predators…

predators

as i walked up
the steps
to aunt bea’s
i heard
her
gasping
and
saying
oh
my
goodness
i hurried in
and
found her
staring
at the tv
she said
she’d been watching
this sci-fi movie
where
a woman
had given birth
to a creature
that wreak havoc
on her
and
every
helpless soul
in her world
even though
she’d
given it
the gift
of life
aunt bea
said
kind of
reminded me
of
our
elected
officials

678ad505453d5a3ff2fcb744f13dedc7-1product_thumbnail.php41V9d9sj5nL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_CHARLES W. MARTIN (Reading Between the Minds) — earned his Ph.D. in Speech and Language Pathology with an emphasis in statistics. Throughout Charlie’s career, he maintained a devotion to the arts (literature/poetry, the theater, music and photography). Since his retirement in 2010, he has turned his full attention to poetry and photography. He publishes a poem and a photographic art piece each day at Read Between the Minds, Poetry, Photograph and Random Thoughts of Life. He is noted as a poet of social conscience. Charlie has been blogging since January 31, 2010. He has self-published a book of poetry entitled The Hawk Chronicles and will soon publish another book called A Bea in Your Bonnet: First Sting, featuring the renown Aunt Bea. In The Hawk Chronicles, Charlie provides a personification of his resident hawk with poems and photos taken over a two-year period. Charlie’s lastest book, When Spirits Touch, Dual Poetry, a collaboration with River Urke, is available through Amazon now.

POETS AGAINST THE WAR, #4: The Last Horseman Is the One Who Counts by Corina L. Ravenscraft

gas-mask-dollar
There is no profit in peace, you know.
White Horse or Red, the blood must flow.
Human constructs, like Conquest or War,
Benefit the rich and bury the poor.
I think the Draft should be reinstated;
So that ALL might witness the horror created.

Send the war-mongers’ sons first,
To hold the Front Line’s Hell.
Watch them die, or even worse,
Return home, as a shell.
If politician’s kids are killed or maimed,
Will war then taste as good as they claimed?

Tell me:

What’s the magic, almighty dollar amount?
To make endless war worth the body count?
If Corporations are people, now, too,
Let’s send them to war, and see if it’s true.
Will those corporations scream in pain as they bleed?
Will they writhe in agony for a rich man’s greed?
Will they lose their limbs, and maybe their minds?
Does the Machine care about the bones, the bodies it grinds?

In the end:

There is no prophet of peace, you know.
The love of money is Greed: War’s C.E.O.
The wars will continue, the innocents will still fall.
And the Pale Horse’s rider will someday claim all.

– Corina L. Ravenscraft

ch6-4horsemen

Invitation: We’d like you to join us – not only as readers – but as writers by putting links to your own anti-war or pro-peace poems in the comment sections. Next week we’ll gather the links together in one post and put them up as a single page headed “Poets  Against War.”  Thank you!

© 2013, poem and portrait (below), Corina L. Ravenscraft, All rights reserved
Photo credits ~ dollar bill with gas mask via edgecast on Tumbler, second illustration is of a painting by Vallejo

Corina-1992414_511233302297487_1031742058_nCORINA L. RAVENSCRAFT (Dragon’s Dreams) ~ is a guest writer on Into the Bardo. She is a poet and writer, artist and librarian who has been charming us through her blog since 2000, longer than any blogger in our little blogging community. She tends to keep herself in the background, but in a 2011 Jingle Poetry interview with Blaga Todorova (Between the Shadows and the Soul) she revealed, “Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about 1372843_511233305630820_2079635591_nthings important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.”  The samples of Cornina’s art work, her popular Infinity-Möbius dragon, is copyright”Möbius Ouroboros.” If you click on them, you can view enlarged versions.

 

 

need i say more…

aunt bea
and i
were sitting
on the front porch
when
a political campaigner
stopped to solicit
our vote
to which
aunt bea replied
lawd
lawd
lawd
you folks
done
lost your mind
promising prosperity
when there ain’t
even enough money
to pay the rent
and
children
are wearing
grandparent
hand-me-downs
to school
while carrying
church sponsored lunches
just so they’ll have
something
to eat
and
you fools
are telling me
that a vote
for your candidate
will bring back
the good-old-days
when
the hell
was
that

– Charles W. Martin

© 2013, poem and illustration, Charles W. Martin, All rights reserved

.
678ad505453d5a3ff2fcb744f13dedc7-1product_thumbnail.phpCHARLES W. MARTIN (Reading Between the Minds) — earned his Ph.D. in Speech and Language Pathology with an emphasis in statistics.  Throughout Charlie’s career, he maintained a devotion to the arts (literature/poetry, the theater, music and photography).  Since his retirement in 2010, he has turned his full attention to poetry and photography. He publishes a poem and a photographic art piece each day at Read Between the Minds, Poetry, Photograph and Random Thoughts of Life. He is noted as a poet of social conscience. Charlie has been blogging since January 31, 2010. He has self-published a book of poetry entitled The Hawk Chronicles  and will soon publish another book called A Bea in Your Bonnet: First Sting, featuring the renown Aunt Bea. In The Hawk Chronicles, Charlie provides a personification of his resident hawk with poems and photos taken over a two-year period.

