The little surprises of life
Are the bounty
With which the universe
When things seem hard
The Dao sends us flowers
For us to inhale
Amidst all the hubris
Petals fall cadent
Upon the breeze
Wait only for the flute
And its subtle keys
It caresses your being
When your spirit flags
It is your salve
And your nectar
Let the cosmos
Be your nurse
And your healer
Open your palms
And take your alms
Humble and secure
To find your place
Which always awaits
A monkey puzzle
To ease back on tension
And to trust
Abandon to your Soul
Then like a leaf in a stream
You can eddy
And dance the currents
Have no fear of weirs
They are man made
Rivers know so much more
With open heart
For it has a succour
Be as fluid as now
And do this often
A silken scarf, blowing
Ease off those shoulders
Breathe in and out
Now find your most
And become, truly
There once was a man who loved too much
So much that it broke his heart
He saw it pulsing on the floor
A fish, a goldfish, sprung from the bowl
And so,…. so very, out of water.
So that fish cried and cried and cried
Such that it could live
And in the wetness of its tears
It breathed again
Sanguine and bloody, at the sorrows of the world
As each blood drop fell into the ditch of human will
He dreamed the seed of becoming
As vital sap oozed on land
To fertilize earth and mind
He bled tears of deepest red
And this fish was suffocated by pillow mind
Pressed against to stifle and subdue
Feeling the feathers harsh against THE word
Lest comfort might condition the fabric of life
Numb, numb and numb as a cocaine filled nose.
And in his padded cell
He wonders at the prurient wisdom of all
Lock him away
And then, we can all get on with our lives.
Then we will be happy
Then no more challenge
Then peace and satisfaction
Then, not a lot
Then justification and mind
Then no heart
Then only regret and sorrow
And as the Gaoler came to lock him away they all sighed with relief.
And what NOW????
Vis viva – a journey to Sirius
The prophet is not diverted by illusions of past, present and future. The fixity of language determines such linear distinctions. Prophets hold a key to the lock in language. The mechanical image remains only an image to them. This is not a mechanical universe. The linear progression of events is imposed by the observer. Cause and effect? That’s not it at all. The prophet utters fateful words. You glimpse a thing “destined to occur”. But the prophetic instant releases something of infinite portent and power. The universe undergoes a ghostly shift. The wise prophet conceals actuality behind shimmering labels. The uninitiated then believe the prophetic language is ambiguous. The listener distrusts the prophetic messenger. Instinct tells you how the utterance blunts the power of such words. The best prophets lead you up to the curtain and let you peer through it yourself.
– The Stolen Journals 
Frank Herbert “God Emperor of Dune” Gollancz,, Orion Publishing, London. Page 297 ISBN 0 575 07506 6
As they say, “Every journey begins with a single step!”
I am heretic, a heretic to the church of reason. Though it was there that I began my genesis, there I found nemesis and where, I no longer belong.
This very morning as I mulled over koans and Leibniz, Lao Tzu and Newton, I stepped out of my front door. I looked down at our beautiful garden, now partially tamed and resplendent in the spring-ness of spring. Two beautiful white gulls flew overhead filling me with peace. I, yes I, had to return to the source and for me at least a part of the source of all this, is the second law of thermodynamics and that fate full night on a beach in Negril.
Over the last few days I have been waiting on a image from a lady in Australia to arrive and yesterday it did; a rose of deepest blue touched by the tears of heaven. This rose will adorn the cover of this book; “Vis viva – a journey to Sirius”.
Later, pondering on whether to start today or tomorrow and looking to clear my head, I took a stroll around the block. The wet earth rich in aroma from yesterday’s rain, the sun shining down on the fields nearby raised my spirits. And, as I paused to smoke on the bench, much as my grandfather had done, gazing out across the valley to Clydach, I saw a black crow chasing a red tailed kite into the sun. I followed them by eye until I could not bear it. I looked away and then only a few seconds later they were no where to be seen. The skies around here are big and there is no place to hide. But they were gone and I knew. I had to begin. It was an omen.
