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Long poem by Suzette Richards | Details |

SUMMER, WINTER SOLSTICE - 2010

It was a visit long overdue by most people’s standards. I had last seen my daughter two years prior to that during a whirlwind trip which she and her fiancé had made to Cape Town. I had an unexpected financial windfall and the money was burning a hole in my pocket. On the spur of the moment, I called my daughter and asked her to source accommodation for me in London over the Christmas season. A few days later, she called me back with the news that all the hotels had been booked up, save for the Ritz. I chuckled at the idea of having to spend my entire holiday budget on just one night at the Ritz. Then reason asserted itself and we put our heads together to come up with an alternative solution. I could hear her flatmate in the background, chipping in with her penny’s worth of advice. My daughter hung up and I was feeling down in the mouth about the plans for the trip being derailed in such a fashion. Later that evening, my daughter called back with the offer that if I did not object to sleeping on the settee in the lounge, I would be most welcome to stay with them at their London flat. I gladly accepted. She is a chef at a top restaurant and I was looking forward to gourmet meals prepared by her - including the Christmas turkey.

screeching seagulls dive at sushi scraps on a plate - the urchin watches
The evening of the booked flight to London, arrived. It was an uncomfortable hot day and I showered and dressed with only minutes to spare before my friend took me to the airport to book in the statuary two hours before international flight departures. At the airport everything was in chaos. We were given the unwelcome news that our flight had been cancelled. This was the third direct flight to London which had been cancelled that week due to London experiencing the worst weather and snow since records began in 1890! We were offered alternative flights and had to stand in queues for hours in order to procure a new airline ticket. Some people became very verbose and insisted on being granted passage on other airline carriers (at the cost of our local airline carrier). I do not know whether it was due to the weather or the disappointment I was feeling, but when my turn came at last to book a new flight, I readily agreed to fly on Christmas Eve ( three days hence) to London. If I had been given time to reflect on this date, I would not have accepted it. Arriving in London on Christmas Day would have been disastrous: The tubes and other public transport would have been curtailed on Christmas Day and shops and other amenities would have been closed for the day. This I knew from previous trips to the UK over the festive season. To add insult to injury, taxis would have charged triple for cab fare and no amount of quibbling would have swayed them. I phoned my friend to collect me and when we got home, I poured a large glass of Merlot and retired on the sun lounger in the garden. It was *full moon that evening and it was almost worth missing the trip to witness its beauty. I left my bags in the hallway and retired early – after phoning my daughter and giving her an update on the status quo.
moths dart between moon flowers - lunar eclipse
Six am the following morning, I was woken up by the phone ringing. Sleepily I took the call. It was the airline inquiring whether I could get to the airport by seven am. My friend was dancing up and down in agitation and already had the car out by the time I had brushed my teeth. I offered to pay any speeding fines which she might incur during our mad dash to get to the airport on time. The flight was an additional service which was laid on to get the backlog of passengers to their desired destinations. Heathrow had given our pilots permission to proceed, hence the call to me that morning. We were a total of thirty six passengers on the Boeing 747 – it translated to two passengers per crew member. We were treated to five in flight movies which were current and could eat and drink as much as we wished to. By the time we landed in London at seven pm that evening, there was a festive spirit among us. A radio taxi (which my daughter had organised) was waiting to collect me at Heathrow airport. It was a chilly four degrees Celsius below zero and I was grateful for my leather coat and wool accessories.
steep steps to flat shut out the bitter world - a heart pounds
**************************************************************** *The December 2010 lunar eclipse occurred from 5:27 to 11:06 UTC on December 21, coinciding with the date of the December solstice. It was visible in its entirety as a total lunar eclipse in North and South America, Iceland, Ireland, Britain and northern Scandinavia. "bitter" means piercingly cold..... A term commonly used by Britishers... "flat" means apartment. The Londoners I know, refer to it as just "flat" with no adj or possessive noun or article. Please see the About section for explanations regarding the 1ST AND LAST haiku. Haibun(literally, haikai writings) is a prosi-metric literary form originating in Japan, combining prose and haiku. The range of haibun is broad and includes the autobiography, diary, essay, prose poem, short story and travel journal. ~ Wikipedia


Long poem by Elaine George | Details |

Tea and Poetry in the Ides of March - PART ONE


Beneath a misty veil of ‘Euphoria’ by Calvin Klein, she dares to dream of acceptance in a world of wanna-be Literary Giants who are members of an elite writer’s group, as she drives along a winding road studded with potholes smaller than most of the ones that have rutted most of the roads she has traveled in the past—

Potholes created by a harsh environment that made it impossible for her to move in a straight line. Potholes so big, that at the age of 16, they forced her to detour from University Row to the foot of King in Saint John, New Brunswick, where at the end of the road, she found a way to earn a living working in a tea factory; where her ring finger was nearly severed as her dreams of a better life gushed red streams, high into the air with every beat of her heart.

