Tom O’Bedlam Reads Poems.

According to Wiki:
The term “Tom O’Bedlam” was used in Early Modern Britain and later to describe beggars and vagrants who had or feigned mental illness (see also Abraham-men). They claimed, or were assumed, to have been former inmates at the Bethlem Royal Hospital (Bedlam). It was commonly thought that inmates were released with authority to make their way by begging, though this is probably untrue. If it happened at all the numbers were certainly small, though there were probably large numbers of mentally ill travellers who turned to begging, but had never been near Bedlam. It was adopted as a technique of begging, or a character. For example, Edgar in King Lear disguises himself as mad “Tom O’Bedlam”.
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Confessional Poetry.

Confessional poetry is the poetry of the personal or “I.” This style of writing emerged in the late 1950s and early 1960s and is associated with poets such as Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, and W.D. Snodgrass.

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The Oz Man II(In the Shameful Shadow of Shelley’s ‘Ozymandias’)Sonnet.Poem.Norman Ball.



I met a Baathist from a ravaged land
Who said: Two short, blue-trousered legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half-dazed by shock and awe, a visage frowns,
with wrinkled lip, and smirk of chimp-command.
No doubt Dick Cheney well those passions read,
Which squawk on yet, as do most lame-duck things,
Like mice that roared, while at the trough they fed,
And on one trouser-cuff these words appear:
“My name is W, unelected King:
Look on my Evil Axis and despair!”
No liberty remains. Round the decay
Of neo-cons and hegemonic air,
Fallujah’s level sands stretch far away.
The Ozymandias sonnet also appeared in Christopher Dickey’s ‘The Shadowland Journal’. Christopher Dickey is  Paris Bureau Chief and Middle East Regional Editor for Newsweek Magazine and The Daily Beast.
NORMAN BALL is a poet, playwright, essayist and musician residing in Virginia. A featured poet on Prairie Home Companion, his poems and essays have appeared in Light Quarterly, The Raintown Review, The Berkeley Poetry Review, Epicenter, Oxford Magazine, The Cumberland Poetry Review, 14 by 14, Rattle, Liberty, The Hypertexts, Main Street Rag, The New Renaissance, The Scotsman, The London Times among dozens of others. His essay collections, How Can We Make Your Power More Comfortable? (2010) and The Frantic Force (2011), both widely available on the web, are published by Del Sol Press and Petroglyph Books, respectively. His recent play SIDES: A Civil War Musical (Inspired by The Red Badge of Courage) is currently being produced for TV by Last Tango Productions, LLC.

Darwin’s Voyage of the Beagle Revisited. 3 Poems. Ian Irvine (Hobson)



Tree of LifeImage: ‘Darwin’s Tree of Life’ [from public domain image, drawn by Darwin]


A Power Denuded the Granite

The Devil’s Confervae

The Work of Minute and Tender Animals


Poems by Ian Irvine (Hobson), copyright all rights reserved.


Please Note: many of these poems meditate upon or, in some cases rework/recombine, random phrases appearing in the 2nd edition of Charles Darwin’s The Voyage of the Beagle. The first edition of the work appeared in 1839. I hope I have done some justice to the natural lyricism evident in Darwin’s relaxed prose style.




A Power Denuded the Granite


All that glitters in the sun’s rays

suggests a profound ocean

and a growing burden


How many years

short of infinity

to polish these

burnished stones?


I have come to the tides

and the rivulets

the countless inundations,

the waves on the black rocks

the cataracts, the great rivers

the stubborn work of millennia.


I am growing old and weary

on this boat,

this salt-stained boat

of Empire.




The Devil’s Confervae


Can you see us from behind?

early morning salt haze—the sun

rising. And the boat slowing

enters an eerie stretch of

ocean, velvet-red, and

glides between a god-infested heaven

and a godless carpet of sea stuff

This blood track—it must be

two miles long—of

infernal waters.


The boat slows, we glide

Can you see us from behind?

The morning is huge

as we plough

the pulp of our sorrow

the whole surface of the water

pulses—and the waves lapping.


Under the lens, I observe

the contraction of tiny granular spheres

their number must be infinite


I’ve heard they make

the Red Sea

(appear) red.




The Work of Minute and Tender Animals


Not far off shore

we test the bottom

(the bottomless ocean)

The line spins down and down.



a steep edifice

(theorise: underwater ramparts, sheer

and dense).


In awe of these submerged mountains—

accumulated stone of ages!


The island, the reef, the coral—the coral

the living part of the greater death,

a vast, eroded, sedimentary death.


Once a volcano—spewed hot

then froze into a geologic form

then whipped by the wind

and lashed by the water

for countless millennia.

Amazing to contemplate—

the splendid work of ages.


It looms from obscene depths

and bleaches in the diving—

the underwater kingdom of

vegetable bones!

But near the surface

such colours, such vividness, such

intricacies of fish and frond.


Coral! The epiphanies of coral

their various shapes

their complex textures

marvellous life on a bed of death!


Our ancestry as sediment—

compacted into memory.

Today, for the first time, I sense

their concrete presence.

This self, mere fruit of their tragedies—

(the past beneath the waves).



Apple Paintings on Canvas in Oil

Apple Paintings by David Michael Jackson

I began painting apples because apples are easy to find and an artist needs subjects. Not everyone has naked ladies wandering in. Most artists live ordinary lives and it is the ordinary that is often good art. I figured to be the apple painter. I said “Well I’ll just paint apples.” It’s a limited subject and I did move on but apples are good for form, shadow and negative spaces.
Most of my apples were red so I will start with a small apples painting of yellow apples.

Yellow apples

Apples Paintings
I wish I could report the location of this painting but paintings get away when they aren’t worth anything and this artist doesn’t know who he gave it to. It was lying around and the only price for something of no value is free if you like it. The only reward in most artist’s lives comes from individuals who may appreciate a piece enough to hang it, to simply hang it.
Here is a painting of some red apples:

Two Red Apples

A small image is all I have left of this one. My apple paintings are inspred by Cezanne of course who embodied the form of the apple and orange into great art. His Still Life with Curtain is a guide for all art and artists.


The last pure apple painting today features apples falling in a plane:

apple painting
Apples Falling in a Plane

Apples still figure in my art. They appear in my first large abstract, Food For Thought:
apple painting

Apples Paintings
Apples Paintings For Sale
Apple Still Life For Sale


So the apple represents life, form and color for the artist. It is a symbol of life and love. Apples have always represented the Garden of Eden and original sin. Apples are symbols in all cultures
Fertility; love; joyousness; knowledge; wisdom; divination; luxury; but also deceitfulness and death. The apple was the forbidden fruit of the Golden Age. As round it represents totality and unity, as opposed to the multiplicity of the pomegranate, and as the fruit of the Tree of Life given by Iduma to the gods. Eris threw the golden apple of discord among the Gods. As the apples of the Hesperides and the fruit of Freya’s garden, it symbolizes immortality. Offering an apple is a declaration of love.

Artists are keenly aware of symbolism and metaphor. One example is Son of Man by surrealist painter René Magritte:

via wiki Son of Man C David Michael Jackson 2012

Abstract Fish Painting

Abstract Fish Painting

This is the essence of creation….I did not start with this but ended up with it. Did a fish spring from the sea and walk? The essence of life is the sea. I get all emotional about this painting….I could turn it on its side and we could make something else of it until we saw the fish. I never set out to paint a fish. The fish never set out to walk on land.
See more of David’s Abstract Original Paintings
david michael jackson Abstract Fish Painting