This book is not a book of answers. It is a book of beginnings. In these pages I will hope to outline a way of thinking that strays from the concretised thought patterns so prevalent today and in doing so will set myself up, for as we know, heretics are never welcome at the altar. Each church has for itself a bane of some kind and the bane of the church of reason is, proof. This is the catch 22 of a limited philosophical and dare I say “scientific” study of life. Here I mean science in the sense of knowing and knowledge and not in the sense of what has become the extension of technology which currently masquerades as science. How can I prove anything to you in the absence of a shared context? I cannot. It is only in reference to your knowledge and the veil of perception which is both yours and mine that I can attempt to communicate. In any case it is not things per se that I want to talk about, though of course things will be a part of this discourse. Proof itself is a concept. Proof is not really a reality but more often a mental construct within a thought pattern or collection of thoughts. In a sense proof requires a theory. In the absence of theory proof itself is only a potential construct of the mind which has yet to come into being.
Whether we like it or not the great philosophical, scientific, psychological and religious schools of thought have all influenced how we as mankind behave. They, along with the media, our peers and parents condition us to behave in certain ways. For example if lots of people agree on something then it becomes a truth and a lie told often enough becomes the truth.
Je pense donc je suis or cogito ergo sum, has permeated much of our thoughts and whether intentionally or otherwise has raised thought onto the high altar of existence, there perhaps to challenge the Divine for supremacy in the minds of man. If there is not thought then how can there be existence? Yet life itself is way beyond the scope of man’s petty intellect, it is so much more than that.
I feel therefore I am, is perhaps a better way of putting it. After all and once all that analytical thinking is done, life is much more of a feeling than a thought. Isn’t it?
Or even better still, simply, I am. Existence and life do not require logic or proof. There is no need for because, donc or ergo. At one level there just is.
The invention of these reasoning words pre-supposes a thought pattern upon the nature of communication that limits one in the exploration of being-ness. These words themselves hint at a direct and linear causality in life and constrain, implying the social conditioning inherent in the use of should and ought.
As part of this book I am going to attempt to reclaim some language before I use it. Words by their very nature, veil the truth and explicitly so. They take on a meaning or life of their own as they are used again and again. Certain sub cultures, let’s say for example the physical sciences use words in highly specified circumstance and within definitional frameworks, as such they cannot for them, have a meaning other than their context specific usage. Energy is a classic here. Ask any scientist what energy actually is and they will gloss over the subject calling it a capacity to do work. So what is this capacity that is energy? Does it really exist?
Here then is the beginning of the borders of a Kurukshetra, the Chautauqua of a journey into perception. Written by a man, in his mid forties, who has published in the physical science literature, co-founded a successful high technology spin out company and who was until recently a senior lecturer in chemistry at a top university. This means because of my qualifications that I am an initiate of a certain degree within the school of concrete science, the new religion of mankind.
Please, bear with me on this journey and let’s see how deep the rabbit hole goes.
Playing with the notion of Puck and Ariel.
How might they interact?
What might bind them?
“Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.”
—J.R.R. Tolkien’s epigraph to The Lord of the Rings
Hail fellow well met!!
and to you Ariel my wingèd friend.
Whence goest thou, this fell and chill night?
I know not for all ways are now closed,
each that have tried hast not fruit to bear
nor purpose, nor traction, nor good cheer
Puck, what then wilt thou do?
Sure as know knot am I tied,
for there are rivers twice
that seek me yet
to fish me with their
One says must stay and fight
grey haven’s beckon
course is not
not, ready set
One of old
and one of new
both the two
from ages fast
to take repast
Which flavour of fate do you favour now?
Shall seek a sign
fore tear this skein
to look wherein
how lies the wine
And those shadows pull they still?
A shimmer of a Christmas past
has sought my mind
these several hours last
A tendril of
a yore gone by
hast segued again
before my eye
What Puck then, does it mean?
