Archive | August 2013

And God said…

I am good.

I refuse to be named
In your harsh words,
Or inhabit the terrible worlds
Inside your head.

You, who know me, and have
Touched part of me
And laughed
Or cried. Listen!
It’s good. All good.
Don’t cry.

I am good

When the sun shines
And I am pleased
With you, and Everyone,
And Everything
When I am fed, and loved
And have cause to smile.

I am good

When I am mad at you
And at me
For indolence,
Greed and the killing.
It’s that – and disease,
And children dying – Yes
It’s death that gets to me.

As it must, and all of us.

I am good

Because I see
With more than these eyes
And can walk upright-
Even in my petty
Degraded self
Which I am –
Sometimes, yes, often, I Am
THAT small.

I am good

Because on bright days
I laugh and life’s a dance
And I give you ALL
What you want, because
I want to.

Oh! and how I smile!

I am good

Because I am made
In the image of God.

All of THIS
All of me.

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Politics? I’d Rather Talk About Sex!

… Or even Religion, come to that!

I used to believe in politics. I even joined a political party once – for a year, until the subscription ran out and it became ‘The Liberal Democrats.’ Today I’m a Fabian, and I like being one of those. Having my opinion heard and my vote count. To no earthy use, of course. We Fabians are idealistic, we believe in causes whose time has both ‘past’ and ‘not arrived’ simultaneously. A ‘Quantum Party’I like that.

It’s not a question of belief, you realise that, it’s a question of Hope. Which well-meaning group of do-me-gooders will clear up whichever coloured mess (blue or red) that the last lot of do-me-gooders of the other persuasion left behind. Sit on the see-saw Tweeledum, and let’s see what difference it makes.

None, of course. But that’s OK, both ends of the spectrum have managed, through God knows what slice of good luck, despite indifferent management, to keep the wagons heading roughly west. I know this, because I have been a political animal since the sixties, and I have become riled and elated in turns: caught up in the eternal disappointment that awaits us if we think that Westminster, Washington or Brussels will make much of a difference to our lives. We soldier on. We become disillusioned. We opt out.

I am worried though, right now. I think the the Wagons are about to enter the Donner Pass, and some of us will only survive through devouring others.

(Sorry. That was a piece of self-indulgent metaphor-bending. I go too far.)

I thought we Brits would be OK because there was a consensus on both sides of the Rockies (Stop it! This is serious!) that whichever Party held power, the weakest and most vulnerable would be cared for.
Perhaps you think they are. Government ministers will quote you statistics that prove it. Trouble is, I see what they don’t.

I have written appeals for really, really sick people who have had their benefit taken away by an agency doctor paid to do just that. I have listened to despair, unbelief, desperation…

I have served meals on a Monday to people who have eaten nothing all weekend because their benefit was stopped because they missed a pointless interview at a Job Centre that has no jobs, or because they failed to turn up at a Training Course because the public official at the Job Centre gave them the wrong time.

I wouldn’t believe this if I hadn’t experienced it, but it’s true – our benefits system uses starvation as a weapon to make the uncomformable conform. What else would you call it?

Nobody intends this. I don’t believe for one minute that any mainstream politician would advocate or approve such a policy, but it’s here. It happens.

Funnily enough, I’m not going to rant about it. ( I haven’t have ? I – checks – No.) I’m thinking about how the unsolvable becomes manageable only when it becomes apolitical. We ALL have to think beyond our pet ideologies – as long, of course, that they don’t embrace letting people who can’t cope, go hungry.

I’m really going to have to stop there because I have no answers. When I do, you can be sure I’ll let you know.

This Is What You Get When You Mess With Poets – A Prayer

Thank You

For his schooled hands that
Know where to touch, and how.
For the warmth of his heart
That beats with mine, strongly.

Thank You

For his long feet on narrow legs
And long, long toes that make me smile
Right now: I am smiling.

Thank You

For his mind that meets with mine
And does not leave me.
And for his soul, that is One Soul

When we smile, when we laugh

When we make love.

Dreamed

Some strange and fearful thought-
What if
I
Am only imagined?
Have I no shape or garden where I sit?
Somewhere, beyond here,
God dreams me?

Here Comes The Bride’s Mother

The best thing about public transport, from the point of view of a writer, is that it puts you in close proximity to the public and gives you the opportunity to read The Guardian. I am a natural Guardian reader, and I heartily approve of the publication, but I only read it on trains. If it goes under or gets sold to Amazon, I only have myself to blame.

I couldn’t start writing earlier because I was listening, open-mouthed, to a woman whom, I would surmise, never reads the Guardian, as she recounted with peppery language and a lot of feeling, the break-up with her live- in.

