Shichahai Area

Whilst in Beijing we visited the Hutong and Shichahai historic scenic area. Hutong has a double meaning. Originally, a hutong is a type of narrow-alley. In Beijing, hutong alleys are formed by lines of Siheyuan, old Beijing residences, called courtyard or quad houses in English. Thus, hutong also refers to the neighbourhood formed by lines of Siheyuan houses. So Hutong was the place we experienced the old authentic Beijing culture, and the Shichahai Scenic Area is where the old Chinese culture was most featured. It is located in the west of old Beijing and used to be part of the old Grand Canal of the Yuan Dynasty 600 years ago. Willows line the river bank, like a misty green curtain. The lake shore line is packed with people chatting, drinking, shopping and generally relaxing. From here we had a rickshaw ride through the narrow alleys of the old area. We dismounted our rickshaws and walked down even narrower alleys to eventually enter a single doorway that lead into a small private courtyard. This was a typical family home of the area, where the home family entertained us, with the lady of the house playing a 400 year-old Guzheng Chinese Zither. After which we all sat inside to enjoy an excellent traditional home-style Chinese meal(and a few Chinese beers). For me, this being allowed to share an evening in the home of a Chinese family, was one of the highlights of the tour. The house itself was over 500 years old, and I felt very privileged and honoured to be one of the family’s guests.

Above: The scenic Shichahai area of old west Beijing

Above: Part of our rickshaw ride, from the lake past gardens and former ministers residences.

Above: Ivor and Barb, (my travel companion), in a rickshaw, and then in the private courtyard of the Chinese family home, where we were entertained and had a home-cooked Chinese meal.

 

Ivor Steven (c)  2018

Let Us Climb

Climb Aboard, (Introduction by, Jane Basil)
all who wish an end to war are welcome;
we beg you to share our message of peace,
that it may reach across the wildest desert,
weave through cities, travel with the waves of the seas
that stroke our shores and soak into our sands.
Let it grow to encompass our nurturing planet;
let every peacemaker of every nation join hands,
and be embraced with love in return.
Let peace become a pandemic
the like of which we have never known.

This was written for our peace campaign which was dreamed up by my amazing friend Paul Sunstone. Yep – remember the name; that man has greatness in him. We want the campaign to go viral. Share his post (see link below) and/or write a post of your own.

Click <<<<<<<HERE>>>>>> to find out more

and find even <<<<<<<MORE>>>>>>>   <——— there

The above introduction is copied directly from Jane Basil’s blog site and her post  “Climb Aboard”  

https://janebasilblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/16/climb-aboard/

Below an older poem of mine from over 10 years ago, and I’m afraid nothing has changed, and Click onto “Return The Bullets” title to view Paul Sunstone’s latest post.

Return The Bullets

The mind awakens to secret cannons shattering my bed.

All the violence of the worlds pounding inside my head.

The killing and the maiming of all the innocents who fled.

What happens when all the little lambs are slaughtered.

When the people’s of all religions and creed are dead.

And we can’t return the murdering bullets back into the barrel.

I’m afraid.

The backyard stairway is far too steep to climb.

The hand rails are way out of reach to find.

And the public change-room windows are covered with bars.

Now encircling the city hall, the security backdoor is ajar.

Entering the marble aisle, the White-room appears vacant.

And guileful leaders have run, leaving a chasm of gloomy dark.

I’m wondering.

Where to go, the healing house is full of ugly holes.

The citizens cowering in shadows behind splintered lighting poles.

And the crumbling streets are awash with rivers of leftover blood.

Now the warring bosses have to fight amongst themselves.

Throwing poison pens and paper darts at each other.

Never bruised nor battered, using ivory towers as cover.

I’m terrified.

The dusty mushroom cloud, slowly settles on the barren ground.

With sands of distant lands, shifting into every nook and cranny.

We need the good Doctor, to help us cure these alien scourges.

And foreigners arriving upon waves of our neighbouring seas.

The deathly TV images, wrongly implanted for all to see.

As the press only gossip and drivel with selfish glee.

I’m stupefied.

The guns of freedom lands, haven’t even stopped the cull.

Death to friends or foe, no matter, to the rulers from above.

Their only rules, the poor and weak to be kept totally down trodden.

One day the surviving meek shall inherit their radioactive dirt.

And the rich will feast upon their own contaminated bread.

And we’ll never return the murdering bullets back into the barrel.

 

Ivor Steven (c)  2018

Against The Next War

This is a poem written by Paul Sunstone. Please read and reblogg if you wish to do so.

Against the Next War

(About a 3 minute read)

The internet has made it now
Bound to happen
Tomorrow or the year after.
Bound to happen.

Maybe.
Up to you.

The politicians and the preachers,
The two dogs of the capitalist class,
Will once again want a war,
Just as they always do.

War to them is a gift, you see,
It’s not personal, it’s not their blood.
But war makes some folks rich
And you will never change that,
You will never change that,
Though the dogs will bark it’s not so.

A war of aggression
Against some people somewhere,

Most likely brown,
Most likely poor,
Most likely weak,
Most likely no real threat.

