A lament of privilege

The world is out of kilter.

Where now the compliant maids who,
gently and with grace,
tended our many needs,
wisely, and knowing what they owed
their fathers and their lords,
in gratitude for that paternal protection
from greedy hands and mouths that would
their virtue or their happiness remove?
Where now the dutiful wives
and daughters,
obedient, demure and kind?

They are gone.

And in their place are witches, harridans,
who refuse and demand,
and speak a constant tale of ‘no’, or
‘we will stand alone’, ‘we need you not’,
‘we are your equals, not your servants.’
Ingrates all!

The world is out of kilter.

Where now the honest labourers,
who worked our fields and nurtured our rich estates,
who knew their place
and gladly served our wiser will,
who ploughed and sowed and reaped the lands
our fathers gained,
discovered and enclosed by them,
and duly passed from son to son,
improved and cleared, to yield
such bounty?

They are gone.

And in their place, sullen and slavish,
loiter the scroungers
and delinquent youths,
who think themselves owed
some treasure of past generations.
They do not see the justice of our righteous claim
to grow our hard-held wealth
untaxed, unconstrained,
a fair inheritance of our fathers’ gracious state.
Villains all!

The world is out of kilter.

Where now the vast and brimming garden of the Earth,
endlessly opening its virgin vistas to our industry?
Where now the wide dominions
laid out for our conquering,
the wild beasts apt for our domestication,
the oceans, forests, steppes,
pristine and ever generous?
Where the boundless empires we claimed and plundered?

They are gone.

And the infinite world is turned tight upon itself,
a small, hard kernel, an involuted globe,
where evermore we walk old paths again
and trace our own innumerable footprints on the sullied ground –
the bleaching seas and treeless wastes
a common tragedy.

The world is out of kilter.

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Toryzilla

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All things bright and beautiful,

all creatures great and small

are part of the same nature –

together stand or fall.

The rich man in his castle,

the poor ones at the gate,

as waters rise and systems fail,

will suffer the same fate.

2014/2015

In this northern hemisphere

these are the dark days.

So we dress the trees in lights.

Reach back to magic childhoods our parents made for us

and strive to recreate those (false?) memories for new generations.

But time moves on.

We hold wakes for the old year

and wish each other better in the new.

Sketchbook — New Year’s Eve at the pub:

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paying attention to the band
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a face in the crowd
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musicians
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conversation

Christmas memory

A long time ago, on a Christmas eve

(of a Christmas long forgotten)

awake in the sleeping house,

she crept downstairs to sit, curled in her father’s big chair in the dark,

beside the still warm Rayburn (opening the door a crack to let out the embers’ glow).

Watched the fire fade, breathed in the pine scent of the tree,

until it grew too cold.

Then slipped back up to bed again, and sleep,

till bright day.

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Copyright © 2014 Fliss Watts

December 20

Driving home,

we couldn’t find a robin for our small tree

but we are rewarded by the low December sky

seen through winter woods.

How would you render that?

Free-machining on felt, she says

or dyed silk.

No both.

Intricate branches stitched black and fine

on shining sunset, colours run and merge under a hem of soft felt clouds.

Ephemeral light, inconsequential, worth remembering.

Tomorrow the year turns.