Monday, 17 December 2012

The Monday after the second Wednesday in December

Independence Hall seen from the National Constitution Centre, Philadelphia

We didn't vote for him.

We couldn't; we weren't in the country on election day.  We couldn't apply for an absentee ballot either.  We hadn't registered to vote.

We couldn't you see, we aren't citizens.  We aren't even residents, legal or otherwise.  We live in Scotland.

We would have voted for him if we could.

We don't usually watch the TV news in the morning.  If the TV is on it's for our son to watch cartoons while he waits for the school bus.

So why, that morning in November, were we sitting on the sofa watching the news, our breakfast bowls perched unsteadily on our knees as we punched the air and chanted "four more years, four more years"?  Is it just because the world sleeps safer when there is a Democrat in the oval office?

We chatted about it later over dinner. Her feelings on the matter were much the same as mine.  It was more than sleeping safer in our beds.  More than "The West Wing" making US politics seem so much more interesting than UK politics.  More than wanting the (moderate) left to triumph everywhere. 

It was that, when a black man whose middle name is "Hussein" and who has come out in favour of gay marriage can get re-elected President of the United States of America, it gives us all, wherever we are and whatever our dreams - to re-state the man himself - the audacity to hope.

                         Convention approves late vote -
                         Electoral College

Friday, 14 December 2012

Countdown to The Holidays II

No poetry from me again today - too busy preparing for the holidays (I will try harder over the next few weeks I promise) - but I do want to take a moment to say thank you to the Festival Theatre for putting on a free autism-friendly performance of The Snowman  today, continuing their amazing support, not only for Pilrig Park School, but for all of the Special Schools in the area.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Countdown to The Holidays

I know I'm on the countdown to the holidays because this afternoon I went to the Usher Hall with my wife and the younger of our two sons for the holiday Children's Classic Concert, this year entitled: "It's Snowtime".  And what a fabulous concert it was too; Orchestra and Chorus, Ballet, and audience participation - a real treat for the kids (and the big kids).

No poetry today, but I do want say thank you to the Usher Hall for once again giving away free tickets to the Special Schools in Edinburgh, so encouraging even more parents and carers to give children an opportunity to be exposed to orchestral music.

The RSNO were wonderful as usual, and hats off too to conductor Christian Kluxen, Owen and Olly, the RSNO Junior Chorus, and the Manor School of Ballet, but real kudos goes to the skating (I kid you not) snare drummer during the performance of Boléro.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Coffee and Cupcakes in Addis Ababa

From Ethiopian highlands,
Via Ottoman Empire trade,
To Venice and so to England's
Coffee-houses where deals were made.

On to Boston in a slave-ship,
Then over time, across the land.
Seventies Seattle made it hip
And created a global brand.

Today west meets east in China,
Where, now facing wage inflation,
Their thoughts turn west, to Africa,
To outsource negotiation.

Hearing of inward investment
And an African middle-class,

Should be, by any assessment,
Good news when compared to the past.

But surely I can't be alone

In feeling a certain unease,
When I hear "From Our Own

Correspondent”, that downtown, amidst poverty and sleaze,
A red velvet cupcake's the thing to enjoy along with your morning brew,
At least that is, if you can afford the cafés of the privileged few.