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Hottest Day of the Year

Brighton Beach 2023

Hottest Day of the Year

Brighton Beach 2023

Heatwave

The hottest day recorded.
Towards ten at night
The rain started.

We walked out 
Into the garden, naked,
enjoying the refreshing rain.

The lawn was squelchy 
underfoot.

We lay down together,
and 
made mud.

From Poems about love. How could you know?

Read more? Amazon book or Kindle download

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Fifty kinds of love – Introduction

Young couple in love

Fifty kinds of love - introduction

Young couple in love

Fifty kinds of love is the longest poem in Poems about love.

It is full of ideas and observations – some serious, some appearing to be “just playing with words”. The strange thing is that in the jokey parts there are often things that you would recognise as true.
The poem is divided up into numerous topics. I’ll start with two in this posting  –  Young love and The highs and lows of love.

Young love

Love without a care.
Love without caution.
Love without commitment.
Love without a risk assessment.

The highs and lows of love

Love without a care.
Love in the fresh air.
Love where the grass is greener.
Love in pastures new.
Love where the air is cleaner.
Love where the sky is blue.

Love at the crossroads.

Love that’s an uphill struggle.
Love that’s on the way up!
Love on a mountain top.
Love on a slippery slope.
Love that’s downhill from now on.
Love that’s without hope,
though hope lingers on.

Love
that’s the end of the road.

Comments and questions welcomed
FACEBOOK LINK
Read all the poems
You can read all the poems in the book by buying or downloading it on Amazon. LINK.
If you get the book please give it a star rating. I’d love some feedback so I’d really welcome comments on the book.

More background and poems to follow in future blog articles.

Book cover, Poems about love
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W B Yeats, Never Give All The Heart, poem analysis

William Butler Yeats, age 35, by his father

W B Yeats, Never Give All The Heart, poem analysis

William Butler Yeats, age 35, by his father

William Butler Yeats, age 35, 1900, painted by his father, John Butler Yeats

 

Never give all the heart

Never give all the heart, for love
Will hardly seem worth thinking of
To passionate women if it seem
Certain, and they never dream
That it fades out from kiss to kiss;
For everything that’s lovely is
But a brief, dreamy, kind delight.
O never give the heart outright,
For they, for all smooth lips can say,
Have given their hearts up to the play.
And who could play it well enough
If deaf and dumb and blind with love?
He that made this knows all the cost,
For he gave all his heart and lost.

W. B. Yeats  1865 – 1939

The poem’s warning
This poem is advice on love from the poet William Butler Yeats. The basic message is quite clear. He advises that one should never allow oneself to be completely in love with anyone and I am assuming that he would wish his advice to apply equally to men and women even though  the poem is clearly addressed to men.

Reasons given
Yeats’s stated reason for being reserved in one’s feelings of love is based on his understanding of the psychology of women. The idea he  seems to present is that if a woman is certain of a man’s affection she will lose interest. I assume that he believes that the roles could be reversed, and it may be true sometimes that someone who is overconfident in the devotion of a friend, or lover or partner, may have less respect for that person or may take advantage of the unequal strengths of feeling or may feel that the passion they are faced with is just too much to cope with.

But his idea is not very clear because he is suggesting that women do not anticipate that feelings of love may lose their intensity. He says,.”they never dream/ That it fades out from kiss to kiss.” Surely love may also grow stronger in time, just as it may fade away! And has this anything to do with his argument? I don’t think so.

His next comment  isn’t logically connected to what has gone before, but is simply a comment on pleasure “For everything that’s lovely is/ But a brief, dreamy, kind delight.” This is hardly relevant, and in any case, is not always true. Does “kind” mean anything here? Is there such a thing as “an unkind delight”?

Then there is a further comment on women in love and how they will behave. “For they, for all smooth lips can say,/ Have given their hearts up to the play.” He is suggesting that in love women know how to play the game of love, or treat love as a game. This seems to be a general comment on the sincerity of women who are in love. It is just a game to them. I don’t think it is reasonable or accurate to make such a generalisation. Surely in a situation in which the strength of feeling between two people is markedly different the disappointment of one may lead to resentment and speculation about the motives of the other person. He is searching for an explanation but doesn’t actually understand what is happening.

