Reframing of Parts

This is based on the wonderful Naming of Parts by Henry Reed, August 1942.

My poem, Reframing of Parts, is dedicated to Herbert Burden.

Herbert was one of the 306 men who were on our side in the 1914-18 war whom we shot. He volunteered when he was underage (16) and he was still too young to be in the regiment on the day he was executed. We had him shot because he panicked during a suicidal assault on the enemy. All assaults on the enemy are suicidal because the enemy is always a part of us and is not therefore really an enemy at all but at worst, a misguided friend – a part of ourselves which has learnt an unsatisfactory way of protecting us from some imaginary fear.

Anyway I forgive Herbert. He was doing his best. And I forgive the people who shot him because they were too. Had they known about the reframing of parts they might have realized that their positive intention (to protect their country, their loved ones, their ideals, their sense of honour and duty) could actually have been achieved in many other ways. Of course we know now; some of us. All we have to do is STOP KILLING PEOPLE. There are millions of alternative ways of framing the issues; an infinite number of ways in fact.

Reframing of parts is actually a technique in hypnotherapy for helping people to change an unwanted habit without losing any of the associated benefits and positive intentions. Anyway here is the poem.


To-day we have reframing of parts. Yesterday
We had psychic cleansing. And to-morrow morning
We shall have ‘how to be more inspiring’. But to-day,
Today we have reframing of parts. Cacophony!
Listen! The aural conflict of the neighbouring voices!
So today we have reframing of parts.

This is the low self-esteem jingle. And this
The high self-esteem jingle, whose strength you will feel,
When you begin to jingle. And this is the mingle jingle,
Which in your case you haven’t yet got. Each part
Speaks a persistent purpose; frequent strictures
Which prick our minds with all that’s not

This is the on-off switch, which is easy to control
With a simple flick of the thumb. And please do not let me see anyone using her will power. You can do it quite easy
If you have an imagination. These motions
Are facile and best done unconsciously, rarely requiring
Any conscious will power.

All that you can feel is the shift. The purpose of this
Is to open a breech in your mind and then slide it
Rapidly backwards or forwards which we call
Mingling the Jingle. And rapidly backwards or forwards
The mingled ear-motion becomes a whole new part silencing old strictures:
They call it cleansing the mind.

They call it cleansing the mind; it is perfectly easy
If you set up an on-off switch and a mingle jingle, like a bolt
From the blue, which begins the shifting of parts, restoring the balance,
Which in our case we can always find, unlike the ample bosoms that nurtured the fallen sons and daughters who won’t be going forwards or backwards,
Except in our ever-loving hearts.

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