Posted by: daviemacdonald | February 14, 2011

Kahlil Gibran at Farringdon Road London EC1

books, reading and poetryAfter  recent visit to the Kahlil Gibran exhibition at the NSW State Library and at the insistence of my friend C I decided I needed to re view some of my [personal] writing here.

Some of it (the writing) was perhaps too personal. Was I being objective? This was made in particular to my references to some recent personal experiences  I had used to  tie in to a subject I was writing about. This included  similar references in “my about” and my first post.  The critique was that perhaps I was too revealing (not wrong) to reference  a particular personal issue so openly.

“The Prophet”

evocation of sultana tabet: Illustration from the Prophet

I recall way back in the 60s I was posted from Maryland USA a copy of “The Prophet”  by an American Girl who I met in a Farringdon Street Pub London EC 1 one balmy Summer’s evening. The book is long since lost, goodness knows where on my travels. The conversation we had then was a  gentle clash of ideologies. It was also a bit of “boy meets girl” on opposite sides of the politico religious divide. A Young Communist and a young American Christian Student from Maryland. We had a gentle time

politics The Pub was a meeting place for  Anarchists, Communists, Members of CND, Labour Party (labor) Socialists, Print Workers, Street Vendors, Barrow      boys (like me) Artists and Actors including the  likes of Vanessa Redgrave and  my Aunt Patricia Burke.

It was also the scene of one of my biggest punch ups where I recall now another girlfriend I was then with  jumped in literally to help. (I was outnumbered πŸ™‚ 3-1 as I recall ….hey what am I saying it actually grew to 5-1.  I got jumped by some ultra leftists fascists. Quite a remarkable girl Jill, there she was hanging off the backs of  at least one of them. We all had a laugh about that later she had a whole chunk of hair missing.  Jill was the daughter of a School Keeper from St Johns Wood; THE underground station on which I also had a punch up with a couple of (*not so large)  National Front thugs  who were harassing an Indian ticket collector.

* Fell just within my scope of physical capability…just πŸ™‚ If they hadn’t I would have been in a sorry mess I expect.

It was a time of being a “steward” (security) on demonstrations keeping order and fighting both Fascist Right Colin Jordan’s National Socialist (Nazi) Movement, the John Tyndall led National Front and Trotskyist Ultra left  of the Socialist Labour League whose members included Corrine and Vanessa Redgrave , the International Marxist Group (IMG) of which Tariq Ali was a member. It was a time when my house was hit by an “explosive device” main suspects being  members of  National Socialists with whom I at age 16 and some mates (just a street gang)  had a clash with out side Hither Green Railway Station in South East London.

Now after that digression, its back to The Prophet.  You can see how Kahlill Gibran’s poetry and philosophical position was totally in harmony with mine at the time.

man in search of existence: Illustration from the Prophet


After a walk through the exhibit I decided to purchase a nice inexpensive copy @$9.99 penguin copy of the Prophet

I understand it is a “philosophical poem”  that covers birth death religion marriage love children work and so on -Robin Waterfield. Well that’s what is says in the introduction to the book.:) The central message IS β€œThe Kingdom of Heaven is within you, if you have that calm in yourself, that quiet in your centre, if you are in love with life, you love your enemy because you love everybody.”

A Young Gibran

What Gibran apparently intended was for us to take away from the Prophet the importance of unity of all man. Gibran outlines his belief to nurture good interpersonal skills and that kindness, forgiveness and love are the guidelines for life.

I found it relaxing to see the original manuscripts and the drawings exhibited reproduced in my little Penguin copy. It caused me to re-think a little about my blogging.

At the start of my blogging I was far too critical of  many of the personal blogs I had at that time read . Frankly I now feel I was being elitist and hard-hearted. That’s the trouble with us working class intellectuals we can get up our selves. As an inactive  bystander I thought I should have a go as I felt I had much to share and learn. It’s easy to criticise from the sidelines, which I had previously done. Just who was I to be so self opinionated? What I have found is I love writing but not the spell checking that goes with it.

It had appeared to me many blogs are written for the sole purpose of enabling the writer to have their moment of fame which seems harmless enough.  They often appeared to be  without theme and to be pure Nihilism in other words trivia. It would be correct for one to say my view was arrogant and on reflection I agree I think it was .

The challenge I faced originally was very personal. I reacted to material written on a blog intended to demean me to those who read it, some of whom knew me.  I let this get a tad in the way of what I wanted to really share on MY blog

I think that is done with now. was but they have carried on with it and so it goes into February 2012

So letting that go :

My hope is that [an] escalator over the hill will be informing interesting  never dull and thoughtlessly critical. The balance between that of  ones self  and a balanced view of the world is challenging.

After blogging for a few weeks I can see that my harsh cynicism perhaps clouded my view of all the fantastic contributions out there in the “great unwashed”  By it’s very nature I recognise  that I too run the risk of writing “all about me”.

What I am trying to do in my blog is to tie anything I do write about the world, perhaps a daft recipe or  something that has happened in my life, and   put  it in to ‘a’ context of a wider event or issue. I want to make it real and not abstract.

I want this to blog is to be informative without being heavy.  I intend to be provocative. There is no faint heart here and you will see I do not to write anonymously.

I probably will suffer chagrin of my friends Carl and Toni telling me there is still too much personal material here.  I am still growing with it.

I realise  I do not want this blog to be a place :

  • Where I have little good to write about colleagues,
  • Where I criticise my children (actually I only have my boy πŸ™‚
  • Where I blame others for my rotten existence (my life is quite good:)
  • Where I air dissatisfaction of my career choice  (if I don’t like it so much I can leave so spare the internet  my woes)
  • To seek sympathy

I want it to be a place  where I can:

  • Share all sorts of stuff. I am probably being far to ambitious with the scope, but I am greedy
  • Write openly and honestly.
  • Inform and entertain  (do I have the talent I ask)?
  • Improve my grammar and spelling. . My friends were very kind πŸ™‚
  • Work things out and tinker around the edges of my writing

I have discovered I love writing and I have uncovered a stash of poetry that  I want to share. I hope it wont be found as  platitudinous.

I think some of the yesterdays post is okay. It is important to understand the context it was written and framed around.

Still have to work on  the pipeline blogline still is, The Afro Beat Revolution CD; something about the music of the Resistance (a la North Africa); the Home Guard, Dad’s Army and the Communists;  something a bit lighthearted on my workshop; and Crossroads 3.



  1. I am impressed with this website , very I am a big fan .

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