“And who could play it well enough/ If deaf and dumb and blind with love?” So a person completely in love with a woman would hardly have a chance to be loved in return because they would be too emotionally committed to be restrained or calculating. Such a person is Yeats himself as he now makes clear.

The final two lines are a strong statement that the poet really knows what he is talking about because he has lost out in a game of love. He didn’t play the game well and as a consequence got hurt or didn’t succeed in gaining the affection of the one he loved. “He that made this knows all the cost,/ For he gave all his heart and lost.”

Don’t believe everything you read in a poem. There is a deeply felt  truth in this poem but it is padded out with misunderstandings and imaginings.

The basis of Never give all the heart
Biographical records show that Yeats met the beautiful Maud Gonne in 1889 when he was 24. She was eighteen months younger. It is Maud that Yeats, in his own words, fell obsessively in love with.
[There is a photo of Maud Gonne at the end of this article.]
They had several enduring interests in common: interests in poetry, literature, the theatre, spiritualism and especially Irish Nationalism. (The present Irish Republic was part of Britain at that time.) Both wished to see Ireland independent from England, but Maud Gonne was much more committed to the cause of Irish Nationalism than Yeats. She was in favour of armed opposition to English rule. She organised pressure groups and was prominent in anti-English campaigns and protests.

Yeats proposed marriage to Maud on five occasions: 1891, 1899, 1900, 1901, 1916. One may wonder why he suffered so many rejections, but the problem may have lain in the fact that although all his marriage proposals were rejected he was not rejected as a person. In fact there was mutual admiration, common interests, mutual affection. Maud did not tell Yeats to go away and leave her alone. He featured her in his poetry and plays and as an actress she acted in at least one of his plays.

It may be that there was not that necessary physical spark of desire on her part. She wanted Yeats to join her as a Catholic and she wanted him to be more strongly committed to campaigning for Irish Independence. These two matters were extremely important to her.

How their relationship evolved
Their relationship was punctuated by some significant events. 
1887 Maud Gonne inherited trust funds in excess of £13,000.
1889 Yeats met Maud Gonne
1890 Maud Gonne met a married man, French right wing journalist, Lucien Millevoye.
1891 Yeats first proposed to Maud Gonne.
1893 Maud began an affair with Millevoye. They had a baby, Georges, who died after a few months to the mother’s extreme distress. Gonne and Millevoye separated. Gonne had a memorial chapel built for the baby at Samois-sur-Seine near Paris. Gonne wanted another baby to replace the first and wanted the soul of Georges to transmigrate into a new baby. To help to achieve this she wanted Millevoye to be the father of the second baby and to conceive the baby by having sex beside Georges’  sarcophagus, so the couple met again for this purpose.
1894 the second baby, Iseult, was born.
1894 Yeats met Olivia Shakespear, a married woman.
1895 .Yeats began his first intimate relationship with a woman, Olivia Shakespear. He wrote, “after all if I could not get the woman I loved it would be a comfort for a little while to devote myself to another.” and “at last she came to me in my thirtieth year …. and we had many days of happiness.”
1897 Spring, the affair ended because it was apparent to Olivia that Yeats loved someone else.
1899 Second proposal to Maud Gonne.
1900 Third proposal to Maud Gonne.
1903  Maud Gonne married Major John McBride. Yeats hated John McBride.
1904  Sean McBride was born
1905  The marriage was ended. 
1908  Yeats met Maud Gonne in Paris and  they had sex together for the first and last time. It satisfied neither of them. He wrote that that “the tragedy of sexual intercourse is the perpetual virginity of the soul.” They were not as one. She wrote a declaration of love, attraction and rejection! “I have prayed so hard to have all earthly desire taken from my love for you and dearest, loving you as I do, I have prayed and I am praying still that the bodily desire for me may be taken from you too.”
When Yeats told her he was not happy without her, she replied, “Oh yes, you are, because you make beautiful poetry out of what you call your unhappiness and are happy in that. Marriage would be such a dull affair. Poets should never marry. The world should thank me for not marrying you” [Jeffares, A. Norman (1988). W. B. Yeats, a new biography. London and New York: Continuum. p. 102.] Date of this remark is uncertain. 
1916  Armed uprising in Dublin against the English. John McBride was arrested as one of the key conspirators and was executed. Later Yeats was called on to write a poem to commemorate the heroes of the valiant uprising. In view of his feelings he did this with extraordinary skill.
1916  Yeats, 51 years old, final proposal to Maud. Final rejection.
1916  Yeats’s proposal to Maud’s daughter, Iseult age 22. She rejected him.
1917  Yeats’ proposal to Georgie Hyde-Lees age 25. Their marriage was happy and they had two children, Anne and Michael. Yeats had several affairs during their marriage.
1922  Ireland became an independent republic. 
1922  Yeats, by now a celebrated public figure, was appointed to the first Irish Senate. In a debate on divorce he had this to say “Marriage is not to us a sacrament, but, upon the other hand, the love of a man and woman, and the inseparable physical desire, are sacred. This conviction has come to us through ancient philosophy and modern literature, and it seems to us a most sacrilegious thing to persuade two people who hate each other… to live together, and it is to us no remedy to permit them to part if neither can re-marry.” [Foster, W B Yeats, A Life,  2003 p 294]
1923  Yeats awarded the Nobel prize for Literature
1934  Yeats, age 68 had an operation which ”rejuvenated him”. He had several affairs with young women.
1939  Yeats died age 73.

