The Sword of Taia

“Presumably, as a martial artist, I do not fight for gain or loss, am not concerned with strength or weakness, and neither advance a step nor retreat a step. The enemy does not see me. I do not see the enemy. Penetrating to a place where heaven and earth have not yet divided, where Ying and Yang have not yet arrived. I quickly and necessarily gain effect.”

The Unfettered Mind,  Takuan Sōhō, Translated by William Scott Wilson,   Kodansha International,  17-14 Otowa-1-chome, Bunyo-ku, Tokyo 112-8652.




In the silence

Of the night




In the silence

Of the night




In this





In this



The thoughts

Yet to become




Just a little?


And it forms

That tail of

A cat

All crooked

With questions


It was me

That you came




Wasn’t it?



If you want

To ask

Then ask


You know

That I won’t get




It will


You to







Are in sore

Need of





Difficult times


And the sword of Taia

Needs not

For what could it need?


Else to feel the Dao

Of it all

And to flow

With the bamboo

On the winds

Of a coming storm


And to bend

Bend the knee

As Izanagi and Izanami

Mark the fabric


Into the earth


To mould the island

Of birth


And it is the sword of Taia



The character




On the rice paper



That leaves

Not the faintest



Of the autumn

Toe touch

And the summer rain


To see

The chrysanthemum




The rainmaker


The moon



And my world

Is the better


With the hope


I have been

At least

A little




dharma of the day #7

be not fixated on perceived goals

whatever they may be

be thankful for the presents

already in your hands


the grass in the field next

is the same as this one

why peer ever longing over fences

when you already have bounty?


constant measuring with scales

makes cataracts for the eyes

the milky vision of which

is blinding to the awesome now

in all its magnificence


live mind-full and aware

of your state of being

for this can dress reality

in unfamiliar clothes

which do not actually fit


seek only the mountain stream

of clear and quenching calm

as fluid as a virgin brook

into which no palms have entered

be as nascent as a five year old

and as full of wonder


put aside the prison of pettiness

and soar on eagle’s wings

stretch out your being

so as to encompass

all the universe


learn the meaning of one

for you are one

and should you choose to see

you might be at one with all

all boundaries are constructs of mind


learn to ebb and flow

seek out the rhythm

and tap your toes to it

drum your fingers

feel the pulse of Dao in your veins


drop your shoulders

relax for the yoke of apparent burden

is what weighs you down

are you an Ox tethered in life

or a magnificent adventurer?


from time to time seek out silence

for there will you find treasure

amidst all the hubris

and hidden under leaves

to know silence intimately, enlightens


silence is a candle

which flickers in the core

to touch such as this

brings hints of eternity

with which to beautify the mundane


embrace silence, it is a friend

and most of all, a teacher

listen to his whisper

for he has much and nothing

to tell you


and when you hear nothing for

the very first time

you will be amazed and in awe

it is my wish for you

that you will hear the chimes

of nothing, profoundly


for this is the naked canvas

upon which you might paint

the tapestry of your life

full of sound, colour and movement.


