The Bird gets the Worm

I could be content, if,

I allowed myself to be.

I could not write lists

or set life goals,

if I was happy, just

Sitting

under a big old oak tree.

*

I could watch the blackbird,

(or is it a thrush?)

as she

Waits,

fluffed feathers dripping,

watching

for the worms to hear

that it’s raining,

to be speared

by her beak (clever thing).

*

I could be happy

if I gave myself time.

And forgot to do stuff, to do things,

and watch

life,

pure and sated, by nature’s

Timeless 

rhythm and rhyme. 

Angel Squad 2: Whack-a-mole

Back without any demand whatsoever, it’s the Angel Squad featuring Mikey and Cam.

Please note that angels are not particularly left-wing as that would mean they would perpetually fly in circles not getting anything done. (Obvi) Also they are unlikely to speak like actors who have escaped from a Guy Richie film so, and I cannot stress this enough, this is clearly satire. Created my my daft little brain to deal with the continuing disbelief known as 2016 to date, or as I put it in Angel Squad 1:

“I mean in no way to make light of very serious issues such as fascism, intolerance, genocide, world wars, climate breakdown, the ebola crisis, Brexit and spirituality. I think I am just at a loss with it all. Comedy seems to be something people get so why not try that”

I’d like to add the following serious issues such as the Corona Virus pandemic, the current Johnson government and Trump administration to that ever growing list.

Anyway, with a little bit of ado, here is Angel Squad 2: Whack-a-mole.

Our cast:

Michael AKA Mikey:  Head of Management

Chamuel AKA Cam:   Relationship Manager

With kind permission from:

Gabriel AKA Gabe:                             Marketing and Comms

Jophiel AKA Joph:                               Data Analyst

Uriel AKA U/the Big U:                       Head of Infrastructure

Raphael AKA Raph:                           Head of Global Wellbeing

Mother Earth AKA The Mother:       Head of Estates (to be protected at all costs)

Azrael AKA Az:                                  Outsourcing and Restructuring Director

NB: Angels are non-binary they/them. I, for clarification purposes, am neither an angel nor a bloke.

Mikey’s Office, Heavenly Realms, A Tuesday.

Mikey and Cam have their One-to-One:

“Whacka -what?”

“Whack-a-mole, Mikey”

“Mole?  I thought they were blaming the bats?”

“No, well, yes.  But no, it’s a game Mikey. Whack-a-mole. Remember that day on Brighton beach in the Eighties?  Where we decided to go as the deathly-pale ones, that scorching day in August, then all got sunburnt eating Cornettos?”

“Ah, yes.  There was not enough aloe vera on the Mother for that.  Stung like a mother too.  So the whacking thing. Was it the one with the hammer where you kept whacking –

“ – the moles”

“Yes, those lumps of brown plastic. Quite satisfying at first.  But they never stop coming up…? Hmm, not sure they get what that game means, Cam.”

“No, Mikey. I rather doubt it.  It’s that kipper bloke from last year – they voted him in.”

“They didn’t.  When?”  

“Just before Christmas when you were off in Lapland getting some early shopping in.”

“For f-. Did we not give them enough hints? Jeremy Corbyn.  JC.  I mean, granted that was an in-joke, but the point was that Tory lot who’d taken over were more Roman than Redeemer. And, seriously, him?” 

“Yes.  Prime Minister.” 

“Right.  But surely now that she’s proper pissed off they are starting to get the message? Raph and I thought that was too harsh sending those wee covid fellas in given all the innocents that would suffer, but Big U could understand she was at the end of her tether.” 

“The Mother you mean?  Yeah well, she’s managed a breather after all the abuse, you should have seen the skies,  they could almost see us for a moment.  But no, they are mainly bloody clueless.  Gabe is down there, as one of the females, co-ordinating things – nudging a journalist here, an opposition politician there. She does think that the bloke from the basement has managed to get one of his minions out unfortunately.  Spotted him at Number 10. Some northern bloke.  Apparently, he can’t see much though, has a problem with his eyesight.”

“Bollocks. Not one of the the fallen one’s? I knew I shouldn’t have given him day-release. Orders from upstairs though, something about another test.   Is it true that he was putting up flyers in the canteen, something about it being ‘better my way’ and the ‘end is the beginning’?”