Conclusion
It appears that Yeats’s fascination with Maud Gonne lasted for about three decades. The reason for her rejections of his marriage proposals does not appear to be because he was besotted with her (“gave all his heart”) or that she was playing some sort of game with him, or deliberately manipulating him, or that she didn’t understand that “love fades out from kiss to kiss” but something much deeper  –  that they were not physically or ideologically quite in tune with each other and that her true passion was the cause of  Irish independence.
He seemed to be unable to appreciate her different perceptions of him and life. She continued her interest in him and even stated affection for him for many years which must have made it very difficult for him to “forget her and move on.” At any time he could have abandoned his association with her. Her response to him was clear and consistent. It may be noted that she seemed to have a problem with sustaining a relationship with a man. 

Why did he propose so many times? Even before the first proposal he must have had a good idea about how close their relationship was and was not. And subsequent proposals look as if he was lining himself up for humiliation. Was the problem not with Maud Gonne or the nature of “passionate women” as he understood them but his own inflexibility, his lack of ability to accept reality or even a masochistic pleasure in being hurt? Maud Gonne’s comment quoted in the 1908 section above seems to hint at this.
It seems that Maud  Gonne enriched Yeats’s life by their association whilst at the same time leaving him in torment. 
He wrote, in 1916 in No second Troy, presumably about her,
Why should I blame her that she filled my days
With misery,
Poor Yeats.

The wisdom of W B Yeats
What was he to do? He gave all his heart and lost. Does he convince us that total love for one person is a recipe for a life of torment? Surely if the feelings of two people are mutual then there is everything to gain from a shared attraction. In his case the reason that he “lost” may have been that he and Gonne appeared to lack a strong physical attraction, and a unity of shared feelings and ideals. The problem, in his case, was not “passionate women” but his inflexible, immature and masochistic nature. The sadness of the poem comes not from his account of the pain of rejection but from the sadness that Yeats’s had such an immature personality which brought him a life of misery.
It often happens that in romantic relationships the strength of feeling may be much stronger on one side than the other and this can certainly lead to discomfort and often rejection by the one who may feel overwhelmed or suffocated by an unwanted show of passion. To this extent giving “all the heart” may lead to rejection and “loss” but with balanced individuals this does not lead inevitably to a life of misery.

Poems About Love  –  How could you know?

My own collection of poems about love addresses the issue which Yeats  considers in his poem, Never Give All The Heart.
One very long poem called 50 kinds of love is admittedly very prosaic and is hardly more than a long list. However,  I believe it makes a number of valid observations about love. One section is entitled, Unbalanced love.
Another  section. which is related, is about expressing affection to someone who may not be expecting it and may be a little shocked by the expression of love. This is Love that moves too fast.

About Unbalanced love
In my youth I can remember myself being quite put off a girl who seemed to want to take me over when I hardly knew her and I ended the relationship. She was very tearful and I felt very mean. Perhaps I should have been more patient and cautious.

