Half Mast (again)

19 November 2010

Breaking news

heart beat stops

kin informed and tea towel dropped.

Image maintained

and language restrained,

 (and twisted and distorted)

to suit distant and detached


and fit the viewers’

(or is that voyeurs’?)


Flesh contorted,

limbs are parted

heart beat stopped

really stopped

is life’s unseen and unchecked reality.

Past PM’s ‘shoulder to shoulder’

on towers’ destruction

at hands of terror,

embraced and heralds distant pledge

of public’s spoken horror


and there,

 to boys

(and girls)

over there.

But what of sympathy (or empathy?) and more?

Of moral support, even more a chore?

When wind that breathed life into living

having left on left flank

fleetingly lifts a fluttering flag

on civic pole and contractors’ cabin?

No county crest nor company badge

are a match, no match for those in Sangin.

When normality is restored

on tv

and we

have moved on

from there, to here,

where more importance for us can be?

The fabric that once flew with pride

now hangs in honoured  grief ,

respectful yes

but grit our teeth

and forget to care

as if no one,

literally no one, is there.

Just  carry on,

‘keep calm and carry on’ they say,

on again and again and again on and on.

But they are

and soon

one won’t be;

or at least what is left

won’t be;

for here

he (or she?) will be

under country’s colours

and covered coffin

with coloured petals

contained therein.

Silent tills

streets so still

and medallioned soldiers


salute the fallen comrade,

whom they never knew

and never will.

Tearful lover tissue in hand

holding fallen tears,

and partly hiding frozen face,

from facing tv’s eyes and ears.

Yet this is enough

more than enough

for gathering onlookers

who bid farewell

to another yet another heroic sucker.

Fly again proud fabric,

fly again at full mast

and don’t ask

don’t ask of me what of others you ask

for no hero am I nor ever be

in time’s seemingly endless simplicity.

The Self Delusion

7 November 2010

No matter how hard we try to appear beautiful, there will always be someone even more beautiful.  No matter how much we maintain or develop our performance something will one day sweep away our pretensions. 

If we think we can control events to the extent that our destinies are predictable, again we are kidding ourselves and the truth really is not ‘within us.’

Building our lives on delusion, that we can forever retain our youth; that we have a right to live in this world for ever, that illness, disease and death will not sweep our legs from under us will always leave us feeling deflated.  Better still for us to store, as Jesus says, treasures in heaven than treasures on earth.  All this is temporary.  The things of eternity are of far greater importance.  How we love, what we love and whom we love will determine how we cope with this life and the life to come.

Jesus was quite clear in his view that in order to experience real life one has to let go of self.  To live one has to die; to let go of those things that hinder us.

Only the one who is able to make sacrifice is the one who will experience fullness.

Only the one who seeks the underlying will see what is on the surface.

Only the one who is prepared to listen will learn.

Only the one who can wear and walk in the shoes of others can understand.

Only the one who looks beyond this world will glimpse the next.

The greatest delusion of all then is not belief in God but belief in self.