Monthly Archives: August 2014


 [ On Aug 18th Ireland’s Village magazine  issued an article critical of Seamus Heaney. As I’ve been unable to post a comment to Village – something looks to be wrong at the site, presumably the cause no one has written a reply to what elsewhere is being tweeted about – I shall put my response on record here].



It is refreshing to read any contrary or critical take on Heaney and the cult of him such as Kevin Kiely offers. Not everyone considers Heaney a notable poet – Camille Paglia wouldn’t even include him in an anthology, deeming him a third rate Yeats. My own views as author and poet were made clear enough last year in my poem and accompanying article Remembering Seamus Heaney at   Today I wouldn’t wish to add or subtract to what I wrote except to affirm that I don’t believe poetic inspiration or laws of inner being have anything in common with ripples over a scullery bucket – the sort of thing that got told to Heaney’s Nobel Prize audience.

Though he has inevitably been criticized for  “putting the boot” into a sacred icon, in the course of doing so Kiely is also right to raise questions about the literary establishment and how things get published and for whom and why. This is a valid issue too often ignored.

In my own case and scandalously, one of Australia’s leading poets, and despite the fact I had had a whole poetic drama broadcast on the ABC here, refused to accept me for Penguin New Poets because I had presumed to use “such hopelessly archaic words as ‘conduct’ and ‘bestow’”. In England (where Shakespeare actress Dorothy Tutin couldn’t get her recommendation of me for publication accepted) or Ireland, the attitudes aren’t much better, and it’s the reason for many years I abandoned poetry as any kind of expression for anything at all if you really want to communicate ideas and beliefs to the public. Also if you have any kind of  feelings higher than the “Mud Vision” (which in some ways encapsulates Heaney’s extreme earthiness), then there’s no place for you in the new humdrum, anti visionary world  of modern poetry. By now its bias  has seriously compromised a major function of poetry in reaching towards the transcendent.

Last year I suggested, more than once, that Poetry Ireland might read my if nothing else  competent  The Hell Passage: Inferno Cantos for Today ( I never received so much as an acknowledgement from them, though I did from such as Howard Storm, author of the bestselling My Descent into Death, who opined as one who claimed to have visited hell, that it was a good evocation he hoped many might read. (It is incidentally not based on my own experiences!). However, a recent poem of mine, Coming to Syracuse (Epyllion not Epic,  Urblogues not Eclogues) (, is based, among other things, upon visiting Sicily this year. I have not offered it or anything written during the last year to any magazine or publisher as it seriously isn’t worth it. The prejudiced attitudes of the literary establishment are such I would no longer waste my time. Let others appeal for me if they consider my work worth it – as they should.

Even the mentioned Australian poet who turned me down, remarked I must have been studying the classics for years (but I hadn’t) to arrive at such Virgilian musicality. The secret they didn’t know (and I myself wasn’t aware of back then over twenty years ago) and doubtless the un-Yeatsian rationalist literary establishments would discount, is that as far as the heavens are concerned I have already won the lottery where poetry is concerned. In improbable combination, Poesia   (the asteroid)  was stationed in my house of destiny at birth, Virgil  conjuncted my sun and Shelley was at the rising. Small wonder poet and critic Kathleen Raine made a comparison of me with the Romantics and some of my work as in “Syracuse” looks back to Latin Verse. To make a boast in truly traditional Irish style, basically it is  myself who more than most represents the future of whatever poetry there will be in what is a somewhat post-poetic world. It will just take time to recognize the fact. Meanwhile there are some bitter truths to tell. Next month I will issue an autobiography, Reflections of an Only Child, which will establish the truth about many things and people I’ve dealt with from royalty to publishing in no uncertain terms.

[ October 2018.   My Amazon review of Kiely’s book on Heaney can be read here ]




I don’t believe that singer Cliff Richard is guilty as charged  (by at least implication) while police search his home in his absence and the media gossips of an alleged assault upon a male under 16 – more than a quarter of a century ago! Though in the wake of a series of child sex abuse scandals and a lot of anticlerical if not anti Christian sentiment in England some would like to believe the gossip, it sounds pretty improbable that  during some Billy Graham religious crusade in England, the singer decided this was a good moment to take advantage of some helpless youth. An extremely damning case against both police and media in pursuit of what’s alleged has been put in the Sydney Morning Herald by expat Geoffrey Robertson QC See  Nevertheless… I have an inkling what could be involved, and if I am correct I have a still stronger idea of what our response (beyond Robertson’s) should be.

