14 March 2022

Springtime for Vladimir

An Old Man's Winter Night

All out of doors looked darkly in at him
Through the thin frost, almost in separate stars,
That gathers on the pane in empty rooms.
What kept his eyes from giving back the gaze
Was the lamp tilted near them in his hand.

What kept him from remembering what it was
That brought him to that creaking room was age.
He stood with barrels round him—at a loss.
And having scared the cellar under him
In clomping there, he scared it once again
In clomping off;—and scared the outer night,
Which has its sounds, familiar, like the roar
Of trees and crack of branches, common things,
But nothing so like beating on a box.

It is almost spring. The crisp whites of snowdrops are edged with ageing ochre, while the yellows of daffodils are reaching their finest shimmering sheens. Jackdaws pirouette in pairs, while ducks waddle in couples, with just a few solitary blades eyeing up the opportunities.

It is almost spring. A short while ago three storms in a row blasted the heaths and muddied the waters, but now softer winds scatter the first blossoms and shake the marram grasses by the shore.

It is almost spring.  But winter is still here.  The darkness has lifted, as the earth tilts our northern end towards the sun, but metaphorical winter is deep. Millions now achingly strive to find shelter and some peace. The fearsome breath of deranged might threatens to rend the tissues of all our lives.  

A light he was to no one but himself
Where now he sat, concerned with he knew what,
A quiet light, and then not even that.

Robert Frost

Winter is so hard, especially when the confection of Christmas cheer passes by the lonely, the sick, the carers for the sick. Two years now we have spent Christmas alone with the cat, none of us speaking, nothing to communicate.  Pandemic....  dementia.... cat got your tongue?

But this is nothing. There are no words to adequately describe the inhumanity of Putin's invasion of Ukraine. Nothing can compare with the violent destruction of civilian homes, the drive to sanctuary of the fearful.  

Yes, we should have seen it coming. Yes, the wars in Syria and Yemen have been similarly brutal and unintelligible, and we have done nothing.  Yes, we are to blame....

But nothing can excuse the vicious lack of care exhibited by our government towards those exhausted, frightened souls who made it as far as Calais, only to be sent on wild goose chases across France to complete endless fragile forms online and then be told to wait.

And all the while a false Prime Minister courts oligarchic lords with Italian castles and others who have funded his rise to power.

Amanda would not approve.....

Recent days have been beautifully springlike here in Norfolk. Only the deafening roar of the Lockheed-Martin F22 Raptors exercising at lower than usual altitudes overhead disturb our blossoming spring. According to my research,  this single-seat, twin-engine fighter features a combination of capabilities that are nothing less than revolutionary. It can soar 10 miles high and fly at supersonic speeds for extended periods of time thanks to an unprecedented capability known as “supercruise,” which propels the jet to speeds greater than Mach 1.5 without the use of afterburners.

It can accelerate quickly and execute razor-sharp turns—even at high speeds. It carries weapons primarily for striking airborne targets, but the Raptor pilot can also attack ground targets from standoff ranges.  And it is equipped with stealth technology that enables it to operate virtually undetected by radar.

Assigned to seven U.S. Air Force bases, the F-22 fleet is ready to be rapidly deployed anywhere in the world it is needed.

But they are just burning oil over our skies just now.....

Yes, it's Springtime for Putin, and Chequers for Johnson, and life goes on as it will, until the last cockroach finds no mate.....

I am glad it is spring here. The light brings much relief and the paths are drier, the air is milder. But what has become of us despite these lovely days?  I despair of our government - so what's new? But after Salisbury and after Alexander Litvinenko, what hope is there that absolute power does not corrupt?  The world has seen despots and tyrants and still sees them.....  

What hope is there for Alexei Anatolievich Navalny? Poisoned on August 20th 2020, imprisoned in Russia in February 2021, and tried again on 24th February 2022, when he condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine and asked the court to include his statement to the trial's protocol.  He said that it would lead to a huge number of victims, destroyed futures, and the continuation of this line of impoverishment of the citizens of Russia. He called the war a distraction to the population to, divert their attention from problems that exist inside the country.....

Springtime for Putin and the KGB
The Soviet Union is happy and gay
We're marching to a faster pace
Look out! Here comes the master race 

I am glad that Amanda understands nothing of this. I understand little enough, and, with Robert Frost's Old Man in mind, I find myself going downstairs again wondering what I have forgotten.  

But when will we learn?

Darkness at the break of noon
Shadows even the silver spoon
The handmade blade, the child’s balloon
Eclipses both the sun and moon
To understand you know too soon
There is no sense in trying

Pointed threats, they bluff with scorn
Suicide remarks are torn
From the fool’s gold mouthpiece the hollow horn
Plays wasted words, proves to warn
That he not busy being born is busy dying

Although the masters make the rules
For the wise men and the fools
I got nothing, Ma, to live up to

It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)

Bob Dylan

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