Zazen “haiku” Collection

a memory evening

forgotten in the sunset

burnishes copper kettles


holding linen gloves

performing léger de main

with destiny’s child


hidden pathways unwind

each nascent moment

ever pregnant pauses


judge and jury mind

hears not the birdsong

resenting coming dawns


a tear meanders lost

on a forsaken face

quenching desert lilies


sandcastle dreams ebb

and flow, with the

incoming tides of life


under the arch’s curve

fate shelters a while

as the earth drinks deep


raindrops softly caress

verdant carpets drawn

on canvas fields


watercolours paint margins

for the Soul to journey

a leather coracle in Dao


the profound silence of ponds

hears water boatmen

tickle trout with song


the wind play flute

a chimney blows smoke rings

beech logs in the fire


cows chanting mantra in sheds

the prayer bell chimes

a farmer brings fresh hay


the kestrel hovers hungry

seeing beyond horizons

keen for future dreams


the woodcutter’s solitude

cuts axe blade sharp

through logs mundane


spiced wine warming

the veins of golden ore

pumped only by heart


the acrobat squirrel

crosses the swaying canyon

between century’s pylons


semaphore trees

waving long naked fingers

in winter’s winds


the point before mind

waits for the ripple of

a passing thought


stardust falls silent

for those who wait

no footprints in the snow


a match scratches a back

a hint of phosphorous

fire eases the itch of cold


moss on the trees

hiding from sunrays

growing only aeon’s beards


the wise old yews

cracking knuckles in the breeze

have watched millennia


the moorhens plink

pennies in a fountain

wishing for luck at dawn


a carrion crow plucks

a hearty breakfast

at the roadside café


omniscience counts

each Autumn leaf

the actuary of Souls


how does dharma teach

the fiery core of stars

only by feathers in the heart


what lies before now

only the present sleeping

waiting for the cockerel


what lies after now

only persistent dawns

irradiated with dew


what lies in the now

only forever born eternal

in the womb of moment


singing songs in the bath

no-one is watching

a child starts to walk


as naked as spring

a flower unfolds its flag

saying only welcome


the candle shimmers

beacons burn on the hills

eyes glisten with living love


an owl hoots in laughter

at man’s busy lives

pondering on their shadows


a spider’s web tense

sees the ants commute

yearning for love


soft down in chestnut shells

beyond fish hook barbs

cradles possibility


red holly berries

write in their font of hope

amidst the thorns


wide empty paths

leading to the cosmic causeway

where bamboo bridges flex


the Dao bends the reed

to fit the clarinet

and Gabriel’s oboe


Dao tunes pianos

in the darkness of night

a quintessence is born


a river carves Souls

whilst brooks chuckle softly

over the mossy rocks


mayflies tickle the eddies

willows bowing humble

under azure skies


scent carries fragrance

of lotus blossom

cherishing tender Sakurai


a single petal floats

wafted on pillow dreams

cotton wool soothes with a tincture


cutting carrots fine

a sliver of perfection

crisp and juicy with joy


sliced ginger pervades

more pungent than any dawn

a newborn deer forages


Ironing “Haiku”

fresh linen

still dew damp

puffs a dragon’s breath


crisp whiteness

yields to the fire

folds, unfold the thyme


soft cashmere wool

needs a delicate touch,

dough on a hook


pink shirts remember

all the boardroom collars,

a flamingo in a pond


stripy shirts, a pelican

crossing the road

on the way to the Abbey


a white pillowcase

sleeps all cotton-wool,

a cirrus cloud wafts


a locomotive harkens to

an aeon passing

tumbleweed somersaults


the razor crease,

as sharp as any lime

cuts to the quick of silence


a pile of washing

is ready to hang,

now waiting on a wardrobe


and in the morning

a choice of shirt

which then to pick?


a Kashmir dawn

with the spice of orient,

sniffs at the wind


pennies in a pocket,

change for the boatman?

he listens with intent


dawn whispers soft,

iron and water

which of these endures?

The Boundaries of Our Lives

As the six o’clock


Announces the

Coming of the day


With yesterday’s

Words now rested

And silent beneath

Their own six feet


It is no longer

The same

In the passing

Of a fractured dream


That hurried away

Lest dawn

Catch it



The nightshade birds

Pick at the ribs

Of the Viking ship

Adrift on the sands


In the blackened


Used to toast

His final stand


And the music of his passing

Hangs haunting in the wind

Of the unspoken words

Which mark


………the boundaries of our lives

The Silence of the Heart

This arose whilst I was working directly with my heart centre, trying to open it wide and generate compassion for all sentient beings.

I breathe deeply,
Ex-hale all the day,
I ex-hale all the previous days
And all that has gone before.

I am clear and NOW,
It comes to me,
The rhythm of the heart

It beats and I hear,
The warmth spreads from within,
It is bare.

I feel it quicken,
My ribs feel cleaved,
THERE it is.

The silence.

Beyond the tumult,
Close and Far,
All around.

Into the stillness it comes.

Before after
After before

The space between
The seconds of the clock
The time between
Two places

It hangs
Like a question mark from the sky




No sight….

No sight

Only now

No sight

And, no how


The deafening silence

Of the future

Stands amidst the bird song

Flaunting its mystery


The flag of the unknown

Soldiers on the breeze

Unhurried not pregnant

Calling for a kernel


In nutshell nuance

Of a golden germ

Borne by the brook of beginnings

At the turnstile of time


Weighting heavy

On a song-line story

Sung out and into

The leaden of night


Forging the plums and the cherries


Pinking them blush

To cheek in the sun

Berrying holly

Blood in the light


The question of Watt

Joules in each second

There sparkles a facet

Of diamond’s delight


Next is the answer

Shape has it not


Cotton its colour

Thread yet to weave

Coughing a coffin

So hard, to believe


Hanging like washing

Pegged to this fate

As patient as gypsies

So must I, still wait


The deafening silence

Of the future


No sight

Only now

No sight

And, no how….

Silent “Haiku”

I wrote these one day when we were snowed in and pretty much stuck in our cottage.


goat bells sound

the melting snow drips

no-one passing the cottage


a quiet island oasis,

even the shells

do not carry oceans


the rooster whispers

a lost voice in the white

no chant for his ladies


a hush in the slush

the world awaits

God has pressed pause


He has gone out

to put the kettle on,

time for a fresh brew


not even the wind stirs.

the breath on the windows

leaves triangles clear


night in her slippers

sneaks along the lanes

getting closer each minute


time to sketch the curtains

and seal this womb

against the cold world