HEAD AND HEART

If the Head leads,
it breeds a web
in which the ego lurks
to catch its prey.

And the Heart pales away.

If the Heart rules,
the sticky web
transforms into a safety net
through which the Ego
shrivels into the Void.

(from Gnomonic Verses)

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POSSESSION

There is the fire that consumes
and the fire that illumines.

There is Desire
and there is Love.

Those motivated by Desire
see things they wish to possess,
things they do not wish to possess,
and other things –
of no interest whatsoever.

Those motivated by Love
see Fellow Travellers
in a thousand different forms;
mirrors
of one Fire.

They feel compassion
and sympathetic joy
and friendly interest.

Others again
see transmutation
everywhere;
and pain.

Only a fool
thinks to possess
the moon
reflected in a pool,
or a sandcastle,
or an articulated puppet.

(poem from Gnomonic Verses)

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NO EXIT

Journeying from the beginning
(of which there is no beginning),
travelling for millions of years
(which cannot be measured in millions or years),
I have come,
and go on.
No stopping.
Just the onward movement
into the illimitable.
For ever.

No need to blame the wicked,
their shadows are at their heels.
No need to fear for the good,
haloes of light enclose them in splendour.
No need to talk of escape.
Escape from this prison
is a doorway into the prison yard
and back again.

This prison is moving
and all-encompassing.
There is nothing outside it
to be escaped into.
There is no escape from.
There is only stopping.
Where there is stopping, how can there be movement?
If there is no movement, how could there be a prison?

(Poem from BLONDIN)

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STARTING OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT

Phuket is blessed with the
HAPPY TOOTH DENTAL CLINIC,
which offers Preventative Dentistry
and Pediatric Dentistry.

It seems that by preventing teeth
growing in the first place,
they will save you
a lifetime’s dental fees.

Like the Jesuits they believe,
“Get them young enough
 and you have them for life!”
(Or in this case you won’t have them for life.)

Even the Jesuits
didn’t think of providing
a set of false teeth
with their first catechism.

(from BAMBOO LEAVES poetry in Thailand)

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TRENNINOW LANE

Treninnow Lane is tangled
dark and overgrown
with angled
beech and arching sycamore.

No cars drive down
and fern and nettle,
dandelion and dock slumber
in this extraordinary summer’s heat.

Spiders’ webs are spun tight
and Speckled Woods and Tortoiseshells meet,
lifting and drifting,
in and out of pools of sunlight
(on the very edge of seeing
in and out of being).

This is an old track;
ancient scents and birdsong;
old ghosts who cannot find their way back
and have no courage to move on
hover round the puzzle of some past event
with an extraordinary gracefulness,
caught within a fragment
half-insight, half-forgetfulness.

You
walk here too,
an exile
with your smile and your eyes
most innocently wise
(in and out of being,
on the very edge of seeing).    

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LA PLACE DE LA CONCORDE

(Harmony Square)

La Place de la Concorde
near the Hôtel Crillon.

In the Temps Perdu:
Madame Lafarge
(who never forgets)
and the tricoteuses
(who never forget)
sit and knit
and wait for Marie Antoinette.

“With my machine,”
Dr Guillotin tells the Assemblée Constituante,
“I cut off your head
in the twinkling of an eye,
and you never feel it!”

In the Here and Now: 
a yellow granite obelisk
from the Luxor Temple,
a gift from an Ottoman Viceroy,
rises seventy five feet
above the centre of the square.

It, too, lost its cap in the sixth century BC.
Unlike Marie Antoinette.
it has been given a gold-leafed replacement.

In 2000, the French “Spiderman”,
no hard hat or safety net,
just climbing shoes and hands quite bare,
scaled the obelisk right to the top,
to the astonishment of Harmony Square!

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SHADOWS OF ETERNITY

Products of the Past
are apparent all around us.
All of them outlast
and eternally surround us.

The Past for its own sake
is always out of view,
following in the wake
of something always new.

Looking for the Past itself,
records are all you find;
fossil, video, compact disc,
fragments of the mind.

Mental facsimiles,
images and thoughts,
shadows of eternity,
the Wave is never caught.

Grasping after shadows,
nets emptiness and pain.
Freedom, it then follows,
means letting go again.

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