Echoes of Darkness

Beware of darkness

Beware of darkness

It eats the soul

Nightmare claws attach

Voices whisper

Wild thoughts

Trespass

Beyond sanity’s climax

 

The hopelessness surrounds you

Watch out my own sweet love

The dead of night

Darkens deeply

The shooting star

That shines

Above

 

Beware of sadness

And words that linger

Deep inside your head

Memories twisted

Vain hopes

Blistered

Beyond my own deathbed

 

The Edge

The morning dawns grey

A blanket on another day

The savage wind

Whispers

Of another place

Where time stands

Still

Like a bitter pill

Unswallowed

 

Empty Sky

Empty

Broken

Yearning

Where has the time gone?

The tears flow

And weeds grow

Hands both shake

Sat all alone

The wall

The hall

The call

Sad deserted shore

Friends now leave

Lovers grieve

Birds they fly

I don’t count the score

 

Black Dog

Black dog at my feet

The darkness drifts dreaming from another place

Been here before

But still I’m not sure

Where it all will end

 

Black dog by my side

The dawn drowns drinking hope from the daylight

Been here before

But still I’m not sure

What the morn will bring

 

Black dog on my lap

The day drags drearily to the dark of noon

Been here before

But still I’m not sure

When the sun will set

 

Black dog at my back

The evening draws draping dankly upon me

Been here before

But still I’m not sure

When the night will end

 

Blink of an Eye

Shattered pavilions

Lost in the mist of time

Broken ladders

Leading nowhere

Looking for answers

But lost for questions

Life in a broken moment

In the blink of an eye

 

Bootleg

I fought to survive the cancer

But still the boot came in

I fought to save my marriage

But still the boot came in

I fought through tears and laughter

But still the boot came in

I fought for truth and honesty

But still the boot came in

I fought with the sword of justice

But still the boot came in

I fought the nuclear dustbin

But still the boot came in

I fought to find my children

But still the boot came in

I fought for all the homeless

But still the boot came in

I fought for faith and family

But still the boot came in

I fought for Islam’s children

But still the boot came in

I fought for Labour’s heartland

But still the boot came in

I fought against Noah’s rainbow

But still the boot came in

I fought for all the others

But still the boot came in

 

Heaven can wait

Leaving Beersheba

Stumbling

Remembering

Aching

Eyeless

In Gaza

Climbing Jacob’s ladder

Reach the top

And stop

Because

There’s nothing

There

 

Top of the End

Head screams pain

Life broken again

The grey sky

Burning eyes

Hope that shone

So bright

Now

Dust under the feet

My, oh my, oh my

Let me die

 

Laughter now dead

Words are all read

Plans for the future

Solitary torture

Life that fought

So hard

Now

Lost and beaten

My, oh my, oh my

Let me die

 

The moment

I walk a fine line between sanity

And despair

Where abuse and loss

Erode

Self-confidence and self-care

The memories eat away

The small joys

Of today

And leave me sightless

Eyeless

In this land of the blind

 

Memories

Floating

Whispering

Waiting

The times lies in pieces

On this broken

Soil

A pathway

To the stars

Where the crescent

Moon

Doesn’t bend

Its light

Shines

And memories

Fade

 

Momentary Nails

Flash of anger

Howls like a

Hammer

We regret the

Past

Now

Homeward bound

It will not last

Battles won

And souls are lost

Peace is sewn

The wind is blown

Society ponders

Justice

Corruption

The sickle

Recycled

Stumbling

Hoping

Crawling

Hanging by nails

Upon your cross

And Crescent

Moon

 

Kindred recall

Sunlight dapples

Oak tree tops

Above the leaded roof

The sky screams

Infinity

Searching for the truth

 

I don’t know you

Kindred spirit

Lost refrain

Your eyes betray

Hope

And more deeply your pain

 

Victorian tiles

Line the attic

Of Dylan’s distant vision

The rain cascades

Torrential

Reaching no decision

 

Radiators rumble

Shunning silence

With dim electric noise

The heating coughs

Creative

Humanity destroys

 

Window shutters

Cause shadows

Upon the office wall

The day’s stillness

Meanders

No-one hears the call

 

I might die tonight

You smile

And your mouth says you love me

You laugh

And the world laughs with you too

You sigh

And my arms they do uphold you

You cry

And my tissues dry your tears

You break

And your eyes they see the distance

You sway

And the planet is still turning

You sleep

And I might die tonight

 

