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THE OCCASIONAL JUBILEE

Her Majesty’s Government is cavorting

like the plot of a Gilbert and Sullivan

operetta, but without the witty words

and tunes; cavorting like Fred Karno’s army,

but without the deadpan genius

of Charlie Chaplin or Stan Laurel.

It as if those diagrams of the ascent

of man – from amoebae through dinosaurs

and whales to primates each less simian

than its predecessor – were to end

not in an upright homo sapiens

walking steadfastly into the future

to take his place before the wicket

or through the barbed wire towards the foe,

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KEEPING THE ASPIDISTRA FLYING

‘The atom bombs are piling up in the factories, the police are prowling through the cities, the lies are streaming from the loudspeakers, but the earth is still going round the sun, and neither the dictators nor the bureaucrats, deeply as they disapprove of the process, are able to prevent it.’

SOME THOUGHTS ON THE COMMON TOAD, George Orwell, 1946

 

Democratic socialist, polemicist;

novelist, poet, writer of social

and economic commentary;

Old Etonian, ex-Superintendent

of the Indian Imperial Police,

veteran of the Spanish Civil War;

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THE OLD RAPTURES

‘When on a sudden, “Crickley,” he said. How I started
At that old darling name of home, and turned,
Fell into a torrent of words warm hearted
Till clear above the stars of summer burned
In velvety smooth skies.
We shared memories,
And the old raptures from each other learned.’

CRICKLEY HILL, Ivor Gurney, Lord Derby’s Military Hospital, Warrington, July 1918

 

Vaughan Williams’ ‘Fantasia on a Theme

by Thomas Tallis’ was first performed

in 1910 at the Three Choirs Festival,

held annually in the cathedrals

of the three great cities of the Welsh Marches,

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‘CROSSING THE BROOK’: J.M.W. TURNER

In the foreground is the brook, the Tamar

not far from its source, deep woods on either side

and close, almost a canopy of shade.

A young woman has crossed. She is barefoot,

still holds up her skirts as if drying them.

She has turned to a mastiff that has stopped

in mid-stream. Another young woman,

her companion presumably, is resting

on the other bank, next to a white bundle.

Some ten yards or so behind her is a cave.

 

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REFLECTIONS ON BURLESQUE AND CALAMITY

‘Hegel remarks somewhere that all great, world-historical facts and personages occur, as it were, twice. He has forgotten to add: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.’

THE EIGHTEENTH BRUMAIRE OF LOUIS BONAPARTE, Karl Marx

‘If I cut my finger that’s tragedy. Comedy is when you walk into an open sewer and die.’

ALL ABOUT ME! Mel Brooks

 

Tragedy shows how, inadvertently,

we may destroy our own lives, as well

as those of others’, through some fatal flaw –

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OTHER PEOPLE’S FLOWERS Harvey Lillywhite: Writer , Teacher, & Consultant

I met David through his contributions to Exterminating Angel Press: The Magazine, tod davies’ labor of love. From the beginning, I was taken by his poetry and have felt compelled to offer comments on some. From these comments, we connected and shared poems through email. Though we’ve never met or actually spoken, I deeply connect with the sinewy language in his landscapes, with his willingness to wrestle contentious political and social issues, but, most of all, with the intelligent, sensitive, and generous heart and soul that percolate through the lines of his verse.

I’m flattered that David found something interesting in my poetry.

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