Buy the paperback
Imprint: Triarchy Press
Published: 2nd November 2015
100pp. ~ 11.1 x 17.8 cm ~ Paperback
Tags: Exile, poetry, democracy.
Anyone interested in themes of displacement, exile and the place of the refugee in contemporary society.
Every morning, as the sky lighted towards spring,
the men awoke to the blackbirds,
sea gulls, donkeys and ducks,
whimpering dogs and lowing cows
and insects always hungry for their sweat or blood,
all of whom broke into the marchers’ dreams
of Maudie or Mary,
of venting steam or laying beams,
of lusty moments and hearty beers,
breaking in and leaving them like boats adrift
swamped with tears.
Ahh coming to light...
but others claimed...
It’s the earth crying itself awake
with tears of hunger and pain,
as we do each morning of our journey.
once an x-ray technician,
a man who had day by day
penetrated skin and viewed bones and truth –
mostly unwanted –
sat on his bottom,
legs flat on the damp weeds,
stretching this way and that,
remembering each morning…
….when he rolled away from his pink wife,
he’d place his feet flat on the sunshine carpet –
warm and slightly scratchy –
and exhaled a sound of complaint
as his day bumped into his life…
Windows Kiss the Shadows of the Passing Thirty Million - Part 1 by Robert Golden.
Windows Kiss the Shadows of the Passing Thirty Million - Part 2 by Robert Golden.
The INTRODUCTION - by Robert Golden
"Why do we now face this tragic stream of people being forcibly exiled from their homes, land and countries? Is it because of a band of fundamentalists in Syria and Iraq that this is happening? No.
It is a manifestation of two even more disgraceful human activities.
Since the early 1980s, when Thatcher and Regan adopted the ultra-right foreign policy of the neoconservatives (which included the idea of a clash of civilisations) and the neoliberal economic policy of globalisation and the privatisation of everything, the consequences have torn their way through the political, social, cultural and economic lives of Americans, Britons, Europeans and much of the rest of the world.
The bloating of the permanent arms economy, the off-shoring of industry to areas of low-waged, oppressed workers, the flat-lining of middle and working class incomes, the new and ever increasing costs of education, the continual assault on the welfare state, the creation of industrialised farming and, with it, the destruction of the family farm, the unfair free trade agreements, the refusal to admit to and help to change global warming and on and on… all these create a litany of short-term policies favouring the wealthy and the American and (to a lesser degree) the British banking establishment and the newly created national security state.
These ideologies – and the policies that emerge from them – have also fostered homelessness, high and continuous unemployment, and a mass of rootless people tramping within and across Europe and the United States as well as the Middle East. Combine those things with the endless wars that rage and the result is a renewed and greater crisis in which the destitute are now joined by the terrorised.
During a public meeting, someone asked me who I would allow across our borders – people fleeing terror or kids who want a better job? I said it was our democratic and humane responsibility to judge the policies of our leaders and the wealthy, not the victims of their oppression.
In his 1970 novel Mr Sammler’s Planet Saul Bellow spoke of “a conspiracy against the sacredness of life”. It begs the question: what overriding idea or concept do we presently have that can bind all of us, this loose league of humanity, together?
I would wish the answer to be universal. We know that Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela presented and represented ideas of equality, freedom and justice for all, which influenced many others beyond their own countries. Perhaps, with the help of the Internet, it may also be possible for us to find identity, common cause and solace across great distances, unregulated by local conditions, governments and media corporations.
But how can a nation, a region, a people, a group or an individual identify with a common cause? Too often in the past we have seen the emergence of simplistic, destructive codes of blood, race, nationalism and other ideologies of hatred. Read history carefully and you discover these ‘conspiracies against the sacredness of life’ arise from economic inequality, formulated or at least supported by the wealthy and their politicians to divert people from understanding that the true enemies of peace and justice are usually their own bankers, politicians and munitions makers.
Fortunately there have also been positive forces at play, forces motivated by and emerging from the common experience of suffering and desiring a better life which recognises that progressive change is only possible if the improvement is for all. Whatever these movements have been called throughout history they have always about one thing – a shared and honoured existence accepted by those who believe in the values of a person-centred rather than a god-centred world in which the needs of the individual and the group, of the majority and the minority are always treated with equal respect. Whatever it is called, it arises in our common humanity.
Previously religion and various ‘isms’ played the part of providing positive communal values. In most of these cases, whether within Christianity, Islam, Nazism, Communism or Fascism, there was an inseparable and malignant belief that sanctified their own believers while excluding others. This creation of the OTHER has always provided the fuel to destroy those who are not included in the definition of ‘true believer’. This process, which is fundamentalism, has always been an enemy of reason, peace and communal trust.
Fundamentalism appeals to the heart while disregarding the mind. It is a cheap rabble-rousing pitch designed to seduce the thoughtless, ill-informed, disgruntled and frustrated masses with a set of simple solutions, while diverting attention away from the real causes of their unhappiness. Witness politicians appealing to national myths rather than admitting to the failure of their own foreign and domestic policies.
In Europe there has been, until recently, at least a partially held post-Enlightenment, post-World War Two set of political and cultural values concerned with the need for personal freedom, equality under the law, fair play and equal opportunity. But the rise and then the failure of neoliberal economics, spawning, as it has, gross inequality, unfairness and self-interested sociopathic discordance throughout society has damaged the previous, short-lived idealism of unifying humanism.
Meanwhile many social democrats, trade union leaders, intellectuals, artists and academics – those who should know better – have bent their knees to the rich and powerful as if their rule is our fate, allowing the natural working class desire for fairness and change to be circumscribed and diluted through false political promises and the periodic cycle of electoral politics. The left has been silenced by the overwhelming wealth of the rich and made uncertain about its own beliefs. The left has forgotten history and forsaken its leadership role in the general progress of human history.
What then has been offered in place of the sacredness of life? We have been seduced by the hollowness of consumerism and then by an adoration of new technologies.
To move forward we need to remember what Milan Kundera wrote in his novel The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, that “the struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting”.
Meanwhile we twist our hands and ask, ‘what can we do about these poor people?’, when Anglo-American foreign wars, economic and trade policies and unregulated economic policies every day create more and more human victims.
This poem comes out of this adversity."
Robert Golden - September 2015