There was a red stain on Jessica’s dress, it grew, an inkblot, a tattoo, a cloud above the East Fen and it travelled slowly above a spread table where the community were gathered
Ben Dawlish, whose whiskers fawn and charcoal curled upward at their ends, himself fourteen years a brother, poured, while the sun glinted on the children’s faces and they adored the amber falling
An aura spread, livid, across the eastern counties where the dark peat sod gave to the blade, five proud clydesdales each to their separate duty adorned, shiny with sweat, plaited by red ribbons hidden in their curls
Forged steel white, the frog, shaped like a hammered scimitar, weathered oak always the preferred timber for the mouldboard, it bears a heavy burden, a subject once of a Sunday sermon by Brother Sherman
Jessica asked neatly to up from the hand-plained table and all the younguns’ ran, this bleached summer, swallowtail, cetti’s, even a gyr falcon all frequent in the valley, another cloud hit the sun
The Marion maids so pretty, plain in cotton blouses attended to their duties, polyester smock dresses, their hair cascades in waterfalls as the trio that run off Bear Mountain on the long walk down into Ebdon Canyon
We came today to betroth the unity of freedom, two people washed of order and servile duty, now to bare their final vow and honour not the mutiny and infidelity of disorder but celebrate impunity with grace
The ladies rose to form a line, rehearsed and fine, a harmony, a coalition, despite its fond tradition, larks rising and falling, a cuckoo’s call, trumpet swan, no sound of hen, the baton bounding
And now across the fen, the sound of oiled engines, kick-start, bass rich and low they do splutter, proving not all men have morals of the gutter, a shout, a brave salute, we pound the back, rejoin, never mutter and never mute
The sun descends behind the eastern slopes, fires lit add apricots and cardinals, a galaxy of cerulean, silver and lemon and the warmest glow, excited children late to bed, their voices lift, a golden bow to angels arrows
Jessica has changed her dress, her hair no longer is a mess, aside the fire she sings a prayer, a voice of water, a galaxy of stars and to this tune community attests this evening, this day, this union, nothing less –
when Croydon was Reggae City – the Boss and Scottie
On the London Road, south of Brixton, eight mile north of Coulsdon South Two friends had slipped the cordon’s leash down the road from Banstead Heath Notoriety and fame, inside a Consul convertible, they rode to light the fires of youth That eternal, adolescent flame – tho’ we were still but children playing adult games In a playground of our choosing, a culture fuelled by boozing and music Caribbean Cropped-haired girls, shaven-haired lads, intoxicated for a season, drawn by that age-old reason
Let loose on a four-bar beat, a syncopated rhythm, culture born of immigration schism At a time before glam, punk, American pie, when non-LGBT males had no wish to die Around the brag and dazzle of boy-girl seditions, under a veil of virginal permissions She learned to drink babycham, attend to boys emissions, excepting all conditions He was out for tottie cruising, learned to play the game so well, terrified of losing! Collected girlfriends, proficiency badges, a young gigolo who could talk to the ladies
We shared a bed like brothers, not like real lovers, at his parents home near Sutton, Intoxicated by beers, we shared our hopes and fears, planned our next night out We never got in fights, earned the right to go on double-dates, we were solid mates The modesty of the age was far less specific, far more erotic due to a shared naiveté In truth, a generation raised on Andy Pandy and Woodentops struggled to get randy Her brand new skates, his brand new key and a wet halfpenny between her knees
Teddy boys, beatniks, rockers, looking over her mod-suit, mohair shoulder, Saw right through her ‘Chelsea’ cut, she tried to look like a skinhead slut, Talk dirty, wear suits with a slit in her skirt that was split to halfway up Yet the face she wore betrayed her moral choices, a blur of ‘ten’ adolescent voices Susie would much rather grasp his shiny key and choke his splendour Than risk explaining to her mother how her little girl became a sixties lover
Tailored, tonic mini skirts and tops discreet, 60’s mod-girls never flashed their teats Faces pale as pastry, eye-shadow huge, baby cheeks coloured with just a little rouge Working class girls, sound as a pound, from the top of their heads to their feet on the ground Accepted attention to their cups and their plates, only allowed on pre-arranged dates She knew his good-night kiss, that fumbled feel inside her skirt might require a tissue But as long as she kept her honour – ‘the pill’ wouldn’t become an issue