Where through the eye of a needle, her life hung by a thread, a life-line that pulled her back from blackness as pain radiated in that pulsating flesh, as those rough edges were forced back together behind a fence of snipped, spiky, black barbs (remnants of that thread), left to remind her there was no escaping from the foot of King.

Yet she was grateful. 

Grateful she had survived.

Grateful she was able to return to work the following day to operate a machine that required using her feet instead of her hands.

Grateful  she still had a job and a roof over her head after the door to the place she once called home locked her out and left her to lie in a lumpy bed in the seediest part of the city in a dilapidated rooming house with all the luxuries a minimum wage could buy.

 It was winter and the room was cold. 

With her can of stove-oil having long-since gone up in smoke, she put her coat on and pulled the thin bed-covers over her. 

In the gloom,  she saw a ray of light (a small white slip of paper) lying on the rickety nightstand (a doctor’s prescription) yet unfilled that would have to wait until next payday. 

 Eventually those black barbs were pulled out, one by one, from their crusted, ***** pockets, by a doctor who told her not to be such a baby as her screams ran out into the waiting room. 

She relives these visions, as she has a thousand times before as she rounds the bend on Regional Road 45 that runs between soggy mud-clad fields covered in pig manure from where a willow weeps tiny green leaves in this record-breaking heat of March. And she wonders how something so beautiful can grow from something so ugly. 

And she knows why the willow weeps as she contemplates this strange phenomena in the Ides of March and chooses (like Caesar) to ignore the warning signs. And like the willow, she bends in order to follow the winding road; her hands gripping the steering wheel until…

The wide shank of her wedding band (designed to cover the past), catches on the thick, calloused scar tissue of her ring finger, reminding her again of who she really is. 

 And she asks herself, how she dares to dream of acceptance in a world of intellects, when the truth is she never even finished high school.

But she did graduate from a Bookkeeping program at Vancouver City College, when she was 22, and took all those night school courses while she worked during the day.  

What about all those correspondence Law courses she took when she was in her thirties (graduating with honours) and the night courses she took while  working in an insurance office to become a Licensed Insurance Broker? Surely they must count for something? 

 Yes! But you didn’t graduate from University; no prestigious initial follow your signature, and the only Master’s degree you can claim is ‘A Master’s degree in Disguise,’ says the little voice inside as sweat begins to leak through the foundation of the Revlon mask she wears today in an attempt to cover the thin skin these intellects will otherwise surely see through.

“But I have proof I am worthy of their acceptance,” she replies. Sitting there on the seat beside me, in my briefcase is my self-published book of poems; some of which have won International Poetry Awards and money, some that have been published in other books and magazines. Surely that is enough.

Up ahead, an enormous metal, hexagon-shaped, red flag wearing white letters says STOP. She stops and looks in all directions and, seeing no danger, crosses the point of no return to an afternoon of tea and poetry with what she hopes are birds of a feather.

***
CONTINUED IN PART TWO...


Long poem by evrod samuel | Details |

The City And The State Of Play Today

THE CITY AND THE STATE OF PLAY TODAY

No one worries about morals today 
They follow the rules they create
So to them all is ok
Those on the outside looking in 
Are the only ones feeling queasy 
As avarice and selfishness triumphs
So easily 

Good corporate citizens they claim to be
Industry awards abound on their walls
As thank you tokens from themselves
Yet society harbours a lot of ill-will
As it feels the often brute force of 
The raid
 Grab 
And destroy mentality
Of people only wishing to make money 
Any which way 
While Using up all of society’s communal resources

Sharks abound
The waters are forever bloody as they 
Know no fraternity and would gladly 
Cannibalize anyone with no influence 
The ability to upend competitors
A cherished characteristic 
In a bullish machismo drenched environment 

