one day anyone died i guess

20 06 2017

e.e. cummings poem, anyone lived in a pretty how town, is glued onto the door that leads to our living room. i’ve kept it there since we built our house to serve as a reminder of aspects of world, of our humanness, that we are often up against.

i first read the poem at the age of 13 and it broke my heart to imagine all the people–the anonymous, nameless, “Anyones”–who make up our community but live their lives unnoticed. i was uncomfortable with the suggestion that seasons change but our consciousness stays much the same. the possibility that children (once wise) grow up none the wiser. and that the cycle repeats over and over. i didn’t want to live in a banal world filled with carless Someones and Everyones.

but there is more to this poem. while certainly a reflection of much our daily ongoings, it’s beauty lies in the stanzas that follow, in the individual love that No-one has for Any-one; when Anyone dies one day, it is Noone who stoops to kiss his face.

despite the disregard of the town (larger society, the state, the government) Anyone managed to thrive in life through the individual love and compassion shown by another nameless, anonymous member of society, her name: Noone.

days before the Glenfell Fire, Philomena came to me with her eyes filled with tears and said, “I don’t understand why everything is normal again, why life goes on as normal, how people die but after a short while, we aren’t meant to be sad about it anymore… the terrorist-thing that happened in Manchester well it’s as if it didn’t happen since we watched the Manchester LOVE concert. and then Borough Market happened and that now seems to be over too. but in reality it isn’t over, i’m not over it, any of it.”

in the days after the Glenfell Fire, however, Philomena said to me, “at least this isn’t like the terrorism thing or when someone gets cancer, when you can’t help death from happening. at least we can prevent a fire like this from ever happening again.”

let’s hope we can. and in the meantime, i send my blessings out to all the Noones who have opened their hearts and reached out their hands to comfort the Anyones–all those who are striving to make this place a pretty LOVED town.  

in memory of those who have lost their homes:





an uphill climb – Ximena Velez Liendo, Bolivia – Winner of Whitley Award, 2017

19 05 2017

“Things are always happening to me. I’m that sort of bear.” – Michael Bond, A Bear Called Paddington

In the Quechua belief, the Andean Bear is a mediator between the upper world (the gods) and the inferior world (human); it provides a sense of direction, a passage from one era to the another, it maintains order when chaos emerges.

 





On the possibilities of INFINITE love

19 04 2017

“I have been expressing an infinite devotion to peace loving and the refusal of war and terrorism by infinite human love” – Yayoi Kusama






For The Fallen

11 11 2016

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Robert Laurence Binyon, published in The Times newspaper on 21st September 1914.





Praise Him with timbrel and dancing; Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe.

11 11 2016

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin

Dance me through the panic ‘til I’m gathered safely in

Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove

Dance me to the end of love

– Leonard Cohen

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Paris Report: Resilient City of Light

7 12 2015

We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. – Plato

“Resilience is the capacity of individuals, communities and systems to survive, adapt, and grow in the face of stress and shocks, and even transform when conditions require it.” – Fred Boltz (Managing Director, Rockefeller Foundation)

Beyond clicking the “like” button on articles I’ve come across on Facebook, I’ve tried to steer away from posting anything related to the current political stalemate over terrorism. This is primarily because I’ve refused to waste any positive energy on a tiny subset of humanity who, in my view, are taking up far too much air time. I refuse to let them encroach upon my territory — our territory — the territory of the good and the kind. I refuse to let them invade my mind; they will not cast a shadow of fear within the light I carry inside me or my children.

A couple of weeks ago after my daughter Philomena heard about the incident in Paris, she suggested that World War III was upon us. The Pope did too that day. Although my chest tightened at the thought that my daughter was right, I could tell in her eyes that she was not at all afraid of that notion. Given her timely history lesson at school, she seemed to have a grounded understanding that despite the loss of life, GOOD eventually triumphed over EVIL. And should it come to pass again, good will triumph over evil once more. And I am confident that it will so long as we cast aside our fear. So long as we stop building up armies of terror by bringing them into our daily conversation and so long as we stop branding every lunatic who shoots a gun or waves a knife in the name of God as a terrorist. So long as we stop creating fantasy “States” where there were none before–there is no such thing as an Islamic State, the notion must simply be removed from our vocabulary. If corporate media channels are unable to refrain from sensationalising terror, it is up to those of us active in the world of social media to act as leaders and reclaim the conversation. We must reclaim our Territory of Light over Darkness. 

This past Saturday I returned from a trip to Paris. It was as beautiful as ever for I was in the City of Light with a huge Army of Light. Thousands of environmental soldiers were present: activists, scientists, economists and artists all taking part in the 21st yearly session of the Conference of Parties to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.  The conference’s overall objective is to achieve some sort of binding universal agreement on climate (from all the nations of the world), but not all of us were there to negotiate the legalities of the agreement. While politicians were busy working on their part of the equation, the Army of Light was continuing on our collective path of innovation in reverence of the Pachamama

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Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno, © 2015

Photography by Studio Tomás Saraceno, © 2015

Aerocene manifests as a series of air-fuelled sculptures that will achieve the longest, emission-free journey around the world.  Aerocene holds a message of simplicity, creativity and cooperation for a world of tumultuous geopolitical relations,reminding us of our symbiotic relationship with the Earth and all its species.

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Shepard FaireyPhoto: Aline Deschamps

 

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Where there is no vision, the people perish – Proverbs 29:18a

24 11 2015

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no ‘brief candle’ to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations. – George Bernard Shaw (From Man and Superman)

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A celebration of light and hope.

These were my favourites of the evening:

https://southlondoncares.org.uk/

https://www.sceneandheard.org/

http://theclinkcharity.org/