Wednesday, 25 May 2011


He has the pose just right:
Body bent like a sickle over the device,
left wrist drooping over left knee,
flat cap pushed slightly back and up,
the work done with one thumb.
Perhaps he’s not so old after all.

I wonder who he’s texting?
I reckon on a loved-long wife
bounty-bosomed in floral frock,
somewhere rural,
looking out on an apple tree in blossom,
smiling at his sauciness.

Later, I find myself behind him
as we are walking to the terminus.
He is dapper but the Dunn & Co stuff
doesn’t seem to suit somehow:
someone’s idea of an Englishman.
I think perhaps he’s a spy.

So to whom was he texting?
I see a severe young woman
hair pulled tight to her skull
somewhere dark and anonymous
receiving the message:
hi ctrl. av fallen 4 apple trE gal. gdby.

Wynn Wheldon

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Marmite Banned in Denmark

I understand that the Danes have just made Marmite an illegal substance. It is, apparently, a threat to public health. Personally, I loathe Marmite, and perhaps were I Dictator for a day I might whimsically hike its price up to £10 a jar and use the revenue to subsidise the manufacture of Lemon Curd; but i take exception to the Danes banning this sterling British product while continuing to inflict their disgusting pink salami on us...

Different flags for a change

Interesting to see flags being burned that are not American or Israeli. These are Russian, Chinese and Iranian. The video comes from Syria.

"CHINA and Russia have helped to block an initiative by the US and its European allies for the United Nations Security Council to condemn the Syrian government's attacks on peaceful protesters.

The Security Council, which last week failed to take a position on the violence in Yemen, could not agree on Wednesday to a draft statement circulated by Britain, France, Germany and Portugal."

Read more:

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Liberal Intellectuals

"...liberal intellectuals have always moved in an aura of self-congratulation. They sustain themselves by flattering themselves with intentions and they dismiss as 'reactionary' whoever questions them. When the liberal intellectual thinks of himself, he thinks chiefly of his own good will and prefers not to know that the good will generates its own problems, that the love of humanity has its own vices and the love of truth its own insensibilities. The choice of the moral course does not settle the quality of morality; there is, as it were, a morality of morality."

Lionel Trilling, 'E.M Forster', 1943

Plus ca change, eh?

Friday, 6 May 2011

Kicking the Bar

i.m. HPW, 7 May 1916 – 14 March 1986

Sometimes he would come home in time to run
in the park in his old black track suit, but
more often it was a walk round the block.
With no time it was merely kicking the bar.

The first I would do grudgingly. OK.
The second I might enjoy on a good day.
The last I would gladly take with him.
It was maybe a hundred yards one way,

turn around, a hundred yards the other.
Sometimes it was silent, which was fine.
Sometimes it was How was your day? Fine too.
I liked best when he told me about his day.

But there are never enough OKs
And never enough good days.

Wynn Wheldon

Monday, 2 May 2011

The Weary Blues by Langston Hughes

Droning a drowsy syncopated tune,
Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon,
I heard a Negro play.
Down on Lenox Avenue the other night
By the pale dull pallor of an old gas light
He did a lazy sway . . .
He did a lazy sway . . .
To the tune o' those Weary Blues.
With his ebony hands on each ivory key
He made that poor piano moan with melody.
O Blues!
Swaying to and fro on his rickety stool
He played that sad raggy tune like a musical fool.
Sweet Blues!
Coming from a black man's soul.
O Blues!
In a deep song voice with a melancholy tone
I heard that Negro sing, that old piano moan--
"Ain't got nobody in all this world,
Ain't got nobody but ma self.
I's gwine to quit ma frownin'
And put ma troubles on the shelf."

Thump, thump, thump, went his foot on the floor.
He played a few chords then he sang some more--
"I got the Weary Blues
And I can't be satisfied.
Got the Weary Blues
And can't be satisfied--
I ain't happy no mo'
And I wish that I had died."
And far into the night he crooned that tune.
The stars went out and so did the moon.
The singer stopped playing and went to bed
While the Weary Blues echoed through his head.
He slept like a rock or a man that's dead.

From The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, published by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Copyright © 1994 the Estate of Langston Hughes.