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Diet Of Kindness 

With all the madness of Brexit and and an ever growing culture of individualism and the me first society, people are increasingly putting their own needs ahead of the common good. In this poem i take a look at what local, national, and global society could be like if we could move to from the cult of personality politics to a kinder way of communicating with and responding to the needs of others. Ive given it the title Diet Of Kindness i hope you enjoy the read .

Diet Of Kindness 

As evening approaches i am aware 

it will soon be time to dine

but i think not of food 

though a fish supper is appealing

it is not a meal i want right now

rather a change in the way we treat others and ourselves

this will be beneficial to the emotional health

of our communities and nations 

we should seek inspiration from volunteers not millionaires

we need to change what we aspire to be 

this is not about food

 it is about the common good of the human race 

too often we are told to know our place 

and accept this order without questioning those who served it up

or asking them why they didn’t put respect on the menu

from Hitler to Stalin from Franco to Caucescu 

we have been taken to the fast food  politics

of instant gratification

only to hunger for commodities  dished out on our individual platters

by the tabloid press and 24 hour  television

to limit our ambitions 

to what they believe is right for them 

as half the world starves to death 

and the other half craves what they can’t posses

are we too blind to see the answer that lies before us 

humanity is not about building borders barriers or walls

pride will always come before you fall from a very great height 

as evening comes i am aware 

it will soon be time to dine 

but it’s not food i have on my mind 

it is change in the way we live

it’s about taking less and giving more 

talking to the outcasts 

those until now you have chosen to ignore 

it’s about changing who and what we aspire to be 

setting ourselves free from authoritarian chains

it’s raising our voices in anger when we  see others being demonised and labelled 

it’s about accepting people

 be they LGBT , disabled or from different religious groups 

it’s a recipe not for the stomach but  the mind 

and replacing individualist self indulgence 

with a diet of kindness served up with compassion and humanity 

© Gayle Smith 2017

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When It Comes To Independence Some People Are Really Obsessed.  

After seven weeks of campaigning it’s finally here election day 2017. Depending on who you are talking to this election has been about Brexit , A Fairer Britain , and Nicola Sturgeon’s Obsession With independence. It’s also been about the Environment, a Second European Union Referendum, and Nicola Sturgeon’s obsession with independence. 

Other topics for discussion have included the Dementia Tax Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘dealings’ I prefer to call them peace negotiations,  with the IRA, and Nicola Sturgeon’s obsession with independence. Have you detected a theme yet ? I think I have and it’s this according to the unionist parties and their friends in the press Nicola Sturgeon has an obsession with independence. 

Reality however paints a slightly different picture. Far from Nicola Sturgeon having an obsession with independence it is in fact the unionists who are obsessed by the right of the Scotland to at any time determine our future god knows they’ve mentioned it often enough In every campaign leaflet in every party political broadcast and in every televised news bulletin the burning question at least according to the interviewer wasn’t Theresa May’s refusal to take part in debates or Jeremy Corbyn’s suitability for the job of Prime Minister , it was yes you’ve guessed it Nicola Sturgeon’s obsession with independence

 This to me is nothing of short of propaganda of the type that Josef Goebbels would have proud to call his own. It was the same all through the recent council election campaign when unionists of all political hues pleaded for votes on the grounds it send a message to Nicola Sturgeon that Scotland didn’t want what they referred to as another divisive independence referendum even local councils have absolutely no power to stop such a referendum from ever taking place should the Scottish parliament decide to hold one. Still one mustn’t let the truth get in the way of the unionists plan to bring Scotland to heel. 

This constant drip feeding to the most gullible and misinformed section of the public is bound to have had an impact on how they were persuaded to vote. Fortunately I am too well educated to fall for this toxic nonsense but many other people particularly in the older demographic are not so lucky and will tend to take these comments as if they were handed to them on tablets of stone. You see some people really are obsessed with independence and guess what there not in the SNP 

Till next time. 

Gayle X

Smelling The Roses

​On day 24 of NaPoWriMo I decided that political satire would be my poetic weapon of choice after seeing a UKIP candidate’s response as to why they are standing for election on social media. After laughing so much it nearly split my sides I remembered what I’ve always known namely politics is a serious business and though UKIP might like to portray themselves as lovable eccentric guardians of tradition they are in reality anything but. In fact truth be told these people are of the hard right conservative school of political thought and have some very  extreme and dangerous views. It is with in mind I decided to write this poem in the form of a UKIP candidate’s speech to highlight the type of country I don’t want to live in. The title for the poem was chosen for me by my Norwich based friend and fellow poet Andy Bennett  who selected the title Smelling The Roses. I hope you enjoy the read. 

Smelling The Roses (The Thoughts Of A UKIP Supporter) 
You ask me why I want to be elected 

well I’ll tell you 

it’s because I believe

  the British way of life is under threat 

and I want to put forward  solutions 

I couldn’t give a damn for devolution

the revolution has to be stopped.

