In all our sanctuaries we sit at risk

Six Truth Works Three Tattoos


Here in the UK, recent elections and this Summer’s cataclysmic EU referendum have been opportunities for liars, demagogues and PR specialists to practice their skills on the population, in order to sway it to their will. The phenomenon is not unique to the UK, nor of course is it unprecedented.

But the pervasive dishonesty, recklessness and unseemliness of the proceedings we have just experienced in these times have been frightening and dangerous, far removed from due or safe process. The phrase “truth-free” has recently joined our currency. What connection does the modern election have with truth-telling, or decisions based on actual fact carefully considered  ? Are we bovvered ?

And yet when the result comes through, reflecting to an unknown but considerable degree the electorate’s mere bewilderment and alienation, it is called the “People’s Will” – especially by those people whose own will has been served by this result, and whose lies and jingles have helped procure it.

Truth-telling is integral to any real democracy, to any healthy society. I have recently posted up several poems on truth-telling on this blog. But here I have brought them together as a series, and have included a new one composed a few days ago.

The reference in that latest poem to “honourable fool” comes from a speech by the UK Conservative MP Charles Walker, made on the last day of the Coalition Government in 2015.  I found that speech redemptive in some way, one of the few good things to come out of the Coalition Government’s five years in power.

On the other hand, Walker refers in his speech to behaviour from close colleagues which is grubby, cheap and treacherous, worthy of a street-gang. Note the names of the perpetrators and conspirators – Gove as Chief Whip, Hague as Leader of the House (on his very last day in the House), Cameron as Prime Minister. The ability to behave in this way and get away wiv it ; the ability to lie as part of an election strategy and get away wiv it, threaten and demean us all. Here is a Youtube film of the relevant part of Walker’s speech –

Here is a Daily Mail article on it –

And here is the poem-series. I have set the different poems out below. The title of the whole series is above. For anyone preferring to read the poems on paper rather than on screen, click on this title Six Truth Works Three Tattoos  for the pdf version. You can then print it out.


Earth Words


What are words for ?

If to connect us

they have to be pristine

carriageways for truth-telling.

We have to tend and train our words

to be as sound and life-giving

as the Earth.


For like God

words stand at our mercy.

They can be twisted

to the vicious will,


into mirrors of the corrupted self.


And those who would smash Creation

and burn and dismember our children

speak words

of terrible skill.

October 2015


Air Threat


The space outside

grows too dangerous to tolerate,


too frightening to explore.

It has been poisoned.


There was a time when danger

threatened only across deep water,


but now no longer.

All the systems, the traceries,


the capillaries

are fracturing


right here on the doorstep,

a degeneration


working its way

into the mortar,


into the brain.

The air between us


is disintegrating.

Do you not see it breaking up ?


The door blows open.

The lie walks in.

 October 2015


Street Safety


Our houses stand like a coast of sheer cliff

granite and immoveable.


But they are just targets

there to be hit.


It is words that will stand true

words that can’t


be blown away,

words charged


and pulsating

that will light our street.


November 2015


Aortal Bleeding


Perhaps our Creator lacks a mind

and therefore had no plan

for how yours and mine

would work. In which case

our lives and history

are just a continuous accident

like a river nosing downhill

chancing on points of give.


But it’s hard not to decipher

a certain deliberation

verging on cruelty

in our Creator’s gift to us

of the capacity to lie.

Lying is a declaration

of war on Otherness,

a blow for the unbridled self.

It is similar to our gift

for doing evil. Our lying and our evil

threaten all our Creator’s work.


If our Creator had a mind

perhaps He was thinking

that our god-given lust

for the lie

would teach us that truth

works better. For trust

is like blood and lies lead

to aortal bleeding. We are bleeding

our hope away. I have

no doubt that just

before it’s too late

we shall remember

to worship the truth

and shall punish

as enemies of Creation

all who lie.


November 2015


We have Government


We have government by massage

manipulation, lie.

It attacks the body politic.

We watch and we comply.

Power is its only purpose

deceit its only skill

the electorate just putty

for moulding to its will.


Our “leaders” claim the right to rule

through winning our consent

their means of winning foul

their ways of winning bent.

Some intentions they hide

others they pervert

an election just another way

to defraud the electorate.


They keep their small majority

through daily tricks and lies

and by stoking fear and fantasy

in a people they despise.

Some chose them for promises

they broke overnight

yet still they preen in power

as if by legal right.


Democracy is founded

upon honour at heart.

A state that cheats its people

is illegitimate.


The proper place is jail

for a leadership that lies ;

Not “Minister,” “criminal”

the title that applies.


The heart of our community

lies tortured in defeat.

Outlaws kick the corpse aside.

It is outlaws rule our street.

November 2015


Siren Sounds


When no one can be trusted

or believed,


when language becomes

just siren sounds


of ill intent,

the word “honour”


rises from the dust

and from the pools of blood.


An honourable fool



through the empty forum.


                                                                                         July 2016