Poetry, Charity

‘Two diamonds in the hand one Poetry one Charity
proves we have dreamed...’

Allen Ginsburg: ‘Ignu’

Bamboo, Plum, and a Pair of Egrets

Bamboo, Plum, and a Pair of Egrets
Japanese, Kano School (19th century) - Yale University Art Gallery

Authored by A. S. Kline © Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved.

This work may be freely reproduced, stored and transmitted, electronically or otherwise, for any non-commercial purpose. Conditions and Exceptions apply.


Sweetly in the Silence

All Nature in a leaf a cloud

a perfect pine

the green deep

of a copse

a broken wall

its stone litter

needled, twigged, lichened.

This is anywhere

in any time,

in empty fields

down lanes,

mind loose

and blowing free

with the lines of hills.

The right trail

is the spirit


making its peace

with transience,


all other passers-by

who walked here

thought here,

with less science

but more beauty,

that resonance

we try to recreate

sweetly in the silence.

For –

What meaning in elegy?

Death is your echoing void,

and to speak of your beauty

of your kindness,

cannot return you here

mind betrayed by body.

The tribute we bring

is the token of us all,

mourning our transience,

in grieving for your loss

of half a true lifetime,

for our lost moments

in our selfishness of love

our tears’ libation.

Things not to be said,

memories sacrosanct,

silences to be kept,

the glare of the world

to be drowned, the heart

to be free to make you

anonymous once more,

like a child in the womb,

like a breath through the air,

gone past, so lovely

thought stops the eye

opens, the earth

itself vanishes into dark,

no wave you departing.

Death’s discretion is absolute,

your next word, cry

next turn of life

was not is not in this universe,

except as the mind

makes memory

now of your presence,

and you will be ash

of the starlight,

a comer in dreams,

the nothingness waiting

behind each door,

an absence of greeting,

your slight ringing void.

March Wind

Pale warm sunset, and the air suffused

with a belated beauty of being, Earth,

will we give you away all for nothing,

all for grasping, March breeze like dim

soft flame and heat of knowing, the fire

in the mind that comes before the end?

New leaf on stone, bird-song in the trees,

dry lichen, misted paths becoming solid

as soil exhales the moisture, soaks the air,

white light from the blossom, naked pear

and plum-boughs, pink Japanese cherry,

all tiny double-clusters of petal, trembles.

Pale warm haze over the woods and fields,

shows a belated beauty of being, Earth,

will we hurt you, all for selfishness, all

for nothing, for a meaningless progress

toward those things that must disappear,

and, in vanishing, take us with them?

Grey-green lichen on oak-bark, pigeons call,

in the calming ritual, Spring, its inflow

pouring like woman’s wetness into dawn

and evening, stirring a root-deep humus,

I savour the moment of quiet, Earth I know

is it your passing, ours, pale orb of the year?


Heart-tremor of mountain beauty,

the way the peaks stretch out each

smaller with distance, sweeter in

shape, misted from brighter, white

in the furthest with snow, here stone

grey beautiful, and cold dark water,

soft the deep green of layered pines

resting the eye, now, cooling the vision,

suspending the dream, all fears over,

and we, returned where we started,

to the falls and clouds of beginning.

Eye-scans, hard to look, I find it hard

to halt the gaze on anything for long,

the fixed field made of our flickering,

the same perception never made twice,

but the heart in its tremor accepting

the inflow of matter its music the line,

the range, fold after fold, and crammed

scree-fans of fractured ancient winters

white burning suns, all transient hazed

wavering summits, time-worn ridges

flowing in total silence through the heart.


Nothing more than energy in the void,

nothing less than form, formal process,

endless complexity of interaction,

energy mediating energy, singing.

Nothing purposed, purposive in the void,

nothing less than immaculate repetition,

endless variation of locked-in function,

energy spawning energy, singing.

