Towards Better Democracy

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Palinurus’ Insomnia (Palinuro insomne; Silvina Ocampo, Argentinian)

“You will lie naked, Palinurus, on the sands of an unknown seashore”

The waves, wings,  and weeds of the sea,
The snails broken and sonorous,
The salt and the iodine, the tormenting storms,
The uncertain dolphins and the chorus.

Sirens wearying of singing,
will not supplant the smooth soil
where you wandered I want to roam
keep away the ships of the deep.

Silvina Ocampo

Worked from the Spanish Palinuro insomne 1972
Malcolm D B Munro
Tuesday 19 April, 2016

Copyright of the original is retained by the Copyright owner. The Copyright of this Translation is vested with the Author. The original, from which this translation is made, is used under the provisions of Section 107 of the US Copyright Act 1976, which allows for fair use of the original for translation purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship and research.

Filed under: poetry


My mother gave me many gifts
And not just the chromosomes
But gifts as I grew up around her

My name, yes, let’s start with the name
I am named for Sir Malcolm Sergeant
The great conductor of the Liverpool Philharmonic

The name is Scottish which matches the country
I was brought up in yet he was English as am I
Since I too was born in England just outside Liverpool

Of these gifts, perhaps music is the most important
To me though I have never realized until now just how much
I have always known that music plays a large part in my life

But I have begun to recognize recently how much it is core
To my being. I discover this and am not sure as I write
What the impact of this realization will have

To have music directly in one’s life one has to have
Training in it at an early age. I did not have that
Only a few piano lessons which were suspended

I suspect that this was because my mother could not afford
Them. But it does say that she recognized how important
To me music is even then. How I showed this interest

I don’t know. What form it took I don’t recall
I  must have played the piano but I don’t know
We had a piano at Rothsay Terrace

Perhaps I played it there or it was bought
For my use, my giving evidence of an
Interest in the piano. Don’t remember

But, yes I do. I remember adults listening
And applauding what they heard
And my father was jealous. Unbelievable

Jealous of his son! The piano was wood
Framed which made it a cheap buy
My brother somehow got hold of it later

My father too gave me gifts
A pragmatic view of life alongside
The dreaming side of life from my mother

From my father I got writing which
I do well and is natural to me
Where does it fit alongside music?

It does not. The writing is parallel
To music and the one is not exclusive
To the other, the one reasonably developed

The other not. These combination of genes
Make for a highly accomplished person
Surely that is true

But, if one does not develop one’s
Skills and abilities then what?
The oppositions of the upbringing

Denied full development of either of them
My mother the pleasure seeker
My father the denier of pleasure

That life is sweat and difficult
That is not true as I now find out
That life follows from the heart

Truth, and all things flow.

Malcolm D B Munro
Sunday 15 December, 2016

Filed under: poetry


Making of the mind, the body,
Each a part of the whole.
Moulding the interior seamless
From the exterior pliable,
Boundaries distinct yet dynamic.

To take the metaphysical and the metonymic
Create from each a poetry of being.
Of the consciousness a dialectic
With the inner voice.
Harvest the daytime dreams
And make them real.
The mental life, the corporeal
Integrated complete.
The damage historical
Brought to the now,
Nurture present health
To a living sentience.
The fractured view distorted
Burnished clear, transparent
The clarity of vision.
The vaulted spiritual grown from the fertile soil.
The seed, the root, the branch.
A flourishing mighty oak.
This living cell a multiplicity,
A spider’s web to the matrix
That is this life, pulsing within,
Made larger, bound only by
Our planet birth, Mother Gaia.

Malcolm D B Munro
Wednesday 10 February, 2016

Filed under: poetry

This Little Piggie

This little piggie has no toes
Why that is nobody knows
Its tail is straight and its nose is curly
Its legs are short, and it does not snort
But bleats like a sheep in its sleep.

Malcolm D B Munro
Thursday 15 October, 2015


Filed under: poetry

No Preparation Required

This is not to say that the Western Philosophers of Old,
Offer a better way than their counterparts in the East
But to recognize their difference. Our Ancients
Concerned themselves with this world,
With the essences of what we see around us
In the here and now. With the Good Life
And how best to lead it, difficult though we find it
Our concentration is on the present,
From which there is no escape.
We do not need to prepare for that other world,
For, if we live the life those Ancient Greeks offered us,
We live at peace with ourselves, contented with our lot
When the Next World beckons, we are ready
No preparation is required

Malcolm D B Munro
Monday 19 October, 2016

Filed under: poetry

The Witch in the Cauldron

The witch in the cauldron
Boiling away
She forgot to put in the carrots
It isn’t her day.

