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Showing posts from April, 2021

Is Freedom from Language Possible?

Reading an essay on poetry and morality (or even sin) by Geoffrey Hill, the 'great', dead, 20th century English poet born in Bromsgrove, most often considered by critics the exemplar of 'difficult', 'rigorous', 'serious' or even 'elitist' poetry (as contrasted, to, say, Larkin), one is reminded of at least one thought: to choose a style is to select a way of thinking, or appearing to think. Allusive, circling, referential, and interested in other poets and their ideas - deferential then, to, if questioning of, tradition(s) - Hill's prose is not far from an ideal, the ideal perhaps, of what an intelligent use of language might sound like, or be. That this is an artifice - the choosing of this sort of dress for the mind, rather than another style - might be a heresy too far - some writers who are thinkers, like Orwell, consider the clear and precise use of language - a clarity - both moral and political - an essential fusion of the good - langu

The death of Prince Philip

Despite having the same human failings as every other human, Prince Philip , in the documentaries on the BBC after his death, has been shown to be one of the great men - and I use that word intentionally for good and ill - of the past 100 years, in Western civilisation - a civilisation whose values, again, flawed for being human, nevertheless will be missed within a decade from now. Tall, handsome, physically expert at every sport he tried, superb and brave in war on the high seas, intelligent, interested in science, an early adopter of new technologies, and an environmentalist, who stood by his wife for 70 years as monarch and never complained, and was known for an irreverent sense of humour, with a Christian mother who harboured Jews from Nazis, and a profligate father, Philip Mountbatten was the all-rounder - a flawed but ideal sort of 'James Bond' man's man - strong, stoic, and able to serve a greater common good. He was no rebel, but he was non-traditional in many ways


  55 (x 2)   Nothing could have prepared me For being born In Montreal, not even the long 18 th century, the little ice age, Or the summer my father learned   To swim and dive. As stoics Enjoy saying, ad nauseum, Death is like thinking Of all the years before birth. It barely registers and cannot hurt.   What doesn’t hurt doesn’t make you Exist, or their other idea, that earth Mingles Caesar and commoner alike. It’s a strange comfort to be told Your time preparing to arrive   Is what death is – so we come From death; then birth is stealing From the dead world? This is not What I want to go on about In this prattling meandering form   In which I choose to materialise Before you, which is what poems are, A way to teleport back and forth – In time and space, the zoom call Of their day. All early arts are replaced   Eventually by a better way to sing Happy birthday or choose a hot date, Or haggle over shares of some corpo


Cathy’s Clown   ‘I die each night I hear this sound / here he comes that’s Cathy’s clown’   As the Anglican communion withers on the vine, After centuries of Brexit-like post-papal decline, Britain finds its new age built on a looser soil,   Belief brittle, online, feckless and vainly personal, As if the idea of a higher being was a crass magic That the Francis Crick ‘team’ had finally licked   With an ace crackerjack vaccine that mainly works When it infuriates the French, Germans and Turks… What other church is overseen by a former oil exec   Who admits to often being a bit depressed, atheistic? It’s difficult running a side-split faith organisation Derived from a randy king’s desire for penetration   In multiple ways not approved of by the testaments – Only in England could ‘bells and smells’ be meant In the best possible way, could priests be somewhat gay,   Yet told not to sleep together, in direct contrast, say, To their founding