When we were jaunty, walking the streets – ‘All ye skinheads put ya’ boots on yer feet’ Ben Sherman shirts, masted jeans, with roll-over tops and braces The boys at the disco wore shiny suits, the girls cropped haircuts were honest-cute Though the papers talked of roving gangs who terrorised London That being the age-old duty of the press – struth! – in truth, in Croydon Town You would struggle, to find a better vintage of youth, on or off the vine
Where I was raised, upside of sleepy Cheam, identity was not there for the taking Post-war rationale shaped your life, all that what was expected was a job and a wife Youth culture was only just emerging and only Billy Butlin offered any hope So we learned how to dance at the Croydon Suite, to Jamaican bands, a reggae beat Journeyed to Balham, to an all-blacks store, next to the station to buy some more Or at the Music shop in London Road, Croydon where you could buy your 45 Trojan’s
The panic we carried was nothing to today, violence was minimal whatever they say The press they love to exaggerate, from Primrose Hill to Watergate The scariest place I have ever been was a trip to Crystal Palace Hotel Reggae Night Where each Saturday at the Disco you could dance to ska, reggae and rock-steady The place and the faces there, were as black as coal, the Rude-boys ruled the show Scottie and I, with his shaved blonde head, were the only white boys I saw that night Then a Rude-boy placed a blade to his back and whispered coldly in his ear ‘White boy you don’t belong in here, don’t ever come back!’
… so we never did!
Yes, I was a skinhead in Croydon Town 1966 – 1970!
The relationship between white skinheads and black culture is a hard one to explain. Back in the 60’s, generally, black boys, they humoured us but never welcomed us. The skinhead fascination and love of West Indian music and culture was no doubt in part, prompted psychologically by a recognition that black people had been downtrodden, misunderstood and in lots of ways annexed by middle-class white society. A perfect background resume for an anti-establishment cult-trend you might say. That skinhead cultural shift might even appear today as an early step towards BLM. Unfortunately the facts do not support this idea. The truth is, that us white boy skinheads, suede heads, peanuts, hard-mods, whatever you might have called us back then, were seen by working-class black boys as culture vultures! They saw our interest in their music as intrusive, as an attempt at yet another form of racist exploitation and an attempt to steal and enslave something that was theirs by birth-rite and blood – we weren’t really welcome in their clubs, bars and establishments and generally they didn’t like us or visit ours. It also should be noted that despite enjoying black music and culture, other skinhead hotbeds around the country could be overtly racist with early links to groups like the National Front which kind of creates a cognitive dissonance when attempting to comment on the whole ‘skinhead’ cultural history. It can only be explained I suppose by recognising there were many different outworkings of the cult-fashion-trend and after all we are talking about – Croydon, where the terms suede-head. that Morrissey later sang of and even peanuts were as frequently used to describe skinheads way back in 1967.
Young white girls who tried to retain their moral convictions in white-white relationships, preferring a culture of heavy-petting and male or even mutual masturbation to full sex became easy-prey to black boys whose interest in them was far more direct, sensual and in some cases, definitely predatory. White skinhead girls in Croydon dated black guys as a kind of badge they wore, seeing black boys as the ‘real deal’ and often these girls submitted to the notion of full-sex with black guys whilst in white-white relationships they would defer and offer a hand-job substitute. You have to understand that many parents of teenage girls in both working class and middle class cultures were still reluctant in the mid-sixties to encourage their daughters to take the pill, fearing it would lead to promiscuity and so young people often relied on ineffective condoms as their only means of birth control. Consequently, as birth control and ‘the pill’ were still taboo subjects, many young, white girls became pregnant to black fathers who then sadly then dumped them, I personally knew of several girls who had this happen. Of course there were notable and very happy exceptions to this rule many of whom have gone on to enjoy happy and faithful relationships.
