WHO, WHO, WHO – ‘Who… are… you?’

WHO, WHO, WHO – ‘Who… are… you?’

‘Who… are… you?’
Contemptuously the caterpillar asks Alice
Through a hallucinogenic haze
Smoking a hookah pipe
Resting on a giant mushroom
[Isn’t it strange how quickly times change
Britain fought two wars in the 19th century
In favour of the opium trade
Crushing Chinese efforts to restrict its importation
In the mid-19th century walk into a chemist
to buy opium, cocaine and even arsenic]

‘The Moon is made of green cheese’
[Credulity tested to the limit… Moon’s reflection
In a bucket of water mistaken for cheese]
Nursery rhymes to scare little children at bedtime:
‘Oranges and lemons, say the bells of St.Clement’s…’
‘Here comes a candle to light you to bed,
And here comes a chopper to chop off your head!’ [death]
‘Ring a Ring’o Rosies, A pocket full of posies,
A-tishoo! A-tishoo! We all fall down’ [plague]

A penny for your thoughts? [What’s on your mind?]
Respect the dead
Pennies laid on their eyelids to keep them closed
Until rigamortis sets in
Lest they remain open
Seeing our own death captured in their eyes
Vilify black cats… persecution of witches… watch out
You might be next… ‘watch your back’
Don’t ‘cut off your nose to spite your face’

I might be ‘losing the plot’ but
‘All’s fair in love and war’ [deceit to get what you want]
‘An apple a day, keeps the doctor away’
But displeases the dentist with tooth erosion
Acid attack… not a band name, something more sinister
Who would have thought that all fruit was bad for us?

WHO, WHO, WHO? [World Health Organization]
‘judge, jury and executioner’
‘Saving your bacon’ [saving your body from harm]
‘you’re too smart for your own good’
WARNING: WHO is bad for your health
Who are you to tell us what to day?
Beware of being ‘improoooved’ upon
The cheerful grin, with gently smiling jaws:

“Caterpillar: Who are you?

Caterpillar: Recite.
Alice: Oh. Yes sir. How doth the little bumblebee improve each…
Caterpillar: Stop. That is not spoken correctically. It goes: How doth the little crocodile improve his shining tail. And pour the waters of the Nile, on every golden scale. How cheerfully he seems to grin, how neatly spreads his claws. And welcomes little fishes in, with gently smiling jaws.
Alice: Well, I must say, I’ve never heard it that way before.
Caterpillar: I know. I have improoooved it.” [deception and predation]

© 2015, Lesley Saine [except Alice in Wonderland (1951) excerpt from Caterpillar quotes: http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0012254/quotes%5D

This started off from seeing the WHO’s latest ‘health’ attack, this time on pork, which started me thinking “who, who, who are you, to tell us what to do?”

[Just for interest:
100 years of the war on drugs: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16681673
The Moon is made of green cheese: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Moon_is_made_of_green_cheese
Oranges and lemons: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oranges_and_Lemons
Ring a Ring’o Rosies: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_a_Ring_o’_Roses%5D
“How Doth the Little Crocodile” is a parody of the moralistic poem “Against Idleness and Mischief” by Isaac Watts, which is what Alice was originally trying to recite. Watts’ poem begins “How doth the little busy bee …” and uses the bee as a model of hard work. In Carroll’s parody, the crocodile’s corresponding “virtues” are deception and predation, themes which recur throughout Alice’s adventures in both books, and especially in the poems.
WHO (World Health Organization): The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) that is concerned with international public health. It was established on 7 April 1948, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. The WHO is a member of the United Nations Development Group. Its predecessor, the Health Organization, was an agency of the League of Nations: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Health_Organization%5D


It’s a funny old world isn’t it?

It’s a funny old world isn’t it?

