Tag Archive | Others

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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Breaking Point 

Hey Readers My latest post is a poem on  mental health issues which just happens to be the topic for the March edition of Extra Second at which I’m one of the billed readers. The poem is on the subject of public attitudes to depression and I’ve given it the title Breaking Point  I hope you enjoy the read. 
Breaking Point 
Every day 

I hear folk make 

thoughtless remarks 

to people I know 

like come on 

cheer up 

your lucky 

what about the poor Afician children ? 

at least you live in Britain 

what have you got to be moaning about 

what have you not got

that you can’t live without 

you’ve got a job, a house,  a man 

you’ve got everything planned

what right have you to be depressed ?

you can’t explain why 

you feel like this 

as they say 

in my mother’s day 

nobody got depressed 

we didn’t have the time 

are you sure your not just bored 

you should take up a hobby 

like jogging or baking 

mental health issues 

you must be mistaken

you not a wierdo or some kind of nutter 

as they  mutter under their breath 

about locking up loonies 

but the people they moan about 

are not in the moonies 

or some bizarre cult 

why can’t some people 

act  like adults 

and realise depression is real 

the black dog 

nobody wants as a pet 

never forget 

careless talk cost lives 

as knives are used 

to self harm 

by those who feel the pain 

and are never allowed to explain

 what’s hurting them or why 

fearing that no-one will listen 

knowing, someone will say 

at least you live in Britain 

yes they live in Britain 

a country conditioned in to thinking 

that crying is a sign of weakness 

so they hide their tears 

and the fears which make the rivers run 

as the silver stream of the night 

flood pillows and bring hearts to breaking point 

and yet my friends are supposed 

to get over a condition 

the powers that be  refuse to believe exists 

given pills instead of treatment

generation  lost are counting the cost

of penny punching profiteers 

who fear invisible demons  

stalking the communities 

around which they have carefully errected fences 

to keep others from entering 

yet if any of them had issues 

we would be told of benefits of therapies 

people like us could never afford

It’s  ordinary people who are ignored 

tossed aside not allowed to be depressed 

 and when they protest 

about needing support

to remain  in the  community  

they are told it’s lunacy

to make such unreasonable demands 

as chinless wonders order them 

 to get over themselves 

and the tragedy is that mental health 

is still viewed as something that happens to others 

it will never come to your door 

but it will for one in four of the population 

and when you are approaching breaking point 

 I hope you won’t be told 

to get over it
@ Gayle Smith 2017 


The Moment I Wake Up I Say A Little Prayer For Humanity

Hey Readers The moment I wake up, before I put on my make up, I say a little prayer for you. These are the opening lines to one of my favourite songs Dione Warwick’s Say A Little Prayer

Now I appreciate this may be a slightly unconventional way to start a blog post, but on this occasion it is at least to me, the only appropriate response to the tragic and indeed horrific events which stunned the world this morning  when the Belgium capital  of Brussels was devastated by bombings thought to have been carried out by the terror group Islamic State.

Like everyone else I was shocked when I heard the news of these attacks in which 31 people have been confirmed dead so far. I say this as with not everyone having been accounted for plus the number of injuries already reported it is likely that the death toll will rise still further.

This was not the start to the morning I or anyone had been expecting. I think most of us had thought we would rise refreshed from our sleep have our breakfast and get on with our daily routine and I am sure these were also the thoughts of those murdered in this disgraceful attack by criminal minded thugs who give not a thought for human life.

As you can see I referred to these cowardly attackers as criminal thugs rather than terrorists and I did this for a very good reason. My reason  is simple by replacing the terrorist with criminal downgrades them to what they really are which in my opinion is no more than common criminals. By taking this step we immediately lessen any sense of fear they may have been trying to create by informing them your actions are futile you will not win.

Also by referring to them in this way we both as individuals and as national /international communities are valuing ordinary Muslims by saying we refuse to demonise  your faith because of the actions of idiots. This is important to me not only because I have Muslim friends but also because I believe and have always believed that all human life is of equal value and that the some are more equal than others myth should be kept for those gullible fools who call what is printed in the Daily Record or even worse the Daily Mail quality journalism. 

You see it’s my belief that by demonising Muslims and the faith they belief in you are feeding groups like Islamic State by giving them the very publicity they need in order to gain new recruits.  The radicalisation of Muslim youth does not happen by accident it happens due to fear and ignorance whipped up by the ruling political establishment against those it views as other.

This attitude which breeds a climate of suspicion is by no means a new one. I remember the British establishment using against Irish people at the height of the Ulster civil war and and my parents and gran would tell me of American McCarthy witch hunts of the 1950’s where anyone with remotely left wing views was branded a communist and therefore Un-American.

These lessons from history illustrate, that no matter how horrific this latest outrage and the recent attacks on Paris were why I think we need to take a cautious but pragmatic approach to tackling any issues we may have
to potential terror threats. It is in my opinion, unacceptable to go as the British press surely will hunting for scapegoats in the ashes of tragedy, we  simply cannot afford not to show compassion at this time of sadness.

Yes it is only right that we offer practical and emotional support to the people of Belgium in their country’s hour of darkness.  However it is important that we remember our Scottish and British Muslim friends and keep them in our hearts at a time when the more xenophobic amongst our number will be looking for every excuse they can find to label them as a danger to our nation and our way of life. Make no mistake it may be regrettable but I think it’s true to say that asylum seekers and economic migrants will be in for a tough few days in what passes for the press in this country especially if they are Muslim. This kind of behaviour is the child of an imperial British nationalist mindset and has no place in the  21st Century Scotland I and others are seeking to build, nor does it have any place in the fairer Britain supported by some of my friends.

You see on occasions like this it really doesn’t matter if like myself you see your primary identity as Scottish or like my good friend Sean McBride you identify with a more British tradition, what matters in situations like this is that we remember to treat others the way we wish to be treated and that means respecting and valuing other people and their cultures and beliefs. So by all means pray for Belgium but remember as you do so to pray for others as by taking this simple act of faith you will shine a light for humanity and showing those who committed this sickening atrocity that unlike them god doesn’t do selective tolerance when it comes to his love nor does he accept those who use as a justification for murder.
So I will end this post as I started it except this time I will paraphrase the words of the song by Dione Warwick

The moment I wake up
before I put on my make up
I say a little prayer for you.

Now you have to believe me readers I do say a prayer for you but I don’t stop with you or limit my prayers to my friends  on Facebook, Twitter, or otherwise. I make sure I include everyone in my prayers as by doing it I remember to say a prayer for humanity and the kinder fairer world I have always aspired to live in.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X