Posts Tagged living

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Blue plastic

 
 
Past the train station.
Its old stones and arching glass having seen
Tanks and wars and revolutions.

I stood amongst shoppers with garish bags
From all the top brands.

Then past me walked a woman in blue plastic
With tears running down her face
As she saw the cold night ahead living on the street.

And I wanted to give her something to help
But I didn’t.

I stopped and turned and watched her walk away
Through the hurried, selfish crowd.

Now it’s I who weep.
For my weakness.
 
 

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Walkie-poo

I think I’ll go for a walkie-poo.
Actually it’s something I really must do.
And as I do my walkie-poo,
I’ll do a dance, just for you.

In the spangled sunshine.
Under the tree
With spread-eagled fingers.
I’ll kick the golden leaves
And see the flighty clouds spin overhead.

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Be happy

 
 
When I look from my window
At people passing by
I wonder how the thing i am is.

I wonder at the things that made me,
That make me sad.

Life is like watching a river pass
And wishing that the bit that passed a while ago,
That I’m sure had more fish in it,
Would pass again.

It’s a river.

That bit has passed.

Now be happy.
 
 

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Tramp

 
 
If you stopped to ask him why,
As he sat filthy bent there on the street,
A few small coins in a paper cup,
Would he lift up his sag skinned face,
Filthy creased leather and wire wool beard,
Eyes red rimmed and shocking piercing,
And answer you?

Would he tell you his story?
Would he warn you why?
Would he tell of children and lost love?
Of missed chance and chances taken?
Would his eyes water with regret
Or turn deep with hidden meaning?
Or would he ask you the same question?
 
 

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Things

 
 
It’s hard to let go of things.

But once you let go of the first one,
And the memories associated with it
Become like those clouded passing visions
We all remember from childhood,
Then losing the next item becomes easier.

And then the next item becomes
Easier again to choose,
As if loss throws value into relief.

And when that next thing goes,
The context that one’s built over years
Starts to dissolve.

A process of distillation takes place
That concentrates your
Value of things
Right down
To a few.

Enough to carry with you.

Then your perspective changes
As you let go.

If you’re lucky a lightness takes hold
And your life thus far seems contrived.

Like a game played by a child.

There aren’t many years left now.
Time to turn and face yourself.

And just as your things reduce and fall away,
The markers you measured yourself by
Fall away as well.

And you’re left with a wide open
And wondrous world
That’s yours for you to wander through
For the first time.

It isn’t too late.
Because it takes just a moment
To realise the extent of your smallness
And the scale of what you’re privileged to know.

 
 

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Greek island

 
 
And so I’d like to go
To a place where it’s warm.

I’d lie and fade away under
Some wise-wrinkled olive tree.

Even as round and brown little
Beetles crawled over me.

Dispassionate cicadas
Singing nearby.

The sighs of the ghosts of gods
Mixing with mine.
 
 

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Life’s a bus queue

 
 
Dad was further up the bus queue
From me.

He caught one just now.
I’m still waiting.

Some wait in front of me
And some wait behind.

Number 37 or some such.

Don’t know where it goes
Or why it’s called that.

But we’re all waiting for it.

In a queue.

I didn’t see that he’d caught his bus
Until just now when the phone rang.

But then it is a long queue
And he was right up at the front of it.

I remember when he stood
Kicking the dirt right back here
Where I now stand.
Looking about him
And wondering what and why.
 
 

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Fly watching me

If I were a fly on the wall
Watching me,
What would I see?

Firstly,
What’s my perspective?

Do I see an area of moving stuff?
As though I were part
Of the sea looking up
And seeing part of a wave.

Do I see a bleating thing there
That sees through slitted eyes
A world that’s always wrong?

Or do I see the icy flow of life
Flow past it like stream over rock?
As it sits shining,
Sticking up into the flow

And casting a shadow
Like two fingers inserted
Into a beam of light.

A separate thing experiencing
Just myself in relation.

Do I see a transparent thing?
Drifting through some dark ether?

Belonging to the vast space
Between our atoms.

Some say we’re chemistry.
Some say we make the chemicals.

But whatever truth it is
That you behold
It’s unlikely to be
Less valid
Than hers
or
mine.

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Safe

 
 
In my glass bubble
I lie curled watching the world,
Sure I must be safe.
 
 

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Birdsong

 
 
I’m sure I knew a world once that was round
And not sharp and jagged and jarring,
But which ululated
Sibilant sine waves
Of gentle experience.

Slow knowing and emergent wisdom
That felt right relative to
A gently shifting world.

Not this blind frantic electronic rocket
Through twisting changes so fast
That I can’t see what’s right and what’s wrong
And where there’s no chance
To stop and think.

Cast off your uniform
And throw back your head
To watch the clouds and see
How they do what they do regardless.
And hear the birdsong.
 