It was only really the arrival and mainstream acceptance of artists like Eddie Grant, Bob Marley and performers like Jimmy Cliff and Desmond Dekkar who alongside white artists who performed ‘reggae’ style songs such as the Beatles, the Specials and UB40 that black youth eventually set free the reggae genre and moved on to other more exclusive and radical black music-styles like rap, hip-hop, gangsta etc.etc.
edenbray in 1967
we called ourselves ‘the boss and scottie’
Notoriety and fame, inside a Consul convertible, they rode to light the fires of youth
… Tailored, tonic mini skirts, tops discreet, 60’s mod-girls never flash their teats
~ ~ ~
Authors Final Postscript
I agree, this is as raw and basic as it gets. This piece was an experiment in poetry.
Adolescence is far from pretty – It’s fragile, vulnerable, selfish and messy.
It’s about what I need and what I can get whilst I metamorphosize from a child into an adult. Poetry should not always be fine and pretty and honourable, sometimes it should be human, awkward and shitty. There is no one more disillusioned, freaked out, uncool than an adolescent youth. No one has more questions to ask than a young adult. No one is more ashamed of their humanity and its degradation. No one needs more understanding and care and love and support than the adolescent and sadly no other age of young people got less than we did in that time of perceived plenty after the war when apparently we had never had it so good and we should have thought ourselves lucky.
Don’t judge my poem because its not Wordsworth, Byron or Shelley. Understand its honesty, naiveté, its simplicity, its youthful sway and you may discover it is charming.
Therefore, despite it’s sharp rough edges and lack of discernment and taste I’m leaving this poem here on my page as one of my ‘That’s Me In The Middle’ Series of Poems.
It’s autobiographical, very very honest, it’s funny and what’s more it’s true.
It would take too much time to tell the tall man all the mighty moments he had stored
Aboard the centrifugal, the stargate frugal, the narrowest way known to heaven
And he surrounded with adorned pleasure, only this the measure of a stargaze warp
And Delaware, a mystic rose whose gown floats above any battle-scarred morning
She of sweeter disposition, she strong, mighty in battle, like a Boadicea on her chariot
Golden as the palace of Versailles where all is wooden like chess pieces in a drama
We are always just voyeurs, stepping in and then stepping out, uncertain, yet nervous
Like two small children faced with the problem of adulthood bearing down upon us
No wonder Gerollitas’ generation had that real problem with acceptance and worth
I have missed your warm smile and your attention, I digress to the point of annihilation
Only smooth talkers, aristocrats and charlatans eventually find a way with words
The rest of us struggle like warm wasps on the scent of Mexican hunny or fresh apples
The accolade interrupted by moon-worshippers heading west to greet a ‘brand new day’
Where sonnets roll around the yard like blue grass tumbleweed, hogs snort contented
And all this while, sound Orion’s gassy surface pumps light into our chosen hemisphere
A madrigal plays on softly, borrowed from another time and the latin quarter
Herecles still spinning wool, has surrendered his club to serve Lardanus’s daughter
Even great legends like Hercules or JFK can bow submissive to passions disorder
And there’s always a silly wren hopping around inconstant and shallow as a limpet
Clouds can be so disarming, vivacious, yet threaten, they are prone to characterisation
Dispassionate, an undervalued word in a psychiatric world where ambiguity is desired
The choices we make, so often strapped to Orion’s belt, drifting ever so slightly
Orion, caught in the dark sky awaiting the makers time to throw off his hunters caution
Climb the seven steps, jettison the seven stars, the sisters who are tied to Orion’s girth
Ainitak, Ainilam and Mintaka beautiful names three, but were these the names chosen?
Or the names spoken of in the great counsel where sit the elders golden, twenty four?
Who cast their crowns down by virtue of their knowledge of Job’s understandable folly
O bright counsel informs the stars brighter than the planets, the knowledge of the free
O marvellous reason that unfolds the seasons to offer words of hope to the bold Orion
Caught in Samson’s madness, overcome by the sadness only the pure must endure
Arise, shake off the morning, pledge the moon, salute the burning sun and stars,
Write words in sand, travel long, acknowledge now that time like Orion is not free
Run to greet the crashing waves of futures dawning, surely Orion’s summer has come
The sisters sound the warning, cascading and drawing, lines of perspective in the sky
We learn much from tales of splendour, prophets candour, the rigmarole of anger
An unfurled banner, as Apollo’s lie and bad manners direct Artemis’s arrows as they fly
The arena of consequence is now settled like an evening sky, the band play Perfidia
Even Orion cursed by this polygamy of treachery and betrayal awaits his redemption
The old man of the night bound by satans light, cross-referenced to his heathen plight
The dichotomy of reason hides so well the magical and submissive virtue that was Isaac
History’s vaults released some 10, some 20, yet the unknown is also known by its father
The truth set free for all to see attended by the spill of wine, sounds of joyous laughter
Collect the pages now, assemble them in order, bind them down with cord and gum
Clear the back room, Gallileo’s horn points t’ward the sky, Caxton’s press of ink runs dry
Guttenberg, a godlike hero like Alexander Graham Bell, Newton, Maximillian Schell?
