Category Archives: history

Truly Free – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

Photo (found on everipedia.org): Inside the former HM Maze Prison (formerly known as Long Kesh Detention Centre) in Northern Ireland where during the 1970s the British forces interned both IRA and Loyalist prisoners, and in 1981 where Bobby Sands (along with nine other prisoners) died while on hunger strike at the age of 27. The Prison has since been demolished except for a portion retained as historical. Part of the former prison was offered for use by the Eikon Centre for events.

“They may hold our bodies in the most inhuman conditions, but, while our minds are free, our victory is assured.” Bobby Sands

Truly Free

Prison walls incarcerate only those 
who willingly surrender their minds
in easy rapprochement, but the minds
who can transcend the ill facade with
songs of solidarity on their lips, and 
poems of promise in their hearts,  
prophesying to the end of evil; that is 
the mind no longer held, they are truly 
free, even in the last breath.


Copyright 2021 ©Paul Vincent Cannon
All Rights Reserved ®

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Such Fun – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

VJs Weekly Challenge – Snippets

Photo: Robert Collins, unsplash.com

“Maturity is a high price to pay for growing up.” Tom Stoppard

Such Fun

Westerns on the telly,
I pistol whipped my old man,
but after the gun-fight, of course,
melting in the Suez on P&O,
armless beggars in Colombo,
shark alarm off South Freo,
dangerous creatures in straya,
but we're all having fun mate
peeing how far up the dunny wall?
Chasing girls for curiosity's sake,
mixing the books in the library
and wagging boring school,
dreaming of joining a rock band,
idly playing a surf champ but
really a clerk, no, labourer with
bell bottoms and platform shoes,
fumbles and kisses then
a car of my own and the
world was wide open.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

Note: Australian usage – Old Man = dad; Freo = the city of Fremantle; straya = Australia; dunny = toilet; wagging = bunking off.

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The Theft Of Truth – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

Photo” A statue of Captain James Cook stands in Sydney’s Hyde Park on August 25, 2017, as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull labelled calls to change colonial-era monuments and the date of Australia Day, in attempts to better reflect the country’s indigenous past, as a ‘Stalinist’ exercise in re-writing history. A cultural debate intensified this week when prominent indigenous commentator Stan Grant dubbed the inscription “Discovered this territory 1770”, on a Sydney statue of 18th century British explorer Capitan James Cook, a “damaging myth”. / AFP PHOTO / WILLIAM WEST

“But the fear and contempt for Aboriginal people and culture, which perpetuated the lie of “Terra Nullius” for more than two centuries, is deeply institutionalised and far from quashed.” Sharon Collins

The Theft Of Truth 

His brass visage looked out to the 
east without emotion or recognition,
his eyes were dead much like his 
vision of a world his own,
a sparrows nest of lies and 
make-believe, all self-possessed,
like a smug little advert offering
heaven for a pfennig on a Sunday,
wild claims of the miraculous
wrapped in manure and given to 
a king as proof of something not
his to give or own and denying life
as it was, overlooking history before
him and claiming it was all his for 
the taking, denying breath and blood
despite the very rich history of 
plus 40,000 years of occupation
by the very real and first among us
in Gondwana, you thief of life
and meaning and all who have 
worshipped at your feet, be
damned.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

Note: Captain James Cook on an expedition navigated Australia’s east coast in 1770 which paved the way for British occupation. In 1776, January 26th Captain Arthur Phillip claimed sovereignty by the British crown over Australia. January 26th continues to be celebrated as “Australia Day” which remains a lie that denies the existence of Australia’s First Nations people. The High Court has ruled Terra Nullius” is indeed an obvious lie, but the process of undoing two centuries of entrenched racism is proving to be very difficult. While Cook contributed much to our understanding of the geography of the world, he also played his part in denying First Nation peoples their rightful place. Terra Nullius is Latin meaning “land belonging to no one.” Hence the lie.

Video: Midnight Oil feat. Jessica Mauboy and Tasman Keith “First Nation”

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For What? – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

At dVerse Sarah is hosting Poetics with an invitation to share a poem that has called to us, affected us in some way, positively or otherwise, and to write a poem in response. dVerse Poets – Poetics – A Conversation

Photo: Ben Kerckx, pixabay.com

I have chosen Wilfred Owen’s poem ‘Anthem For Doomed Youth’ and riffed on that a little. I despise war and I see it as a failure of humanity to sit down together. Wilfred Owen fought in the British army in WW1 and died at the age of 25 in 1918 one week before war’s end. For a detailed biography see The Wilfred Owen Association

Anthem For Doomed Youth     by Wilfred Owen

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
- only monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, -
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.
The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

“Men make war to get attention. All killing is an expression of self-hate.” Alice Walker

For What?

