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Poetry

POEMOTIONS

Text of book

Part Two (continued)

Humanity

Start of page 38 in the book

 

Have Not

 

Have not
emotions you were taught

 

Have no attitudes
induced by platitudes

 

Be aware, beware
of inducers, introducers

 

Who would fashion your posture
with imposture

 

Join you disjointedly
extol, enrol, dis-soul you

 

Solve, resolve and dissolve you.

 

Start of page 39 in the book

 

 

Life is a Whole not Fragments

 

I

 

Into how many segments
am I required to divide myself?

 

Looking within,
I detect a fondness for the whole.

 

You too would prefer to be kept as
a unity rather than fragments.

 

But like me you will already have detected
we are not altogether free in that respect.

 

Life is a whole, not fragments,
- but not everyone seems to agree.

 

II

 

Continually one encounters
persons with a swallowing whim:
desiring to swallow not fragments
but each time the whole.

 

Eunice, who first raised my lust,
desired it to last for always:
total, universal, unique,
excluding everyone else.

 

I sensed she was a figure
within a lad's long lifescape;
even at fifteen I detected
Eunice had a swallowing whim.

 

It was no news to me; I had experience
of swallowing. Mamma was an expert
swallower of emotional detritus.
She would have swallowed me whole, would Mamma.

 

Start of page 40 in the book

III

 

So into how many fragments
am I required to divide myself?

 

Each new friend expects the lot -
or else, ignorant, writes me off.

 

They are all looking for so much:
I must supply foundations the builder forgot.

 

Yet can't I react to you without rejecting her?
It saddens me that you can't see it.

 

So not everyone agrees
life is a whole not fragments.

 

Start of page 41 in the book

 

How to Catch Up with your Past

 

Did you miss out?
When you were very young, did you miss out?
I did too:
missed out in the skeletal, windy, gallery of love.

 

Whistling, the wind swept through;
the howling blast shrieked through the skull's white teeth -
the real white teeth, or the clever plastic imitations.
Why skeletal? I'll tell you before the critics can.

 

Love has a firm framework, that's deceiving (but the deception's not mine).
Society (who's that?) erects the structure, and bids us all
observe it and conform to it (I enjoyed writing that curving O -
something these new poets who use typewriters don't know).

 

But you, the real, live breathing you
know in your remote heart about that frame.
It is a frame, a frame-up,
from which you haven't wrenched away.

 

You haven't, now have you?
With sympathy (believe me) I ask.
Well have you? Poor you!
Poor, poor you - and poor me.

 

I'm more interested of course
in poor me than poor you.
But you can forgive me, because you know
you're much more interested in poor you than poor me.

 

Not surprising either, for in whose company
will you spend every future second of your life?
Who will hear your silent scream, and who will feel
the soft shy buffetings of your powerful soul?

 

Start of page 42 in the book

 

Only you, poor you: not me.
but then I've my own problems, of course I have.
I shouldn't have mentioned the critics:
you're cross, and I don't blame you.

 

But, as we understand each other so well, let's please be charitable.
It's difficult I know, I seldom am.
So let's not be charitable, just fair.
Wouldn't we be sunk without the dear critics?

 

Of course we would - and I'd be lost without you.
I'm talking to you, and it's so rewarding.
Look - you want to hear the truth don't you?
You must know anything else is a waste of time.

 

It must be. If it isn't true it's false - and spending
even one minute on what's false is wasteful.
That was the sort of interruption that's always getting
in the way of my communicating.

 

Forgive it, and forgive me - please:
because I was just beginning to know you (after all this time).
I really feel (again, forgive me) that I am truly
getting to know you.

 

You are sure no one has ever fully appreciated your importance:
what a wonderful creature, create-ure, you are.
But your trouble my dear is that you were born on a wonderful Planet.
There are just too many wonders.

 

I'm dazzled by them all, and that's why
I can't see you clearly.
Forgive me, I keep wanting to say.
But now I'm going to stop being apologetic.

 

I want to get through
to you
and how you missed out
like me.

 

Start of page 43 in the book

 

To catch up with your past you must be ruthless.
Bury that sentimental pity
under the feathers of common sense.
Be yourself, expose your hopes for what they were and are.

 

Neither what you dreamt in sleep, nor
what you imagined when awake
has any more meaning than, by your striving,
you have given it.

 

It's a true harsh world:
worth or its lack is ruthlessly exposed.
So stop being so sorry
for that pink soft self.

 

If you ever manage to catch up with you
it will only mean you're going backwards; but be warned:
if on that journey you miss your small slight self
you will go on going backwards for ever.

 

Why do I keep attacking you? It must be weakness.
Nobody strong needs to attack.
Each time, I want to be kind.
I want to give you a chance to say how you missed out.

 

I'm much more interested in you than me
but it doesn't show
I know.
So - how did you miss out?

 

Because, all along the line,
you settled for less than you're worth.
What happened to that sharp, splendid, scornful dismissal
of all the grownup world?

 

It couldn't last, I know:
of course it couldn't last.
That doesn't mean it wasn't real.

 

So what age were you
You?

 

And when will you grow up?

