20 aphorisms for a disruptive world

Francois de Rochefoucauld  (1613-1680) wrote a book of aphorisms – one liners,which explored the difference between what people say, and what they mean. His tone is sardonic, dissecting the hypocrisies of his time.

I have tried to follow in his footsteps.

Philosophy

1.The needs of the one are always more important than the needs of the many.

2.Yesterday can teach us nothing, neither can tomorrow.

3.We have forced our children into early adulthood, while we return to infancy ourselves.

4.True wisdom comes from the realisation there is no wisdom to be found.

5.Free from the shackles of organised religion, we have nowhere to go.

Sex

6.Sex is just a phase.

7.Those who look for “emotional moments” are themselves incapable of true emotion.

8.We have never been so open about sexuality as we are now, or so closed against the knowledge of death.

9.Of all sexual choices, straight is the most beige.

10.Attraction

                  Passion

                             Conception

                                               Deception

                                                               Revulsion

                                                                              Separation

                                                                                              Resignation

 

Cyclists

11.All cyclists are saints. They are saving the planet.

12.They have right of way everywhere, apart from cycle lanes.

13.A cyclist may use their phone,take their hands off the handlebars,eat a tub of yoghourt, or read a book while travelling.

          Car drivers may do none of these.

Internet.

14.Selfies reassure us we are  still alive.

15.Airbrushed into anonymity, our faces mask what we try to reveal.

16.The wider our network of contacts, the more we are convinced that we are missing something.

17.Through Instagram, we have outsourced our memories.

18.Everything on Twitter  is true. But only for one day.

19.We can communicate with anyone on the planet, but many of us have forgotten the use of a pen.

20.Incapable of expressing our feelings in words, we use…..imogees.

     

   

Advertisements

Born again

 

A man botched up from sticks and bone –
all angles, elbows pointing out,
and one leg twisted round its mate
like ivy round a tree.

As we come abreast of him, I see
the sleeveless denim jacket, skinny arms
pale and freckle -spotted, his white face
wet with effort, clenched like a closed fist.

“You’ll walk with me,” a child’s voice
slurred around the edges,
a statement, not an invitation.

We stand still.

He finds a solid anchor for his crutch
then drags his tangled limbs to follow it.
We move forward just an inch or two.

His name is Tim and he was born again
ducked in the winter river last December.
Three crucifixes hang round his neck
like winners’ medals.

The square is transient space , where every hour
a thousand different purposes collide
and split away. A place to walk across
or cycle through, which only takes a moment.

It takes us half an hour to get across.

We pause.

“ Born again” he mutters , “I’m born again”
over and over.

A child cries out – a yelp of pain –
head -high above the flinching crowd
pigeons whirr like shrapnel.
I watch them swing a circuit round the sun.
“Born again …” Continue reading

Pruning

DSCF2155
Just another word
for amputation.
Fleshed of leaves
the hedge gapes open
like a charnel house-
clawed fingers, knuckles, elbow joints
fused in a mass of spikes and barbs.

An eye for cramped and crooked growth,
long handled cutters and a pair of gloves
will see you straight.
Now pull the twigs aside.
See the main stems- long bones, twisted
tight as cables in the bitter winter.
Pick those thinner than your wrist
and slice them through. The stumps may bleed
a sticky sap, but this will clot and heal
the gash.
Now drag your cuttings out
and burn them.

Thin as lace and filled with air, the hedge
will fade from sight
until the warm days come,
when overnight it grows a lush green pelt.
It smells of sunshine.
Its dappled heart is loud with sparrows.