Nothing directed, filled with direction,

nothing less than its intricate relations,

endless solitudes, endless communion,

energy meeting energy, singing.

The Being Part

What stops the screaming in despair:

an inner voice denying this reality,

the love of others, love of self, all

the self-delusion of normality,

coupling intellect to the mundane,

accepting, placing one foot after

the other, to eat, sleep, work, live,

be fooled by lies, not dare to make

a fuss, conform, be scared of being

wrong, wish to be good and wish

to compromise, be part of the race,

what stops the creatures screaming

in despair, the ones we torment, deny:

their need too to be part of the group,

to answer in the way the genes play,

sifted through matter, by the sieve

that shaped, fitted, being to the world.

What stops us now screaming in despair.


Hardest of all to go beyond the anger,

be kind to self without harming others,

become the Taoist on the far mountain,

drift with the breezes, fly with the birds

along the sweetest levels of atmosphere,

simply to go with the purest being here.

Because world is filled with wrath, anger

that fills the loving heart with its pain, all

the hurt of the harm of all the nations,

the sadness of delusion, these religions,

the pity that blasts the mind and forces

pity in moments now with none forthcoming.

Hardest of all to pass beyond the anger,

to go beyond, where the diamond pattern

sings purposeless galaxies, where the lotus

grips the mind’s deep silence, stills its roar.

Evening mist. Where I lose my vision now,

seek to evade self, feel, these gestures of evasion.


Two legs, a beak, a tail

for balance,

no arms,



simple truth.

Not one of the great,

but one of

the small,

brown, pale,


so discreet.

Quick flight but barely,


the grass,

bushes, trees

and gone

into green home.


Have me forget you a while,

relax the strain of distance,

allow your being to settle

deeper, deep in the loving spirit.

Have me forget you a while.

Out West

This hazy sea

so clean we foul.

Breeze on green dunes,

tide-flow, white gulls

their chain of tracks,

the dark sweet cliffs,

western headlands,

seal-heads bob, gaze,

shoals, surface-changes

blue-dark shades of green.

Shell litter at wave-ebb

bleached wood, wrack,

pebbles all glitter, whirr

down retreat of waters,

quiet sun shimmers,

cormorant low shoots by,

sand-flies on stones, life

where it once began:

soft hazy seething

of a strange becoming.

One Mind Making

Self is this process,

not a thing,

identity this continual


of world, this casting

inner through outer

to make the real,

sometimes deceived,

sometimes illusion.

Self is this night

blue, frosted, fine glow

of moon white circle

formed in the eye,

this thought, emotion

hard to define,

self is this process

no-thing inside,

one mind making.


Round sun through bare crab-apple,

territorial robin in cool air sings,

first grass springs, land flows,

mind lives its orchard beauty.

Where creeks lip folded rocks,

eye sees sky heart-clear, here

blue hangs over in leafless net

of intricate twigs’ fine renewal,

the heart enclosed, tamed, sweet

as pure bird-notes quickly trilled.

This small-scale world we are too

that sings in us, in light, in wind.


The communion of silent forces in this world,

what they kept secret at Eleusis, the inner

voices, thoughts, imaginings, what moves

the crowd, fires art, stirs eroticism, flows

sweetly through hidden places of the mind.

Like lovers glancing at the same shining moon,

or in the same moment thinking of each other,

a precious moment, silent, secret and unknown

that nonetheless has power in the flesh, echoes

down corridors of mirrors in multiple gleaming.

Not what we say but what, having said, we know,

the mutual implicit understanding, this earned gift,

so that with no words needed, in speechless distance

each performs their movement towards the other,

the communion of silent forces in this world.


Look out on this gleaming world,

and see how we must change,

find harmony and balance,

make science serve our values,

and art and politics, find new

ways to live on this planet

without destroying, creating

now, sustaining and renewing.

