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Its time

Just a poem about nature.

We battle our way on these tracks we call roads, following all the other sheep going who know where to do who knows what, until we use the same tracks to take us back to get fed and rested before we all do it again. We live in concrete towers, in boxes within them, we work to earn money for the right to live there and eat processed so call food with plastic knives and forks, and spoon or shovel dessert into the gaping hole in the front of our heads. We wear coverings called clothes and shoes from people who are clever enough to get us to part with our earnings for pieces of material held together by the flimsiest of threads.

Those pesky Ibises have come around again, making a mess of our manicured lawns and concrete parks. The try to deprocess the food so they can digest what goodness if any that has been left behind. Get out! We shout. Go back to where you came from. But, they say, this is where we came from before you knocked down out trees, filled in our lakes and built airports so you can fly free like we once did.

We don’t like where this river is going. The river doesn’t like where you are going. Fill it in and it will flood. Then the people complain. Their habitats are wet. Go live on the plain says the river. This mountain is in the way, lets blow it up. But that’s not what God meant when he said to move mountains. You change the water courses, you level the mountains, you build your palaces and expect nature to comply. Its not gonna happen.

Ghost towns pop up where resources have dried. Land is reclaimed and rivers gouge out the paths they were originally intended to take. Bend with the land or it will beat you down. Bend with the land and it will feed you, shelter you and care for you like its own babies. But cross it, continue to cross it and ask for devastation. Man is not going to win this war.

It’s time. Time to reconnect with the land. Time to listen and no longer demand. Time to give back and not just take, until your back aches. It’s time to plant and to grow, then later reap the harvest that was meant for you. It’s time to let the animals run free. To allow them to frolic and just let them be. It’s time to listen to what the land needs. It’s been shouting for years, it pleads, and it bleeds.

Will we shut up and let nature have it’s say? Before it destroys us all and calls it a day. We can blow bits off it and leave it barren and bare. We up and move house to another part where the leaves still grow and the meat is plentiful, before we destroy that too and then we may know.

Oh shit, what have we done.

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Walter Ralegh said the world is a Liar.


Walter Ralegh was not a suitor of the Queen, however she fancied him.  He flirted and presented the Queen with gifts from his explorations, and trophies from his wins in battles. Walter and Elizabeth Throckmorton had found that they were with child and decided to marry. The Queen who was jealous for Ralegh and disappointed at her servant Bess, through them both in the tower for not asking her permission to marry. The first child, a son named Damerei, dies early in life. Subsequently there were  two other sons Walter and Carew. Walter died in a battle, but Carew led a full life before being killed and buried with his father in 1666.

Walter Ralegh served in Parliment as well. The Queen was somewhat moody. At one time, she knights him and asks for him to be Captain of the Yeoman of the Guard (the head honcho bodyguard). At other times he was out of favour with the Queen and was returned to the Tower of London, then a Royal prison.  He was released a number of times because of his skill in the military and he was needed to lead in battles against the Spaniards.

Sir Walter Ralegh is credited with having bought potatoes and tobacco to England, products which he found on his explorations of  South America. With hindsight, one can look back and ask if he did a favour to the ‘ civilised world’ by introducing Tobacco, but the potato became a staple in the British diet.

Ralegh was sent to the tower in 1603 by James I for an alleged plot against the Throne. He stayed there until he was pardoned in 1617 when he went again to South America. He attacked a Spanish outpost when out there. James I was friends with the Spanish. The Spanish ambassador was upset by the hostilities and asked James to have Ralegh beheaded. He complied with the request, to keep the peace.

What is the central complaint that underlines Ralegh’s poem “The Lie”?

Walter Ralegh had an epiphany in the tower, as he awaited his head to be separated from his body. He figured that there is no real pleasure, no good in the world. If there are moments of pleasure or good, they, or the ones who administer it,  have hidden agendas. Every smile is painted over a smirk, every tickle has darker intentions.

Walter wrote many poems in the Tower. The Lie being one of them.

The Lie tells of discoveries that Walter made that are perhaps not documented elsewhere. It explores and discovers the truth about the world and those in it. To Walter, the affections and admiration of those close to him, save perhaps his sons and wife, were all false. The favours people were showing him were conditional. Conditional on his allegiance and devotion to a religion, a monarch or a cause.

To the court and the church, the poem is saying that while you look good, underneath, your foundations are rotting. The foundation of the court was the history on which it stood, but the reports of historians were all lies, biased in favour of the monarch who was ruling at the time. The church itself was not so much a place of relief and solace, but one in which political decisions were made. The church at the time espoused a virtuous existence where in fact they were a puppet of the politicians.

