Horn Of Plenty

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(source)

licquor pours across all floors

it is not possible to become

intoxicated today when

bota bag bleeds and seeps

its blood-red vintage while

weary herdsmen weep

and skin afresh, hanging

hircine hopes on kids

gathering yesterday’s grapes

for fresh pressing

remembering to decant

old with old, the new with new

and both willing the carver

with every bone in their bodies

to gouge with due caution

adhere with common sense

remember libation to providers

and secure for all, in celebration,

that the horn has plenty

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Penny For Them

£     s     d

2    9    6

4    8    7

+ 5   6    4

—————

£12  4s  5d

—————-

Memory escapes slightly but I think that’s the way we used to do it.

Back in the pre-metric days of my primary school, 12 pennies made a shilling and 20 shillings made a pound.

By the time I reached my final year of primary school 100 pennies made a pound. And I became au fait with the decimal point.

The new metric coins were introduced and, gradually, through time the old coins were put to rest. It took years, with certain of the old coins of particular interest being traded, by those in the know, as having more worth than their face value depending on when it had been minted and whose face adorned the other side of tails.

An aunt of mine had a little book, listing those of worth in general circulation, and kept her eyes peeled, hoping to be lucky enough to come across one of the rarities.

Adults at that time, particularly the more aged, were forever heard to be arguing with shopkeepers, believing they were being diddled in their change.

And who could blame them?

One day they had been handing over a pound note to pay for goods costing a shilling and received nineteen shillings, or 228 pennies, in change. The next day, they handed over a pound and received, in change, with an apparently huge shortfall, 95 pence.

Even I felt diddled handing over my thrupenny bit for sweets

A local shop kept two trays of sweets under the counter, one holding sweets costing a penny and the other for goodies valued at a hal’penny.

For my thrupenny bit I could purchase three penny sweets or six hal’penny sweets or any combination amounting to the same. And I could work it out.

Then, one day, those self-same trays allowed me to take one sweet from the penny tray and one from the halfpenny tray or three from the latter. I argued like an old woman despite being about 11. Something was far wrong.

Or so it seemed.

The transition between old money and new felt like we were all being diddled. God bless the shopkeepers. They must have had their work cut out too, trying to pacify irate customers while working out the conversion with the handy list sellotaped near the till and, at the same time, ensure they weren’t going to be pulled up at the end of the day, by their employer, for fiddling.

I’m no expert on economics. Far from it, in fact. When my brother was studying economics as part of his university course in Business Admin, I recollect a conversation we had as he tried to explain the finer points of supply and demand, inflation and deflation and the different schools of thought on the subject. He lost me.

Back then, and even now, I find it difficult to comprehend that price, value and worth are not necessarily synonymous. Perhaps, rarely so.

The value of water is priceless.

The value of a superstar, priceless also, apparently.

The respective worth of each, leagues apart, in life stakes.

The price? I pay very little attention to the cost to clubs when footballers change hands and contracts are negotiated, except perhaps to note the ridiculous sums paid to kick a ball about in the hopes of improving team chances of winning some trophy. I listen, in disbelief, when sums quoted translate to millions in any currency.

I do realise that my lack of interest in football colours my judgement. But, I also wonder at the economics of such transactions when clubs find themselves going to the wall, pass on the cost to supporters and are forever on the lookout for rich investors to save the day and creative accountants to cook the books.

Those interested in football will follow these transactions closely, pay the subsidy at the gates if they can afford to and consider the player worth the cost if a trophy of indeterminate intrinsic worth is brought home to be displayed with pride in a room few will have access to.

Their choice. Doesn’t affect me at all.

Except.

When the perceived worth of something or someone is based on only one factor, there’s something wrong in the state of play.

Yesterday I read a post outlining what the government of Puerto Rico should be obliged to do in order to meet their debts.

In essence, deprive the nation of easy access to water. Among other austerity measures that will hurt the populace.

Comparisons were made to the situation in Greece.

