Which tree?
Which dragon?

A coffin is a dismembered, sawn up tree,
undoubtedly dead.
The dragon inside could be you or me
a winding sheet from heel to head.
Buried alive, unable to get out,
I can’t think we’d have much to sing about.

Merlin was trapped within
a druidic oak by Vivien
and is there still.
Yet there’s no evidence
that he’s a dragon or that he sings.
Though Vivien both danced and sang
in a triumphant frenzy
at the surrender of his will.

dragons lived in mountain caves
with their spoils;
breathing fire
at would-be despoilers.

In India we meet
the dragon of Kundalini
with eyes,
a metaphorical conceit
for the powerfully wise,
gnostic visionaries who realise
that, ‘I am ME!’
Third eye opened to Eternal SEE.
(But still, within the Sangsara,
not completely free).

Timor mortis conturbat mé

Not grasping after the Four.*
Relinquishing the Five.*
Whether for half an hour,
while still alive,
or, giving it all back free
for all the rest of vast eternity;
the silent singing is still heard,
a living language that does not need a word.


* Four constituent Elements of matter (Datu): Air, Earth, Fire and Water.
* Five Hindrances (Nivaranas): Sensuous Desire, Ill Will, Sloth & Torpor,

Restlessness & Worry, Doubt.

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“God is good.”

Not quite right.
“Why not?”
That follows the stumbling way.
To the chopping off of hands
in Mecca and Medina.
Or to the world’s most valuable art collection
in the Vatican.
Or to the crucifixion of prophets
in Jerusalem.
Or to the brainwashing
of the Poor by the Rich.

“What about this?
‘Good is God’.”

Spot on! Why?
That follows the straight- forward way,
the Path of Ethics.
To not doing to other Living Beings
what you would not want done to yourself.
To Happiness, Peace and Salvation.


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Time drifts away,
as mist fades on the mountain.
The world itself is hardly more real.
The living waters springing
from life’s fountain run dry,
leaving discarded bones
bleaching in the sun.

There is no molecule
but strives to be the whole
(or if it can’t encompass that, a soul).
Molecules of arms and legs and brain
are rebels all and would be free again;
the pageant of our days and hours
runs till we lose our feeble powers.

We are children playing out our days
with sandcastles and fantasies
until the turning the tide erases
what we have worked so hard to raise,
struggled to keep and called our own;
fragments of things, at best on loan.

our thoughts might usefully aspire;
nothing down here
needs building any higher.

Deal justly with your neighbour
and make of him your friend
and, in your inner garden, labour
until you reach your end.


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The great gates hang
on broken hinges,
the temples blaze,
the walls are breached;
the palaces have all been looted
the end of a dynasty has been reached.

Those still living
have all been taken,
women and children have been sold;
the last king hangs
from the palace lintel,
the images burn to give up their gold.

when you dream of country houses,
of shattered rafters and sudden fear;
and, as you climb the social ladder,
remember the last king
hanging here.


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Going out there is no other
coming back there is no trace.
As Eternity comes nearer-clearer,
the brackets themselves have a smaller place.

Meeting in a far-off future
you will not recognise my face
but will turn away to your then-close family
in your then-dear corner of infinite space.

April has spread out her wares
bluebell, primrose, polyanthus, gorse,
rosemary, hawthorn, wild garlic, dandelion, apple.
For a solitary robin
that hops
and stops
and stares.

It is easier to chop down
an acorn
than an oak.

(The branch you bang
your head on
was an acorn
that you missed.)


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First the left hand, then the right;
in each, a ball, in each held tight

When a third comes into view,
what exactly will you do?

Let it roll past on its way,
down the hall and out the door?

Or grab it and bring it into play,
or even look around for more?

Throw one up into the air.
See how it seems to go up there.
Round and round, see where it spins
and, as it falls, the game begins!

And what a game! For as you snatch it
you must let go another to catch it.
Now both your hands have to hurry
forever in a whirl and flurry.

The more you grab, the worse it gets.
How it started, you forget.
Is there no peace in this kinetic cage,
performing here upon an empty stage?

The game’s the thing; is its own reason
and every time of year its season.
The world spins on in this commotion,
this frantic, senseless, cosmic motion.

How will it end? For what can stop it?
We surely cannot simply drop it.
We reach and clutch, catch and throw
on and on and on we go.

Exhaustion brings a final fumble,
we and our juggling all down tumble.

The Sun, too, will tire of this game
and all its planets will fall down again.


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To be the youngest player
to be the youngest player.

To be the oldest player
to be the oldest player.

I always knew that if I could do it,
I could do it.
I never doubted
that I would never doubt it.

Statistics is the science of the knowable.
We always knew that one day we would know it.

To be able to do what no-one has done
means the sky’s the limit.

If the sky’s the limit,
then there is no limit
(and no sky either).

Who could not be proud
to feel as proud as me?

If I owe what I have achieved to anyone
then they will want it back.

But if I don’t owe it to anyone.
then I can let you share it with me!


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According to the manuals,
they are everywhere.
How is it, then, that I
cannot see them?

Under my feet,
in the silent corners,
under the stairs,
in the crowded common rooms,
I search;
and find nothing.

But, when I speak,
what is it that crawls
along the fissures of my tongue
towards the light?

The padding of feet,
snapping of clickers;
the reaching out into the void
with silken webs,
multiple eyes
and subtle poisons?

And, when I listen,
what is it that glistens,
floating across the void
to grasp and bind
and, with such circumspection,
transfer another dying image
to the collection
in my mind?

Ah yes! My mind,
the internal
(and eternal)
darkness of the blind.
That’s where they breed
and infiltrate their eggs,
which incubate in silk cocoons,
cossetted, nourished by a myriad
wayward thoughts,
waiting to hatch.

To hatch
and emigrate
and lie in wait
and catch

more prey.


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Our creditors are coming
coming with all due speed
and what they want is everything
we thought we’d ever need
in full and instant payment
for our each and every deed.

And though we cannot bribe them
to make them go away
we might put on a brave face
and meet them now half way.

(Stop World War Three before it starts.)


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“Empty-handed I come
and lo!
the spade is in my hand.”

In the illimitable Void
All is destroyed
(and Nothing is lost!).

Everything appears anew:
good seeds flourish
(and evil too).

They said to the Poet
at his birth,
“Go! Love!
Without the help
of anything on Earth.”

A naked child eighteen inches long
no teeth, no hair, no speech.
Everything is out of reach!
Yet once his mental powers are uncoiled,
he creates cities, plagues and motorways
to terrorise the world.

So much, so soon, from one so weak!
It should be child’s play to have
a happy


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