The Other Bank

On the other bank
out of reach
Pride’s grimace
forbids it

Not a finger
can span
nor lift
that spell

No salve
nor ointment
for the bitter
Juniper berries

The ambitious debris
slate black scree
weeping cold
on the mountainside

The fitting seizure
of a moment passed
a crushed portcullis

Not an ounce
of blood
most vital
to the eyes

And that egret
eats sticklebacks
once again
and forever

Echoes in the Dao

I’ll try to verbalize something that I have been contemplating of late and the only phrase I can find for it is “echoes in the Dao”.

There are some events that may seem small, innocuous even, which continue to have a reverberation long after they have occurred. The circumstance, the event flow, continues to echo though the amplitude damps, decreases with each reverberation.

These echoes are not mind made, they are a property of the Dao. A mind made echo is when one checks the calendar and sees the anniversary of something, a death, a marriage, a cancer operation.  These echoes in the Dao come about without the mind checking, they just ripple in out of space. One is given a reminder of something and it starts to pervade into the consciousness.

Some of these echoes, stem from miss takes, where one has not handled a situation well or missed an opportunity. In a sense something which was “fated” to happen, did not and it leaves a kind of hole, a vacuum, in the event flow of the Dao.  This vacancy echoes on in the on flowing Dao.  It can bring to mind the actors and players concerned in the events around the miss take. It offers a chance to revisit and recapitulate what might have happened. The echoes can be opportunities for learning or if not treated in this way, they are soft fishes of regret breaking the calm surface of the pond of inner space.

I have a mild hypothesis that many of the pivotal events of a life are not the big things, but tiny little, innocuous things. Yet it is around these seemingly small fulcrums that an entire life pivots. They are so small that we fail to notice them and hence miss our take on life.

These echoes are almost ghostly, yet they can offer a second bite at the cherry so to speak.  One could re-initiate the circumstance missed to some extent. Because one can never step in the same river twice, it will never be exactly the same, but a similar learning might be found, should one so seek. The trick is figuring out what caused the miss take in the first place and then not doing that which was causal of it.

Another mild hypothesis is that the universe can be very benevolent, offering unto us a second chance to behave differently. These echoes may offer us a new view of our transgressions and a chance to make amends, to atone, to add a little bit of karmic merit. If we are stubborn and waste the universes benevolent offering, it is a second and more serious miss take.

Have you ever felt an echo in the Dao?

1.5 billion

1.5 billion


Are the beats of my life

more than 17

thousand days

and now


each sand grain second

in the egg timer

is longer

longer than ever before


each shard of  desert time


and the hundreds and thousands

which I shared


are sprinkled fairies

on the ice’d cake

the wrinkled rink

of skating circles


the rub of blades

pirouettes and curtsies

as the waxed popcorn cups

leave the frozen stage


a decade since it happened

and now it happens again

790 and 510

days now roughly counted


the spreadsheet of a life

made to excel

has come roundabout again

mores blues than swing


each rhapsody 

is clarinet clear

and has all the silver keys

pressed and shiny


and now the penumbra

of the passing

flows on under

the bridge of sighs


that price of will

and of injured pride

tags not humility

and brings again divide


its longevity is marked

upon near half

of all those seconds

exact in the price


And it is a crying, crying shame.

My Ferric Justifications

People can talk themselves into and out of pretty much anything.

The trouble is regret is as slippery as an eel and can sneak through the bars, the bastions, of reason.


With the rusting bars

of those ferric justifications

my dreams they rot away

so reasonably confined to cower


Each nail bashed home

with the Mjölnir mind

resounding thunderous home

to pin my hopes to the page


Each slant, every twist

slams prison door shut

to echo along death-row

and no reprieve from the guv’nor


All that alleged sensibility

cuts razor blade the skin

whilst my heart bleeds

unnoticed tears, into a bucket


And when the bell tolls

I shall empty the slops

of all my reasonable reasons

which did treason to my love


The painted corner of my cell

surrounds me so perfect tight

as all my gaveled demi-truths;

my Soul does forever swallow and choke


Would that I could vomit

most visceral up

all this heinous bile

I feed myself and to others


Within the rusting bars

of all my ferric justifications

my dreams they rot away

reasonably confined to cower and decay

Soft Waves of Regret

If I let one tiny wavelet

past the bastions of reasons

the ramparts of justification

‘t would set me all a shiver


My vigilance must be supreme

for to allow such a heady thing

might shake my core

to litter the ground with tears


That pregnant tumult

with its full quiver of feelings

will overwhelm the keep

and battering ram the heart’s portcullis


To feel its orgasmic climax

shaking, shuddering through me

must I myself forbid

for to taste such fruit….


My frail hidden vulnerability

stripped harsh, naked, human

all that I tend to pretend

shattered into shards of glass


Each feather tickles enticing

soft undulating waves of regret

surreptitious at the harbor’s edge

resist you fool, resist…


Must fend of that tender melancholy

till dawn’s alarm beckons me busy

I can make it through one more night

I can, I can…


Someone, my mother, once asked me how come she ended up so bitter. Those prone to scoring points, manipulation and petty revenge can end up like that. It seems like a good idea at the time but then karma kicks in.


But for a moment’s thought

The balance of the world



The insistent stories we paint

Have lives of their own, becoming



As stark cold winter’s nights

Drawn in on our vanity



The eiderdown quilts we stitched

For to show only to others



The patchwork fields of pride

Mere whimsy of our own



The steak and kidney pie

Pierces life to the core



The dark vampires of mind

Suck deep the realities



The trophies on the mantle

Gather only dust and spiders



Now to watch consequence

Unfold its pages, before us



The never ending story of

Each tart spiteful action, ever



No tonic or Juniper here

Unripe quince on the tongue



Yet clever brings no comfort

To the fabric’s weave



Spinning jenny has dropped the thread

And there is no more wool

To knit


Only the mirror pond

Before our eyes rippling in



And to know inside that it is our razor

That made such a terrible cut,



For what collateral the life of another

To score scores coronary deep

For points


What sweet bargains made

In the vision of cataract blind can



All the anguish inflicted

Upon the most hated world so



And in the bowers of distortion

Bending facts so as at night to



Whilst core cuts burrs

Of as yet denied knowing



Such a burden to hang leaden

Heavy beyond pretence possible



Likes of this would not I bear

Pointing fingers into eyes

Blinding worlds


But for a moment’s thought

The balance of the world


A Grain of Salt

fading into time

a grain of salt

in the pillar of

looking back


the over the shoulder robes

slip on a clavicle,

a harpsichord

with no Bach’s flower remedy


a tincture of infinity

bound tight in sand,

a seed of truth

to worry into pearls


the salt of the earth

comes out of tears

shed as many scales

in the lack of balance


a couturier sublime

etched in the cloth

of human folly

making proud stalagmites


centuries and bastions

standing Easter Island guard

unless something sneaks past

on a whimsical wind


all the herring and rollmops

which curl up the tongue

to a shot of Aquavit

can’t curl enough


sweeping the ice

scoring it deep

and no rubbing of brass

will bring back the past


an echo of maybe and might

whispers goodnight

onto the pillow of dreams

wet now from eyes


and a love now destroyed

simpers and dies

for want of humility

as scarce as a scarecrow’s heart


the last train home

leaves the platform of will

forever now

and what price the bill?


and that which we do

unto those whom we love

is the most terrible cost

of a bitter revenge


passing now forever

a brief echo of a life

jaundiced by pride

as sad as a tourniquet


to share and to bind

one to another

its midnight now

and no turning space


fading into time

a grain of salt

in the pillar of

looking back