Wednesday, August 29, 2007

On the day Gordon Brown became Prime Minister

The following (using quotes from Gordon Brown) is a poem I wrote:

On the day Gordon Brown became Prime Minister

‘I have heard the need for change.
…now let the work of change begin.’

Footage of journeys along The Mall;
political metamorphosis by Royal Assent.
Traditional photo-shoot at number 10
of this nation’s primary (Scottish) gent.

‘I remember words…which matter a great deal today:
“I will try my utmost”.’

Forgive a somewhat jaded view
from a veteran of decades past.
Successive governments have promised as much;
will your offerings be the ones to last?

‘I will build a government that uses all the talents.’

Are you capable of bringing stability?
Will your changes be climacteric?
Will patients see improvements they seek?
Are your sound-bites empty rhetoric?

(c) Copyright Dr Tusitala 2007

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Lord Deedes – In Memoriam

I awoke this morning to the news that Lord Deedes has died.

As I read the headlines, I instantly felt very sad and quite dejected. It is interesting how someone who I have never met can have such an influence over me. However, Lord Deedes, or Bill Deedes as he preferred to be known, was such a person. Indeed, I am sure that I am not the only one he has anonymously influenced over many years.

A charismatic man, he led life to the full, right up to his death at the age of 94 years.It would not be appropriate for me to try and describe the details of his fulfilled existence. Instead, I would refer my reader to the article in Wikipedia:, which makes for most interesting study.

My own experience of Lord Deedes has largely been through the columns of The Daily Telegraph, where he wrote a regular column (as well as being a past editor of the paper). His articles were always of great interest, well-written and thought-provoking, even if one did not always agree with his personal views.

Like many, I was impressed with how he continued to work despite his significant age. Indeed, it was he who first led me to the poet, A. E. Housman and his poem, The Shropshire Lad. I can remember reading an article about Bill Deedes from a few years ago in which he cited a few lines from this poem and stated how he used them as his personal mantra. The particular lines are:

Up, lad: when the journey's over
There'll be time enough to sleep.

I confess to have taken those lines to heart and have since used them on many an occasion when I find myself tempted to laze in the mornings.

Bill Deedes will have been an inspiration to many others, probably throughout the English speaking world. No doubt they, like me, will be feeling his loss today.

Well, Lord Deedes, your long and colourful journey is finally over. Thank you for what you offered to so many. You have certainly earned your sleep.

A Thrust too Far

The middle aged man shifted uncomfortably in his seat whilst summoning the courage to say why he had booked the appointment.

‘It’s a little embarrassing, doctor.’

I encouraged him to continue.

‘Well, I have this problem with reaching orgasm. It takes so long to get there -although my wife thinks it’s wonderful.’

‘So, why is it a problem?’ I asked, slightly puzzled. 'I know many men would be pleased to have such powers of control.'

The reply left me speechless.

‘I know, Doc. It's just that two hours is a long time to go without a cigarette.'

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Thought for the Day

There's so much to do and so much to give today...

In my haste I missed
what was destined for me.

Youssou N'Dour, So Many Men, 2002

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Youssou N’Dour

As part of my current studies, I have just discovered the poet, singer and songwriter, Youssou N’Dour.

My introduction to him was by way of a song he wrote in 2002, entitled So Many Men. The reaction the lyrics and music had on me was immediate, leaving me wondering how I have missed knowing about him for so many years!

Youssou N’Dour was born in 1959 in Dakar, Senegal. He describes himself as a ‘modern griot’. A griot or jali (in the Wolof language of the Senegalese) is a West African poet or wandering musician.

N’Dour’s music is a wonderful mixture of traditional Senegalese dance rhythms, saxophone solos, guitar melodies, percussion, lyrics in English, French and Wolof, and Sufi-inspired Muslim religious chant. He draws on influences as wide ranging as samba, jazz, soul and hip-hop. With his versatile tenor voice, the effect is both stunning and inspiring.

(For those, like me, who are not instantly familiar with Sufism, according to Wikipedia it is a mystic tradition within Islam, encompassing a diverse range of beliefs and practices dedicated to divine love and the cultivation of the heart.)

Understandably, the artist is a leading political light in Africa, using his music to address several social and political issues. These have ranged from the release of Nelson Mandela, support for Amnesty International, performing in the Live 8 concerts and staring as the African-British abolitionist, Olaudah Equiano, in the film Amazing Grace, which chronicles the efforts of William Wilberforce to end slavery in the British Empire.

I cannot but recommend this accomplished poet and musician to you. Starting with the song So Many Men would, I think, be as fine a way as any to approach his music. However, he has many albums to go at – many of which are, courtesy of Amazon, already en route to my door.

The Power of Love

Looking through my writing archives for the month of March, I came across the following article, initially published in my weekly column for...