Friday, September 7, 2018

I Wish I'd Written This

We Are Not Afraid
By Thomas Keily
















This picture is from Thomas's facebook author page.



The only way to experience the poem I've chosen for you is to hear/see the performance. You'll have to click here and then start the video. Unfortunately I can't find this (best) version in a form that can be embedded in my post, but believe me, it's worth taking the extra minute. Please do it now, before reading on. (And then take a moment to breathe and settle down from having been electrified!)


The particular event this was recorded for is now a couple of years past, and the words may well strike us, today, as very idealistic. It's hard not to feel gloomy and cynical in these present times. Many people are extremely afraid. Yet, as a number of wise beings have taught and prophesied over the centuries, the thing that can save us is for enough of us to act always from Love.

A hard task in the face of so much that is otherwise; and it seems by no means guaranteed to happen. However, my Dad always taught me that while one can't make anyone else do the right thing, one can make sure of one's own behaviour ... and if everyone did that, the world could be a very good place. (Or at least one's own corner of it.) It's still difficult, often VERY difficult, but we can try. Thomas's poem is one thing that might inspire us to keep trying!

I became aware of his work through a mutual friend, who regards him as a prophet. May it be so! I want to live in the world he postulates.

He is trying to bring that world about, not through poetry alone, but also thought and action – e.g. his involvement in Renew Fest, a community-based annual sustainability festival; e.g. using his knowledge of Economics to publicly examine 'Universal income, rents, house prices and inequality'.

His own words are best to tell his own story: how he went from topping his University class in Economics and working for the Reserve Bank of Australia to his present lifestyle. You can read those details here.

You can find more poetry performances on YouTube if you scroll through the various videos listed under his name.

And then there's his 'The Life Poetic' series, where he reads and discusses pieces he loves by other poets, from Shakespeare to Plath. (The link shows a collection of them if you scroll down a little.)

He tells me he's not writing a lot of poetry at present – having children 'kind of sidelined everything' – but will come back to it. But fatherhood has also inspired poetry. Don't miss the sweetest of all: his brief, exquisite Six poems for my daughter.



Material shared in 'I Wish I'd Written This' is presented for study and review. Poems, photos and other writings remain the property of the copyright owners, usually their authors.

17 comments:

  1. Rosemary, this was really worth looking at. What a wonderfully inspiring message. In our world today it IS hard to be afraid. His message gives us hope. And your dad is right....we cannot make anyone else do the right thing, but if we all strive to do the 'right thing' what a beautiful world it would be!!

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    1. Mary, I'm so happy that Thomas has lifted your spirits!

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  2. Infectious enthusiasm. Thank you for sharing this. :)

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  3. Shoot, I lost my lengthy comment. I ADORE this poet and his poetry. The first poem is so inspiring. I especially love the line about the Ewoks. He presents his work so brilliantly, speaks so clearly and lovingly. His poems for his daughter are enchanting. I so love "Love has made a lion of me." I will explore further. I believe there are more humans with good hearts on the planet than the dark twisted ones. The trick is for all of us to use our voices and our votes and I admire that Thomas is an activist who works for social justice. He is very admirable. This next US election, it is critical for everyone to vote.....mind you, there is fear of tampering, since the repubs declined to pass legislation to protect the voting. Sigh. But we live in hope. A lot hangs on this election. Anyway, thank you, Rosemary, for introducing us to this SPECTACULAR poet. Listening to him has set me up for the whole day (which includes attending the raising of a totem pole to honour the hereditary chiefs of this hahoutee (territory).) Our first rain is here, trees and ground drinking it in greedily. So very needed. I hope it puts out all the wildfires and that poems like Thomas's sets fire to several billion hearts, so we can turn all hearts towards love and justice.

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    1. Yes, 'spectacular' is the word! I'm glad this made such a great start for your day, and I agree there are more people with good hearts. Thank goodness some also have the talent and commitment to express their hearts in a way that counteracts fear and despair!

      We are having rain here too, in the beginning of our Spring – hopefully enough to seriously break the long drought that the farmers have been suffering, and not enough to cause floods. And we are warned of the strong likelihood of fires this Summer. (Must get my gutterings cleaned.)

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  4. Thank you for sharing this! Grateful to be able to listen to his vision on a day when my own perspectives were shaken. Hope that if he does put out a book of poetry he also does the audio book.

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  5. Don't know how to thank you Rosemary for this fantastic poet and his performance. Such a wonderful feature today!

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    1. So glad you are thrilled by it, Sumana! I am grateful to Thomas for giving permission to use the material in this way.

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  6. Very cool! I loved the images of the final war--especially the "marshmallow wrecking balls" and onward. It would definitely take the holding of hands and not being "afraid anymore." And then yes--to Shakespeare's "Cry Havoc ...." I found Keilly's constant movement distracting, but was rewarded for watching instead of just listening when his arms started the marching and footsteps--Bravo! We need more poets of LOVE and Possibility. Thank you for this feast!

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    1. I have just been reading about the ways such emotions as fear, depression and despair can lower our immunity and make us physically ill, whereas the more positive emotions can improve our health. So there are many ways in which such poetry can be a force for good.

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  7. Another fantastic post, Rosemary. 'We Are Not Afraid' - is, of course, beautifully rendered, brilliant and impactful. But - more than that - I found it very stirring. At a time when people need and should be stirred, important works - such as this - are a compelling and powerful fulcrum for 'good' change.

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    1. Yes indeed, Wendy – and please feel free to share this post, or any of the links in it, more widely.

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  8. What a marvellous thing you have done here Rosemary bringing this poet before us to listen to his beautiful words for the world and of course his daughter. What an outpouring of love which will surely encourage readers to search for more of his readings.

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  9. Here's a message from Thomas to you all:


    Thanks for sharing this. It has been very gratifying to see the reflections come in. And encouraging too. It's been a great prompt to start writing again. So thanks. It's very touching.

    Some people asked about some recordings - I made a start on something before our second child came along. I was calling it Ecstatic Erotica - longer-form pieces chasing that nexus between sensuality and spirituality. I did a concert and had it professionally recorded, working with an oud and a guitar player. I'm not sure quite where it fits. Somewhere between an audio-book and a poetry performance.

    It was a bit of an experiment, and I got derailed by kids before I had a chance to fully understand the results.

    I wonder if some of the people wondering about audio recordings might find it interesting, or understand what is trying to come through.

    These three recordings, each about half an hour each.

    They can be downloaded from here:
    https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ae97cs6uomlyqok/AADWlOTAb75mbVKd6_DGzh0Ra?dl=0

    I'd be grateful for feedback.

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