Pronoun IT (rhymes with git)

how to represent this most varied picture

walking the earth, IT can transcend all fixtures

can fear neighbour, can love enemy

can worship mud, can pursue alchemy

to explain IT to visiting alien

ITS design, species’ justi-fee-cation

i’d start with two words ‘bout ITS dark and light

strands in ITS mind that can focus owner’s sight

‘fear’ and ‘love’ the words i’d offer

touch’d in first verse these abstracts make matter

love – that respect for – hope – fair and concern

fear – disbelief in – stuck on self-discern

i’d comment on matter, how love can set free

while fear keeps within, can nurture conceit

i’d say how these habits can grow on for years

compound with others – to crazy courses veer

i’d add how rare is split to binary

both elements show, in the majority

i’d suggest this right but love needs emphasis

fear still there to guard the heedless

i’d tell how love and fear’s influence

IT rarely considers in ITS daily busy-ness

decisions IT makes, point-of-view maintained

how self-question, might, held positions – defame

for fear is shyness, demanding on top

that negates the spirit, gives love the brush-off

acts not for ITS best, just don’t like unknown

fear? maybe vanity? never knows grown

my audience i think would question the sense

why more is not done, stop fear’s prevalence

i’d explain – earth’s growing, fear can sell big

lots of ITS love – what if? avoiding – what is, right now

John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ Is It Secular Hymn – Anti-Religious or Hypocritical Elitism?

Jann Wenner, the founder of Rolling Stone magazine has described John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ as “twenty-two lines of graceful, plain-spoken faith, in the power of a world, united in purpose, to repair and change itself.”

On Imagine’s 1971 release, Robert Christgau – major music critic and long-time senior editor for ‘The Village Voice’ – hailed the song “both a hymn for the Movement and a love song to (Yoko)”. When Christgau used the term Movement he meant the anti Vietnam war, a counter-culture, movement.

To the general public’s eye, the 2021 equivalent might be Extinction Rebellion.(Christgau said something else, to which I will return.)

Following the song’s original release, in 1971, Imagine got to number three in the US and number one in Canada.

Since then the song has made appearances in charts around the world. In Britain on its first release in 1975, it got to number six. After Lennon was murdered, in 1980, it got to number one and stayed for a month.

In 1999 ‘Imagine’ showed it had worked itself into the Brit consciousness – a BBC listener’s poll – to mark the turn of century and millennium – Brits voted it the nation’s favourite song lyric. I repeat – song lyric.

For some the song will always retain its particular beauty. The single piano’s gentle opening – the pretty turn of notes, then Lennon’s voice, sounding vulnerable to my ears – as he makes suggestion, to a simple thought experiment:

‘Imagine there’s no heaven …’

Flatterers and detractors have called it a hymn.

“How dare he make a hymn-like song – that praises the secular!” say the detractors.

Yoko Ono, Lennon’s wife, was sat in the room the morning he completed the song. Ono said, in 2001:

“‘Imagine’ was just what John believed: that we are all one country, one world, one people. He wanted to get that idea out”.

Lennon himself said the song was a sugar-coated version of another song he wrote ‘Working Class Hero’. That thought starts another level of thought concerning Lennon the artist, and irregular man, that this short commentary is unqualified to pursue.

Ono’s words reflect perhaps the major way in which the song is viewed by us, the audience – as voice promoting a world where brotherhood-of-man rules. Lennon actually uses the words ‘brotherhood-of-man’ in the third verse.

For such values choirs have sung the song – over 100 artists have performed or recorded the song. From Joan Baez to Lady Gaga – Jeff Beck to Stevie Wonder.

After all – what could be wrong with a song that sings about – what Ono says … one country … one world … one people.

A couple of things, if fixed religion is your thing, and also if you think pop stars can’t talk about idealistic values.

Negative Criticism

In 2006 the headmaster of a primary school in the UK, made national news when he decided those first four words of the first verse:

‘Imagine there’s no heaven … ’

together with four words at the end of the second verse:

‘ … and no religion too…’ made ‘Imagine’ anti-religious.

It does take an uncommon understanding and maturity – in what you believe in – to accept another asking you to put the thing aside for a moment. To accept that anything under the sun – is a human-made thing, with human-type frailty.

Surely it is a high form of spirituality that can consider – for a moment – the world neutral, empty of any such creations.

‘Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can …’ begins the third verse and this fires up a squabbling body-of-opinion.

Its followers say, when Lennon sang that line, he became a hypocrite.

“Because he was rich,” they insist.

I believe a lack of imagination regarding the spirit of the song, and a type of jealousy – combine, to destruct the accuser’s conception – of what a hypocrite is.