“Um.  Yes, Mikey.  That is true.  He nicked Joph’s security card and got into the copy room. Obviously recruiting again.”

“Right, so you better get on that, Cam.  Make sure that’s all he’s done. We can’t go there again. We’ll all be out of a job.”

 Anyway, you were saying about this myopic bloke?”

“Myopic in many ways, Mikey. He could be a minion of evil or the fallen one has managed to start whispering in willing ears again. Remember, when we caught him with that burner phone back in the Thirties?  We were too late then though.” 

“Yes.  That one still gets me.  All those precious souls… Anyway, can’t get into floods now. Upstairs can’t afford the therapy bill.  Cam, looks like you might need to take over for a bit. I can see that I’m going to have to get down there myself, possibly need to take Az and do some recon.

So tell me, what we doing about whack-a-mole?  I’d like to whack his mole, right on the…Sorry there Cam, still working through my rage about that other deluded blonde kingbaby… and breathe.  Sorry mate, sorry.”

“That’s alright, Mikey.  Maybe we should go visit that nice smiley Mr Lama after eh?  He always perks you up.  

So, let’s see.  I’ve got the reports here… Ah, good.  Well I’m pleased to tell you that Squad Two to Seven are down there at the moment with a whisper campaign of their own.”

“Marketing?  You’re kidding? We’re going with marketing..? That blessed Gabe has a lot to answer for creating that one. I should never have brought up that crate of Coca-Cola.”

“Ha, right Mikey. Yes, apparently, they all love marketing more than facts.  Don’t tell Joph that though. The last time that happened Joph ran to the Pleiades to teach statistical improbabilities to the Federation, and we lost all our data.”

“Really?  I must have been away then. Ok, no, won’t say a thing. So what have you got?”

“Well, they all seem to love those three-word slogans don’t they?”

“Yes.  That’s frickin’ Gabe again and that free-love hipster lot.  Go on.”

“Hippies, Mikey.  Not hipsters.  They are…anyway, never mind. Best we don’t go there with your rage and all.  Right, well we have:

“Listen to each other”  – that’s mine, of course

“Hope not hate” – that one’s from U 

“Open your heart” – Raph, obviously

and

“Change from within” – we outsourced that one, came from one of the Heavenly Souls in the Music division.”

“Hmm.  Nice.  Normally, I’d say they’d do the trick. And probably will for some of them.  But the way things are down there right now, I think they might need a bit more work, Cam.   I mean those just aren’t as punchy as “Get Brexit Done” are they?  I can’t really see them on the side of a bus either.”

“Right-o, Mikey.   I get your point.  Will get a focus group going.”

“A focus -?  No, that’s that bloody Gabe again.  No, I’ve an idea.  Let’s ask the Mother.  She’s the only one that is likely to get through to them.  Or exterminate them from her being, one of the two.”

“Ok, good shout Mikey.”

“Right, well I think that’ll be all for today. I better get packing.  

…any idea where I put my mask?”

The Search for Truth (Poem)

The search for Truth

We set out together to find it:

I, scaled the hill and slid

down the mountain;

You, soared over the lake and 

stalked through the trees.

*

“I found it!” We both said,

Grasping at the shimmering stone 

that had clung to the earth, 

wiping it clean with a sleeve.

*

We rushed back to where we parted:

You marched through the trees and

swept over the lake;

I leapt up the mountain and

sailed down the hill.

*

In your hand was a dull grey rock –

Nothing that glistened like mine;

“I see nothing” you said 

“but a sad grey stone – 

nothing that glitters like mine.”

***

We have our own idea of what truth means.  We can believe it is objective, immutable and transparent.  We can believe it is subjective, transient, and opaque. Or any version in between.  Whether you agree with me will be based on what you believe, what is core to your values, who you are and what information you have chosen to hold close or discard as you navigate your life. 

