Sunday, 31 January 2010

Allen Ginsberg's - Wales Visitation

Llanthoney Valley


... as I read William Blake
In innocence
That day I heard Blake's voice.
I say I heard Blake's voice...
produced by the reconstruction of syllables on
the printed page in iron rhythyms
that rose to my year in a
voice...
Allen Ginsberg
Way back when,when acid was good in the year of my birth 1967 and flower children shackled their clothes and inhibitions, an iconic moment occurred in the Welsh cultural underground. Allen Ginsberg came to visit Wales to drop some acid. He had visited london for the "dialectcs Liberation Conference ", alongside R.D Laing, Stokely Carmichael and an anthropologist called Geoffrey Bateson, a guy like Ginsberg into far out ideas, holistic ideas, organic and otherwise.
Anyway Ginsberg came down to Wales with his publisher Tom Maschler, to spend some time at his country cottage in the LLanthong Valley in the Black Mountains near to Capel-y- Ffin , long a place of inspiration to writers and artists. A magical part of Wales, I visit about once a year to recharge my batteries, unwind, relax, chill out and look for some meaning in these turbulent times, change a lightbulb in my head so to speak.
Anyway along the way Ginsberg and his companions stopped to tour the ruins of Tintern Abbey, the sight of which put Ginsberg in an even more relaxed contemplative mood. This was to be the first time he had taken acid since a visit to see his friend, the poet, Ferlinghetti in Late 1965, on his trip he noted details that he said later were " the human things that everybody has seen in nature " that people seldom stopped to recognise and appreciate.
Wales Visitation was his happy accident, with acid he was able to trust his mind, leading to poetry of pure thought, a step into the doors of perception and like his hero William Blake he was able to walk down the hills of eternity itself. This poem was all about his acid trip with nature - total nature. It involved a lot of sitting round cross legged under trees for hours, projecting and plasmecizing his breaths into the cosmos, he compares the heavens and the air and vibes over the valley to an ocean tide slowly moving. He compared the breath that came out of his body with the air that soared through the trees.
It's one of Ginsberg's undoubtedly stronger poems, influenced strongly by the Romantic tradition, he came to a realization " that me making noise as poetry was no different from the wind making noise in the branches. It was just as natural. It was a very important point. The fact that there were thoughts flowing through the mind is as much of a natural object as is the milky way floating over the isle of Skye. So, for the first time, I didn't have to feel guilt or psychological conflict about writing while I was high. Also for the first time I was able to exteriorize my attention instead of dwelling n the inner images and symbols and keeping my eyes closed." This was not his last Acid trip but it was his first trip where there were no heavy judgements to be made. In the past he had been plainly provocative but now he had finally embraced an objectivistss viewpoint. All he had to do was see what was in fact in front of him without any subjective paranoia. Perhaps because of this his later poetry got a little lazier ,he perhaps tried to hard, his mind unable to simply turn of and float gently into natures spontaneity, he was still capable of magic, and flowing beautiful verse, but the layering of detail was never captured quite as magnificently than on Wales Visitation, the holy sacrament had worked its magic. He was just another man in a million seeking out a Welsh acid universe , far out man. Time is eternity, eternity is time, lets not get to hung up. Lets rewind, stop the world, release the anxiety, lets go back in time, sweet nostalgia guided by a sweeter medicine.
WALES VISITATION

White fog lifting & falling on mountain-brow
Trees moving in rivers of wind
The clouds arise
as on a wave, gigantic eddy lifting mist
above teeming ferns exquisitely swayed
along a green crag
glimpsed thru mullioned glass in valley raine-

Bardic, O Self, Visitacione, tell naught
but what seen by one man in a vale in Albion,
of the folk, whose physical sciences end in Ecology,
the wisdom of earthly relations,
of mouths & eyes interknit ten centuries visible
orchards of mind language manifest human,
of the satanic thistle that raises its horned symmetry
flowering above sister grass-daisies' pink tiny
bloomlets angelic as lightbulbs-

Remember 160 miles from London's symmetrical thorned tower
& network of TV pictures flashing bearded your Self
the lambs on the tree-nooked hillside this day bleating
heard in Blake's old ear, & the silent thought of Wordsworth in eld
Stillness
clouds passing through skeleton arches of Tintern Abbey-
Bard Nameless as the Vast, babble to Vastness!

All the valley quivered, one extended motion, wind
undulating on mossy hills
a giant wash that sank white fog delicately down red runnels
on the mountainside
whose leaf-branch tendrils moved asway
in granitic undertow down-
and lifted the floating Nebulous upward, and lifted the arms of the trees
and lifted the grasses an instant in balance
and lifted the lambs to hold still
and lifted the green of the hill, in one solemn wave

A solid mass of Heaven, mist-infused, ebs thru the vale,
a wavelet of Immensity, lapping gigantic through Llanthony Valley,
the length of all England, valley upon valley under Heaven's ocean
tonned with cloud-hang,
-Heaven balanced on a grassblade.
Roar of the mountain wind slow, sigh of the body,
One Being on the mountainside stirring gently
Exquisite scales trembling everywhere in balance,
one motion thru the cloudy sky-floor shifting on the million feet of
daisies
one Majesty the motion that stirred wet grass quivering
to the farthest tendril of white fog poured down
through shivering flowers on themountain's head-

No imperfection in the budded mountain,
Valleys breathe, heaven and earth move together,
daisies push inches of yellow air, vegetables tremble,
grass shimmers green
sheep speckle the mountainside, revolving their jaws with empty eyes,
horses dance in the warm rain,
tree-lined canals network live farmland,
blueberries fringe stone walls on hawthorn'd hills,
pheasants croak on meadows haired with fern-

