7th October – On This Day In History

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1931 Desmond Tutu (South African Archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize winner)




1849 Edgar Allan Poe (poet)



On This Day:

1919 KLM, the worlds oldest still operating airline, is established



Have a good Sunday, 7th October


2nd October – On This Day In History

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1869 Mahatma Ghandi (Indian pacifist and activist for peace, independence and equality) 




2017 Tom Petty (singer – Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers)



On This Day:

2002 The Beltway Sniper attacks begin and continue for three weeks



Have a good Tuesday, 2nd October


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Francisco de Goya y Lucientes
with candles on the brim of his hat
straddles the rim of a dark century dark horses
my beloved
mouth-blind and the scream of terror
a dead stone in the head the head
of a dog squinting over earth’s hump

and inscribes his black paintings
on plaster of house walls the house
of the deaf masks under a rotten
rolling moon
my beloved

black as blood
black as bread
black as murder
black as chaos
black as execution
white like the fire flashing from the muzzle
of the gun
the bull smothers in his own blood
life is quicklime muffling the bones

from dark heaven arises a carnival
of cripples condemned ones a flare
of ghosts his hand remembers
does the hand still remember
the fawning of idiot king and retarded princesses
the bayonet in the freedom fighter’s gut
the crowning of the sardine remember
still the slender outline
the pale flesh and the dark fleece
of Maria del Pilar Teresa Cayetana
de Silva Alvarez de Toledo
la Duquesa de Alba
my beloved

his maja in red and black and gold
dark horses in the night the night
a populacho in procession
black like insomnia
our god is a mule
a muted blinding cry
a wall of darker fire

it is said poetry completes
what history leaves out
black like death
my beloved
my beloved

I’m so glad we live in peaceful times


– Breyten Breytenbach


Today I Went Down

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today I went down on your body
while windows were thick white eyes
and hearkened the clogged cavities
in the small darkroom of your chest,
hedging an eternity over the aching voice
from your gorgeous throat,
agony and exaltation flow in one divide
if I may make so bold,
your thighs are a loveword your hair
night’s glittering lining of secret disport:
I aimed for the innermost moon
and rent, moved by the syntax and the slow
of sadness and of joy, so
I love you, love you so

when the blinding comes,
the discomposure of silence,
it must be high up the hills
where hundreds of poor
stamp their feet in the dust, and drums
and woman voices like this ululating skyline
gag the final ecstasy


– Breyten Breytenbach


24th August – On This Day In History

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1759 William Wilberforce (abolitionist and politician)




2014 Richard Attenborough (actor & director)



On This Day:

1949 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) officially starts



Have a good Friday, 24th August


Ode To Harmony

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Immortal Harmony! thy heavenly strain
Coeval grew with sea, and earth, and skies.—
What time from chaos’ rude primeval reign
The Almighty Fiat bade creation rise,
The angelic host around applauding stood,
And loud their golden lyres proclaim’d that all was good.—
Those sacred lays whose voice sublime
High heaven’s eternal mansions hear,
Amid the transient lapse of time
Shall never meet the human ear,
Till, torn the veil of flesh away,
Stand to the soul confess’d the realms of endless day.

Yet streams from that immortal source,
Were not to mortal sense denied,
On Israel’s race with swelling force
Unbounded rush’d the sacred tide:
Judea’s palmy groves around
Re-echo to the hallow’d sound.—
Now to the harp’s responsive strings
His plaintive hymn Jessides sings,
Now with exulting rapture glows
O’er dread Jehovah’s prostrate foes,
Isaiah now with fiercer fire
Strikes loud the bold prophetic wire,
And treads, or seems in act to tread,
O’er proud Assyria’s vanquish’d head.
While now the lay pathetic thrills
By Babel’s willow-border’d rills,
As from Judea’s captive train
The victor’s taunting voice demands the choral strain.

But hark!—what lays enchanting sound
Unroots the forest from the ground?
By the persuasive powers subdu’d
Charm’d from the prey the savage brood
Attentive listen round.—
‘Tis he, the first of Grecia’s choir,
‘Tis Orpheus strikes the living lyre!
And see Alcæus’ sterner hand
Appals pale slavery’s trembling band,
See rapid Pindar loosely flings
His fingers o’er the warbling strings,
While, as the drama’s potent art
Or melts or terrifies the heart,
More sighs arise, more sorrows flow,
As Music’s aiding hand strikes deep the shafts of woe.

Nor yet amid the wreck of time
The rapturous powers are lost:
Soft breathe her airs on every clime,
And visit every coast.—
What though Hesperia’s sunnier day
Now boast to wake the sweetest lay;
Yet sure, if ere the throbbing breast
Sweet Music’s native voice confess’d,
To the soft measures that proceed
From Caledonia’s northern reed,
No feeling bosom shall deny
The genuine claim of Melody.

Though wild caprice with frantic hand
Awhile may seize the sacred lyre,
While folly’s sons applauding stand
To hear her strike the wire:
O Albion! as thy polish’d ear
Will none but classic numbers hear,
So let thy voice propitious own
Those thrilling notes that strike the heart alone.
Whether the soft melodious lay
In simple measures flow,
Now warbling elegantly gay,
Now tuned to placid woe.
Or Harmony with choral song
Pour her impetuous stream along,
While loud the swelling strains of rapture roll,
O’ercome the captive sense, and shake the astonish’d soul.


– Henry James Pye


2nd August – On This Day In History

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1923 Shimon Peres (Prime Minister of Israel & Nobel Peace Prize winner)




1876 Wild Bill Hickok (cowboy & frontiersman – shot in the back)



On This Day:

1865 Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland published (by Lewis Carroll)



Have a good Thursday, 2nd August