The great gates hang
on broken hinges,
the temples blaze,
the walls are breached;
the palaces have all been looted
the end of a dynasty has been reached.

Those still living
have all been taken,
women and children have been sold;
the last king hangs
from the palace lintel,
the images burn to give up their gold.

when you dream of country houses,
of shattered rafters and sudden fear;
and, as you climb the social ladder,
remember the last king
hanging here.


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Going out there is no other
coming back there is no trace.
As Eternity comes nearer-clearer,
the brackets themselves have a smaller place.

Meeting in a far-off future
you will not recognise my face
but will turn away to your then-close family
in your then-dear corner of infinite space.

April has spread out her wares
bluebell, primrose, polyanthus, gorse,
rosemary, hawthorn, wild garlic, dandelion, apple.
For a solitary robin
that hops
and stops
and stares.

It is easier to chop down
an acorn
than an oak.

(The branch you bang
your head on
was an acorn
that you missed.)


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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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To be the youngest player
to be the youngest player.

To be the oldest player
to be the oldest player.

I always knew that if I could do it,
I could do it.
I never doubted
that I would never doubt it.

Statistics is the science of the knowable.
We always knew that one day we would know it.

To be able to do what no-one has done
means the sky’s the limit.

If the sky’s the limit,
then there is no limit
(and no sky either).

Who could not be proud
to feel as proud as me?

If I owe what I have achieved to anyone
then they will want it back.

But if I don’t owe it to anyone.
then I can let you share it with me!


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According to the manuals,
they are everywhere.
How is it, then, that I
cannot see them?

Under my feet,
in the silent corners,
under the stairs,
in the crowded common rooms,
I search;
and find nothing.

But, when I speak,
what is it that crawls
along the fissures of my tongue
towards the light?

The padding of feet,
snapping of clickers;
the reaching out into the void
with silken webs,
multiple eyes
and subtle poisons?

And, when I listen,
what is it that glistens,
floating across the void
to grasp and bind
and, with such circumspection,
transfer another dying image
to the collection
in my mind?

Ah yes! My mind,
the internal
(and eternal)
darkness of the blind.
That’s where they breed
and infiltrate their eggs,
which incubate in silk cocoons,
cossetted, nourished by a myriad
wayward thoughts,
waiting to hatch.

To hatch
and emigrate
and lie in wait
and catch

more prey.


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Our creditors are coming
coming with all due speed
and what they want is everything
we thought we’d ever need
in full and instant payment
for our each and every deed.

And though we cannot bribe them
to make them go away
we might put on a brave face
and meet them now half way.

(Stop World War Three before it starts.)


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“Empty-handed I come
and lo!
the spade is in my hand.”

In the illimitable Void
All is destroyed
(and Nothing is lost!).

Everything appears anew:
good seeds flourish
(and evil too).

They said to the Poet
at his birth,
“Go! Love!
Without the help
of anything on Earth.”

A naked child eighteen inches long
no teeth, no hair, no speech.
Everything is out of reach!
Yet once his mental powers are uncoiled,
he creates cities, plagues and motorways
to terrorise the world.

So much, so soon, from one so weak!
It should be child’s play to have
a happy


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Man invents and Man becomes
the slave of his invention –
Time-clock invention.
Maintenance and breakdown.
Marriage the chains of Marital Fidelity.
Governments and the laws
of taxes and repression.
Medical Science and the slavery
of Pharmaceutical Propaganda.

Clothing, the Tyranny of Brand Names,
clothing factories for Indian children.
Agriculture and deserts.
Churches and the theft
of their Spiritual Foundation Stones.
Houses, Maintenance and Mortgages.

Above all, Work.
You work to lead the Life
you think you choose.
You end up living to work
without the Freedom
that you chose to lose.
Motor cars: traffic jams, pollution, tail-backs.
Science, microscope, telescopes
instead of spiritual vision.

Egoic self and dissolution
binds you with your own tether
and makes you the witness
to their (and your)
painful dissolution.
Collect all of your inventions together!
See what we have traded
for the uninvented treasures
of this world.


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By the Temple Gate
macaques lie in wait.
They squabble and fight,
like chickens, for the bananas
offered by northern Europeans.
They snatch
bags and cameras
and are happy to scratch
and bite
the hands that feed them.

An enormous limestone hill
three hundred metres high
towers above the temple.

A small staircase leads
up and over the rocks,
then down into the Khiriwong valley,
lush ancient lowland forest
with giant dicterocarps and fig trees,
their flared buttressed roots
offering comfortable back rests.
It is encircled on all sides
by steep overhanging cliffs.

The mountain is riddled with caves
which penetrate to its heart.
These are used by meditating monks.
There are also small wooden kutis
clinging to the rock face,
some of them too small to lie down in,
and cleared walkways.

Thirty years ago the Venerable Chamnean
came here to meditate.
A tiger walked into the cave,
but did not interfere with him.

Because of this, a temple was erected here
and Chamnean became its Abbot.
Now there are over three hundred monks
and nuns and also lay people collected here.
Chamnean is a famous Meditation Teacher
and his present cave
is a large modern building
in its own compound
with air-conditioning
and stainless steel decorative metal work.

The dell is unchanged, quiet and listening.
The macaques do not come here.
Outside one of the caves
someone has painted
in red letters Snake Cave;
and on an inside wall,
in faded white Thai script,
I am Buddha, in Pali.

We asked Chamnean whether
the story of the Tiger was true.
He said it was.

There is a Guardian Deva.

There are also washing machines in the dell.
And overhead lamps on the walkways as well.


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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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