Out, out on the hillside, into the ocean sound, into delicate gusts of wet
air,
Fall on the ground, O great Wetness, O Mother, No harm on your body!
Stare close, no imperfection in the grass,
each flower Buddha-eye, repeating the story,
myriad-formed-
Kneel before the foxglove raising green buds, mauve bells drooped
doubled down the stem trembling antennae,
& look in the eyes of the branded lambs that stare
breathing stockstill under dripping hawthorn-
I lay down mixing my beardwith the wet hair of the mountainside,
smelling the brown vagina-moist ground, harmless,
tasting the violet thistle-hair, sweetness-
One being so balanced, so vast, that its softest breath
moves every floweret in the stillness of thevalley floor,
trembles lamb-hair hung gossamer rain-beaded in the grass,
lifts trees on their roots, birds in the great draught
hiding their strength in the rain, bearing same weight,

Groan thru breast and neck, a great Oh! to earth heart
Calling our Prescence together
The great secret is no secret
Senses fit the winds,
Visible is visible,
rain-mist curtains wave through the bearded vale,
gray atoms wet the wind's kabbala
Crosslegged on a rock in dusk rain,
rubber booted in soft grass, mind moveless,
breath trembles in white daisies by the roadside,
Heaven breath and my own symmetric
Airs wavering thru antlered green fern
drawn in my navel, same breath as breathes thru Capel-Y-Ffn,
Sounds of Aleph and Aum
through forests of gristle,
my skull and Lord Hereford's Knob equal,
All Albion one.

What did I notice? Particulars! The
vision of the great One is myriad-
smoke curls upward from ashtray,
house fire burned low,
The night, still wet & moody black heaven
starless
upward in motion with wet wind.


July 29, 1967 (LSD)-August 3, 1967 (London)




FURTHER READING :-

The Visionary Poetry of Allen Ginsberg - Paul Portuges
Ross-Erikson 1978

Ginsberg:a biography,- Barry Miles
Virgin 2001 pgs 393-394

Dharma Lion: a biography of Allen Ginsberg _ Michael Schumacher
St Martins Press 1992 

Feeling the ripeness of the moment, Allen Ginsberg requests his host William F. Buckley on 'Firing Line' to allow him to read a poem. When Bill allows this, Allen unleashes ' Wales Visitation '....


Friday, 29 January 2010

HOME BEFORE NOON.


Freedom,
improvisation
dense smoke,
shivers down spine
all embracing
we travel on down to a blessed place,
drunk with possibilities
there aint no going back,
midnight
we are lifted off the ground
feel like staying allnight,
small town romances,
lead to
beautiful
chance occurances
and satori breaths,
later still,
we're all
still chanting,
sweaty palms
we stretch our mortality,
as the sun
comes up.
We are shapeless and crazy,
dawns gentle caresses
blow,
touch us sweetly,
as morning comes down,
our boundaries have been set aside
sweet surrender,
sometimes what we share
is so effortless,
" just like that! "
Could this be paradise?
No this is not the real word,
sometimes we need
to let go,
sometimes all we need
are random moments,
especially now
in times like these.

Monday, 25 January 2010

St Dwynwens day - Welsh Patron Saint of Lovers



Today is St Dwynwens day. She lived in the fifth century and was one of the prettiest of Brychan Brycheinions 24 daugters. She fell in love with a prince called Maelon Dafodil unfortunately her father had arranged that she marry someone else.
At Llanddwyn in Anglesey there was once the well of St Dwynwen, revered by the islands romatics, St Dwynwen became known as the Welsh patron saint of lovers - the Celtic Aphrodite.
In a dream there came to her a vision. It told of a magic potion which would dispel all her thoughts of love. So from the dells of Newborough Forest she gathered rare herbs and mixed them with her lover's tears and beads of dew from the petals of the snapdragon. Together , she and herlover drank the potion, and Dwynwen drifted into forgetfulness while ythe young prince turned into a pillar of stone.
A while later a vision came to Dwynwen and she was granted three wishes.She restored Maelon from his granite tomb and wished also to be rescued from the tangles of love. Her final wish was that all faithful lovers should have their dreams fulfilled.
So legeng has it , that on the ground where her lover had once stood , a pool of fresh water appeared. In time a wall was built around it and it became the lovers' well.
Many years ago there was a young philanderer of Cerig Mawr who admired a fisherman's daughter from LLandwyn. Often during the summer evenings they would stroll together along the cliff paths and gaze at the sunset over Caernarfon Bay.
Although he was a good-looking young man with a winsome smile, she had heard stories of his hilandering from as far north as Llangefni.
One evening when they were out walking they lingered a while at the well of St Dwynwn. There he told her of its mystic powers, and her eyes sparkled with interest.
" Sometimes, when you are alone and all is quiet, you can hear a voice ccalling from the darkness," he began.
Then he unfolded one ofthe mysteries of Lovers' Well. He lowered his voice in reverence, and she tingled all over with excitement.
"If the name of a girl's lover is called into the cavern of the well," he told her, " and if his love is true, then after a while, his name will echo three times from below." But he warned, the test of fidelity would have to be performed at the witching hour on mid-summer's eve.
June wore on until, at last, mid-summer's day dawned. Eagerly the fisherman's daughter waited for the sunset. And, as midnight approached, she stole along the paths with a lantern to light her way.
The well of St Dwynwen stood before her, silent as a grave. Her heart was beating fast as she leaned over the low stone wall and looked down into the darkness.
"Gwil...ym," she called into the cavern, for Gwilym was the name of the lover, the woodman of Cerig Mawr.
She listened. Moments passed. Then, from the depths of the well, a voice came back, resonant, haunting.
"Gwil...ymmm - Gwil...ymmm - Gwil...ymmm."
The girl gasped at the wonder of it all. She called again, and three times the echo drifted back to her. Fascinated, she peered closer into the well, and the glow of her lamp showed someone hiding there. It was Gwilym who clung to the wall in the cavern of the well.
With a startled cry the girl dropped the lantern over the wall and ran of home. As Gwilym looked up he saw a ball of flame come hurtling toward him. He lost his footing and went tumbling into the chill water of St Dwynwen's well.
No one remember how long he stuggled there, or who answered his cries for help. But folk say that his escape at lovers' Well brought an end to his days of philandering.
Today the well is choked with sand, and its votaries are few. But sometimes, when hearts are near to breaking, love-lorn girls moon at its rined walls.