War for the sake of the banks
And for the merchants of death.
War for the sake of the pulpit,
And for the corridors of power.

But not a war for the sake
Of you and of me. We don’t count.
Our side is the one side
That has never counted.
Never.

That’s how war goes, it’s always been so
And it’s bound to happen again,
Soon happen again.

This is your world,
How it really is —
The world you think,
The world you were taught,
The gods want you to live in and love
Them more than you love each other.

In your world are great nations:
Nations the greatest in history,
Nations with the power of suns,
A thousands suns,
To do good, make truths come true
For even the poor man, the poor woman,
The poor child. Make truths come true.

But these nations,
Nations great and greatest,
Act only like whores,
Filthy whores,
Fucking folks raw,
Spreading their diseases,
Recruiting new girls,
Ever younger girls
To fuck you, to fuck all of you,
To fuck everyone.

This is your world
Your world without end.

But now someday you see

Someday now for once it will happen
For once it will stop
Stop the day they give a war
And you
You rise up, join hands
By the millions, possibly billions,
Linked together by the net
And by love, and by common sense.

At last,
At last you will rise, singing
“At last my spirit shall have water!
At last my cries shall be heard!
At last my thirst shall be slaked!”

Yes, you will rise up and you will say
In a voice thunderous and magnified
By the whole world joining in,

Say, “Those people are our friends,
We chat with them by day and by night.
We know their hopes, we know their dreams,
We know their troubles, we know their fears.
We know them, we know their names.

“Jane and Matthias. Terese and Sindhuja.
Mark, Parikhitdutta, and Min.

We even marry them now and then —
They shall not this time be murdered.

“You will not touch them,
Our brothers, our friends;
This once the bombs won’t fall.
This once the bombs won’t fall.
You politicians and preachers,
You capitalists and bankers all —
This once the bombs won’t fall.”

Yet you know it will ever be a dream
Just a dream, just a mere dream.
It will ever be a dream
If you, if we, keep on dividing,
Never uniting, never joining,
But instead just staying, just keeping,
To my echo chamber or to yours.

So let’s come together
Let’s come together,
Let’s come together.

So let’s come together
Before the nukes fall,
Before the demons fall.
Before we die in the winter,
And we come together
Never once come together at all.

 


Please seriously consider spreading this poem — spreading it to your site, to the social media sites — in an effort to make it go viral. We need it viral well before the next war, we need folks mulling over the idea of rebelling against the violence. Spread this poem and then you too write — write about the ideas presented in the poem. For you, for your brothers and for your sisters, for your children after you — stop the wars of aggression!

Please Note: Matthias has responded by dedicating his poem, Pooling Strength, to this cause.

Soul Mates, A Song

The sun is shining, the day is grand, I found our Anniversary band, made of pure silver, here in my hand, I’ll mount it on a stand, like the day she placed the gift in my hand, hand in hand we still stand, our feet sharing the warm sands, yes my memories are grand, so let’s strike up the band.

https://wp.me/p6B6QE-1gh

Ivor Steven (c) 2018

“I See The Universe In A Blade Of Grass”

FIFTY YEARS AGO — WE SANG THIS SONG

 

“I See The Universe In A Blade Of Grass” **

I’m exhausted

And wearing paper-thin

I’ve been crying too often

My salty tears

Have dried my skin

Cracked the corners of my eyes

And etched my chin

My retina’s are burning

X-rays through hedges

My troubled bridge is worn

I cannot see the dawn

I sit alone and stare

At this daily glare

From the children over there

Innocent eyes looking sad and bare

Desperate for care

Gasping for free air

 

** These words are taken from a line in Sean Rowe’s song, The Lonely Maze, 2012.

 

Ivor Steven (c)  2018

 

Dear Friends, A Letter To You

Dear friends

Last night I went out

Enjoyed myself

Good company and plenty of fun

There were some children there

I saw the children laughing

At the foolish antics

Of us silly adults

I arrived back home

After midnight

Then I read in bed

Some of my blog comments

Responses to my recent poems

About “We can help the children”

I was deeply touched

I started crying

Emotions tore at my heartstrings

Tears flooded my soul

Your replies were sincere

And compassionately moving

Dear friends

I thank you

One and all

May our solidarity

“Help the children”

 

 

Ivor Steven (c)  2018

Tit Bits #13

This is my 13th writing of “Tit Bits”, and coincidently today is Friday 13th. I’m not sure whether this means good luck or bad luck for my post today ??

Our pain is like rain

The pain comes and goes

Heavy and light

He’s got us trumped

There’s more poison

In his venom

The facts are there, for all to see

But all the blind eyes are covered in cotton wool

Their ears are buried in the sand

And toes paddling in their own bullshit quagmire

Now is the time to help

Doing the little things that count

Little step after little step

And in time they become one big stride

I hope these tears of mine

Become the glassy mirrors

Of hope

For the frightened children

They need our love

Love is a life-line

Love feeds a soul

Love revives a heart

Love is the meaning of life

Life is love

 

Ivor Steven (c)  2018