Bullet proof psyches
Absorb and repel any pangs
About unfairness
Blocking any regulatory or chattering classes’
Attempt at nirvana and equality 
They employ better paid lobbyist 
So always have the upper hand 
In influencing policy 

The gravitational attraction of money 
Towards another even bigger pot of money 
Numbs any cautionary instinct
That would take a long term view 
The thrill of instant riches
Overpowers common sense 
And even decency 
Fat cats they all wish to be 

The slickness of glossy tongued lobbyist
Who spin wrongs till they become rights
Embolden oestrogen low males with no inbuilt brakes
To take risks that eventually cost them disgrace 
They are champions of graft not of society 

Loopholes in legislation
That were built in by too friendly politicians 
Coupled with ambiguous suits and claims
Cause far reaching hardship when the good old days are long gone 
The villains only muster some phantom national pride
 When begging for a lighter sentence 
Some are forgiven
Others fatally wounded by an unforgiving public

Lots of money can be made both legally and illegally
As one racket is closed another materialises instantly
The conveyor belt of dishonesty
Overwhelms bureaucracy 
Who is not David to the goliath that is money

The ethos is wealth
The acquisition and the maintaining of gains
Not often acquired through hard work
There is no limit of acceptable financial comfort
For the millionaire always wants to be a billionaire
And the mega rich super rich

Money must always be hidden from the taxman
Shareholders want tax free dividends
Investors want tax breaks for buying with other people’s money 
Infrastructure and new runways must be built 
But not from the pocket of those who wish it 

With their hands outstretched
And always wanting more and more
From a government too eager to please 
We have a tax system geared to the advantage of party donors
And non-domiciled moguls and tycoons
Who know no philanthropy unless it is tax efficient 

Disadvantaging society by  
Never paying their fair and moral share 
The largess they reap so selfishly
They wish not to share 
Wages are low
Taxes are nil
Only the investor wins as we pay his bills

Fast paced expansionist dogma
Is preached within city limits
Only the highest paid
The biggest company
The greatest profits
Are allowed 
They are held up as ideals that all who
Wish to succeed must follow
Gunslingers they all appear to be
Rushing in to capitalize on the wanton success of their peers
The cloud of misery left behind 
Is never seen for the look forward 
Never backward 
Hindsight is never welcomed in this parasitic environment 

The political will to weed out these reckless demons
Is lukewarm at best 
The revolving door of government creating opportunities
For industry and industry gratefully accepting politicians post government 
Ensures that self-interest is king 

An economy built on flawed assumptions of wealth creation
Is one that must forever be in hyper-drive
Creating ever expanding demand and supply 
That is as real as a thief’s conscience 
When taking the rings off a dead persons fingers 

Money must always be made for 
There is no alternative 
Wealth is good
Poverty to them is laziness

The city is not the heart and soul
Of the nation
It is but one player in a system skewed in its favour
We all must share in the wealth of this country
To ensure its longevity  


Long poem by T Wignesan | Details |

The crime is snowed over, Translation of Pierre Emmanuel s Il neige sur le crime

The crime is snowed over, Translation of Pierre Emmanuel’s  Il neige sur le crime

Are we buried under snow holding our silence
in what immense Cimmerian (collision) of terror ?
The mouth kept open in the shriek of interminable shade 
lips held fast in the frozen depths
we disturb the slumber of the Dead with our yelling
mute – calling Whom, alas ? We howl by the sepulchre
the absence of a name stretching towards a solitary Name : 
but the Voice suppressed down our throat strangles
the liberating Name which could call back on its feet.
The head in the tomb and touching our lips
the lips of these the dead that we shall become tomorrow,
we continue to live in spite of it all but let’s conceal our 
                                                                                     breath
for fear of dispelling the silence gathering around us
for God could oblige us to confront ourselves
and more than the Fear of Him, we are (indeed) afraid.

Fire over the snow
Fire at those still alive
What matters is that blood saturates this land/Earth
Words enough snow down to cover up the blood

It snows over the Shriek of long sighs of absence
the glossy smiles over twisted lips
It snows over wounds of pale hands, capable
of simulated caresses like those of naked tortoises
It snows weighted flakes, the glaring white of the blind
which fill the great orbs the eyes of the dead make
It snows a gentle down of murder on the plains
just as troublesome as the slumber of assassins
The Shriek sans end reaches up to lunar heights
where trees are shorn of their barks : listen
the strident whiteness of vast deserts populated by men
where abandoned stones howl in the face of death.
The Night, the immense snow Pièta of an ebony Christ
looks at the shadow cast by rifles pointing towards her 
                                                                                 dead son
the shadow of murderers projecting over the snow
-- she feels the breath of that Shadow on her feet                                
the horror freezes her over up to the stars ah crying
« Fire » so that at last the salve explodes and downs
these shadows of rifles these over-sized canons
But the tears of this great Death
shall alas get the better of this snow.