FROM
Tales of North Wales ; Ken Radford (1982)


THE LOVER'S SHIRT

As I was washing under a span
of the bridge of Cardigan
and in my hand my lover's shirt
with a golden beetle to drub the dirt,
a man came to me on a steed,
broad in shoulder, proud in speed,
and he asked me if I'd sell
the shirt of the lad I love so well.
But said I wouldn't sell
for a hundred pounds and packs as well,
nor if the grass of two ridges were deep
in wethers and the whitest sheep,
nor if two hay meadows were choked
with oxen which were ready yoked,
nor if St David's nave were filled
with herbs all pressed but not distilled.
Not even for all that would I sell
the shirt of the lad I love so well

ANONYMOUS, 16th century
trans.Gwyn Williams

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Andre Breton - (1896 -1966) Surreallism and Painting





I have been impressed by the surrealists and their ability too confront what we take for granted in the name of art,for a while now,their freedom for me offers immediacy with their imagination and dazzling flair and their anarchistic search for freedom in art.
Who were these surrealists . I have often been blindingly confused between them and the dadaists, what was their difference, was it as simple as pure ideology. Can they be seperated or were they like two peas in the same pod? Both bent on confusion, trying to destroy all art forms that came before them.Sometimes all art leads too another, all gives life, indiscipline verses the opposite - do we dream in color or is it totally by chance! Seekers of truth in search of liberty.
Chief protaganist among the surrealists was Andre Breton,, a poet and essayist, who also played an important role in early Dadaist publications and manifestations in Paris. In 1921 he broke away from the Paris Dadaists and in 1924 he published the first Surrealist Manifesto, and followed this with a second one in 1924. His work stimulated the next generation on questions of contemprary art, literature , aesthetics and taste. The supreme incarnation of orthodox surrealism and the jealous guardian of its sanctuary.
The following is reprinted from " Le Surrealisme et La Peinture, 1927.


"The eye exists in a natural state. The marvels of the earth seen from one hundred feet above, the marvels of the sea from hundred feet below, can call as witness only the wid eye which relates all colour to the rainbow. It presides over the conventional exchange of signals apparently required for the navigation of the mind. But who will set up the scale of vision? There are those things which I have already seen many times, and which others likewise tell me they have seen, things I think I can recognise whether or not they matter to me -for example, the facade of the Paris Opera, a horse, the horizon;there are those things which I have rarely seen and have not always chosen to forget ( or not to forget, whichever the case may be); there are those things which having gazed at them in vain, I never dare to see, which are all the things which others have seen and say they have seen, and which they can or cannot make me see by suggestion; there are also those things which I see differently from everyone else, and those things which I am beginning to see but are not visible. And that is not all.
Corresponding to thes varying degrees of sensation are spiritual realizations so precise and distinct as to permit mr to grant plastic expression an importance which I shall always deny to musical expression, which is the most profoundly confusing of all. In fact, auditory images are inferior to visual images not only in clarity but in precision, and , with all due respect to some megalomanics , they do not serve to strengthen the idea of human grandeur. So may night continue to fall upon the orchestra, and may I, who am still seeking something from the world, be left to my silent contemplation, with my eyes open or closed, in broad daylight.
Now I confess that I have passed like a madman through the slippery halls of museums. But I am not the only one. In spite of some marvellous glances thrown to me by woman similar in every way to those of today, I have not for an instant been fooled by what those subterranean and immovable walls had to offer me of the unknown. Without remorse I abandond some charming suppliants. There were too many stages at once upon which I felt no urge to act. Passing by all those religious compositions, all those rustic allegories, I irresistibly lost the sense of my own role. Outside, the street prepared a thousand more real enchantments for me. I am not to blame if I cannot resist a profound lassitude when confrontrd by the interminable parade of rivals for the colossal Prix de Rome in which nothing, neither the subject nor the manner in which it is treated, remains optional.
I do no mean to say that no emotion can be extricated from a painting of " Leda ", that an agonising sun cannot set in a scene of Roman Palaces, or even that it is impossible to impart some resemblance of eternal morality to the illustration of a fable as ridiculous as " Death and the Woodcutter". I think only that genius gains nothing from following these beaten paths and indirect routes. At least such stakes are fruitless. Nothing is more dangerous to to take libeties with than liberty.
But once we have passed the stage of emotion for emotion's sake, remember that for us in this day and age it is reality itself which is at stake. How can we be expected to content ourselves with the fugitive perplexity brought to us by such and such a work of art? There is not one work of art which holds up against our integral primitivism in this respect.When I know where the terrible struggle within me between living and likely to live will end, when I have lost all hope of enlarging the scope of reality - up to now completely confined - to stupefying proportios ( by my own measure ), when my imagination retires within itself and coincides only with my memory, I shall gladly grant myself, like the others, a few relative satisfactions. I shall go over to the "embellishers". I shall forgive them. But not before!

ARTISTIC GENESIS AND PERSPECTIVE OF SURREALISM.