Life

Oh what a life it’s been

Even the trapped ambition

The mistakes

The gaffs

The love

The lust

The diamonds

The rust

The music

The lions

The dust

What a life

 

Oh what a life it’s been

Even the damned confusion

Despair

Regret

Depression

Recession

The beach

The waves

The reach

The illusion

The speech

What a life

 

The Poplar

The lonely poplar

Pricks holes

In the darkening

Sky

As snow cascades

And quiet songs sing

In chill white

Flakes

By a window

To the world

Outside

Just waiting

Waiting

Waiting

For the grey around

Me

To lighten

The journey

Onwards

To a place where

I can

Live

Sweet dreams

And sing quiet songs

 

Punch Drunk

Punch drunk

Been knifed in the back

Punch drunk

Dazed by distorted fact

Punch drunk

Hit between the eyes

Punch drunk

Poisoned with their lies

Punch drunk

Twisted tales that they tell

Punch drunk

Stumbled and then I fell

Punch drunk

Reeling on the ropes

Punch drunk

Left with little hope

Punch drunk

One too many blows

Punch drunk

Blood running from my nose

Punch drunk

Nothing left to lose

Punch drunk

Stand inside my shoes

Punch drunk

Depression runs too deep

Punch drunk

Fighting for some sleep

Punch drunk

Trying to stay straight

Punch drunk

The fightback is too late

Punch drunk

Dimming of the light

Punch drunk

Losing every fight

Punch drunk

The game it is too rough

Punch drunk

Think I’ve had enough

 

This is the Sea

Swirling salt water laps at my feet

The west wind finds frailties

Of what remains from the sleep

Greyness spreads to the dark horizon

Herring gulls call me to the deep

This is the end

This is my friend

This is the sea

 

Memories meander around what happened before

Questions open wounds bleakly

Yet we all know the score

Emptiness echoes as hope once evades

Waves they now crash upon the shore

This is the end

This is my friend

This is the sea

 

Advertisements

Academies – the nasty backdoor privatisation of our schools

THE twisted knife of privatisation today took a vibrant Sussex primary school as its latest victim.

And with it, the lives, the hopes and futures of 400 young children.

The board of governors of Castledown Primary School in Hastings had engineered a three month strategy to turn their community school into an Ark academy.

They claimed the school is failing by virtue of its recent SAT results, while failing to recognise its long held excellent reputation for music and the arts.

But the vast majority of parents disagree and formed a Hands Off Castledown group to fight the plans, which many see as a backdoor to privatisation and cherry picking of elite academic pupils.

Today’s announcement that the school will go-ahead to become an academy has been met by fury and distress by parents and teachers.

One parent said: “It is a very dark day for our children. I am furious with the school governors who have made this decision – they should all hang their heads in shame.”

A dad said: “A day of sadness, not just for our children or for us as parents, but indeed for this laughable illusion of democracy we cling to in this country. The choice of the masses ignored in favour of the chosen few.”

And distraught mum added: “How sad. I am angry and deeply upset both my boys came out and said I don’t want to go to the school no more. I am gutted at how this has affected my babies… I just want to sit and cry.”

Another parent added: “This is all about money and political connections. I am taking my child out of Castledown now, but this is not the end of the fight.”

Others have suggested now taking legal action against the academy decision.

But the twisted backdoor privatisation of Castledown has been on the cards since the turn of the year.

And many regarded it as a ‘done deal’ well before the announcement.

In January, Castledown formally announced its intention to join the Ark Academy Trust.

At the time Richard Sage, chairman of governors at Castledown, said the governors decided after meetings with various trusts that Ark was best for the school.

Castledown is in the bottom 10% of schools for 2016 SATS exam results.

But according to Hands Off Castledown, results were poor because the 2014 curriculum was implemented two years too late. Pupils sitting the exams in 2016 had not received up-to-date teaching.

Additionally, the previous Ofsted report in 2013 marked the school as Good.

But parents, teachers and local residents say there have been no consultations on any alternatives to Ark or academisation.

The Ark group already runs several other schools in the Hastings area. Nationally it had an income of £21.9 million and assets of £31.3 million in the year ending August 2015 – the last year for which full accounts are available.

Its income and assets are increasing by about £2.5 million a year.

Hands Off Castledown says it has spoken to parents who removed their children from other Ark academies because of its history of imposing restrictive and regimental behaviour policies, which many believe are not suitable for young children.

On 15 February, Hastings Borough Council gave its unanimous backing to the Hands Off Castledown campaign.

