Tag Archive | Apathy

Bonfire Of Promises 

On a night when some people celebrate the capture of Guy Fawkes with celebrations and firework displays I take a slightly different look at bonfire night. I do this by  taking an alternative look  at the issues of austerity and the homelessness it can and does to lead to. In this poem I explain why I believe the I’m alright Jack mentality has resulted in a culture of apathy in which people are content for others to suffer so long as the suffering doesn’t reach their door and this allows the more reactionary Conservative forces within the UK establishment to have a bonfire of promises. It is with this in mind I have titled my poem Bonfire Of Promises I hope you enjoy the read. 

Bonfire Of Promises 

As I stand in the cold

watching fireworks explode

 a cavalcade of colours

light up the evening sky

like a rainbow

but with no pots of gold at the end

I am lucky when the evening concludes

I will return to the shelter of my flat

after time spent with friends

enjoying the warmth of their company

as the weather turns colder

I walk past a homeless girl

checking my pockets to see if change can be spared 

on this occasion only goodwill can be shared 

and that won’t fill empty stomachs

or remove hunger pains 

in a world where nobody listens

and politicians feed the public a diet of slogans 

designed to blame others for our problems

scapegoating is the road to ignorance

and acceptance of rules

made by others to tighten their grip 

on us and our circumstances

till we believe change is no longer possible

and as long as we’re alright everything is going to be fine 

all we need to do is shut the door

on the outside world

and pretend it doesn’t exist 

but there is a warning in my words 

if we do take this road it will be the vulnerable who suffer 

as we start to view minorities as others 

and allow governments to make

a bonfire of promises

 © Gayle Smith 2017

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Frontline 

As I’m sure most of you know activism whether cultural, social, or political has always played a big part in my life. So when it was selected to be the topic for this month’s Extra Second I was naturally delighted to volunteer my services to perform at the event and have written this poem entitled Frontline especially for the occasion. I hope you enjoy the read .

Frontline 
I attend demonstratations 

for a variety of causes and campaigns

come rain or shine you will find me 

on the frontline

supporting those who need it 

on a range of issues 

local, national, or international, 

sometimes the apathetic call me irrational 

tell me I can’t   change the world

or the society of the nation I live in 

but Scotland and Britain need people like me 

people who want to make changes 

for the better 

not surrender to selfishness and greed 

I want to help those in greatest need 

give them a hand up not a hand out 

and certainly not the kind the Tories talk about 

they deserve rights and equality 

not a world where the only way is poverty 

we are supposed to be a  wealthy nation 

 not a nation for the wealthy 

the mind thyself culture 

is not just unhealthy 

it’s wrong and that’s why I’m trying as hard as I can to change it 

we can’t allow those with gold plated gates 

to lock the rest of us out 

and that’s why it’s important to voice opinions

on what happens outside your borders 

there can be no limits to justice 

we have a duty to support the oppressed wherever they are 

designer goods and fast cars

have never been my style

as my gran always told me 

you can’t take them with you when you go  

and believe me I know the truth of that story

that’s why I oppose Tory policies

you don’t solve problems by creating inequality

foodbanks  are not the solution to poverty

and  I cringe at Westminster’s attitude

 at the wealthy selling arms to corrupt government’s abroad 

meanwhile millions of citizens are ignored 

as doors of opportunity to change

are slammed shut in their faces

If this is the best we can do it’s outrageous 

especially when  cutting costs means that slowly 

the NHS  bleeds to  death

for lack of funding 

this kind of attitude is disgusting

and it’s why you’ll see me on the front line 

protesting at the wrongs of the world 

and doing whatever I can

 to change them for the better 

© Gayle Smith 2017 

Democracy Matters 

On day 20 of NaPoWriMo I tacke the media made myth that Scotland’s voters and getting tired of voting and may be have a bit of voter fatigue. This is exactly how Ruth Davidson and Kezia Dugdale  want you to feel , it represents by far their best chance of even limited electoral success as they know that a politically motivated Scotland is not in their intersts These people who are no  more than branch office managers for their respective Westminster parties are really keen for Scotland to be quiet and go back to sleep so they can do what they like and no-one will notice or even care. It is therefore fair to say that apathy is one of the most important weapons they happen to have in their quest to keep Scotland subordinate and that’s why I’ve tilted this poem Democracy Matters. I hope you enjoy the read. 
Democracy Matters. 

