The fountain
reaches upwards into space
and, finding nothing
to sustain it there,
falls back into its proper place.

And in this endless
rise and fall,
we see the start and finish
of us all.

Time flies
through summer and through wintry skies;
measures elephants and butterflies,
marks where this is born and that one dies.
See the world dissolve and fade before your dying eyes!


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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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“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 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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Dry and ripening:
sea flat and shining
like burning glass.

Gulls floating
like ducks on a giant’s pond.

Small Coppers, Blues and Hairstreaks
like blown leaves
in parched grass.

Victoria plums,

This is the turning
of the year
when all that is thought of as ‘there’
is found to be ‘here’,
when harvests are collected,
lifetimes are inspected,
(next time’s cosmic seeds selected)
and the traveller sees fear
in his handful of dust.
(In his handful of dust).


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It is now two millennia since
the Security Seraphims
were withdrawn
and the Gates of Eden reopened
to the General Public.

Free Admission
to all children
(before their parents succeeded
in banning them).

Free Passes
to those adults who agree
to leave their baggage outside
(as strongly recommended by JC)
and successfully passed
the Camel’s Eye of a Needle Security Check.

This will detect even your bikini
and any other thoughts
left over from heavy addiction
to the fruit
of the Tree of Knowledge.

It is surprising and chastening
how few (excepting children)
have availed themselves of this
Once-in-a-Lifetime opportunity.
as it is rapidly approaching
its Expiry Date.

Outside the gates,
are innumerable camper vans,
over-flowing removal lorries
and the charred remains
of dead animals (holy sacrifices).
Together with a jostling crowd
of fashionably robed
Bishops and priests,
some artificially bald;
some with original designer beards.

They are selling
genetically modified,
original cuttings
from the Tree of Knowledge,
together with heavily translated
instruction manuals;
each with its individual
Stamp of Infallibility.

These guarantee to give you
instant and privileged entry,
via a back door (with donation box)
to the Garden of Life
(as soon as you are safely dead).

Once the Expiry Date is reached
(determined by when Planet Earth
can no longer cope
with man’s inhumanity
to man and nature),
the killings by man
will be replaced with
the cullings of men;
controlled, systematic, cosmic.

Then the Gates of Eden
will be closed once more.

Seraphims will be reinstalled
with suicide bombs
(make your own),
missiles, and drones
instead of flaming swords.

The discarded cuttings
from the Tree of Knowledge
will grow into a concealing forest,
peopled by a race
of test-tube-originated primates.

And God will try again elsewhere.


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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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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.

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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Swimming in a Cornish sea –
Porpoises! (not Cornish) a little way from me.
How far?
How far from splashing foot to streamlined tail?

Following the brain down its mazy trail –
Thirty yards? A million years?
Too far? Not far enough?

But eye to eye
(inner eye to inner eye)
it’s not so far
from grain of sand to spinning star.

Here wave is sea
and sea is wave once more,
no them no me,
a timeless beating on a timeless shore.

What a place to be alone
(alone with one’s friends)
in such a busy, splashing sea;
alone with all the world
(and you and me).


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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;
of one Fire.
They feel compassion
and sympathetic joy
and friendly interest.

Others again
see transmutation
and pain.

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


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