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?


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Between the stairway
and the stair,
the Soul has sensed the Shadow there
reaching out from somewhere grey;
has felt the sunlight slide away.

Between the window
and the frame
has passed the Rat that has no name
to gnaw and chew and breed and tear
and take your homestead as his lair.

Between the doorway
and the porch
the Arsonist inserts his torch
to spark the threshold with his fire
and make your home your funeral pyre.

Between one thought beam
and a second
Satan’s smoky finger beckoned
and touched the Spirit’s upward flight
to charm it downwards into Night.



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Watching the flow
of middle-earth
as all things go
from birth to birth.
Here, one can know
what it’s all worth.

An empty tide
of rise and fall.
Nothing outside
is mine at all;
nothing inside
nor large nor small.

The mind reflects
vague shadowy drifts.
The mind connects
blank mists with mists.
The mind projects
meaning – where none exists.

Rich and poor
in ragged procession
pass the door
and dispute possession
of what they cannot own;
like dogs, growl and groan
over an imaginary bone.

Ever so long ago. Today.
And ever-after.
Tears will wash away
your broken laughter.


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Of French descent,
Madame Estourgeon
has made the ascent
of Ben Neverist
to look down from the clouds
at the crowds
of neo-Scots
marching to the banner
of their newfound Queen.

from a disused dungeon
in St Andrews,
the spirit of John Knox,
of Scottish descent,
can still be heard intoning,

“Monstrous Regimen of Women!
Monstrous Regimen of Women!”



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Even in all your fine regalia,
hint of blue and buzzing wing
all the trappings of your kind,
you are far from being a substantial thing,
and all your efforts end in failure.
All entomic paraphernalia,
proboscis, thorax, abdomen, wings that fly,
six legs, antennae, multi-faceted eye,
are merely dust imprinted with your mind.

And so you flit from fruit to faeces
to satisfy an endless lust,
disintegrate into component pieces
and so revert to where you started, dust.

But even without dust to model
and round a dusty world
you fly, quite formless, from your silent hell
to where the nerve ends of the brain are curled.

You are thought
your body but its shadow;
not from the maggot were you brought,
but from the glow
and from the fire
of still unquenchable desire.

The human here
in all his pride,
gives you sanctuary inside,
eventually emerging to appear
a bold facsimile of you
with buzzing wing and hint of blue.


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What is that sound?
Like the trailing of a fan
through a silent anteroom?

It is the murmur of air
ruffling leaves.

It is the herald of the whirlwind
which will strip those leaves from their trees
and wrench the trees from the hillside
and blast the soil from the rocks beneath,
leaving the skeleton of the earth
to bleach and crumble.

And what is that sound?
Like a cascade of pearls
on a silver salver?

It is the rushing of the waterfall
in the Italian garden.
It presages the tempest and the raging ocean
which smashes earth’s boundaries
and drives the rivers back up to their sources,
drowning and destroying everything that lives on air.

And what is that sound?
Like the crackle of dry twigs
under the heavy boots of soldiers?
It is the fire in the hearth,
logs spitting, blue and yellow flame dancing
under the granite lintel.

It is the messenger of the Sun,
which will rage and burn the planet
to a cloud of incandescent interstellar dust
for the winds of space to disperse forever.

And what is that sound?
High and plaintive
behind the polished nursery door?

It is the crying of a two-day-old baby.
It tells of the heavy tramp of armies
across the continents of the world
marching to the rhythms
of dark gods
bringing the destruction of cities
and the extinguishing of civilisations.

It is the sound of an empty skull
there in the desert,
abandoned by dog and raven,
dry and bleached and splitting along its seams,
home to gusts of wind
and the occasional locust.

These are the sounds of the end of human endeavour,
the end pages of books,
the silence which silences the symphony.

When the gums shrivel and decay,
the teeth are cracked and broken
and there is to be found no place where the smile
or its shadow has ever been;
no echo of long ago laughter.

This is the sound of eternity.



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A boy carrying dead body of his little brother to a cremation pyre, after the atomic bombing of Nagasaki on
August 9, 1945.

The antique fowling piece
reveals the skills
of the gunsmith
and forges his link
with the blood stained feathers.

Einstein’s equation (E = mc2)
made the atomic bomb
theoretically possible.

Szilárd’s fission using uranium, 
made a nuclear chain reaction possible.
“I never thought of that!” said Einstein.

Einstein signed the letter to Roosevelt.
This put the fowling piece in the Hunter’s hand.

“I made one great mistake in my life…
when I signed the letter to President Roosevelt
recommending that atom bombs be made.”


1. On this day 6th August, 1945, the US drops the first of two atomic bombs on Japan. Here is a link to an article on Hiroshima published in the New Yorker in 1946 of accounts from six survivors and what they experienced and saw:

2.“Another Hiroshima is coming unless we stop it now…” -John Pilger

3. ‘Commemorating Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Blaming Russia for U.S. War Crimes’


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In the dark tabernacle,
a shaft of sunlight
illumines the heart
and shines through
a million years of dust.

Clouds and clouds of swirling
through the light
which spills in a golden pool
on damp, grey stone and iron rust.

When the light moves
it does not take the dust there to it.
When the dust slides into darkness,
the light does not pursue it.

Why then does the heart invent
heart bruising burdens to shoulder?
(Why does the heart consent
to the illusion of growing older?)


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The great stone Hall is silent
that is now millennia old.
Through the western windows
shines a glorious sun.
It floods the walls and floors,
the tables, chairs and doors,
panelling, pictures, artefacts
and illumines every one
until the wraiths that gather
cry out in their joy,
‘Everything is gold!
Whatever is, is gold!’

A majestic cloud
emerges from the southern sea,
slides across the western sky
blotting out the sun.

Light through those western windows
pales to a thin grey day.
It dims the walls and floors,
the tables, chairs and doors,
panelling, pictures, artefacts
pales every one
until the wraiths in the shadows
cry out in dismay,
‘Gone is gold, the gold is gone!
All joy has passed away.’


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There is the patience of the tree,
with feet set fast in earth;
buffeted by storms,
stripped of leaves by droughts,
home to birds and parasites,
bored into by beetles and worms,
reaching to ever greater heights
until sawn and dismembered by men,
or turned to a heap of ash
by the impatient hunger of fire,
or felled by the lash
of the whirlwind.

There is the patience of the schoolboy
by the open window
through which the sun blazes,
poised precariously
between French verbs and sleep,
while all the world outside lazes
by the cool deep
of the river.

There is the patience of the owl
on the beam
in the silent barn
for the straw in the corner
to stir.

There is the patience of the cat
waiting to kill
and the mouse trapped on the window sill
waiting to be killed.


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