“I told ‘im I’m off till he gets his (mild korma) act together, the (red-hot chilli peppering) idiot.”

I expect the frosty distancing of love-grown- old ( and past it’s use- by date) in a palace, has it’s fascination, but the full- bloodied soap- opera that this lady’s life has become, is far more interesting. She didn’t so much air her dirty linen in public, as send it to the cleaners with a ‘wear me’ label attached to it.

Talking of soap- operas, I began my sally into Guardian’sville with a glance at the cultural section. I am a Philistine, and admit to no shame about it. I get my culture from following @willshagspeare on Twitter, and I tell you, you could do worse. Contemporary culture is an alien land on another planet: I do not comment on it, however, firstly because I’m too ignorant to do so, and secondly, because I made a solemn promise, fifty years ago, not to turn into my mother.

I turned the pages in fascination, mind-blown by the cover photo of young woman in black and purple, on a motorbike, with a cape and mask, whose name I was too over- stimulated to notice: I can’t tell you who she was, because I left her behind in the waiting room.

I was SO relieved, if somewhat surprised, a few pages later, to find a review of ‘Coronation Street’ and I fell on it with glee. ‘Corrie’ as we sometime and fickle fans call it, is a popular drama peopled by strange northern folk with highly alternative lifestyles, and unenviable fates. I put this in for the benefit of my Russian readership (128 pageviews last month, thank you) who may be out of the loop on British soaps.

As half the male cast is off-air strenuously denying allegations of sexual misconduct, the writers appear to have to be making do with the “River Island Caligula,”who, “Isn’t the smartest bread-stick in the basket,” David Platt.

(You would ‘t get THAT quality of metaphor in The Sun! )

I have followed David’s sociopathic career with interest. I approve of all his loathsome schemes in the hope that one day he will murder his God-awful mother, Gail. It can only be a matter of time. The entire nation will petition the production company for clemency on the grounds of, ‘justifiable homicide’ .

It doesn’t matter what he’s up to. ‘No good’ covers it.

Good Lord! Bristol Temple Meads station already. Excuse me, I have to alight.

Endpiece 19:17

The reason why I deposited ¬£7.40 into the pockets of First Great Western in return for a ticket to Bristol, was a consequence of the upcoming nuptials of my youngest daughter. She, me, future mother-in-law and future sister-in-law, headed for a high class frock shop in Clifton for the purpose of H trying on a variety of wedding gowns, and an expensive range of accessories, some sparkling with diamant√© and others frothy with lace. All costing a great deal more than the ¬£5 I paid for the multicoloured paisley patterned minidress, that I bought,’off the peg’ from Marks and Spencer’s back in 1971.

The consulting room was like a courtesan’s boudoir, with huge gilt-edged mirrors, stripey chaise-longue and plum-coloured loopy curtains. I was impressed. When my daughter emerged from behind the plum-coloured loopy curtains, in dresses 1,3, 4 and 7, I was overcome with emotion and moved to tears. Numbers 2, 5 and 6 proving not quite so tear-jerking.

No decision was made. Further outings are planned for Newport, and Birmingham, where, I am told, the Wedding Fair (Entrance By Ticket Only) is a cross between a three-ring circus and a rugby scrum.

I am home now, and waiting for the delivery of a glass of red wine and a bowl to soak my feet in. Wedding shopping is an arduous and exacting pastime. I have a lot coming to me. You may expect a blow-by-blow account – especially if the dash for bargains in Birminham proves to be as militant as my informants tell me it is… .

“If Women Over Sixty…

… … Said what they really thought, there would be an outpouring of wisdom”

So a nice lady called Marianne, Tweeted today and I laughed! Lord! How I laughed! Marianne says sweet things, and I do too sometimes, because they do no harm. As to whether they do any good, why, that’s another matter entirely. We hope so, Marianne and I.

Ekhart Tolle says that if humanity was a person sent for a psychiatric analysis she would be certified insane, and I thought about this for a bit, and I think it’s true. Stupid, brutish, greedy, fearful, deluded, miserable, manipulative ( and manipulated) unconscious and … .

What am I thinking, that could make me so disgruntled? ( What a lovely word! Will I ever be “gruntled”? What are these “grunts” I am dissing?)

I am thinking of the people who use Twitter to threaten and abuse. I am thinking of the ‘Go Home’ advertisements targetting illegal immigrants being trialled in areas of London, and then I have to stop thinking, because so many other and worse thoughts lie just beyond reach where I want them to stay.