Absurdity, nestles in with honesty and valour, frailty and discord find no place in Valhalla
Asgaard’s mountains resound with echoes of heroes fallen, not tales of treachery
Within such silver vaults, Orion and the brothers walk and talk of mankind’s destiny
There is not time to tell of all embroidered yarns, plaitted curls on Adam’s tattoed earth
Or book a seat alongside mother Eve, watch commentary of her iconic, anguished birth
The globe turns slowly for the lost and lonely who look hard for the noble and holy
Orion speaks into a chaos, a catastrophe, centred around metropolis’s pained contusion
We all sit, full of learning in the counsel of King Arthur, knights who wait for their end
Summon Jupiter, Methuselah, Odin’s son, the counsel of the wise, armed with weapons of iron
Hammer the breastplate, gild the helmet, mount the white horse, rouse the sentry
Here we, masters of our inheritance, regal champions who slew Behemoth in turn
Circle like crows beneath the dome of Andromeda, afeared the hunters beak and claw
There steps forth then, as bold to speak, from out the carbon skies
One who has listened deep and cold to many stories, myths, and to their many lies
Not a fourth comforter whose disgrace and pain of shame never were well hidden
A bright star listed in the book written by the heart of god if not by his injured hand
Collected words from a sorry band of misfits, harlequin and humbled rogues
Who in their weakness and their folly, sowed frailty and brokenness, to cut a slice of holy
Orion speaks for those with fears, for those who stand a little nervous in Jibrails hall
For those who stepped outside the tent, whose eyes arched away from heaven
Who true of heart, enjoy the strangest loyalty to Pleiades band of seven
Listen now ye coldest moon who lights the bleakest beacon and ye dumb Trojan horse
Whose wooden, blanket eyes hide the stench of good men stolen, listen as Orion speaks
He understands your treason, shows pity, understanding, God’s mercy, bronze-swollen
In common with a lot of my recent work and in part motivated by a habit I picked up during my recent CV-19 Isolation, I have taken to writing a kind of PREQUEL – FOREWARD – an ‘AFTERWARD’ if you will but at any rate an Author’s ‘comment’.
I do this, not by way of translation but rather as a suggestion or possibly a more attainable connection. Poetry is actually how I prefer to communicate with others but its a hard language with which to develop relationships.
‘ORION SPEAKS’ as a written piece has been brewing a long time inside and I’m still not sure its finished. ‘Distilling’ may actually be a better choice of word than brewing.
It forms a ‘pair’ with the TRIALS OF MILES BLACKMAN which I also may open up and work some more on. A POEM is a sculpture that is never finished, a story that really has no conclusion. There may even be a 3rd Part to follow.
ORION is a mannequin upon which to hang my clothes and it might also be termed ‘autobiographical’, I’m not certain I can claim that.
Can you step away from EARTH for a brief ten minutes to view the stars and ‘listen’?
Can you search your soul for one brief hour and consider in truth our beginning?
ORION has been important throughout the story of mankind. ORION SPEAKS and has spoken to many generations.
edenbraytoday – 3rd. August 2020
He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names.
“Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades or loose the cords of Orion?”
Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? …
He who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning and darkens the day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the surface of the earth, the Lord is his name; AMOS
The Orion Arm is a minor spiral arm of the Milky Way Galaxy that is 3,500 light-years (1,100 parsecs) across and approximately 10,000 light-years (3,100 parsecs) in length, containing the Solar System, including Earth.
Orion’s Belt or the Belt of Orion, also known as the Three Kings or Three Sisters, is an asterism in the constellation Orion. It consists of the three bright stars Alnitak, Alnilamand Mintaka. Looking for Orion’s Belt in the night sky is the easiest way to locate Orion in the sky.
