Friday, 8 July 2016

Eisteddfod

When I was a difficult teenager my dad blamed it on my ‘Welsh blood’. My mum had a Welsh Grandfather Thomas Lewis who was a Baptist minister. I also had a godmother Nancy who was Welsh and who I loved dearly. She was always ready to listen to me. Her father was an unemployed miner so her parents moved to Kidderminster in the 1930s for a new life. I became pro Welsh and associated ‘unacceptable’ parts of who I am with being part Welsh. For example I was, and still am, too emotional for a typical Englishman of my time! I planned at some point in my life to live in Wales and learn the language. I was horrified when I read how, in Victorian times, school children were punished for speaking Welsh in school! Then I read about how one of the unemployment marches from Wales were greeted by crowds of Welsh people who had moved to Stroud. And Manchester had a Welsh speaking area in Victorian times. Today there is still so much casual racism against the Welsh, supposedly humorous! Anyway tomorrow my choir will be singing at the Eisteddfod, again something I always planned to visit but not sing at. Wow, this is going to be special.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Encounters with homeless men

Encounters with homeless men (from my Facebook page)

22nd January 2016. Saw a new young man begging near Costa and thought I would give me some money after I came out but it was raining and he had gone. Then later I was given a free cappacino at the Uni. So I need to Carpe Diem, seize the day.

2nd February. Young man begging outside the coffee shop 8am. I come out and put £2 into his paper cup. He thanks me and gives me a deep look - he's seen me and seen me seeing him. Something real has happened. I am touched by his look, it was not anguish, he was not pleading it was 2 humans connecting.

21st April. So on my one day a week at the Uni I call in Costa for a coffee and sandwich. There is often a young man begging outside and I have got in the habit of giving him a couple of quid and one time exchanged deep eye contact. which I wrote about previously So today I finally plucked up the courage (don't ask!) to talk to him and asked him if he had a place to stay. No, he is on a waiting list for a hostel since November and he keeps going back to nudge them and he has heard it takes 4 or 5 months. I am shocked and hope that he has fallen through the net as I don't want to believe that Manchester would leave people like him on the streets over winter. Any of you out there, especially Mancunians, can update? He is keen to get his act together and find work.

5th May. Just saw the young homeless man outside Costa who I have written about here before. The good news is that at last he has an appointment next Tuesday for a possible hostel place. He hopes not to see me again. I hope so too. He crossed himself saying this. I have learnt things from him. Firstly it is not enough just to give money. There is a person on the other side of that interaction. Sparing a few words as well as a bit of money is important for both involved. This is part of my new post Uni life - neighbourliness.

14th May. Glad not to see him – homeless poem

Young man begging outside the coffee shop 8am.
I come out and put £2 into his paper cup.
He thanks me and gives me a deep look
- He's seen me and seen me seeing him.
Something real has happened.
I am touched by his look,
It’s not anguish,
He’s not pleading
It’s two humans connecting.

Some weeks pass
And I get in the habit of
Giving him a couple of quid
Today I finally puck up the courage
To talk to him
Have you anywhere to stay?
No but I’m on a waiting list for a hostel
It’s been 5 months
I keep going back to them.

I’m appalled
5 wintry months sleeping in a car park
I hope he’s fallen through the net
This is Manchester 2016
Surely we wouldn’t leave people on the streets over winter?

Just saw the young homeless man again
He has an appointment next Tuesday
And hopes never to see me again
I hope so too
He crosses himself

He has taught me
It’s not enough to just give money
There is a person on the other side
Sparing a few words is important too
For both of us

It’s Wednesday 8am now
And there is a space outside the coffee shop
And he’s not there
I miss him
But I am glad not to see him.

18th May. Met my young homeless man on the streets again. Found out his name is Chris and that there was a mix up over dates but he still has his interview for a possible hostel place in the next few days. If he does not get a place it will knock him back. I truly hope not to see him again!

31st May. So my young homeless man Chris was not outside Costa first thing this morning so it looks like he has his hostel place! In his place is a mature man I have seen and given too before. He looks too intelligent to be on the streets(!) I was going to talk to him but a young women had beaten me to it, so another time. Anyway, I gave him a couple of quid and he was thankful and wished me a good day. I replied 'you're welcome'. It's a start.