Got debt, must pay.

Somehow, must pay.

You owe, must pay.

Mismanaged economy, must pay.

It strikes me that people don’t change the currency. People don’t create monetary policy. People don’t even understand how economics works. People are guided by those who profess to know and trust that those in the know, those governing on their behalf, are actually doing just that.

People deal with smaller sums. People take what they’re given for their apparent worth and hope that they can balance their own books. Surely, we can trust the financial institutions and associated government bodies and financiers to do their jobs. They’re paid enough to do so.

Yeah, right.

I listen to figures being bandied about, trillions for Trident, billions for welfare, gazillions lost in tax default.

I understand money management on a household scale although often wonder where it all goes. Then I look at the books and note what I’m paying for this and that, remark on the changes in price of milk and bread and the rising cost of insurance. And try to balance the books without diddling anyone.

It seems that some of the economists don’t understand how economics works.

Someone, some many someones, somewhere, scribble some figures on the back of an envelope, flash the possibilities and gamble with the health and wealth of a nation. Different schools of economic thought are used to play risk. Priorities are weighed by different parties. Unrealistic goals and targets are outlined and bankrupted.

And still we allow them to mis/manage our countries. It is the trust of people that has been bankrupted while those who play the game also run the shop and set the prices. We don’t determine the currency and fiddle the exchange rate, although we are guilty of allowing value to be set by others. We are culpable in a system that dehumanises suffering based on accounts and capitalises on effort while penalising poverty.

The people, meanwhile, take their thruppeny bit to the store and can’t figure out why they’re being penalised, why what was affordable and available yesterday has become a luxury item.

Luxury is relative.

Water is not a luxury.

Ordinary people do have value.

The price they are being expected to pay is not worth it.

I can count in old money, I can count in new. Imperial, decimal. It all amounts to the same thing if someone else determines the exchange rate and sets intrinsic worth.

That handy conversion table at the till now lists the price of life against the coin.

Perhaps it always has and those who have counted the cost have been unheard except through revolution or appeals made to the charity of those relatively better off. Who can resist such appeals, even while knowing that sometimes the cause of dire circumstances is not natural disaster but the corruption or mismanagement of a country by those who want their own trophy at any cost?

One thing economists/governments don’t appear to take account of, where maybe they did in the past, is that people will put up with a lot, a really huge amount, an enormous quantity of being diddled, of suffering hardship, of paying the toll at the gate of the game others control, so long as basic requirements are met.

At the most basic, is water and the air we breathe. How much longer before oxygen tanks are issued with a price tag?

mad-hatter-1

Who runs the countries?

Penny for your thoughts?

Diligence

Come, silence not the words when words are needing,

Nor empty self into the dark abyss,

Void of comfort, empty of all meaning,

Why throw away all chances by remiss.

Come fill, at spring, your cup to overflowing,

Chilled, refreshed by waters from on high,

Crystal bounty, clarity in knowing

Source at summit, worthy risk to try.

Come see the lights that shine upon not under,

Bask in starlight, beauteous to behold,

Feet to path, hands breaking rocks asunder,

Words may be the actions of some bold.

Who can know the value of the footsteps

Or words, as water, falling from your lips.

 

 

Exponential Growth

I believe in reaching out, I do,

To one and one, for doubled, that makes two

Who pass it on at double worth, there’s four,

And on it goes and goes to so much more,

As legend told, where single rice on board

Relieves the king of kingdom, this I’ve heard.

Like words, I guess, where whisper quite a few,

Ripple out, eventually, reaching more than two.

Chess Board and the Grain of Rice

 

Ours, By Grace

As pennies to the pounds, bronzed and humble,

Subtle seconds ticking off the hours,

A minute’s magic may just make a lifetime

In smallest moments grasped, while here, they’re ours.

Tiny tickettes, talking as they tumble,

Piling up the chances, hand of grace,

Vaults of time, though miniscule, still potent

Tiny portents challenging each race.

