WEEKEND PEOPLE

Though the weekend people
leave it all behind,
when they sit down quietly
it’s all there in their mind.

And though they leave their footprints
to commemorate their stay,
when the cosmic tide comes in,
it washes them away.

The sand, the rocks, the buildings
though private (and insured),
the pictures, frames and gildings
-nothing has endured.

The cosmic tide has taken them
and their owners too.
(And when they sit down quietly
it’s all there in their mind.)

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HERE NOW

Here exists in Space
Now exists in Time,
so how can they be the same?

New York exists in America (space).
New York exists at five o’clock (time)
say the Americans.
But you can’t say
New York IS five o’clock
or New York IS America!
(Unless you are a New Yorker.)

In the beginning
(said the Greeks)
was CHAOS.
In the beginning
(said the Egyptians)
was SKY and EARTH.
In the beginning
(said the Hindus)
was sat-chit-ananda
which means being-consciousness-bliss.

Time is just movement through Space.
So, if I don’t move, there is no Time
(says Gnome).

Watching a small egg become a caterpillar.
Watching a caterpillar eating a leaf.
Watching a caterpillar become a pupa.
Watching a pupa burst open
and a butterfly crawling out.

Movements in space.

Memory can
capture a facsimile
of the caterpillar
and the butterfly
and retain them separately.

This does not invent Time,
it’s just something
that Memory can do.

They were never separate.
They are always a continuum
through space.

Memory can
capture a facsimile
of a child
and of an adult
and retain them
separately.

They were never separate.
They are always a continuum
through space.

Feeling can prefer
the facsimile of the child
to that of the adult.

Preference makes
Regret and Joy.

She was such an angel.
What went wrong?

She didn’t stop, says Gnome.
She kept going. She invented Time.

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CHRIST SAID

Christ said: “Give it all away
and follow Me.”
They even say
that’s what he said
and praise it,
get their children spiritually fed
(and then erase it).

“If the spirit calls you, Go!”
they say,
and, as you’re on your way,
“Hey!
It’s only a metaphor you know!
Come back!
Let’s talk some more.
You’ll have to pack.
But come back.
And shut the door.”

The door, yes, door,
any door on any floor
in any city anywhere.
Go out now.
It doesn’t matter how you look.
Go now.
Put down the book
slip quickly out.
Ignore the shout,
don’t look back.

Still there.

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PERFECT ACTION

When the fires are raging,
don’t add fuel
and the two worlds
(the inner and the outer)
subside into their natural state.

When the dogs
of dissension and desire
are sleeping,
don’t wake them
and the world is already cool and quiet.

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FOR MOTHER AND CHILD

Why wake him?
You woke to nothing,
do you think he won’t?
Your hand will guide him firmly and away,
your lips will teach the nonsense he will say,
your sins on him
every day.

At best,
he’ll pass the test
you failed,
but where you won
will be undone.

At worst,
putting him first,
you’ll chain his mind
to you in front and you behind.

At worst/best
you pierce his blessed darkness,
take his vision and fix his sight
on the broken splinters of your light
unmercifully shining.

A savage in a hole
dragging the sons of light
to gaze at shadows on a wall.
It’s not the tomb
that leads to hell,
it’s the antiseptic smell
that opens on the womb.

There are the white-coated
and the flower-carriers
smiling in their blindness
goaded on by kindness.
Always, behind the chalk,
the cruel admonitory talk,
the printed notice and the pen,
the forcing on to make them men,
the kindness;
the blindness-kindness,
the training of all that can be trained.

Do they not realise
that building is for gods?

Cannot even the wise
think it odd
that a man must slave
for what he cannot have?

Is it left to be the knowledge of the few
that life is only something to be got through?

You needn’t wilt
or tire,
nothing need be built
any higher.

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GIVING HOSTAGES TO FORTUNE

When Fortune comes at last
to claim his Hostage
and all the days and hours are counted
and the fragile papers, envelopes and postage
and all those in-between days are discounted;
and Pluto has reclaimed
Eurydice’s earthly portion
and Thracian Maenads
have left her Orpheus dismembered,
what will be saved
from all this carnage and distortion?
What living fragments
will still then be remembered?

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THE FOUNTAIN

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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JUGGLING

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…

“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.
Everywhere.

“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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WAVES

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.

Upwards
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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