Material ‘ tis it not
from time hence,
the wind doth blow.
Perhaps to don the corsair’s shirt
and sail again on mystic tide?
Canst I come too
on this final ride?
Ariel would seem my words
are all now nearly spent
and sure as toffee
won’t pay the rent
With naught to do
and less to say
seems my purpose
has gone away
North then of the hindu Kush
call they to I
to drink of tea
with mountains fair
For to be liked
sure, strong it pulls
And deep the night
have I wandered here
midst mortal man
Seems was always
part the plan
What roads then left to tread?
For your words call up in me
a sense of dread
Dread not sprite and friend of mine
each has his allotted time
signs they are, as yet unclear
so be hearty and not fear.
Art though lost then Robin?
No am waiting for
a cube of chance
For cubes as such
have many spots
and their roll
reveals our lot
Must the wait be so very long?
Yes man, that is the theme of my song
it echoes now in silent glen
for belong I not
amongst these men.
Hast you lost all your sight?
Blind am I
no more dreams at
No lamp, no candle
shows me the mortice lock
‘pon the door which
must I ever, knock
Nor have I vision
no music score
What notes could e’er
without the rails
them to contain?
Where does the rhythm beat
if not held in tempo
by the heart’s vital seat
There, where sleeps the Soul
and cause of that
I have no core
Oh Robin is all
Nay my friend
for this cost
Planned have I
through hill and dale
fear not I
to pierce the final veil
Let’s then this autumn night
to warm with
fire and light
Take off our woollen mitts
and finger flames
‘till ice is gone
for soon enough
the dawn will come
Hark now Puck
those are some letters
I hear them well
and cut these deathly fetters
Have I with me
a warming brew
made with wine
and brandy too
To heat the very toes
the leather shoe
Aye, Ariel my faithful friend
shiver not this darkened hour
our most temporary
It was five thirty in the morning when the alarm went off and Sam reached wearily over the ashtray to turn it off. Christ he felt like crap this morning. Coughing he reached for his Marlboros and lit one. The acrid smoke hit the back of his throat and he coughed some more. Slowly he made his way through the first of the day, pausing to spit into a tissue. He didn’t remember going to bed last night and hoped he hadn’t done anything too stupid. In the front room he saw the empty crisp packets and cans of Stella. So that was where all his dole money had gone. It had been years since he left the paratroop regiment, the shrapnel in his knee still spoke to him of the weather. Here in his tiny little flat there was not much glory anymore.
When the kettle boiled, he made man coffee. It was as strong as an ox and as dark as the night. He sat on his step outside to smell the sea air and smoke some more. A pint or so later he was ready to face the world. There was a job going at Sainsbury’s for security and today he had an interview. Showered, shaved, suited and booted he now set off, wondering what sort of weak chinned school leaver was waiting to condescend him. Monitors are only dangerous to sanity he thought, no IEDs in Cardiff, well not yet at least. He wondered if he could cope with the inevitable bleep as the barcodes scanned the sheep through the tills, how long could he stay before he lost it? Strange, how it had all come to this. If only he had kept quiet. Para Gates had gone beyond and when he came back he was changed.
Here in this plain part of the universe, he was an unemployed ex-soldier scrimping to make ends meet. When he had the money he slept with Stella and with Becks, otherwise it was Special Brew. These kept his world intact and helped him cope with the Double in him, his other self. As he pulled into the car park, it was already busy, all buggies, died hair and fake tan. Round the back he found the entrance and reported in.
“You are a little early Mr Gates, please take a seat. Please can we see your passport so that we can satisfy the UK Border agency requirements…..”
He handed his passport over and wondered about garrotting that boy, thinking to himself as the lad turned; “Pull up your trousers and get a haircut!!”
He looked at the date on his watch, today is a full moon and that meant much to him. He would go later to Nash Point to soak in the sea and the sound of the Atlantic, and the Irish Sea. At this time of year and at midweek it will be empty.
