Category Archives: history

I Hope Someone Remembers – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

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Photo: https://media.iwm.org.uk/ciim5/36/103/large_000000.jpg

A World War 1 trench, not quite the Hyatt, Hilton or whatever, way beyond my experience.

I Hope Someone Remembers

Trenches could not be loved,
they were open tombs,
flooded, muddied, with
congealed wire garlands and
sodden timber treads,
and the stench of the living dead all round,
their sunken eyes testimony to
the glue of resignation and guilt.
Our feet blackened for love of country,
our minds already lost
in battles of their own,
Dante’s Inferno come to life,
with the sting of gas and metallic chatter,
always the thudding, crumping, shells
that shake our bones
and reshape our vision.
Our thoughts occasionally turn to
going home, could it be?
But that thought is scotched
as machine guns lace the air,
and the referee’s whistle calls play,
all the while the unrelenting cries
of death and pain rain down.
No more to hold a hand or taste her lips,
no more to cup her breast or hold her close,
what chance of laughter, to share life’s joys?
But then I dare not think of her,
such thoughts have no place here,
they could hold me in this tomb.
The whistle resounds,
my bayonet gleams,
a macabre accessory,
one I may yet wear.
Ladders ready,
up we go,
king and country,
I hope someone remembers us.

┬ęPaul Vincent Cannon

 

Paul,

pvcann.com

47 Comments

Filed under Free Verse, history, life, war

Leap Of Faith – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

Effigy – Word of the Day

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Photo: listverse.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com

Guy Fawkes effigy. If you remember ­čÖé the gunpowder plot set for the 5th November, 1605 when parliament was due to be opened by James the 1st of England & 6th of Scotland, by a group of Catholics who wanted to end the persecution of Catholics in England. This was during the period of the Reformation in England and there were strict laws governing any expression of the Christian faith other than that authorised by parliament, and the Catholic Church was very hemmed in by regulation. The architect of the plot was Robert Catesby. The plot was foiled and Fawkes was captured. Under torture he named all the plotters. All were captured and sentenced to be hung drawn and quartered. Fawkes avoided this excruciating death by jumping from the ladder for the scaffold and broke his neck and died.

The parliament named November 5 as a National Day of Thanksgiving which morphed into a bonfire night, and later fireworks were added to round out the Gunpowder Plot aspect. ┬áFawkes was never burned, though others at that time were, but bonfire night caught on nonetheless. The question in my mind is do people get what it was about, and do they understand the reason for the plot? Not only that, the pure barbarism to hang draw and quarter? I’m not one to support murder, but nor am I one to support state sanctioned torture or murder either.

Leap of Faith

How did it come to this?
That you would cease to breathe this day,
your body smashed and broken,
your heart and passion gone.
That you dreamed of freedom,
believed for better,
for rights held by others,
but not by you or yours.
You were squeezed for servitude,
under those who looked down on you.
A king was your hopeful prize,
your evening bulletin,
but in truth he was an effigy of ill,
and your surprise was sprung against you,
then the scaffolding was strung.
Yet you beat the plot against you,
and found your freedom at last,
as you left the ladder of doom.
Centuries would pass before
freedom came to yours,
now I see you everywhere,
not least on tindered heaps,
more in the masks of dissent,
where freedom is eroding,
and we must leap the ladder
of protest once again.

┬ęPaul Vincent ┬áCannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

10 Comments

Filed under Free Verse, history, poem, politics

The Dragon

Enthralling – Word of the Day

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Last week we spent a couple of days on the wildflower run, and at Leda Reserve, apart from the stunning array of flowers I was enthralled with this gem as well, a gargoyle perched on a rock – can you see it too? This one was clearly sent to protect Leda.

 

The Dragon

La Gargouille, terror of Rouen,
you lost your head When Romanus made the sign,
and now you sit in judgement of your kin,
though, instead of fire, you spout water,
La Gargouille, protector of Rouen.

┬ęPaul Vincent Cannon

 

 

Note: Gargoyles date back to ancient Egypt, but the term gargoyle comes from the dragon slaying story of c. 600 AD where the priest Romanus captures the Dragon – ┬áLa Gargouille, which was terrorising the town of Rouen, and the villagers cut off its head and burn it at the stake. However the head wouldn’t burn, so instead they place Gargouille’s head on the church to ward off evil and warn other dragons to stay away.