To be a hypocrite – is (roughly) to say one thing and do another.

Yes, Lennon had a pile of money.

But why shouldn’t he suggest – for this is what I believe – makes the song live:

A thought experiment.

Nowhere does Lennon suggest anyone gives away their money – while he keeps his.

When he wrote the song he was merely doing his job. Being a songwriter.

The song has also been described as sanctimonious. I don’t hear it.

I just see the “22 lines of graceful plain-spoken faith” as noted by Jann Wenner … ‘Imagine …’ an exhortation to thought experiment.

What Lennon Said

In the 1980 Playboy interview Lennon was asked directly what inspired ‘Imagine’. He answered:

“Dick Gregory gave Yoko and me a little kind of prayer book. It is in the Christian idiom, but you can apply it anywhere. It is the concept of positive prayer. If you want to get a car, get the car keys. Get it? ‘Imagine’ is saying that. If you can imagine a world at peace, with no denominations of religion – not without religion – but without this my God-is-bigger-than-your-God, thing – then it can be true.”

Thought experiment.

Which opinion I shall hold cause it fits without issue when I hear the song.

Thought experiment.

Oh it pains me to write … in the same sentence that Robert Christgau called ‘Imagine’ a hymn for the movement, he also said it celebrated Herbert Marcuse – a man in his lifetime known as the father of the New Left.

And Lennon in another interview said things that supported the far left:

“No more country no more politics” Lennon began and reportedly continued: “is virtually the Communist Manifesto.”

No it’s not John – and as for you Herbert Marcuse … both souls believed that Marxism, and all its theorised allies, Communism etc – are sweet, benevolent ideas, that if implemented could result in that brotherhood-of-man.

I couldn’t agree less. Like religion all such made ideas are the product of frail man. Unlike religion they have no philosophy for forgiveness or the sanctity of the individual soul. The Communist Manifesto is far far from ‘Imagine’. The Communist Manifesto is ultimately responsible for millions of deaths (see Solzhenitsyn).

Lennon and Marcuse were out the 1960s into the 70s. They believed a system could be changed. They believed if you started a communist system from the ground up, unlike Russia and China, you could make it work. They probably would have believed in Pol Pot. Look at Pol Pot.

Yoko’s Contribution

In the Playboy interview Lennon goes on to say:

“The song was originally inspired by Yoko’s book ‘Grapefruit’. In it are a lot of pieces saying ‘imagine this – imagine that’. Yoko actually helped a lot with the lyrics, but I wasn’t man enough to let her have credit …’

In 1964 Ono had relocated to New York and was mixing with the likes of John Cage (4.33). She had released ‘Grapefruit’ a poem collection – several began with the word ‘imagine’.

One of the poems ‘Cloud Piece’, was reproduced on the back cover of the original ‘Imagine’ LP.

It took time for Ono to get her deserved credit. Ono had it in time for a 2018 solo release of the song.

Meditation

After all is said and done, remains the song. It keeps with people. ‘Imagine’ is there for people to bring its sense and magic to their need.

Since 2005 ‘Imagine’ has been played in Times Square, New York every New Year’s Eve. The 2012 Summer Olympics, the 2018 Winter Olympics, and the opening ceremony of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics (in 2021) have all seen performances of ‘Imagine’.

Pre-recorded in the case of Tokyo. Performances by John Legend, Keith Urban, Alejandro Sanz and Angelique Kidjo, music by Hans Zimmer.

Particularly worthy of note was a virtual spontaneous performance. The morning after the November 2015 Paris attacks -when 89 concertgoers were murdered on a night-out at the Bataclan.

The next morning, Pianist Davide Martello brought a piano outside the venue and played an instrumental version.

Following this, Katy Waldman of Slate pondered the song’s life.

“The plainest and least complicated key … gentle as a rocking chair … underpins lyrics that belong to the tradition of spirituals that visualise a glorious after-life – without talking of any end to suffering on earth.”

I can only add:

The alchemy of that “gentle as a rocking chair melody” that exhortation – ‘Imagine’ – it makes us think.

About a world – a little different. A world that may not even – ever – exist.

But it makes us think about it. Imagine it. And in that moment, we are better for having the song.

It’s more or less what Ringo Starr said, when faced with questions about the song on a Barbara Walter TV interview.

“Imagine” Ringo said, “just – imagine.’

Bob Dylan Nod At Smokey Robinson – Move to Frank Sinatra

I once played a kind of a trick at an open mic. Up in front of a room and I said:

‘In the 1960s Bob Dylan – called the writer of the next song I’m going to play – the USA’s greatest living poet.’

