Bullshite and Empathy

A cautious, ‘Hi’, here.

My response to Mark, at https://healingyourheartfromwithin.com.au/2019/08/28/empathy/

was becoming rather lengthy so I figured, make a post of it.

I reckon there are others who feel as I do.

Forgive me, Mark, please, for using a comment as a post. Haven’t quite mastered the art of brevity.

Hi Mark, the prodigal Scot is dipping her toes back in WP waters and you’re the first one I came across in my comments. I don’t even know if I’ll read anything else.

No, I’ll visit Beth at Colemining. You and she are two of strong connection. And that might be it.

Some of the lovely people I had met on here don’t figure in my thoughts when I’m away. That’s just life. Fleeting moments of remembrance and brief connection and we move on.

I hardly know why I’ve been away so long but your post has struck a chord.


It’s a bugger for me. Not only me. I was speaking to one of my sons recently and he was feeling emotionally and mentally drained to the point of …not depression…but similar… a hopelessness. He works with troubled young people while also studying at uni. He feels. He feels the world. It’s painful. I tried to explain what you are saying, in your post, but I don’t think I got it myself.

One of my daughters is the same. Mostly, the others of my crew practise a lot of sublimation. Or, maybe they just deal with the part of the world they have any control over and they’re better at separating the two than some of us are. Force them, and they’ll talk. They’ll give their opinions. They’ll tell you their beliefs. But, mostly, they get on with life. And I try to do the same.

But a few of us here struggle with the realities of what is happening all over and fluctuate between action and inaction, depending on how much energy we have left after dealing with life.

Empathy. The drain.

I’m struggling with the world. My own corner of it. What a mess is going on here. That’s kind of why I’ve been absent from WP. I decided to do something instead of writing and talking about it. But I’m not sure that what I’m doing is making any difference. Any more than words would.

Communication, for me, has always been key to dealing with people. Although, frankly, I don’t really relish being with people. It’s like I love humanity but I’m not so fond of it on an individual basis.

Someone once described an introvert as a person who can party hard with everyone else but needs a long time to recover. I rather liked that description. It fits who I am. I’m compelled to deal with people – kids, mostly – all day and, at the end of it, I just want to sit quietly in a corner. But I can’t, for the most part, because life demands and commands.

I began to take a more active role in politics last year, in the belief that actions speak louder than words. I still think that’s the case but those who have the time for action tend not to be holding down a full-time job and managing a household. Something always suffers. My writing has. It has become the last thing I do after everything else.

But it’s been bugging me. The same son I was speaking of earlier told me once, ‘Mum, writing’s a constant for you in your life. You always return to it.’

He gets me. The lass who feels the same also writes – in between living.

And that’s the shitty bit.

Something that constantly returns, but has to be put on hold, suffers neglect because arseholes are making a mess of doing the job they’re supposed to be doing.

I’d have been sacked for less.

And quite rightly.

They have all day, every day, to manipulate the world and I – we – are ants in the middle of it. Working till we drop.

I can’t stop seeing a bigger picture. It’s hazy. But not as hazy as I’d like it to be. All too clear, in lots of ways. And I’m bleeding energy for the state of the world.

What do I do about that, Mark?

How do I make empathy work for me? For the world? Because, right now, all it’s doing is draining me of the hope that has been as constant as the writing.

Thank god, right now, we have the September Weekend – a four-day break from work that’s a Scottish holiday. How I need it!


I had no intention of posting anything on WP. Hasn’t even figured in my mind at all in months. But, your post, Mark, speaks to me. I just don’t get it.

I don’t know how to separate what I think and feel from my energy source. When I think, I feel. When I feel, I’m exhausted.

I need a course on how not to let thinking and feeling drain me.

I need to retire, quite frankly!

But, I’m not going to do that until I see a world fit for my kids. This momma didn’t raise no cannon fodder!

Just tell me how to stop feeling everything and letting it bleed me dry.

If not, tell me a joke so’s I can laugh and move on.

And, I’m only half kidding.

I need a laugh to deal with the bull.

Thank god, I have a few comedians here who keep me smiling despite angst. Great leveller is humour. And so much truth in it too.