     (from the collection : La liberté guide nos pas, 1945)

© T. Wignesan – Paris, September 28, 2014

Note : Pierre Emanuel, b. May 3, 1916, d. September 22, 1984 at Gan in the Basses Pyrénées, was one of the most prolific of XXth Century poets. His corpus also included books of critique and a novel. Rejected by a distraught mother at three weeks, his parents emigrated to the U.S., leaving him to be brought up by a paternal uncle, according to Anne-Sophie Constant who selected and prefaced his Anthologie Poétique, out this year. Upon graduating from the University of Lyon where he studied literature, he taught for some years before heading the English language services at the RTL and writing for Témoignage Chrétien, Réforme and Esprit. President of the French Pen Club (1973-76), he later headed the French National Audio-Visual Institute and the Cultural Affairs Commission of the VIth Plan. Elected to the French Academy of Letters in 1968, he renounced the honour in 1975 in protest at the election of Félicien Marceau. For a time, he also headed the International Association for Cultural Freedom. As a poet, he had already made his mark with his first collections : Elégies (1940) and Tombeau d’Orphée (1941), followed by a steady stream of some forty collections thereafter. Received – among many – the Grand Prize for Poetry of the French Academy in 1984. A-S. Constant quotes from two interviews on his inveterate independence : « Je ne me sens pas la vocation d’un maître, et je ne veux aucun disciple. » and « Je suis un poète et un chrétien. »
                                            T. Wignesan


Long poem by Therese Bacha | Details |

Punished

                            ~ Punished~
                        
One evening with her dad she met this man at a bar very
handsome well mannered visiting from England.
After a few visits she started feeling him approaching her 
with nice compliments.

His attention made her fall In love with him
For months he took her out running to the beach 
shouting out loud I love your body i love your eyes
you’ll never belong to nobody but me.
 
On a moonlight night he was holding her so tight 
kissing her lips caressing her tits expressing his 
desire to light up the fire that was burning in their
entire body and soul.

As he was her first this is what she thought at the 
beginning she was very reserved yet she liked the 
fire she was feeling they were new to her his kissing 
was sensuous he smelled lovely he was caressing her
hair while sitting on the sand she was so taken by her
thoughts suddenly she heard.

Oh my darling let me love you my way let me make you 
my woman without any delay I beg you to give up and 
stop the fight I am promising at the same time to marry 
you very soon I will ask your dad that you will become my 
wife next Sunday at soon.

She wanted to believe him her head was spinning her heart
was beating to the sounds of his powerful movements
she was reaching the sky so quickly sensations of ecstasy 
she was feeling with his compliments whispering his love 
to her out loud while she was dreaming of the marriage 
as being lifted up on a carriage listening to the horses 
tapping on the course to the hotel room where they will 
spend their honeymoon as she will become that bride 
at noon.

Before even her dreams were over she felt him suddenly 
role over and ran away with no delay she could not understand
why ? Why? Did he leave with no good-bye.

Not realizing she was undressed hurried to get dressed ran to look 
from side to side asking herself why did he hide he promised me 
to be his bride? even if she was yet a child.

She sat where they loved each other looking at the ocean maybe
he will come back he must he told her he is in love.

Already it was dark in a low voice having no choice she ran 
home straight to her room wiping her running tears and fears
covering her feet to feel some heat and fell asleep not to see
her dad as maybe tomorrow he will come back with an 
explanation to his act. 

Hoping not to be deceived and very soon to be relieved
when he ‘ll knock on their door and swipe her off her feet 
tell her dad to fix their marriage.

She waited for days and days but that day never came 
she knew then it was only a game and she`ll never see 
him again and will never be the same.
                          
That early morning she woke up before her dad to cheer up 
herself for him not to doubt she had maybe made a huge 
mistake.
Having her coffee she pulled the newspaper and screamed
Oh Oh the man she loved was an addicted rapist being 
searched from the Interpol in England, he had convinced 
everybody doctors and nurses that he was cured.