Early in 1925, several months after the publication of the first surrealist Manifesto and several years after that of the first surrealist texts ,the possibility of a painting which could satisfy surrealist demands demands was still being discussed.While some denied that a surrealist painting could exist, others were inclined to think that it could be found in embryonic form in certain recent works, or even that it existed already. Aside from whatever it might have owed at this time to Chirico in the direction of dream, to Duchamp in the acceptance of chance, to Arp , to Man Ray in his photographic "Rayograms", to Klee in the direction of (partial) automatism, we can easily see now that surrealism was already in full force in the work of Max Ernst. In fact, surrealism found itself immediately in his 1920 collages, which expressed an absolutely virgin proposition of visual organzation, corresponding to what Lautreamont and Rimbaud had sought in poetry. I remember the emotion - never again experienced in the same way - which seized Tzara , Aragon, Soupault and myself at their discovery; I happened to be at Picabia's when they arrived from Cologne. The external object had broken with its customary surroundings, its component parts were somehow emancipated from the object in such a way as to set up entirely new relationships with other elements, escaping from the principle of reality while still drawing upon the real plain ( and overthrowing the idea of correspondence). Guided by the prodigious rays which he was the first to make visible, Max Ernst in his first canvases agreed to take great risks. Each one is dependent to a minimum upon the others, and the general effect is in response to the same conception as the poems written by Apollinaire from 1913 to the war, each of which carries the weight of an event in itself. Later, when he arrived at some assurances of the profound meaning of his course and the means of its realization, Max Ernst still did not swerve from the urgent necessity of forever " finding something new", as Baudelaire put it. His work - as its power has steadily increased over these last twenty years - has no equivalent from the point of view of will.
Automatism, inherited from the mediums, remains one of the two major trends of surrealism. Since it has excited and still excites the most violent polemics, it is not too late to attemopt tp penetrate a little further into its function and to try to put across a decisive argument in its favour. In terms of modern psychlogical research, we know that we have been led to compare the construction of a bird's ' nest to the beginning of a melody which tends towards a certain characteristic conclusion. A melody imposes its own structure, in as much as we distinguish ( in spite of their interference) the sounds that belong to it and those that are foreign to it, and for all that is percieved by its own quality, which is totally different from the sum of its component qualities. I maintain that graphic as well as verbal automatism - without damage to the profound individual tensions which it is capable of manifesting and to some extent of resolving - is the only mode of expression which fully satisfies the eye or ear by achieving rhythmic unity ( just as recognisable in the automatic drawing and text as in the melody or the nest). It is only structure that responds to the non-distinction - better and better established - between sentient and intellect functions, which is why it alone can equally satisfy the mind. And I agrre that automatism can enter into composition, in painting as in poetry, with certain premeditated intentions; but there is a great risk of departing from surrealism if the automatism ceases to flow underground.A work cannot be considered surrealist unless the artist strains to reach the total psychological scope of which consciousness is onl a small part. Freud has shown that their prevails at this " unfathomable " depth a total abscence of cotradiction, a new nmobility of the emotional blocks caused by repression, a timelessness and a substitution of psychic reality for external reality, all subject to the principle of pleasure alone. Automatism leads straight to this region. The other route offered to surrealism, the so-called " trompe l'oeil' ( wherin lies its weakness ) fixation on dream images, has been confirmed by experience to be far less safe, and even very susceptible to risks of being led astray.
When Dali introduced himself to surrealism in 1929, nothing strictly personal had been augured by his previous work. On the the theoretical plane he proceeded yo change that by means of borrowing and juxtapositions, the most striking rxample of which is the amalgam - under the name of " paranoic critical activity " - of the lessons of Piero di Cosimo and Leonardo da Vinci ( absorbing oneself in the contemplation of a blob of spittle or an old wall until the eye begins to percieve a second world, which can be equally well revealed by painting), and of methods - along the lines of " frottage " - already recommended by Max Ernst to " intensify the irritability of the mental Faculties". In spite of an undeniably ingenuity in his staging, Dali's venture, ill served by an ultra-retrograde technigue and discredited by a cynical indifference regarding ways of imposing himself on the public, has shown signs of panic for a long time now and has only been salvaged momentarily by the organization of its own vulgarities. Today it flounders in academicism -an academicism declared classicism on its own authority alone - and in any case it has held no interest at all for surrealism since 1936.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

£ S D ( love , sex, death pounds, shillings, pence lysergic acid) Alexander Trocchi


Iron leaves glint,
where winds broke in,
red rot in rain:
my death is lead,
cloven by slow,
radium-sharp shark-fin.

In my soft tree-bole
bleeds pearl,
spreads spoor
of wee, unhungering,
ceaseless vole.

An end to blue and green
and tune;
no more delight
in the black cave
of yr feminine night:

the poor silt of years is thin to spread...
after I am dead, " Margarine,"
it will be said
"he mistook it for butter."

An end to the sun
moon, sky,
no young girl now will lie
in hot halter of a pregnancy.
...young witches,
old bitches,
silvered resilience
of stagelit thighs,
hot, husky cries,
mascareaed of highs,
excruciatingly artificial.

Few
virtues,
threadbare ascription...
clues: blues
cruise
unpaid dues;
... dropped Plato
like a hot potato;
wouldn't work:
hasish of the Turk...

There was a door between him and himself.
Out, like the biff-ball
from the bat,
the limit taut,
feet sunk in cement,
tripped over himself,
a closing hinge:
himself something
upon which he couldn't impinge.

REPRINTED FROM " Children of Albion, Poetry of the Underground in Britain, ed Michael Horowitz , 1969


ALEXANDER TROCCHI, PUBLIC JUNKIE, PRIE POUR NOUS - Leonard Cohen.


Who is purer
more simple than you?
Priests play poker with the burghers,
police in underwear
leave crime at the office,
our poets work bankers' hours
retire to wives and fame-reports.
The spike flashes in your blood p
permanent as a silver lighthouse.

I'm apt to loaf
in a coma of newspapers,
avoid the second-hand bodies
which crie to be cataloqued.
I dream I'm
a divine right Prime Minister,
I abandon plans for bloodshed in Canada,
I accept an O.B.E.

Under hard lights
with doctor's instruments
you are at work
in the bathrooms of the City,
changing the Law.

I tend to get distracted
by hydrogen bombs,
by Uncle's disapproval
of my treachery
to the men's clothing industry.
I find myself
believing public clocks,
taking advice
from the Dachau generation.

The spike hunts
constant as a compass
You smile like a Navajo
discovering American oil on his official slum wilderness,
a surprise every half hour,

I'm afraid I sometimes forget
my lady's pretty little blonde package
is an amateur time-bomb
set to fizzle in my middl-age.
I forget the Ice Cap, the pea-minds,
the heaps of expensive teeth.
You don a false nose
line up twice for the Demerol dole;
you set yourself on the steps of the White House
you try to shoot the big arms
of the Lincoln Memorial;
you spy on scientists,
stumble on a cure for scabies;
you drop pamhlets from a stolen jet:
" The Truth about Junk";
you pirate a national tv commercial
shove your face against
the window of the living- room
insist that healthy skin is grey.