 

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Echo

 
 
My life this side of the great divide
Feels good.

But to my left we have
A dark place.

To my right we have
A place that dazzles.

And in front we have
The great divide.

Shapes whose lines break
To jagged edges,
And faces turned to see me
But are blurred
And incoherent.

Like watching the world
Through a bathroom window.

My side makes sense to me.
Not so that other.
But it does echo so here.
 
 

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Balance

 
 
Maybe the good bits
Are so good that we must pay
A pain price elsewhere.
 
 

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Wake up and open your eyes

Whether the majority of us know it or not, humanity is undertaking massive genocide of hundreds (actually it’s thousands) of species of other creatures. We are proactively creating the Sixth Great Extinction, the last one being of the Dinosaurs. In doing so, we’re destroying the very biosphere that supports us. We are without doubt, unfathomably stupid.

The last Great extinction occurred 66 million years ago. And it took at least a thousand years, probably several thousand. If you map the lifetime of the Earth to a 24 hour clock, humanity has been around for about 4 seconds. In this blink of the planet’s eye, we’ve eliminated at least a third of the world’s forests and hundreds of thousands of species. If we’re so stupid as to commit collective suicide through religious and political dogmatism and ignorance, that’s our choice (and it is a choice). But we have no right to take every other species down with us.

And all this derives from our value systems. The way we perceive what wealth is, and how we manage it. Money. Particularly debt based money. And the externalisation (leave the consequences for someone else to clean up) of the bad impacts of wealth acquisition. The conventional political right and left both maintain these value systems, and many religious perspectives, especially in the US, support and advocate them under the guise of ephemeral supposed ethical standards like ‘freedom’ and ‘the work ethic’. How many corporate CEOs and bankers attend church every Sunday? Did you know that the pay of CEOs has risen 127 times faster over the last thirty years than 99% of the US population? What do you expect the consequences of such greed and inequity to be, particularly at a global scale, if not conflict? And as this money wealth is squirrelled away or squandered on yachts and stupidly big houses, it’s unavailable for such things as building cities that are worth living in for everyone, for education and the encouragement of more enlightened perspectives, the protection of the very biosphere that contains and supports us, and every other crying need that the fruits of all our labour is supposed to allow us to cater for. Yet the religious right encourage it.

Factor in other emerging crises like the impending failure of our medical systems through antibiotic resistance, shifting and more extreme climate events, ocean acidification and the consequent destruction of marine food resources, desertification and water shortage.. and a host of others, virtually all caused by humanity, and there’s good reason to believe the better minds than mine that predict global ecological, societal and economic collapse within just a few decades.

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Sine waves

 
 
Life comprises many strands. Like sine waves, they overlap each other. Some peaking as others dip.

Music is one such sine wave. As a cultural phenomenon. In the West, the music sine wave peaked in the 18th century with the advent of music from the likes of J S Bach.

In terms of happiness, that wave probably peaked just prior to the First World War. Or perhaps shortly after it.

The sine wave for the visual arts has a longer wavelength, and probably last peaked in the 19th Century.

The wisdom wave arced high in the 1960’s, even as it became dissipated and high jacked by perceived economic necessities.

Economically, in terms of managing money within our societies, we probably last knew a peak in the 1950’s and again the 60’s.

But one thing is for sure. With the noble exception of the technology sine wave, all are at a low right now.

 
 

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Good morning

 
 
Bright sun life today.
Dark cloud news arrived by post.
Bright star died by noon.
 
 

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Grab the moment

 
Being born.
That transformation from potential
To manifest form isn’t easy.

And as life progresses
You’ll know the same experience
Again and again

As you rise and fall and rise again,
Only to be blown to pieces
When you least expect it.

But there is a circularity
That you’re permitted to rely upon.

When you rise, then you will fall.
So when you fall
Then you will rise.

Become wise at
The uppermost point in this sine wave.

Grab the moment and start again.
It’s not about luck or knowledge.
It’s about timing.

 

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Tonight

 
I wrote some poetry tonight.
Yet my kitchen is knee deep in dirty dishes.
My painting lies unfinished upstairs
And if I had a bank manager anymore
He’d probably weep when he saw me.

And tonight I’ll sleep alone.

But my world is my own.
And as Diana Krall’s silky tones
Drape themselves across
My simple ills,

I find a warmth of sorts in solitude
Even in the sure knowledge that
I’m not alone.

 

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Summer’s night

 
On a hot summer night I lie awake and listen
To the still air.

Small insect sound from somewhere.

Then the air’s viscosity alters
As a call pierces the dark.

Something happening there
That makes no sense
From my decorated bedroom
But which affects my dreams
And appeals to my blood.

 

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Passing

 
I knew a life once that rang true I think.

I know a life now that rings true I think.