The drip feeding has started on TV and in the press

as the establishment suggest 

the voters of Scotland are fed up with voting 

 you’ve  got to be  joking 

I never tire of defending my hard won rights and liberties 

I’ll campaign hard but I’ll do it with dignity 

you see I’ve been involved in too many fights 

for too many causes 

to ever even think of giving up on democracy 

so when I hear people say 

I don’t do politics 

I say a prayer for the apathetic 

and hope they remember their words 

when someone they don’t like gets elected 

and their rights are infringed 

I’ve had enough of this cringing 

it really is time for them to stop their whinging 

or shut up and never raise their voice in anger  again 

as for who wins the race to number 10 

God forbid  the Tories will be re-elected 

though I think they will 

I like some Labour policies 

but voting for them would be 

 too bitter a pill to swallow

their still toxic to me 

I voted yes to independence 

and will do so again 

I’m scunnered with Westminster

and their heartless austerity policies

I want to live in a country where democracy  matters 
where our rights and liberties are respected 

and no-one needs to live in fear 

because of who they are 

or what  they are perceived to be 

stereotypes don’t do it for me 

my politics will  never be 

 about giving people different coloured triangles 

this is not 1933 

I wouldn’t be here if it  was

a trans woman with physical impairments 

who supports the Trade Union movement 

I’d have been a cert for the final solution 

my only saving grace would have been

having so many labels 

the Nazi’s wouldn’t have known 

where to place me or what box to tick  

though no doubt they would have got me on something 

trust me I’m not bluffing 

this country is facing a very stark choice 

if we don’t use our vote 

The Tories will claim we’ve made our choice 

more families will be forced in to poverty 

more disabled people will die 

but the top one percent will thrive 

and the media will spin it

 that we’re doing well 

they’ll talk of prosperity and dig out a few selective examples 

as proof of their point 

giving no further thought to consequences of their actions 

or the trail of devastation they leave in their wake 

to be apathetic to this heartless government 

is a risk I’m not willing to take 

If you say we’re voting too often 

that’s your call 

but if you fall for this trap 

 don’t say you weren’t warned 

when your nightmares become reality 

and  one by one your rights die 

at the dawn of a true blue Tory kingdom 

united in your name

 by your apathy and your ignorance 

© Gayle  Smith 2017 

Faithful Daughter

Hey Readers.

My good friend Johnny Cypher has certainly selected a topical subject for this month’s Extra Second which takes place at The Blue Chair on the third Thursday each month. The topic of choice is religion and this is my poem which has been specifically written for this event. I have given it the title Faithful Daughter I hope you enjoy the read.

Faithful Daughter

I am one of the faithful
on a Sunday morning
you will find me in the pews
listening to the good news of the Bible
Presbyterian I may be but I am not wee free
I do faith without intolerance
am Protestant but not orange
I am loyal and true not to the red white and blue
but only to those I call family
biological or not this Scot says
they are the ones who matter
I won’t be bought
by the puritanical patter merchants
who preach fear of those they don’t understand
their attitudes are against the commandments
as I relate to them in scripture
I can’t stand bitterness
and knowledge of other faiths
was learnt early
as my mum and dad came from different branches of the Christian tree
my mum mission hall kirk
my dad RC from Irish ancestry
I loathe bigotry that’s why it was important to say
I am Protestant but not Orange
I cringe in the marching season
preferring to look in the other
direction
I feel a tension when they march
that I don’t have on other days
but I refuse to engage
to rant or rage
I have discovered a better way
I pray rather than shouting at others
I am more like my mother than I thought
sometimes I feel my church constrains me
from saying what I think
though I have to confess
this isn’t always a bad thing
I know what I can be like
but belief is nothing without compassion
I hope my faith comes from a good place
If some people think it strange
a trans woman attends church
I remind them I belong to a reformed tradition
which has to keep reforming
or face oblivion
within a generation
you can’t speak for a nation
if you don’t represent it
resting on laurels of contentment
is not the Christian way
when we have something to say
It should be said in faith and with power
my personal faith is based on
a vision for a better society
not on the pompous sobriety
of those Burns called Holy Willie’s
or the red white and blue of Rangers and the union
so loved by those this Celtic supporting yes girl
would call the less enlightened
I am not frightened to ask the question
what would Jesus would do
who would he accept in to his family
how would he treat those with alternative gender identities, non conforming sexualities,
disabilities,  different ethnicities from the dominant population
I believe he would view them with more kindness
than many who speak in his name
and refuse to the take the blame
for their hurtful behaviour
rebuking them not with malice
but with sadness
and prayers for their souls
faith should not be seen
as a crutch for the old
it must be a force for change
a living breathing mission
for a better world
and that’s why this woman
who was born to be but wasn’t raised a girl
is now a faithful daughter of the church