We live in a world now where phrases are quoted as if just as an objective truth as 1+1 =2: fake news, alternative facts, truth not facts, facts not truth. Evidence that is reported through scientific methods and reasoning is immediately challenged as biased, deep-state, ideological, just as much as evidence based on scattered anecdotes and assumptive extrapolation.  Arguments are full of straw-men, ad hominem and my favourite, reductio ad absurdum. (eg I identify as a penguin) None of these arguments are helpful or aimed at engaging in intelligent debate and critical thinking.  They are however aimed at something considered just as important. Winning.  To do that, they have to make sure they can sell the story.  

And we, the buyers, are motivated.

Emotions motivate us into action, not evidence.  We share a social media post not because of the evidence cited but because we have had an emotional response to it – fear, anger, pleasure, pain, joy, hope and we want that to be validated in a shared experience.  Trump tweets something unpleasant – it makes me angry- I share it- it makes some others angry- my anger is validated.  Or more essentially, I am validated. A friend posts a meme about everyone loving each other – it makes me hopeful and joyful – I share it – it makes some others feel hopeful and joyful – my hope and joy is validated.  And so on.  Validation of our emotions by others,  and the more validation that we can get, brings us closer to our version of the truth.  (A little thing called Brexit taught us that)  No doubt I have simplified a very complex process but as this piece is about my truth, feel free to disagree.

Which brings me on to my poem.  Is it a truth or is it a story?  Poems are a form of storytelling and I am, indeed, selling a story.  I am selling a story where one person sees a brilliant truth that is denied by the other.  Can one not see it because they choose not to or can they not see it because the other has been deceived? What happens after they see that the other does not agree with them?  In an earlier version of the poem I wrote of my stone that“I threw it at them” I decided to take it out though and leave the reader to draw their own conclusion. 

That conclusion will be based on that which you hold to be true. 

Gaslight in waiting

You told me to wash my hands and yet to raise them high in wanton communion,

You ridiculed us as turkeys lurking and squawking whilst you traded your fortune,

You told us it wouldn’t matter if we were close, and we inhaled it in, deep.

I did. For a while
I stopped, worrying in hope of you stemming my fear.
You were sorry, not sorry, that the science had changed.

You made me feel I was going mad for caring about my future,

You asked me to stay home, in case I could be a vector of this unknown disease,

You said I must restrain myself, from company, as the numbers kept climbing.

I did. For a while. 
I stopped the questions in hope of your answers.
You were sorry, you felt we were sorry, but no remorse came

You left me to wonder as I coughed and the chills sweated out of me,

You pleaded me to trust you, to protect what you had already stolen,

You bowed your head, looking away from the helpless tragedy you created.

We all did. For a while
We gave you the time to shine a light, when life was dimmed (and too many fought for their last breath)
But you weren’t sorry, no never sorry, just preparing us for the inevitable:

Your message,
Carefully branded,
Language chosen by (cloaked) advisors

“The fault was ours. Only ours”

And, with that, you sealed in the blame.

***

As soon as it became apparent that the corona virus was moving from the abstract into our living rooms I shut down creatively. I wanted to write about how I felt, what was happening, maybe offer words of comfort or envisage a world post covid19 where we valued our connections and the most simple things that gave us contentment. But all “selfs”, that make up me, stayed quiet.

I have been writing a little, something that I call vignettes of prose on my Facebook page, A Quiet and Simple Space, find a poem that someone else has written that are able to articulate what I and others might be feeling. It has prompted some creativity but just a moment, a crack of light in the darkness, rather than the dawning of a new day.

In the early hours of Monday morning that shifted. I had been reflecting on the messages the UK government had been giving – the mantra, most reasonable and effective – Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives. In crisis mode one of my “selfs” is a pragmatic sort who will follow authority and leave questions till later in order to get done what needs to be done. I supported the government’s efforts using empathy to understand that this had never been done before and how no-one had any answers. There was also no way those of us who did not agree with the ideology of this government could mount an effective revolution, and any action to do so may cost time and lives, so I focused on signing petitions, finding out who was asking questions, pushing and prodding rather than resisting.

I followed the guidance, barely going out and when doing so always moving, staying away from people, not touching anything. I did what I could, and still do, to support people who have anxious thoughts, like me, and who are isolating and/or vulnerable. My husband and I got sick for a while with possible covid19 symptoms which have only just cleared but we continued to act with vigilance in managing anything coming into the house.