As he sat there listening to that clock click its fingers of eternity, the smell of the place filled his nostrils. Not one ounce of hope here, no excitement only day after day. The carpet was a little tatty and frayed at the edges. The youth had disappeared behind some screen and he could hear the strident early morning gossip from the office beyond. He didn’t care who had been on the X Factor or who had been un-friend-ed on Facebook™. Soon he knew he had been forgotten and he started to drift.
First he felt that hint of incense on the air and then clear clean mountain air. Next, sinking into himself he began;
“gate, gate, para gate, para samgate… gate, gate, para gate, para samgate, Bodhi svaha”
A little off the main causeway to the stars in the land of Buddhi he saw the Temple steps cut into the mountain side. They were waiting for him. Now dressed in his robes and with his vajra and bell he began the procession up the hillside. They gathered in their hundreds. In file they climbed the stairway and poured into the Temple courtyard. Chanting purification he led them on. In the courtyard he paused until they all were there. Together they looked south to the snow capped Himalaya resplendent in the dazzling morning sun. When they were ready the doors to the outer chamber opened and they filed in. Some sat on mats where they belonged, few stood still. And then he moved to the white febrile door carved intricate and ivory. He opened the door and there on the dais sat Kumara and the three Buddhas.
He brought his palms together and inclined his head in a bow. He touched his thumbs to his ajna, his mouth and his heart, Bodhi, mind and Spirit. He moved into that august place, others following him. Some took their places in the seats on the right and the left. He went forward to stand before. There in his white, white robes, he showered in the pillar of light.
“Sit now where you belong, oh blessed one…”
The service continued all around him and when the time was right he began again, as was his custom.
“gate, gate, para gate, para samgate… gate, gate, para gate, para samgate, Bodhi svaha”
Soon the white room, his in that ineffable place, set aside from the main Temple complex, began to take shape. It was in a quiet part just to the side of the main rose garden. Soon he was in his foyer next to the marble wash basin. He washed his hands and walked past his little armoury into his room. It was just as he had remembered it, his piano, the flowers and his sleeping quarters. The windows at the end letting the light warm the tiled floor. He must dress now. His tunic white fitted snug over his mail and the blood red cross brilliant on his chest. From the cabinet he took his sword and scabbard, belting them on; he picked up his spear and held it left. Now he was ready.
He made his way into the complex. In the corridors he met Cederic his aide and batman. They embraced and hugged. Cederic’s face still bore the marks of many a campaign and so many times had they stood back to back. Cederic too wore the rosy cross and sword. Today they would meet again, the council of nine.
At that table seven were already sat with Noh at the head, our very own Gandalf the White. No one knows His name but His magnificence speaks enough, whiter than white with eyes that sparkle like nebulae. Now all seated the meeting begins.
When they were done and roles assigned it began. Down the chiselled stone corridors he and Cederic went to the antechamber door, carved of darkest wood with the crossed sword and spear emboldened out of it. The door opens and ahead is the simple altar clothed in white and crossed in red. Before it he and Cederic halted again clasping palms together, thence to touch Bodhi, mind and Spirit. Genuflecting each drew out his sword and lay them on the floor before the altar, there to prostrate. Replacing swords in scabbards they move forward into the first hall. Together they draw and raise swords skywards. The blue flame of the One Power is virulent in the partial darkness shimmering along the length of the blades and dancing like serpents.
“Fey-da-yin! Fey-da-yin! Fey-da-yin!”
He calls into the darkness and slowly robed and hooded in grey, figures emerge out of the darkness, called to fulfil an aeonial oath.
“Fey-da-yin! Fey-da-yin! Fey-da-yin!”
The figures now congregate and as he stabs the air a host of swords join theirs to create a spark fantastic which illuminates the cavern. They come from all the bands, scattered across the universe. They come to the call of Fey-da-yin.