The poem continues in the third verse, to tell the Kings and Queens not to be fooled when some says they love you. They love you only so far as it can fair them well. It is not a love or a loyalty that can be relied upon. It is merely a fair weather love. The Monarchs say they are serving their people, they want nothing for themselves. Ralegh says that is a lie. This was shown when Ralegh was castigated for attacking a Spanish ship, but was forgiven it when it showed to be a bounty for the monarch.

The poem continues in its revelations. Everything is a lie. With this discovery, he finds he has no reason to fight any longer. He has resigned himself that he is going to die.

The final verse tells the world to kill him then. The body may die but you cannot kill the soul.

The Lie

Go, Soul, the body’s guest,
Upon a thankless errand;
Fear not to touch the best;
The truth shall be thy warrant:
Go, since I needs must die,
And give the world the lie.

Say to the court, it glows
And shines like rotten wood;
Say to the church, it shows
What’s good, and doth no good:
If church and court reply,
Then give them both the lie.

Tell potentates, they live
Acting by others’ action;
Not loved unless they give,
Not strong but by a faction.
If potentates reply,
Give potentates the lie.

Tell men of high condition,
That manage the estate,
Their purpose is ambition,
Their practice only hate:
And if they once reply,
Then give them all the lie.

Tell them that brave it most,
They beg for more by spending,
Who, in their greatest cost,
Seek nothing but commending.
And if they make reply,
Then give them all the lie.

Tell zeal it wants devotion;
Tell love it is but lust;
Tell time it metes but motion;
Tell flesh it is but dust:
And wish them not reply,
For thou must give the lie.

Tell age it daily wasteth;
Tell honour how it alters;
Tell beauty how she blasteth;
Tell favour how it falters:
And as they shall reply,
Give every one the lie.

Tell wit how much it wrangles
In tickle points of niceness;
Tell wisdom she entangles
Herself in overwiseness:
And when they do reply,
Straight give them both the lie.

Tell physic of her boldness;
Tell skill it is prevention;
Tell charity of coldness;
Tell law it is contention:
And as they do reply,
So give them still the lie.

Tell fortune of her blindness;
Tell nature of decay;
Tell friendship of unkindness;
Tell justice of delay:
And if they will reply,
Then give them all the lie.

Tell arts they have no soundness,
But vary by esteeming;
Tell schools they want profoundness,
And stand too much on seeming:
If arts and schools reply,
Give arts and schools the lie.

Tell faith it’s fled the city;
Tell how the country erreth;
Tell manhood shakes off pity
And virtue least preferreth:
And if they do reply,
Spare not to give the lie.

So when thou hast, as I
Commanded thee, done blabbing–
Although to give the lie
Deserves no less than stabbing–
Stab at thee he that will,
No stab the soul can kill.



Filed under literature, Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature, Uncategorized

The evolution of literature

I believe in the evolution of literature as briefly discussed in my summation of 20th century literature blog post last year. On contemplation this morning, I believe that today literature has evolved to become as instant as nescafe coffee. Instead of writing contemplative pieces of non fiction for peer review and open to critical thinking,  lobbyists and others with an agenda,  people with righteous anger, are writing slogans and placards to gain the approval of the masses who will become as equally passionate about the cause without doing research into the facts.
Take the case of the supposed rape of a 5 year old boy on Nauru. The ABC media reported it, lobbyists and the general public took up the cause which caused protests and riots to be held in Melbourne. While the facts of the case were distorted, the truth is no less abhorrent,  but the hundreds or thousands who marched were protesting a false cause.
I think it is up to us as students of literature to once again focus on truth in researching and publication of facts. We need to make sure our sources are accurate before we write.

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I Believe in Evolution

This essay seeks to highlight that the interests, concerns and experiences of the writers of the twentieth century, are still current to us today.

I believe in evolution of thought, of literature, and of truth. I also believe in the evolution of art and music as forms of communication but that is for another essay.

The question what is truth is a difficult one. In George Orwell’s 1984, truth was whatever Big Brother would have you believe.

There may be facts, and these will be established by looking at all perspectives. This is why policemen take a number of statements; from the victim, from the suspect, and various witness statements including experts who have been educated and can shed light on specific aspects.In a court of law, How can we state that we will tell the whole truth, “so help me God”. At best, we can promise to tell the truth as we know it. As far as we believe, we will tell it as it is, but our opinion of what is true may be swayed by others perspectives.