Call it just more gossip, but many years ago, perhaps twenty, a gay friend of mine with a senior position in the hotel industry, introduced me to another gay person who claimed to have had some dealings with Cliff Richard. At the time none of us had the details of the singer’s alleged youthful, pre Christian era affair with the married Carol Costa.  Anyway, for what it was and is worth, this person’s opinion was that the perennial rumours of a gay Cliff Richard that gays have long been pushing, could be true to the extent he knew that if Cliff took some wine he might get a bit same sex close and intimate with you.

Even if this were true, this still wouldn’t make the singer gay and I don’t believe he is. In fact I think I know what such stories do or could mean and I once again regret that a too wise-in- its-own-eyes world along with foolish churches together reject the astrology that can assist with understanding here. Cliff Richard is a Libran and no sign is more spontaneously bisexually inclined in feeling and gesture, even though it needn’t go all the way sexually with it. Cliff Richard also has his Mars (action and sex) in Libra. It’s the Libran Nelson who said “Kiss me Hardy”. Shakespeare who was born with his moon in Libra, has his male friends like Two Gentlemen of Verona or even his women as in As You Like it, billing and cooing at one another; and of course we all know about Shakespeare’s sonnets. What was possible in poetic Italianate Renaissance times is not so possible today but is rather more repressed, especially in religious circles. But it might come out in your cups.

If one takes the astrological line apart from the significant Libran factor, then the building block or pre-condition for any marked bisexuality is what is called an “afflicted” Neptune (one sees it in the likes of David Bowie, Lady Gaga and Madonna). Cliff Richard doesn’t have this, but as a Libran with Mars in the sign and a Neptune in non-afflicted aspect to Uranus, the gay planet, this links him to gays and anything gay to some degree – indeed since at one octave of meaning Neptune is drink and drugs, the fact that the aspect of Neptune is to gay Uranus is suggestive for precisely the mentioned association of drink and thus perhaps some almost arty same sex feeling and gestures.

In short, whether or not he had a drop taken, imagine that Cliff might have talked gently and patted the back or rubbed the arm of some surprised half repressed Sheffield youth who then, or more likely years later, and maybe encouraged by people who just don’t like the Christian Richard, “remembered” the whole incident as intrusion or “assault”.


Even if something truly occurred, even something that was a bit dubious by some standards, surely it should be forgotten thirty years on? Has England gone quite paranoid amid child abuse claims. How far under 16 was the youth? 15? Admittedly over 30 years ago Britain’s gay age of consent was not so low, but 15 has been the age of consent in France since whenever and in Italy 14 and arguably there has been realism in that.

At any rate in Latin countries, youths can be quite sexually precocious and may act the seducer rather than the seduced. Some will also behave like ancient Athens never went out of existence, breathing love and devotion like so many lost Romantics. It is perhaps the English way, given the lack of a culture of love, to assume that nothing but predation and lust or assault and paedophilia could ever be involved where adolescents and the same sex are concerned. I can imagine, and it’s horrifying, that police who controversially (see the Robertson article) entered the absent Richard’s home for 5 hours to take out several sacks of goodness knows what, are combing every last corner of the singer’s home for nothing short of the child porn material they won’t find.

I don’t wish to underestimate the very real damage of the young that is coming to light especially in the wake of church abuse scandals and the Jimmy Saville scandal, but I think that once 15 is reached, especially where youths are concerned, unless outright coercion and assault is involved, it is inappropriate to think of whatever precisely goes on as child sex and paedophilia. I hope the whole “historic” matter as Richards rightly calls it from his perch in Portugal, will be dropped and forgotten as it needs to be.


This must not be read to mean I take questions of paedophilia and inappropriate behaviour in religious circles lightly, I seek only to be honest and realistic. Anyone who would like to know how much so and read more on the subject can go to my memoir Reflections of an Only Child. This will be available on Amazon during next month. Though it’s the story of a life it has plenty to say about religion and sex; and it will include what isn’t known or told concerning a leading cleric involved with ecumenism who so far as I know never suffered the taint of scandal before his demise 3 years ago.

This book will report of my dealings  with many people and things from a gay prime minister to one of the stars of US publishing. This memoir has not been offered to any publisher here in Australia basically because I felt any religious and metaphysical content would be held against it, though I now realize the honest report it gives of the artistic and publishing communities might also tell against its acceptance. Though I say it myself, this is an important work and might even be thought of as readable Proust, a classic of sorts for its personal and social revelations. The account of serious depression alone could be considered special and I would like to think helpful. Look out for this.