wild-geese

 

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

power-demon

“Not necessity, not desire – no, the love of power is the demon of men. Let them have everything – health, food, a place to live, entertainment – they are and remain unhappy and low-spirited: for the demon waits and waits and will be satisfied.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

snow-landscape_

 

The holiest of all holidays are those
Kept by ourselves in silence and apart;
The secret anniversaries of the heart,
When the full river of feeling overflows;–
The happy days unclouded to their close;
The sudden joys that out of darkness start
As flames from ashes; swift desires that dart
Like swallows singing down each wind that blows!
White as the gleam of a receding sail,
White as a cloud that floats and fades in air,
White as the whitest lily on a stream,
These tender memories are;–a fairy tale
Of some enchanted land we know not where,
But lovely as a landscape in a dream.

candles
“I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.”

Charles Dickens

tree

In the dark and damp of the alley cold,
Lay the Christmas tree that hadn’t been sold;
By a shopman dourly thrown outside;
With the ruck and rubble of Christmas-tide;
Trodden deep in the muck and mire,
Unworthy even to feed a fire…
So I stopped and salvaged that tarnished tree,
And thus is the story it told to me:

“My Mother was Queen of the forest glade,
And proudly I prospered in her shade;
For she said to me: ‘When I am dead,
You will be monarch in my stead,
And reign, as I, for a hundred years,
A tower of triumph amid your peers,
When I crash in storm I will yield you space;
Son, you will worthily take my place.’

“So I grew in grace like a happy child,
In the heart of the forest free and wild;
And the moss and the ferns were all about,
And the craintive mice crept in and out;
And a wood-dove swung on my highest twig,
And a chipmunk chattered: ‘So big! So big!’
And a shy fawn nibbled a tender shoot,
And a rabbit nibbled under my root…
Oh, I was happy in rain and shine
As I thought of the destiny that was mine!
Then a man with an axe came cruising by
And I knew that my fate was to fall and die.

“With a hundred others he packed me tight,
And we drove to a magic city of light,
To an avenue lined with Christmas trees,
And I thought: may be I’ll be one of these,
Tinselled with silver and tricked with gold,
A lovely sight for a child to behold;
A-glitter with lights of every hue,
Ruby and emerald, orange and blue,
And kiddies dancing, with shrieks of glee –
One might fare worse than a Christmas tree.

“So they stood me up with a hundred more
In the blaze of a big department store;
But I thought of the forest dark and still,
And the dew and the snow and the heat and the chill,
And the soft chinook and the summer breeze,
And the dappled deer and the birds and the bees…
I was so homesick I wanted to cry,
But patient I waited for someone to buy.
And some said ‘Too big,’ and some ‘Too small,’
And some passed on saying nothing at all.
Then a little boy cried: Ma, buy that one,’
But she shook her head: ‘Too dear, my son.”
So the evening came, when they closed the store,
And I was left on the littered floor,
A tree unwanted, despised, unsold,
Thrown out at last in the alley cold.”

Then I said: “Don’t sorrow; at least you’ll be
A bright and beautiful New Year’s tree,
All shimmer and glimmer and glow and gleam,
A radiant sight like a fairy dream.
For there is a little child I know,
Who lives in poverty, want and woe;
Who lies abed from morn to night,
And never has known an hour’s delight…”

So I stood the tree at the foot of her bed:
“Santa’s a little late,” I said.
“Poor old chap! Snowbound on the way,
But he’s here at last, so let’s be gay.”
Then she woke from sleep and she saw you there,
And her eyes were love and her lips were prayer.
And her thin little arms were stretched to you
With a yearning joy that they never knew.
She woke from the darkest dark to see
Like a heavenly vision, that Christmas Tree.

Her mother despaired and feared the end,
But from that day she began to mend,
To play, to sing, to laugh with glee…
Bless you, O little Christmas Tree!
You died, but your life was not in vain:
You helped a child to forget her pain,
And let hope live in our hearts again.

 

Take my hand if you don’t know where you’re goin’
I’ll understand, I’ve lost the way myself
Oh, don’t take that old road it leads to nowhere
We must return before the clock strikes twelve

 

Video by Frank Kildare
 
When rain drops fall and you feel low
Ah, do you ever think it’s useless
Do you feel like letting go
Do you ever sit and do you wonder
Will the world ever change
And just how long will it take
To have it all rearranged

Tell me why these things are still the same
Tell me why no one can seem to learn from mistakes

Take my hand if you don’t know where you’re goin’
I’ll understand, I’ve lost the way myself
Oh, don’t take that old road it leads to nowhere
We must return before the clock strikes twelve

It’s so easy to do nothin’
When you’re busy night and day
Take a step in one direction
And take a step the other way
So don’t stop tryin’ when you stumble
Don’t give up should you fall
Keep on searchin’ for the passway
That will lead you through the wall
Don’t look back or you’ll be left behind
Don’t look back or you will never find peace of mind
 
Steppenwolf is a Canadian-American rock group that was prominent from 1968 to 1972. The group was formed in 1961 in Toronto by vocalist John Kay, keyboardist Goldy McJohn and drummer Jerry Edmonton.
 
WikipediaSteppenwolf 

hunger

“Hunger is being used as a weapon against people to discipline them.”

Ken Loach on the cruelty of the benefits system.

________________________________________________________________________

 

First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist
Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist
Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist
Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me

Martin Niemöller

I, Daniel Blake

Director Ken Loach – Screenwriter Paul Laverty

i-daniel-blake

I do not normally go to cinemas, I would rather watch a film at home, but I made an exception to go to see I, Daniel Blake which won the prestigious Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in France earlier this year.

I, Daniel Blake tells the story of a 59-year-old carpenter from Newcastle who has suffered a heart attack at work. He applies for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), but he’s forced to move onto Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) because the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) says that he is ‘fit for work’.”

This is the start of his life descending into a downwards spiral. The system that should be helping him is a system that grinds people down.

Contrary to what Tory (Conservative) MPs say about the film being fiction, it accurately reflects the immense suffering that people have to go through at the hands of the DWP.

There was a time when people went to a Job Centre where they received help to find work. Staff had targets to get people employed or get them placed on a scheme that would help their job prospects.

Now there are targets to impose ‘sanctions’ and stop benefits. In spite of ‘jumping through all the hoops’ that are demanded of them, their financial aid can be stopped on a whim. People who have no money for food, gas or electricity have to go to food-banks.

The need for food-banks is not by circumstance, it is by design. It is social injustice on a large scale.

There is climate of fear among those who are unfortunate enough to be unemployed, sick or disabled.

A man who had a heart attack during a Job Centre assessment was sanctioned because he did not complete the assessment.

A man who was ill refused to go to hospital in an ambulance because he would not have been able to get to the Job Centre on time for an appointment and he would have been sanctioned.

I, Daniel Blake demonstrates the reality of modern Britain and it is not nice.

 

sunset_

 

If you sit down at set of sun
And count the acts that you have done,
And, counting, find
One self-denying deed, one word
That eased the heart of him who heard,
One glance most kind
That fell like sunshine where it went —
Then you may count that day well spent.

But if, through all the livelong day,
You’ve cheered no heart, by yea or nay —
If, through it all
You’ve nothing done that you can trace
That brought the sunshine to one face–
No act most small
That helped some soul and nothing cost —
Then count that day as worse than lost.

 

George Eliot was the pen name of Mary Ann Evans.

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