I will know a life that’s true when
I know a view that advises me well.
I think.

I know a life that’s passing me by
Like a river carrying blossom
That I’ll never see again.

 

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Self delusion

 
 
Can you describe yourself
Without a mirror?

Is your image of yourself
A curvy fairground version

That’s merely what you want,
And that you’re what’s contrived as
You raise yourself up or down?

I’ll bet you have no idea
Who you are
Or what you are.

A mind borne mirage
That you choose to believe in
And that floats
In a world of your own making.

So it probably doesn’t matter.
Because the world you think you live in
Will also shimmer ghost like above
Some imagined horizon.
 
 

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Fat

 
 
I look at myself,
So silly.
Pot belly.
Floppy willy.
A body unused
And full of want
For what it doesn’t
Deserve. Ah that too!
But I’m too lazy and
Like food and beer.
And my bod does
think the same.
Obviously.
 
 

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Nicole

 
 
Our identity
Is not what we’ve been made from.
It’s our view forward.
 
 

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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,
And crazed and shattered liked stressed glass.

I last remember screaming
As my world exploded into a glittering dance.

A dance of varied circumstance.

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.
The land lay hard and died 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 through their bones
Sadly singing their epitaphe.

A quieter world now.
Where when the wind sighs,
It sighs gladly.

 
 

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Life river

 
 
Sitting ankle deep and trying to resist
The slide downhill through
Sticky clay forming itself to my shape,

I watched muddy water race past.
Seething surface curving up and down again.
Blistering fortune.

Bulging fortune.
Tempting fate.

Currents that take goggle eyed flotsam,
Astonished and watching down into depths
As blue sky blurs to swirling death.

This river flowed past me so sure.
With its bulging swells and pretty whirlpools.

Sitting in mud and bent grass,
Watching the inevitability of it all.

And so I stood up and wiped the clinging mud
From my legs.

And I plunged headlong into the writhing river,
And was carried away.

Gasping and striving for the hot blue sky.

Then the green and grey cold swirl
That carried me away
Swept across my face looking upwards
And watching glassy eyed birds watch me
With blank acceptance
Passing by.

I washed up then on a stony shore,
Where I was able to turn aching and see
The seething thing that had spawned me,
For what it was.

A brown green heaving thing
Born of the context that fed it,
Guided by the landscape that led it.

I was a by product.

 
 

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Work

 
 

I do try to play the game.
I really do.
I apply for jobs and earnestly await replies.
I truly try to be enthusiastic about new product lines
And marketing and corporate social responsibility.

But then one night I take the trouble to stand on my doorstep
And watch the silent scudding clouds,
A passing gap silvered with shining moonlight,
And I listen to distant owls
And feel the stillness of the air.
And I’m sorry,
But the truth is that I don’t care
About your world or your profits
Or your corporate goals.

I’d rather lie back and sigh
And watch the world unfold.
It’s so beautiful
And so powerful
And is so much more
Than you or what I’m supposed to work for.

 
 

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Penultimate convenience

 
 
Sparkling ice cold was once followed
By sparkling and wind blown wishes of
Spring and new growth.

Seasons cold preceded warm
As copulation precedes birth.

Now cold air blows whilst hot fires rage
And waves pound hitherto solid sand
Not designed for such a world.

But still every V8 ego pounds its way
Across shimmering tarmac car park
Beside every conglomerate outlet
That lets us live with penultimate convenience.

 
 

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To live to love

 
 
Sullen glance at you
Through coffee steam
As crowds push round us.

Still thought for a brief moment.
Something happened.

A recognition
Of something not allowed to be
As now we
Must go to meaningless work
And earn to live to love.

 
 

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true self

 
 
Seething tied constrained.
Bound by formal convention.
Seeking to break free.
 
 

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The remarkably visible decline of Alphonse Onetime

 
 
With wide blue eyes and pink smooth skin
Young Alphonse viewed the blue sky swirling world
About him with endless optimism.

He gleed and clucked and rolled his sky blue eyes
In wonder at the life that lay before him
Before he was introduced to the idea of sin.

And as he grew and saw and loved and lusted,
And knew the destruction of the values of those about him
And strove to hold to a better view,

He found emerging distance grew like a gap
Between the hull of his ship and the established land
Built by his forefathers as an anchor.

As his sails filled and billowed with warm wind
Of aspiration and hope and a sense of direction,
He puzzled at how his path took him away to sea
Far from the hard certainty of the land that had been built for him.

His world was far more turbulent than had been intended.
Full of raging storms and pirates and ill fortune.
But also of adventure and learning and growth

And passion and love and lust and a kind of violence
That fulfilled him and made him feel righteous.

He sought his fortune and found it in foreign lands.
Values that echoed his forefather’s dreams,
But built on floating platforms that drifted with fortune.