A little bood in the sink
Red cog-wheels
shaken from your arm
punctured inflamed
like a road map showing cities
over 10,000 pop.

Your arms tell me
you have been reaching into the coke machine
for strawberries,
you have been humping the thorny crucifix
you have been piloting Mickey Mouse balloons
through the briar patch,
you have been digging for grins in the tooth-pile.

Bonnie Queen Alex Eludes Montreal Houds
Famous Local Love Scribe Implicated

You purity drives me to work.
I must get back to lust and microscopes,


REPRINTED FROM " Flowers for Hitler ", Leonard Cohen , Mclelland and Stuart, Toronto 1964.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Caradog Evans - Father of Anglo Welsh literature. (31/12/1878- 11/1/1945)


Caradog Evans was a brilliant short story writer from Wales, bought up in in the Welsh speaking community of Rhydlewis, West Wales.Best known for his savage assault upon the morality of Welsh rural conformism, summed up up by the macabre conclusion of his story " Be this her memorial " which has the heroine, shamefully neglected for her sins by the sanctimonious chapel folk, finally eaten alive by rats in her lonely cottage.
He wrote about poor people in a rural West Walian setting, leading harsh lifes of struggle and quiet intensity, painting pictures of hypocricy, religious dementia and sin. His writings were grounded in local experience and fuelled by a deep personal outrage. He wrote from the heart and great honesty about a conformist totality embracing a whole community. In his book " My People (published in 1915)" he brilliantly satirizes village life with its " mean vignettes of sly, crabbed peasantry " to whom hypocricy was a way of life.Evan's wish to shock worked and he became a pariah on the Welsg literary scene and is considered a father of anglo-Welsh literature. He became an outsider in his own country because what he said about the Welsh was not popular in Wales. There were attemts to suppress " My People " within a fortnight of its publication, bookshops in Wales were quietly told not to stock the book and even Lloyd George " the great Welsh liberal " was quoted as saying about Caradog " Pride of place now belongs to the lowest savage. This man is a renegade." Praise indeed.
Yet his writings were universal in their concerns and appeals. It treats of lapsed humanity, and in a manner wholly original and compelling : in Caradogs imagination and feeling are the more potent for being under the tightest artistic control.His satire attacked not only primitive Calvinism, it cut across the psychic and emotional roots of the Welsh establishment. This very same establishment an all-powerful life of the nation force and still confident of popular support branded Caradog as anti-Welsh. His attack on institutionalised Liberal conformity was an attack on the nation. He even had the cheek to attack the sacred Welsh National Eisteddfod.
He was a writer and wanted his words to be read, a dissident then and because he spoke to the outside world ie, England, he committed the dissidents further crime of speaking to the outside world.
Caradog it must be said did have a political bias, in exchanges to a welsh newspaper " The Western Mail " he proclaims his socialism in various ways, overtly through his championing of the rural poor, " whose bodies are crooked with toil, and whose souls are sterile - labouring all the light hours to keep them ( the chapel leaders ) in comfort " and more obliquely in his support for the public house. " Wales would be brighter and more Christian like if every chapel were burnt to the ground and a public house raised on the ashes thereof." This remark is not that proocative, he believed that the temperence cause was a massive irrelevancy and that those who espoused it so fanatically had no understanding of the conditions of the working man nor any real wish to alleviate them.
Meanwhile Caradog continued to find " in the company of men who drank beer and hurl darts and throw rings for sport ", a democracy of debate quite alien to the chapel, " we know there is no harn in beer, but we are jealous of the pubs because men with theological opinios go there to discuss them... They are weary of sermos about the Red Sea, the Prodigal Son and Locusts. "
Caradog was never subtle and pilloried as he was he had his champions. Throughout his life he continued to write with a burning intensity, using Biblical imagery in his indignations.
A later work " Sapel Sion " was subsequently withdrawn from Welsh bookshops.Perhaps in his need to counter sermonise, some of his words get lost in there own welter of moralistic detail. Nevertheless even passed the age of sixty his writing style did not tame, his writing still cooking imaginative stirrings, immersed with an inner felt emotion and rage. His writing a curious mixture of imagination and fact, a satirists urge to scourge his fellow men, but not under any cloak of anomyninity but with his uncompromising honesty. It is evident that over the years his style became " Stylised ", his passion beginning to dissipate, his earlier rage and fundamental reason for writing becoming more calm. The savage indignation still rising , his urge to purge some deeply felt emotion.
The following is a list of Caradog's sayings, deliberately manufactured epigramatic sentences, which would then be worked , into his latest stories. They reveal his humour, he could laugh you now.
The original; spelling, punctuation and markings in the sayings that follow have been retained.

You can't have wisdom in your beard before you have grown a beard.

The difference between the saint of the New Testament and the saint of to-day is that the modern saint delivers his pronouncement at a banquet table.

No Welshman talks in Welsh if he knows English.

The only quarrel that exists between the Welsh and the Jews is that the Jews claim to be the Chosen People. They are wrong. The Welsh are the Chosen People. In Biblical Egypt they were the locusts that plaqued the Egyptians.

The Welsh are the only people who are brave enough to tell a lie as if that lie were a tuth.

The Welshman is afraid of only one thing : poverty. That is why he is kind to tramps.

The only person who loves his job is a sheep dog.

Foreigners write good English because they do not know English.

The English are cute. In every business there is a Scotsman as second in command to an Englishman. He is there to cook the accounts and go to prison if need be.

Life is like a perfectly told short story. The last thought is conditioned by everything one has done.

A Jew likes a Welshman in his business, because when the fire happens he can say that it was the Welshman's fault.

It is as indecent as an undertaker attending a funeral in an opera hat.

There has never been a great Welsh criminal. The Welshman at home seells addled eggs and diluted milk; but when he goes abroad he steals money.

There are more scandals hidden in a Wesh town of five thousand people than there are dealt with during a divorce court sessions.

