Beltane, 2018.

img_0543EVE OF MAY DAY, 30 April/1 May is, by some, called Beltane.

I have written this new, original verse in its honour; four previous pieces of verse, dating from 2012-2014, celebrate other observances within the Wheel of the Year and there are yet three more to be written.

I hope you will feel that this verse was worth reading.

BELTANE, 2018

Oak, Rowan, Birch and Hawthorn,
Power and strength, growth and glory,
Rebirth, renewal and generation;
Protection from the Faerie Fae,
Womb quickening with new life.

In and out the wooded glade
Up and down the land
In the woods and hills and meadows;
As the sun begins to show
As the sun is on the rise
See them joined by clasping hands.

Beltane sunrise until moonset,
Joyful couplings abound,
All are freed from obligations;
Solemn vows are set aside,
When the Oak King and his court preside.

In and out the wooded glade
Up and down the land
In the village, towns and hamlets;
As the moon sinks low
As the moon goes down
See them clasping hands no longer.

Tulip, coltsfoot, dill and balm,
Tranquility and peace and power,
New found love and second sight;
Faerie tricks and fecund magick,
Around the Maypole and every charm.

Ben A Harvey,
April 2018.

(C) 2018, Gogwit.
All Rights Reserved.

Continue reading “Beltane, 2018.”

Rally Against School Cuts, Birmingham.

The venue is Victoria Square, the date and time: 1pm, Saturday 28 April 2018.

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“Schools in this country are under threat. Across the West Midlands, 1,887 schools are still facing Government cuts. This is simply not acceptable. Together we need to create a noise so loud that no one can ignore what’s happening to our schools and children’s education.

Join parents and teachers coming together on 28th April to rally against school cuts in the heart of Birmingham. We’ll be dropping a massive banner to showing the schools facing cuts. Rally and speeches will follow.

Speakers confirmed:
Jack Dromey, MP for Birmingham Erdington
Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council

Other speakers TBC. Bring banners, your home-made signs, and tell every parent you know in our community. This is a family-friendly event. Everyone welcome!

This action is organised in collaboration with Save Our Schools West Midlands.”

The above text was reproduced from the Facebook Event page.

This rally is set within the context of growing popular disquiet spilling over into activism – increasingly from people with no history of engagement – targeting the attacks upon our system of universal educational provision by the state, whether this be though savage cuts which force schools to shed subjects, resources and loyal, loved and well-regarded members of staff; or perhaps being subject to cherry picking, asset stripped by rapacious multi academy trusts.

Yet others are withdrawing children from stressful and meaningless key stage testing, or questioning the need to baseline pupils from their first day in school.

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Gogwit is going, if you are thereabouts on Saturday why not come along.  Whatever you do, please wish for warm, sunny weather!

Links of Relevance:

Event Facebook Page

School Cuts

SOS – Save Our Schools

Let Our Kids Be Kids

Sad Little England.

GOGWIT IS FEELING annoyed and downbeat today, this brief blog is the substance of what is getting under my skin.

I was born 10 minutes walk from the centre of Birmingham. I have never driven and my passport expired in the early 90s, I did not replace it, there seemed no need.

Fortunately I have my birth certificate.

Even so, a growing number of situations require production of valid photo ID and it is then that we encounter the true meaning of the “insolence of office” which is stressful in the extreme and which pushes me – yes, me – to the verge of losing my temper – which would be unfortunate, embarrassing and rather unpleasant.

But at least I do not have to prove, in addition, my residence status over several decades, failure to comply potentially resulting in losing employment, being detained or even being deported.

Compared to the trials being experienced by the so called “Windrush Generation” my problems seem insignificant.
They do not seem so when some functionary is required to tick boxes for documents I do not possess.

There is so much that is good about this country to be proud of and to rejoice in and celebrate.

However, the way this country has, in recent years, treated so many of its subjects of Commonwealth and New Commonwealth heritage is not among those matters for celebration. It is a matter for shame, it is a blemish and it summarises, most succinctly, where we are wrong and could do so much better.

Today, our Prime Minister apologised publicly to Commonwealth Heads of Governments for this outrageous state of affairs, until recent days UK Home Office policy. The current Home Secretary has already had to backtrack, in Parliament, on this toxic legacy from the days when the current Prime Minister was the then Home Secretary.

Fine words are, well, fine words but alone they butter few parsnips. Harm has already been done and action is required to make amends and to resolve this issue. There were fine words issued after the Manchester concert bombing.
There was an outpouring of fine words following the Grenfell Tower fire, so dreadful that one only need say “Grenfell” and everyone knows exactly what one is talking about; vanishingly few of the issues have been addressed and resolved, few of the promises have been delivered.

We often hear the call to “make a bonfire of the red tape” by which is commonly meant the checks, balances, safeguards and protocols that protect us from unscrupulous exposure to unsound and dangerous processes.

I would like to call for a bonfire of the red tape used to discriminate, deter and debar those resident in this land from living and thriving in productive and happy lives.