Continuing to read she read his history that he was battling 
addiction of raping teenagers for the past twenty years. Lived
most of the time in jail.
She cried and cried she was raped by an addicted rapist who
was never cured.
                             
She could not eat or drink not knowing what to think 
while running to the sink that’s when she found out 
but couldn’t shout that she was carrying a rapist child. 

Where are you? She thought you were honest
But you were only an ordinary man still battling
your addiction.

Forgive me Oh My God! Her dad
forgave her out of love to his innocent daughter.

She had to keep her child and trusted herself
to bring him up not like his father.
And she did her son became an international lawyer.

   Therese Bacha
      27/5/2013
Contest for PD....Any Poem Goes.


Long poem by Gerald Kithinji | Details |

Give Peace A Chance Part 2

Yet Africa is
expected to fall in
line 
With speed and
alacrity 
Or be headed back to
Europe 
For much deserved
censure
And sanitization in
the heart
Of brutish Europe!
Have we not seen
them in action
At Treblinka and
Auschwitz, brother
With their atomic
bombs in Hiroshima
With their weapons
of mass destruction
With their napalm in
Vietnam, Vietcong
With their sjamboks
in apartheid South
Africa

I plead not for
impunity, a term
recently coined
For Africa, but not
for Syria, or Korea,
or Iran
I plead not for
that, no, I plead
for my country
For I can see a
finger I distrust
pointing at us
And I know it is
time for the
neo-colonialists
And their myopic
followers to hit the
road
To proclaim once
again that they have
come
To pacify and
civilize the savages
of Africa 
Africa must know
that the Sword of
Damocles
Has never hung so
close to the African
head
As in this day and
age of African
impunity!

Knowing full well
that that is the
biggest lie
Who was it that
caused Africa to
adopt
Dictatorship or a
clone of
dictatorship
Shortly after
national
independence
In the second half
of the 20th century
Oh, that is history
now, forget that.

Was the Cold War a
creation of Africa?
Was communism the
brain-child of
Africa?
Were these disputed
borders created by
us?
Why then do we bear
the brunt of your
wrath?
Understand me my
brother or at least
try to
For this pot has
been simmering since
dawn
It is now well past
its time to retire
and rest
 
Why, they ask,
should Nairobi boast
a skyline
That has not even a
single colonial-day
edifice
Having been dwarfed
by modern
skyscrapers
Kenya cannot be
allowed to be a
beacon, no
They have done
enough damage to our
claim
That nothing good
can come out of
Africa!

Having painted all
Africans with one
brush
They now seek to
justify that
misconception
For they can claim
that South Africa is
special
Anything north of
the Limpopo is in
shambles
And must needs
European talent and
wisdom 
And control, control
and more control,
brother
And having recruited
sycophantic
followers
To sing and dance to
blind impunity songs

They, like the
greedy mouse, will
hear no cat

Is it now a crime to
change one’s mind?
When Kenyans said
yes to The Hague
Did they know that
the warring people
Would embrace peace,
bury the hatchet
And vote together in
peaceful elections?
Did they know that
sense would prevail
And banish anger and
retributive clamour?

What is in it for
the international
community
If internal and
regional peace are
anathema?
What is in it for
Kenya if we win the
battle
And lose the war-
the long term war we
crave
Is it not the wish
of Kenyans to live
in peace
Is it not the wish
of Kenyans to
embrace each
And every community
as brothers and
sisters
In the new
dispensation that we
have created?

Who is this then
that is urging us to
harden our hearts
Who is it that is
hell bent on
re-sowing seeds of
hatred?
Who is this that is
courting disaster in
the name of justice?
Who is this that
wants us to believe
that the community
The region, the
country, the nation
is now subordinate
To the individual
and if the country
burn in the process
So be it, so be it,
so be it, so be it.
You are lost, my
brother?
We lost so many; we
cannot afford to
rock the boat again!
It was a war that we
ineptly got
ourselves into, my
brother
It was Kenya’s
moment of shame. But
it was also Kenya’s
Moment of renewal,
rebirth. Such
moments are painful!

Give Peace A Chance
In Kenya, too, Ban
Ki Moon and 
All those wise men
and women who know
what it means!


