Thursday, 31 January 2019


I've read that the Brexit Divorce Agreement is 588 pages long. Unfortunately the report didn't say in which language the 588 pages are written.

There are 23 official languages in the EU.  There are also several languages which are known as semi-official languages. Welsh, the language of my homeland, is a semi-official language.

Some of the EU's 23 official languages are long on words and convoluted grammar while others are succinct and straightforward.

I've also read that after Brexit only 1% of EU citizens will have English as their first language.

As a result of the newly signed German-French  pact and the German-French EU Army project I can imagine that the languages of these two countries will soon have to be taught in all EU schools.

A curious fact is that a year or two ago one of the EU's presidents said he was pleased he'd no longer need to speak broken English as he preferred to speak fluent German or French.  Oddly, he made the remark in Italy.

The opinions of the EU's other presidents (the EU boasts 4 presidents by the way) are unknown.

The following passages in English and German (to illustrate the point) are taken at random from Salman Rushdie's Good Advice is Rarer than Rubies - 

The dusty compound between the bus stop and the Consulate was already full of Tuesday women, some veiled, a few barefaced like Miss Rehana. They all looked frightened, and leaned heavily on the arms of uncles or brothers, who were trying to look confident. But Miss Rehana had come on her own, and did not seem at all alarmed. 

Der staubige Platz zwischen  der Bushaltestelle und dem Konsulat wimmelte bereits von Dienstagsfrauen, manche von ihnen tief verschleiert, nur wenige mit völlig unverhülltem Gesicht wie Miss Rehana. Sie alle wirkten ängstlich und stützen sich schwer auf dem Arm des Onkels oder Bruders, der sich jeweils große Mühe gab, selbstsicher dreinzublicken. Miss Rehana dagegen war allein gekommen und schien überhaupt keine Angst zu haben. 

Muhammad Ali, who specialised in advising the most vulnerable-looking of these weekly supplicants, found his feet leading him towards the strange, big-eyed, independent girl. 

Muhammad Ali, der sich darauf spezialisiert hatte, die am unsichersten wirkenden der allwöchentlich erscheinenden Ratsuchenden anzusprechen, merkte plötzlich, dass seine Füße ihn unwillkürlich zu dieser seltsamen, großäugigen und selbstbewussten jungen Frau hinüber trugen. 

Twenty-seven countries and twenty-three languages. That's the long and the short of it. 

Wednesday, 30 January 2019


People in Ireland have a lot to think about.

They have to think about Frontex.

Ireland will be the only northern EU country outside the Schengen area.

They have to think about the likelihood of an EU Army on their soil, helping protect the EU's border.

They have to think about European history.

Historical events could be relevant.

They have to think about the EU project which involves many Balkan countries joining soon.

The Balkans are noted for their stability.  :-)

They have to think about EU borders in the North Sea, the Irish Sea, and the Atlantic.

They have to think about much more than Brexit.

They have to think about the increasing power of Berlin.

And the role France who may become Berlin's poodle.

 I said to an Italian friend yesterday  "Perhaps Italy could give Theresa May a helping hand?"

 He replied, "Italy has no power or influence in the EU."

 People in Ireland have a lot to think about.

Today Bloomberg says EU is ready to push Brexit beyond the point of no return.

Jerome Powell: We (USA) would rather not have a hard Brexit.

Events could move quickly.

Democracy is not guaranteed.

It has to be renewed every day.

People in Ireland have a lot to think about.

Monday, 28 January 2019

Nothing New Under The Sun

We all know the story. The so-called original sin.

The first woman tempted the first man with her fruit.

The devious serpent-like creature was responsible.

Meanwhile an angry somebody was spying on the innocent couple.

How could they be so naiive?

The spy was no-one less than the creator of the whole universe!

Or so we are told.

My personal opinion is  that if anyone believes this tall tale  they'll believe anything.

As I said, just my personal opinion.

No need to agree with me.

Each to his own.

The outcome.

The woman begat the the couple's children.

All boys.

Three altogether I once heard said.

When they were grown men one child murdered his brother.

We even know their names.

I find the fact that we know the name of the murderer and the victim and their parents almost beyond belief.

In fact it's quite amusing.

Fake News! is a recent phenomena exposed to public gaze by Donald Trump* isn't it?

After a two or three thousand years the Creator of the Universe decided to intervene.

According to legend.

A rebel arrived on the scene and recruited his followers.

He held no grudges against the fairer sex.

In fact he stood up for women against the established male dominated order.

"Let him who is without sin throw the first stone," is a quote we all know.

It wasn't long before he was tortured and killed for his troubles.

Although some say he survived.

I'll not argue the point.

Each to his own.

Today the  killing and torturing goes on apace.

There's nothing new under the sun.

But I do not despair.

NATURE knows what to do.

And will never be defeated.

That is the way of things.

That is my unhumble opinion.