Gogwit.

April 2018, (c)

This is an opinion piece; it represents my views and was created as a sole enterprise.

Sajeda & Ashiq

I reblog this piece, by Injeanious, on Gogwit’s Blog because I enjoyed reading it and I was intrigued by it.
So many threads and so many layers.
Our lives are like baskets woven from sticks rooted in our many experiences; some touch directly, some tangentially and others connect but tenuously. All contribute to the integrity of the basket.
Perhaps we could all bear closer analysis of our motivations.
Or, perhaps not.

Injeanious

It’s Saturday morning.  Sajeda and I are lying on our backs in the front room.    I’m demonstrating some simple exercises to strengthen her core.   These had been given to me by my trusty physiotherapist just four weeks ago, when my back was so sore I could hardly move.    I’m sharing them with Sajeda this morning – hoping that by modelling the process with her it will help.   So I’m  demonstrating the leg slide and trying to explain the importance of tightening up her core muscles as I’m doing it.   So to explain further I kneel up beside her and feel her either side of her pelvis, deep into her muscle.  This isn’t too easy because Sajeda is rather on the large side.  Small and round.  I explain that she has to tighten her muscles and keep feeling until she does this.   Good, I praise her – she smiles.  I place…

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Thoughts from a retired headteacher…

I reblog this with sadness. Sadness that a headteacher should feel motivated to write in this vein; sadness that the argument of this piece is essentially true. The keyword here is, I think, sadness.

Let Our Kids Be Kids

Teachers, headteachers, parents… use your power!

“I daily thank god that I am a retired teacher and headteacher. I simply could not ask my staff to persecute children with never ending ‘tests’ that do nothing to further any child’s education or ability to make sense of the world. I simply would have refused to cooperate with the idiots charged with designing our so-called education system.

Teaching used to be a joyous profession. Happy children, staff who didn’t dread walking daily through the school gates and heads who were left to manage their schools without the constant interference of people who couldn’t do the job themselves.

I used to be described as formidable by LEA officers, advisors alike. Yes I was. Formidable in my determination to do the very best I could for the young people in my charge.

Schools used to be about opportunities for social mobility- a chance…

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“Tired? A young man like you…?”

“I stopped explaining myself when I realised other people only understand from their level of perception.”

This is a very valid take on the quandary we face whenever someone who is not an acquaintance, relative or friend sees fit to pass comment on us.
In my case the condition is not M.E. – that is my little brother’s burden – but equally difficult to explain to someone who has not experienced my illness. Do we heed the call to arms; and risk appearing defensive, aggressive, apologetic, malingering or just plain pathetic? Or do we say nothing, slink away or tell ourselves that the better part of valour is discretion?
In my experience and life, for what it’s worth, it depends on the situation.

Choice, free will and the better part of valour are wonderful things: exercise yours, here, today, by reading the excellent piece I share today.
Please consider following the author, and please appreciate their work by liking it.

Me and M.E...

by Jonathan Fitzgerald

The pay machine in the car park is on the go-slow and I’m making small talk with the two pensioner ladies waiting in the queue behind me. “It’s a bit like me in a morning,” I quip. “A young man like you?” they chuckle back, unaware.

Now I’m not about to correct and start lecturing two octogenarian ladies in the middle of a car park. In fact initially I feel a little guilty – why am I moaning when they are the old people with the aches and creaking bones

And why would they know any different anyway? I’m having an OK-ish day and they can’t tell I have something like M.E based on our 30-second interaction. And I’ll never see them again, so does it matter? Should it really get to me?

Rewind two weeks and I’m in an exercise class, trying out different things to help my…

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Verse for Ôstara, 2014.

(The Vernal Equinox (northern Hemisphere): 20 March 2014/ 1657UTC)


So when the Sun rises

In the East today
You will know that the
Hours that follow dawn
To dusk will equal those
From dusk to dawning
One single day’s length hence;
And that an egg placed
Round end down will
Stand erect and neither topple
One way nor the other.
Equinox. Equilux. Balance in time
And space. In this place.

Spring sunshine paints a pretty
Picture picking out the
Golden trumpets, the fresh purples,
Whites, yellows, blues of
Spring bulbs burst into completion
Announcing Spring is here.
With the winter lost and
Once more banished new
Green shoots, buds and leaves
Evidence Ôstara and her Handiwork.
Dawn, new light, new life,
New beginnings at this
Point in time and space.

In the city giant cranes
Come back to life.
Trucks, diggers, hoists and mixers
Serviced by the host
Who, ant-like, this and
That way move to
Build and raise the citadel.
Machines, men, sand and water
Steel, wood, fire, glass
Do Ôstara’s work and bidding.
New from naught, or worn,
Or old. In creation: man
And nature, hand-in-hand.

Crocus, bluebells, violets, Honey,
Lilac, mallow, mead and Nectar.
New choice, lifestyle and direction,
Goddess: Blessed be all creation!

Ben A Harvey
March 2014.

© Ben A Harvey. All rights reserved.