People started posting about others going out, not following the rules, laying about in parks, pushing into supermarket queues. Social media was full of righteous anger about those “bloody people” who were too ignorant to follow what the government said. I too had my moment of judgement with this, challenged by my ever egalitarian Aquarian husband, rightfully so.

Stay home, the government said. Stay home, the people said. Save Lives.

But the numbers kept climbing. And the anger climbed alongside it too.

Stay home, the government said. Stop the spread.

More shaking of fists, more indignant messages on Facebook and Twitter, more of these “ignorant cunts” being blamed for going out, stopping on a park bench, getting too close in the queue.

Stop the spread, the government said. Fucking stop it, the people said, you are causing the spread.

(You’re causing the spread)

(Not us, the government said, it’s not because of us)

The government didn’t say that, not out loud at least. They didn’t need to, they had us to do it for them. They had us to act as judge and jury to the populace that we found wanting.

I got it then. This over-used Trumpian technique of deflecting the blame away from the one’s who had the capacity and capability to do something when it mattered. Who could have acted differently, followed the model of other countries, but chose a different path but rather than stand by their path, doggedly defend it as if it was an absolute truth. And a major part of that defence was to deflect from any failures that could be attributed to them. This, is both unreal and unrealistic. No-one gets things right all the time especially in a situation with so many unknowns; no-one can predict the future no matter how many behavioural and statistical models they use, so why not create some room for humility? Why not admit the obvious?

But no, instead it is much easier to find a villain for the piece. Don’t tell the truth, tell a story. It’s much more compelling and easier to spread. Doing it amongst good and useful advice is even better. Staying home and stopping the spread is the right thing to do, and so was acting earlier when people were going to concerts and singing in churches; protecting the NHS is absolutely essential, and so is ensuring we have a health service robust enough to deal with a tragedy of this scale when it comes; saving lives is our number one goal, and so is ensuring all lives are treated equally and all people have access to food, medicine and shelter.

Stay home, they said. And we did. Protect the NHS they said. And we did. Save Lives, they said.

And we tried. Oh how hard we all tried.

Will that be remembered? Or will we lay blame on each other rather than compassionately work through all the lessoned learned. The story is up to you but –

Remember that your brother and sister in this is every single one of us on the planet. And remember that your government is accountable only to you.

The Cloak of Silence

It has took me a long while to appreciate silence. Our minds become accustomed to a level of noise which we don’t realise becomes comforting, sending us signals that life is how we would consider normal. I used to love the distinct whirring and wheezing of the Jubilee line, the trilling of the beeps at the barriers, the hiss as the 139 pulled to a stop, the semi-regulated stomp of feet trained to march from station to office, office to station, the clatter of cups from teas being made in the kitchen, the buzz of computers barely heard about the hum of conversation. 

At home, on my own, those noises, the symphony of my commute fell silent. Or at least that is how it felt. This new silence that had descended on my life, without the familiar soundtrack of my working day, weighed heavy around me. It was if it had cloaked what was normal from my view. My home, a sanctuary at week-ends, became a dark and unknown place full of hidden danger, traps and snares. Everything around me, everything in me did not feel right. Each sound a beat out of rhythm, each tone a key change too dissonant. Inside a voice, never before heard, began to shriek, you do not belong here!

At first I would drown out the unwelcome sounds and screeching voice with music, TV and radio. Cheery tunes in a major key, voices that would talk to me through drama, laughter and debate; my attempt to recreate what I was missing, and sooth that voice and send it back to the deep. I’d sleep too, or fall asleep watching uninteresting box sets. Anything to avoid this Silence, creeping around looking for a way in. 

But these noises, my cloned comfort, were unproductive. The hums, the whirrs, the wheezes and hisses I missed were noises of work and connection. Activity amongst others, achievement through progress. That path was no longer open to me, there would be no commutes or office blocks in my likely future, and so began the realisation that I would need to find a new path, and do so I would need to face the Silence. 