Fortes Fortuna Adiuvat (Fortune Favours the Bold)

[This piece was started some months ago, before I wrote the poem Fortune, featured here on the Into The Bardo a few weeks ago. That poem and this piece focus on a common theme, which is, perhaps more than any other in my writing life, a constant thread of philosophical thought for me. This is that, however much we may be short on fortune, there is never cause to give up on our hopes and dreams, or more realistically, our ‘visualisation’ of what we want from this life.]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Picture, via Google Images and courtesy Canvas Art (www.the-canvas-art-shop.co.uk)
Picture, via Google Images and courtesy Canvas Art
(www.the-canvas-art-shop.co.uk)

Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practise to deceive!
(Sir Walter Scott, Marmion, Canto vi. Stanza 17.
Scottish author and novelist: 1771 to 1832).

Some days are better than others . . . 

The better ones allow me to indulge myself in my passions. I could have walked the dog and come back feeling refreshed, or have attended a rehearsal with the Waldershelf Singers and feel utterly uplifted, or complete a piece of prose or, better, a poem and feel a sense of release. On other days, I feel disillusioned, cynical, angry, like throttling public figures (politicians) to within an inch of telling them what a bunch of useless, self-interested, lying, cheating ne’er-do-wells they are! … which they are, almost to a man (and woman) …

Why is it that, once human beings attach themselves to an organisation, an establishment, a business, a company, a corporation, a religion, or they declare their political affiliations, somehow, they lose the ability to tell the truth, assuming their integrity would allow them to differentiate between the truth and a lie, in the first place. They become overly deferential, assume the organisation’s rules are right and, worst of all, become somewhat apathetic and are inclined to assume the ‘elders’, senior leaders of the organisation are right and therefore entitled to our undying respect.

This subjugation of self, a denial of the person that was borne into this world, through that infinitely variable process, driven at its lowest level by chemistry and physics, in turn determined by the relevant genetic ‘pool’ and nurtured by the geographic, economic, demographic, societal and political environments it is our fortune, or misfortune, to have grown up in, is undeniable. This denial of the uniquely wired ‘self’ and its particular talents and aptitudes, opinions and attitudes, and the ability to discern right from wrong, truth from the lie, and I mean the real truth, the kind that only you yourself will know deep inside, is almost guaranteed.

Does it have to be this way?

I think that I’ve come to hold this position rather late in life. Questioning authority is the stuff of rebellious youth, isn’t it? When we didn’t know any better, few had any time for the opinions of young people, anyway!

Is it so, because we are too shallow? … I don’t think so, not for everyone, anyway.

Is it because we are too lazy or unable to think for ourselves … almost certainly for some.

Is it because we have to earn a living? … inevitably a contributory factor.

Is it due to the fact that, as human beings, in spite of our incredible capacity for ingenuity, we are still very insecure; none of us are ever entirely in control of our lives and I mean NONE of us, given the uncertainties of our own health and particularly of the natural world and what Mother Earth herself can throw at us!  We therefore have to enwrap ourselves with a protective external blanket, woven by someone else’s dreams or designs, at one extreme by the premeditated manipulation of tyrannical leadership or, at another, simply by the desire to ensure the annual bonus, a generous pension, public honours, a knighthood … or simply the reassurance of knowing from where our next meal will come?

Is it because we are all limited in our capacity to take on too much information, store all the factors affecting any number of problems that face us each day; wrapped up in life’s complexity that sometimes threatens to overwhelm us, wouldn’t we prefer to take an easier option and permit others to make decisions for us, which acts as a perverse kind of freedom? Herein lies a major truth. But it’s not easy for managers and leaders either.

Contrary to the impression we might receive from those in stations so elevated, it may act as some comfort to those who aren’t to know that the higher up the ladder of success we go, in whatever field of human endeavour, the more insecure we get. Why, you ask? It is because we have our limits, all of us, and some of us are more limited than others; that is our birthright, given the variable abilities, with which we are endowed, the tactics and strategies we have learned and been taught to cope; it is the way we are wired. The higher up the ladder of success all this leads us, the stronger becomes our inclination, consciously and unconsciously, to hang on to whatever we’ve got; the more inclined we become to develop further selfish strategies to aid this survival process. That’s what it is to be human, well, at least to be an animal. Being human does, nevertheless, endow us with an extra ability: high intellect and, with it, a great responsibility and, yet, this tendency, this seemingly irresistible force, does inevitably lead to greed.