She has to get the potion right
To make her spell
Animal, vegetable, mineral
Or it won’t work too well.

The children stand round laughing
As is their way
They’re crossing their fingers hoping
That in the pot she’ll stay.

For when she comes at night
Bad stories to tell
To frighten them at her sight
They think they’re in hell.

If in the pot she doesn’t stay
They’ll pull her out and say she fell
Then they’ll push her down the hill
That’ll be the end of her tumbling down the dell.

Malcolm D B Munro
Tuesday 19, 2016

Filed under: poetry

Gripping You, Gentle Reader, by the Scruff of the Neck

Dear gentle reader
I want to take a metaphorical sledgehammer to your skull
A rock drill to your heart
I want to reach inside you and twist your gut
For you to have the anguish and pain or deep joy and feeling of contentment
That emanates from these pages.

From these poems.
I want to use elevated, exaggerated language that reaches through your day-dulled mind And betrayed, bitter, brittle’d hardened heart
For you to be removed momentarily from you leaden daily concerns
To have you identify closely, intimately, with what you read
Here within these little works

For these are not just words.
These are the weapons of life
For these, these words to invoke
To deeply, brutally evoke
How you feel, touch deeply
Your sense of life.

Of the sufferings you have had
To enable you to feel touched by the sufferings of others
And to not be inured to them, not be indifferent to them
To not ignore around you what you see and what you hear.

But also to allow me touch in you, ignite in your soul
Your being, the unadulterated joy, of exhalation
That we can at times feel.

Those deep, deep feelings that make life worth while
That lift us from the sorrows and sufferings and enblaze in us
Just how wonderful life at moments can be.

But life is both of these. The joys and the sorrows
As Greeks wrote so long ago
That wondrous set of tribes who taught us to be what we are
Who humanized us.

Who gave us the power of thinking, who allowed us to put myth and fear
By and large, aside
To have us be adventurous upon this globe, to sail fearlessly the high seas
Without a map
To be brave and thwart the fear that otherwise paralyses us
Yes, these Greeks also showed us both comedy and tragedy
That both are entwined upon the same vine
Of the human experience.

And if you have not suffered, and do not have the experience that allows you to
Fully empathize with your fellow man,
Not that I wish that upon you, this suffering,
But, inevitably you suffer, will suffer, until the end of your days
For a short time, a very short time to lift you from that grief.

But others have suffered far more greatly than have you, dear reader
I say in sincerity, I who have the audacity of it to write.

I want to show you, for you to understand
That suffering is not just dulled word
But a word that expresses continued pain.
Not the pain of a headache or an aching tooth.

But of pain traumatic 
No exaggeration is possible which seeks to express the depth of suffering
Of which we are capable.
Even my brutal mallet hammering upon your poor head
Not dynamite of words can call into being within you
That depth.

Should you, oh reader, have suffered in such depths, you do not need me,
A paltry poor poet
To call it to mind.

And those of you who have not
I bless you and wish you happy life.

But I ask of you, I make my plea:
Do not turn away from those who suffer in the way in which I speak
Try, try, try to identify with the depth of suffering that is all to often
Within human reach.

In doing so, each of you, every one of you, will lead
A richer, fuller life.
I wish for you that.
I do so with all my heart
With which I endeavour to bring to every word I write.

Malcolm D B Munro
Wednesday 10 February, 2016

Filed under: poetry

Those Whom Hunters Stalk

Elephants never have cancer
And never have bad teeth
But do they really not forget?

Malcolm D B Munro
Sunday 18 October, 2015

Filed under: poetry

A Thousand Nights

A thousand nights, open sesame
At the gates of the Garden of Gethsemane
At the cross, at the crescent
Fall on knees, all repent.

Prostate, sandals off, bow down
From the alter, lift the crown
Bible, Koran, the Torah
In the eyes of all, yet One.

Malcolm D B Munro
Thursday 5 November, 2015


Filed under: poetry

You Can’t Get It Right Every time

I’ve written a little poem
But the poem doesn’t rhyme
Don’t be disappointed
You can’t get it right every time.

Malcolm D B Munro
Thursday 19 November, 2015

Filed under: poetry

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