POISONED CHALICE

Education
breeds expectation.

Expectation
leads to frustration.

Frustration
is a suicide bomber.

Flowers of the Void
are not so easily destroyed.
Insubstantial from the start,
they shine on
in each empty heart.

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JUNE

A dry June
and roses and honeysuckle
tumble in riotous flower
down the path, below the gate,
in anticipation of drought.

They rush slowly
(keeping vegetable time)
towards the battlefield
of fern and bramble
which flows,
inconclusively,
to the cliff edge.
Beyond, the sea.

The mind takes on the colour
of what it shines through.
What it shines through
are the products of mind itself
from all our yesterdays.
This is the dance
of the mind
with its creations
(eternity with the products of time);
a slow and formal cosmic dance
to the silent music of the void.
This wonderful and mechanistic dance
flows on because the dancers
are somnambulant.

Who will wake them?

The Palm trees
have flowered
for the first time;
pushing ungainly spikes
skywards
in sprays of flowers like jasmine.

Paint a tiger
on the wall.
Turn and run
(in case it catches you).

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BUDDHA’S SUNLIT CHAMBER

In Buddha’s sunlit laboratory
(or Dhamma chamber),
experiments by laboratory assistants
(or monks)
demonstrate
that if you shine the light
of investigation
on form, feeling, perception,
thoughts and consciousness
and apply continuous mindfulness
at the very centre
of the rising and falling
of these phenomena,
all things are seen
to be without a permanent self
and a state of Peace
is found behind the suffering,
which fevers this loose aggregation of parts
we claim as our own self,
and replaces it.

“We rise on stepping stones
of our dead selves
to higher things.”

“It is excellent, good Gautama,”
says Prince Abhaya.
“It is as if one might set upright
what had been upset,
or might reveal
what had been covered
or show the way
to one who had gone astray
or bring an oil lamp into the darkness
so that one with vision might see…”

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SOLDIER LEE RIGBY

Lee Rigby was killed.

He was identified
as a Defender
of his Country.

His Killer will receive
the full protection
of that Country
and its lawyers.

The Killer’s religion
will continue to receive
the full protection
due to an endangered species.

That Country’s Prime Minister
will continue the dismemberment
of his Country’s Church and Constitution,
begun by his predecessors.

The Rich will continue to get richer.
The Poor will continue to get poorer.

Such is the country
that he died
to serve.

Verily I say unto you,
they have their reward.

(All of them…)

*On this day 8 years ago, Fusilier Lee Rigby was murdered in London by an Islamist terrorist.

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FOOL MOON

Abolishing the moon
by draining the pool
is an occupation
for the fool.

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HERE (AND NOW)

Clusters of English “unofficial” roses
have climbed the fence to face the sun.
Each in its crimson finery supposes
that it, alone, is the only one.

Honeysuckle tangles with its vagrance
bramble and lavender, rose and gorse,
fills the still air with its golden fragrance
there where the steps run a wayward course.

Shamrock has camped with a fragile neatness
just where the foxgloves have unfurled;
the privet has flowered and its lemon sweetness
hedges the edges of this living world.

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JESUS’ CURSE

Delivered from the Cross
with all the authority
of the Saviour of the World
at the precise moment
of his people’s rejection of Him.

“Forgive them Lord
for they know not
what they do!”

And within forty years
it came to pass.

Their Temple destroyed.
Their Holy of Holies
trampled on by Titus.
Their sacred paraphernalia looted.

The consecrated foundations
of their city ploughed over.

A million killed during the siege
and 97,000 captured and enslaved.

A Roman coin was minted
showing a Jewish woman
in chains under a palm tree.

When the Romans
built a replacement city,
His people alone
were denied entrance.

Homeless,
they wandered the earth,
gaining hard won prosperity,
followed by expulsion
from every place
they settled in.

Finally,
after two millennia of statelessness,
and six million who died
in a Final Solution,
a plot of land was carved for them
among the cosmopolitan
humanity of Palestine.
And they were settled in the midst
of their most ancient enemies.
Proud, but unrepentant,
to fulfil their Saviour’s curse:

Forgive them Lord
for they know not
what they do.

And it could have been worse.

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IN THE DEAD TREE THE DRAGON SINGS

Which tree?
Which dragon?

A coffin is a dismembered, sawn up tree,
undoubtedly dead.
The dragon inside could be you or me
a winding sheet from heel to head.
Buried alive, unable to get out,
I can’t think we’d have much to sing about.

Merlin was trapped within
a druidic oak by Vivien
and is there still.
Yet there’s no evidence
that he’s a dragon or that he sings.
Though Vivien both danced and sang
in a triumphant frenzy
at the surrender of his will.

Traditionally
dragons lived in mountain caves
with their spoils;
breathing fire
at would-be despoilers.

In India we meet
the dragon of Kundalini
with eyes,
a metaphorical conceit
for the powerfully wise,
gnostic visionaries who realise
that, ‘I am ME!’
Third eye opened to Eternal SEE.
(But still, within the Sangsara,
not completely free).

Timor mortis conturbat mé

Not grasping after the Four.*
Relinquishing the Five.*
Whether for half an hour,
while still alive,
or, giving it all back free
for all the rest of vast eternity;
the silent singing is still heard,
a living language that does not need a word.

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* Four constituent Elements of matter (Datu): Air, Earth, Fire and Water.
* Five Hindrances (Nivaranas): Sensuous Desire, Ill Will, Sloth & Torpor,

Restlessness & Worry, Doubt.

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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 so 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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