From 50 kinds of love  –  part of the list
Unbalanced love

The need-to-be-loved love
that’s unequal to the task of love.
Love that hasn’t got its head screwed on.
Weak and needy love.
Love that’s just plain wrong.

The I-love-you-so-much-why-don’t-you-love-me love?
Love that cannot handle love.
Love that’s out of control.
Love that’s a sticking plaster.
Love that’s a disaster.
Love that’s an own goal.

About Love that moves too fast
It can happen that simply expressing one’s feelings too soon or too strongly may surprise or shock or “put off” the other person in a new or developing relationship. The alternative, avoiding this risk by not expressing one’s feelings may also produce unintended consequences because silence may give the impression of not really liking the other person. This is discouragement by other means.

From 50 kinds of love
Love that moves too fast
Love that moves too fast
and shows its hand too early
and put its foot in it, 
and is, perhaps, a step too far,
or maybe just a slip of the tongue.  

A footnote to Yeats’s life
Yeats died in the south of France in 1939 and was buried there. He wished his remains to be buried in County Sligo in Ireland. In 1948 his remains were dug up and assembled. There seems to have been some doubt about the authenticity of the bones. He was reburied in County Sligo. The person in charge of this operation working for the Irish Government was the Minister for External Affairs, Sean McBride, the son of Maud Gonne.

I’d be interested to hear your view on the ideas expressed in this article. You can comment either on facebook or my blog.
FACEBOOK LINK
Read all the poems in Poems about love
You can read all the poems in Poems about love by buying or downloading it on Amazon. LINK.More about Poems about love

If you get the book please give it a star rating. I’d love some feedback so I’d really welcome comments on the book.

More comments, background and poems to follow in future blog articles.

Book cover, Poems about love
Maud Gonne, Anglo-Irish actress and campaigner for Irish independence from England

Maud Gonne, friend of W B Yeats, campaigner for Irish Independence, actress.

Olivia Shakespeare

Olivia Shakespeare, friend of W B Yeats (1895), Literary Salon hostess late 19th century/early twentieth century, novelist.

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The poem “Marriage” from “Poems about Love”

Wedding group Sicily

The poem “Marriage” - part two

Wedding group Sicily

A wedding group in Sicily, 2017

Here is the text of the poem, and the third of a series of comments on the ideas behind poems in Poems About Love.

Here I comment on the second part of the poem.

Marriage

When push comes to shove
marriage is not about love.

And a wedding
is not “the happy ending”.
It is the beginning
of a long journey
with a contract to travel for the rest of your life
with someone you hardly know
by a route and towards a destination
that no-one knows.

2004 and 1 January 2023

The stories behind the poems

Behind many poems in Poems about love lie events that set me thinking.

I discussed the opening of this poem in an earlier post.

Marriage – comment 2

Of course, every mature person knows that “a wedding is not the happy ending”.

Yet weddings are so often treated as an end-of-story event, the culmination of years of hope and striving, a glorious achievement to be celebrated with no expense spared, as if the wedding is the real life fairy tale come true and the beaming couple will “live together,happy ever after”.

Most marriages are of relatively young people (under 35?) with little experience of life. It struck me that the marriage commitment was the greatest undertaking two people might ever make in their lives, yet their knowledge of each other, the world, how they and the world might change in the future was very slight.

Weddings, therefore, are the beginnings of very risky enterprises.

So it surprises me that so many marriages can be described as happy or successful.

The poem raises the very important question of what does a happy marriage depend on in the face of so many unknowns?

Those marriages that are successful can’t put it all down to the common explanation that it was “luck”.

Although, having good health, having a good and reliable income, and living in a safe and prospering country – much of which is beyond personal control – is certainly a kind of luck that helps towards a happy marriage and a happy life.

What does it takes to make a marriage work? What is needed beyond a mutual attraction, mutual desire, “being in love”?

It would be interesting to compile a list of readers’ ideas.

One suggestion is that having a common interest is often a key factor, but in our village there is a woman, Bryony Hill, who was married to the famous football player and pundit, Jimmy Hill. She hated football. Her theory about their very happy relationship was that they got on so well together “because we were so different.”

