Poem – the pages turn

Comprehension, the mind delays

Thoughtfulness, the mind betrays

Consideration, never sent

Reciprocation, never lent

 

Affectation, feelings advise

At first sight, the heart does yearn

Remorsefulness, life confirms

Live for today, the pages turn

 

Ask not what others take for granted

Believe not what others think is real

Know only what one understands

Understand what one can touch, can feel.

Poem – Taxpayer Thomas

Taxpayer Thomas’s wife would be on tenterhooks
Wondering what her husband’s response would be
Would he be dejected, shout and yell
Or would he dance and prance with glee

He’d toil away at a job disliked
To pay his family’s way
So he saw his refund as his hard-earned reward,
‘A reward for my troubles,’ he would say

‘Not just your way,’ his wife would add,
‘But paying for those that cannot work,
Like John & Debbie Tucker,
And poor old Nelson & Mary Burke.’

Tom’s finger pressed against the page,
Against the envelope
Pushed it open, took out the note, and said;
‘S**t, it’s gotta be a joke.’

‘Honey,’ his wife said, excitedly,
‘It’s not like you to be obscene.
What on earth can be wrong?
What can it possibly have been?’

‘Look what they’ve done,’ Tom replied,
‘They’ve added a chart to my refund check.
It tells me where my tax dollars go.
Oh, what the bloody heck?’

By now Tom’s wife was adamant
Her husband had gone quite off his tree.
He hadn’t spoken like this before,
Not since his days at sea.

The chart, it was before him
In colors blue, yellow, red and green.
Twenty-three thousand went on welfare,
He wished he hadn’t seen.

Seventeen billion dollars a year
Went on Disability alone.
He’d seen it in the paper
Yesterday, when he was home.

Tom, (well, the taxpayer in him at least)
Threw the paper to the floor,
And said to himself (as you do);
‘I can’t take it anymore.’

His wife was always careful
To see the other side.
‘How could people less fortunate
Get by,’ she said, she sighed.

‘The welfare system exists for a reason
And we taxpayers pay our share.
But at the end of the day,’ Tom’s wife thought,
‘Someone has to care.’

She quietly put her arm around
Her husband’s shoulder, on a whim.
Gently, surreptitiously,
She knew she could mould him.

Tom’s wife could feel him releasing
All his inhibitions and frustration.
He was no longer concerned, she felt,
About the social welfare of the nation.

At last Tom had come around,
He could see the other side
Until next year (when his refund came again)
And he’d have a hissy fit, and cry.

Remembrance

The cotton-fields triggered his sense of loss

Remembrance shone through

It meant so much to him

It meant nothing unto you.

The summer sky was bright, the moonlight warm

Who’d imagine what’d gone before?

Hell on Earth had been to visit

Desperate times in days of yore.

He knew before his family passed

Sweet Jesus wouldn’t sing

‘All are equal before the law’

Meant many different things

Toiled trouble, the rising cry

Injustice came to see

Power over sacrifice

Beyond his family tree

In his shadow as he turned his head

Gently doffed his hat

Respect, compassion, mercy be

To commemorate, they sat

Together, as equals, to rise as one

The clock tower ticks, they pass

Time, for no man it awaits

As he looks across the grass.

 

I walk the path.

I walk the solemn pathway all alone

Others care to join me

Engage in careless conversation

As we pass the foreshore, by the sea

More join our walk along the way

As we continue down the road

We talk sweet nothings, ‘hello how are you?’

We pass a frog by lake, or toad

But as they walk the road less travelled

They talk about news of the day

Freedom’s glare is fading from us

Will we confront or turn away?

The pathway comes to its first bend

Some walkers find it hard to counter

A storm following a sunny day

A drought follows storm, brings empty fountain

Questions arise as to the bend

Is it too large a turn to fathom?

Some pursue it, others fail

Turning back, can’t walk the trail

Those left on the path take the turn

The bend being not the journey’s end

Those left on the path, they protect

Their challenge rises, they defend

Safety, security, our foremost thoughts

Freedom pure for our sisters, brothers

Can we have our cake and eat it too?

Or must we have one without the other?

The walkers share thoughts, an expression

‘Freedom under threat,’ they think

Those willing stand to protect

No-one’s bettered freedom yet

Even so some shy away

Their feet, their body, can’t take the heat

They wrestle with what they ought defend

But feel the challenge too high for them to beat

Now few are left to walk the walk

Their voice it need be loud

The few left talking defend and fight

Will the voice of the few be drowned by crowd?

A crowd that will not walk the path

A crowd that will not share the stage

A crowd that takes free thought for granted

Is this the coming of freedom’s age?

Will freedom rise above, beyond?

The call of duty has no roar

Duty comes from heart and mind

Freedom is worth fighting for.