Look out on this shining Earth,

and tell me why we cannot,

because if we truly cannot,

then our myth too will die,

and we’ll go to join the others,

the failed civilisations, or those

that left a shining value flung

from the sea of all their errors,

freedom, or kindness, truth,

sensitivity or love of beauty,

all those values inside us.

Look out at this sweet old orb,

and find how we must change,

take all the depth within us

and liberate our being,

in a new and sacred union,

a communion with this world,

beyond religions, nations,

new innocence, new beginning,

a new covenant made of minds.

Nothing but Love

Love heals, and nothing but love

will heal now, the sweetness

of nature inside, the beauty,

as far from violence as sea from star.

Love is a creation, out of the mind,

out of the body, out of the grace

of life and the light within us,

into the godless, the intention-less,

love is our creation, and the creatures’

who came before us, nurtured,

healed every hurt the planet dealt,

went on living, enduring, silent.

Love heals and not power, the love

that will heal us now, the bright

flicker of resilient generation,

the strength of gentle creation.

The temples are dead, the only

shrines of life now are inside,

at the burning core of the creature,

in the human tremor of knowing,

and if there is any destiny for us,

it will be a destiny self-created,

to carry our love into the universe,

since love heals, nothing but love.


Two green eyes

in the sharp lights

at midnight

in the African bush,

the jeep stopped,

the night sky

upside down for northern sight

glittering million-fold,

and the smell of sage-brush

deep earth smell

of ages, two green eyes

of the watching creature

glowing from dark

and crying

the endless past horizon,

that place where

against the white

or blue of the infinite sky

silhouetted there

we took our place among them,

once harmonised

now electric in their darkness.

Poetry, Charity

An act of faith: but in the reality.

Believing, yes, in the unseen earth

that surrounds hearts minds

with word, and feeling, so empathy

key, as Hume said, touching

on every other spirit in inward

resonance, in mirrors of being.

Its secret spirit all one, this human

species, otherwise all alone all dead,

one void one echo of eternity

and all permitted and all in vain,

not this strange communion, this

echo in hearts ecstatic meaning

these clasped hands: Poetry, Charity.

White Mare

White mare bends her head,

to drink at the stream,

I lean on the broken gate

I watch the peace,

as I hear the quietness

between movements

when instruments pause,

we cough and shift.

White mare trembles, sighs,

and drinks at the stream.

I think Lorca’s stallion,

watch flow of light

between dark green weeds

the tangled threads, arms

of the ancient naiads, torn

filaments of the aching heart.

White mare shakes her mane,

like a restless woman.

I watch flowers under oaks,

dream in the quiet

over all this sacred place,

because they are all holy,

these sites of imagination,

blessed by mind’s silence.

Too Many People

Too many people: but peace to the creatures.

Walking delicately through world, see them,

not as some slightness on the human scene,

but as they are inner luminosity, shining.

It’s not about naming, knowing their ways,

you can place them in sacred space unknowing,

as stars in beauty are fine when nameless,

simply feel their elegant uncomplaining,

the stature of presence, the anonymous self

glowing in wordless depths singing there,

with the world’s reality, no gods or demons.

There are no temples where creatures worship.

Forget our lost wisdom. Sweetness among them,

love, sex, beauty, tenderness, suffering, pure joy

all there among the creatures. Do you see them,

in their fine integrity, in their life beyond us?

Age of Images

No one sees true, no one sees true,

no one sees me, no one sees you,

by vision denied, bodies, we hide,

minds not on view, spirits inside.

No one sees clear, no one sees here,

no pain or beauty, pleasure or fear

seen in its purity, seen in the light,

no one sees true, no one sees right,

lover or teacher, poet or child,

no one sees them, silence reviled,

no one sees true, no one sees true,

no one sees me, no one sees you.

Climbing in Spirit on Endless Hills

Climbing in spirit on endless hills,

dusty stone-scree, iced grass, cliffs,

land-sick, on waves of rock

on millennial breakers,

riding the crest

of all the centuries,

Nature’s orgasm,

spillage of mountains.