It was a modern music educated audience. There were calls:

‘Ginsberg?’,

‘Leonard Cohen?’

‘Joni Mitchell?’

I beg their forgiveness across the years as I remember how I started playing the simple and cute ‘You Really Got a Hold On Me’ a Smokey Robinson song.

It amused me – when I read, that – how during the 1960s Dylan claimed Smokey Robinson as the greatest living poet.

Did Mr Bob Dylan really believe it? I figured he probably did. I figured it would generally be thought of as unthinkable by a Bob Dylan audience – would confound their ideas – which is what makes me dub my question ‘a kind of a trick’.

Mr Dylan Did Write Love Songs

Bob Dylan always knew what really makes the sane world go round. From the beginning he spoke about his emotional life with regard to a significant other.

Perhaps he heard the spirit in Smokey R’s recordings and recognised someone who just got things so right.

For myself- for this is about me – a love song – Fly Me To The Moon – is a song I one day realised I really liked – after realising – I sang it to myself whenever I was especially in a holiday humour. ‘Yup’ I thought ‘I must like it on a deep – almost subconscious level’.

Covid lockdown found me spending time with the guitar – and in the above realisation – I looked at the song and wondered could I do it on a guitar. Could it be made to work?

The best known version – Sinatra pattern – is big band. That big sound does a lot of work. There’re two verses – then big musical break – works-as-bridge – then closing verse.

With just a guitar, my level of guitar, I couldn’t go anywhere near the standard version, which meant, repeating verses – which I didn’t want to do.

So I got the Bic out and scribbled to try and find a way to add a verse to make a through-line.

Finished version I’ve added a verse – and altered the existing verses to make it a more inclusive love song. Rather than it just being a – satisfy me – thing.

e,g: ‘Fill my heart with love …’ has become ‘Let both our hearts be full …’

I’ve given it a ‘songy’ ending. Sinatra version works with the big band to end.

Sometimes when I play it, I get the feeling it’s a got a touch of the chansons (French, life real) about it.

Think that feeling, makes me think – it works. Am planning to play it pretty soon, so will find out.

1 Fly me to the moon and let me play among the stars

Let me see what spring is like on Jupiter and Mars

In other words take my hand

In other words lady kiss me

2 So let’s try out for joy in our hearts a song store

You are all I live for all I worship and adore

In other words let’s both be true

In other words – if we do we could find love – us two

3 Yes let’s strike out let’s leave all the greyness behind

Looking for a place, with just love in mind

In other words let’s make this time

In other words faith in each other we’ll find

4 Yeah let both our hearts be full and let us sing for ever more

World is calling out for us to get wise and explore

In other words let’s keep the true

In other words – let us both grow

In other words – let us both know

In other words – let us both feel

I,

love,

you

P. S: song was originally named, – by its composer, Bart Howard Gayle: ‘In Other Words’

Eileen Aroon

G. C. G

I know a valley fair Eileen Aroon

G. C. G

I know a cottage there Eileen Aroon

G. C. Em

Deep in that valley’s shade

Am. D7.

There lives a friend I’ve made

G. Em. C. G

Think that’s where I’m going to stay, Eileen Aroon

Is it the laughing eye Eileen Aroon

Or is it the gentle sigh Eileen Aroon

Or is it the tender air, sign of a heart that’s fair

All in all a spirit rare, Eileen Aroon

Beat I was by less than truth Eileen Aroon

Found me space I found a truce Eileen Aroon

So dear your charms to me, dearer your laughter free, so dear your company Eileen Aroon

When like the rising day Eileen Aroon

Here comes the morning rays Eileen Aroon

What makes the dawning glow changeless through joy and woe,

Only the constant know, Eileen Aroon

Only the constant know, Eileen Aroon

A song in Irish tradition. Written originally in Gaelic. Covered by, among others, (in English), The Clancy Brothers and Bob Dylan.

Eileen Aroon is widely spoken about on the net. The Aroon part of the title is not a surname. The title Englishified, completely, would be ‘Eileen my dear love’. Aroon standing for three words – therefore the Gaelic was kept by the original translators.

The words above are my particular version. I used the original words as template then altered things so I could do the song, without the thought that a listener might turn off for other reason than the song’s *quality*.

In the first verse, for instance. Every other version I’ve seen runs as ‘there lives a gentle *maid* …’

How Karma Came To The Canteen Kitchen

When the head, and assistant chef, stepped into the pot-wash, on most occasions, they would accompany the pans and dishes they set down for washing, with a comment.

Almost all were directly aimed at Barry, the permanent employee I was partnering.

When I had started the holiday cover week, the head, and assistant chef had spoke about Barry.