One day his home was overwhelmed by glittering waves,
Smooth with glossy assurance as they lent over
To drown his dreams and all he loved

And as his life sank and his ship dissolved away,
He raised his view and saw the blue sky and the sun
And heard the call of certainty of land and the ways of his fathers.

But by then it was too late.
He sank slowly into a grey green world
Of passing currents and shifting sands
And glossy creatures that smirked at him
With botox lips and small hard eyes,

And he knew that from now on there would be no certainty.
Only life from one moment to the next to the last one,
After which perhaps he might wash up on some far shore
To be absorbed again back into warm dry soil.
 
 

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Waking song

 
 
I woke slowly to watch light patterns play on my ceiling
And the music of the new day slowly gained purchase.

I lay still and watched and listened
To the men loading my rubbish into their truck.

The men swore and in the background a bird sang
A song that was of a separate world.

Then I rose and showered and dressed slowly,
Wondering why and whether my day to come
Would be of music or of song.

The song or the noise of the world to which,
As a man,
I’m supposed to belong.
 
 

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Stages

 
 
Life stages pass by
As seasons move in circles.
We begin again.
 
 

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Night times

 
 
If I dare to turn the music off
The silence falls like a lead blanket
On my shoulders.

Run for bed.
Hide under the quilt and hopefully
Fall asleep.
Until the sun shines again through my window.

Then the birds are there.
And the news on BBC Radio 4.
For company.

But it’s hard to forget those florid dreams.
I think she was beautiful as well.
 
 

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To inherit

 
 
I had the temerity to laugh at her
As she slid silently down through industrialised air
And sat there watching me.
Her shimmering wings lighting the fog
That draped the air around her.

Under a wilting tree with one small apple
Clutched tight in my hand I sat and watched
This apparent apparition congeal
From thin air.

She held up a mirror and I saw myself
Sat there.

I saw a man.
Not one good or bad.
But one that looked at me
Quizzically with eyes that wondered why.

And then I heard myself sigh.
I turned away from her and saw instead
A land of rolling green hills
And hard working people
Who lacked the time to pay attention
To the finer aspects of sparkling wings.

They couldn’t see the beauty.
All they saw were their hands.
Wrinkled and painful
With the toil of living well.

I turned to look at her and she nodded slowly.

She was an ideal that stood proud
From our aspirations.

And as we laboured our way to oblivion,
She stood there shining in the sky
Invisible to all but a few who stood to inherit the earth.
 
 

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Blackbird

 
 
Amidst bleak English fields in February I walked.
Past copses and crooked fences and blackbirds that talked
In repeating sermons of foxes and hawks.
 
And turning a corner in the deep mud lane
I saw a flat field that was empty and plain
Save one single dead tree that stood there alone,
Crooked spine curved by unending wind,
Wizened arms twisted and bent all ways
And long twisted fingers that curled like snakes
Round unseen currents of air.
 
I stopped still for a while and watched.
The blackbirds grew quiet and the wind grew still.
Grey clouds hung low and swept overhead,
Bellies pregnant with wet and depression.
 
The witch tree twitched and a single finger curled,
Suggesting I draw near,
And as I did some crows rose,
Cawing and fluttering to rise into the air.
 
They flew round me in circles.
The spirit of the tree,
Scattered and laughing at me
And challenging me to move closer and see
A more true view of me.
 
In that windswept field I stood small
Against open grey space and blackbirds and cawing crows,
Rushing clouds and blowing wind that sighed
Some language I failed to understand.
 
As I grew closer, my vision melded with that of the tree
Such that my view was mine but was also that of the tree.
 
And the crows that circled grew quiet and watched
Even as they followed their wing twitching way round my head
And the witch tree’s fingers writhed
Like a pianist playing the sound of the blowing wind.
 
Then I stood next to her and I turned to look
At that bleak landscape I’d just traversed.
I saw a world that disdained her and that took
Fright at her for her difference and now ran from me too.
 
It’s something to be different.
It means standing alone with crows
In fields with wider than usual views.
But the blackbird’s sweet song gives hope.
 
 

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Old happy wise

 
 
Sitting there in that waiting room
In that garage with six other people
All staring straight ahead
I sat quietly by myself
Inside my head.

How daft it was we that had nothing to say.
Even though we did.
But six strangers dare not.
One Irish man though who couldn’t stand
Without his short stick spoke up.

His life was worth speaking of.
And did he speak of it?

On and on and on he went,
This happy man who loved his wife
And his life.
This plasterer who knew
Every way to make any wall smooth.

He had wisdom
Did this droning man
That at first I made myself politely
Listen to.

And as he spoke I became transported
Into a world that was smaller but wealthier
Than mine
In contentment.

He was a happy man.
And I was not.
And his happiness derived
From not knowing too much,
From being what he was
And not thinking about being more.
 
 

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