A week later campaigner Louise Hersee delivered a petition of over 1,000 signatures to East Sussex County Council, opposing the academisation.

By the time today’s announcement was made that petition had grown to a stunning 1,696 names.

“All over the country schools are turning into academies, and all over the country parents are wondering why this is happening,” said Louise.

“Here in Hastings we believe that Ark Schools is a bad fit for Castledown and that there are other options!”

Nationally, the imposition of academy status on many supposedly “failing schools” has been met with similar outrage and opposition to that currently evident in Hastings.

Many believe that academies are part of a Conservative government mantra to introduce privatisation and “grammar school type” selection on state schools.

They point to the profit margins of many academy trusts and the salaries paid to their headteachers.

One head of a primary academy chain took home a salary in excess of £200,000, after being handed a massive pay rise.

Sir Greg Martin, executive head of Durand Academy in Stockwell, south London, saw his salary rise by 56 per cent to a total of £200,822 – due to the fact he runs several schools.

He also received £28,316 in pension contributions, which took his overall remuneration package to £229,138.

Sir Greg – who is planning a boarding school in the Sussex countryside – also earned a further £160,000 from a company set up to run the school’s sports and fitness centre last year.

This is more than the Prime Minister and many city bankers.

Last year delegates at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers conference in Liverpool, heard that growing numbers of heads were now also earning more than the Prime Minister’s salary of £149,440 a year.

“When schools were under local council control, it would have been unthinkable as well as impossible that a headteacher, of even a group of schools, could earn more than a director of education, let alone the Secretary of State for Education, let alone the Prime Minister,” Simon Clarkson from Leicestershire told the conference.

“We need to guard against the rot of greed. Executive headteachers and headteachers have looked at their budgets and I am afraid some have decided to pay themselves excessive salaries.”

Figures showed that in 2015, a total of 41 heads were earning more than £142,000 a year.

Mr Clarkson said: “Our state schools are paid for by the public. They need to be accountable. When I started teaching, especially in the state sector, there was little or no corruption.”

He added: “Let me remind you whose money is being used to do this… ours!”

The Tory MP for Hastings and Rye, Amber Rudd, who is also the Home Secretary, did become involved in the battle over Castledown School, although she is a known supporter of academies and recently engaged the press to openly praise another primary academy in her constituency.

But shadow education minister Angela Rayner MP is a vociferous opponent of academies and grammar schools.

Last September, she said: “Tory academy plans are in complete chaos.

“The impossible job the Department for Education has set itself in trying to directly run thousands of schools from Whitehall is fully exposed as we learn over half of existing academy chains have refused to take on schools and 70% of inadequate academies have been left languishing with poor academy chains.

“Forcing all schools to become academies and introducing even more disruption into the system with new grammar schools will make this situation even worse.

“The Tories need to get a hold on this once and for all or it will be our children who pay the price.”

 

The Artist and the Stardog

 

Last November, following the unexpected death of Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, the world was united in grief at the passing of a great artist and human being.

But we were also reminded of the stupidity of some politicians.

In a feigned effort to gain some publicity from Cohen’s death, the former British Tory MP Louise Mensch put both feet and her handbag in her mouth at the same time.

Ms Mensch, who now lives in New York, tweeted out her condolences: “Leonard Cohen’s death reminds us that America’s enduring greatness is as multifaceted as a diamond.”

And to make her ignorance about his nationality worse, in a crass dig at Russia, she added: “Russia has nothing. Russia is joyless.”

The former MP for Corby was immediately ridiculed by thousands of fans of the Canadian musician, who pointed out her mistake and her absurd criticism of Russia.

Thousands of Twitter users defended Russia’s contribution to history, pointing out Russian Leo Tolstoy, often referred to as one of the greatest authors of all time.

Others named: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who helped raise global awareness of the barbaric gulag system, and Mikhail Bulgakov, who penned a novel regarded as “one of the masterpieces of the 20th century”.

And I could personally add scores of names to the list of Russian cultural greatness.

The authors: Alexander Pushkin, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Anton Chekhov, Vladimir Nabokov and Boris Pasternak will do for starters.

Then there are the Great Russian composers: Rimsky-Korsakov, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, Borodin and Mussorgsky are known to anyone with a passing interest in great music.

We also have so many brilliant Russian visual artists: Ivan Shishkin, Wassily Kandinsky, Ilya Repin, Anna Parkina, Dmitry Shorin, Eric Bulatov, Marina Federovna, Olga Chernysheva and Vitaly Pushnitsky… the list goes on and on!