It’s a funny old world isn’t it? Why should we care what happens in another country?
Don’t we have enough problems, trying to survive our government’s decisions
Constant pressure to help others in dire need, urgent pleas for assistance
Wide eyed children, masses of humanity in peril, disaster almost daily
Guilt trip if we ignore the media stoked desperation unfolding day by day
The world wide web, tv and the media catching us in their deadly embrace
Breeding feelings of injustice, inequality, rising racial prejudice, distrust of immigrants
Expectation that someone from a far flung country we may not have heard of
Should automatically benefit from help from our governments, ourselves
What is YOUR government doing? What are YOU doing to help?
Perhaps we should ask other questions, possibly difficult questions to answer:
Sitting in our inadequately heated homes, no matter how small, damp, squalid
Drinking tea, penny pinching to make ends meet, trying to keep our heads above water
We watch the news and tut-tut at the state of the world, at the mess it is in
Perhaps in our heads we wish we could make things right, solve all the world’s problems
Aware, yet distanced from the woes by blaring adverts and catching up on favourite shows
Whilst thoughtfully stirring spoonfuls of sugar into our tea, ignoring the health warnings
Adding a tot or two of alcohol, just a bit won’t hurt, surely not ‘dementia’ in the offing
That cream cake dripping with icing and full of luscious real dairy cream looks mouth-watering
Could really do with a cigarette too, ah that’s better… as the coal fire burns brightly in the grate
Whatever is happening in the world, nothing that tea, alcohol, real cream cake, a cigarette and a nice warm fire can’t fix
Jolting suddenly awake, to find that your nightmare was real, the world is in a sorry state:
The enemy is in your midst, the ‘Health’ fanatics… no soothing sugary cup of tea, no strong alcohol,
nothing for your sweet tooth, no relaxing cigarette and no coal to warm your fire
It’s a funny old world isn’t it? Why should we care what happens in another country?
We have enough enemies destroying our own, undermining our own rights
Rights to make our own choices, good or bad, without ‘nanny state’ interference
The world may be falling apart around us but there is ‘no place like home’, if we have one
‘An Englishman’s home is his castle’… but only until repossession or care home fees
For some a nice short one-way trip to Switzerland, if affordable, some assistance might be nice
I wonder if you could be welcomed with tea, alcohol, cream cake, last cigarette, (if not the coal fire)
Though watching the embers dying on a coal fire might be the final treat
© 2015, Lesley Saine

[This poem started off by thinking about all that is wrong in the world and how it could be viewed from different perspectives]

Utopian ideal? Welfare State 1945 Poverty? ‘Make do and mend’

Utopian ideal? Welfare State 1945 Poverty? ‘Make do and mend’

What happened to the utopian ideal?
The brighter future of jobs, healthcare and homes for all
Envisaged before the 1945 Labour win
Rolling out the beginnings of the Welfare State

Plans (Beveridge Report) drawn up from 1942 to cushion the masses
Put everyone on a near equal footing
The possibility of free this and free that for all
Somehow this all went disastrously wrong

A system designed to support the poorest in society
But who now is the ‘poorest’?
Work hard, be a good citizen and suffer deprivation
Whilst struggling to get or keep a home and put food on the table

They Con us, Welfare State becomes denigrated
Undeserving are getting too much help, why aren’t we?
Take it away, make them work, lazy so-and-sos
Strange… it’s the government that allowed this fiasco

Good intentions originally, backfiring ever since
It’s insane that up to three generations or more
Exist on welfare while hard work does not pay enough
What lesson is that teaching us? Not the right one

I’m not Labour bashing, not a Con either
But where will it all end?
Not in a brighter utopian future that’s for sure
Just more broken election promises through the ‘power’ of the ballot

Of course there is the significant point that
Funding WWI and WWII left this country financially struggling
Not easy to recover from such an enormous dent
WWIII looms on the horizon, nothing learnt from past mistakes

Maybe we should lose the next WW
Those who surrender seem to have built a better future
Whilst our country struggles, the government ‘quantitative eases’ and racks up debt
If we and the allies won, why are others lending us money and telling us what to do?

I almost forgot what sparked off this poem, it was a local paper saying
that a quarter or even more of children now lived in poverty locally in the UK
Neither my grandmother or mother would have considered themselves as in ‘poverty’
Yet the Welfare State didn’t exist until after WW2… they had to ‘make do and mend’

(c) 2015, Lesley Saine

[Just for interest:
– heard on The Wright Stuff in October 2015: £375 billion in ‘quantitative easing’ in UK (printed money) – where did it go?! Also Osborne borrowed 12 billion from Chinese.
– Guardian article from 2001 on politics: 1945-51: Labour and the creation of the welfare state http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2001/mar/14/past.education
– Brave new world – The Welfare State: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/pathways/citizenship/brave_new_world/welfare.htm%5D

I should also thank John White (https://doubleupoet.wordpress.com/) for his tip of ‘free-writing’ – writing whatever comes into your head]

Unsociable me:

I know this may sound unsociable
To some
If I had friends, acquaintances and family
Constantly competing for my attention
In this world of near instant communication
Where you can talk to anyone
In any place
At almost any time
I would be tempted to ignore them
You see
Unsociable me
Would rather have
A peaceful existence
Not a cacophony of irritating noise
Disturbing my equilibrium

© 2015, Lesley Saine


What if… – Lesley Saine

“What if…
We were the aliens, originally from another world
Who have visited world after world, systematically polluting and destroying
One world after another, left barren, dust filled and devoid of life
Civilizations built up that eventually crumble into dust, decay
Science producing ticking time bombs, slowly poisoning the earth beneath our feet
Or blasting it to kingdom come, “For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever”
Peace? I don’t think so. Plans to ‘migrate’ to other worlds. Yes.
Maybe we should have stayed on our own world and died out
Instead of perpetuating the horrors; bringing death and destruction in our wake”
© 2015, Lesley Saine