Collected now behind him they file into the next chamber, huge and vaulted with stall seats all around its circle circumference. Each of the grey joins his fellows and soon this room too is filled. Their numbers now are much, much larger and the place is filled with murmur and greetings. Cederic is now seated.
He lays down the spear, touches hands together as before and prostrates. He stands holding the spear in his left hand and he cries out again:
“Fey-da-yin! Fey-da-yin! Fey-da-yin!”
The spear head now diamond bright with utter radiance illuminates the many. All around blades are drawn and raised and voices join;
“Fey-da-yin! Fey-da-yin! Fey-da-yin!”
Now we are ready.
In procession they march into the vast, vast Temple proper. At the front are the seven sitting behind the altar. He and Cederic take stage in front of the altar and before the crowd. On that marble slab lies only a single yellow rose still fresh with the morning dew.
Noh stands and approaches the altar, he turns and hands the spear to Noh’s open palms. He bows and turns on his heels to join Cederic. Together they stand side by side. As one they draw and raise The Swords of Power they show them to the crowd and call out into the cavernous expanse;
“Atl’aman, Atl’aman, Atl’aman!!”
They parade The Swords a while and then re-sheath them. Cederic takes his seat on the side of the stage. He turns to the altar and bowing receives the Spear from Noh. He turns and raises The Spear of Destiny aloft, a point of brilliance, blue-white diamonds sparkle from it and he again calls;
“Atl’aman, Atl’aman, Atl’aman!!”
walking around the stage as he does so.
When the time is right Cederic joins him and alone the two of them file out that place the way they had come. The hush envelopes them and only their steps can be heard resounding. Now they are in the corridor and alone together.
“Mr Gates, Mr Sam Gates?” he hears a voice calling. He opens his eyes.
“Yes, that is me..”
“I am sorry but Mr Jones, the manager, has told me that the interviews today are cancelled. We are not taking on any more staff. It’s the recession you see. Here is your passport and thank you for coming…”
He steps outside that chamber and into the fresh morning air. He lights a Marlboro and inhales. Oh well, at least he can go to Nash Point this afternoon and after that, buy some Special Brew to help him sleep and numb him for the evening’s telly.
I have been struggling all day to remember the name of our “houseboy”, it was Spider, Anansi. My dad helped him become a member of the local council, he was of pygmy stock and had migrated from the Congo.
Anansi (/əˈnɑːnsi/ ə-NAHN-see literally mean spider) is an Akan folktale character. He often takes the shape of a spider and is sometimes considered to be a god of all knowledge of stories. Taking the role of trickster, he is also one of the most important characters of West African, African American and Caribbean folklore. Originating in West Africa, these spider tales were transmitted to the Caribbean by way of the transatlantic slave trade. Anansi is most well known for his ability to outsmart and triumph over more powerful opponents through his use of cunning, creativity and wit. Despite taking on the role of the trickster, Anansi’s actions and parables often carry him as protagonist due to his ability to transform his apparent weaknesses into virtues. He is among several West African tricksters including Br’er Rabbit and Leuk Rabbit.
Kombo and Kinyonga
“I see you Kombo
Daughter of the African sunset
That burns its majesty on the land
And paints the end of the day
May your gentle eyes see deep in the darkness of the night.”
“I see you Kinyonga
Son of the African dawn
That wakes the day with the hush of expectancy
And lifts the shadows of the magic night
May your gentle steps and brilliant colour rejoice the day.”
“As we cling to the tree
These changing times
What shall we do?”
“Let’s call Anansi and listen to his tales
For he speaks in many, many ways.”
“Anansi, come and regale us, as the crack between the worlds deepens and the cicadas pluck their violins as the night takes its hold…….”
I tell you a story of a mouse from another land. Harmony was his name and he was born in discord with the spirit of life. He was born in a land of mist and rain, where voices sang to the heavens and the struggle to live marked every soul and the deep memory of the race knew that this had not always been so.