Wales is a place of buried history and lost politics.

The Welsh J.P says sir to the policeman and the policeman says mister to the J.P.

It does not matter what an author sees in his work, it is what the public see in it.

The Welshman is like his scenery, triangular.

The best actors - the most feeling- are the men who conduct mock auctions.

There is nothing that dries sooner than a woman's tears.

Man's worst handicap is a chaste wife.

As dainty as a cow stepping into a stram on a hot day.

Dear me. You talk Welsh. I thought you were a gentleman.

Ducks hatched by a hen go on clacking.

As silly as a parish magazine run by the curate in his vicar's abscence.

The average woman's novel is full of gaps and nooks where lovers can commit adultery.

In all wars the idealist fights fr an imagined golden land, while the practical man gathers a golden harvest at home.

An honest Welshman is not a miracle; the miracle is how he became honest.

The only evil we see in another man is the likeness of our own evil.

The test of culture is that a play deteriorates after the first night.

The clergy believe that uman beings are cabbages inteded for heaven's horticultural show.

Most love children are fine children.

The mecca of a blind democracy is the university.

A kept mistress's consolation is that she is not promiscous.

Love is a carnal passion. If it were not there would be no divorces.

Shed God and you shed nothing; shed respectability and you shed all.

The woman of 45 who dresses as 25 is out for no good.

In these days of uninteresting wives and expensive mistresses, society is becomming celibate; that means that the end of the world is in sight.

Smutty novels are written by women of 60 for girls of 16.

Books don't make converts. Neither "Pilgrims Progress" nor " Dorian Grey " ever made a convert.

Cry agaist the wind and the cry comes back to you.

You may as well try and light a fire at the bottom of a river.

No more rebel sparled more splendidly than Mr. Shaw about 1887. His words blasted the trees in Hyde Park and his breath threw down the railings.

The hardest man at making a bargain is the man who says that he does not understand money.

Earth bound spirits, so some spiritualists say, are unhappy spirits. Anyway they have the privelege of hearing what their enemies say about them.

The test of trust is a blank cheque.

Money is the plain woman's beauty mask.

There are two classes of good people: those whom God made good and those who are rich enough to be good.

Actors and writers are drawn from the middle classes; that is why their appeal is universal. Artists and politicians from the moneyed classes; that is why no one understands their message.

Happily married people can live without kissing.

You set your face like a politician does to people who have come to remind him of a promise.

When bad men become scrupilous it means that Death is hovering in the air.


FURTHER WORKS BY CARADOG EVANS

My neighbours (1919)

Taffy (1923)

Nothing to pay (1930)

Wasps (1933)

Pigrims in a foreign Land (1942)

Morgan Bible (1943)

The Earth cries and takes all (1946)

Thursday, 14 January 2010

LESS TIME -Andre Breton (19/2/1896- 28/9/1966)


Less time than it takes to say it, less tears than it takes to die; I've taken account of everything,
there you have it. I've made a census of the stones, they are as numerous as my fingers and some others;
I've distributed some pamphlets to the plants, but not all were willing to accept them.
I've kept company with music for a second only and now I no longer know what to think of suicide,
for if I ever want to part from myself, the exit is on this side and, I add mischievously, the entrance, the re-entrance is on the other.
You see what you still have to do.
Hours, grief, I don't keep a reasonable account of them;
I'm alone, I look out of the window;
there is no passerby, or rather no one passes.
You don't know this man?
It's Mr.Same.
May I introduce Madam Madam? And their children.
Then I turn back on my steps, my steps turn back too,
but I don't know know exactly what they turn back on.
I consult a schedule; the names of the towns have been replaced by the names of the people who have been quite close to me.
Shall I go to A, return to B, change at X?
Yes, of course I'll change at X.
Provided I don't miss the connection with boredom!
There we are: boredom, beautiful parallels,
ah!
how beautiful the parallells are under God's perpendicular.


Sunday, 10 January 2010

MAHMOUD DARWISH - The Poet of the Resistance. (13/4/41- 9/8/08)

Sometimes words are all we need,sometimes we take things for granted. I am Welsh and I know my land. I know how far my border stretches, I am free. Then there is Palestine, a place where innocent women and children have been caught in a political, religious conflict for many a year.
Thousands left homeless by bombing, unable to repair physically or mentally by a continued embargo of food, materials, medical help - by Zionist oppression. This state of being still continues, broken in recent days only by the extreme efforts of humanists on convoy after a months struggle to reach the beleagered. Surely the humanist in all races, religions should transcend any political, aggressive stance of any nation against another.
Countries cannot be made out of imaginary sands. Borders create unnecessary demands on the innocent.The Palestinians now refuse their own destruction and drawing some kind of hope from universal truth continue to defy and deny the illegality of another countries oppressive spirit - this is why their culture continues to endure. The Palestinians have been under siege long enough now. They have not been silenced. I understand there resiliant cries when faced with walls and silence. There have been many crimes committed in many names. In spite of this the importance of poetry, music and literature to the Palestinian sense of identity should never be underestimated.
Personally I have always been able to walk free and have been uncensored in the words that I have been able to use or read. I have not experienced forms of oppression and the humiliation. I am still able to say I live in a land called Wales, I am not forced to live my life in enforced exile. My country is not currently under military occupation, so I shout viva Palestine with no apologies.
The 1970s saw the emergence of probably Palestine's greatest poet, Mahmoud Darwish, whose poem Identity Card is one of the most powerful Palestinian anti-oppression poems ever written. Mahmoud Darwish was born in al-Birwa, Western Galilee in a village that was occupied and later razed to the ground by the Israeli army. Because they had misused the official Israeli census, he and his family were considered 'internal refugees' pr 'present absent aliens'' His rich poems also speak of longing, dispossession and exile. A cosmopolitan man he cited Rimbaud and Ginsberg as influences. A writer of over thirty volumes of poetry , he became to be regarded as potent Palestinian symbol and spokesman for Arabs opposition to the state of Israel.He rejected antisemitism as we all should saying " The accusation is that I hate Jews. Its not comfortable that they show me as a devil and an enemy of Israel. I am not a lover of Israel, of course. I have no reason to be. But I don't hate Jews ". He wrote in Arabic but was also fluent in English, French and Hebrew. He believed strongly that peace was one day goin to be achievable, he did not give up hope. His work celebrated diversity and a world currently threatened by globalization. His poems were published widely across the Arab World an essential breath on the Palestinian experience. He was awarded numerous awards for his literary talents and when he died he was buried in Ramallah with thousands of Palestinians coming out to honor and mourn his departure. The following are a selection of this Palestinians hymns to resistance who despite his harsh climate once said "Sarcasm helps me overcome the harshness of the reality that we live, eases the pain of scars and makes people smile. The sarcasm is not only related to today's reality but also to history. History laughs at both the victim and the aggressor. "