 

Superlative

Taller than Tibetan peaks and wider

Than oceans vast, no finite count

Or measure to attain,

Deeper than all trenches, deemed elusive,

More omnipotent than all rulers ever reigned.

Sweeter than all sugared of confections,

Of honeyed traps

So tempting to all tastes,

More succulent than fruits extreme, exotic,

More precious than any diamond’s face.

Superlative in wonder and in grandeur,

Glorious

In scaling heady heights,

In delving and delighting in its facets,

No stronger force than love in all its might.

 

Subprime Life

Youth’s energy became an old-age early,

Reminiscent of cruel winters long ago,

Hunter or be hunted as past primitive,

Weapons now quite different from long bow.

But spears still pierce and blood still flows aplenty,

Savages still scavenge, now upright,

Unvanquished beasts, unmarked by any number,

Missing link unmissing in their sight.

A broken chain, a steadfast reign of righteous,

Motion sensors marching endlessly through time,

Espy the life that seeks to live and end it,

Count its worth and value as subprime.

Count the cost of monsters who must judge life,

In pride’s self-justifying casting stone,

Wrecking, wreaking chaos. No limit. Children

Culled, guns and bombs, terror’s jaw-bone.

Never learning, never trying peace path,

Never caring but for selfish means,

Oh, hang heads, shame that’s neverending,

One child is worth more than all your dreams.

 

 

Blind Ripples

The time will come, as sure it must,

When flesh and bones return to dust.

Ere this happens to mine state

I challenge life, what may await

Round corners I have yet to veer,

On roads and paths that I must steer

As true to self as I can be

While hurting none as best I see.

The trouble with my self-direction,

Modus operandus, introspection,

Is, I can’t see what acts I do

May taint the world for me and you.

I struggle on as blind man feels,

Alerting senses to what’s real,

Believing that my ripples cast

May count for something that could last

Into eternal consciousness

And, somehow, one day I’ll be blessed

By loving light that comforts soul,

Suffuses dark when all is told

In story of my life on earth,

That task completed had some worth.

Risk

In, through,

of time, we came,

legates from legions

by and gone,

across realms and empires

marched we, stolidly,

emblems held aloft,

heralding new dawns.


Eyes front, we stared,

saluted all

who primed

our noble task,

conquer, our mission,

advance, attack,

civilise,

plunder mask’d.


Frail force subservient,

power

to the proudest

in each land,

patrician rule,

plebeians cast

in roles,

as statues stand.


How the mighty fall,

destitute of grace

unclaimed

from distant shore,

hear our footesteps thump,  

old rules arise anew,

history repeated

evermore.


Harken

to the trumpets’ blast,

adversay

worthy of the name,

enlightened hosts

call forth conscious

liberation,

upend risk game.

May Music, Day 6 – Best Friend

I saw my best friend at a bus station on the way to college for enrolment. We got on the same bus, each eyeing the other as if we had met before. When we both headed for the same place I made a point of speaking to her. I was 17 then. She has been and continues to be, a wonderful friend. The song I most associate with her is ‘Tapestry’ by Carole King. She too was a product of older siblings’ taste in music. And Nancy could sing this one beautifully. So, when Twindaddy asked which song we associated with our best friend, this one seemed perfect because that’s kind of what our life has been. I like to think that we all know that friendship.

 

We met before we met, I’m sure

you’ve met her,

checkpoint on the road I call my living.

Encountered once, you will

not forget her,

our threads are woven closely, stitched by giving.

 Like telepaths, we know when we are needed,

for friendship’s sake

we call and we are there.

One glimpse, one word was all it took

to feel it,

surprising meeting; starting with a stare.

 We must have known that time

would be a stranger,

in early days when talk was fast and true.

Chosen paths mean

frequency no longer

but still our hearts are bound and so pursue

 the knowing of the girl into the woman,

attributes

still held so very dear.

We met before we met, I’m sure

you’ve met her –

A friend of worth, inside, is always near.