Mind in the stream chasing downhill

unnamed brightness, white silence,

delicate beauty chiselled light

on impossible oceans

surfing the tips

of pine and cedar,

climbing in spirit

on endless hills.

Thoughts of Genji

Dark screens, moonlight silence

Heian ladies, butterfly quilted,

skilled in separation, poetry,

coloured scented paper folded

answer lovers cant be called

silent men by carved verandahs

brush through fragrant tangled gardens,

play the five-stringed lute by night,

slipping through the gates of grass.

Golden lamps shine soft at morning,

Heian ladies, watching flowers,

trained in all discrimination,

make the heart small, wild inside,

meet cold dew, minds neglectful

silent men in bright-robed dancing,

decorative swords, power idling,

scouring plains in dawn-wet grasses,

chasing suns, their shining arrows.


Zen says leave possessions behind,

be mind, and then not-mind,

don’t be poet

lost in describing things,

when you’re process,

don’t be body

brushstroke of light,

cut free

with intellect’s blade,

and vanish,

like Han Shan

on the mountain,

up there in the mist,

of snowy summits.

But we’re entangled inextricably,

Tao says so, world-show

all energies

configuring as processes

just as they are as things,

got to be body

the fires of flesh

bound in

with transient net,

like pine tree

on the mountain,

up there in the snow

of glittering summits.


Whatever was real is dream,

memory, is past

events, things, places, processes,

people, spirits, thoughts.

I though some continuous

flicker, potential

for being the net

and skein of self,

complex web

that keeps running

this one I’m dreaming,

When I die I’ll be dream,

memory, the past

for some other perhaps, idea

of all I don’t know,

no longer an inner light

creeps gradual

over the surface

through substance of self,

delicate web

keeps finding

itself in the slender poem.

Little Words for Tao Ch’ien

Foolish to get caught in the world,

only loving hills and mountains,

Tao Ch’ien told me so,

the dust-filled trap,

net and cage,

don’t fuel others’ expectations,

shun the market, scorn the image,

simple things, quiet places,

keep the mind floating there,

then forget the mind, use it,

foolish to get caught in the world.

Sleeping Nowhere

Shut your eyes and mind is nowhere,


when mind stops

so does universe,

we think of it persisting,

because we are persisting,

here in the silence

by the stream

I dream the stream runs on

when I am gone,

the states of sleep,

death, unconsciousness

cannot be imagined,


cannot be non-process,

I close my eyes to sleep

and be nowhere,

leave the body

to this universe,

or dream.


Mind projects itself on world


World projects itself on mind

(we are aware)

no wonder that they meet,

most of the time,

except occasionally

I fail to fall downstairs.

It’s simple to disorient the brain,

(in sensory illusion),

and lose the self in the world again

(beyond confusion)

no wonder we seem to see

a wavering reality,

missing the blow,

feeling the contusion.

The Only One

The chances lost

were never for the taking,

the self we play

has only this one part

and cannot wander

from the script it’s writing,

what we become –

not destiny but art.

We take the other path

it seemed the fairer,

the path we did not take

existed never,

Hamlet repeats

the same eternal gesture,

the path once chosen

is the only journey.

Viewing Burne-Jones’ Perseus Series

Strange landscape, filled with subtle longing,

Perseus’ winged feet,

like the birds’ wings in the sketches,

hovering delicately close,

all the imagined figures,

those girls,

the lovely line.

Pale hills in low cloud

down which mist flows,

domed strange city,

decorative formal blue-green sea,

rocks and cliffs against

soft flesh, the presence

of the severed snaky head.

Perseus lost in the coils,

drowned in the virgin silence,

in the untouchable Ideal,

in the Western moment,

ready for monsters,

finding the princess,

chained in his own heart.

Now, at midnight, constellations,

the jewelled dripping fall

of Perseus, from Cassiopeia’s folds,


long trail over the sky,

white resonance,

gleaming myth.