IDENTITY CARD


RECORD!
I am an Arab
and my identity card is number fifty
thousand
I have eight children
and the ninth
is coming in midsummer

Record
I am an Arab
employed with fellow workers
at a quarry

I have eight children
to get them bread
garments
and books
from the rocks-
I do not supplicate
charity
at your doors
Nor do I belittle myself
at the footsteps of your chamber
So will you be angry?

Record!
I am an Arab
without a name - without title
in a patient country
with people enraged
My roots-
were entrenched before the birth of time
and before the opening of the eras
before the olive trees, athe
pines and grass

My father
descends from the family of the plow
not from a privileged class
And my grandfather-
was a farmer
neither well-bred, nor well-born
And my house-
is like a watchman's hut
This is my status
Does it satisfy you?
I have a name but no title

RECORD
I am an Arab
The color of my hair is black
The color of my eyes is brown
And my distinctive features:
The head dress hatta wi'gal
And the hand is solid like a rock
my favourite meal
is olive oil and thyme
And my address:

A village isolated and deserted
where the streets have no names
and the men work in the fields and quarries
They like socialism
Will you be angry?

RECORD!!!
I am an Arab
You have stolen the orchards
of my ancestors
and the land
which I cultivated
Along with my children
And you left us with those rocks
so will the State take them
as it has been said ?

Therefore
Record on the top of the first page:
I do not hate man
Nor do I encroach
But if I become hungry
The usurper's flesh will be my food

Beware beware of my hunger
and my anger!!


THE PROMISE OF LIBERTY

I walk the streets of the West Bank
With out fear, though the pirates drank
My spilt blood. My feet are torn,
Swollen by a dagger- rooted in the land
Where we walk, band after bold band!
We are a soft breeze to our fiends,
And gunpowder against hostile trends:
We march, and act, and we never sleep,
Because we have promises to keep:
Freedom beckons along the horizons afar,
Leading our footsteps, like the polar star.
We spare no effort, sacrifice or toil
Till we celebrate the liberty of our soil.

WE JOURNEY TOWARDS A HOME

We journey towards a home not of our flesh. Its chestnut trees are not of our bones.
Its rocks are not like goats in the mountain hymn. The pebbles eyes are not lilies.
We journey towards a home that does not halo our heads with a special sun.
Mythical women applaud us. A sea for us, a sea against us.
When water and wheat are not at hand, eat our love and drink our tears...
There are mourning scarves for poets. A row of marble statues will lift our voice.
And an urn to keep the dust of time away from our souls. Roses for us and agaist us.
You have your glory, we have ours. Of our home we only see the unseen:
our mystery.
Glory is ours: a throne carried on feet torn by roads that led to every home
but our own!
The soul must recognise itself in its very soul, or die here.

translated by Munir Akasha

THE PASSPORT

They did not recognise me in the shadows
That suck away my color in this Passport
And to them my wound was an exhibit
For a tourist who loves to collect photographs
They did not recognise me,
Ah... Don't leave
The palm of my hand without the sun
Because the trees recognise me
Don't leave me pale like the moon!

All the birds that followed my palm
to the door of the distant airport
All the wheat fields
All the prisons
All the white tombstones
All the barbed boundaries
All the waving handkerchiefs
All the eyes
were with me,
But they dropped them from my passport

Stripped of my name and identity?
On a soil I nourished with my own hands?
Today Jacob cried out
Filling the sky:
Don't make an example of me again!

Oh, gentlemen, Prophets,
Don't ask the trees for their names
Don't ask the valley who their mother is
From my forehead bursts the sword of light
And from my hand springs the waterof the river
All the hearts of the people are my identity
So take away my passport!

THE PRISON CELL

It is possible
It is possible at least sometimes
It is possible especially now
To ride a horse
Inside a prison cell
And run away...

It is possible for prison walls
To dissapear
For the cell to become a distant land
Without frontiers

What did you do with the walls?
I gave them back to the rocks.
And what did you do with the ceiling?
I turned it into a saddle.
And your chain?
I turned it into a pencil.

The prison guard got angry
he put an end to the dialoque.
He said he didn't care for poetry,
And bolted the door of my cell.

He came back to see me
in the morning.
He shouted at me:

Where did all this water come from?
I bought it from the Nile.
And the trees?
From the orchards of Damascas
And the music?
From my heartbeat.

The prison guard got mad.
He put an end to my dialoque.
He said he didn't like my poetry,
And bolted the door of my cell.

But he returned in the evening:

Where did this moon come from?
From the nights of Baghdad.
And the wine?
From the vineyards of Algiers.
And this freedom?
From the chain you tied me with last night.

The prison guard grew so sad...
He begged me to give him back
His freedom.

Translated by Ben Bennai

Below
inspired by Darwish
Palestinian Artist Walid Rachid mixed his colors and brushes into
deferrant meaning, translating a poet into painting.


