Mike Douse lives in Ennis in Clare and in Mountain Ash in Wales. A former Head Teacher and Education Professor, he has worked in and advised on EU-supported education programmes, in over 60 developing countries, reflected upon in his recent books An Enjoyment of Education and The Global School – Education in the Time of Digitisation (now available on Amazon at bargain prices. Mike was among those who established the World School Students Debating Championships and has judge many school debates across the west of Ireland. He has published two collections of poetry, Old Ground and Gone to Ground, along with numerous articles and reviews, recently producing, on behalf of the Clare Poetry Collective, a teachers’ guide and a short film aimed at encouraging the enjoyment and creation of poetry by children.

A Brief Economic History of Time

Time is a pernicious capitalist conspiracy to make the richest ever richer while cunningly compelling the poor continually to borrow
At exorbitant rates of disinterest on the fallacious basis that today is significantly better and considerably less expensive than tomorrow
Consequent upon the ‘then’ being prohibitively more costly than the ‘now’ with the delay being subject to harsh and regressive restitution
Whereby those with much less than nothing must pledge that which they do not possess in order to dwell in perpetual destitution;
Just as the underprivileged’s inability to subsist without subsidy from the moneylender from this ‘now’ until that ‘then’ arrives
Necessitates around the clock hard labour just to achieve a life that he or she far from enjoys but, at the very best, more or less survives.
As, not only does that interest cripple the obligated indigent and the repayment of any part of the principal remain quite unachievable,
But also the accumulated debts themselves become strangely fascinating subjects of speculation and, what is scarcely believable,
The derivatives in turn and turnaround are exchanged incessantly at ever-increasing prices by bonus-minded braces-wearing investment bankers
So that all too soon the economic body politic is characterised by mental breakdowns, malign tumours, heatstroke and debilitating cankers
Until the crash crash crash inevitably occurs and the little people forfeit their remaining savings and the nation’s financial heart ceases beating
At which stage the dysfunctional financial institutions are bailed-out as far too big to fail and, in consequence, the pattern keeps repeating
For it is the hard-working proletariat who does the bailing while the plutocratic perpetrators maintain an existence verging upon the sublime
                                                                                                 While they should all be doing time.

Seasons of Revolution

Utterly straightforward in seeking flawless springtime, beacons Fired up by faith and comradeship, overthrowing the outgrown:
We are as ebullient as mountain hares.

Ridiculously easy in proud summer, we are still defined
By demolition, not yet rebuilding on the memorable rubble:
We are as confident (yet cautious) as the hooded crows.

Increasingly tricky to pick the right way forward through autumn’s
Heaps of fading fool’s gold leaves, battered by over-ripe reality:
We are as village dogs in an eclipse.

Trudging with much difficulty those winter snows that soon will
Turn to slush, long hours of darkness welcomed to conceal despair:
But I remain as resolute as elemental steel.


There is this Seychelles tortoise Jonathan, residing
In the South Atlantic now, alive since eighteen
Thirty-two, around the time that William Pitt
Was hatching income tax, a temporary expedient,
He said, to pay the bills to banish Bonaparte.

We went to see Methuselah (Pinus longaeva) in
Inyo County, California, almost five thousand years
Of age. The biblical Methuselah was long-lived too:
His grandson Noah is best-known for his ark
(Made out of gopher wood and not of pine).

And then there are those jellyfish biologists believe
May live for ever: sans eyes, sans ears, sans mouth,
Sans heart, sans brain, sans backbone – hence, sans spine –
You call that living! Ninety-six per cent of them is water
(And I myself am two-thirds water, once was fresh).

I am the Alpha and the Romeo. My consciousness
Defines the border of existence for all – a transitory
Casement in the perpetuity of oblivion – the Omega-3
That never misses one mere millisecond – the infinite
Which I transcend and, just by being here, define.

So I shall stroll with Jonathan and climb Methuselah
And outlive every jellyfish, all in my own good time.
Oh yes, I count the hours – but they may not count me
Nor be aware of my recording them. Attentiveness
Is all. When mine expires, the whole thing ends as well.