* The UK's Telegraph newspaper apologized only last week for publishing a 'fake news' article concerning Donald Trump's wife Melania. The 'fake news' story was quickly exposed as an untruth and the paper agreed to pay America's First Lady "substantial damages"and publish an apology.

Saturday, 26 January 2019

We cannot say.

may be proud 
of our education, 
what we are, 
we cannot 

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

A New Franco-German Pact


The EU's willing masters are at it again.

Merkel and Macron are to sign a pact designed to shore up the EU.

Germany and France are the natural leaders of the EU . . .  aren't they?

Can anybody still be unaware of that?

Does anybody outside these two countries think that such a pact is in keeping with the spirit of the EU rule book?

 In today's EU France and Germany are seen to be more equal than the rest. 

If anybody hasn't read George Orwell's Animal Farm they'd be well  advised to.

Yes folks. It's all happening before our very eyes. And it's happening today. 

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

"The Government is the Servant of the People" Theresa May

That's it.

It's what Britain stands for.

And it's what the Brits understand.

Get on with it.

Unite the nation.

Vote for the deal

And then go out and celebrate with a clear conscience!

Do it now.       Tomorrow may be too late.

Two boats side by side

Monday, 14 January 2019

Brexit? 'Something reeks in the State of Denmark.'

Welsh is a semi-official EU language
British citizens living in EU countries were not allowed to vote in the Brexit referendum if they had been resident outside their home country for 15 years according to the 'information' carelessly promulgated by our then leader Cameron the Incompetent which I had to discover by chance.

What does the EU's crib sheet Citizens First say?

"the Commission . . . can contact the national authorities concerned to ask for an explanation and to request . . . the infringement of Community law be terminated."

Was this done?  I don't know.

"If the Commission is not satisfied with the response of the national authorities it can open infringement proceedings against the country concerned."

Was this done?  I don't know.

Were voters provided with a copy of the EU's brochure Citizens First prior to the referendum so that they would be better informed?

                                                              I don't know.

My gut feeling tells me that when it comes to Brexit the EU Commission and the UK Parliament are more than incompetent.

'Something reeks in the state of Denmark'. 

Update: Yesterday the PM used the words "subversion of democracy" to describe her looming defeat.    British democracy is about to be subverted. I never thought I'd live to see the day.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Vanity Poet seeks sympathy

This one's for my favourite comedian northsider Dave!

Scene:  A Cork bar, after hours.

It's himself.
Look boys, it's himself.
So it is.
It's been a while.
Three days at least.
Go on, ask him.
I'll ask him.
How's it going? It's been a while?
He's very quiet.
What's that box beneath his arm?
What's that under your oxter Mick?
      A prize.
It's a prize me lads.
What for a prize?
What might it be?
      A vase.
A vase it is my lads.
Or a flower pot.
And what's it for?
      It's for my pomes.
It's for his rhymes.
His rhyming rhymes have won a prize.
A flower pot for a prize.
in Dublin's fair city
by the Global Poetry Club
no less.
It's written here on the box.
Fill 'em up Old Pat behind the bar.
Replenish the porter
 stout bar-fellow thou.
You've just been over for this prize?
says Pat the Elder
softly drawing stout.
      I did and that's a fact. 
Let's see the blessed pot then Mick
Yes, let's see the vase, the prize
- a trick well won I'll vow 
       You can't.
Why not?
       It's broke. 
He shakes the box. The sound of shards. 
Oh my Paddy Kavanagh.
Who broke it so?
When broke it so?
How broke the crystal chalice? 
       I broke it tripping off the stage. 
And well and good you broke it!

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Venice (Lost and Found)

You never know what you might find when you go through an accumulation of paper in order to bring some order into your life. It's almost a haphazard  ritual with me. There's no fixed pattern. It's something I do on impulse.

One thing I rediscovered was this postcard sized impression of a canal corner in Venice which I painted nearly 20 years ago. I wonder where it's been all this time.

Another mysterious find is an undated attempt at humour. Ten years old at least; a poem about an Irish writer titled Vanity Poet Seeks Sympathy.  

Could be 'something for the morrow' northsider Dave!

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Masao Okabe's Frottage Sites

When Albert Einstein was asked to submit a paper in support of Germany's World War I adventure he sent 3 sheets explaining why he was against wars 'since they had asked' for his comments. Even from this they censored 3 paragraphs.

Throughout 2007 and 2008 the following poem was one of half a dozen I sent to the Poets Against War website at regular intervals. The site was at and it hosted many thousands of poems sent in from all over the world  (sadly it no longer appears to exist).

I seem to recall  this was a poem of mine that they highlighted  as one of their 'poems of the month'.

It's about nuclear war. And about the past and the future.

Masao Okabe's Frottage Sites

Okabe's hand blurs rapidly over a surface
and an image appears on paper;
platform stones leave unique prints
just like hands or fingers.