 

the Spartan child

Protect the Spartan child on the mount

Bring him down the mount and back to health

Defend the warrior, enveloped in battle

Covertly, surreptitiously, by stealth

 

Be Provedore to the unprotected

Without they do not go nor suffer yet

Support the weak, coerced, from shame, deflected

Allow those outside, known, within to come

 

Destine the poor to rise again

Challenge, be it feted, to their station

To those less fortune, a lender be

From those less fortune, a debt repay

 

Challenge the strong, brave to be

The weak have mercy, ever thus

Open oneself to the child within

Altruism lends itself in times like these

 

Be not the one who turns away

Who turns his back to others left

Be not the one who shies, defrays

When the challenge rises, prey, be deft.


			

at the crossroads

Australian newspapers this weekend had but one issue in their ‘Commentary’ section(s) – Paris. For once I read everyone’s opinions.

By the time I post this, at least nineteen people have died in Mali. For once, media coverage was all over the hostage crisis, and our hearts go out to the families of those that died, as well as to those injured in the attack.

This past week has brought it home to me how truly lucky I am. I live in one of the safest countries on earth – Australia. We have never had a war on our shores, although we have lost many young lives contributing to them. We are one of the most reliable supporters of liberal western democracy and its ongoing place in the world. It could be said we ‘punch above our weight.’

Yet the very freedoms we take for granted are not supported in our Constitution. It does not protect our right to freedom of speech. However, Section 18(c) of our Racial Discrimination Act specifically says;

It is unlawful for a person to do an act, otherwise than in private, if the act is reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people.

To many of you reading this you may think this is reasonable, some may think it necessary. However, in a country such as mine which values the very freedoms we are not explicitly given, it serves to pare back from the classically liberal philosophy upon which nations such as mine were established.

Classical liberalism is a philosophy that assisted the Founding Fathers when they were writing the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson being a scholar. It espouses that individual members of society will have the right to go about their daily lives, conducting themselves in accordance with the rule of law, insofar as they will be able to speak, write, live, freely, so long as they cause no harm to others in the process. This leads to the primacy of individual thought, and government playing the role of protector of individuals against each other.

However, countries such as Great Britain, Australia and, to a lesser extent, the United States, have shied away from espousing the importance of classical liberalism as the basic tenet upon which free society was founded, erring in favor of a social construct that has led to government playing a far greater role in the lives of the individual than John Locke or Thomas Jefferson ever imagined.

This has moved individual thought from a sense of the need for self-reliance to a sense of the need for government regulation, a move from enlightenment to entitlement weakening the very framework of western civilization.

The further we shy away from classical liberalism, the weaker our free societies will become. The weaker we are the less the ability to effectively fight those that believe in anything but freedom. And if they believe in freedom at all, they believe in the freedom to think how they think, the freedom to believe what they believe, the freedom to do as they do, the freedom to say what they say.

In the West, the trend towards the espousal of political correctness as a basic paradigm can be seen as one example of our trend toward government reliance and a regulatory societal shift. The Learner’s (Merriam-Webster) Dictionary defines ‘politically correct’ as;

agreeing with the idea that people should be careful to not use language or behave in a way that could offend a particular group of people.

This can be seen to be an attack on individual rights to freedom of expression. Taken to its logical conclusion, the politically correct can shut down discussion and/or argument in free society about issues of import and opinion on those issues that does not comply with the politically corrects point-of-view.

This is one reason why the West has been at pains not to mention the word ‘Islam’ in public speech relating to terrorist activity by terror groups such as ISIL and Boko Haram.

Political correctness has now graduated to the stage where it can be seen to be the ‘macro’ definition of what’s right and wrong. There’s a new word in town – ‘micro-aggression.’

Frank Furedi explained this very well in his excellent article of 21st November in The Weekend Australian, entitled ‘Whatever you say is highly offensive.’ Let me give you an example. I’m in a lift and say to the person across the way; “Hi, how are you? Where are you from?” That is a form of micro-aggression, for if they are from, say, the Sudan, and I’m from Australia, my comment could affect their sense of self-worth, for what I’m (apparently) really telling them is:

You’re a lesser person than me because you’re from Africa and you’re black.

The fact is, I just like having a chat to ‘break the ice’ in what’s almost always an awkward situation.

Go to http://www.microaggressions.com and you’ll see what I mean.

In essence, I welcome open conversation, disagreement, argument on issues of importance to us all in our day-to-day lives. The extreme left are trying to de-value those discussions by telling the rest of us there is only one way to think, one way to act, one way to speak.

These ‘trends’ in liberal, western, democratic society weaken our ability to fight for what most of us truly hold dear – the very freedoms upon which philosophers like John Locke and statesman like Thomas Jefferson built reputations and declarations.

