working class, about racism, inequality and of course plenty of word play, clever twists and turns of lines.

Words are powerful. Poets know it. Be Frida. Be Diego.

What of futuristic poetry – it exists today. There was a movement in literature in the early part of the 20th century which started in Italy, all to do with futurism. We can create our kind in the 21st. The Brontes were futurists to, in their era, and their legacy still inspires us today.

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I wrote about this graveyard in The Book Ghosts. DSCF0482

Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. – C. G. Jung

Hate begets hate. Love begets love. Said someone. It’s hard to love something you perceive as deserving of hate. It’s hard to love someone who is full of hatred. But when you see it and hear it, you can at least have a conversation. When it is covert, less so.

An old friend of mine says disarm people with kindness. Digging deep in order to be kind to those who spread hate is a conflict inside my head. I’d rather be kind to those at the receiving end of all the negativity abounding right now. Jo was a defender of justice.
Be a light giver. Be a lover of humanity. Of nature itself, she made us. One small gesture of love does wonders. It’s an energy, which collectively, envelopes the hate and reduces it. Sure, be angry, I get mad too. But let it go. Be loving more.
My first year of study on the peace course taught me this one little thing. War and all that comes with it, starts from our emotions. Our feelings, their festering. Their joining up with our thoughts. Yes, it is as simple as that. That’s where it all begins. With feelings. That is our one common ground across humanity. Emotions. We ignore them too often and try to rationalise all the time. Be in tune with your inner feelings at all times. Know thyself said the ancients. Make it so.
Know that you are as big on the inside as the universe is on the outside. There’s masses of room for love.

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