Long poem by Lea Hela | Details |

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Long poem by Gary Bateman | Details |

Heinrich Heine Revisited

I can clearly sense your utter despair of Der Matratzengruft*
As you valiantly carried on your poetic works to the very end.
This did not change your literary accomplishments well-known,
And your courage through the misery and morphine* is undeniable.

Your lyrical poetry speaks volumes among all of German literature,
And it was most marvelously set to music by the likes of Schumann,
Schubert, Silcher, Mendelssohn, Brahms, and Strauss—to name a few. 
Their melodic tones as applied to your verses then, now live on forever!

Your role in and principal contributions to Romanticism fall in line
With the highest quality of your poetic language and its intention.
Your role in battling early nineteenth-century censorship in Prussia set 
You out front of many of your contemporaries who resisted much less.

It’s so tragic Herr Heine that your literary resistance so prominent in
Challenging Prussian censorship would make you ever so more noted,
And besmirched as the Nazis in 1933 burned your books and those of
Other German scholars as a reflection of their insane and twisted beliefs!

It’s with great irony indeed that the banning and burning of your works by 
The Nazis was parodied further by them as they ignobly quoted and used
Your famous line from “Almansor,”* when you likened that “where books 
Are burned, in the end people will be burned too.” We know what they did!

And so, with both honor and sadness I do understand the very cry of lament
From the confines of your mattress-grave about your final exquisite poetry,
Written through writhing pain and tears as you faced the end of your life.
It took great courage to face your end like this while staying true to your Muse!

Gary Bateman, Copyright © All Rights Reserved (December 15, 2014) 
(Narrative Quatrain poetic format)

AUTHOR’S NOTES:
*Der Matratzengruft from the German means “The Mattress-Grave.” 
(Heinrich Heine was confined to his bed, his “mattress-grave,” in 1848
with various illnesses until his eventual death eight years later in 1856.)

*Heine poetically referred to his pain predicament in the poem “Morphine,”
written near the end of his life, when he noted in two famous verses: 
“Gut is der Schlaf, der Tod ist besser—freilich / Das beste waere, nie
Geboren sein.” (In English: “Sleep is good, Death is better—of course, /
Best of all would be never to have been born.”)

*Almansor was a play written by Heine in 1821 that had a most famous 
line in German: “Das war ein Vorspiel nur, dort wo man Buecher verbrennt,
verbrennt man auch am Ende Menschen.” (Rendered in English: “That was
but a prelude; where they burn books, they will ultimately burn people as
well.”) The significance here is that as the Nazis burned the books of Heine
and other German artists on the Opernplatz in Berlin in 1933, they actually
celebrated this event by “engraving” Heine’s famous words from “Almansor”
in the ground at the Opernplatz site. The obvious depravity of this terrible
event reflects the innate cruelty, stupidity and evil of the Nazis as they 
burned the books and defiled the names and reputations of Heine and other 
famous German writers. Their actions were monstrous and shameful, and 
were indicative of mankind’s base instincts at their very worst. Moreover, 
despite converting to Protestantism from Judaism in 1825, Heine’s Jewish 
origins played a continuing presence in his life and were one of the major 
factors for his being scapegoated by the Nazis later in 1933. And besides,
the Nazis were always more interested in burning books, rather than 
reading them!  


Long poem by Marvin D. Schrebe | Details |

What Ever Happened to Fire and Brimstone Preaching

As I sit here on a Saturday night and prepare my heart for the Lord’s Day tomorrow I can’t help but reminisce about the days I spent in church as a child. The one thing that stands out about the difference between those days and now is the style and topic of preaching in churches. It seems that Hell is a topic that preachers neatly avoid in their list of sermons these days. Perhaps that is why sin is so rampant in our society! Hell is a very real place. So why do preachers avoid this subject like the plague?
	I have a general idea that it is avoided in part because of the new mindset in the church that God is nothing but love. While it is true that one of the characteristics of God is that God is pure love, God also has other characteristics. Among those characteristics is justice. God is Just and by His very nature He has to judge sin. Therefore it is incumbent on preachers to remind sinners of the price to be paid for denying Christ Jesus. 
	Another reason preachers may avoid the subject of hell today is because many preachers are career preachers. Therefore they do not want to disturb their congregations too badly!  The Apostle Paul warned us that these types were eventually coming along. He says “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths”, II Timothy 4: 3 New International Version.
	Hell is a very real place. It is imperative that the world wake up and realize that God wasn’t Joking when He gave us His word and demanded “…be holy because I am holy”, Leviticus 11: 44.