(There’s a slight glitch in the video but it only lasts seconds and it’s well worth hearing till the end)

Follow Blindly

Follow blindly, follow blindly

For these are the rules

The diktats, instructions

As precious as jewels


Hear our sweet song

While we put you to sleep

With subliminal statutes

That you need to keep


Follow blindly, follow blindly

Stay in your place

Beneath all appointed

To run human race


Stop at the red light

Though no -one’s around

The cameras are watching

To run renegades to ground


Follow blindly, follow blindly

No dilemmas, least strife

Do as you’re told

And we’ll run your life


Ignore common sense

And the other five too

Just follow us blindly

What we say, you do


Follow blindly, follow blindly

It’s safer that way

Don’t question authority

Day after day


Follow on blindly

Keep blinkers in place

You’ll find life no challenge

When you keep to pace


Follow blindly, follow blindly

Now bow to your queen

Your betters, the wealthy

All titled, when seen


Follow us blindly

Our lies, your beliefs

You be the minions

While we are the chiefs


Follow blindly, follow blindly

Your freedom, our food

Do as you’re told

It’s for your own good


Kill that man there

For he is your foe

Our enemy, yours

Just so’s you know


Follow blindly, follow blindly

For we know the score

As long as we feed you

Don’t ask for more


Don’t be a rebel

A champion of cause

Ask us no reasons

The answer’s because


Follow blindly, follow blindly

Listen and learn

We are in charge here

You don’t get a turn


Hear our sweet song

And we’ll put you to sleep

Live in the shallows

Don’t delve down too deep


Follow blindly, follow blindly

Keep status quo

Be sycophantic

To those in the know


Those who control you

The world at our feet

Quietly, lambkin

Follow blindly as sheep


Follow blindly, follow blindly

For these are the rules

The diktats, instructions

For fascists and fools



Gaudy, neon logos in the cities

Winking obfuscation in the dark

Subtler signposts, muted, warning danger

Too subtle, though, to imprint, make their mark


Granite guidestones seeking their solution

Demarcation lines they shall not cross

Semblance of democracy, diminished

Much later, yet, before we count the cost


Angry words, with ignorance their hallmark

Cast blame, with new direction we should go

New names, old ways, we thought belonged in text books

Forgotten to remember, our new low


Angry academics losing friendships

Siblings crossing swords to state their case

Battles raging everywhere, it seems so

Under lights that laugh at our disgrace


Too long complacent, thinking life was settled

That progress was direction just one way

Now undermined ‘neath neon, dead men walking

Backwards into hist’ry, come what may


We lost our way while working for a living

In seeking pleasure in our idle hours

We didn’t mark the meanwhiles while they meanwhiled

Till lights went out, all over, harnessed power


Preserved where words come easily and harshly

Feeding into narrative outlets

Counter arguments, by reason, scoffed at

Supremacy a dogma we forget


Bring candles, though they flicker in the darkness

Protect them from the wind while still it howls

Bring flint and steel to keep the basics lighted

Keep the signposts bright, yes, even now

Distracted, Abstracted

skin of papered onion 

peeled in pen and ink

as doodles crossing virginal

help me mull and think

with layers of lined abstraction

in markings freely made

thoughts and things I’m dreaming of

when words remain unsaid

while radio goes rambling

through the contours of my mind

in each portion printed pattern

discoveries I find

glassed in red libation

smoked in embers’ flames

onion’d contemplations

melt with those I’ve named

mid musings in a mindset

that meet where two lines merge

diverging while perceptions

collide and then converge

as news holds deep disturbance

tangents here to there

while my pen reacts to everything

in words I cannot share

Remember, To Carry The Flame

We marched for you back then

You don’t remember

Crusaders for a kingdom

How we strived

Destitute, determined

Carried with us

Hope, appeal, intention

To survive


We stood for you back then

You don’t remember

Faced down the tanks

Deployed in George’s Square

Heard the Riot Act

Dismissed, resisted

Gathered for a living

Far more fair


We starved for you back then

You don’t remember

Force-fed prison time

For worthy aims

All but now forgotten

As the years pass

No recollections

Still done in your names


We died for you back then

You don’t remember

Someone from your family

Now deceased

Their legacy, the freedoms

Fought and died for

Bequeathed to you

So future would know peace


We lived for you back then

You don’t remember

Parents of a past

Lost in years’ layers

Gone, their cause forgotten

Present children

Remember now

And ask if you still care


We worked for you back then

You don’t remember

Unborn you were

But we had you in sight

Fighting for the future

Of all children

And conditions we could live by

Workers’ rights


We fought for you those years

You don’t remember

Distance lends enchantment