I’m a proud Scot but I know my place 

so here’s what I think we need to do 

to put some pride back in the red white and blue 

I’ll start with sports

 I am convinced every child  should learn to ride a horse 

but as for golf , those courses are environmental disaster 

and a threat to the safety of our people 

and that is something I cannot abide 

still on environmental matters 

I want plastic bags abolished 

they are a threat to animals especially whales and dolphins 

as for an independent Scotland forget it 

I’m a proud Scot but 

Westminster is our colonial master 

and we should be content to keep it that way 

Mrs Thatcher was wonderful back in the day 

I’m a plain speaker and say what’s on my mind 

which I think you’ll find enlightening 

some people find my views on capital punishment frightening 

I think the death penalty should be restored 

but I wouldn’t bring back hanging 

the guillotine would be better 

and I’ll tell you something else

we’re heading in to world war three 

due to China, India , and the SNP 

that lot are a public danger 

and it’s all to do with 

money, and greed  

we in Britain do a lot for charity 

comic relief is wonderful 

so is children in need 

talking of children 

I think poor people shouldn’t have them.

now this is only my view 

but in my united kingdom 

mother’s should stay at home

to look after their little darlings

there should be no support for nurseries 

but all schools need classes 

and education needs reforming 

 this is a warning we are heading for  world war three 

I blame it on the SNP 

it will have nothing to do with Tony Blair or Theresa May 

personally I think we should go to war with Spain over Gibraltar

after all we’ve beat them before

when we sunk their Armada

remember the Falklands it was great wasn’t it 

yes I know there were millions unemployed

and living in poverty 

but we had pride in the flag

we were respected then 

now it’s all this political correctness lunacy

there is no such thing as an LGBT community

that kind of thing should be kept private

behind closed doors

you get good and bad people of all types 

talking of rights

I believe Margo MacDonald’s right to die bill

should be put to referendum 

well old people are living too long 

though working them till there 70 

should tire some out 

well if there dead  we don’t need to  worry about their living expenses 

we really need to come to our senses

the free bus pass scheme has to stop 

these people should be encouraged to walk 

I know you’ll be shocked at some of my views 

but here’s the bit you didn’t hear on the news

I would reopen public loo’s 

and create community gardens

yes I know I maybe hard on some issues

but believe me we don’t have time for tissues 

 it’s time to wake up and smell the roses. 

 © Gayle Smith 2017 

Polar Opposites 

​On day 22 of NaPoWriMo I look at the political debate using the metaphor of environmental geography. With the coming UK General Election people will have to make a very real choice as to what kind of country and indeed what kind of society they want to live in. It is for this reason that after some much valued proof reading from Gary Hay who I  thank for suggesting some important edits for me that  I’ve titled this poem Polar Opposites. I hope you enjoy the read. 

Polar Opposites

corrosion starts slowly 

as climates change

gathering pace when no precautions are taken 

no safety barriers put in place 

to stop the situation getting worse 

eventually as things deteriorate

those living in these conditions

develop a me first mentality 

as survival comes before all else 

mind thy self and to hell with civilisation 

is the mindset as all move from the centre 

the heart of the nation is broken 

the corrosion gets worse 

engulfing those in its path 

forcing them to move to extreme positions 

as those who were once friends 

are now polar opposites. 
© Gayle Smith 2017

Comfort Zone 

On day 21 of NaPoWriMo My poem  takes a look at the topic of Privacy. I do so with the issue of locality very much on my mind and that’s why I set it in the most personal places of all, well you can’t get more personal than your street and your home. It is for this  reason I’ve run with the title suggested by my Facebook friend Karen Campbell and titled it Comfort Zone I hope you enjoy the read. 
Comfort Zone 
It’s nice here 

I have nice friends

a nice home 

and a very nice life 

and believe me that is exactly how 

I want it to stay

nothing will take me from my comfort zone 

you see I give money 

to those less fortunate than myself 

I look after my health 

take care of myself 

I know it sounds so middle class

but I’m not I’m just cautious

I’ve always been honest 

maybe it’s because I’m single 

I may mix and mingle 

as much as anyone 

and believe me this girl 

has known how to have fun 

since before Cyndi Lauper hit the charts 

with the song that became an anthem 

but as a Cosmo girl I learned early 

to value my independence 

so when I shut the door behind me 

at the end of the night 

I like to keep myself right 

lock the door on the world 

and retreat to the space I call mine 

my home  is my comfort zone 

the place I can truly be me 

and have the privacy to freely 

express myself 

© Gayle Smith 2017 

Scotland Of The Heart

On day 6 of NaPoWriMo I remember that today is not only Tartan Day but also the anniversary of the Declaration Of Arbroath in which Scotland asserted our sovereign right to independence. Bearing this in mind, I decided that it may be a good day to assert my own personal politics and share my vision of the Scotland I want to see I’ve given it the title Scotland Of The Heart I hope you enjoy the read. 