So what happens!

We get our heads down and graft, manoeuvre, wheel and deal, whatever it takes to gain influence, fame, attention, success, with whatever vanity or hope or need that has the greatest hold on our hearts, minds … and stomachs.

At some future moment in time, we then find ourselves, well, what’s the best word to describe it … trapped, yes trapped by our ambitions, needs, material greed, more than by hopes and dreams.

I should say something about dreams. Before you think I’m about to crush them, I’m not. As one who writes poetry and pieces of prose like this, I find dreams are just as important as the ambitions of a professional footballer I know, who learned, early on in his journey through that precarious profession, that visualising your goals (figuratively as well as literally in his case), that is imagining yourself scoring the goal, over and over again, is a truly powerful and effective way of motivating yourself to feel better about your abilities and potential. This is, for me, an unexpected way in which to feed the creative imagination; such is the process that leads to the products of human ingenuity as well as understanding and success. But, a word of warning about dreams! They can also be manipulative! They can be induced and ‘used’ by others to manipulate control over lives – take advertising, particularly on the television, as one example!  We need to learn how to distinguish good from bad dreams, your own from other people’s dreams, just as we should be able to tell the difference between good and evil.

Now, I’m not necessarily talking about conspiracy theories here, about demons and evil people, who sit in back rooms and scheme to overthrow regimes or gain control of whole populations. No, I’m talking, for the moment at least, about the demons inside our heads; the ones that lead us to the point of paranoia, the fear of not being ‘successful’, wearing the right ‘fashion’, living in the right district, driving the right car, appearing in all the right ‘places’, doing what’s apparently ‘right’ in society … tricky concept this, but I’ll try to explain my thinking.

If you were to ask a child of five or six to tell you their dreams of how to make the world a better place, wouldn’t they give you magical answers, which involve the charm of fairy tale characters and imaginative, not to say unusual (and, sadly, unlikely) conclusions to their stories?

If you were to pose that same question to a child in their mid ‘teens, wouldn’t their answer be tainted with a little more realism, perhaps even a touch of hopeless, hormonal cynicism, whilst still retaining some of that childhood naiveté, a lack of what we grown-ups would call wisdom?

If you were to ask a grown up poet or a philosopher, I think their answer would come out in one of several subtle ways, but one thing is for sure, any poet, with integrity, that I know, would try to address all of the issues that confront us head on, in an honest way. This is perhaps because they rarely make a living from their writings and, therefore have no vested (financial) interest in it, other than for the integrity of their material and perhaps for a bit of recognition!

Even Poets …

Yes, even poets and philosophers have to live and pay their ‘rent’. So, somewhere along the path of life, we have to align ourselves with an organisation or two, toe the line and obey the rules. We most certainly should obey the law and, if we don’t agree with it, don’t break it, lobby to change it! There is nothing wrong with toeing the line, provided there is a fair share of integrity within the organisation; provided that we don’t lose sight of our own personal integrity, justice, beliefs, values and, above all else, what we know, deep down inside, makes each of us unique individuals, our identity.

For those, who are born with a genetic code that, given the right environment, encouragement and education, predestines them to a life of leadership and possibly even greatness, let us not forget that for those of us, who remain, whilst we may not have had the good fortune of the same faculties and opportunities, we do nevertheless represent the vast majority of the population of the world. So, if we do still have a vote in what can reasonably be described as a democracy, then we must use it or lose it! If we have the ability to write, we should do it! We must make our mark upon the paper, make our feelings, our values and beliefs known. Whilst we still have the freedom to do so, we have the ability to depose those in power who do conspire to deceive us, who have been corrupted by their privilege and who would continue to weald the power they have from such privilege for self interest. Otherwise we get what we deserve. If that happens to be a comfortable life that we’ve achieved by subordinating our own integrity, it is our choice, but, from where I am now in my life, I know that I would sooner follow and trust someone who refused to allow themselves to be trapped by the material rewards of compromising complicity, than one who, in the fullness of time, would be racked with regret, that they didn’t follow their conscience and their dream of a better life … a better world.

It would be wrong of me, however, to leave you with my totally cynical outlook, without mentioning that, thank God, there are some remarkable people in this world, who, at and on all sorts of levels, do remarkable work on behalf of their fellow human beings. Whether they be local community charity workers and volunteers, international aid workers or the likes of the inspired Mother Teresa of Calcutta’s Missionaries of Charity foundation, they are all driven, by some degree of selflessness, to improve the lot of the less fortunate and I have nothing but admiration for them.

