Friday, April 18, 2014

A Spray of Roses.

Every woman wants to hold a spray of roses
every woman loves to receive them from a man
but there's just a single rose posted on my Facebook wall
and I know there's someone there who understands

You may have wondered why I post this single rose
you may think that it looks so lonely pictured there
but every single rose needs to be enclosed
within a spray of friends who really care.

Sometimes a man needs to write some poetry
sometimes he needs to get things off his chest
but most of all he needs someone to give him back a rose
to know they understand is what he loves best.

I think I'll go and plant a rose in our front garden
and every time I see it blooming there
I'll be reminded of the single rose I posted on my Facebook wall
to remember a lost child no longer here.

Rest in that peaceful world, Summer Rose.
11/1/1997 - 15/4/2014


Monday, April 14, 2014

Spanish Dancing.

Spanish dancing
Captivating dark brown eyes
flirt with me, tempting me
Each step in time, each move with mine
Spanish dancing
Spanish dancing
Gonna dance together
All our lives.

Lipizzaner horses, greys and whites
Intricate prancing wove a magic night
Vienna waltzing, dresses swirled
Lovers gracefully carouselled
We should have been dancing
We should have been dancing.

We danced on Ronda's old castellated wall
hand in hand we walked her canyon tall
Now Andalusia's old bandoleros
forever play flamenco music for us.
Spanish dancing.
Spanish dancing.
Gonna dance together
your eyes to mine.
Hips are moving, baby, light my fire
pump that emotion crazy, lost to desire
Take me up gently, lay me down light
Am I responsible for what happened that night?
Spanish dancing
Spanish dancing
We'll dance together
all of our life.

Your heels are stamping out that sexy tattoo
Flaunt your dress, baby, I'm staring at you
Life is the dance, baby - love's pas de deux
I'll die of a broken heart, baby, when you dance on through.
Spanish dancing
Spanish dancing
Life is the dance, baby - love's pas de deux
I'll die of a broken heart, baby, when you dance on through.
Spanish dancing
Spanish dancing
Gonna dance together
into our twilight.


Monday, September 2, 2013

Uselessness of Honesty...and razor-wire.

There's a border so near yet so far.
In helmets and vests of Kevlar
we'll chance the sniper fire
that ranges along the border.
Convoyed through the razor-wire
to record this greatest of tragedies
human pain and injuries
silent chemicals beyond the border.

And knowing the deepest truth,
no matter whatever we say
conflict slashes and cuts both ways
just like razor-wire on the border.
Where the uselessness of honesty
carries decisions that burn both ways
to justify the missile fire
from far beyond the border.

No matter what we write,
truth will be twisted by the lies
to coil like the razor-wire
serpents that guard the border.
To the East the carnival burns
like gasoline in flame and fire
while the West reacts in ire
and remains beyond the borders.

Now we stand as witnesses
and weep as the missiles fire
sharing in the travesty
erupting across the border.
Knowing the uselessness of honesty
should we have told some lies?
Should we have let truth die
on the razor-wire of the borders?


Thursday, August 8, 2013

There Are Empty Plates...: Biofuel destruction.

There's a hungry lost child
walks a busy Delhi street
family can't afford
another mouth to feed
There's a wrinkled farmer struggling
as he's growing old
can't plough his field
his last donkey's just been sold.

There's empty plates in the state of Rajasthan today
rice is nice but it's twice the price it was yesterday.

There's a farmer in a rich place
maize growing tall
gets a call from Obama-
"Need your crop for ethanol."
he can't believe his luck
more green dollar bills
while a family in Rajasthan
they won't eat all.

There are empty plates in the state of Rajasthan today.
rice was nice but it's twice the price it was yesterday.

There's a Greenie sitting in his car
running on biofuel
believes he's doing all he can
to help save this world
but he's burning elephants
orangutan and all
as forests disappear
in the race for biofuel

There's empty plates....

Read here please-
Biofuel use contributing to world hunger report.
Brazil violence and-forced eviction for biofuel
Amazon rainforest destroyed by biofuels


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Whale Watching at Kaikoura.

Where mountains in line parade down to the sea,
in blue and white uniforms majestically,
there exists a rich garden of marine fauna and flora:
none ever more so than at Peninsular Kaikoura.

Off shore, Hikurangi Trench saps deep from the north
and Kaikoura Canyon lies submerged to the south
where the cold Southland Front Current disgorges forth
abundant rich plankton for whales' yawing mouth.

We all but delivered whales to extinction's door
when we callously engaged in their bloody slaughter,
but enlightenment today brings a sense of their awe
as we voyeuristically hunt them with digital camera.

I saw Kaikoura town once brought to its knees
with the collapse of the share market in the 1980's.
Stark boarded up store fronts told of grim poverty
but it's amazing how innovation creates prosperity!

Whale Watch tours started: a dime and a boat.
You ever think they could keep that business afloat?
Now we tourists are the great whale hunters today,
our harpoons are the pictures we capture and haul away.

Pictures courtesy Whale Watch Kaikoura.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Where the Fairy Tern is winging: Convicts, execution and injustice.

Old Army Barracks, Kingston. These date from the second penal colony, 1825. Picture Jim McIntosh

Much of history's accounts and popular literature perpetuate the myth that Norfolk Island's penal settlements were for the worst type of convict - the recidivist dregs, or the most hardened repeat offender from England's penal colonies in Australia.
Recent analysis of actual convict records disproves this popular misconception. 

