Autumn Edge

Rob CullenMar 15

Image for post
foto©robcullen2016

I count the species in the orchard hedge
Maple, Blackthorn, Hawthorn and Hazel thrive
Blackberry and Honeysuckle intertwine
Elder pruned and cut hard to renew
two Oaks, two tall Maples break the line
a Red Admiral sits on a Buddleia leaf
needing to find a place to hibernate.
An idyllic scene a man laying a hedge
the clear blue skies under an autumn sun
but never far from my mind that other world
Of war in Syria, the unrelenting brutality
and the suffering of people in these times
and of the silence of the people of my kind
and of the silence, the discordany unravelling
of the myth of the Wests superiority
of the myth of the Wests democracy
of the myth of the Wests morality.

Politicians assume the cloak of Pontius Pilate
and wash their hands of responsibility.


©robcullen2016Resistance Poetry

Verse as Commentary

Written by

Rob Cullen

Rob Cullen artist, writer, poet. Rob runs “Voices on the Bridge” a poetry initiative in Wales. Walks hills and mountains daily with a sheep dog at his side.

Resistance Poetry

Resistance Poetry

Verse as Commentary

An SOS from the frontier.

Rob CullenMar 10 ·

Image for post
foto©robcullen2017

This is a message from the borderlands
an endless void a windswept land
like all deserts stripped bare of features.
So I whisper the message — If you could have heard
all that I’ve heard. If you could see all that I’ve seen
if you could have been there, far out there and if you
could have listened to peoples words, listened to those
broken hurting people and that place out there, in here,
in me, in you. The dark frontier, that secret place you know
I know, we know, we all know, but deny its existence.

But for me there is no choice. I cannot deny its imprint
on my mind, my memory is not deaf or unfeeling, its not blind.
But I wish sometimes that it might be so. Now what do I do
with these memories, the words I do not wish to store,
and hold like some mad treasure trove, archive of horrors
of mankind, of humankind the stories told and told again.

The faces change but the pain and fear, the words remain.
It’s unending, it’s our narrative as long as we survive
this story will evolve and grow for we are humans.
I worked amongst the desolation, fragments,
survivors, of lives that might have flowered in their right time.
And that endless unknowing of what might have been
of who would I have been if that had not been done
to me, to who I was, a child, and unsuspecting.
Imagine the innocence and the quiet trust.

And all that time of working to heal — denial.
A total blindness to the reality of the harm
being done to children everywhere you look.
It’s a reality, take a bus or a train, sit in a café
you will be close to someone who has survived.
And then the guaranteed denial that fact is fact
In the face of all that. And then that sound
of wheels within wheels grinding, the noise
of conversations and the deals in closed rooms
to keep silence, to protect the perpetrators
and prevent the door room from being opened
and the truth from being known and shared.

Forty years of denial, obstruction and frustration.
Our lives are brief, a mere fluttering in time.
So open the door wide and let the light in!

Child Sexual Abuse By Powerful Westminster Figures Covered Up For Decades, Inquiry Finds.

Resistance Poetry

Verse as Commentary

Written by

Rob Cullen

Rob Cullen artist, writer, poet. Rob runs “Voices on the Bridge” a poetry initiative in Wales. Walks hills and mountains daily with a sheep dog at his side.

Resistance Poetry

Resistance Poetry

Verse as Commentary

Uncertain times

Rob CullenMar 9

Image for post
foto©robcullen1970

1.

Uncertain times.

I see only forgotten men
Living in places
With once famous names
I hear only words,
Of tales and deeds,
Of days of women and men,
Long since forgtten
Long since dead.