‘He’s simple-minded, slow.’

The comments they made on their visits to the pot-wash weren’t so nasty. But they got irritating. The same thing. Recalling a verbal half-slip Barry had made the week before.

After about the fourth incidence, I asked Barry about what was being said.

He explained, insouciantly.

After about the fifteenth time, over the course of perhaps an hour-and-a-half, the paucity of imagination of the head and assistant chef struck me.

‘Speak your mind gents,’ I imagined intoning, and enjoying the silence.

Perhaps the head-chef, realised he needed to mix it up. Very shortly after that he started producing some pre-school French phrases:

‘Bonjour Monsieur’ and

‘Parlez-vous Francais’ to which I reacted by saying:

‘Estoy aprender un poco espanol’ and similar and the head-chef recognised I was saying *something* back to him and eventually a small exchange took place in which I, courteously explained I knew a little holiday Spanish. (With detachment there is a sickening thought that I was trying to explain I was not just a dish-washer… oh pointless pride.)

‘You should say something to Barry,’ the head-chef said, who continued as though speaking in almost wonder, ‘he’ll just look at you.’

‘Why would I do that?’ I answered the h-c immediately – and the h-c said nothing as he customarily left the pot-wash, and me with my thoughts.

Immediately my thoughts were not kind to the h-c. He was supposedly a grown-man, yet his treatment, his, empathy/humanity toward Barry, was no better than a snobby late-teenager.

I slightly admonished myself. I wished I’d said:

‘*What* would I do that for?’ – in order to give the h-c a question he might think to answer for himself. Perhaps the more directly interrogative *what* would find the answer – and the h-c would be ashamed at the answer he couldn’t avoid:

He liked the thought of making another human being a spectacle, a figure of fun.

Part Two

Slightly later on in the morning, a blonde woman, who I had, in my first days found sociable – but who had become un-sociable, nudged my uncomfortableness with her, a whole lot further.

‘Can we …’ she started, as she suggested a task for myself and Barry.

I find the indirect verbal construction ‘can we?’ especially irritating. I wonder at its origin. I think the phrase’s only possible decent use, might be as part of a podium speaker’s rhetorical question.

Off the podium, no-one, who has ever used the phrase ‘can we’ has ever took any part in the task they want others to perform.

No-one who has ever used the phrase ‘can we’ has ever had any intention in helping in the task they want others to perform.

I believe the ‘we’ when used by one person, toward a small group of others, is a method of detachment.

The person has an inability to say the more human and natural ‘can you.’

Perhaps the person who uses the phrase should be pitied.

Perhaps.

At the time, I was in the middle of a sweating, working day, and pity for a virtual boss was in short supply.

In fact I felt the opposite. I wanted revenge from this mealy-mouthed blandity.

A thought crossed the mind. A direct approach:

‘My father told me never to trust anyone who said ‘can we’ cause everyone knows – they never will.’

I discounted the consideration. I was a temp. Making an issue of something like that, *like that* would be seen as misfit aggression. But how was I to vent my sudden and demanding frustration?

I found a way. And maybe, ironically, I have to thank the head-chef – for his earlier attempts at continental tongue.

Perhaps without the head-chef’s earlier words, my month’s previous dalliances on the Babbel app would have remained dormant. But they didn’t. From somewhere I remembered the Spanish for *blonde* – and from other reading the fact that in Spanish, ‘burro’ is synonymous with donkey, and stupid.

Stupid is not what I wanted to say about the blonde, but it was near enough.

‘Usted Rubio burro,’ I said to myself.

Anyone with Spanish, might point out that as I was not addressing the woman I should have said ‘ella’ not ‘usted’. But it doesn’t matter. I had satisfied, articulated my frustration.

‘Usted rubio burro’ I said at the head-chef when he stepped into the pot-wash. And *that* made it even better.

Because the head-chef looked at me, blankly – and said:

‘What are you talking about?’

He spoke. He didn’t ‘just look at me’ but it was virtually the same happened, as he had told me would happen in another.

Don’t Beat Yourself Up About It, But … (After Plato?

If we live in an infinite universe, and the science says it may very well be the case, there is an ideal planet somewhere, that you are a part of, where you are your ideal you. 
If you met that you, living your ideal life, is there anything you, living your life now, would want to avoid in conversation? Would have to explain, excuse, be ashamed of?

Good Western Story? (30 sec read) update

Alternative words to a standard song from the 1960s

I sang this a few times, and many other songs the same using the personal pronoun ‘I’ – but no more for some time.

‘He’/’him’ I take the role of storyteller. It feels more correct.