Today he's fetched a row of stones to show you,
his testament in stone from Old Ujina Station;
hard stones that have survived
from the morning of the dark face of the light.

And he has a map to show you -
with its delta rivers coloured red
and marked with concentric rings to indicate
that the target will be 5 miles wide.

Okabe took his other frottages at City Hall
and Hijiyama Hill,
at the Red Cross Hospital
and the Post Office Bank,
and at many other regular spots
back home
inside those rings.

That is only Okabe's way
to ask
if there's a future
for our past.


Pound on dogs

Here is a supplement to yesterday's post, my story of a wise king (whose name incidentally was Dharmaputra) and his faithful friend - his dog.

Today I look at a couple short poems concerning dogs and humans.  Mr Singh's  Italian translations are here to help me with my Italian studies. But if I need a second excuse it is that Italian is to my ear the most beautiful language for song and poetry and I enjoy reading them out loud even when I don't understand every single word!


When I carefully consider the curious habits of dogs
I am compelled to conclude
That man is the superior animal.

When I consider the curious habits of man
I confess, my friend, I am puzzled.


Quando noto attentamente le curiose abitudini dei cani
Sono costretto a concludere
Che l'uomo e l'animale superiore.

Quando considero le curiose abitudini dell'uomo 
Confesso, amico, che mi sento perplesso. 

The Seeing Eye

The small dogs look at the big dogs;
They observe unwieldy dimensions
And curious imperfections of odour.
Here is a formal male group:
The young men look upon their seniors,
They consider the elderly mind
And observe its inexplicable correlations.

Said Tsin-Tsu:
It is only in small dogs and the young
That we find minute observation.

L'occhio che vede

I cani piccoli guardano i cani grandi;
Osservano le dimensioni ingombranti
E le curiose imperfezioni dell'odore.
Qui c'e un formale gruppo maschile:
I giovani guardano con rispetto i grandi,
Essi considerano la mente anziana
E notano le sue correlazioni inspiegabili.

Disse Tsin-Tsu:
E solo nei piccoli cani e nei giovani
Che troviamo l'osservazione minuta. 

Monday, 7 January 2019

The king and the dog

Soon after he died an Indian king, a kind and good man in life, arrived at the entrance to heaven.
He was accompanied by his dog.

Saint Peter turned over a leaf in his thick book and said: You may enter but regretfully your dog cannot enter.

The king said: My dog loves me. He is my constant companion. Wherever I go he goes.

Saint Peter laid the law down firmly:  Rules are rules. There can be no exceptions.

The king replied: In that case I will stay outside with my dog.  

But then a strange thing happened.

The dog appeared to change its form and become the embodiment of Sri Krishna. The friends then passed safely and unchallenged through the heavenly portals.

- An interesting little story - 

Saturday, 5 January 2019

One part of the one

Until  Copernicus came along the cleverest people in Europe believed that the sun and the stars in the heavens orbited the earth.

Many children, not all of them by any means, are aware that the earth orbits the sun and the sun is a star; one of billions of stars in a galaxy called The Milky Way. 

On the earth today there are more than seven billion carbon based humans.

Earth's seven billion humans have invented 7,000 languages and 4,000 religions.

They have constructed telescopes and flying machines in order to explore the moons and planets of the solar system, the other stars and planets in the galaxy and the visible and invisible universe in and beyond the galaxy, and to monitor events below on earth.

These are great achievements.

And yet there are always conflicts and wars.

People forget they are all part of the One.  

Peoples throughout history have been killing each other on a regular basis. Whole civilizations have been wiped out. And that is without weapons of mad destruction.

If there are highly developed beings living in the Milky Way, and statistically there will be, I imagine they'll will give us a wide berth and observe us quietly from a safe distance.

To attain the pinnacle of evolution the human species needs much more time.

They live in wisdom 
who see themselves 
in all 
and all in them 

Bhagavad Gita 

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Banging the Gong for Space

Another giant step for mankind.

Another great leap into the unknown.

I'm over the moon.

We're only in the first week of the new year and already we have the Ultimate Thule close encounter. From the first images I predict this object will eventually be revealed to be a captured comet.

Next up -  a craft lands on the the far side of the moon.

I think it's wonderful.

When humankind puts its mind to it almost anything is possible. And what is more thrilling than the possibility of exploring the universe in which we have our being.

It's time for universal peace and for nations to work together in space.

The moon rings like a gong because there are no tectonic plates to break up moonquake vibrations.

It's now time for peaceful meditation and enlightened heads.

Let us therefore seize the moment.

A fraction of the money wasted on wars and weapons that could destroy life on Earth and send the few unfortunate survivors back to the stone age could open up ever more wonderful new horizons in space.

Let us put hate, rivalry and superstition behind us.

Let the nations of the world join together.

Let's do it.

Ad Astra.