If there is a moral to my tale, this long and rambling piece of prose, it is that I believe life can become much less complex, when we stop trying to satisfy someone else, when we discover the very best in ourselves. However unfair, unjust or unreasonably difficult life seems to be sometimes, we should never allow ourselves to give in to the pessimism that results from a state of despair at the world, to roll over on our backs with our legs in the air! We must never believe that someone else, whether it be a single person or a large faceless organisation, either has control over us or is beyond control by the voting, lobbying, plural us. For writers and poets in particular, as long as we can breath and weald a pen, we can do something, however small, and collectively we are able to make a difference, even if we don’t feel we can hop on the next flight to Africa, we musn’t allow ourselves to believe that we can’t still bring something to the table from our own unique armoury of intellectual skills. We can, above all, in our own way, be winners. It takes courage to step out of the crowd, but courage comes in many colours, one of which is being true to your innermost convictions. Fortune really can favour the bold.

[If you don’t already read it, you could do worse than by starting to read poetry now. Good poetry should open the eyes that are shut, elevate the spirit that is depressed and enrich the soul that is impoverished. Good poetry is the highest form of literature, which should tell us the way it is and feed us with deep insights that we would otherwise not experience; and I mean insights and creative thought that will enable change, not only in your own life, but also others.]

– John Anstie

© 2013, essay and (below) portrait and cover art, John Anstie, All rights reserved

John_in_Pose_Half_Face3JOHN ANSTIE (My Poetry Library and 42) ~ is a British poet and writer, a contributing editor here at Bardo, and multi-talented gentleman self-described as a “Family man, Grandfather, Occasional Musician, Amateur photographer and Film-maker, Apple-MAC user, Implementation Manager, Engineer and general all-round good egg.” This he tells us with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Add grace and humor to the list.

John participates in d’Verse Poet’s Pub and is a player in New World Creative Union. He’s been blogging since 2011. John is also an active member of The Poetry Society (UK). He says of his work, “Much of my writing and my poetry focuses on the future and the important part that our children, and the way we treat them, play in this. It also spans a diversity of life’s experiences, some moving war poetry and particularly observations of life for a modern generation.

product_thumbnail.phpAlso a member of Grass Roots Poetry Group John steered their anthology,  Petrichor* Rising,  into publication. It is now in print and available for purchase.  “Petrichor Rising takes you on a journey that exposes you to the full spectrum of emotions, from barely concealed despair to hope, from love to sorrow, with a clear appreciation of nature’s value and humanity’s shortcomings. It rides a roller-coaster that moves you to consider many of life’s challenges from a different perspective, as all good poetry should. It is at once haunting, yet shocking, with aching nostalgia alongside enchanting stories of dragons. It gives you optimism and hope tinged with shadows of doubt. It writes about places never seen and humanity’s uncaring nature, in prosodic social commentaries and observations of the minutest details of life, mood, atmosphere and romance. It contains clever writing that brings you close to the edge of society, still capable of moving you, but not pulling any punches. It has poetry with a universal appeal covering subjects as varied as the loss of a cat or a harrowing account of the 7/7 London bombings, poetry that focuses on the roots of all that makes us respond to life and long for something better.”

* Petrichor – from the Greek pɛtrɨkər, the scent of rain on the dry earth.

nomenclature…

nomenclature

aunt bea
said
i’ve figured out
why people
don’t believe in
global warming
it’s got
the wrong
name
people see
and
hear about
ice floes into homes
superstorms
around the world
these hot
and cold
flashes of weather
make people say
you call that
global warming
we need a name
that matches the symptoms
the earth is experiencing
a term that conveys
the extremes
of the earth’s moods
and
the difficult times
ahead for
mankind
i’m recommending
global menopause
there’s a term
even a politician
will be able
to comprehend

– Charles W. Martin

© 2013, poem and illustration, Charles W. Martin, All rights reserved

This is Charlie’s first post with us as a part of our core creative team. If you missed his complete profile the other day, it is posted HERE. Jamie

678ad505453d5a3ff2fcb744f13dedc7-1CHARLES W. MARTIN, Ph.D. (Reading Between the Minds) ~ Throughout Charlie’s educationalhawk chronicles training and career in speech and language therapy, he maintained a devotion to the arts (literature/poetry, the theater, music and photography). He was a published poet before he completed his graduate work. Since his retirement in 2010, he has turned his full attention to his poetry and photography. He publishes a poem and a photographic art piece each day on his blog.  Charlie has been blogging since January 31, 2010. He is hugely popular for his poetry, his ethic, and his support of other poets and bloggers.

Recently Charlie self-published a book of poetry entitled The Hawk Chronicles and will soon publish another book called A Bea in Your Bonnet: First StingThe Hawk Chronicles is available through both Lulu and Amazon. In The Hawk ChroniclesCharlie provides a personification of his resident hawk with poems and photos taken over a two year period. By invitation Charlie has shown his photographs in local businesses that display the works of outstanding artists.