I’d be interested to hear your view on this topic? You can comment either on facebook or my blog.
FACEBOOK LINK
Read all the poems
You can read all the poems in the book by buying or downloading it on Amazon. LINK.If you get the book please give it a star rating. I’d love some feedback so I’d really welcome comments on the book.

More comments and background and poems to follow in future blog articles.

Book cover, Poems about love
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Love in three plant pics and a poem, The last train

cactus flower

Love in three plant pics and a poem, The last train

cactus flowering for one day only

We are currently plant-sitting for friends who have gone on holiday. One of the plants we have been entrusted with is a cactus. We were told that this cactus was about to produce a flower and that the flower would last only one day. To me it seemed a very sad idea that it should be so brilliant but last such a short time – a bit like love and life, I thought.

Cactus flower day 2

Cactus flower day 2. Almost gone

Cactus flower day 3

Cactus flower, day three. Gone!

Nothing is for ever.

The last train

All things must change.
Sunshine turns to rain.
Lovers become estranged.

Tonight I think
the final kiss.

I didn’t want it
to end like this.

You’ve changed.
You didn’t explain.

You didn’t confess.
Perhaps I can guess.

What do I care?
But I do care.

I step out
into the rain.

Empty streets,
empty heart.
I feel
that too familiar pain

and tears
on my cheeks.

I can feel
my heart beat.

Just time
to catch the last train.

All things must change.
Sunshine turns to rain.
Lovers become estranged.

10 July 2007, 25 August 2016, 2 January 2019

I’ve caught a number of late night ” last trains” from London over many years. The atmosphere in vast railway stations late at night is always a bit bleak. It’s more than just the end of a day, it’s a cavern of emptiness and the last train pulling out of the station . . .  It seems the obvious place for a film scene of “a final kiss”. 

The idea of “a last kiss” makes me reflect on the transience of everything human.

Your thoughts?
I’d be interested to hear ideas, thoughts, feelings that this poem might bring into your mind. You could write on my facebook page or my blog.
FACEBOOK LINK
Read all the poems in Poems about love  –  How could you know?
You can read all the poems in the book by buying or downloading it on Amazon. LINK.

Please help
If you get the book please give it a star rating. I’d love some feedback so I’d really welcome comments on the book.

More of my comments, background explanations and poems to follow in future blog articles.

Book cover, Poems about love
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The poem “Marriage” from “Poems about Love”

wedding couple going into water

The poem “Marriage” from “Poems about Love”

wedding couple going into water

Here is the text of the poem, and the first of a series of background infos and comments on the ideas behind poems in Poems about love  –  Where did the ideas for the poem come from? etc

Marriage

When push comes to shove
marriage is not about love.

And a wedding
is not “the happy ending”.
It is the beginning
of a long journey
with a contract to travel for the rest of your life
with someone you hardly know
by a route and towards a destination
that no-one knows.

2004 and 1 January 2023

The stories behind the poems

Behind many poems in Poems about love lie events that set me thinking.

Marriage is one example

In this case the key line is the second line that asserts “marriage is not about love”. This was actually a statement made to me by my father when I was a young teenager.
He was not, himself, an expert on the subject of marriage because it was very clear to us children that our parents were very unhappily married – living together but sad and far apart.

Nevertheless, he could see what other people were doing and maybe guess what it was that led to a marriage that was “happy” or “fulfilled” or “successful”.
I didn’t know, till many years after I left home that he had a relationship with another woman and that may have inspired his remark. She actually worked for him and with him.
He maintained that what was needed to make “a successful marriage” was an ability to work together.
Obviously marriage is much more than this but my experience suggests that it is a key ingredient.

I’d be interested to hear your view on this topic? Do let me know, either on facebook or my blog.
FACEBOOK LINK
Read all the poems
You can read all the poems in the book by buying or downloading it on Amazon. LINK.If you get the book please give it a star rating. I’d love some feedback so I’d really welcome comments on the book.

More comments and background and poems to follow in future blog articles.

Book cover, Poems about love
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Poem for Northern Ireland

Stormont
Stormont
Stormont Parliament building where the politicians have been refusing to meet for 18 months to govern Northern Ireland.