"The legend tells us that the men detained at Norfolk Island were a particularly dangerous sub-stratum of convicts. Yet the original offence data shows proportionately few explicitly violent crimes. There were thirty cases of murder and manslaughter combined, fewer than twenty rapists, and merely a handful of arsonists and violent thieves. Nearly 70 per cent of offences were non-violent crimes against property, including burglary, picking pockets and highway robbery."
and -
"Explaining why prisoners were detained at Norfolk Island is one of the trickiest aspects of the second settlement’s history. As already noted, the assumption that Norfolk Island convicts were ‘all, or nearly all’ doubly-convicted capital respites is repeated in virtually every work mentioning the Island, yet it is a great misconception."

Most were shipped directly from England to Norfolk Island, via Port Jackson (today's Sydney) or Tasmania's Port Arthur, and few were the repeat offenders from Australian penal colonies as popular belief has it.

With memories of the Scottish uprising in 1745 still somewhat fresh, rebellion in America a devastating loss and an example of what the masses could achieve, and unrest among the Continent's poor, England's fearful aristocratic ruling class took extreme measures to ensure their continued control over the common person. Sentences were disproportionately long and unjustifiably harsh by any standards today. 

Overflowing gaols, full floating hulks, and the loss of her American colonies set England seeking new solutions of where to send her potentially rebellious poor, so The First Fleet's 11 ships set sail for Australia's Botany Bay carrying 789 convicts, including 193 convict's wives and their 14 children. 2 ships continued on to Norfolk Island to found the First Penal Settlement there in 1778.

There's an humanity and respect that needs to be reconciled to those once imprisoned on Norfolk Island. 

We should see them in the light of an oppressed poor within a system that administered harsh 'justice' to ensure the protection of the status of the ruling class. If so, were these convictions fair?

Hash brutalisation drives desperate men to desperate ends!

"I welcome death as a friend ... I have been treated more like a beast than a man." So spoke William Westwood, prior to execution for his part in the convict mutiny on 13th October, 1846. 13 convicts were hanged and denied burial within consecrated grounds and their bodies thrown into a disused pit, now known as Murderer's Mound just outside the cemetery. 

This is the only marker for those buried in  'Murderers' Mound' in 1846. Picture Jim McIntosh.

History's records of an earlier convict uprising show how brutal conditions were:
"Following a convict mutiny in 1834, Father William UllathorneVicar general of Sydney, visited Norfolk Island to comfort the mutineers due for execution. He found it “the most heartrending scene that I ever witnessed”. Having the duty of informing the prisoners as to who was reprieved and who was to die, he was shocked to record as “a literal fact that each man who heard his reprieve wept bitterly, and that each man who heard of his condemnation to death went down on his knees with dry eyes, and thanked God." 
Wikipedia History of Norfolk Island

I had an hour to sit atop a small rise overlooking the old part of Kingston's cemetery, which has burials from 1778 to the present within the fenced and consecrated ground.
Many visitors could miss the mound just outside the oldest part and close to the surf. Here is the mass grave of 13 convicts, who were denied burial in hallowed ground.

I was struck with the deep impression of the sheer unjustified harshness of the social conditions that bound these ordinary men to be caught in a system they had no voice in, the conditions of severe treatment that dehumanised them and drove them to futile mutiny resulting in their punishment of hanging, and the subsequent denial of simple Christian burial and headstone.

Above me the island's fairy terns were flying. 
What thoughts filled the minds of an exhausted, brutalised convict in chains, as he looked up to see the fairy terns soaring above him?  

The fairy tern. Picture by Jim McIntosh.

Where the Fairy Tern is winging: Convicts, mutiny and injustice.

There's a grave that lies unmarked beyond consecrated ground
Here we lie - the executed: relief we finally have found
Above, a Fairy Tern is winging: pines swaying stately fro
Gentle surf is singing where we sleep so long below.

When I was once a young lad, just barely seventeen
To feed my starving family I took the rich man's bread
But the Peelers captured me, they beat me to my knees
The judge cast me down forever; hard labour is what he said.

And these rocks are crushing me
I'm desperate to be free
Where the Fairy Tern is winging
My soul longs there to be.

Our ship sailed out from Plymouth, I could bid not a fond farewell
Friends and family lost forever, on Norfolk now I dwell
Where rocks are sharp and crushing, these chains still have me bound
I have built my own stone prison and all these walls around.

And the cat is flailing me, cutting deep this worn body
But finally we have risen against this harsh brutality
Mutiny may prove futile: no one will weep for me
But I will seek my freedom where the Fairy Tern flies free.

Now I welcome this reprieve
Where the rope's awaiting me
Soon, no chains will hold me captive
Where the Fairy Tern flies free.

The fairy tern spends its breeding season at Norfolk Island laying one egg and raising its chick on a horizontal branch of the stately, and rather grandiose Norfolk Pine. These dainty white sea birds soar above the coastline in great numbers.

Pic courtesy   
Someday, justice may be served and those buried in that mass grave be accorded a Christian blessing in consecrated ground. Maybe the fenceline be adjusted to bring them within the company of their companions.

Murderer's Mound is in the centre of the pic on the left side of the cemetery fence and marked by the little signboard at the gateway.

Perhaps a Christian blessing of Murderers' Mound is long overdue?

This is a re-vised version of my article that was first posted here- Around the world in eighty