This was written back in the 1970s
for a Hiroshima Memorial Day ceremony.
Every year people gather at the boating lake in Alexandra Park in Hastings,
listen to readings, sing peace songs,
and launch paper boats
bearing lighted night-lights onto the lake at dusk.
I have no enemies.
I do not hate the children of my neighbour’s race.
I have no wish to see their children burn,
I have no wish to hear their mothers grieve,
I have no wish to fling their ashes high
In mushroom clouds of genocide. Continue reading →
Events in 2017 led me to remember this poem, written in April 1986.
While Wikipedia notes the event as occurring on Tuesday April 15,
I remember it as a Monday, and this is confirmed by a note in
‘On this Day’, BBC Home:
“Around 66 American jets, some of them flying from British bases
launched an attack at around 0100hrs on Monday.”
The commons argued late last night;
They wrestled with their consciences
On something of immense concern
– While Reagan raided Libya…
And Thatcher gave the go-ahead;
“Oh, use your bases, take your planes
– We only keep them warm for you –
Why ask the people what they think?
Why ask the British Government?
– I am the British Government!
Besides, they’re sitting up all night
Discussing Sunday Trading…” Continue reading →
Immediately above us lived a young couple called Sandra and Nige. When they first moved in, still unmarried, I wondered how they could possibly be contemplating cementing a relationship which, judging from the frequency and volume of their arguments (confined mainly to the small hours of the morning and the exercise of a certain adjective beginning with F) was far from idyllic. But marry they did, and their arguments continued, thus sanctified, though admittedly with a temporary lessening of ferocity. Continue reading →
Apart from a Hollywood mutual congratulation exercise, can anyone explain to me why La La Land got so many Oscar nominations – and awards? OK, it was glitzy and colourful, but what was all the fuss about?
Story? Uh uh; Characters? Uh uh; Acting? Uh uh. Memorable songs? Uh uh
Whereas Hidden Figures was thought-provoking, shocking, gripping, moving, uplifting and life-enhancing – a story that needed to be told, and that was told brilliantly.
I rest my case!
Waking early next day,
Aren’t exactly burning,
But they seethe with the memory
Of unaccustomed action
And tingle in anticipation
Of doing more:
More straining, more leaning, more heaving the spade,
More feverish clod-crushing, sifting through soil Continue reading →
Written back in the 1980s,
when I was a dedicated teacher of English to Foreigners,
and loved my students, I surprised myself one day
to realise that I didn’t want to be overwhelmed by too many
on an early morning train to London…
Hastings Station at 8 o’clock on a Saturday morning.
The newly-refurbished in flame-coloured plastic
Electronically motorised doors glide aside
On a languorous blond-headed swarm of blue denim
Strewn on all surfaces:
– surrogate sofas in
Saccharine sugar-free tangerine Perspex
To cling to your body and stick to your thighs;
Round the concrete containers new-crowded with cyclamen,
Trailing lobelia and silver-tongued ferns;
The Florentine flooring in marble-chip marquetry
Scorch-marked and littered and grimy with ash;
Squatting on shoulder-bags, sprouting from window-sills,
Vibrant with chatter and frenzied with youth… Continue reading →
I was delighted to be asked to contribute an article to
“The Gattegno Effect: 100 Voices on One of History’s Greatest Educators”,
which was published by Educational Solutions in 2011.
Here is the article:
For those unfamiliar with Gattegno’s Silent Way of Teaching Languages,
I’ll add a couple of details here to clarify references in the article itself.
(By the way, please note that the data shown in the diagrams below
will be easier to view on a desktop than on a small screen…)
- The Rods – these are a set of Cuisenaire rods,
initially designed for teaching Maths,
which Gattegno adapted as tool to represent words, phrases, ideas,
and elements of grammar, syntax or pronunciation.
A series of colour charts: Continue reading →