Classical liberalism was the basic tenet upon which free society was created. It will be the basic tenet upon which free society will succeed. Let’s not put in doubt the freedoms our forefathers fought so hard to provide by over-riding those freedoms with regulatory restraints designed to reign in the free expression we hold so very dear.

Lest we forget

I took my choc lab down the beach this morning. She loves to play with the other dogs and chase the ball while I talk to the ‘locals,’ a little community all their own.

Our sense of safety and security never occurred to us. We all waded our feet in the water and walked on the sandy beach, lapping up the warm sunshine that the morning had brought to us. How fortunate we all were? The photo that goes with this piece is of my choc lab, Kahlua. How lucky I am to have her? Her sense of living for the moment is ever-present.

Recent events have brought home to me my feeling of fortune and privilege. As we think of those loved ones left behind and those less fortunate who lost their lives in Paris on November 13th, let’s also save a thought for those innocent civilians in Nigeria, Turkey, Pakistan, Chad, and other nations, who were unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Liberal western democracies tend to empathise with liberal, western democracies. The attack in Paris at Charlie Hebdo’s office was seen as an attack on our very own freedom of speech. Our empathy was made clearer by the sense that Charlie Hebdo is a satirical magazine.

Yet around the same time over a hundred civilians were murdered in Baga, Nigeria, by Boko Haram, an Islamist terror group. The number of fatalities cannot be confirmed, some reporting as many as 2,000.

Reading up about Boko Haram and Nigeria’s troubles, there is good reason why terror attacks in liberal democracies gain more traction.

1. Access – freedom of movement in and around the attack(s) is easier to achieve
2. Familiarity with the fallen – the greater the ‘likeness’ between the fallen and the empathetic, the greater the empathy
3. Media coverage – the more we hear about something the greater its impact on our ‘sensibilities.’

There will be much said about what occurred in Paris. But let us not forget that (using Wikipedia as my guide), there have been 289 terror attacks up to November 13th, in 2015 alone.

These include:-

• A suicide bombing in Nigeria, October 2nd, killing 18
• A car bombing in Iraq, October 5th, killing 57
• Suicide bombings in Turkey, October 10th, killing 102
• Suicide bombings the same day, in Chad, killing 38
• A suicide bombing in Nigeria 4 days later, killing 42
• Bombings in Nigeria, October 23rd, killing 27
• A suicide bombing in Pakistan the same day, killing 22
• A suspected bombing in Egypt, October 31st, killing 224 (Metrojet Flight 9268)

So let’s value our freedom and fight for it at every turn. Let’s never take it for granted. Let’s realize that it isn’t given lightly and can easily be taken away. And let’s bring into our circle of empathy innocent civilians who so happen to live in societies that don’t yet have the privilege of being liberal, western, or democratic.

showers with a chance of rain

Billy asked his wife that day

About the weather forecast.

“Showers, honey, just a few,

But don’t think they will last.”

“There could be rain,” said Billy’s son,

A high percentage chance of falling.

Tim Bailey said so, on Channel Ten.

‘Daily Bailey’ I think they call him.”

“The rain could become a storm, I heard,”

Said Jill, Billy’s youngest daughter.

“Late today a cool change’ll come.

It’ll be a mild change…, well…, sorta.”

“That storm could bring thunder and lightning

To the whole of the North Shore,

So be careful, hun, when heading out,

It could arrive with an almighty roar.”

“Yeah, Mum,” Billy’s son Ben chimed in,

“A storm, of that I’m certain.

But if hail comes, we’ll batten down

Last time we replaced the curtains.”

“It’s all to do with climate change, son,

That bloody global warming.

This season’s gunna be one long, hot summer,

The flies, they will be swarming.”

“I know, sweetie,” Billy’s wife replied,

“It sure is nasty weather.

One things for sure, if I’m certain at all

It’s that we’ll live (and love) through it together.”


Postscript: Tim Bailey is a ‘weatherman’ on Channel Ten’s nation-wide Eyewitness News, in Australia.

black dog

He senses darkness,

Won’t go away,

The black dog no-one sees.

He senses darkness,

Ever present,

The grey cloud, on his knees.

He senses darkness,

With him only,

Talking as he walks.

He senses darkness,

The black dog barks,

In the road there is a fork.

He senses darkness,

It frustrates him,

No matter which turn he takes.

He senses darkness,

It’s driving him,

The traffic, it awakes.

He senses darkness,

It’s telling him,

It’s time to make a choice.

He senses darkness,

It’s willing him,

But with that there’s a voice.

The voice, it tells him,

“Away the lead,”

Let black dog roam free.

He senses light,

Omnipresent,

As he lets black dog

Off the lead.

He senses light,

Overwhelming,

He turns…,

And there…

Is me.


For those suffering from depression and living in Australia, the following are good places to find support groups that can help:-

http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au, OR

http://www.beyondblue.org.au

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