Wait for her- Mahmoud Darwish with Le Tri Joubren
truly magical


Friday, 8 January 2010

Dennis Brutus- Poet and Freedom Fighter, R.I.P (28/11/24-26/12/09





















Dennis Brutus who died just after Christmas was a poet and former inmate with Nelson Mandela at Robben Island in the mid -1960s, a fierce campaigner against South Africa's racist apartheid regime, after apartheid's wall came crumbling down he carried on campaigning for social justice and freedom through his poems untill his dying breaths . A prolific poet and inspiration to thousands,in his lifetime he produced over 12 collections of passionate verse. Another humanist light has been switched of.

THERE WILL COME A TIME

There will come a time
There will come a time we believe
when the shape of the planet
and the divisions of the land
will be less important
we will be caught in a glow of friendship
a red star of hope
will illuminate our lives
a star of hope
a star of freedom.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

DRUNK -An interpretation of Baudelaire's prose poem, The Drunken Song by Brian Patten


Well it's the time of year where once again I contemplate sobriety, never again I cry, but with my shaking hand wavering thought i'd quickly post this little ode to drunkeness, still searching out the hidden meanings between words, salute



People are sober as cemetery stones!
They should be drunk!
We should all be drunk!
Look, it's nearly night time and the sober news
Comes dribbling out of television sets -
It should be drunken news,
If only it were drunken news!
Only festivals to report and the sombre death
of one ancient daisy.
It's time toget drunk, surely it's time?
Little else matters;
Sober the years twist you up,
Sober the days crawl by ugly and hunched and your soul-
it becomes like a stick insect!

I've spent so much time in the company of sober and
respectable men,
And I learned how each sober thought is an obstacle laid
between us and paradise.
We need to wash their words away,
we need to be drunk, to dance in the certainty
that drunkeness is right.

So come on, let's get drunk,
let's instigate something!
Let's get drunk on whatever we want-
on songs, on sex, on dancing,
on tulip juice or meditations,
it doesn't matter what-
but no soberness, not that!
It's obscene!
When everything you deluded yourself you wanted has gone
you can get drunk on the loss,
when you've rid yourself of the need for those things back
then you will be light,
you will be truly drunk.

For everything not tied down is drunk-
boats and balloons, aeroplanes and stars-
all drunk.
And the morning steams with hangovers,
and the clouds are giddy
and beneath them swallows swoop, drunk,
and flowers stagger about on their stems
drunk on the wind.

Everything in Heaven's too drunk to remember hell.

And the best mosters are drunken monsters,
trembling and dreamig of beanstalks
too high for sober Jack to climb,
and the best tightrope walkers are drunken tightrope walkers,
a bottle in each hand they stagger above the net made
of the audience's wish for them to fall.

Drunk, I've navigated my way home by the blurry stars,
I've been drunk on the future's possibilities
and drunk on its certainties,
and on all its improbabilities I've been so drunk
that logic finally surrendered.

So come on
no matter what time it is
no matter where it is
in the room you hate
in the green ditch bloated with spring,
beside the river that flows
with its million little tributaries
into a million little graves
it doesn't matter-
it's time to get drunk.

If one night of oblivion can wash away
all the petty heartache then fine,
reach for the ancient medicine.

And if you wake from drunkeness
don't think too much about it,
don't stop to think.
Don't bother asking clocks what time it is,
don't bother asking anything that escapes from time
what time it is,
for it will tell you as it runs,
leap-frogging over all obstacles,
Why idiot, don't you know? It's time to get drunk!
Time not to be the prisoner of boredom
or cemetery stones!
Be drunk on what you want,
Be drunk on anything, anything at all
but please-
Understand the true meaning of drunkeness!


FROM:-Grave Gossip,
Brian Patten;
Unwin Paperbacks 1979

Friday, 1 January 2010

MY FIRST LANGUAGE- Eric Ngalle Charles



Oil and water
Never blend-
One stands up,
One beneath.

"Like a gorilla
And a monkey
Claiming oneness,"-
Look closer-
" The monkey is monkey
And the gorilla gorilla."

That's not me.
In captivity I eat banana,
In the wild savagery.

Contained
Leaving my roots,
I was a goat.
I had three kids.
You - a lion -
Had just one,
Still devouring mine.
I replenish my kind,
You wait your turn.
I trespass,
Being a protectorate,
Not Knowing
So many distant borders -
What's the difference?
Not deserving the treatment.

Then I skip,
Learning to jump,
Like doctor Jack Mapanje
The queue staring at me -
I don't have a face
If that's all I am,
As if my mother abused drugs.

Feeling sorry for me
With vouchers as in chids lay,
Buying food from Tesco
As the fat lady
Questions my strangeness
And witnesses point a finger
I thought I was a scarecrow.
So be it.

Clarify intent,
Teach truth in history,
Then they may
Not laugh at me.
Then you ask,
What's my first language?
Ask my granny,
Oh no, the generation's gone,
Still confused
Which language they spoke.
I thought
I am Portugese
Never owning a plantation
Of my own,
Then I thought
I am German,
Then I realised
The English kicked
The Kingdom out.

They said
I was French -
Oh no, Marie! le bread!

Thanks to the queen-
Queen Victoria that is -
I was given the name
Charles.
Rumours say he was the great.
Maybe I'm a Mormon
Tracking a family tree.

Communism never thrived,
Blaming the heat.
Here in Wales
Starting with " Bore da ",
Still wondering -
A first language?
Studying English,
An adopted tonque,
Through life -
What makes you think?
I know mylanguage,
Existing passively,
As others came
And others left,
Surprised why
I speak in tonques.


HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY DESTROY ALL BORDERS TURN HATE INTO LOVE
Welsh Consortium for Refugees and Asylum seekers
Brynglas Bungalow
Heol Brynglas
Newport
NP20 5QU

01633 855095

HAFAN BOOKS

was established in 2003 by Eric Ngalle Charles, Tom Cheesman and Sylvie Hoffmann, in order to provide an outlet in Wales for the creativity of refugees and asylum seekers, and their supporters; to to educate the public; and to raise money for charities assistind refugees and asylum seekers.
www.hafan.org
tel: 07736408064

Welsh Refugee Council
Phoenix House,
389 Newport Road,
Cardiff
1TP
tel:029 2048 9800
www.refugeecouncil.org