As I sit here on a Saturday night and prepare my heart for the Lord’s Day tomorrow I can’t help but reminisce about the days I spent in church as a child. The one thing that stands out about the difference between those days and now is the style and topic of preaching in churches. It seems that Hell is a topic that preachers neatly avoid in their list of sermons these days. Perhaps that is why sin is so rampant in our society! Hell is a very real place. So why do preachers avoid this subject like the plague?
	I have a general idea that it is avoided in part because of the new mindset in the church that God is nothing but love. While it is true that one of the characteristics of God is that God is pure love, God also has other characteristics. Among those characteristics is justice. God is Just and by His very nature He has to judge sin. Therefore it is incumbent on preachers to remind sinners of the price to be paid for denying Christ Jesus. 
	Another reason preachers may avoid the subject of hell today is because many preachers are career preachers. Therefore they do not want to disturb their congregations too badly!  The Apostle Paul warned us that these types were eventually coming along. He says “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths”, II Timothy 4: 3 New International Version.
	Hell is a very real place. It is imperative that the world wake up and realize that God wasn’t Joking when He gave us His word and demanded “…be holy because I am holy”, Leviticus 11: 44.


Long poem by Gary Bateman | Details |

King Vlad Redux - Second Cold War

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin’s grimy fingerprints on current history
are for him nothing to gloat about—au contraire I say emphatically:
His actions bespeak one who’s not an architect for peace—not at all,
rather a quite deceitful dictator and a harbinger of a Second Cold War.

King Vlad’s old Soviet-style actions are clear for all who care to see,
and make no mistake about it—he’s without remorse and a soul to boot.
The real picture he portrays in world politics is of a “Master of Malarkey,”
and an “International Bamboozler Supreme,” with not one iota of conscience.

King Vlad’s risked a Second Cold War with his violation of international
law concerning the blatant, illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula.
With his brand of new style Soviet adventurism on the march, the Old 
Soviet Bear has been resurrected anew—and it’s hot on the prowl again!

King Vlad’s new found spirit of nationalism for Russia is not at all progressive
as evidenced by his ongoing war on certain ethnic minorities—Jews, Tartars, 
Armenians, Gypsies—to include anyone who chooses to resist and protest
against his dark new age fanaticism rebranded anew in the twenty-first century.

King Vlad’s lineage to and proclivity for the old Soviet Union and its dubious
cast of some past gangster luminaries: Lenin, Stalin, Beria, Molotov, Brezhnev 
and Andropov—to name a few, is quite telling since it gives us a deeper view 
of the real nature of his psyche and the tragedy he brings now to the world stage.

And lest we forget—the ghosts and innocent souls of the murdered passengers from
flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine cry out, as do their families, for justice against this 
vile international thuggery and hooliganism perpetrated by King Vlad in support
of certain proxy groups that do his evil biddings soaked in lies, treachery, and deceit.

King Vlad takes distinct pleasure in fulfilling the fanciful role today of the old Soviet
Bolshoi Nachalnik (Big Boss), whose historical antecedents from former Soviet Big
Bosses of past fame, does not augur well for the future of democracy in New Russia,
and certainly does not mesh with the precepts of good governance and human rights.

King Vlad’s treachery and deception are open for all to see, if they choose to do so,
and as he executes his plan of disrupting the balance of the current century world
order, we all should be forewarned of the clouds of tyranny and aggression that
could be unleashed at his behest on the European continent and the world today.

King Vlad, despite all of the polite remonstrations and economic sanctions imposed 
by Western leaders and diplomats, understands really only one word rendered so 
demonstratively in the German language: die Macht (or Power), which lurks ever so 
behind his public mask as part of his psychological makeup as a former KGB officer.

King Vlad’s actions and deeds reflect his real virtues of lying, denying, accusing,
rejecting, criticizing—all poison arrows in his quiver as a master of prevarication.
His real mask is that of a monster who had the very best Soviet teachers and now
wishes to tilt the axis of his New Russia on a collision course with the Free World.

And so Generalissimo Stalin . . . how do you like your nasty little boy now???

Gary Bateman, Copyright © All Rights Reserved, Schoeningen, Germany 
(November 30, 2014) (Unrhymed Quatrain poetic format)


Long Poems