As we blossom upon our branches, in proud colours of the morrow, we look downwards to the mud, where those fallen fertilise the roots of our tree.
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Between one’s home walls, in armchair beside an open fire, my three-piece suit remains fully buttoned. A sharp shade of toffee, even the tailor couldn’t scrub the brown from my uniform. Dressed as a banker, but I can no longer count in money.
Soldiers lay across the living room floor, my son pushing his little canon over them. My daughter perches on my lap. Unlike others who have occupied the same position, she sits perfectly upright. But her eyes don’t pierce as deeply. Not like those of a man coughing out his life. Staring into the sympathies of his killer, yet cradling himself in my arms like he would his mother. Just a boy. Holding me tighter than my children ever will.
An so, as my dear girl reads of it in a storybook, and asks her daddy what he did in the Great War, I look away. For whilst I see that my lap is full, all I can feel is the one I made empty.
Sea and suncream sewn into the scent,
The scent of the towels that the gone-by has wet.
And though the towels have now dried the fabric to rigid,
The salt in the cotton will never be ridded.
Those granules of time which make your mind smile,
To look back at those days just for a while,
No matter what upon the morrow will arise,
It could never thieve what those yesterdays comprise.
A family on a beach; that’s a bad day’s demise.
She breathed the room alight,
Potential burning bright.
Her steaming mind of might
Saw a future taking flight.
Peers of Potential’s past
Watched cadets raise the mast.
And so a journey they thought would last
Showed no signal of ‘Avast’.
Victory was her taking,
O’ the history she’d be making.
But cruel Fate had been faking,
And soon Potential’s heart was breaking.
She went as far as Fate allowed her.
Flames extinguished blessed power.
And so Fate and The Man did cower
As Potential died up in the tower.
This poem is a tribute to Firdaws Kedir, the 12-year-old who was awarded the winning ‘Debate Mate’ prize by Bill Gates, before dying in Grenfell Tower months later.
Thanks to the – as of today – sadly departed Peter Sallis, what could have been portrayed as an obnoxious character – someone who gets his dog to do everything for him, before sussing that he did it all himself – was instead played with a charming and welcoming sense of naivety. Through his career-defining vocal performance, all that Wallace did never felt mean or unfriendly; just innocent and oblivious. It was the whimsical and gentle politeness of his voice that made many see the character to represent the best kind of British.
Sitcom may possibly be my favourite medium, but I’m not going to pretend I’ve ever watched Last of the Summer Wine. For me, Peter Sallis was Wallace – a character that has been part of my life since the first few years of it. I may not have watched when I was a baby, but I could hear and, by the time I was a toddler, Wallace’s voice already brought a warming sense of familiarity. Even in the pair’s feature outing – The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005) – performances from Ralph Fiennes and Helena Bonham-Carter were overshadowed by the then already 85-year-old Sallis.
In the early 80s, when student animator Nick Park first cast and paid Sallis £50 for A Grand Day Out (not finished until 1989), he unwittingly paired a cultural icon.
Hilarious to adults and friendly to children, I would like to thank the man whose voice brought a smile to all.
“Goodbye, Chuck.” Peter Sallis: 1921-2017.
People are our lives.
Lives have many parts.
You never embrace one’s value
Until one part has gone.
I thought that I was going to read that Terry Jones had passed away. The actual news was close-to-worse. What a horrible condition to suffer from for the remainder of your life.
Personally, I still consider him the finest comedy drag actor EVER. No one can match his immortal high-pitch screeching, nor his ‘confused buffoon’ persona. It’s sad to hear of his unique voice being silenced this way. He’s not the Messiah, but he was one fine comic actor. And writer and director, I may add.
LINK: Monty Python’s Terry Jones diagnosed with dementia – BBC NEWS
Chills me that 100 years ago yesterday young lads as old and even younger than myself were mowed down by the thousands and never got to complete a full human life. With the tragedy and everlasting sadness that surrounds the loss of one young adult’s untimely passing today, imagine that several thousand times over and all on one day, with many more dying the same way every day for four years. Never fails to haunt me and yesterday I felt a great sense of guilt over having the life they could never have, particularly as the closeness to peace that I live in may have never been achieved without their sacrifice.
This year has seen too much loss now. I am fully aware of the scale of the Orlando tragedy and it both saddens and angers me. But the death of Anton Yelchin is still something that the world can be sad about. Yet another young talent who was given the career of a lifetime that most will never get, only to be cruelly pulled away from it. The year of Trek’s 50th anniversary will now be remembered with the shadow of losing one of its greatest rising stars.