AUTUMN

Wind moans in the eaves,
a dead shrew on wet bricks.
Paths soaked with sodden leaves.

Autumn is up to its old tricks.

Cold gusts and shafts of sudden sun,
birds and clouds migrate the sky,
Summer’s visitors leaving one by one.

Better to move on than stay and die?

Old aches and pains bring forth
their winter crops.
Old lungs choke to keep cold damp out.

This year’s runner beans reveal
bare and battered tops.

Does this year’s robin wonder,
what’s it all about?

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THE DYING RACES OF MANKIND

When the rich see the very poor
they know it is time
to buy their valuables.
Cheaply.

This ancient people
were driven out of Tibet
by the Tibetans,
out of China by the Chinese
and out of Burma
by the Burmese.

Ah Kah people are very poor
and cannot offer much resistance
to economic assistance.
They make exquisite silver jewellery
and headdresses.
Treasure hunters
have been buying them.
Cheaply.

Ah Kah people have bright shining souls.
Christian missionaries
have been buying them.
Cheaply.

Although the missionaries,
have been taught
that moth and rust doth corrupt
and thieves break in and steal,
they courageously bite the moral bullet
and seek treasures on earth as well.

Ah Kah are animists
and see all around them spirits
and the ghosts of their ancestors.
Their villages are small,
their houses bamboo
and on stilts.
They are accustomed
to having to abandon them
and move on.

Outside each village
is a ceremonial swing
on three poles.
Smaller than the Giant Brahmin Swing,
it serves the same purpose;
to gently dislodge the jiva
from the physical manipura
and reawaken the old self-knowledge.

The Headman reawakens
the old tribal-knowledge.
He can recite the names of the ancestors
back to the Beginning.

Carefully carrying
this self-knowledge
and this tribal-knowledge,
carefully preserving
this family identity,
they have wandered on
like Bronze Age tribes.
Like the Israelites,
who recited their ancestral names
in the Generation of Adam;
And Adam begat Seth
and Seth begat Enos
and Enos begat Cainan
and Cainan begat Mahalaleel
and Cainan lived eight hundred and forty years
after he begat Mahalaleel…

Like the Ashokhs in Transcaucasia,
reciting the story of Gilgamesh.

All these are Inheritors.

The missionaries are bookworms
and teach the Ah Kah
not to believe in spirits
but to become Christians
and go to heaven after they are dead
(which the missionaries
do not seriously believe in
and to which they are unlikely
to be going after they are dead).
The missionaries have already bought
twenty five percent of the Ah Kah souls
in these rolling green hills.
The Spiritual Inheritance of Ah Kah
is bought with running water,
fertilizers and televisions,
radios and motorbikes,
pharmaceutical drugs and jobs
and education for the next generation.

In this village there are two brick buildings,
the priest’s house and a Church.
Despite this, the recitations still go on,
as does haruspication
from the entrails of black pigs.

Further down the valley to the east,
that large white building
is where the children eat and sleep;
and are schooled in the virtues
of the neverland
of western industrial society
and its sanitized philosophies.

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BLACK MAGIC…….

…A flowering of the human spirit
in which Evil torments and exploits
as much of Creation as it can reach.

…A development of Freedom To,
when the corner stone of Ethics is discarded,
that proliferates and insinuates
to as near Absolute Power as it can reach.

…Its latest and fashionable flowering,
Materialism….

…Its fruiting,
concentration camps and guards,
factory farms and farmers,
vivisection laboratories and Ph.D.’s.

…Its High Priests and Thought Police,
Bishops and Ayatollahs and MPs.

…All those who seek to corral
the Living Spirit
and embed it
in dense shadowy stuff called Matter.

There, compressed by pain,
it evaporates away
to re-form eternally
somewhere else
again.

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HIM AND HER AND THEM

A bare chest
is a cooler way
on a hot day
than a string vest.

Her husband’s pain’s a sword.
And, again,
though she sees and feels for him
and keeps her love
and cooks his meals for him,
she is bored.

It’s hard to be free
no matter what you see;
something to do with the guts
or too many ifs and buts.

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MAKE AN EFFORT

Matter is always inert;
dense shadowy stuff
that resists the shining.

Leave the puppet
to its own devices
and how will it ever
get out of its box?

Who then is there
to make an effort?
And with what force
from where obtained?

The child, the kitten, the puppy
have no idea
that there are efforts
to be made.