Or dismay

Forgotten, now, we are

We were foot soldiers

Who thought that we had

Surely won the day


We fought for you back then

You don’t remember

Battled for a birthright

Better ways

Took a stand

We fought for bread and butter

For a piece of

All created

By our hands


We fought for you back then

You don’t remember

In daily labour

Justice all we sought

Manned the streets, the trenches 

Raised our voices

We fought for you back then

As parents ought


We fought for you back then

You don’t remember

Torches dropped

As mem’ries fade away

Hopes were high among us


Would benefit in living

Brighter days


We fought for you back then

You must remember

Gains we made

Eroding by the week

Fight for us

As once we fought your corner

Supporting those

Who work for what you seek


We fought for you back then

Oh, please remember

The battle scars we wore

To pave the way

Conditions that we railed against


Vote anyone

But not for Maggie‘s May

Routes To Nowhere

Never got his kicks

On Route 66

By the time he found the will the way was gone

Met his highs with different load

Than freedom trail on Mother Road

Find your kicks, son, where you must belong


Never climbed the highest towers

Never ate on different shores

Routes to nowhere lead to nowhere fast

Charts and plans have had their day

The borders closed till come when may

Get your kicks, kids, some of them won’t last


Never took her hoped-for trips

Slip between the cup and lips

By the time she found the way the walls were done

Met her match in alleyways

Same old route on different days

Find your kicks, doll, where you don’t belong


Never sailed the oceans wide

Never saw beyond inside

Sixty-six and seven seas bone dry

Dust and ashes far and near

Scattered lives shed lost chance tears

Get your kicks, kids, most of them will die

Cumulative Snowflakes

Shall strength be found in most fragile of flakes

That melt before the heat of angry rays

Disappear, dissolve, in fierce seas and lakes

Can one alone halt traffic on highways


Can that delicate drop precipitate

A fall of snow that fills the chasm’s void

Though uniquely formed it has no great weight

Singularly, too easily destroyed


Crystallised cohesion in pearlised chains

Strengthened beauty around the nuclei

Forging links, formed from irritating grains

Precious snowflakes blind disbelieving eyes


On collision course with an avalanche!

Accumulated pressure shall advance!



Hoods And Sashes

When you are being supported by the hood or sash brigade

You should know you are in trouble, on wrong tracks

The torches and the batons that the hate league like to carry

Are legacies of nations out of whack

Spouting vitriolic slogans, cultivating fear

Joyous in their robes and ordered rules

Beating up a fervour and marching blind to facts

Dangerous to just dismiss as fools

Tolerating troublemakers hidden from our sight

Or marching on the streets in drunken glee

Grandiose of gesture in dress and chosen stripes

Obedient to chants that laud supremacy

‘Fenians’, ‘papes’ or Jews are used, minorities, Muslims, blacks

To justify existence of their bands

Do we really want or need the hood and sash mentality

Influencing decisions in our lands

Aprons, lodges, flutes and drums, grand masters and their crew

Promoting blinkered, biased, one-track song

What we should be, what we should do, follow, follow fools

March and beat, don’t think, just follow on

If you are being supported by the likes of all above

And encouraging division for your case

You’re no more representative of me in whole or part

Nor others who support one human race

Remove the hoods, the sashes, societies and sects

Disband the teams that thrive on hate’s divide

The future of all people and the hope of justice, truth

Depends on more than stupid taking sides

Progressive Winds Of Change



troglodytes with paint pots

in caverns where they dwell

raking through old tunnelled rock

those backward ne’er-do-wells

reliving former glories

in the etchings daubed to prove

that progress is parietal

a wall that cannot move

denying wind through apertures

eyes squinting in the dark

ritualistic, prehistoric

resistant by their marks

but progress is inexorable

though hindered by the trolls

essence of enlightenment

offensive to mere moles

repudiating changes

misfortune ’twere it fact

but art that’s manifested light

has led counterattack

evolution’s history

brooks no backward glance

freed from caves, progressives

reject regressive stance

sarcophagal appetite

to the death of stone age script

buried in the rubble leave

benighted, ill-equipped

crude and savage legacy

the writing’s on the walls

some delay may be inevitable

but brutal stonework fades and falls

elemental, fundamental

primordial process

the winds of change sweep steadily

with turbulence, progress

Labels – More Of A Guideline

I don’t like labels.
I don’t like labels a lot.
You could say, I hate them.
I don’t advertise brand names on my clothes. I’m not anyone’s free publicity machine.
And as for clothes’ size labels? One shop’s size ten is another’s twelve.
Labels are a gimmick. Or a guideline.

