Friday, 3 October 2014

London Park

There are islands
in the sea of noise, traffic and marketing -
Green spaces
where trees stand impossibly, fighting for light
With urban wildlife
foraging for scraps from those who have plenty.

-----

He sits,
round glasses and blond baldness
One cigarette, then another, possessions all around
There's a watch, shorts and a bag-body -
another cigarette is lit and he watches alert
from the corner of Queen's Park.

-----

Red, white, orange, yellow -
roses and buildings grow together
stunted by what's around and beneath.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Poetry from the Park

This world is a trap
With its trees, pensions, streaming media and
divisions
Each label is designed, formed, created
To drive a wedge between
us
and our goal -
a distraction from the real...
A robin flies out - so small, colourful - alive
Watches from a stick with black eyes
and flies from the sleepwalkers who shamble by.
Your eyes can be bright too, alert -
the trap is open.


--------


When you look at the ground beneath the tree
So many leaves. It's hard to imagine
how they all fit on the branches;
But trees do that, they grow their leaves
to grow more leaves to supercede
last year's growth and this year's crop
casting shade upon what got them there.
Finally they drop
giving one more use as the sun shines
lower in the sky, casting shade longer
across fallen leaves.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Equinox Thoughts

Mist
rises
flowing, floating across the lake
pushing ducks and geese ahead of it.
The trees drink low,
Darkness welling beneath them
as the sun eventually rises lower
later.
Cold
sinks
and the warmth is
missed.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Day 9 - Potential

As the denizens of Twitter will tell you every day, it does seem to be getting lighter out. On cloudless days you can now leave work in the reddening sunshine, but sunshine nevertheless, and soon there will be a day when I don't need my headlights on the way to and from work. Spring is beginning to make its mark and the world shuffles back to life from the gloom of winter.

For the week and a half that I've been doing this, coupled with a daily period of meditation, as well as the variety of things going on behind the scenes, I too am feeling that there is something magic in the air. As the days brighten, so does my outlook for the year ahead - from the science festivals that will happen this summer, to whatever happens beyond as I move to pastures new. Going over the ideas of expectation, obligation and conditioning make me feel genuinely released, and able to craft a future to my specifications, rather than to anyone else's.

It's very easy to look back with hindsight and see what we should have done, but that only wastes time and life. Now what I see ahead is a few months to build reserves and craft my intention for the time ahead, and then the impetus to go forward with courage. Where the future leads is anyone's guess, but my guess is that it leads somewhere that's creative, challenging and ultimately fulfilling. Dawn is breaking through the gloom at last, and not before time.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Day 8 - Collection

At Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery there is an exhibition finishing this weekend showcasing a small fraction of the British Government's art collection which is usually dispersed across Whitehall and various embassies across the world. It holds fascinating pieces from landscape and portrait through to photos, audio, video and sculpture, and this evening I was lucky enough to be taken around by the curator himself, thus giving an even more in-depth viewing.

The reason I was there was because it had been arranged by Stonewall, and as a Friend of the charity I was invited. Whilst I was there, looking round works from artists from the 15th Century up to the likes of Tracey Emin, I met a variety of people with their own stories to tell. I spoke to a lovely lady who works as a midwife, telling me of the teenagers that come to her after falling pregnant and who, in their provincial Herefordshire town, have been told by teachers that women do 'fluffy' jobs and men go out to be engineers. I met a designer and psychotherapist, who had worked at the forefront of technology from the 1970s onwards at a time when women were rare in that field, who told me of her desire to encourage more girls into STEM.

I also heard the story of one lady who has two children, but even though those kids are au fait with non-traditional families, their classroom contemporaries aren't, and tease them for having a gay mum. What also was shocking was that teachers didn't understand and didn't challenge the bullying, merely giving the usual advice of ignoring it, rather than doing what they would for, say, racist abuse.

In all three of these examples, what shone through was the compassion and the drive of each individual person to combat laziness and ignorance: In the first example the school is lazy in its career guidance and in all, children, teenagers and the adults around are ignorant to the fact that people are different in many ways, none of which should be causes of division. Why should girls accept what are condescendingly called 'women's jobs'? Why should children think it's OK to tease someone for who their mother loves, and why won't the teachers do anything about it?

I feel blessed to have been there this evening, to have seen the art and met some lovely people, but also to be reminded that everyone has their story, their history and deserves a chance to let people in to see that.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Day 7 - Release

My meditation yesterday spoke of releasing the bad feelings within in order to move forward, letting go of resentments towards particular people. My main resentment is towards the church at present, and even though one man sums it up, I've already gone into more than enough detail on this blog as to why this has come about. It came to me though that as I hold on more to this, all it's doing is bothering me, especially in our lovely British manner where we don't talk to the people concerned.

Nevertheless, the space to think has allowed me to release that, and although I will continue to disagree with him, I don't need to think that my holding onto the pain will cause anyone but me sleepless nights. We are all products of how we've grown up, our inputs, our conditioning and people do what they think is right given their starting conditions. I can't do a thing to stop or change that wilfully, as the decision is never mine to make, except for my own actions.

As my actions are the only ones I can control, I can be concerned with how I act and react. Nothing else need apply. As Wayne W Dyer puts it: “Your reputation is in the hands of others. That's what the reputation is. You can't control that. The only thing you can control is your character.” It brings it all back to something I lost under the weight of what I thought were everyone's expectations: personal responsibility. I need to dream again, to choose for myself and live to my potential, rather than trying to do what I think everyone else thinks I should do, because that's how I've ended up doing everything and nothing and feeling like I'm rather lost.

Personal responsibility. Dreaming. Potential.

Forward.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Day 6 - Obligation

One of the things I've encountered in my life - and if you don't believe me you can search through the blog for it - is expectation. Other people's expectations, being given impossibly high expectations but not being applauded when I attained them and being left when I didn't. Combine expectations with skills and what is created is obligation, the feeling of routine becoming inescapable and the asking of questions such as, "Is there something more than this?"

I remember a few years back I was chatting to a friend who's in the army. We were comparing lives - him with the ordered officer ranking and career path, me with my half-hearted attempts to break free from the expectation of a 'proper job' but not actually getting very far, or so it seems. I remember he said to me that he had money but no time to spend it, and I had time but no money to spend in it. A similar conversation held more recently with a good friend led him to ask, from the halls of government, whether this was all there was.

It's so easy to look at others and think that they've got it better, and for the sake of saving everyone from that particular Thought For The Day, I shan't go down that particular route. It's more about letting others be who they are and allowing ourselves to be released from the burden of everyone else's expectation. Without questioning and care, expectations become obligations, which become burdens leading to resentment.

For me, it raises the awareness that society has agreed the way that it'll be, but it doesn't mean that I have to buy into that. Going to acting school was a bit of a rebellion, but in one sense I went with a heavy heart because it wasn't in the plan everyone else seemed to have for me. It's time to shrug off that weight of conditioning, the illusion of expectation and allow the idea of freedom to take root.