And in these times of uncertainty,
People live surrounded
By purposeless decline.
A landscape of waste,
And those twisted lines,
Of once white shone steel,
Polished by the unce\asing grind
Of the turning wheel,
That now lie hidden by elder.
And gathering the dirt brown stain
Of rust and disuse,
Map out the death struggle
Of this dark place,
And in this uncertainty people live.
Writhing in its decay
Its history ensnares
The withering and hopeless present.
But its people refuse to cry out.
Anger has been replaced,
By that silence of regret,
That pitiless lament,
Of resignation and acceptance.
Some say it is our age,
As if we were born in other times
And others days,
Or as if this turmoil,
And unceasing uncertainty,
Was of our own making.

It has taken one hundred years
To silence and forget,
To carve away with such precision.
One hundred long hard years,
To isolate those memories,
To purge our dreams,
And cut with all the accuracy
Of liquid golden steel,
The misery of generations,
The torments of our people,
Of the years of our childhood,
And before.
We can do nothing.
We can say nothing.
We are not listened to.
This is the song of our people,
We suffer, we suffer,
We have cried too much,
We have cried much too long
And we have become lost.
But do not stir us,
For we are dark dogs,

We are shadow dogs,
We sleep in motionless terror.
Do not speak to our hearts
Of indignities, of suffering.
Do not kindle our hatred.
Do not evoke words to spur,
Our slumbering emotions.
We sleep, we sleep.

2.

In Silence

That strange silence
When did it first occur?
Were there no witnesses?
Did no one see its coming?
Had it been something gradual?
Something that had begun
Without our knowing.
Or with that abruptness,
That quickness of the blade,
That cuts and severs,
And life without knowing,
Without recognizing its own going,
Seeps silently away.

That strange silence
When did it first occur?
Were our eyes turned away?
Our intelligence caught
By other curious happenings.
Was it that? Simply
A distraction of sorts.
Or was it something
That we secretly welcomed?
And now if there are regrets
It’s too late, much too late.
All that has been is no longer,
All that may have been,
Is now silent and forgotten.

Who will remember?
Or will it become,
A few pages here and there,
Of names and muttered words?
Some faint remembrances?
That strange vision
Of people blackened,
Standing in cobbled streets,
Faces turned towards camera,
Their eyes watching,
Looking but seeing nothing.
And we see nothing of them.
Their world, our past,
A fleeting glance caught
On the papers gloss.
And in this hour I ask –
Is that all that remains?
That strange silence.

3.

Of words and truth.

Like grasses bundled
And withered in storm
We are blown helplessly
And not a word is spoken.
Who sings the authentic song?
Who speaks the words of truth?
Who stands for me and mine?
Who looks at what we see?
Who hears what we hear?
Who breathes the air we breathe?
Who sees what is right and wrong?
Who speaks for me and mine?
Who sings the authentic song?
Where are our heroes and poets now?


©RobCullen1984.

This poem was written during 1984 and was published in my first poetry collection “Uncertain Times” 2016. It is very much a poem of its time and represents the mix of defiance and despair.

In 1984 Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher decided to break the strength of the National Mine Workers after it took strike action to defend against mine closures. The government had foreseen in advance the possibility of a strike by the Miners and stockpiled vast quantities of coal reserves, it also mobilized the Police and Army who were involved in violent confrontations when miners tried to stop coal movements. In the end the government broke the strike, subsequently mines across Wales and the UK were closed down just as the Miners Union had predicted, and mining communities were devastated by largescale unemployment without any meaningful government support. The communities were overwhelmed by crime and drug misuse. There is little doubt that bringing coal mining to an end in the UK was done primarily to promote North Sea Gas and Oil.

The communities in the South Wales valleys survived, much changed, and after a long period of uncertainty, are thriving.

The photograph of the Naval Colliery, Penygraig, Rhondda was taken in 1970 while I was at Art School.Resistance Poetry

Verse as Commentary

Written by

Rob Cullen

Rob Cullen artist, writer, poet. Rob runs “Voices on the Bridge” a poetry initiative in Wales. Walks hills and mountains daily with a sheep dog at his side.

