Declaration 9 – Exploring Exile

Article 9 reads: No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

The human rights tree on the green now has a tent where grass used to lie

Declaration 9 – Exploring Exile
Winter, cold
Days getting longer
Winter, hibernation
Sleep, as always makes us stronger

Longer and stronger
By the fire heating the hearth
Reflecting in flames
Burning to an ember before ash

Burning and reflecting
On who we were, what we had
The dreams we made, the work we gave
Before planning before policy

Dreaming and working
Dreaming and working
Making and giving
Making and giving

Who we were
When we were young
Way back in time
In springtime

In springtime
Which now returns
Finding us reborn but different
Older, less hopeful, resigned

Finding us, resigned
To a loss we fought to save
Our place, in time, a flicker
We name, regeneration

Dreaming and working
Making and Giving
Dreaming and Working
Making and Giving

Stronger in sunshine
We find a key within
To unlock those things
We never truly lost

Those real things
Making us who we are
Returning refreshed
To what we have again

Renewed strength
In the friends we made
The things they gave
Strong in knowing a name

Making and Giving
Dreaming and working
Making and Giving
Dreaming and Working

Exiled from a place
This is of our time in exile
But our deeds, our work
Our dreams never met with exile

And so we Dream
And so we Work
And so we Make
And so we Give

And as we give
Those things we made
From within our work
Built in our dreams – we feel a long way off from exile


Leave a Comment

Declaration 8: An Effective Remedy

Declaration 8 – An Effective Remedy

Article 8 reads: Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

The aspirin is an effective remedy
For headaches. And is said to be
Helpful to the heart.

The aspirin is effectively available
In chemists. And can be got from
A high street near you.

The aspirin is actually and easily
Digestible. And, last time I looked
Very cheap to buy.

Aspirins remain an effective remedy
Unlike judges. And councillors
Crooked from the start.

Aspirins remain an effective remedy
For the body. Not for developers
Driving their fast cars.

The aspirin is an effective remedy
except for the law. You need a lot more
than aspirins for that headache

Leave a Comment

Declaration 7; Protection


Article 7.

All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

With deference to Bob Dylan and Massive Attack for there early words on equality and protection


All are equal before the law
Haw Haw
All are entitled to protection of the law
Ho Ho Ho its xmas

Equality he spoke these words
As if a wedding vow
Then stood in front of judges
To take the force of the blow

The homes come down
The land is bruised
The town is scarred
The judges cruise

The investor spoke
He waved his wad
He had a toke
Spat on the sod

He built high walls

Took up your light
No privacy
No fight

He soiled the ground
Played in dirt
Don’t turn round
He can’t be hurt

His wallet is big
He pays the price
His honour worships him
Says he’s really nice

There is no protection
From the property developer
From the noise
Made by his guys
No school house
No fire station
Just emotional

He builds the gates
He alarms his fence
He takes whats his
He cannot miss out

And you just lie
And take it
No Protection
I hear you sigh
And fake it
No Protection

I heard you protest
No protection
I heard you petition
For protection
I heard you say
You want protection

You wanted to save
A building
A green, a square,
From their protection
A tree, an idea
A job, a community
From their protection

A social scene
A way of life
A preference
Safe from their protection

All are equal before the law
Haw haw
Entitled to protection of the law
Ho Ho Ho
I write these lines at christmas
For I believe in Santa Claus
Plastic toys
and Protection

Leave a Comment

Going Forwards Going Backwards

The title for this one is a direct lift from Colin Hambrook, who in an award free review of Disability Arts Online‘s year, gave freely and without malice, the following citation:

“Our 2017 blogger of the year award has to go to Richard Downes who set himself the target of posting once a week and has been furiously writing poetry covering his journeys, thoughts and reflections on humanity, life and disability over the past year.”

I humbly doff my cap to Colin. Just as I do towards local activist and admin of Hornsey Town Hall‘s facebook group who offered me this gratefully accepted appointment;

“as Admins of the  Hornsey Town Hall FB group would like to ask you to consider becoming our poet in residence. There are no duties, financial rewards or obligations but obviously we hope you’ll grace our pages if you feel so minded”.