No More

This fundamental life,

from that we came,

the creature here inside

the clothes

and expectations,

same that squats in the dust

or shoots its arrows

in what remains of rain-forest,

that painted walls

in inner wombs of caves,

those handprints,

horses, bison.

This life of soft dirt slopes,

grasses, bush, outcrops,

insects, mice and occasional birds,

lake-shore sand,

and bleached savannah,

same that echoes in hand and foot

or draws the mind

to what remains of passion,

that carved and ochred,

made the subtle mounds,

those song-paths,

dogs and sheep.

This fundamental life

to which there’s no return.

Keep It Fluid

Old white bone skull

a fragile scattering,

the broken shattered

outer shell of tree,

its red dust core,

powdery rock dissolving,

leaves dragged down

by red worms into earth

smashed fish flung

to the shallows by bears,

rotting salmon,

this delicate bird wing

printed on the slope

a mass of dried feathers,

the soak and sweat of sap

the dead dry grass,

all things

Nature re-uses.

My Taoist mind

delights in transience,

loves flickering water,

admires blue cloud

on cold evenings,

is in love with grasses, leaves,

tastes snow-melt, rain,

breathes the night-borne breeze,

imagines body

mica dust of stars

given back to time

undifferentiated space,

the point where mind ceases,

and this life fades away

to be replaced by no other,

has no desire

for all that permanence,

granite halls, institutions, domes.


Insect of a day,

mind of a century,

old half-millennial oak,

million year mountain stream,

this planet passing by

this fragile star

balanced in complex time,

this jewelled galaxy,

this universe

all energy.

Scrap-Yard Diatribe

Great heap of smashed trucks and broken cars,

the stilled steel of the world

gathers here to rot, be crushed,

make stationary silt,

a sift of our consumption,

its ugliness sublime

like graffiti, litter, crime,

the cry of mindlessness

or wail of identity,

here both, blind mad excess

expressing what we are,

the agitated species

chasing its long-lost tail.

Metal, plastic, glass glittering in the sun,

the twisted detritus of the maker

cascades beside the track, corrodes,

forms futuristic art,

reflections of our minds,

its cold sterility

as office-blocks, sheds, and yards,

the matter of our motion,

or sign of fate,

white lightning on the left, the owl screech,

foretelling what will come,

the transformed species,

or soft silence of its dust.

In the Gallery

Cold marble and the silent gleam

of falling light,

that urn,

our life turned inside-out

and frozen there

making us no longer mortal,

contingent, pitiful,

mask of lion, helmet of Hellene,

a Shiva, Buddha, Pharaoh,

Rodin’s youth

a neurasthenic Michelangelo,

a piece of fourteenth century vital alabaster,

my mind,

this place,

all time.

No men and maidens,

long past Keats,

but still the same,

a Proustian reminder,

in this beauty

I forget my life,

to find my life,

through so many echoes.

enter the green deeps of memory,

to recoil,

from all the pain and joy,

enjoy this line

this sweep of sculptured robes

or whirl of bronze,

eternal, pure.


Mind lives in the fourth dimension, Time.

Objects are visual time,

the eye’s flickering.

Or the notes I cannot hold

only follow, again,

slipping from thought,

driving feeling, a cry

of instruments in the heart’s depths,

fluid anxious Time.

Mind cannot touch the world, inner

Process: surrounds it with spirit,

makes memory of its tremor,

creates life of my feelings,

the life lived, sense of self,

that, strange, persists

through Time,

and fluid others,

all worlds I do not see.

Mind loves purposeless beauty,

that wild ringing

of form felt through Time,

like wild flowers on a mountain,

emotion, what endures,

across whole centuries,

the core of being

human, where

we must believe.

Mind happens in me,

while outside me,

things take place,

some not for me,

in their pure timeless beauty.