Resistance Poetry

Resistance Poetry

Verse as Commentary

The Storm song of the Hawthorn tree

Rob Cullen Mar 8

Image for post

Storm song of the Hawthorn

Gales come and gales blow
Its winter out on the hill
Gales come and gales go

Streams and rivers filled
The land flooded and full
Rainwater has nowhere to flow

And we hope for the lull
But still the storms blow.

And the Hawthorn still sings
Mankind you are killing Earth.


foto©robcullen2016Resistance Poetry

Verse as Commentary

Rob Cullen

Rob Cullen artist, writer, poet. Rob runs “Voices on the Bridge” a poetry initiative in Wales. Walks hills and mountains daily with a sheep dog at his side.

Resistance Poetry

Resistance Poetry

Verse as Commentary

Enclosure

Image for post
foto©robcullenjanuary2016

Out on the mountain wind lifted and the rain swept in
from the Severn Channel — I feared I’d be caught
walking peat boggy ground on the old Miskin Estate
I stood watching the rain filled white grey shroud
smear the dim domed lower hills and pass me by

I found myself listening out there to the wind blow
soughing its sighs through the conifer woods remnants,
blasted and flattened by the New Year gale that felled
the woodlands on the hill tops, the frosted high slopes

and in the morning after it looked as if a war had been fought
while we slept off the New Year party in the quiet of the hills lee.
after walking through the forests desolation I was reminded
of the bleakest Paul Nash painting, those shattered Ypres trees
and now fifteen years later the trees lie still jumbled and broken
the walls of the estate built to enclose common land
have fallen too and are now used in places to make paths
where the land is wet and poached by cattle hooves.

But although these long dry stone walls have tumbled
we have different kinds of walls to enclose us today,
the relentless addictive industrialised consumerism
that inflicts its message from the first day of a child’s birth
you need, you want and you will never get enough.


©2020robcullenResistance Poetry

Verse as Commentary

Written by

Rob Cullen

Rob Cullen artist, writer, poet. Rob runs “Voices on the Bridge” a poetry initiative in Wales. Walks hills and mountains daily with a sheep dog at his side.

Resistance Poetry

Resistance Poetry

Verse as Commentary

The Law of IT (continued)

Image for post
foto©robcullenfebruary2020

Etudes 1 (Après Ravel: Le Tombeau De Couperin — 1. Prélude)

A fish only exists on the flat screen
a lion only exists in surround sound
an elephant is only real in digital form
although a 3D moulded form can be provided
if they are dying out they have been recorded
of course the smell is absent
but that doesn’t matter
they are not a part of our world
they are not a part of It
the disconnect between animals and It is permanent

Etudes 2 ( Après Debussy: Images #1, L 110 — Hommage A Rameau )

Space is constructed
from flat lined edges in digital Wi-Fi time only
Earth has decided
to wrap itself in plastic (plastique)
Earth has brought It upon itself.
So It must be so.
The laws of science
of how It has all come to be
means only misery
Deep Time has no meaning

Etudes 3 (Après John Coltrane After The Rain)

The first law of It is “more”
The second law of It is It’s never enough
The fourth law of It is out of sight out of mind
The fifth law of It is there is just today
The sixth law of It is there is no consequence
The seventh law of It is worrying is pointless
The eighth law of It is don’t talk about your worries
The ninth law of It is that there are no Laws
The twelfth law of It is that there is no It.

Etudes 4 (Après Arvo Part — Stabat Mater for Choir and String Orchestra)

Earth is burning
my soul is crying
Earth is in flames
and there are not enough tears
to put out the flames
Earth is burning
my heart breaks
but we must defy IT
no more excuses resist


©robcullenfebruary2020Resistance Poetry

Verse as Commentary

Written by

Rob Cullen

Rob Cullen artist, writer, poet. Rob runs “Voices on the Bridge” a poetry initiative in Wales. Walks hills and mountains daily with a sheep dog at his side.

Resistance Poetry

Resistance Poetry

Verse as Commentary