A Poem for Northern Ireland

Backward Vision

Sadly I see your future:
supervised political arrangements
finely tuned,
perfectly balanced,
fair,
but, introduce your politicians
and the will isn’t there.
They have problems with fixed mindsets,
old animosities
transparently disguised.
Every move is guarded,
They bicker, and are bloody-minded.

The problems you face are vast,
but you can’t step into the future
because you are rooted in the past.

15 August 1999

David Roberts
from Kosovo War Poetry, 2000, Saxon Books

I wrote this poem about an agreement between the Kosovo Albanians and the Serbs, but I remember I had in mind what was happening with the new “Good Friday Peace Agreement” in Northern Ireland. Undoubtedly a step in the right direction but some people have a real talent for disagreeing. Thankfully most people and most of the world do not behave in this bloody-minded way.

www.warpoetry.co.uk

Note for non-UK residents about the background to this poem

Northern Ireland is a separate province of the United Kingdom and has its own parliament (Stormont).

For several decades up till 25 years ago there was a bitter and violent disagreement between two factions:

1. those (mainly Catholics) who believed that Northern Ireland should be combined with and governed as part of Ireland,

2. those (mainly Protestants) who believed that Northern Ireland should remain part of the United Kingdom.

For a long time the Catholic minority in Northern Ireland were discriminated against which led to deep-seated anger.

Each side was so convinced they were right that they formed militarised groups (often funded by criminal activities) and set about killing opponents. Over 3,500 people were killed and 47 thousand were injured before 1998 when a peace agreement was reached and politicians with opposing opinions agreed to work together and form a government. The agreement was called the Good Friday Agreement and was signed 25 years ago this week, on 10 April, 1998.

It was clear that not everyone could resist violence. The call to give up and hand in weapons was resisted by many. Killings have occurred since the agreement but have been greatly reduced and for much of the last 25 years Northern Ireland politicians from a range of political parties have met at Stormont to govern Northern Ireland.

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Poem about Iraq

A poem about Iraq in 2003

Tony Blair's visit to Southern Iraq early in 2003. He explained the wisdom of the war.

MY  POEM

A Message from Tony Blair to the People of Iraq

(Written a few days after the start of the attacks by US and UK forces, March 2003. It has been claimed by Tony Blair and others that the problems caused by the invasion could not have been foreseen.)

Note, 2019. I wrote this bitter, sarcastic poem shortly after the first bombing of Iraq feeling extremely angry about the sanctimonious arrogance, dishonesty and criminality and cruelty of Tony Blair. I feel the same way today and regret that he has not been brought to trial as a war criminal. – DR.

A Message from Tony Blair to the People of Iraq

​Poem by David Roberts

Look into my honest eyes.
Listen to my honest lies.
Look into my angel face.
Just hear the sincerity in my voice.

​I want you all to understand
the better future we have planned.
We bomb with Christian love, not Christian hate.
We come,
not to conquer,
but to liberate.

​It is essential, and I want to make this very clear,
that our first aim is to make the world a safer place.
And with precision bombing you need have no fear.
And though you’ve not actually uttered threatening words
to Britain and America, or indeed the world,
and though you haven’t acted yet,
we believe you pose a threat
a threat that cannot be ignored.

​I tell you frankly that so great is the threat
that act we must, while there is still time,
or we may live to reap the bitter harvest
of regret.

​I’m sure you will appreciate
that we have the right
to remove regimes
that we dislike.
We have the right to assassinate.
We have the right to decide your fate.

​So the purpose of our mission,
now that war has started,
is also perfectly clear:
we come to bring you hope
and take away your fear.

​Your army, as you know, is hopelessly outgunned.
Resistance by your soldiers is completely senseless.
We’ll simply massacre. We’ll wipe them out.
They cannot touch us. They’re defenceless.

​We wreck your homes, your lives, your infrastructure.
You needed help.
Without it you would have had no future.

​Our peace, justice and democracy
you will soon enjoy and celebrate.
Remember, we come,
not to conquer,
but to liberate.