But, before I move on to the substantive part of this article, I must also mention the fabulous architecture of Moscow, St Petersburg and Smolensk. Architecture which more than matches anything found in Paris, Edinburgh, Rome, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Venice, and dare I say it: New York!

Russia blooms, full of joy and rich in culture, Ms Mensch!

My late uncle Rod Pounsett, started the first western news bureau, Andersen Consulting, in Moscow in 1990, after the end of the Cold War.

He enthused about Moscow as being the greatest city on Earth – full of vitality and culture – and urged everyone he knew to visit it before they died.

And the culture of Moscow and Russia continues to bloom as a new generation unfolds its talents.

Meet Helene Vasileva, a leading light among the bright new contemporary Russian creators.

A skilled photographer and graphic artist, her two art-related Instagram accounts (one named after her pet dog Venya) already have over 60,000 followers.

elena-stock

 

And her art knows no bounds.

Her black and white photography is stunning in its subject matter and technique, while her graphic drawings and paintings draw allusions to the work of Kandinsky, Rothko and others.

Much of her work is abstract and modern, exploring the space between darkness, form and light, while her coloured impressionist work shows reflections of Van Gogh.

Her works have been featured in many international publications and magazines.

She draws inspiration for her works from everyday life as well as from the influence of other artists and musicians.

Her graphic and 3D projects are diverse, incorporating such subjects as: Ansichten eines Clowns, Unknown Germany – Old German toys, Russian Heritage, Koningsberg and its Suburbs, German architects in Russia, and the fabulous Bear Story – a Journey to the Past. This project is focused on children’s memories about life in Moscow between 1980 and 1989.

Helene described two of her German related projects/exhibitions thus: “I’d like to tell about Germany, not touching the theme of the war and politics. During some years I selected documents, information, artifacts and decided to show that as I think reflects culture and life of usual people of Germany from 20 to 30 years of the last century.

“The first and the most favourite part of the project is Old German Toys. The main heroes of my photos are real old teddy bears. The second part of the project – books, music, movies, art and others, sometimes very usual things which can help you to imagine that time,” she adds, with obvious passion for her subject matter.

Now she has added her most recent project: Venya – Stardog, a quirky and wonderful cartoon homage to her Old English Sheepdog.

16473963_10202774459238749_7663812513839495276_n

Helene’s work has been widely displayed in her home city, while other paintings currently hang in galleries in Germany and Israel.

And some of her more experimental work has just been part of a seven day Contemporary Painting exhibition at the trendy Brick Lane Gallery in London’s Shoreditch.

16730677_10202823901074764_6553157626272732667_n

The exhibition which pitted her works with other great international contemporary artists was both flamboyant and thought provoking.

In her series of Over-painted Photographs (three examples are featured at the top) she experiments and combines different styles to produce her own aesthetic.

These creative new works use abstraction as a window that hints of what seems somehow familiar and yet perhaps not, as a mean to invite the viewer to interact with the art and to visualize their own stories, making each work their own.

But Helene is not an archetypal artist. Her passions, besides teddy bears and Venya, include British synth rockers the Pet Shop Boys, orchids, architecture, travel and animals – she shares her life with four cats and her beloved dog.

And judging by her UK, US and European fan base, Helene Vasileva is a blooming talent to watch out for!

You can find out more here: http://www.helenevasileva.com and http://www.instagram.com/helene.picture

 

Ark Academy Trust – a cabal of millionaire hedge fund managers

Edited to show resignations of Jenkins and Tomlinson and addition of Sandall as Company Secretary

No Time to Think

THE Ark Academy Trust is a money-making venture run by multi-millionaire off-shore hedge fund managers.

Nationally it had an income of £21.9 million and assets of £31.3 million in the year ending August 2015 – the last year for which full accounts are available.

Its income and assets are increasing by about £2.5 million a year.

The group started 10 years ago with just one school at Burlington Danes in London – now it is a corporate monster, swallowing schools across the country.

Ark currently runs a network of 35 schools in the UK, in Birmingham, Hastings, London and Portsmouth. And it is now branching out to take over schools in India.

Why?

These are the eight people behind Ark Academy Trust… its Board of Trustees.

Philanthropists or money-makers?

Ian Gerald Patrick Wace – Chairman

Ian Wace is a financier and co-founder of Marshall Wace Asset Management, a London-based hedge…

View original post 1,804 more words