Scotland Of The Heart 

It was on this day

 our nation  declared our right

 to full independence 

so being a socialist , and feminist 

I suggest it is a suitable day 

to say what I have to say 

 declare my personal political views 

I want a Scotland of all colours and hues 

where rights are protected not taken away 

and being lesbian , gay bisexual or transgender

does not mean you surrender to bullies 

who want you to cower in fear 

Let me make it clear 

Intolerance is not an option 

 being English, Irish , Indian or Lithuanian 

or indeed a child of any nation 

does not mean you should be excluded

or made to feel unwelcome 

in this country  I call mine

my Scotland of the heart 

so where do I start to build this land 

you must understand I can’t promise miracles 

or turn water to wine

I won’t claim that everything 

will always be fine 

but what I will say is this 

I want a Scotland which will be comfortable discovering itself 

a land which will tackle health based inequalities 

fight poverty and be a good international citizen 

I declare a personal interest in advancing the chances 

for women and girls both at home and elsewhere in the world 

I want an education system which works for all 

not just the better off 

middle Scotland is not my Scotland 

my Scotland is a Scotland of the schemes 

I had dreams back in the day 

I was always a gab with something to say 

and that’s not changed 

I don’t want our youth to be 

estranged from the country 

they grew up in because politicians 

lacked the vision to take big decisions 

on environmental matters

Scotland is not just for the chattering classes

the schemes need to be  free from pollution

for our children to breath cleaner air 

I despair when some think that short term solutions can be given 

as  answers to long term problems 

I want a Scotland which will hold our heads high 

where people have a sense of belonging

not because of where we’ve been 

but where we’re going to go 

and what we will achieve 

when we get to our destination 

I seek my inspiration from ordinary citizens

I want a country where ambition is normal 

and not the preserve of others 

I want a Scotland which will be comfortable discovering itself 

happy with what it finds

and determined to not to rest 

but be the best we can be 

I want a Scotland free from disappointments of yesterday

which doesn’t wallow in the past 

Or drown its sorrows 

I want a country where we plan for tomorrow 

by the actions we are already taking

I want a bolder brighter nation  

where nobody will be shaken by propaganda 

from outside sources 

who make the gullible panic 

when they talk of divorces 

and  implied costs 

I want a country which will not be bossed 

I want a Scotland which doesn’t know its place  

 declares that  it’s time to be  brave 

and despite all the obstacles we face

creates a country we can be proud to call home. 

©Gayle Smith 2017

Global Warning 

Hey Readers This poem looks at my mother’s unspoken passion for nature and what I would now refer to as green tv programmes.Though politically unionist which I  think was due to being a wee girl at the time of world war 2 and from listening to friends and neighbours than any firm conviction to that cause my mother was never unfair or at least not intentionally and I would describe her as a liberal with green tinges. Due to fundamental differences in our opinions particularly on Scottish independence and Irish unity (I , like my dad and my maternal gran supported both unconditionally and still do without any concessions)   I seldom discussed domestic politics  with my mother. International issues however were a different matter and something on which we found areas of agreement. For example my mother was the first person I knew to mention the Rainbow Warrior and supported the Greenham Common women,  but I must admit I giggled when she referred to Global Warming as Global Warming. However with the benefit of hindsight I think she have been more right than I thought on that call. So it is to my mum Mary Roberson Russell that I dedicate this poem written in her memory  and entitled Global Warning I hope you enjoy the read.

Global Warning

My mother got it wrong

when she called global warming

global warning

for a woman of her generation

it was an easy mistake to make

but she may have been more right

than she thought

and she was certainly a fan

of recycling

often taking clothes to charity shops

and encouraging me to buy from them

before it was cool or on trend

she thought unleaded petrol

was a good idea

when others condemned it as an unworkable dream

my mother was a wee bit Mrs Bouquet

when she talked of living in the suburbs

rather than the schemes

which to her were someone else

I think it was it was her village mentality

which made the good life required early evening viewing

she would watch documentaries on trees and polar bears

before comedy or programmes on poverty

as for her politics I would described her as liberal with green tinges

I think she would have liked Partick Harvie

though she would have been more at home with Robin Harper

he was more of her generation

she would have related to him better

seeing Patrick as more my style

she often watched wildlife on one

telling me we needed to look after the world

because David Attenborough said so

I couldnt argue with logic like that

If I tried I’d be reminded

everything has its place

and we shouldn’t endanger species or plants

but tend them with care

on studying the physical environment

I told her of the damage to the ozone layer

to which she replied this had been a long coming

we didn’t have as many white Christmasses

or long hot summer days as she once remembered

maybe it was her memory playing tricks

or perhaps we had taken too many risks

in the name of progress

and what Adam Smith called

the wealth of nations

geography has to come before economics and politics

it’s the only way to create a better society

whilst ensuring our survival

in the longer term

the slash and burn approach

of so-called capitalists

who think of only of themselves

and the potential profit margins

they could make whilst others starve

or die forgotten in dull dark spaces

which nobody wants to inhabit

has caused untold misery

in every country you could name

it’s time to raise our game

my mother may have been

more accurate than I thought

this is a warning shot

and as tempretures rise

and weather becomes more extreme

with greater seasonal variations

than any time in history

we will unravel the mystery

and in doing so

we might finally get the message

the insanity has to end 

@ Gayle Smith 2017