​Your cities shake and thunder with our bombs.
Tumbling buildings. Plumes of flames.
Roaring jets and shrieking men.
The crash of glass and children’s screams.
We see the mushroom clouds again.
Now you can appreciate the genius of our civilisation.
Remember, this isn’t war:
it’s liberation.

​We destroyed your tv station. We cut your phones.
Your power and water supplies we cut.
We destroy public buildings and private homes.
You see billowing smoke and conflagration.
But it isn’t war:
it’s liberation.

​Your hospitals overflow. They cannot cope.
We are killing you softly with our love.
Death and destruction are everywhere.
Your future fills with hope.

​And if you cannot comprehend this desecration.
Just try to understand,
it isn’t war:
it’s liberation.

​Cruise missiles, depleted uranium,
pulse, cluster and bunker buster bombs
may shock you.
And perhaps, you’re just a little awed.
But please understand we come to help
and this is your reward.

​Regrettably we can treat nothing as sacred:
it is a fact of war.
No artefact of God or man,
no suffering, no pain, no law
can impede the progress of our plan.

​One advantage of our attack
is that we will build for you
a new Iraq.
So don’t worry about the scale of the destruction.
Our companies will make it all as new
and your oil will pay for reconstruction.

​Look to the future.
Your children will not easily forget
how we came to help.
Round the clock bombing
may have left them traumatised
and perhaps a little mad,
but soon we are sure they’ll realise
just what luck they’ve had.

​Some ask if I’m untouched by human suffering.
I can tell you my sleep is undisturbed,
though I deeply mourn the thousands killed.
I am not shaken,
and I am not stirred.

​So finally I say,
that for a brighter future
a little bombing is a small price to pay.

​Ignore the carnage, terror and destruction.
Our purpose
is not
domination or exploitation.
This is not
a war of conquest.
It’s a war of liberation.

​David Roberts
28 March-9 April 2003

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Climate change? – Poem – What little I know

This is me in the Mojave Desert, California, in 2009

Climate change is not new

Ever since there have been climates on earth there has been climate change. Today we know that large areas of the earth are threatened by rising sea levels and other areas are threatened by droughts. Such problems have been common throughout human history. Mankind has always been at the mercy of forces beyond his control, and sometimes forces that he could and should control.

I, for one, feel powerless to do anything about the current climate crises. At the same time, in spite of everything, I think that mankind will survive and enjoy the benefits of modern science.

I wasn’t thinking of the climate issue when I wrote the following poem which my notes tell me I wrote over several years, returning to it from time to time when I happened to come across it in a folder, but I think the poem may be relevant.

Poem – What little I know?

What does anyone know?

What do I know?

The origin
of the universe
its scale
its destiny
are beyond my understanding.

This earth
so rich
so poor
so vulnerable
so uncontrollable
is all we have.

I accept
that I am less than a speck
in the sandstorm
of stars.
I only know
I am a citizen of earth
and this,
my brief home.

David Roberts
2000, 2015, 2020

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A modern poem for Remembrance Day

One of nearly 400 memorials at The National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire

A Hymn for Remembrance Sunday

May be used as a prayer or sung to the music, Finlandia, by Jean Sibelius

Grant peace, O Lord, across our strife-torn world,
Where war divides and greed and dogma drive.
Help us to learn the lessons from the past,
That all are human and all pay the price.
All life is dear and should be treated so;
Joined, not divided, is the way to go.

Protect, dear Lord, all who, on our behalf,
Now take the steps that place them in harm’s way.
May they find courage for each task they face
By knowing they are in our thoughts always.
Then, duty done and missions at an end,
Return them safe to family and friends.

Grant rest, O Lord, to those no longer with us;
Who died protecting us and this their land.
Bring healing, Lord, to those who, through their service,
Bear conflict’s scars on body or in mind.
With those who mourn support and comfort share.
Give strength to those who for hurt loved-ones care.

And some there be who no memorial have;
Who perished are as though they’d never been.
For our tomorrows their today they gave,
And simply asked that in our hearts they’d live.
We heed their call and pledge ourselves again,
At dusk and dawn – we will remember them!

Voice:
At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.

ALL SAY
We will remember them.

Charles Henrywood, 2009

From The War Poetry website  www.warpoetry.uk  and the book, Remembrance Poems and Readings.