Autumn Edge

Rob CullenMar 15

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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 ·

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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

The Law of IT (continued)

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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

What do we say to our children?

What did you do daddy?

when the butchers

knocked at the door

sharpening their knives

to cut with their smiles

What did you do daddy?

 

What did you do daddy?

when the thieves

in grey striped suits

sat at the cabinet table

ready to cut with their knives.

What did you do daddy?

 

What did you do daddy?

when the nurses and doctors

worked too many hours

and had no more time

to look after us or you.

What did you do daddy?

 

What did you do daddy?

when all the teachers

working too many hours

had no more time

to teach your children.

What did you do daddy?

 

What did you do daddy?

when all those liars

with their crocodile smiles

did what they did

and wanted to do anyway.

What did you do daddy?

 

What did you do daddy?

When all the taxes you paid

bank-rolled the bankers,

the liars who thieved our Services

and skinned them to the bone

What did you do daddy?

 

What will you do daddy?

Now the services are gone

and the rich get richer

and the poor get sicker

and no one’s listening to you.

What will you do now daddy?

 

What will you do daddy?

When Covid-19

Is killing the old and the young

And all the others in between

And the nurses and doctors

Have no protective kit

Have no masks to shield them

And there’s no tests

Cos everythings run to the ground

Are you clapping daddy?

What are you clapping for?

 

©robcullen2020

First published in Rob Cullen’s collection “Uncertain Times” 2016 with update.

The year of magical thinking…

Rereading a review by Hilary Mantel of CS Lewis’s writing on grief – Guardian Saturday 24th December 2014 I came across a quote from Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking…which led me to another…

“This is my attempt to make sense of the period that followed, weeks and then months that cut loose any fixed idea I had ever had about death, about illness, about probability and luck, about good fortune and bad, about marriage and children and memory, about grief, about the ways in which people do and do not deal with the fact that life ends, about the shallowness of sanity, about life itself. I have been a writer my entire life. As a writer, even as a child, long before what I wrote began to be published, I developed a sense that meaning itself was resident in the rhythms of words and sentences and paragraphs, a technique for withholding whatever it was I thought or believed behind an increasingly impenetrable polish. The way I write is who I am, or have become, yet this is a case in which I wish I had instead of words and their rhythms a cutting room, equipped with an Avid, a digital editing system on which I could touch a key and collapse the sequence of time, show you simultaneously all the frames of memory that come to me now, let you pick the takes, the marginally different expressions, the variant readings of the same lines. This is a case in which I need more than words to find the meaning. This is a case in which I need whatever it is I think or believe to be penetrable, if only for myself.”

― Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking

Vertigo

“How often, I thought to myself, had I lain thus in a hotel room, in Vienna  or Frankfurt or Brussels, with my hands clasped under my head, listening not to the stillness, as in Venice, but to the roar of the traffic, with a mounting sense of panic. That then, I thought on such occasions, is the new ocean. Ceaselessly, in great surges, the waves roll in over the length and breadth of our cities, rising higher and higher, breaking in a kind of frenzy when the roar reaches its peak and then discharging across the stones and asphalt even as the next onrush is being released from where it was held by traffic lights. For some time now I have been convinced that it is out of this din that the life is being born which will come after us and will spell our gradual destruction, just as we have been gradually destroying what was there long before us.”

  1. G. Sebald Vertigo. P63

Storm Song of the Hawthorn

DSC_7008

 

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

 

Tribute to Astrid Lindgren’s “The Fox and the Tomten”.

©robcullenfebruary2020.