Ten years ago on a cold dark night somebody got shot by the town hall light

Few were at the scene but they all agreed. the one who did the shooting looked a lot like me

The judge he said ‘Son – what is your alibi? If you were somewhere else, then you don’t have to die

I spoke not a word though I knew it meant my life for I was in the arms of my best friend’s wife

She walks these hills in a long black veil, she visits my grave and when the night winds wail, nobody knows, nobody sees, nobody knows at all, but me

The gallows was high eternity near I looked into the crowd I saw my brother Jake

A travelling man and my worst enemy I didn’t know he had returned he shrugged a smile at me

She walks these hills .. repeat

Five years ago on a moonlit night somebody shot Jake out at Abraham’s Heights

An alarm was raised and a chase was made but the someone got away they must have known that terrain 

She walks these hills … repeat twice

After a Facebook Post Concerning Israel

Inmo
Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians is inhumane, only a liar can claim otherwise. However: the Arab world is contributory to Israel’s behaviour only a fool would argue not. Israel is as an insecure child. It has learnt to be forever on a war footing. It has learnt that – to not be on a war state-of-mind is to invite street attack on its citizens. The war crimes it has committed, the land-grabs, are all symptomatic of Israel’s insecurity turned wanton.

What is lamentable, criminal, puzzling to myself is that Arab countries that have enjoyed wealth beyond dreams via oil – have not used their money to help Palestine – but to arm terrorists. And while I’m on the subject, where is their help for Syria now? 

From interview with poet Les Murray

From interview with Les Murray

Freddy Neptune Elias Canetti
The Murrays were old-style Free Kirk Presbyterians. They ranged from devout to indifferent, but most had at least a touch of that Calvinist moral snobbery I’m myself still not free of. They were prone to have a good conceit of themselves, as the old family toast went. Only two of us that I’ve heard of ever converted to Catholicism, my cousin Alice Gleeson and I. My father was so disgusted that he never, in nearly forty years, deigned to speak of my perfidy. Or not to me. Many folk assume I converted because of Valerie, who was and is 
Catholic. 
But not a bit of it—I came in because it is the best and only reliable Big Poem. I’d never taken much notice of Catholicism in my childhood or youth. But at university, I began to get a feeling—from people I started meeting—that they had another culture, hated by many but having some very interesting features. It had morals, in a different way from the Calvinist shame-culture I’d grown up in; and it had forgiveness. Catholicism was something of a bulwark against the 
Nazism of sex 

that I’d observed everywhere in society already, and would see even more of after the Pill came along: 
worship of youth and beauty; 

ruthless relegation of the dowdy, 

the unhandsome and the shy. 
And I would gradually discover that orthodox sacraments had the answer to human sacrifice, which I saw was regularly demanded by all ideologies. Really, I think my assent to the full sacramental dimension of the Church happened long before I realized it had. And that’s what I have held on to. The crux for me is summed up in lines from The Boys Who Stole the Funeral spoken by a dead World War One digger: “The true god / gives his flesh and blood. Idols demand yours off you.”

Yes, 
an idea is the worst thing to start building a poem from. 
By that I mean a formed idea that you’ve already worked out in advance of starting the—though I gather Yeats always worked this way, from a prose epitome, which he’d then deepen to a music. We have three minds, I reckon, one of which is the body, while the other two are forms of mentation: daylight consciousness and dreaming consciousness. If one of these is absent from a work, it isn’t complete; and if one or two of them are suppressed, kept out of sight, then the whole thing—whatever it is you’ve created—is in bad faith. Thinking in a fusion of our three minds is how humans do naturally think, at any level above the trivial. The questions to ask of any creation are: What’s the dream dimension in this? How good is the forebrain thinking, but also how good is the dream here? Where’s the dance in it, and how good is that? How well integrated are all three; or if there is dissonance, is that productive? And, finally, what larger poem is this one in? Who or what does it honor? Who does it want to kill?
Saint Moling told Saint Mochua, when the latter’s pet fly perished, only grief can come from the lust to own things.

You need to be able to interweave and contrast all the levels of language, so I don’t proscribe any. In Australia, “modernist” is mostly code for “totalitarian”; but there is one benign effect it had, of permitting and promoting use of the full range of language.

Dealing With Someone’s Death

It is all more real than it was yesterday 

The car that passes in the street outside

Drips from a tap in the bathroom

The pause your leaving has brought

2
Your going was sudden, this time last week

You were in my mind as someone to call on

I had something to tell you, I knew you would like

I liked your reactions they made you, you

3
Not dead, not really gone my mind still has you

Saves you, and asks, what you think of, whatever

You comment I hear and agree disagree 

You laugh and enjoy and remind me of life