What is true to one, may not be true to another. I am reminded by an old story

There are four men standing in front of an elephant. They have been blind from birth and have never before seen an elephant. Each man is asked to describe the animal using only his hands as his ‘eyes’.

Man #1 touches the elephant’s trunk and says, “The elephant is this rough, bumpy feeling animal that is long and skinny, and quite flexible.”
Man #2 touches the elephant’s tusk and says, “An elephant has a very smooth and hard exterior, with a slight curve to its shell.”
Man #3 touches its body and says, “Wow, the elephant is a very large animal. Its skin has a leathery texture, and its shape is rather rotund.”
The last man touches the elephant’s ear and says, “Ah, the elephant is a very flat and flimsy animal. It appears to flap and move around quite a lot, which is probably its way of escaping danger.” (healing leaf)

This highlights the different perspectives of truth. If we put all four men’s stories together, then we get a more accurate picture than only looking at one perspective.

In Heart of Darkness, we see the truth from various perspectives as well. From Kurtz, we find that the Congo and its inhabitants are people to be exploited. The natives of the Congo look upon Kurtz as a king… a god even, where the facts are, he is a mortal man. Kurtz’s fiancee would view him as a hero, faithful to the end, whereas The truth is, he was not. The one who held the truth was Marlow, but I believe also that his perspective may have been biased. 

In the poets of WWI and All Quiet on the Western Front we have many perspectives of war. For the most part, one thing is in agreement, war is destructive. War has no value except to harness a hatred, fuel bias and discrimination, and feed the greed of the leaders. The monster of war is hungry, and it feeds on the blood of man. With Churchill imploring young men to war, supported by the poem The Soldier by Rupert Brooke, many thousands of men and boys lost their lives to feed the war machine who’s hunger would not be sated



Another perspective was found of war in WWI with soldiers, keeping diaries, in which they wrote thoughts and poems. Some were poets before the war, some found their inspiration in the trenches From these we see that war was not so gallant. The battlefield proved that it was the cause of the destruction of man. Men lost lives, limbs, minds and mates where the poppies grew.

Literature is a living evolving entity. It evolves with people. In the 19th Century, I believe one was more concerned with the niceties of life. The smell of roses, of love, care and kindness. World War I certainly changed the perception of the world for all. People were no longer content, they were restless. With the war brought a new wave of expression. Men were not able to “Buck up” or “keep a stiff upper lip”. The lip trembled with rage until it could not keep closed and shouted out it’s anger. No longer was unpleasantness glossed over, hidden in the shadows, but people began to admit that things weren’t so ‘rosy’.

Virginia Woolf – Roger Eliot Fry accessed http://artprints.leeds.gov.uk/art/110410/virginia-woolf


With the wave of emotion came writers who were able to express what people were feeling.. The Modernist writers began to write what they thought, and what they felt. Virginia Woolf wrote in a style which included internalised dialogue, talking to herself, evidenced in Mark on the Wall and Monday or Tuesday. Fiction writers were writing what is considered to be thinly veiled autobiographies; Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce for example. The written media allowed writers to vocalise their indignation at the leaders of society and indeed society in general. Virginia Woolf was able to champion the causes of women while EM Forster explored relationships in his works. He sought to express and explain love to society through his writing. After the persecution of Oscar Wilde, Forster hid his own sexuality, but in writing The Other Boat he was essentially asking “What is wrong with the love I feel?”

George Orwell. Photograph Public Domain

Orwell spoke of the ruination of the English language through misuse and abuse. Orwell spoke of the evolution of language in Politics and the English Language. He saw that people had become lazy in its use and so it was to the detriment of the language that it was changing. He blamed politics and the hierarchy for this movement away from the natural meaning of words. He saw the use of ‘dying metaphors, verbal false limbs, pretentious diction and meaningless words as decaying the quality of the English language. Orwell implored us to say what we mean.

I think that Orwell pleaded in vain. Politicians and leaders in the community still use these literary and verbal techniques as a way to exclude the average person in society. In essence, what the politicians are saying by using these techniques is “Oh, its too difficult for you to understand. Leave it to us. Trust us, we know what we are talking about.” Those who are not complacent or who don’t blindly accept what is being told, now have at our fingertips. the opportunity to do our own research, to become educated, and to question the status quo. We now all have access to improve our minds and have been given the ability to think critically and make opinions that are more informed than ever before.