Except, last week I bought a pair of blue suede Doc Marten’s and I love them. But, they have a label tag at the back for getting them on. And it sports the brand name.
Choice. Keep them? Or not? Well, they are lovely. And they’ll be really hard-wearing. I’ll get my money’s worth from them. And they’ll be great in bad weather. And, did I say, they’re lovely?
So I’m keeping them.
I redid my political compass the other day too.
Just in case anything had changed with me.
You know, there’s been a lot of changes going on and my mind’s been all over the place trying to assimilate the meaning of it all.
But no change.
I’m still a liberal leftie.
Nearly off the chart, as it happens.
I seem to have become more liberal as I’ve gotten older. More accepting of the diversity of people and the many permutations that that diversity casts up in life.
Do I like that label?
Not really.
Labels are a gimmick. Or a guideline.
I’m a something. The label attempts to describe that something.
It also puts me in a box.
Fascism puts people in a box too.
If the label fits.
I haven’t liked seeing that word being thrown around recently. It’s a word that belongs in the history books and to be ever aware of – lest we forget. It’s a word with such potential for destruction. Potential for division. And should not be used lightly. It has been used to describe many different people and the choices they have made, based, at times, purely on a vote.
We’re a bit more complicated than that.
The many different reasons why we feel, believe, act in one way or another. The circumstances surrounding the reasons. The upbringing. The input from other people, our experiences. The cruelty we have known. The kindnesses we have been shown. The sum total of our lives helping to determine how or why we will act in any given circumstances.
Being the person I am – my liberal leftie leaning ways – I tend to try to understand why people do and say the things they do. Try to make allowances for mitigating circumstances. Some might say a bleeding-heart leftie. And there may very well be justification for them saying so.
Perhaps I tolerate things that I ought not to, in the name of, ‘What if that were me? There for the grace of god.’ And so on.
Perhaps I should have zero tolerance for the children I teach who are the product of their upbringing, of the society in which they live. Or the one they have left. Perhaps I should not try to understand what makes them tick. Or help them overcome the barriers to achieving their fullest potential and development. Perhaps I should refuse to teach any rude ones. The violent ones. The persistent latecomers. Those whose absences run into double figures every term. Those whose parents never attend a parents’ evening, don’t help them with homework, feed them rubbish, don’t provide them with clean clothes or a healthy environment. Those who feed their addiction before their children. Perhaps I should punish the children. Blame them. Cast them from my sight so that I might better focus on the ones who have more of a chance.
But I won’t.
Perhaps because I’m a liberal leftie.
Or perhaps because, with a bit of effort on my part, some love and understanding, the right methodology, guidance and determination, loads of humour, some hugs when required, I might just make a difference. Perhaps they might remember that someone cared and they might do the same for someone else. And the world may turn on a happier axis.
Perhaps not.
I probably will never know.
It’s rare to get feedback at a later date.
I just have to believe that I’m doing the right thing.
But the belief is based on what I know of children. What I know of people. I was one. I am one.
How difficult is it to imagine how you would like to be treated then do accordingly to others?
Why is that so difficult for some? For many people, it seems. For so many in positions of power. And now, it would seem, even from those who are, and will continue to be, in need of the same tolerance and understanding.
Some of those who have shouted loudest in support of cruelty and have ‘othered’ factions of society, based on a label, are some of the most needy there are. Their needs are economic. They need work. They need to earn. They need the sense of pride that comes with being self-supporting. They need out of the spiral of fear. They need to feel security. They need to feel a sense of society and growth. They need to feel a sense of worth. They need to believe they are here for a reason. They need to have hope. And these needs have not been met.
They have been termed the forgotten citizens. And they have spoken. They spoke in the UK. Brexit. They spoke in the USA. Trump.
Will they speak in France too? In other countries in Europe and around the world where global economic policies and politicians have let them down?
And when they speak or shout their disaffection of the status quo, who will be their saviour? Who will step into the breach? The man or woman on the corner who feels the same? Not likely.
Or one for whom the power of change holds possibilities for themselves and a cohort that have waited their time?
And what shall we call them? What label apply to those who will not tolerate the other? Who will not mitigate for poverty or cruelty? Who will not thole the stranger? Who would diminish the human rights of others? Who seek superiority? Who believe themselves superior? Who would not do unto others as they would have done to themselves? Who walk the walk that has been walked and rejected before? Before we forgot to remember.
What label shall we apply to the box that has been opened wide?
And if the rise of ‘neo-nazi’, ‘alt-right’, ‘fascist’ refuses to return to its box, what then for those who cried, ‘Help’? Will they know tolerance from their leaders when they are in further need? Will they later fall victim to a rule that encompasses some aspect of their beings? Will anyone mitigate for them when the time comes? And it comes to us all.
Among the voices that spoke there are many others whose raison d’etre is being realised and is making them brave as all cowards are brave. As part of a crowd. A crowd that becomes mob in its voice and actions. A movement that shouts down opposition to intolerance. Ones who have waited the opportune time. Ones who have embraced their label secretly. Until now.
How shall we know the measure of their cloth? By the label? By its size when it fits? By the uniform it once wore? If the cloth does not maketh the man, his actions do. He or she. Labelled or not.
I’m a liberal leftie by nature. By actions. By experience. By label, so it seems.
But, tolerating the intolerable, I will not do.
That would be off the chart.