I sat. I waited. I opened myself up and it fell about me. It pushed inside, curling around my bones, seeping into my muscles until I was heavy with its presence. It whispered

“Wake up”

The heaviness lifted. Something lightly stroked over my skin catching each tiny hair one by one, a breath deep and constant expanded my lungs, a pressure forced open my ears. There were sounds all around me. The clicks and clangs of the heating system pushing hot water through pipes, a chirp of a bird, no two, out on the tree behind my closed window, the footsteps softly thudding across the floor of a neighbour two floors above, the wind crackling through the bricks, a soft groan of woodwork, and further out, almost out of reach, a faint hiss of a bus coming to a stop on the main road. And in between that, weaving it all together was Silence. Not to be feared but to be welcomed. Not to be my captor, but to be my companion. 

My life has a different soundtrack now, one born from moments like this. I no longer avoid or hide those quiet moments, knowing that they hold within, the riches of all sounds. Instead I welcome Silence, allow it in. The comfort is no longer the noisescape of my past but the heavy cloak it wears which descends around me. And for a time, its voice, that pure resonant voice, is all that I can hear. 

Our Hopes for You

Without realising I seem to have been preparing my second poetry collection. I haven’t published my first yet but all the advice I have read or heard about writing encourages us to keep going and keep creating.

The theme of my second collection will be Hope, following on from the first, Crisis. This poem, written after a long meditation, had a strong and definite rhythm to it and a child-like quality, a time when we are usually at our most hopeful.

I’ve created a video for this on my Youtube channel, as well as two others that will form part of this collection (I will let you guess which)

Here is Our Hopes for You: A poem for children (young and old)

Love and light

Kirstie

Life as of 31st January 2020 (I am with you)

It hurts to move,  to disappoint the ones you love

I am with you. 

There is pain in your eyes, as you leave your friends behind

I am with you. 

There is a lump in your throat, as you watch it fade away

I am with you. 

There is hope in your heart that it will be better in time

I am with you. 

You fear that the ground is lost, that your day is now done

I am with you.

Your back buckles as the burden becomes too much 

I am with you.

Your voice shivers and shakes , as you seek out the truth

I am with you.

I am with you.

I am with you.

There is love, the purest of love, in every cell of your body

I am with you.

There is laughter in your lungs, as you breathe in your joy

I am with you. 

You have a spring in your step, as the day replaces night

I am with you.

Your arms soften with the embrace of their hello.

I am with you. 

Your heart dances at the sound of a birds’ chorus

I am with you.

Your life fills with a million moments of the sun

I am with you.

It lessens, the pain,  as we begin to remember 

I am with you. 

I am with you. 

I am with you. 


Iris: Favourite flower of the Goddess Iris, Goddess of the Rainbow. She restores balance to the forces of nature after a storm.

The President’s Defense

IMAG0628.jpg

*Wouldn’t it be great if people did what I wanted?
Followed all my beliefs, knew my right and my wrong?
What a world of perfection and precision I’d have,
if you all just could join in, my global song.

Any “outliers” of course would be found and removed,
hidden from view,  as best I can.
Then I could give everyone what they wanted –
as long as they agreed with my plan.

Oh how I would show love for my people, as any good Dad,
Caring for all, with a watchful Eye.
I’d make sure you were happy and useful
in my world. Oh how hard and how much I would try.

If you happened not to agree with my Process,
I could persuade you with words and diversions.
But if encouragement failed because of your errant ways…
Well I would, with reluctance, order your conversion.

…to make you all better citizens, don’t you see?
To fiin and to learn what is True
How to do what I say – for your own good.
Then I’d make sure no-one could hurt you.

But if you continue to argue, and complain,
or if you decide to put up a fight.
Then, with my regrets and a heavy, heavy heart
I will be forced to show you my Might.

Oh how great it would be!
So just do what I ask!
I really know best!
Just follow my path!
Your future is certain
I will keep you all safe.

Don’t try to defy me!
There is only my Way!

Don’t attempt your escape

As I will hunt you down.

You cannotwill not, win!

I have all of YOU now.

Conform,  or die.

It is your only choice

History will remember –

My LEGACY! My Strength!