The earths population is a transient one. Since WWII we have seen people travelling to escape the tyranny of bad government, to escape war, poverty and extreme hardship in order to find a better life for themselves and their children. With the movement of people, comes the movement of culture and language. The world has become a global community. The integration of cultures within a society has an influence on the language. Dry-Foot Bwoy by Louise Bennett being a perfect example. Her essay Jamaican Language explains how Jamaican language is thought to be a corruption of the English. She explains that if this is the case, then English is a corruption of Norman French, or Latin, or any other language that English has been derived from.

The English language  and literature has evolved to incorporate and express thoughts, feelings, rich culture from around the world to become what it is today.At present, we can see that graphic novels have become an accepted literary form, whereas fifty years ago, these were seen as comic books for superheroes and children’s entertainment. We see the use of acronyms as part of our conversational English and written communication. We see emoticons as a means to express what we are feeling when words can not say enough.

What does the future hold? Science fiction writers have predicted that in future there will be no need for language; that we will be able to communicate by thought transference. Unless everyone has a graphic mind, that is one that can express images, we still have a need for words. As long as people have differing perspectives of truth, we will still need to express our own perspective. God pray that we do not become so reliant on Big Brother that ‘his’ truth is the only one that matters.


2+2 = Art is writers own


Healing Leaf,. ‘How Would You Describe An Elephant?’. N.p., 2011. Web. 16 Oct. 2015.

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I Want the Truth!!

Searching for truth?

An important scene in the novel Heart of Darkness tells of Marlow in the living room of Kurtz’s fiancee. Did she really want the truth? What if she had received it? Would she be able to cope that Kurtz had no longer been thinking of her, and that he had set up a life for himself outside the City that lives forever.

The intended had set up her ideal relationship with Kurtz and made up a lie about his life, exaggerating his achievements and embellishing his importance.

“I knew it, I was sure” she said when told the lie that he had breathed her name at the last. It was the only logical conclusion in her mind. If she had been told the truth, that his last words had been “The Horror, The Horror”, it would have shattered all the illusions she had. Perhaps she would be tempted to even take her own life. For the past year, she had been grieving one whom she thought had cared deeply for her. With the lie exposed, she would know that her grieving had been in vain. There was nothing left for her to live for.

Are we seeking “Truth” or do we now seek meaning to life? Why are we here? What is our purpose for being and how do we achieve it? The truth is that happiness is not the meaning of life. The meaning of life is to live a life for others. To live a satisfied and fulfilled life, we need to do for others, especially for those who cannot do for themselves. Did you ever do something good for someone and then feel so good within yourself?

Some people think that there are conspiracies that the government hides from the people. Theorists seek to uncover the truth concerning many things; the existence of life on other planets, The JFK assassination, the moon landing. In my opinion there is truth on a lot of different levels. We give truth in moderation. There are some truths that the government and others do not tell us, because it does not benefit us to know. The truth about some things could cause riots or unrest. The truth would do more harm than good if it were exposed. These people don’t lie, but just omit to tell the truth.

Some people like to be absolutely honest in all things. These people are considered rude because they are so blunt. How would you answer your partner if he/she asked “Does my  butt look big in this?”  There is no right answer to that question. If we say yes, it does look big, then we are in trouble for being honest. If we say no, they wont believe you anyway… “You are just saying that to make me feel good”.

There are some places and circumstances in which absolute truth is needed and expected. In a court of Law for instance; if you tell a lie in there you could be sent to gaol for perjury. A member of Parliament is expected to tell the truth in the parliamentary chamber, regardless of what he/ she has said outside of that room. There are consequences for ministers who mislead parliament.

All’s quiet on the Western Front. Would I lie to you?


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Wisdom, knowledge and truth

There are a lot of truths that are best left unsaid. There is a lot of knowledge available in minds of men best left undiscovered.
Surely if there is a cure for diseases etc it should be released as soon as it is deemed safe and not be left until the market is ready for release…until the world is desperate enough to pay more for it and thereby profit medical manufacturers.
Wisdom on when to release such information holds is crucial.
Wikileaks may be party to information that the general public doesn’t have access to. Is it wise however to release such information that causes such public outrage and even riots.
Someone discovered the secret formula to solving the rubiks cube puzzle.  To release that however, although ending the frustrations of millions,  ruined the dream for millions more.
Knowledge and wisdom…Two totally different things but need to work hand in hand for the best results.
The benefits and disadvantages of releasing information needs to be carefully considered before unleashing such things to the general public.
Being frivolous and helping to make the connection between knowledge and wisdom is this simple quote “knowledge is knowing the tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to add it to fruit salad” – Miles Kingston.

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