Paul,

pvcann.com

31 Comments

Filed under bush walking, Country, Five Lines, history, Mythology, poetry

Read Your Maille

Panoply – RDP

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Photo: http://www.medievalfantasieco.com

 

Read Your Maille

Complete,
needing no one,
guarding every fibre of your being,
impenetrable,
your body chained,
protected against the words
that might one day creep under your maille,
and steal your distance,
bring you close
and expose the wound of love
you cannot bear to feel.

┬ęPaul Vincent Cannon

 

Note: Chainmail is derived from the French ‘Maille’ which is in turn derived from the Latin ‘Macula’ (meaning mesh or net). Chainmail is thought to have been invented by the Celts before the 5th century AD.

 

Paul,

pvcann.com

13 Comments

Filed under history, life, love, poetry, Quadrille

The Clock Has Tocked

Exemplary – Word of the Day

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Rachel Carson (1907 – 64) (Photo: post-gazette.com) Carson was a marine scientist whose most known public work was “Silent Spring” (1962), a clarion call for humanity to address their impact on nature. In particular, Silent Spring is an investigation into pesticides. Carson wrote: “They should not be called “insecticides” but “biocides.” Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, p. 189.

“We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frost’s familiar poem , they are not equally fair. The road we have long been travelling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road – the one less travelled by – offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.” Rachel Carson, Silent Spring p. 277.

Carson was an exemplar of both environmental awareness and activism as a scientist and writer.

 

The Clock Has Tocked

The old grandfather clock in the hallway is ticking,
but there’s no one to note the passing of the hour,
they’re everywhere else in this big old house,
in rooms of self,
halls of bustle,
where the carpets are dusty and threadbare,
the varnish no longer present to the wood,
and the paint so sallow.
Things should have been fixed long ago,
but our will wasn’t urgent to the task.
Grandad’s monocle popped when the quotes came in,
and we gave up,
preferring the pleasured, anaesthetised life.
Had we ventured to the hallway,
and listened closely,
we’d have known that the clock had tocked its last.
The eleventh hour cried to us,
but we mocked its melodrama,
and bargained that Chronos would let us slide,
and all the while our house is falling,
falling down upon us.

┬ęPaul Vincent Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

28 Comments

Filed under chemicals, environment, history, life, Link, mindfulness, nature, poetry, quote, Science

Divine Humour

Peddler – Word of the Day

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Source: flickr.com  A street peddler in Istanbul.

 

Divine Humour

The smell of sulphur fills the air,
bell, book and candle won’t help you now,
the devil incarnate roams the streets,
seductively peddling false hope, old ways, more tax.
Been like that since the ancient of days laughed and said
“Let them try democracy.”

┬ęPaul Vincent Cannon

 

Paul,

pvcann.com

8 Comments

Filed under Alt-Religion, history, life, Philosophy/Theology, poetry, politics, Quadrille

Free Spirits

Renegade – Word of the Day

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Ani Pachen (1933 – 2002), better known as the Warrior Nun, a Tibetan freedom fighter. She was captured by the Chinese army in 1959 and held until 1981 – 21 years in prison, she was 48 yrs old. She continued to oppose Chinese occupation of Tibet and took part in rallies and protests, fleeing to India in 1989 because she was facing arrest yet again.

Free Spirits

We apprehended futility and held it as our own,
never stopping to think of consequence.
Logic held no sway,
there was no song,
the soil of our hearts rooted no doctrine,
myths and legends were our truths.
We slept in the open and spoke in ravines,
ate haute cuisine from tins,
punished our fantasies and banished our doubts
as we passed through Falkirk, Culloden, Lexington,
and struggled at Eureka,
countered in Prague,
threw out shoes in Manila and turned orange in Kiev.
We played with protest,
shouldered riot and uprising,
captured yet not imprisoned,
we remained free spirits held by passion,
undaunted, determined.
Our very breath was inviolate,
this was our victory,
to be present.