At the splitting of his birth they gave him a collectors sack so that he could piece the notes together and sing, as he was meant to.
As Harmony grew he ran hear and there, all bristling whiskers sniffing the air. They took him across the world to feel the lands where the dreamtime lived and showed him the rainbow serpent’s footsteps on the land; to wake the memory beyond the form and stir the cauldron of his inspiration. They brought him here to show the smoke that thunders and the bushman caves, to mark the river’s crocodile path and teach him lessons for later years. Then he went home. And he forgot.
On a hot summer night in a far off land he heard the spirit knock and watched the majesty of the Blue mountain’s glory dawn.
And he forgot.
Harmony became ill and wanted to die. A mouse is just a mouse he said. So one fateful night he felt his death breathe softly on the hairs of his neck. He scurried home and found in the dusty cobwebs of his heart his collectors sack. So he began again in earnest to seek and to find.
From then on he counted all the moons, the ones that shone the change upon him. The mighty Wizard became his friend and he learned and he learned. He searched for the harbour of his youth and went there back, to the Southern Cape and in the mountains of beyond, it all went wrong. Seared by the Southern sky he began to die.
Back in the land of mist and rain, he crossed a bridge never to return, now collecting in a different way. For now his bag was a bag of dreams. As he passed with-in all was changed in the fire of birth. The mouse became a man and he stood all, all alone.
For now the song was in him and he began to sing. On, a birthday dawn he saw the sun of Sinai’s flaming brush that painted him back.
He searched again for the Wizard in a heather land, of lochs and castles in the air. Yet for him, he was not there. So he danced in the morning when the world was begun, and he danced in the evening with the setting sun. As he howled at the moon, he knew the freedom of the Wolf and the twinkle of a far off star. His howl resonated with the birth of all the worlds and tickled the hairs that were touched by death’s softest breath.
And the only remnant of what was, is, the hint of pink in his eyes.
This is my first attempt at “creative” writing nearly twenty years ago. It was the first time that I let myself go. It was written in the second attention entirely in dreaming symbols.
The rose is indeed fragile and delicate. It needs nurturing so that as it first breaks through the soil of history it can reach upwards to the heavens, to reach for the stars. Yet onward and upward it grows. From the seed it begins to take form and shape. As it grows, delicate and vulnerable at first, it moves ever onwards. It battles with the winds that blow it this way and that. Yet the stem grows stronger. It puts forth leaves to soak up the sun of new experience. Each morning it makes the choice. The one of what was before and what is new. When it has grown enough it begins to bud. The hip is formed and the nascent flower begins to take shape, all the while pressing against the cloak that en-folds it.
Then one cold morning the cloak is torn. There is a sound of leaves unfolding. The gentle un-fold-ment of what must be. The petals begin to spread their wings, first tentative, yet soon with strength. The flower begins to take shape. It is yellow and vital. At this stage the cold frosts of winter still plague it. Soon the warmth of spring is upon it and the colour deepens, then the fragrance. At first it is mild, soon oh so soon, it is heady, intoxicating and so sweet.
As each new petal of a relationship takes shape, it is indeed a delicate time, yet given enough space the petals grow. Each one is so. Each one needs care.
And yes, there is that crown, the one with thorns.
I no longer want that crown. It has served its purpose.
Where lies my flower, the flower that is ME?
It is throwing off its mantle. I unfurl my protective coat. I want so much to bloom. Yet his-story holds me back. The movement sweeps away the chains of his-story, that old familiar one that begins “Once upon a time”, the story that supports my view of Alan. The one that says Alan does NOT deserve.
The Unknown beckons, I feel her fingers drawing me on.
They tap out a rhythm that I cannot resist. For such is the power of love, that which I have denied MYSELF for so long.
I feel like a willow whose leaves hang over a stream. Soon that stream will become a river. A river that fights against the banks that hold it, that becomes a surging torrent of THE passion and I will dance THAT dance.
The ONE that I have searched for, for SO long