I felt so minded. Just as I felt so minded to take up the aforementioned Colin’s suggestion that I start performing my poetry. I did this at DAISY Fest 2017 (Disability Arts In Surrey) where I nabbed open mic slots in Farnham and Epsom. DAISY gave me a new sense of community and involvement. It opened me up to how good and how disastrous I can be whilst learning my lines and paying my dues.

2017 was about the honours.

Will 2018 lead to more performance and this poet finally finding his voice

Leave a Comment

One New Years Eve Many Years Ago

I tell this story sometimes. I’m not sure I ever wrote it down. That I have now is because of this article in Disability Arts Online.

There was this pub on the corner of Stroud Green Road. I was to meet my mate Neale there.  Neale is arty and really committed to it. As such he knows arty people and he is always happy to introduce his friends to me.

That night he introduced to two people.

First a woman who introduced herself. By name first and then with this; “I am an artist. My art is informed by my experience of gender”.

I accepted what she said before turning to a black man who also introduced himself by name first before going on to say; “I am an artist. My art is informed by my experience of race.

I accepted what he said before saying; “Hi. I’m Rich. I too am an artist. My art is informed by my experience of disability.”

The artists looked at each other. Looked at me. And said; “Naaaaaarrrrrrhhhhhhh!!!!! you’re not disabled”

Leave a Comment

Declaration 6: A view on the colour of law

Article 6.

Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.


In Haringey we have a law
In Crouch End we have a view
In Crouch End the view on law
Is that it has a special hue
And through that hue
It remains our view
That property owners, developers
Will do what they will do

And as for me a forlorn tree
There will be no representation
Only petitions and voices raised
By my beaten deputation
Made up of those who sat around
Kicked a ball or raised a song
Lawyers, barristers, none are found
I won’t be here too long

Summer’s gone the honeyed sun
Shone above my station
Whilst I stood to watch you run
We thought not of conservation
Here now with snow and cold dark nights
You sit in pubs wondering what to do
About the corrupt who have the law
Its green hue and our sodden view

Leave a Comment

The Tree and the Apartment Block A.K.A. Cruelty and What It Gets

The Tree and the Apartment Block
A.K.A. Cruelty and What It Gets

I live here

We live here

In this square

One storey Up

Embedded in the earth

Floating in concrete

Deep Communal Roots

In love with her

30 years

30 years and more

I live well

It’s been good

I feel strong

We have loved

I dig in

We sleep, we dream

For today they come

For tomorrow they threaten

To chop into my space

To demolish and destroy

To cut into the soil

3 Victorian Villas

Hack away with shovels

Drive in the heavy metal

Today they hurt

Today our lives are broken

Grab and grasp and grapple

Bulldoze beloved buildings

Tie me up with ropes

Swing the wrecking ball

And pull and yank and tear

Raising dirt and dust and debris

At my lodgings

Next to where we live

Tearing apart my tendrils

The noise that we are hearing

Scattering my children

The darkness we are facing

Away from the true branch

The light we are forsaking

They lift me away

We need to get away

Into the air without water

To leave our friends and neighbours

Hooded by tarpaulin

Our heads pushed into sand

A rope around my girth

The ties we have to break

Waiting for release

Await a brand new day

Cleaved into a new hole

Another place to live

A new place

A new town full of strangers

A ghetto of their choosing

A new place full of dangers

And yet I find

And yet we find

I find within

We find within

The will to sustain

Our lives carry on

And carry on

And carry on and on

And wish for those tendrils

And wish for those we knew

Left behind to grow

To always know us well

And burst and rupture through

And find a voice that grows

Concrete covering my former home

To speak up for their homes

Leave a Comment

Older Posts »
The Secret Acre

Our journey to a happier life, more in tune with nature, on a one acre smallholding

Colin Hambrook's art and poetry blog

Knitting Time: a project about the experience of psychosis

Nancy's Book Blog

Book Reviews And Gift Ideas.


Just Stuff I do, or like, or shout about!


cartoons at the cutting edge of disability


'Ave It!


Disability my way is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

%d bloggers like this: