David Kitching

Seems destined to having to find value in the journey rather than a destination.

One day

 

Tonight I sat with some friends of mine,

and drank beer and talked bollocks.

And he sold me some dope

and it was suggested that I get a dog.

Then they went home and I moved to the bar.

I spoke to the barmaid and watched her.

And then I went home too.

And smoked some of this excellent dope.

And wrote this bullshit.

But the music was good.

 

It’s always going to be this way.

But that’s OK because I know it could be worse.

 

Anyway.

I’m going to fly a tiny plane across a desert,

and sail across an ocean

to see the moon watching me

from amidst a billion bright stars,

and learn about the meaning of life

with a monk amongst the snowy peaks

of the Himalayas glowing in the setting sun.

I promise you.

And one day,

I might even make love again.

 

 

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Climate

 

I’d ached for a long time.
Waiting for a break.

One day I saw as one sees in a dream,
a world about me that closed in upon me,
then crazed and shattered liked stressed glass.

I last remember screaming
as my world exploded in glittering dances
of differing circumstances.

Soon all became quiet and I opened my eyes.
An ocean of people stood watching me, waiting.

The air was still and wet with despair,
the oceans stilled by flotsam and filth,
and the land was hard and lay stripped bare.

Then some spirit of wisdom rose up and declared
that love and respect and considered desire
was what was required.

I told them. I showed them.
And still they denied.
Driven by lust and short term want.

Now sighing winds
blow across their bones,
singing their epitaph.

A quieter world now,
that when it sighs,
sighs gladly.

 

 

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Solitude

 

What means solitude?

 

Is it the freedom to think

without the intrusion of the bore?

Or is it the quiet required

to contemplate what lies before?

 

Is it the unsated lust

who’s quiescence just wants more?

Or is it the unusual beauty

of love only imagined?

 

Imagined.

 

That gentle curve

from neck to pretty shoulder.

 

That imagined amalgam

of beauty and brains.

Those twinkling eyes so wise,

and those seductive curves.

 

Mystery of someone exquisite

who may be wiser

but also answers something animal.

 

Someone who echoes my needs.

My call that answers me.

Solitude is the absence of these.

 

 

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Cognisance

 

If you could be without cognisance of

or involvement in the human world,

 

and simply be an intelligence that’s

aware of the wonders of the universe,

then you would be a supreme being.

 

If you’re a supreme being

who’s existence depends upon

the cognisance of human beings,

then you’re a contradiction in terms.

 

 

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Beauty

 

The essence of all is consistent.

What adds difference

and lifts the plain to shining peaks

or reduces it to valleys dark

are qualities.

 

Beauty stands proud

as the mediator

that defines mediocrity

and all that is foul

and all that inspires

and all that gives life value.

 

It slows our time

and distracts the mind

and the eye

and causes the soul to cry

and to laugh

and to ponder.

 

Be beauty science

and the grandiosity

of knowing.

Or the pause that knowing gives

to observation.

And the gentle confusion

that then arises.

 

That response we have

to a mere curve

or to a change that’s different.

Or some shift in balance between weights

that has some hidden mathematical rhythm,

or some subtlety that knows

real wisdom and causes us to falter.

 

Some subtle insight that speaks

of an embellishment to our view

and which stands just slightly out of reach.

That soothes our heart

as might the passing glimpse

of a friend who smiles

but who we don’t know.

 

 

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Cicadas

 

Hot air cicada song thrum,

constant in the smokey heat.

Peach drips across sweat sticky skin

as orange sun casts long shadows over dying land.

 

I loved you and meant well.

A future once seen cascading like a waterfall,

became a trickle.

 

Birds dip in dusk light to chase fly by nights,

and land burns red in quickly blackening foreboding.

Cicadas still sing. And I do too.

 

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Passing

 

I saw you once
watching me askance
in a reflection in a passing
window pane.

You startled me
and I tried to smile
but somewhere turning
in the passing angle
the message was lost.

Then you distorted
and curled around your passing space
and I moved through the view
at twice the normal rate.

I turned to see the real you
but you’d gone by then.
Dissolved into the real world.
Passed away to all intents and purposes.

 

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So it is

 

There was a man who lived in a cupboard,
and all he could see
was what was visible through the keyhole.
Because someone had stolen the key.
And thrown it away.

At any given point in time,
because there was no night or day,
he might see the thigh of a woman
or part of a cat as it passed by,
or the leg of a table but no more,
or an odd S shape in a carpet,
the rest of which was obscure.

And then there was another man
who lived on top of a mountain
and who could see everything
all at once as the wind blew.
His hands were always cold.
And his eyes always wept
and his smile was a rictus.

In between, someone lived
knowing neither his limits
nor his constraints.
He had to guess.
Cat parts seemed too mysterious
as did the rest of the carpet.
And the horizon was too long
to be feasible.

He had a choice.
Ponder both views or ignore them both.
He did both and both lived and died.
They were and were not simultaneously.
Which is as it should be
because that’s the nature of things.

It didn’t help him much though
because with each passing moment,
with their fleeting glances
or their overwhelmed wonder,
still the pain remained and the joy
and the inexplicable puzzle of it all
both partly seen and wholly glimpsed.

 

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Regular day again

 

I may as well be on a desert island.

Life in a dome of hot sky blended seamlessly to sea.

Empty beaches, sighing trees, whispering waves,

and solitary boulders that stand silent, watching out for me.

 

There’s a magic supermarket here that’s run by AI.

It feeds me and provides a regular supply

of washing up liquid and beer and tobacco

and sausages and pizza and shit like that.

 

Sometimes there I see shapes like people.

Mirages amongst the stacked shelves.

The hard and real stacked shelves.

Sometimes they stop and merge with the tins and the toys.

The voices of their children whisper want

and no one sees me moving amongst them.

 

Sometimes they stand in my way.

I move through these vapid creatures that

belong to a universe that isn’t mine.

But sometimes I have to walk around them.

 

Outside in the baking hot sun that sings cicada songs

in hot white light that dazzles off glass and the distant sea,

I pause and listen to the sounds and the light

that travel through me and which never carry my name.

 

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Regular day

I may as well be on a desert island.

Surrounded by sea seamlessly connected to sky.

With a magic supermarket run by AI

That feeds me and provides a regular supply

Of washing up liquid and beer and tobacco

And sausages and pizza and shit like that.

 

Sometimes I see shapes like people

Walking amongst the stacked shelves.

They move slowly and sometimes they stop.

But they don’t see me.

 

And outside in the baking hot sun

That dazzles off glass and distant splashing waves,

I pause for thought and listen to the sounds around me

That seem like silence and never carry my name.

 

 

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Parents

 

When your parents die
the movie ends.
Now you’re not playing a part.

You can sit back in your chair,
the one with your name on it,
and watch the action played back.

See the part you played.
Sit uncomfortable beside others,
self-conscious as your playing is reviewed.

And the silence closes in about you
as you see your failings,

and the quiet of those around
falls away into the distance.

Your life and the stuff that is you
comes into focus.

A real tearjerker is this.
Who wrote this script?
How could, who would, did I?

They were just people.

Life’s timeline compresses.
Your streaming curve cuts across theirs
and streams away to curve back.

You with your guns firing.
Your stupid guns.
We should have talked more.

Because now I don’t see you
by way of a mirror.
Now I can look straight at you.

And I have to hang my head.
So what am I really?
Now I’m in the mirror.

You stayed for a while after.
I felt you and I heard your thoughts.
Now it’s quieter.

But one day I may
have to have that talk.
About how we all made mistakes.

Mine feel so much greater
and I wonder where I’ll sit
between you and my sons.

 

 

 

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Choice

 

Warm air rang chilled,

reverberating metal

hammer on an anvil.

Church steeple still

 

in pleasant landscape

stopped to look

at small life given.

Sleepy world glancing

 

his way for once

and simmering summer

sultry birdsong sang

uninhibited.

 

So little england carried on

and one who came to pass

and had lived their way

no longer had a choice.

 

 

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Sunny suicide

 

Mild wind in blue sky with sun glinting

off snowy Cretan mountain peaks

and bird song amongst orange groves

ripe with fruit waiting to be picked,

 

reverberated to a double shotgun blast

as someone blew his brains out

and spread them over the plaster

landscape that was his for too long.

 

As I wrote mellowed by birdsong,

righteously writing about what was wrong

with no cognisance of what went on

just below my balcony.

 

A moment came and passed.

And I learned about it from the news.

Written a long way away.

 

And now when I gaze down,

the birds still sing amongst the oranges.

And the dogs still bark.

 

 

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Woman turns

 

She was a cold, mirror smooth lake

in the cloud tossing tempest that raged around her,

and I stood wet and weather beaten on her rocky shore.

How could she be so disconnected?

 

 

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All alone

 

When you truly listen to people

and you hear what they are,

you will find

that everyone is lonely.

 

 

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curious

 

The sad thing is that

the only people I’ve harmed

have been those I loved.

 

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why what is

 

What I find most fascinating about science is that, when combined with a natural human inclination to wonder, and therefore to invent religious perspectives – read metaphysical and contemplation – a real potential for true understanding emerges. true observation of what really is combined with intuitive understanding of why.

Science by itself isn’t enough, although it’s discipline and focus and precision are wonderful, and it’s ability to reveal actual process, and to show how the world about us operates. But it has to be combined with an open mind and a sense that anything is possible in order to deal with the why question. And for that to happen, you have to be infatuated with the puzzling, astonishing and beautiful nature of what you’re seeing, and to want to understand it, and the truth that underlies it. And to wonder why and how it’s beautiful, and what that might mean.

This doesn’t imply a religious – and therefore inexplicable and often nonsensical – requirement to true understanding. It means that science and the scientific method can take us so far at any given point in understanding, and to progress further, we need also to accept intuition and imagination as useful tools in determining the veracity of what we know, and how to determine a way forward. Sometimes intuition gives us a picture of scenarios that seem to be outlandish and unlikely.  Or they might suggest factors that are a result of process – for example, if math explains all process, perhaps beauty is an emergent property of a level of understanding that we should appreciate having been achieved as a result of process.

This combination of wanting to understand the process, but also needing to know the why, and to be willing to accept that beauty is also a significant factor, must surely be why intelligence has come to be. The universe must know itself, otherwise why is it?

Careful analysis and understanding of the process needs to be combined with a deeper knowledge, which is why what is is, in order to sum a truth that’s beyond merely factual. Because it’s only subjective experience that gives rise to factual experience. So where does that deeper interpretation of why that experience was possible come from? Where does objective understanding come from?

This is the thing that puzzles and intrigues me. Understanding how things happen is one thing, understanding why they are is something at a different level.

EDIT: Quote ” Something there is that can refresh and revivify older people: joy in the activities of the younger generation — a joy, to be sure, that is clouded by dark forebodings in these unsettled times. And yet, as always, the springtime sun brings forth new life, and we may rejoice because of this new life and contribute to its unfolding; and Mozart remains as beautiful and tender as he always was and always will be. There is, after all, something eternal that lies beyond the hand of fate and of all human delusions. And such eternals lie closer to an older person than to a younger one oscillating between fear and hope. For us, there remains the privilege of experiencing beauty and truth in their purest forms.” (Albert Eintein)

 

 

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Other creatures.

 

Humans tend to assume that they have a degree of intelligence that gives them awareness that isnt afforded other species.

Criteria that are used to justify this perspective include lack of evidence of empathy, of emotions including fear and sadness, and of gratitude. Or an ability to assess a given context, and to calculate an appropriate response to it.

Every day, visible instances occur that prove these assumptions are just wrong. They imply an arrogance in humanity that is breathtaking. Other creatures are sufficiently sentient to respond to both circumstance and to other creatures as we are. How could they be alive otherwise?

Here’s a small example:

http://www.trueactivist.com/swan-hugs-man-after-being-rescued-from-chain-link-fence-photos/ .

We have to reappraise our relationship with the rest of the world. To imagine that we’re somehow seperate from it is folly. The whole system that we observe and are able to analyse because its systemic, includes us as a key component. As it does every other creature. This is what makes it a system. How to extrapolate this? Discussions about ‘universal conciousness’? Perhaps. How is a component within a system able to see the system from outside? We can’t know this external perspective. We can only know what we see and experience, and deduce. And we can clearly experience sentience and awareness in other creatures, even with our own emotions and intuition, as opposed to powers of analysis. And deploying this experience usefully, must surely lead us to deduce that we arent a seperate cognitive function of the universe but just a part of a mathematical curve that, if we allow it, will extrapolate. And this is the ultimate goal of evolution.

So, some compassion and respect is called for I think… and a little humility. Otherwise we risk compromising the very system that defines us.

 

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Understanding

 

It’s all too complicated. I’m tired of complicated.

I want to get up in the morning, attend to those things I need to do in order to exist, with respectful regard to whatever it is that provides those means, and then to go to sleep again.

I want space and time within this simple process that allows me to reflect on its beauty or its ugliness, and to express my responses to those in words and images. To have my quiet say.

And I want to know my place amongst others, and the world around me, and not to have to worry about whether I deserve that place or whether I understand it.

I want my process of existence to contribute to my context simply by virtue of its being.

For my love not to be considered but naturally emergent, and for other’s love to be naturally received, without thinking.

I want to be, and to understand naturally, so that I may move on with greater understanding.

 

 

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Best anticipate

 

That hard bit just now,

after that warm and yellow bit.

I wonder what’s next?

 

 

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What would it take?

 

80% of the world’s population live in what any middle class westerner would regard as abject poverty. Many live in destitution.

So many people know intuitively that they don’t belong where they are, even those who were born where they are.

So many are looking for that home, that small place where they belong in contentment, with family and friends and pets, and a small garden of their own. And all of these people are the daughters and sons of mothers and fathers, and they’re brothers and sisters and cousins and aunts and uncles. Just like everyone else. Like you and me.

What is it then about the way we run things that allows so many people to be so unhappy? Everything required for everyone is there and available. If we’re so clever, why are we not able to moderate our behaviour to account for all of our real needs, rather than for the imagined needs of just a few? What would it take?

 

 

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Original Source

 

Sitting in bath warm water,

waves lapping up my thighs,

leaning on one hand on the yielding sand,

watching the moon sink into the sea.

 

The natural world is all that’s real.

The rest is construct and hubris.

 

Watching that sinking moon

over the turning world,

and the whirling cosmos of a trillion lights,

all ticking step by step in time.

 

And then it came to be known

amongst all sentience

that the Original Source is me,

and we are the Original Source.

 

 

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Tears

 

I wear my tears like

a Warrior who weary,

has become gentle.

 

 

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We need to wake up

 

Humanity has to find a way of massively reducing its per capita use of resources – be that energy, minerals or land – or we actually do face a potential reality of the collapse of modern civilisation. This isn’t hysteria, or the imaginings of a treehugger. It’s simple reality. We have to find a way of living with less impact. And career politicians are not going to achieve this. They can’t, however well intentioned, because our voting systems would not allow them to do what is required. So its down to each of us, across a world of 7.3 billion people, most of whom live in abject poverty. It’s quite a challenge. But the first step has to be for everyone to start to open their eyes and read, and let go of pre conceptions, and political assumptions. The way we live now isn’t the only way. It wouldn’t actually take much to make the adjustments required. More local – work, travel, food etc. – would probably do it.

With proper attention and investment into developing country cities to provide clean energy and vertical farms.

It can be done, but we really need to move now, and even then, it may be too late if certain greenhouse gas release mechanisms have kicked off as a result of existing warming. We can’t tell yet. But we have to assume that there’s still a chance, whilst there might be one.

So many of our great cities are surrounded or permeated by squalid poverty – tin shacks and people shitting in the street where children play. Humans are more than this. What we regard as the lowest forms of mammalian life don’t live like that. Rats.

How have we allowed this to happen thus far? A revolution is required, in people’s aspirations and expectations. And in how we interact. And how our societies, given that hierarchies will emerge, are structured (and they’re not God given things; we make them) to ensure that all of us are at least warm and fed. The rest is frippery and excess luxury. Fine if it isnt made available at the cost of the squalor of others.

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Laughing

 

This is a poem.

I can say whatever I like.

 

Poetic licence and all that.

 

I can say without fear of ridicule

that I am lonely and mystified by life.

 

The whirlpools of logic and illogic

and unfathomable stupidities.

 

And the wonders and astonishing things.

Aspects of grand realities

that seem distant and huge.

 

And I’m allowed to confess that I cry,

often and loudly,

because I’m a two sided coin.

 

And other things too.

The sense of smallness

that makes me gently humble as I look around.

 

That sense of contiguity with all that is

that occurs occasionally.

My smallness and my scope.

My all encompassing modest place.

 

Watching wise if I’m lucky,

defined by my context,

laughing and crying without doing either.

 

 

 

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Rainbow

 

Over drab hills held down

by scudding clouds,

a gap opened and sun’s rays shone down.

 

Splitting into a million colours

through a million tiny drops,

as the light of a star showed itself to us.

 

Its million aspects viewed with awe

by the only entity capable of seeing.

That’s you.

So see yourself like this.

 

 

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The point

 

As he died and saw the world fade away,

he also saw his life spread out

like a two dimensional fan in front of him.

 

Then flames appeared and a charred black hole

spread out from the source into the delicate fan spread.

Each blade a part of his life,

crumbling to charred paper and blowing away on the wind.

 

And so he returned to his original state.

Now able to play a part in the way

he spent his life hoping he might.

 

Wiser now and on a universal stage

rather than a bit part in a sideshow.

But having learned to understand this.

 

 

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A happy soul

 

A happy soul is one

that’s learned to let go.

Like a seed from a dandelion head

in a sunny breeze,

 

that let go

of its anchor point

and turned to face the breeze

and the skimming land below.

 

To arrive where what is.

is sufficient.

 

 

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I believe

 

There were four,

but then it fractured

into four.

 

And I curled and died

with shame and pain.

 

But they’ve risen from

our ashes

and fly proud.

 

What part did I play though

as was my understood purpose?

 

That purpose that faded away

so I could only watch

from sidelines

 

And cast faintly heard praise.

I believe

they’ll live better lives.

 

 

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Hands

 

All we can see of ourselves,

that tells our tale,

is our hands.

 

Smooth and then

suddenly not so.

 

This process of

the compression of one’s life

cannot be seen

by seeing yourself.

 

That would be to try

to describe your face

without a mirror.

 

But you can see

the hands that lie there

looking back at you,

and they tell no lies.

 

Wrinkled a little now,

they represent your life.

Its good and bad

and ultimately tired understanding.

 

 

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The inevitable

 

For the past ten years or more, I’ve pondered the state of humanity and the world we believe we’ve created, dependent as it is upon a natural environment that we continue to take for granted. I’ve looked at most issues – from antibiotic resistance to population growth via land use, deforestation and biodiversity reduction, economic inequity and excessive consumption, pollution and climate change. I’ve seen how all of these problems are interlinked and are interdependent. How all cause each other.

I’ve seen how our political and economic systems manage these issues as stovepipes, independent from one another. And I’ve seen how religious and political dogma work against the human ability to rationally assess contexts and solutions. How ignorant people are led by ego driven fools. And I’ve seen how our simple minded greed is driven by our selfishness.

In short, I’ve seen how our ignorance is driving our demise, as well as that of most other species, compounded by our stubborn stupidity and ego.

I believe that human civilisation, as we understand it to be, will be no more eighty five years from now. And that within four decades, we’ll be experiencing a sense of upheaval that will render most people’s lives unpleasant at best, untenable at worst.

That by the end of this century, humanity will comprise some ten percent of its current volume, some existing self sufficiently, growing their own food and living a simple life, whilst a minority contiue to try to utilise our knowledge to our advantage, but in doing so come to represent an elite that may have complete control over the rest. The ignorant will finally become subsumed, and the fate of humanity will rest with the ability of those with knowledge to resist becoming arrogant. Our final destiny lies with these people.

I don’t have much hope.

 

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If minions could see

 

Ahead lay the divide that ran from top to bottom of their lives,

Defining the move between their doom and their fortune.

 

So millions of people lived their paths,

Not knowing that far above,

White winged Josef and the raven winged woman

Flew towards the light.

 

If only the minions also had that sight.

 

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Rose

 

Blank hard walls

and in a window that doesn’t care what it sees,

I see reflected a me that used to be.

 

There are so many.

 

So many ways

a rose might have opened.

A butterfly might have emerged.

 

In the eye of the beholder

my fate is decided,

and then I fade away.

 

 

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Crows and purpose

 

Walking drunk down the passageway

past the sorry rooms

to gaze through the window

at the grey skies and

the blown crows

rushing by,

 

I have to ask why things worked out

this way.

 

Had I known that I needed to know

such certainty of ambition so soon,

perhaps I could have focused.

 

The crows know a secret

that the wind shares.

To follow one’s true nature,

if you can filter that out from the deafening noise.

 

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Digital love

 

Is it not odd in a world of

Infinite communication,

 

That a female Praying Mantis

Still eats its mate.

 

That it’s possible to die

By digital excess,

Or also lack thereof.

 

 

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Eternal now

 

Through that one small window pane

Looking out onto a black garden

On the darkest of nights,

 

I saw so many children

Running in the sunshine

Made sparkling by hosepipe rain.

 

And dogs and barbeques.

And the oak tree leaning over

To whisper smiling praise

For the children’s snowman.

 

And that battered and sun faded deckchair

That never got put away.

 

And the rose bush that ran wild.

 

And the garden shed that came to sag sadly.

 

And that forgotten glass in the flowerbed

That grew pale green with time.

 

And the memory of you.

Clear as daylight. Sitting there.

 

And that crumbling vision of a life

That drained away into the earth,

As though it had never been.

 

I weep for that now,

Seeing it through my mean window pane.

 

I weep for that in the eternal now.

 

 

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Dating website

 

On a dating website tonight,
I paused and considered what I saw.
Images of people frozen at
Very particular moments in their lives.
And then writing an advert to promote it.

Someone messaged me tonight.
I was shy to link to her too soon.
When I did, she’d destroyed her account.

Admiralty129000 I will never know you.

And this space I’m in
That comprises me and a screen.

People’s faces.
This is how we interface now.

And yet she was there. She was.
She messaged me.

And then she didn’t exist anymore.

 

 

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What

 

You’re fabulous
You achingly dark spangled depth.

How does my mysterious sparking
Of elemental syntheses
Mirror your endless
Spinning rotations?

The qualitative universal components
That make my observations what they are.

So small are my thoughts.
Like splashing drops in an ocean wave
Crashing upon a shore,
Unrelenting in its logic.

 

 

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Stukas

 
 
Standing on the Chain Bridge
Over Budapest’s Danube,
Watching the water flow by.

Gellert Hill stands in the background,
Where the Nazis had their headquarters
In the second world war.

How many Stukas lie buried in river mud?
Bleached skulls gazing up at passing pleasure boats now,
Wondering what it was for.
 
 

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Ancient pram

 
 
In a Budapest pub against a wall,
Stands an ancient pram that sits quietly
Amongst the bawdy crowd,
Remembering walks in the park.

Its cast iron wheels and rusty springs
Support a wicker basket lined with
Broken cotton that once warmed
A baby long dead now.

In its place lie old bottles,
And a single, painted plate.

It looks up at the ghost of the woman
Who still patiently pushes her charge
Down tree lined paths in parks
Long since bombed beyond existence.

She sings to her baby
And it beams back,
Its awkward, human hand painted features
Irregular in a mechanised world.

The plate is still there
Whilst the baby’s long gone,
Having lived a process through
Two world wars.

Now through that plate,
The artist and the child join spirits
And smile happily up at the pretty young woman
Who knew nothing of what was to come.
 
 

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Despair

 
 
When you reach a point where what you need to say cannot be expressed, and there’s no one to express it to anyway. That’s when you hit despair. When suddenly the odd phenomenon of being alive feels like a sensual experience that you’d rather not feel right now because it’s so uncomfortable. And your time is spent waiting for it to pass. Like being too stoned or too drunk, and waiting for the world to stop spinning because it isn’t fun any more. Fun sort of but not actually, and you want it to stop. And only what’s beyond this state is desirable. But beyond seems so far away. And it’s not allowed anyway. And seems to be impossible.
 
 

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Place and process

 

The cigarette smoke world curls around me,
changing shape and fading away.

The present I see includes the past
as well as imagined futures.

The trees are bare now.
They had leaves and will have again.
The whorls and whirls of the wind
swirl remnants of the past year,
as beady squirrel eyes watch
the world move on.

Earth spins and moves and does its thing.
Fox and Owl make their noises in dark woods,
Jaguar prowls and Bat flits.

In some African savannah,
Kudu is eaten alive by lions.

Nearby, self obsessed termites
build webbed cities.

In the middle of this maelstrom
of whirling world things,
weather and wind and life passing,
I stand bewildered by the pace
and irresistible process
of which I’m a part with no control.

But mostly I’m amazed
by humanity’s contempt.
for everything.

And I play my part,
and wait to see the consequences.
May my sons forgive us.

 

 

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Crying women

 
 
I know I’m not supposed to admit this.
It’s neither dignified nor manly.
Because men only think about one thing.
And they’re not allowed to cry.

Pillars of society,
We joyfully join the scrum.
Pretending indifference to the quiet voice.

We have to scorn the quiet voice.
That’s what it is to be a man.

Quiet voice that in quiet moments
Allows us to wonder at the unfurling clouds
And the emerging beauty of spring.

That oh so gentle curve from neck to shoulder
That might simply be beautiful rather than just sexual.

Even that small voice of a child.
Any intuitive interaction
That might be seen to be too gentle
To be masculine.

Women’s preconceptions preclude these sensitivities.
I know. I’ve seen how the bastards always win.

Taunted by thigh and tit and scorned for responding
Unless we’re fancied or are able to be ruthless enough
To ignore another’s value. Like bastards.

However good you are in bed,
Or how large your heart may actually be,
The bastards always win.
And seem welcomed for this.

Even as they pretend to wail,
I scorn those crying women.
 
 

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A million lives

 
 
I died a million times tonight.
All I had to do was to remember,
And my heart crumbled.
So remind me,
What do I have to do to live?
 
 

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Moonlight sonata

 
 
Moonlight sonata strokes my soul and makes me weep.
It reduces me to my basics.
I’m left vulnerable and open to the world.
And to the unthinking ways of people.

If you want to break me,
Then do so whilst Beethoven’s
Heart breaks also.
It’ll be easier for you.
 
 

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The modern way

 
 
I’m dying. My feet tell me so.
As I pace back and forth
Between hope and despair.
There’s no stairwell to heaven here.

There’s no way to wisdom
Or any such feast.
Just meagre scraps that fall
From processes I don’t understand.

And as for love,
There’s no such thing.
Instead there’s a place in an hierarchy
That deserves regard or doesn’t.

Take your heart and crush it underfoot.
I might have loved you
If you hadn’t looked at me like that.
When I confessed my nature
Didn’t fit the modern way.

 
 

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Education that teaches what matters, and a media that informs.

As science and technology define what we can achieve in a material sense, knowledge and understanding informs us as to how to best use our technical ingenuity. Education should give the individual person a framework within which to grow their knowledge and also to use it wisely. And that’s the key. Education needs be such that it encourages the wise use of knowledge. And in todays world, where the issues are global and interlinked, that means it needs to have a wide perspective.

I’m not just talking about school education here, but education in a broader sense as well. School education does need to provide a greater sense of context for pupils – why they’re learning what they’re learning. I’ve always been careful to try and explain this to my own sons. Discussing science and global issues with them after school hours so they become more aware of the world for which they’re preparing themselves. Whilst they of course have made their own minds up, independently of any input from me, I like to think that our talks have at least been partly responsible for one son deciding to train as a medical doctor, and the other being committed to a working life in nature conservation. School education should leave pupils with an understanding of the disparities in the world and the differences and relationships between people. Poverty is a relative thing – schoolchildren in the developed world should be far more aware of true poverty, where children die from lack of food and why. And pupils in the developing world should be more aware the needs of their country in terms of water management, land tenure rights and basic economics. Just an awareness, that’s all. Give them the building blocks from which to establish their own persepctives, values and intentions. These are the real things of life that the education process is supposed to prepare them for. Basic education means nothing if no context is apparent to which they can apply what they learn.

But it’s not just about education in schools. It’s about increased awareness in society generally. All tertiary education should include ‘context’ in its curriculum. A geneticist should know about global socioeconomics, including such issues as why antibiotics are losing their effectiveness (poverty plays a role here) to help them judge where best to aim their research for the most effect. A Builder should know why it’s important for buildings to be thermally efficient (emissions and climate change), and be informaed about social issues associated with housing. Accountants should be more aware of inequity in society and how wealth is being distributed. Journalists should receive broad training in everything from economics to nuclear physics to enable them to understand better what they’re trying to report. Virtually any occupation needs to have this more contextual awareness to enable them to apply their skills in the world in the most appropriate way.

In the west, we’re plagued by a media that trivialises life. Teenage magazine and so called newspapers that are focused on mindless celebrity culture and irrelevant issues. Whilst it’s obviously fine to have an extensive entertainment media, don’t let it parade as news. I once spoke to a bloke in a pub who was reading a copy of one of these papers (The Sun – a UK tabloid) and asked him why he didn’t read something more informative. His answer was that those big papers are too clever for him and he wouldn’t understand them. So we go back to the inadequacy of school education again, and false perceptions. I can’t help believing that if readers of these ‘newspapers’ were more aware of how they were being talked down to and patronised, and how an assumption was being made that they were indeed too stupid or ignorant to want to know about the bigger issues facing them and the way their governments (for whom they vote) and the world as a whole works – if they were made more aware of the world – then they may take an interest and want to know more. Then the world just may stand a better chance of overcoming the problems it faces as the people who vote for governments in democracies would be better informed as to how to vote. And Governments would have more flexibility to be able to implement policies that would currently see them voted out of office, such as green tax legislation for example.

I realise that I’m talking about a widespread cultural shift here that’s starting to verge uncomfortably on the idealistic. But we could certainly do more than we are at the moment, and it may only take a consequential shift in awareness amongst a relatively small group to lead to wider societal change in due course.

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Why you exist

 
 
If you wonder why you exist,
It’s because life is a fundamental component
Of an inevitably evolving universe.

As fundamental as hydrogen or carbon atoms.
A reflection not of bits but of process.
Of how these and others interact.
And of the evolution of these interactions.

And as this interaction evolves,
It acquires ever evolving conciousness.

If you want to know how to be happy,
Understand this fact.
One life everywhere
Happening simultaneously.

So look skyward and see
That one day we’ll blend.
And at that point
The discreet existences we all know
Will come to an end.

As entropy finally converts all matter
To nothing more than understanding
And everything finally stops.
Because there’ll be nothing more to know.
 
 

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The right path

Calm down and quieten your mind.
Stop thinking so much.
Be a smaller and more delicate thing
That taps tentatively rather than beats.

Let the world vibrate as it is,
And watch more
But observe less.
Draw further back and accept.

If it dies even as you watch,
It was too big for you to save.

And if it thrives and grows,
It would have done so without you.

Just ask that whether what you see
is death or the blossoming of dreams,
You played the right part.

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Silver tarmac

 
 
From my window I see cars
Parked like soldiers ranked
On black tarmac that in
Street light is silver,
Whilst the sky above
Has turned black from white.
 
 

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