Tuesday, October 23

Am I wrong?

I have just received through my inbox news of large wildfires in Southern California and the subsequent evacuation of peoples from the surrounding areas.

My question is this: is it wrong that my immediate thought on reading this news was:

'It's good this has happened to America. The more natural disasters that happen to them, the more the current administration is likely the change its environmental policies/lack of them'

I suppose the real issue is how far can the American people be blamed for the actions or omissions of its administration and be fairly punished for them. Especially this is pertinent in light of the fact that Bush did not legally accede to the presidency. I was going to say that I don't feel the need to apologise for Tony Blair's policy decisions but I suppose that's not true. I do often defend myself when speaking to foreigner about the war in Iraq or the war on terror and am at pains to ensure that I am not understood to be pro-war in any sense and clearly distance myself from the attitude of the government.

I think this reveals more, however, that I understand that often citizens are wrongly allied with their leaders choices and policies by on-looking states and I am thus aware of the need to combat this presumption. Perhaps a better question would be whether I feel responsible for Tony Blair's decision and simply, I don't. I didn't vote for the man and I have taken pro-active measures to voice my objections.Secondly, if I accept that perhaps my response was prejudicial and unfair, can it be defended anyway? Is it preferable, ignoring any sense of retributive justice, for environmental disasters to hit America as opposed to any other nation state? Certainly, it has the economy to withstand the hit more than any other country and certainly its leaders do need a lesson in planetary humility. And whether or not the American people support US environmental policy, each individual US citizen consumes more than any other state-citizen, whether that be food, fuel or materials. Surely it is fair that a modestly impacting nation such as say, Uganda or the Netherlands, is only modestly impacted by environmental disaster whereas a excessively impacting nation, such as the U.S or China, bear the majority of such disasters.

This seems as basic and logical a premise of justice as even a child could grasp. It's the basis on which every modern legal system is based. The more serious the impact of the offence on society/the individual, the higher the punitive response.

Monday, October 8

Woe is me?

Today I am blighted with despair and ennui.

In an attempt to lift the ennui, I will attempt to dramatically and metaphorically convey said despair…..

I am a pebble pressed down by the carriage of life.
I am a helpless ant drowning in a sea of troubles.
I am splodge of soot upon the world's blackened brow.
I am Atlas struggling beneath the burden of the globe.

Truly…..this is not a auspicious start to the week.

I felt happy at about 1.53pm when I saw one of my colleagues wearing a yellow tie. And then there was the moment when I realised BOTH options on the canteen menu were vegetarian. Fool's hope! Our canteen food is shite, whatever the dish.

So that's it really, that has been my happiness quota for the day.

Maybe pondering on my forthcoming Death will cheer me up……..

Friday, October 5

Poets, poetry and a poem

I've been reading quite a few books of poetry recently and am attending several poetry events over the next week or so (organised as part of the Manchester Literature festival) One of the poets I am going to hear is my long-time favourite - Carol Ann Duffy. I was first introduced to her in sixth form A-level class with 'Standing Female Nude', she has been my undisputed poetry heroine ever since.

Sadly, she will not be reading selection from her love poems collections - which are by far the works of her that I enjoy the most. (Love, passion and death are the subjects that in all poets I enjoy the most in fact). Instead Ms Duffy will be reading from her children's collections, including her latest book, The Hat. I haven't read any of her children's work, so despite being disappointed not to hear some old favourites, I will at least get the joy of hearing some new stuff from the lady herself. I've re-produced below my favourite poem from her book 'Rapture' which collection deals with love - from its conception to its death.

You - Carole Ann Duffy

Univited, the thought of you stayed too late in my head,
so I went to bed, dreaming you hard, hard, woke with your name,
like tears, soft, salt, on my lips, the sound of bright syllables
like a charm, like a spell.

Falling in love
is glamorous hell; the crouched, parched heart
like a tiger ready to kill; a flame's fierce licks under the skin.
Into my life, larger than life, beautiful, you strolled in.

I hid in my ordinary days, in the long grass of routine,
in my camouflage rooms. You sprawled in my gaze,
staring back from anyone's face, form the shape of a cloud,
from the pining, earth-struck moon which gapes at me

as I open the bedroom door. The curtains stir. There you are
on the bed, like a gift, like a touchable dream.