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Death By A Thousand Cuts

Is anyone else getting fed up with this new Coalition?  Yes.  Unrest is brewing.  The daily announcements of ever-more-brutal cuts more extreme than anything Thatcher tried - trying to downsize the State to below 40% - are becoming startling in their doomsday black comedy - the latest plan is to sell of England's natural reserves - its forests and waterways - to private companies to look after.  Cameron speaks with a forked tongue - yesterday he suggested that tourism was the future - today his government seems to be dooming the UK's leading tourist charms - its natural beauty spots - to second-rate husbandry, or worse.  This government will be a disaster, and we have to wait until 2015 to toss it out.


I look on resentfully as the Conservative-dominated government sets about cutting up the Forestry Commission, Natural England and the like with no restraining influence from the Lib Dems. BUT no way do I want those nice Labour people to come back again soon and throw public money around again like confetti! They played a big part in preparing this 'disaster'. I only wish some more Lib Dems would show some guts and speak out.

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Wheeler Light for 'Life Jacket'.

The runner-up is: Daniel Duffy - 'President Returns To New York For Brief First Visit'

Wheeler Light currently lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Life Jacket

summer camp shirtsI couldn’t fit in then
are half my size nowI wanted to wear
smaller and smallerarticles of clothing
I shrunk to the sizethat disappeared

of an afterthoughtin a sinking ship body
too buoyant to sinktoo waterlogged for land
I becamea dot of sand


With the death of the poetic genius John Ashbery, whose poems, translations, and criticism made him, to my mind, the most influential American poet since TS Eliot, 21st century poetry is moving into less certain territory.

Over the past few years, we have lost most of the truly great of our era: Edwin Morgan, Gunn, Hill, Heaney and Walcott, to name just five.  There are many more, of course. This is news too sad and deep to fathom this week.  I will write more perhaps later. 

I had a letter from Ashbery on my wall, and it inspired me daily.  He gave me advice for my PhD. He said kind things about a poetry book of mine.

He was a force for good serious play in poetry, and his appeal great. So many people I know and admire are at a loss this week because of his death. It is no consolation at present to think of the many thousands of living poets, just right now. But impressively, and even oddly, poetry itself seems to keep flowing.