┬ęPaul Cannon

 

Paul,

pvcann.com

27 Comments

Filed under history, life, Philosophy/Theology, poetry, politics, war

Spring Is In The Air

Zealous – Word of the Day

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Photo: dailynewshungary.com

One person’s liberator is another persons dictator. The end of National Socialism in 1945 (well, temporary end) saw the liberating Soviet army take control of Eastern Europe. But the Soviet proved to be as unpalatable as the Nazis, and hence a number of attempted coups and uprisings, especially the one in Hungary 23 October – 10 November 1956, where a student protest turned into a people’s uprising. The students were indeed zealous for change, and their zeal inspired others to rise up with them. The uprising was sadly crushed by the overwhelming might of the Soviet army. October the 23 is now a national holiday in Hungary.

 

Spring Is In The Air

Khaki is not my colour,
I crave pastels, boldness, whites.
Steel grey is so depressing,
like never ending winter,
the threat of cold death,
faces lost,
love buried.
Truth is everywhere, that’s how
Newspeak lobotomizes.
Apparatchiks, whose fetid lies,
like open sewers,
Are a stench and a stain
on flesh and blood,
like bruises and broken bones
their words crush souls.
Your flags do not warm me,
they are but a noose,
a suicide note to history.
But we stand together
preferring death to misery,
no acquiescent autumn
rather, to be spring
to be fertile possibility.
So we wave at you and smile,
a smile your scowl cannot quell.
Our solitary prayer,
that your bullets will be poppies
and your tanks be doves.
That you will at last surrender,
not to us,
but to your true selves,
to humanity,
and kiss your distorted “I” goodbye.

┬ęPaul Cannon

 

Paul,

pvcann.com

27 Comments

Filed under history, life, poetry, politics, war

Salome

Sensual – FOWC

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Nadja Michael as Salome. There’s a lot of poetic licence used in the portrayal of Salome that simply isn’t evident in the historical and biblical texts. But it makes for great theatre. Salome the daughter of Herodias (formerly the wife of Philip the Tetrarch) who had left Philip for his brother Herod Antipas (which is what John the Baptist was making a fuss over, and in the end got him killed). There was one daughter from her marriage to Philip – Salome. Salome was invited to dance for her step father at court on his birthday. ┬áThe dance is not described anywhere, and much modern interpretation is speculation. However, the fact that Herod promised on oath to to give Salome whatever she asked for because her dance was pleasing tells us that it was in the least alluring and sensual given his reaction.

 

Breathless

You were huddled as the music began,
and slowly you unfolded
with such grace,
we held our breath.
You reached upwards,
your body ripe.
You swirled, dipped and turned,
your eyes wild,
hair ablaze,
fabric unfurling.
The air was so thin,
we were breathless.

 

┬ęPaul Cannon

 

Paul,

pvcann.com

12 Comments

Filed under dance, history, poetry, Quadrille

Dangerous Game

Spying – Word of the Day

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Margaretha Geertruida MacLeod (nee Zelle) better known by her stage name Mata Hari (1876 – 1917), who was convicted by the French as a German spy during WW1. Historians have since demonstrated that she was betrayed by all, her lover, the French officers who recruited her, the justice system (an oxymoron if ever there was one), her fellow spies and others. She was convicted and executed even though there was no substantive evidence, other than that they said it was because as a woman she could not be trusted and she would use her wiles. She was indeed a victim, a scapegoat.

Dangerous Game

I was lost in your face,
your eyes sparkled
laughter like champagne.
You reeled me in,
my small talk generously indulged,
I thought one drink would cure my curiosity.
Besides, I had work to do,
family waiting.
But you had other plans,
your hand on mine
stroking.
Me all gibberish,
pulse racing,
I agreed.
Just how did you do that?
Furtive,
room 20,
you draped on the ottoman,
gold, bejewelled bra,
tiara.
Salome unveiled.
Beguiled, seduced,
I gave you my all.
My French for German,
secrets, unzipped,
pleasure washed over me
in waves of guilt.
Whispers exchanged,
I woke alone, betrayed.
Even so, for just one more touch,
I would trade anything.

┬ęPaul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

29 Comments

Filed under history, life, love, poetry, Sex, war