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It is all very well to expose the fallacies of “gender critical” (GC) feminism — to show that its “reasonable concerns” are fanciful cauchemars with little or no basis in actual experience, to challenge the veracity of its “well-known facts”, to show that its “sex-based rights” are merely another incarnation…

A free verse poem

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I am not me
Rather, a short walk to the edge of a pond
overhung with drooping branches of willows
A reflection in the still water of a hot summer day
A face looks up from the water
Transformed by the inquisition of nature
I look back

There is no certitude
but the certainty of death
No rectitude
but the righteousness of truth
No animal instinct that justifies
our howling torments, our prejudice, our self-inflicted pain
No natural law
but the law that guides me to this pond
and makes the sunlight reproduce my face
in the still water

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Salute.
Saltation.
Sympathy.

There are many words in S, especially
in English, and perhaps in other tongues.

Suspicion.
Saccade.
Surrender.

“Somewhere” is a good word:
“Somewhere is a better place than this.”
“Somewhere he can’t find me.”

“Somewhat” is even better.
“I liked it somewhat.” —
Or, “She tasted somewhat sour.”…

This evening, for no particular reason that I can think of, I took a look, for the first time, at J.K. Rowling’s Twitter. I see she has been gushing a bit about the release of The Ickabog — and why wouldn’t any proud author do the same?

I scrolled down…

Photo by Rūta Celma on Unsplash

All the long-short day,
sunlight moves across my lawn,
turning sharp shadows
of the limp leaves of fallen autumn
from west to east.
(So shadow is the slave of dying.)

So Shakti is deployed by leavings
of the violent seasons! —and yet! —
and yet they do so not alone.

Image source: Francesco Alberti on Unsplash

There is a creaking noise
In the house of God,
As if some heavy-footed demon
Is striding slowly on attic timbers
That have begun to lose their nails.

There is a yellow exudate
Lying on the altar;
Perhaps some dyspeptic minor imp
Has vomited here, nauseated
By the residual scent of virtue
Infusing the altar’s wood.

No matter: the master of this house is gone.
His scent remains, of course;
And sometimes you can hear,
If you linger long enough —
Quietly sitting in the nave,
Or pressing your ear to a pew —
An echo of his votive prayer.

But no more revelations will come here,
No salvations.
Do not stay too long:
Soon, the heady scent of godhead,
The echo of ecstatic prayer
Are overborne by
Silence filled with creaking in
The walls and ceiling.

Here is the demon:
What shall you do?

Image source: Center for Urban Agriculture

This is the moment
the climbing caterpillar
reaches the end of the branch;
where, casting about
in a near-sighted search
for a path upon which to continue
its accustomed peregrination,
it turns at last to the other side of the branch,
and returns the way it came,
through territory all familiar,
but at the same time
estranged by its reversed perspective,
so that nothing is certain but
a vague yet unignorable unease.

Image source: Alyssa Ferguson

In the Faroe Islands
a farmer may commonly die
while minding sheep.

Pursuing a wayward sheep in fog
a farmer may carelessly step
where is no land.

Then the descent.

From cliffs as tall as these
a life may be measured in feet
as well as time.

Whether fifteen hundred feet or five,
several seconds or a few,
the end is sure.

Yet there is choice.
For man, to chase or not;
to choose tomorrow’s fog or this;
to die or live.

And for the god of falls,
to break him on a spur of rock,
or drown him in a cold Atlantic swell.

Alyssa Ferguson

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