Which star shines the brightest?Sirius ASirius A and B. The brightest star in the sky is Sirius, also known as the “Dog Star” or, more officially, Alpha Canis Majoris, for its position in the constellation Canis Major. Sirius is a binary star dominated by a luminous main sequence star, Sirius A, with an apparent magnitude of -1.46.
“Over 25,000 individual measures of the Pleiades stars are now available, and their study led to the important discovery that the whole cluster is moving in a southeasterly direction. The Pleiades stars may thus be compared to a swarm of birds, flying together to a distant goal. This leaves no doubt that the Pleiades are not a temporary or accidental agglomeration of stars, but a system in which the stars are bound together by a close kinship.” From our perspective on Earth, the Pleiades will not change in appearance; these stars are marching together in formation toward the same destination, bound in unison, just as God described them.
Two of the greatest of its stars, Betelgeuse and Rigel, possess, as far as has been ascertained, no perceptible motion across the line of sight, but there is a little movement perceptible in the ‘Belt.’ At the present time this consists of an almost perfect straight line, a row of second-magnitude stars about equally spaced and of the most striking beauty. In the course of time, however, the two right-hand stars, Mintaka and Alnilam (how fine are these Arabic star names!) will approach each other and form a naked-eye double, but the third, Alnita, will drift away eastward, so that the ‘Belt’ will no longer exist.” Unlike the Pleaides clusters, the stars in the band of Orion do not share a common trajectory. In the course of time, Orion’s belt will be loosened just as God told Job.
I’ve been in the attic, I’ve been in the cellar, I raided my notebooks –I’M HAVING A YARD SALE – It’s a Car Boot – THEY’RE UNFINISHED LINES, unfinished poems, POEMS THAT MISSED OUT ON PREVIOUS RETROSPECTIVES, good ideas, BAD IDEES, inspiration, OR JUST GOOD TITLES, abortive attempts – IM CLEARING THE BACKLOG – opening up the storehouse – IT’S A COLONIC IRRIGATION – an enema – I’M MILKING THE PAPS – so mother writer’s milk might flow through fresh again!
… … …
GUILT NEVER WEARS A HAPPY FACE
Setting aside our current concerns over Covid-19, people of today get paranoid about a number of relatively illogical things, depending on your point of view or your particular peccadillo. From the dangers of passive smoking, through asbestos poisoning and wells disease to the many and varied phobias including the usual and familiar, like claustrophobia, aracnaphobia and onto those even more extreme than the likes of brontophobia (fear of thunderstorms) or mysophobia (fear of germs)!
However damaging the subject of these rattlesnake fears may be to their victims, none of them can ever be as controlling or debilitating than the inner curse that is the nub of that mischievous little 5-letter symptomia known as – guilt (cue – flashing thunder and scary music please) … Psychologists, psychoanalysts, fundamentalist Christians theologians, Catholic priests and basically most world religions teachers, philosophers, political leaders and social analysts would all give you differing, possibly predictable but non the less worthy responses to the age old question, what is guilt?
Edenbray is not here today to catalogue, reiterate, confirm or criticise these many well documented beliefs or respected, proven and accepted diagnosis. No, today I just want to simply take a cool, long and hard look in the eye of the little blighter. This annoying, secretive parasite of the human psyche that can burrow its way into the human mind and soul and grow to such an unhealthy scale that apparently, it can help create mass murderers, serial killers and psychoanalytic nightmares of the weirdest and strangest order, yet for the most of us ( hastily he separates himself from the earlier list ) guilt has at the least, been the cause of not a few arguments, both inner and vocalised, has wrought untold emotional pain and angst and contributed to not a few very stupid actions and reactions. Or am I the only one?
Deny guilt has a say in your life to your peril my friend, for this devious little ‘shit’ will gnaw out your very soul right in the fleshy centre of that denial and at the very least ruin many a pleasant afternoon stroll or even a healthy game of scrabble. No, joking aside, we are not all psychopathic monsters riddled with parent-induced, strict religious guilt but we all do on some scale or other, fall prey from time to time, to the little monster known as ‘guilt’.
