Friday, March 27, 2009

The End of the Line


(A tribute to my friend Dalva whose poem this is. Poignant, sad, even a little depressing, this dark destination we all pass through!)





Ah! when I arrived at the vortex of life,
When nothing more, nothing around me, was ascending,
When at last I arrived at the end of the line
It makes no difference whether I go or come.

When the loves and passions and friendships,
And their range of inescapable emotions
No longer sound like drums inside my chest,
Being just sad, poor and sultry echoes,

When my bodily properties, if all regathered,
Again in these clothes,
My hat, one or two books, some poems
And a feeling of not winning what I wanted,

Ah! when I stopped, at last, at the end of the road
And I considered the evil that I had within me,
(and what I did not have)
I was silent, like a rock,
Like a tree in the edge of an abyss,

Like an arrow that was loose in the bow,
Like an idea that would never come to fruition,
Like a shadow, or like a rough draft,
Of everything I dreamed, and did not have.

This is the end of the line ……..

British Summer Time

The clocks go forward tomorrow night, as we move from Greenwich Mean Time to British Summer Time, but is this really a sign of summer, warmer times with happier smiling people? I think not!

The world is in crisis, not necessarily the crisis of war, but of changes to the human condition, the climate, the economy, all of which may already have tipped over the edge with few realising that this is indeed the case. Trauma and tragedy? Time will tell but when the fish of the sea are increasingly hermaphrodite, man's sperm count is less than half what it was fifty years ago, the seasons are more and more unpredictable with one polar cap soon to unfreeze each year, the world economy brought to its capitalist knees by the greed of bankers and money men, when will we see sense?

No longer are we masters of our destiny! No longer do the winners write the history books; no, history is the province of a future we can only guess at, hardly predict. Out of our hands, man has committed the gravest of sins in recent decades, maybe longer. Industry has poisoned not only rivers and soils, but our minds as well. Our right to choice, that oft proclaimed plank of the right, but also now of the left, denies the trust for our world, a trust recognised by those we scoff at as animist or primitive, by those communities which are self-supporting and whose lifestyle does not threaten the future of the planet. And what of the "civilised" world with its consumption of resources far beyond nature's ability to produce? East mimics West and the impoverished South jumps on this bandwagon to a world desert. But nature will always keep its own counsel and payback will be in its own time, not when humans decide.

So what of our future? Our best hope may be to stop, to think, to reduce the demands we make on ourselves, family, neighbours, communities, governments and nations ...... and ...... and what? Live as vegetarians or vegans? Probably not! Become pacifist? No! Go Green? Maybe! No, the answer must be to work together, black and white, rich and poor, Christian and Muslim, believer and agnostic, woman and man, and review the minimalist lifestyle needed to bring nature and nations into harmony.

So my hope for British Summer Time is that the Sun will shine, warm our hearts and minds, open our eyes and ears to the realities of this world, to aspiration not desperation, and that hand in hand, Afghan and American, Briton and Brazilian, Serbian and Sri Lankan will rebuild the future of mankind. After all things can and do change; who would have guessed in 1991 that the next American president would be called Hussein?