THE FAKE MASK by Pete Brammer
I have turned my back on the ones I love,
Carefully closing the garden gate,
Tramping my way with a tear in the eye,
To where, my future awaits.
I turn and wave, then let my arm fall,
As family wave back, from beyond the wall.
In uniform proud, I head for the front,
To the battle that has to be won,
But will I join the ones who will die?
Those fathers, uncles and sons,
‘Pray God I be spared’ is all that I ask,
Since leaving my home, I have dropped the fake mask.
A mask that said, ‘I am not afraid’
For behind it lay fear, and great dread,
I have witnessed friends and comrades, so many,
Seriously wounded and dead,
So reverently, their remains, were duly sent back,
I don’t want to be a name, on a memorial plaque.
Christmas is a time of merriment … and melancholy.
We look back at happy times.
We look for friends to share merriment now.
We look for greetings and presents to send and to give.
We look around, see others worse off than ourselves.
We look down at the earth, sleeping – resting after a busy year.
We look at the greetings from absent friends.
We look at the parcels, potential.
From our melancholy, we look up.
We look up at the stars, the universe out there,
The Star in the East.
We look up to a future
Look up, Look up.
THE STUDY OF DREAMS by Cynthia Smith
Studying such an ephemeral subject as dreams is problematical, as each person has their own sleeping thoughts locked in their heads. Some people insist that they don’t dream, but this is because on waking to reality their somnolent thoughts and images are wiped from their memory. Everyone dreams. It has been proven that people who are blind from birth experience dreams, even though they can see nothing.
What is a dream? Some theories have deduced that dreams are the mind’s way of working out the events of the day, or previous days. Recurring dreams seem to indicate that the dreamer is worried or frightened about something, which is preying on their mind. The difference between night dreaming and day dreaming is that in the latter the dreamer can control the thoughts and events of the dream and end it when they wish.
Despite the problems, Some people have made a study of dreams. In the 1950s three American psychologists, Kleitman, Dement and Aserinsky, used laboratory techniques to study dreams. They introduced the method of awakening and questioning volunteers about their dreams and found that during periods of sleep accompanied by rapid eye movements (REMs) subjects were usually able to give detailed accounts of their dreams.
In his study The Collective Unconscious the Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung writes that many of his patients, despite being poorly educated and untravelled, could describe happenings in their dreams with striking resemblance to myths from many different cultures. He was at a loss to explain why or how.
The most widely-accepted studies on dreams are those of Sigmund Freud. One of his main tenets is that dreams are based upon wishes, recollections and fantasies related to deep emotional reactions of early childhood: a heavily disguised form of infantile wish-fulfilment. However, Freud later came to accept that there are some dreams which do not embody the fulfilment of infantile wishes. These were often recurring dreams in which the dreamer re-enacts a traumatic event which he has experienced.
The results of dream studies remain divided and controversial, but it is probably true to say that dreams are a mode of symbolic expression, unique to each dreamer, but with some recognisable shared characteristics.
A Brush with the Enemy by Michael Healy
Father was a Military Man
Who hailed from North of the Border
Smart in his kilt, hat and Uniform
He would play his bagpipes as his team performed
A Pipe Major in the Black Watch, and proud.
Sadly the flames of World War II were loud
And he and his bagpipes had to part.
As war was declared he was promoted and transferred,
In charge of a battery of anti-aircraft guns, men, and kit,
Posted to London, in the middle of the Blitz,
A busy time for all, with he and his men often under attack.
Transferred again, to the Liverpool docks, they were glad to be back.
After so many firings the guns were cleaned
With a brush being pushed down the barrel
During one such cleaning the Germans attacked,
The orders were given for the guns to fire back.
After the action was over, one brush was found to be missing.
In later life my father would muse, what must the Germans have thought?
When a brush flew past from below, as those British Soldiers fought.
Despite their attempts to sweep the sky,
the guns were attacked and it seemed he might die.
The rest of the story as life carried on, is really quite happy and bright.
Transferred to hospital, over many months, he began to regain his light.
With the care of the doctors, and the wiles of the nurses, he started to notice their smiles,
One in particular, her name was Nurse Margery, her smile caught onto Dads’ heart,
War over, in February ’47, they were happily married,
March ‘48, I finished their story, as that wee bairn she had carried.
Pleased to report, my occasional slumbers, were accompanied by the skirl of his pipes.
Dad would recall his stories, behind the smoke of his pipe, and as I listened I often wondered if that brush ever did come to light?