Passion flowered blue in the fields of sheets
set for their love of each other and,
soon enough, their fruit was ripe for picking,
the suckling ripped from breast to trench,
unprotected by the hollow words of those
faceless ones who send anyone but themselves,
valorised by suited cowards and coercive saints,
left alone in mud, and cold, diseased;
grief flowered red in the fields of France,
as life bled out for the shame of piety
voiced in cathedrals of death.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

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Off The Rails – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

VJs Weekly Challenge – What A sight

Photo: Old rail line near Bonnie Rock

“Hope is like a road in the country; there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence.” Lin Yutang

Off The Rails

What a sight this happenchance,
no more the corporate sea of
smoke and steam or voices echoing 
through this once vale of life in
this distant place of hardships
now erased as nature grips the
demons of steel by the throat,
all the while laughing at the thought
of progress in a place so fragile
where life so quickly goes
off the rails.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

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Rising – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

VJs Weekly Challenge – Pace

Photo: theguardian.com The statue of the slave trader Edward Colston (1636 – 1721) comes down, his company was responsible for the capture, transport and sale of 100,000 slaves in the Caribbean and the Americas. Colston made his fortune from slave trading, and, not-with-standing that he later became a philanthropist, his wealth and life flourished by the misery of others. I my view, people who profit from the misery of others do not deserve any public recognition or honour.

“I know the removal of the Colston statue will divide opinion, as the statue itself has done for many years. However it’s important to listen to those who found the statue an affront to humanity.” Marvin Rees (Mayor of Bristol)

Rising

The statues of subjugation crash
to the ground of the past,
we're loving a new now,
the beginning of future dreams,
free-ranged, unwrapped,
letting go Aquarius' aged darkness,
rising to unison of heart,
pace the whispers of worm tongues
who would hold oppression lightly,
but whose account is well due.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

Note: I have used pace in preposition form, expressing disagreement with worm tongues with those who support enslavement of any kind.

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Never Forgotten – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

VJs Weekly Challenge – Bits And Pieces

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Photo: found on pinterest.com

“Leftovers in their less visible form are called memories stored in the refrigerator of the mind and the cupboard of the heart.”  Thomas Fuller

Never Forgotten

That one moment where you create time
when there isn’t time and you dare to
venture to the cupboard,
to the draw full of
silvered memories,
the symbols of a life in a
house of histories,
restored to mind and yet,
never forgotten,
rubber seals and old matches,
that old separator spanner,
a marble, a pen, a tack,
candles for birthdays,
the rest are nameless now,
these bits and pieces of a
resurrection.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

Paul, pvcann.com

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Fiction – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

dVerse Poets – Meet The Bar – Final Couplet

Frank at dVerse has invited us to write a poem, but which must end with a rhyming couplet.

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Photo: foster.vic.au

 

“Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were.”  Marcel Proust

Fiction

The fetish of nostalgia reeks
like overripe banana in
an open bin on a hot day,
vanguard of decay in this
haunt of demons
waiting to persuade me,
to humiliate proud memories
that now enter the picture
distorted by time’s passing,
exposed hubris,
a repressive fiction
needing confessional diminution,
awaiting with shreds of contrition.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

Paul, pvcann.com

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Flaking Legends – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

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Photo: gdaypubs.com.au The former One Tree hotel in Hay.

 

“While all old people have been young, no young people have been old, and this troubling factor engenders the frustration of all parents and elders, which is that while you can describe your experience, you cannot confer it.”  Andrew Solomon

Flaking Legends

An incomplete picture,
flaking legends,
broken frames and corry,
the place of rusted stories
the utterances of elders
railing conformities,
shaping new spirals
of futures undreamed,
incomplete visions verging,
questioning what we know,
let alone what we believed,
myths of belle époque
passing in the night
as we swept history aside
and made our own songs.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

Paul, pvcann.com.

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Your Disapproved Skin – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples need to know there is an image that displays deceased people.

 

“Australia Day” January 26 marks the anniversary of the arrival of the first fleet at Port Jackson in 1788. For most indigenous people this is known as invasion day. Their treatment to this day has been brutal and in the least one of denial and rejection. It is a hard history to read and on the part of the colonial architects, even to this day, a very shameful history. I am one of many Australians who would rather move the celebration to a new date in conjunction with a dialogue with indigenous peoples as to how to achieve that. But then I believe that nationalism and patriotism are poisonous, as history and our nightly news shows, so maybe no day is needed.

 

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Photo: Australian National University: Aboriginal men in chains in the Kimberly, date unknown.

 

“Obviously colonial arrogance is a long time dying.”  Alain Badiou

Your Disapproved Skin

We dug our wealth from under your feet,
and we housed ourselves in your delicate bones,
scarifying your disapproved skin
with our tribal markings,
chaining your bodies but never your hearts,
we hunted a perception of you
and caricatured our values as superior;
as a weak parent blames their child
we laid a burden of blame upon you,
a fiction of conscience,
a trick of justification,
that had no purpose other than
to exploit the very breath of you,
surely our sorry must be
the very breath of us.

©Paul Vincent Cannon

Paul, pvcann.com

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Image: The Australian Aboriginal Flag – Formally recognised in 1995 as an official flag, was designed by Harold Thomas, a Luritja man in 1970 and first displayed at the National Aboriginal Day in Adelaide in 1971. The design is significant: the colours represent the Aboriginal peoples of Australia, the red ochre of the earth and a spiritual connection to the sun the giver of life and protector (as stated by Harold Thomas).

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Filed under Free Verse, history, life, Native Title, poem, quote, Restorative Justice, Stolen Generation