How does the wise-woman in me, now that I’ve reached the age of wisdom, deal with the insanity of my kind? (Presumably, as I have been over-sixty for nearly three years now, I already am… . Dealing with it, I mean. )

“Ninety seconds” is the answer. I will deal with it for ninety seconds. See, this is how it works. Your brain senses something that is going to upset you, and releases the bio-chemicals that are going to make you feel mad, and they will flood through you AND DISSIPATE in ninety seconds. How do I know this? Because I have just finished reading, ‘My Stroke Of Insight’ by Jill Bolte Taylor: she knows because she’s a neuroscientist who did the work, and I know because I’m a wise-woman-in-training who did the reading.

So for a minute and a half you just have to let the body do its thing, and then the cave-person can go and lie down again and you can choose. I have been mad for a minute and a half, because that’s how this body of mine works, and now do I want to go on being mad? That’s the choice, and that’s where being sixty- plus comes in handy. I have been mad many, many times before: I know it serves little purpose other than to give me migraines.

Being mad at a fool who tweets obscene things isn’t going to stop him. Expecting the current administration to think with its heart isn’t going to happen. I know this, you know this. So I’m just going to let the cortisol or whatever it is (I’m guessing) wend it’s way out of my bloodstream and I’m going to accept my futility, my culpability… . Then I’m going to do what I CAN do.

I can write to my MP, calmly, quietly, and say that when your government attempts to further increase fear and insecurity in a woman whose home may not be safe, like yours, you do not do it in my name. When you arrest a man on suspicion of illegal activity because of the colour of his skin, you do not do it in my name. ( I guess, cynically and accurately, the idea of ‘trialling’ this behaviour is to find out whether ordinary people like me, are willing to stomach fascism, or whether we’ll speak out against it.)

I can resolve to be sweet on Twitter, and always wait ninety-one seconds before I decide not to respond to a madman.

Wisdom indeed. Will it get better as I get older? Not so much, I hope, I want always to be open to the possibility of doing foolish things… .

Book Report?

I had to have two goes at it: this is because I am not prone to giving up. This stubborn adherence to the unlikely, the improbable and the hard to swallow is my one weakness. (Ho ho ho)

The ‘it’ to which I refer in my opening shot, is a book: ” The New Earth: Create a Better Life” by spiritual teacher and winner of my Peter Pan look-alike award, Ekhart Tolle.

The first time round, I found myself, after just a few paragraphs, in ‘hard to swallow’ mode. I am not THAT sceptical, in fact just the opposite: it’s scarily easy to lead me on and catch me out investing trust in the most outlandish propositions. I’ll believe anything, and usually do.

I once gave myself a migraine ranting in full-on indignation at the television set over an EU regulation specifying the length and breadth of carrots, the piece coming complete with the presenter holding the mould into which carrot seeds were to be sowed, in order to ensure compliance. It was a hoax. it was All Fools Day, and I came top.

I’m not stupid, however, so I have to believe that intelligence and gullibility are not mutually incompatible. I like being a trusting softie, it keeps me smiling, and out of as much trouble as it gets me into.

Yes, I’m rambling. Let me take a sip of my tea and…

In the back of my mind sits ‘Number 45′ in my ’99 Things To Do Between Here And Heaven’ book: ‘Write A Statement of Faith’.

I have been a Christian since the date of my baptism which was in November 1950, and as I was only six weeks old at the time, I like to think some kind of pre-bap agreement had me covered even earlier.

I believed nothing at six weeks, of course, and in the course of the following fifty years or so, I came to believe A LOT. Sometimes, I even acted on my beliefs, with a startling caveat. I never really swallowed hell. Or punishment of any kind. I nodded in the direction of it, and never wasted my breath opposing it, I just knew at a deeper level that a God who spends your whole life telling you he loves you, then throws you into a fiery pit because he caught you out doing something you didn’t ought to have done, which he allowed you to do, didn’t add up.

I don’t know that the insights into the incomprehensible world of the Spirt that I gained from Ekhart are ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, I don’t even know if ‘right or wrong’ works with the unknowable. I guess you just have to go with the intangible, but ever-present inner witness, that whispers a silent, ‘Yes!’ and warms your heart. You may not be comfortable with that concept, but you know it’s there. Recognising its Presence is the beginning of awareness of your spiritual evolution that has nothing to do with hell, and everything to do with truly knowing who you are, and what your purpose is.

Ekhart writes that your purpose is to bring consciousness into the world. To walk through your day fully aware, totally present, not harking back to the past, or concerning yourself with the future. There’s more, lots more, but that, I think, is enough.

Is he onto something really big? I don’t know. How could I? I do know that a lot of what I believed for more than fifty years served no useful purpose whatsoever. So my Statement of Faith, when I get around to writing it, isn’t going to be very long.