Tuesday, 8 December 2020

Journeying into Synergy

 Journeying into Synergy

A trilogy of poems dedicated to disabled people's access to lifelong learning and inclusion

1. In Praise of Fully Inclusive Human Potential

While Zen Buddhists pose the question:
“What is the sound of one hand clapping?”
I propose an image for you to imagine:

“Imagine a scene that I once witnessed,
Of a spoon-fed woman’s joyousness
Upon being given a musical shaker
That I — as cabaret entertainer
And Jobseekers Allowance 'overstayer' —
Had offered for audience participation
At a 'come-all-ye' meal for adults
With learning difficulties”

Some adjustments are more delightful
Than ‘completely reasonable,’
And no-one is truly


2. The Arts Manager

Her acceptance, enouragement and enthusiasm
Help us grow. Together.
From "Whoopsidaisy!"
To "Whoopee!"

She helps us grow trees of our talents
On the soil of our connectedness.

Our forest of creative fulfilment
Can ward off the desert's encroachment.


3. Reframing 'Economic Activity'

Let us broaden the horizons of full inclusion
Reflecting on life experiences illumines mine.

In place of "insufficient funds for full inclusion,"
Think of a broad continuum
Of gifts and needs and disabilities.

Consider that musical shaker
In that one helping hand —
Art in the Community!
Communal joie de vivre! —
Becoming 'economic activity'.

What is 'consideration'?

By Alan the Poet Therapeutic
© 2005 and 2020 by Alan Raymond Wheatley


Saturday, 21 November 2020

Everybody's Got Talent

 This poem — now [23 November] in its second draft — is toward introducing the poem 'The Arts Manager' as one of my open mic contributions for Amnesty International Worcester Group's Human Rights Day Poetry presentation, a Zoom event for the evening of Thursday, 10 December 2020.

In Praise of Human Potential

While Zen Buddhists pose the question:
“What is the sound of one hand clapping?”
I propose an image for you to imagine:

“Imagine a scene that I have witnessed,
Of a spoon-fed woman’s joyousness
Upon being given a musical shaker
That I — as cabaret entertainer —
Had offered for audience participation
At a 'come-all-ye' for adults
With learning difficulties”

Some adjustments are more delightful
Than ‘reasonable,’ and no-one
Is truly ‘ineducable’.

By Alan the Poet Therapeutic

21 November 2020

© 2020 by Alan Raymond Wheatley


Thursday, 13 September 2018

Birthday greetings to guitar teacher Ray Gallo of London N8

Getting back to this blog just now to upload photos for Birmingham folk music scene contacts, I got to looking back through my previous postings.

There I found a photo taken of me with guitar teacher Ray Gallo, whom I first connected with via adult education classes around 1985, and later reconnected with around 2011. And by coincidence, it is Ray's birthday this week, so that gives me a great excuse send him birthday greetings via blog posting!
Ray (left) and pupil Alan (right) show off to Ray's wife Karina
in March 2017
See also http://alanthepoettherapeutic.blogspot.com/2017/03/music-therapy-poem-for-my-guitar.html

Reconnecting with Birmingham Folk Music scene

I'm an ex-Brummie. (I lived in Birmingham, England from 1965 to 1977.) In my last few years as a Brummie I got involved with the Birmingham folk music scene through folk clubs The Grey Cock, The Old Crown Folk Club, the Black Pig Folk Club, and then Birmingham Traditional Music Club (BTMC) from early 1975 to my departure from Birmingham in October 1975. (My introduction to the clubs other than BTMC was a friend Maggie Whetnall whom I met via a New Year 1975 'Folk Revels' event at the Mayfair Ballroom; so Maggie was the first in a chain of links.)

Over the decades I kept faith with BTMC by visits around Christmas time as long as I had family living in Birmingham or Solihull, and kept the vinyl album BTMC regular singers made at the time of my departure in 1977, of which I had a leaving gift copy. Dave James of BTMC and his then wife Janet remained on my Christmas card list even after BTMC folded a few years ago.

Now that I'm
  • an Herefordian (again a West Midlander)
  • more musically accomplished person than I was as a Brummie, and 
  • approaching State Pension entitlement that brings with it fewer restrictions
I've got the urge to reconnect with the Birmingham Folk Music scene. So I found History of Folk Clubs in Birmingham by way of an Internet search, and then the website of Black Diamond Folk Club. It turns out that Black Diamond Folk Club is another name for what I knew as The Old Crown Folk Club but at a different location.

E-mail contact with Paul Ryan of Black Diamond Folk Club helped update me about the BTMC regulars I had last seen at BTMC. And I told Paul that I treasured the memory of a "You should have kept on singing" pep talk he gave me one day on a bus after I'd fouled up in singing the verses of a chorus song but been pulled more in tune by the audience while there were two people laughing embarrassingly at my performance.

Paul also asked me for a photo that he could share with the BTMC regulars who had known me. Though I e-mailed two photos — one from 1989 and one from a recent Wye Ruin It? demonstration against Herefordshire Council's proposed 'Western Relief Road' — Paul told me the photos did not come into his inbox okay.

So the big cue for this blog post has been to make these two photos more accessible to those now with Black Diamond Folk Club who would remember me, and also celebrate the support that experienced performer Paul Ryan gave me way back in 1975.

Alan (top right) in 1989 with Jean-Marie Lavillard, Marianne Segal,
Julie Felix and Sjoukje van der Luit.
Photo: Adapted from Watford Observer

Alan at the start of the 'Wye Walk' organised byWye Ruin It? on Saturday 4 August 2018

Monday, 29 January 2018

Hereford Misteletoe

Misteltoe grows in our Hereford air,
High up in the trees.
Hereford winds will blow our fences down
But can't dislodge it from our trees.

By Alan the Poet Therapeutic
Sunday, 28 January 2018
(c) by Alan Raymond Wheatley

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Digging deep for Campaign Against Arms Trade — a mini-speech to advance the fundraising of an excellent cause

Remember, remember, this 5th of November, BAE Systems,(1) slush money,(2) and Britain arming dictators again and again!(3)

Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) seeks nonviolently to put an end to all that.(4)

CAAT pursues peaceful economic revolutions in the name of 'conversion':(5)
  • Swords into ploughshares
  • Spears into pruning hooks
  • Missile delivery systems into more accessible and energy-efficient transport modes
  • Carpet bombs into a cornucopia of pastures of plenty and
  • Bullet holes into boreholes and artillery into artesian wells (6)
So please dig as deeply as you can
To help make such peaceful economic revolutions possible
As you donate to Campaign Against Arms Trade.(7)

Take part in peaceful economic revolutions for pastures of plenty.

By Alan the Poet Therapeutic


  1. https://www.caat.org.uk/search?q=BAE+systems
  2. https://www.caat.org.uk/search?q=slush+money
  3. https://www.caat.org.uk/search?q=britain+dictators
  4. https://www.caat.org.uk/about
  5. https://www.caat.org.uk/search?q=conversion
  6. Some poetic licence here.
  7. https://www.caat.org.uk/support-our-work/donate