Rip Bulkeley

Rip Bulkeley

Rip Bulkeley recently edited Rebel Talk: poems from the climate emergency, which is published by Extinction Rebellion Oxford and can be ordered from all good bookshops. 
Fog and Slaughter: Two poems on the war in Ukraine
Friday, 08 April 2022 09:40

Fog and Slaughter: Two poems on the war in Ukraine

Published in Poetry

Fog

by Rip Bulkeley

We have to know. Brave journalists
both risk and lose their lives for that.
But information managers
are too strong for them. They flood us
with lies and photo opportunities.
If they told the truth, we would hear
words like oil, gas, and wheat more often.
Instead we get people yelling Rus, aggressor,
crime, victim, Fascist, and genocide.
Like swifts we build a picture from this
manure. But let’s face it; this is Punch
& Judy without the sausages.

Slaughter

by Rip Bulkeley

Spare a thought for the murderers.
Failing to conquer, unprepared,
deceived, demoralized past bearing,
accursed sometimes by themselves,
left hopeless of happiness, they butcher
the defenceless who despise them.
They did not leave their homes for the
sake of Donbas gas and Black Sea oil,
or for any part of this. If they ever
return, they will not return. They, who
have already lost everything, suck
the bitter dregs of knowingly useless
displacement. The rules in hell are
incomprehensible to other people.

 

Siege
Sunday, 03 April 2022 09:25

Siege

Published in Poetry

Siege

by Rip Bulkeley

'Wars are fought to change the enemy’s mind'. - Liddell Hart

The grandchildren of the mass killers of Dresden,
Coventry, Tokyo, and Leningrad, leave alone
the atomic bombs, few of whom were ever
prosecuted, now bleat about Mariupol. From war
comes siege, and in siege, from Alesia to Sarajevo,
civilians, including poets, perish like autumn leaves.
From a safe distance our rulers, knowing
that thousands more will die, reinforce
the defence against the option of surrender;
then wash their hands in filthy water.
Most of their comfortable citizens, preoccupied
with economic doom, raise no objections.

The Hoolibums' Picnic
Sunday, 06 February 2022 20:28

The Hoolibums' Picnic

Published in Poetry

The Hoolibums’ Meeting
after The Teddy Bears’ Picnic

by Rip Bulkeley

If you go down Downing Street today
You’re sure of a big surprise
If you go down Downing Street today
You’d better brush up your lies
For every rogue that ever there was
Will gather there for certain because
Today’s the day the Hoolibums have their meeting

Every Hoolibum at the top is sure of some juicy crack
There’s lots of premier cru to sup and gourmet cheeses to snack
Beneath the trees where nobody sees
They’ll quaff and quip as long as they please
That’s the way the Hoolibums have their meeting

Meeting time for Hoolibums
Those Hoolibums are having a laid back time today
Spin-doctors and panjandrums
See them chortle on their wicked way
After dipping their greasy snouts
Then pause to swear and shout
Or whimper Fee Fi Fo Fums

In February the Lords and the Commons
Will send them home to stay
’Cause they’re bent, crooked Hoolibums

If you go down Downing Street today
Watch out for unfriendly drones
If you go down Downing Street today
You’d better not take your phone
For every rogue that ever there was
Will gather there for certain because
Today’s the day the Hoolibums have their meeting

Britain in 2021
Monday, 20 December 2021 10:55

Britain in 2021

Published in Poetry

Britain in 2021
after Shelley’s ‘England in 1819’

by Rip Bulkeley

An old, bad, foolish and decaying state,
Riddled with racism from empire’s core;
Maltreated refugees, war’s graduates,
Drowning to reach inhospitable shores;
Food banks crowded with families desperate
From poverty; inflation set to roar;
Help services undermined by private cash
While decimated by the plague’s full brunt;
Women and children daily abused, smashed;
The disabled dying from neglect by official scum;
Tower blocks terrified of joining Grenfell’s ash;
Zero hours slavery; the homeless trashed -
Such evil ways unjustly smothered drums
Shall one day summon us to overcome. 

 

Anthropocaust
Monday, 06 September 2021 10:12

Anthropocaust

Published in Poetry

Anthropocaust

by Rip Bulkeley

Cassandra never smiled. Devastation,
though future for others, was her constant
reality. En route to the death camps
people were still together, had luggage,
and could try to look forward. Even after
being stripped and selected, there may
have been distractions, conversation;
but oven fodder did not smile.

Our delusions are the disgraceful
mystery of these times: wars, festivals,
work, murders, pets, vaccines, shopping,
charities, music, and so unbelievably on.
Meanwhile the human vehicle is colliding
with signposts, shedding fenders against walls;
its tyres are fiery Catherine wheels. But we,
the passengers, turn inwards to shut out
the calamity we have long invited
and do not intend to overcome.

The climate campaigners offer comfort
to some who despair, suggesting they turn
away for respite with the fantasies of life.
It comes naturally from those who must
self-deceive about the power of governments.
But no wonder that so many others
are still preparing for fulfilment,
falling in love, making homes,
and sharing their enthusiasms
for every variety of sport.