Did you know Mohammad Ali wrote a poem for Johnny Cash which Cash later recorded as a song called“What Is Truth?”
I always liked how Johnny Cash always wore black on stage. He was a very single-minded man. Cash recounts the story in his autobiography. He met Ali on a flight when Ali crashed first class to see who had taken up all the seats forcing him to fly economy. It turned out to be JC and his entourage. Ali then sent him this poem which Johnny kept locked in a vault until the right opportunity arose to record it.
Here are the words of the poem Ali, another single-minded man, wrote to Cash. Mohammad Ali, boxer and poet!!!
The old man turned off the radio Said, “Where did all of the old songs go Kids sure play funny music these days They play it in the strangest ways” Said, “it looks to me like they’ve all gone wild It was peaceful back when I was a child” Well, man, could it be that the girls and boys Are trying to be heard above your noise? And the lonely voice of youth cries “What is truth?”
A little boy of three sittin’ on the floor Looks up and says, “Daddy, what is war?” “son, that’s when people fight and die” The little boy of three says “Daddy, why?” A young man of seventeen in Sunday school Being taught the golden rule And by the time another year has gone around It may be his turn to lay his life down Can you blame the voice of youth for asking “What is truth?”
A young man sittin’ on the witness stand The man with the book says “Raise your hand” “Repeat after me, I solemnly swear” The man looked down at his long hair And although the young man solemnly swore Nobody seems to hear anymore And it didn’t really matter if the truth was there It was the cut of his clothes and the length of his hair And the lonely voice of youth cries “What is truth?”
The young girl dancing to the latest beat Has found new ways to move her feet The young man speaking in the city square Is trying to tell somebody that he cares Yeah, the ones that you’re calling wild Are going to be the leaders in a little while This old world’s wakin’ to a new born day And I solemnly swear that it’ll be their way You better help the voice of youth find “What is truth”
As we prepare for the funeral of Harry Patch, the last British soldier to fight in the First World War, new Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy has marked the occasion with a sombre yet supremely uplifting poem.
Poetry and war have long gone side by side in English literature.
Some of our greatest poets were also soldiers, including of course Wilfred Owen. Drawing inspiration from this link, Last Post recalls lines from his most famous First World War poem Dulce et Decorum est, before moving into more metaphorical territory.
In an exclusive interview, Carol Ann said: “These poets who were also soldiers did not glorify war but responded to it.
“In the 21st century, whether we are women or men, soldiers or non-soldiers, we should all contribute a voice to the tragedy that is war.” She added: “I felt I should also honour that great tradition of poets who were also soldiers. I had been thinking about Afghanistan and trying to enthuse new war poetry among contemporary poets.”
At its core, Last Post imagines what would have happened to those millions of soldiers if time was reversed. If they hadn’t been scythed down but got up, returned to the trenches, to the cafes of rural France and ultimately to homes and loved ones. In essence Carol Ann is saying that this is what would have happened if poets had been in charge not war-mongering empire-builders.
She said: “I imagined the dead of the First World War rewound.
“So, had they not been slaughtered, had a young man not been killed by shrapnel, my poem brings him back to life.
“It ends with the image of a poet putting away his notebook and smiling. In a way it’s an attempt at healing and being at one with the world.
“The poem is a tribute and blessing, even an apology, on behalf of poetry and all poets.”
Her message – as relevant to today as yesterday – is that no one should forget Harry Patch’s contribution or Wilfred Owen’s.
And in the years and decades to come, Carol Ann’s voice will also be heard with a swift relevance.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If poetry could tell it backwards, true, begin
that moment shrapnel scythed you to the stinking mud…
but you get up, amazed, watch bled bad blood
run upwards from the slime into its wounds;
see lines and lines of British boys rewind
back to their trenches, kiss the photographs from home –
mothers, sweethearts, sisters, younger brothers
not entering the story now to die and die and die.
Dulce – No – Decorum – No – Pro patria mori.
You walk away.
You walk away; drop your gun (fixed bayonet)
like all your mates do too –
Harry, Tommy, Wilfred, Edward, Bert –
and light a cigarette.
There”s coffee in the square,
warm French bread
and all those thousands dead
are shaking dried mud from their hair
and queueing up for home. Freshly alive,
a lad plays Tipperary to the crowd, released
from History; the glistening, healthy horses fit for heroes, kings.
You lean against a wall,
your several million lives still possible
and crammed with love, work, children, talent, English beer, good food.
You see the poet tuck away his pocket-book and smile.
January 1st - New Year
January 25th - Robert Burns ( burns night )
February 14th - Valentines day
March 16th - 19th - St Patricks day
March 18th - Mothers day
April 8th - Easter Sunday
April 23rd - St Georges da
June 17th - Fathers day
September 23rd - Harvest Festival
October 4th - National poetry day
October 5th-8th - Goose Fair
October 31st - Halloween
November 5th - Bonfire night
November 11th - Remembrance day
December 25th - Christmas
December 31st - Hogmanay
Please send any poetry or pictures
To feature in any of these themes
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Gillian Sims gave free books to members of her community on Tuesday 23rd October. 2012
The Manners collection was published in 2009.
This book was at the heart of the community on Tuesday where it was first launched at the Chase library three years ago.
Many children will have the pleasure of reading the light-hearted poetry about manners and will engage with the fun characters while they tell their tales.
Photos and books were exchanged in the community,and all were delighted to receive the books.