image

@ Gayle Smith 2016

Silent Street

Hey everyone. It has long been my belief that the right wing Governments of Margaret Thatcher helped destroy communities in both Scotland and Britain. Thatcher created the gospel of greed, and instead of destroying the me first society she worshipped the Labour Party actually embraced it abandoning every principal they ever stood for as they did so in pursuit of electoral gain in the home counties of the south east of England. I have written this poem lamenting the death of decency within Scotland and Britain and in the hope that is not too late to empower those who want real change that it isn’t too late to make it happen. I have given the poem the title Silent Street and hope you find it an enjoyable and thought provoking read.

Silent Street

Trouble with the neighbours
not me
I live on silent street
where nobody knows the folks next door
this may be fine most of the time
but it isn’t a crime to look out for those in need
In a society obsessed with greed we all too often forget this fact
walking on by when we see folk struggling
in our internet age we’ve seem to have forgotten
how to interact
communication is a necessary skill
a skill we lack
I know I’m guilty of keeping myself to myself
It was my mother said
the safest way to be
but surely in the name of the wee man
or the big guy in the sky with a plan
there must be a way to look after our most vulnerable citizens
or is the Scotland which voted to remain in Britain
too culturally conservative to care
about the wee lass
who had her teddy bear stolen by a ned
the old man who was burgled beaten up and left for dead
the young mum who has to use foodbanks
whilst struggling on a zero hours contract
and gets by on minimum wage
the teenager who has seen his dreams shattered
as bankers and billionaires command centre stage
demanding the going rate plus a very healthy bonus
it’s time to focus on building communities
not let them fade away
we can’t change yesterday
but we can fight for tomorrow
learning from the ashes of the past
as we rebuild a fairer land
where exclusion fades from our collective imagination
we learn to value communication know the folks next door
and though we have the right to a personal and private life
don’t stand by and watch
a man beat his wife
or children living in poverty
without hope for the future
greed cannot be the dark seducer
destroying our dreams
before we even we get started
the song once asked
what becomes of the broken hearted?
what is the answer to that question
are they just tokens to be ignored
except when it comes to elections
when the great and the good come to silent street
and get a view of a country
they would sooner think
never existed
forgetting those abandoned
like the litter of the land
I never have trouble with the neighbours
I live in silent street
where apathy rules
and its not ‘ok by me!

@ Gayle Smith 2014

Shattered Dreams

Hey everyone A poem written on poverty. This is a topic of which I have first hand experience as I live in the East End of Glasgow which has many social and economic problems and parts of it have a lower life expectancy than many developing nations. It also has with the exception of Baillieston/Garrowhill a strong if misguided loyalty to the Labour Party. The poem is called Shattered Dreams I hope you find it a thought provoking read

Shattered Dreams

The streets are dirty and run down
the houses boarded up
the list of social problems grows
generations are dependent on drugs
the view gets bleaker by the day
as locals lack ambition
the area has been named and shamed
the unhealthiest place in Britain

There’s no sense of community
It’s racing to the bottom
it’s ruled by fear and apathy
its a portrait of unionist Scotland
too many seem to accept their fate
or that’s the way it seems
the challenge of independence is
to repair these shattered dreams

@ Gayle Smith 2014