Do not go gentle into that black hole – with apologies to Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that black hole,
Europe should burn and rave at the close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of its soul.

Though the wise at the end see no firm goal,
Because their words have had no impact, they
Do not go gentle into that black hole.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how droll
Their frail words appeared as they campaigned to stay,
Rage, rage against the dying of its soul.

Wild men who were lured by promises before the poll,
And learn, too late; they grieve it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that black hole.

Grave men, near death, with vestigial eyes like a mole
Numb minds could sense despair and fears allay,
Rage, rage against the dying of its soul.

And you, my Europe, who have ceased to be whole,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that black hole.
Rage, rage against the dying of your soul.

© Helen Kalliope
December 2016

I Wandered Through the Ethereal Cloud – with apologies to William Wordsworth

I wandered through the ethereal cloud
Reading the news amid shouts and rants,
When, suddenly, I observed a crowd,
A host of mainland immigrants;
On farms, in cafés, shops and schools,
Working, and all within the rules.

Continuous as the scene that moves
And beckons on the office screen,
They were seen in never-ending droves
Along the streets and on fields green:
Many thousands saw I at a glance,
From Poland, Rumania, Greece and France.

Their colleagues welcomed them and they
Were keen to prove their worth with glee:
A migrant would have loved to stay,
In such a happy company:
I viewed—and viewed—but little thought
Of the battle which would soon be fought.

For oft, when on my chair I sit
And browse the web for news and views,
They reappear and test my wit,
Giving me opportunity to muse;
And then my heart with sadness wants,
To ache for the fate of immigrants.

© Helen Kalliope
January 2017

Westminster Bridge, 17 January, 2017 – with apologies to William Wordsworth

Earth has not anything to show more glum:
Dull would they be of soul who could ignore
A sight so woeful in its quest to score:
This City now will, like a lamb, succumb
To the madness of the ignorant; narrow and loud,
Boats, towers, domes, theatres and temples lie
Open unto the sprawl, and to the sky;
All dull and matt in the carbonic cloud.
Never did pea-soup more earnestly steep
In his first dullness, basin, mount, or field;
Ne’er saw I, never felt, despair so deep!
The river flows, with all to be revealed:
Dear God! the wakeful people seem asleep;
As much that we once had we are to yield!

© Helen Kalliope
January 2017


I vow to you, my islands – with apologies to Cecil Spring-Rice

I vow to you, my islands, all earthly things above,
Divided and fragmented, the service of my love;
The love that causes hatred, and love for bigotry,
The love that makes partitions, the love for tyranny;
The love that never questions, the love that blindly goes
Headlong into disaster, undaunted by all woes.

There could be another country, the one I live in now,
An open and outreaching one, a worthwhile one to know;
We may not think she’s perfect, she may have many flaws;
Her strength lies in her tolerance, reflected in her laws;
But stealthily and silently, her shining stars will dim,
And her ways will be of narrowness, as all her paths grow grim.



© Helen Kalliope

January 2017

To the Autumn of our EU Membership – with apologies to John Keats

Season of gloom and growing helplessness,
Close bosom-friend of the governing mob;
Plotting with them how to plan our egress
From fruitful union that was doing its job;
To bend with stealth the facts which stood, thereby
Filling our brains with half-truths to the core;
To swell the hype, and fill the paper-shelves
With brazen headlines; to exert yet more,
And still more influence on passers-by,
To make them think that Europe’s end was nigh,
That leaving would bring fruit for their good selves.

Who hath not seen despair amid thy folk?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee hopeless, waiting to go up in smoke,
Thy peace endangered by the roaring wind;
Or on a half-baked article of news,
Steep’d in the fume of ciggies, while thy claws
Grip the next rags and all their banners bright
Often displaying their obnoxious views;
Thy laden spirit broken with good cause;
Due to the gutter press, with hungry jaws,
Thou watchest the last ebbings of the light.

Where are the signs of spring? Ay, Where are they?
Think not of them, they’ve all but disappeared,—
While dark and fog envelop the brief day,
And touch the ground, exactly as we feared;
Then, in a wailful choir, progressives mourn
Together with our continental peers
The sinking of our dream as freedom dies;
But from the brink, a phoenix could be born;
And Ludwig* could still echo in our ears
As peace and unity, amid loud cheers,
Prevail for ever, here and in the skies.

*Beethoven’s Ode to Joy – Anthem of the European Union

© Helen Kalliope
January 2017

I know a bank – with apologies to William Shakespeare

I know a bank where the monies flop,
Where savings and the budding interest drop,
Quite over-publicised with luring words,
With sweet promises to attract the herds:
There goes Theresa with plans to create
Chaos in these stocks by a given date;
And there the snake winds in her maskèd skin,
With words so sweet to wrap the suckers in:
And with the facts of this I’ll curse her eyes,
And make her scream with bold, embittered cries.
Take what you will of it, and seek demise:
A headstrong British senate turns its eyes
Despite the woeful cries; it will persist
In going headlong forward to the mist.
Maybe, Prime Minister, you’ll know the mood
By the yellow-starred banners folks display.
Go forward with some care, that they may state
Their discontent at moves to nurture hate
And look you in the face as turmoil looms.


© Helen Kalliope

March 2017

Post-isolation Children’s Song – with apologies to Rudyard Kipling

Land of our birth, we pledge to thee
our hate and ire in the years to be,
when we are old and take our place
as hardened bigots of our race.

Father above, who viewest all,
ignore thy creatures when they fall,
as we destroy from age to age
their strong and diverse heritage.

Teach us to spread the word in youth,
with propagation of untruth,
that, in our time, our wrath may give
untruths whereby our nations live.

Teach us to rule with stealth alway,
controlling masses night and day,
that we shall see, if need arise,
what comes through lack of compromise.

Teach us to seek in all our deeds,
the tabloid press as Judge of needs,
that we, through them, may be avowed
to instill fear in the crowd.

Teach us the strength so that we seek,
through deed and thought, to hurt the weak,
that, under thee, we may regress
and augment hatred and distress.

Teach us delight in bigotry,
and in homogeneity,
with many acts of evil done,
against all aliens ’neath the sun.

Land of our birth, we’ve got thee back;
we have our country now on track;
O Motherland, we pledge to thee
Blinkers and walls through the years to be.


© Helen Kalliope

September 2016