10th June 2016. Speaking to people on the streets whether homeless or neighbours unknown is an invite into relationship, into being. I relate therefore I am. For me the universe/God(dess) does this when I am open. Chris, the homeless young man was not outside Costa again this morning so it seems pretty sure he has got his hostel place. Later I talked with John a more older man who I have given money to a few times. I asked him if he had a place to sleep and he replied he went to the airport and that sometimes a church helped him. He was quite talkative and we shook hands when I left him. I think he has his wits about him but I just wonder if this is his best choice?


Monday, 23 May 2016

Frozen poem

Frozen

It hurt me to hug you
Nothing personal
Frozen shoulder

Looking for a reason
A cause
Something or someone to blame

But so what?
It hurts is all

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Glad not to see him - homeless poem

Glad not to see him – homeless poem

Young man begging outside the coffee shop 8am.
I come out and put £2 into his paper cup.
He thanks me and gives me a deep look
- He's seen me and seen me seeing him.
Something real has happened.
I am touched by his look,
It’s not anguish,
He’s not pleading
It’s two humans connecting.

Some weeks pass
And I get in the habit of
Giving him a couple of quid
Today I finally puck up the courage
To talk to him
Have you anywhere to stay?
No but I’m on a waiting list for a hostel
It’s been 5 months
I keep going back to them.

I’m appalled
5 wintry months sleeping in a car park
I hope he’s fallen through the net
This is Manchester 2016
Surely we wouldn’t leave people on the streets over winter?

Just saw the young homeless man again
He has an appointment next Tuesday
And hopes never to see me again
I hope so too
He crosses himself

He has taught me
It’s not enough to just give money
There is a person on the other side
Sparing a few words is important too
For both of us

It’s Wednesday 8am now
And there is a space outside the coffee shop
And he’s not there
I miss him
But I am glad not to see him

Monday, 2 May 2016

Grey Power

Grey Power

Me thinking
Old people were weak and frail
Yes
But their spirit is strong
And
Despite
Or even because
Of how they suffer
They support each other
And their children
And their grand children

So don‘t feel sorry for us pensioners
But
Treat us with some respect
We have earned our stripes
Our marks
Which we carry on our backs

So when you see
A group of us
Up to no good
Don’t write us off
Or if you do
More fool you

Even politicians
Are not stupid
To ignore grey power

Finally
And inevitably
You will become
One of us
In time
(Or die trying)

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Singing for Chernobyl


So a strange thing happened to me at my choir's rehearsal yesterday. We were preparing to perform at a concert for Children in Chernobyl and signing a wonderful song from Hawaii called E Malama and when we got to the words 'Hold this land in sacredness' I just had to weep. I sat down and buried my face in my hands. People were great and I was naturally embarassed and lost my usual English sense of reseve. Maybe it was the inner Wlshman coming out. This helped cope with the concert especially hearing the heartrending thngs that happened to all especially the children. Here's my my formal piece:

Hold this land in sacredness

I am not sure how much you can change the world for the better by singing; but certainly we know that choirs can improve the health of their members and probably their audiences too. And a choir can lend it support to people and causes that make a difference. That was so with the Manchester Community Choir’s concert yesterday in support of the Chernobyl Children’s project. It has been 30 years since the nuclear power station disaster at Chernobyl and it was heartrending to hear of the suffering that still continues to this day but also uplifting to hear what help was being offered especially to the children still affected by nuclear radiation. Our choice of songs reflected this situation. We sang Durme a poignant Judaeo Spanish lullaby from Sarajevo and E Malama a Hawaiian song that includes the line ‘Hold this land in sacredness’. Besides our choir there were some lovely uplifting songs from Linda Harvey, Russian music from the Manchester Balalaika Youth Orchestra, and some moving words written by people affected by the disaster read out by Artists for Peace. It is not too late to support the project more details from














Chernobyl Children's Project - Supporting the Children of Belarus

Welcome to the Chernobyl Children's Project (UK) homepage. CCP (UK) supports families in Belarus that have been effected by the Chernobyl disaster.



chernobyl-children.org.uk

Friday, 8 April 2016

Poem

Lying in the bed

In pain

I hear the birds sing