Simmering with energy,
breathing through the joints and strings,
they almost make the puppet fly
with pure enthusiasm.
By what deity
are they then possessed?

Growing older,
fires colder,
energy wanes,
puppet pains,
lies down
in its box.
Shadowy
and inert.

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BABIES

Babies do not cry
through choice.
It’s just their suffering giving voice;
wishing to share it
with someone like you who can bear it.

In Latin this someone is called mater.

Nowaday’s-English comes much later,
and I cannot find a word to translate her.

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NO EXIT

Oh Lord, I have terrified
my soul at your graveyards
where the spirits of your people
thought to rest
for an over-flowering morning
to recall the world in,
regale themselves with memories in,
tremble in the glory of their souls
at what they please to call your throne.
And all these yearning spirits
who have tumbled half-asleep
into their deaths, or taken them
with eyes blighted,
or been numbed into their graves
with violence and fear,
or wanted death
and still been unprepared:
all these have framed
a way of outward thinking
and even something to look at, Lord.

And it has served a purpose,
kept both eyes in focus
from their separating ways
past your infinite divinity
to an infinite blur
in infinite space.
And this they called your grace,
lest it should seem a little strange
that any God would take such pains
to stand well in their sight,
seeking approbation,
adulation,
in exchange for dubious delight;
almost cap-in-hand
to woo the happy band
to a fitting consummation
with all creation in reverse
absorbed in Him.

A whim which only an invented God
could think
and not also think it odd.

But it has served a purpose
this deterrent
for our eyes,
and would do still
were we not now content
to fix our sight
still closer
along the street
that’s in the mind
on the first thing that we find,
still closer,
almost at our own feet.

Or lost in contemplation
of a footprint,
sacrificing sense
to sensation,
retreating further from the older dispensation,
Lord.

Footprint and foot,
past and present too,
equal mind rests
to consent to.
If only to avoid the tiny terror
of where foot touches ground,
the small silence where a
thing in finding becomes found.

Were we better bound
with your cord, Lord?

Our knot.

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DUSIT ZOO

Part of the Royal Dusit Garden Palace,
where Chulalongkorn built himself
a great golden teak palace
with the cutting edge technology of 1900,
was a private botanical garden,
full of rare plants and lakes.

In 1938 the Revolutionary Government
metamorphosed it
into Municipal Zoological Gardens
with animals and paddleboats.
In an enclosure of rock and grass
and paddling pools,
the two tigers can circumambulate
their world in forty five seconds.
They are fat.
They walk to get an appetite.
They eat only to sleep.
We look into their tiny freedom
through the bars of our great cage,
feel brave and shout encouragement in Thai
(they are Bengal Tigers)
and try to stare them in the eye.
They refuse to stare back at us
(they cannot reach us with claws and teeth)
nor do they stare at each other
(they have acquired the virtue
of mutual toleration in their tiny freedom
which we have not yet found in our vast cage).
To please the cameras,
one strolls down
from its ten foot high mountain
to the twelve foot long lake near our bars.
Turning its back on us,
it reverses to the edge of the lake
and tests the water
first with one foot, then the other.
Satisfied, it backs into the lake
until only its lower half is immersed
and reclines, head-high and proud,
staring away from us into the vastness
of its primeval inner jungle.

Tyger, tyger, burning bright,
in your forest of your night.

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ASHRAM MELODY

The best way of enough is all gone,
for that there is no argument upon.

While there is still something in the dish
there is, in Mind, propensity to wish.

Wishing is a film that spreads itself like jam
and turns the dullest pebble to a fragment of “I AM”.

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GAOLER’S KEYS

A poem
opens a window
in the prison wall.

If it’s not a poem,
it’s just a picture
on the wall.

Who paints pictures
on the prison wall
is surely in the gaoler’s pay.

May all beings be happy!
May they be free from ill will!
May they be free from enmity!
May they be well and happy all the time!

When friendliness puts in an appearance,
its starting place is non-interference.
Let the uncaged linnet sing.
Leave the butterfly on its wing.

When friendliness puts in an appearance,
Māra grasps its outward form
and wears it as his own disguise
with which he can his tricks perform.

He chooses it to make him friends.
He uses it to blind their eyes
and so accomplishes his ends.

He puts out bait for fish to find.
He leaves a snare to catch him birds,
sows seeds of craving in the mind
and mixes poison with his words
and all the whiles,
he threats and smiles.

Beware the Smyler with his Knife *
who wants your money and your life!

** Chaucer: The smyler with the knife under his cloke.

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