(and its terrible price)

*                     


30th January 2020

I’ve been watching the Impeachment Trial of Donald J Trump (as titled on CNN) and like many people yesterday began to question my sanity when one of his defence team, Alan Dershowitz, postulated that Trump could not be impeached for a Quid Pro Quo such as that of with-holding aid to Ukraine in return for help with investigating Joe Biden and his son.  The reason he gave was that Trump believe he was acting in the best interests of his country in order to be re-elected, so, as long as that was his goal, there was no impeachment offence.  

I wrote the poem above just after Trump’s visit in 2018.  It’s fair to say he was my inspiration.  However this poem is not about him.  It is about all of us.  We are all capable of this with an unchecked ego, and who doesn’t want to get what they want?  Trump is a living embodiment of an unchecked ego therefore it is not a surprise that he acts this way.  He, and other other would-be and actual despots, believe that they are acting in the best interest of their people.  We know through current and historical records that some disappeared their opposition in the best interest, some arrested dissidents in the best interest, and some fudged elections in the best interest.  

Our ego will always tell us what we want to hear if left unchallenged. – “No, this is not about power and control, this is because you are a servant of the people and you alone can change this.”  The ego worm-tongues its way into all your logic and reason and then this becomes your belief.  Any politician, change-maker, religious figure or poet who believes this is ensnared by their ego no matter their politics, intent and impact.

This poem* is a cautionary tale to us all to watch out for the slither of ego messages that try and worm into our brain.  So the next time you catch yourself saying or thinking I alone can fix this, give this a read, and remember the price countless others have paid before us and what price we might pay ahead.

Love and light

Kirstie 

*This poem was originally published as The Alternative (2016 to date). In light of recent events I have changed this to The President’s Defense.

Hope’s Spring

I wonder if it is born from Death – hope?

Decay that falls back into the deep
Stripped down to whirring electrons, 
to the echo of life before

retaining one thing,

and is that thing – hope?

not the seed but the thought of the seed,
the breath, no the mere idea of the breath
of its existence, 

and there it waits – hope

as it gathers speed and its spirit swells, 
and, from less than no thing, 
pulls the world toward it

as it becomes a new thing, 
not at its core, but the form of the wet, sticky earth
ready, not yet but some day,
to die again

is that it, do you think?
is that what we call that thing – hope? 

💫💫💫

I noticed the first new shoots in our garden this morning. This one in particular struck me as it was in between a plant that looks very dead, or at the very least stripped of any visible life. 

Seeing the first signs of spring gives me that little shot of positive energy, a hope burst, that keeps me going whilst the nights are still dark and the temperature still chilly. It reminds me too that life is always there no-matter what and that whatever is happening in our lives, hope is essential in our ability to keep going. 

I had a feeling that this was something I wanted to capture in a poem. I sat down focussing on those little shoots and wrote Hope’s Spring. 

I hope you enjoy it. 

Love and light

K.S 💫

Eviction Notice

Eviction notice

Once we were neighbours. 

We built homes of clay, and oak.

One night while I was sleeping, 

you came, and took the

Brick 

that I had laid 

close to the back door, 

the one I never noticed.

The next day you sold it back to me 

and found you could buy two in return 

(I could never do that)

On I slept, as you took

Brick

by

Brick

just enough to keep me knocking 

at your door, 

with sleep still dusting my eyes, 

exhanging precious metal for simple stone.

Brick 

by 

Brick

Still I hugged you, 

and I gloried in 

your success, as you added 

your new floor 

(I wish I had your house) 

The next Brick you offered

me at a 

discount,

and raised the price 

Brick 

by 

Brick

Until I couldn’t pay, and 

my

house began

to

crum – ble.

(Your house is so beautiful)

And still you came. 

Brick

(They must be so happy)

by

It was too easy. 

Brick

(They are so clever)

You shook your head

as you watched

from your grand hall 

counting your Coins;

(They are so rich)

pity-ing

the    room 

     you 

had

left    me, 

as   the  roof 

leaked

and the    cold

 blew

(One day I will have what you have) 

I woke 

 to a 

 paper 

 pinned 

 to my 

 door. 

“Eviction notice” –

Building unsound, 

unable to pay. 

I waved as I left,

leaving the last 

Brick 

as a thank you. 

But from up there 

How could you 

see.

***