 

Start of page 44 in the book

 

Within my Skin

 

Close-drawn within my skin
I wait for you
yet, islanded, we shall not touch

 

Peace I can offer
you offer a different peace
our peaces do not interlock

 

On no plain we traverse
will your eyes touch mine
let alone our bodies

 

But there must be some touch
known, possible,
to our physique

 

Once there was a world
wherein our bodies revelled
naked, tumescent

 

Not, we rejoice,
this sane world we elders now know
with our bent stiff present selves

 

Close-drawn within my skin
I wait for you
to watch you as you pass

 

Start of page 45 in the book

 

Love Unmarketed

 

We do not barter, you and I
nor chaffer in market overt
over our wares

 

Even to name them is offensive
to exchange them would be wrong
considering to whom they belong

 

To pay for them in coin or note
would be no less crass
since we are not commercially minded

 

Yet what you take from me I lose
and by the code must be recompensed
unless that rule is disapplied, or

 

There is no one left to take the money

 

Start of page 46 in the book

 

Stellar Consignments

 

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
the Soul that rises with us, our life's Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting, and cometh from afar:
not in entire forgetfulness,
and not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!

Wordsworth

 

1. The Baby

 

By those High Authorities who are permitted to govern in Stellar regions,
with the Imperial Function of emitting (when justified) Souls toward nether places,
I am commanded to inform you - perhaps you might think tardily -
that Their Celestial Highnesses are not altogether satisfied by the manner
in which you earthlings entertain Their Celestial Consignments.

 

A Stellar Consignment
gurgles and sings.
Small and puny
it outreaches kings.

 

The thing you earthlings seem not to have grasped, as respects what you demeaningly call Babies,
is that these Consignments are programmed vividly to retain for a brief time Stellar qualities
which the High Authorities (doing their best) intend shall be useful
on that obscure planet to which these miniscule yet appealing emissaries
are unceremoniously, messily, yet importantly despatched from On High.

 

Start of page 47 in the book

 

A Stellar Consignment
is encumbered with Trust.
It will rule in the System
when you earthlings are dust!

 

The High Authorities find Themselves offended and dismayed
over the way an earthling parent frequently assumes the right
to give high-handed instruction, even punishment, to its allotted Consignment -
as though the parent rather than the Baby possessed the knowhow,
and advancing terrestrial age were some kind of passport to wisdom.

 

A Stellar Consignment
is there to teach you.
Learn goodness and sweetness:
then you'll know what to do
.

 

2. The Toddler

 

Earthlings, however methodical, wax rhapsodical
(when Babies decide to get up and walk)
at their swaying, their patently innocent playing,
and earnest attempts to talk.

 

This attitude pleases the Stellar Highnesses even less,
since it compounds misconception
over Divinity, plainly putting it below consanguinity,
confirming absurd self-deception.

 

You are implored, having hardly any time left
to please desist from patronising
the Toddler's crowing, highly adventurous growing,
- and begin your agonising.

 

Start of page 48 in the book

 

His Toddler teaching is nothing like preaching;
the lesson's not clearly spelt out.
So glimpse kindness, before succumbing to blindness,
- do try to learn what goodness is about.

 

A Stellar Consignment
gurgles and sings.
Small and puny
it outreaches kings.

 

Start of page 49 in the book

 

Born Drunk


The Emissary from on High

 

By those High Authorities who are permitted to govern in Stellar regions,
with the Imperial Function of emitting (when justified) Souls toward nether places,
I am commanded to inform you - you might think tardily-
that Their Celestial Highnesses are not altogether satisfied by the manner
in which you earthlings entertain Their divine gift of Alcohol.

 

The Representative of Earth

 

Craven as always when confronted by supernatural messages,
humbly and supinely I bend low to offer a modest opinion in reply.
Why did those Celestial Whatnots decide to do Alcohol that crass way?
After such impudence I bend low to be kicked, my usual posture
when receiving and replying to such lofty messages.

 

The Emissary from on High

 

I will not kick you, but before I transmit your inquiry to the High Authorities
I feel it my duty to clarify its terms.
What the hell do you mean? is the way I was first inclined to put it:
till I remembered my manners, and recalled
that these cosmic questions are too important to be debated in a bad temper.

 

So let me put it to you quietly, without wrath.
What the hell do you mean? Sorry. Let me rephrase that.
What exactly is the message you seek to communicate to the High ones?
Their patience is limited, and rapidly wearing thin:
not that I would wish to rush you.

 

Start of page 50 in the book

 

The Representative of Earth

 

The message of the earthlings is this:
we think all human life should be lived at the alcoholic, perceptive level.
Alcohol opens their eyes, earthlings assure me,
frees their senses, expands their understanding.
Why, they say, couldn't it have been like that to start with?

 

The Emissary from on High

 

I see where you're coming from, but the level of human life is fixed:
it's a given and you can't alter it (though I don't quite know why).
That fact is not for you earthlings to question, even though the High Authorities
do, I am empowered to say, find themselves forced to admit
they did not perhaps get it quite right on the First Round.

 

Those Highs have asked me to beg your pardon (they are magnanimous)
for the fact about Alcohol and Humans that inexplicably they overlooked
even though they themselves had cleverly invented Alcohol - and also Humans.
They now see that every tot on earth should for ever have been born with
at least one tot already flooding its veins.