#Note :~ the word guilt rhymes with ‘quilt’ which seems kind of poetic as squares of guilt when sewn together will eventually grow into huge proportions in much the same way as a patchwork quilt??
It has to be said that bed linen may not actually disguise guilt but it could be seen to cover those many acts of unfaithfulness and deceit that can easily lead to one very common cause of guilt. In my search to determine what guilt actually looks like, I have decided to organise an ‘identikit’ operation that hopefully will lead to a kind of IDENTITY PARADE and to eventually single out the little shit. We may then stitch these patchwork cameo’s of ‘guilt’ together and ultimately learn to recognise the traits of this insidious little demon known as ‘guilt’.
Guilt never has a happy face
We may process what we know about guilt more by what we know it doesn’t look like than what it does. For example true guilt never has a happy face, nor is it particularly attractive. It may smile but that smile mostly turns out to be little more than a sneer. G.u.i.l.t can never really be beachball jolly, I’m sorry but that’s the way it is!
When we have eventually singled ‘guilt’ out, isolated it, named it and shamed it we may begin to ask – How did we ever fall prey to its wiles and devious schemes? How did we let this little phsyco bully us, invade us, worry us, negatively influence us and ultimately dominate us.
Paragons of un-virtue will interlude at this point that they have no truck with this ‘pious’, self-righteous and shameless little roadster. ‘I feel no guilt’ is the monogram on many a playboys shorts, embezzlers wallet or dodgy tradesmen’s van. Any shyster, con-artist or on a bawdy tarts bra and knickers, if she wears any. To these and all those who manage to control their inner voices like Al Capone wielding a baseball bat, they will maintain they remain ‘guiltless’, yet guilt still remains an Alien in our midst, under our skin and inside our heads and personally should I ever meet such a one, face to face, he’ll get short shrift from my particular maple bat as I’m certainly not one of those to entertain the notion of change, open-mindedness or to willingly allow any one, sick, psycho to influence my life or actions.
So this essay on guilt is clearly aimed at those who believe in visitors from out of space or that have already met the slimy little monster with a head full of teeth whose name begins with a ‘gee’ and ends with a ‘tee’.
Yes, guilt my friend affects us all I would propose at some time or other, even the supposed ‘guiltless’ and while guilt is not beautiful, alluring, pretty, handsome or desirable it is not necessarily ugly either, in the same way as say a malignant cancer’s physical appearance to the naked eye can be mute and non-alarming.
The problem with guilt is that it nags like a puss-filled boil, an insect bite, a domineering wife, husband or partner. It chaffs and worries us like a hungry baby, a pain in the groin or an unpaid bill. Until we meet its demands, it hangs over us like a blackmailer with the darkest of our secrets. It sends messages with devious cunning that we uncover in the unlikeliest moments. It can make us act strange and if we bury it deep, it leaves molehills on the surface of our landscaped lives to remind us it has escaped and is still roaming ‘out there’, dangerous, naked and free.
Guilt is no respecter of a persons age, background or social standing and people caught in its spidery web resort to the strangest, wildest, most diabolic recourse to remove its incessant taunts. You might say its vengeance is extreme.
Guilt does not let you be your ‘real’ self
Guilt hides away in the crevices of the human heart and the folds of the human brain and teaches us to do likewise. It is a skeleton in the closet, a ghost in the dark night, a rat in the attic – appearing at moments when you think it may has gone for good. Guilt is ‘your’ secret, even though you hide it so well, or you think you did. You’re better off without it but how do you ‘out’ it and how do you get the alien ‘out of the closet’? How do you set that particular demon free? It’s a dilemma and no mistake and one that keeps a whole lotta’ people in work.
Multiple analysts, counsellors, doctors, priests – all earn a good living dealing with other peoples guilt …. So how do we cut loose from this fettered monster? Choose your poison. Maybe we should all learn to become a bit more honest about the things that make us feel guilty. Drag them screaming out into the light of day and expose them for what they are. Make coffee-time with your friends your personal confessional. Come on, get it off your chest, you know you want to and you might be surprised where it will all lead, just a little of that good old heartfelt honesty. Maybe people will find you a lot more interesting. It might turn out a real turn-on for them or maybe they will recognise you are human after all and a lot more like themselves than they had realised. Open the cage and step out into the light my friends.