The sphere I try to reach,

from prosaic day,

Mind beyond all this Time,

all this distraction.

A High Singing

The wild bird-trill is delight,

if that’s not delight what is,

despite its causes,

territorial urge, mating,

sign and signal, cry,

the wren, seldom heard,

on a slope of bark,

blackbird in twilight sun,

soft flicker of robin,

piercing the air, cold,

thrilling the ear.

Purity greater than ours,

greater than our calls,

cleverer than our intellect,

Nature’s performance,

as if forever a fresh

a first invention,

out of a subtle gilded culture,

one we have forgotten,

but once had,

in old cities,

our high singing.

East-West, All Over Earth

They lock bears in cages, milk their bile.

Twenty-five years barred, crushed,

no place to turn, imagine.

We hurt species in cages for new science,

so ‘higher’ creatures may suffer less

we torment these. How dare we, can we?

And find no analogy. Are cruelties

of greed worse than those of reason?

I think they are just the same.

At midnight lying awake I feel,

(mind in pain) I feel the creatures,

feel their terrible hurt all over Earth.


Delicate secret, blinds, morning dew,

in scented robes gone glowing lover.

All of our sufferings in this life:

separation like an earthly dream.

Heart strung to heart, mind to mind,

tuned, it seems, by some other life.

No way to make this one stay,

white ghosts meeting in the moon.

Small Hours

What to say about our silence,

our refusal to change the world?

The saddest nature of the good,

the decent, is this passive compromise.

Do I feel proud of our mute

acceptance, in the small hours, waking?

I feel ashamed, I tremble, universe

around me, small we are, and foolish.

What to say about our stillness,

our denial, our failure to change the world?

Mysterious Minds

All these millions, this one silence.

Half-moon rises, night on concrete,

small-spires, black-glass, high-steel

masted ocean of communication.

You too live by cities’ dark,

see white jade climb on great river,

sun creak, smoke sigh, clouds cover

clear crystal azure, curl and whiten.

All these millions, and the one life,

where they come from, where they

go to, all the symbols, mirrors, signs,

all these mysterious minds.

Of Light

Easing the pains of living

making the object

that holds emotion,

written by feeling’s process,

read by a process of feeling,

until mind speaks to mind,

making the thing that endures.

Easing the troubles of being,

describing the heart,

out of the inner silence

caring nothing for world

caring only for form,

and feeling that informs it.

Making pure poetry,

and a sanity of seeing,

the empty out of fullness,

the fullness from the empty,

easing the pains of living

ephemeral creatures of light.

But Your Reality

These words arranged, this

pattern, breeze, cloud, sky

now curiously immortal,

but nothing real in this except

in you, who strangely resurrect me,

this world’s ghost but your reality.


Great breath of Earth-sigh, all leaf energy, all blade,

vast tract of forest, branch, twig, bud innumerable,

heaves energy, seethes infinite intricacies, inscape

instress endless locked in the clay, quartz, slope, peak,

fluid moist air, shifting transforming, mutable swaying,

this to be nature not mere mind bubbles to being, all

the breadth, height, deeps of Earth, making its language,

all quivers in me, all waves, backflow, undertow’s time

in the air, roars of this ocean, mindless, lovely, this force,

strength, ownerless, unowning, mighty, intentionless

place and motion through slightest tendon and tendril

in smallest droplet, blade, stem, corolla, scale, braid, wisp,

seed, grain of black earth, brown grass, tender, harmless,

gentle life-giving, moist eternal tremor of rain-filled

mountainside from nearest arm of luminous flower

to the tallest slate granite-scarred head of land bathing

in fire and flow past pain or recall demand or desire

in the freedom, mortal, immortal, immense of things.

No roads ways trails flows only teeming sweetness,

humble powers, wild symmetries, flowering higher

as eye rises from simple nearness to measured distance

to vanishing fogs and shadows of blue, from wall-nook,

root-form, hedge, ditch, field to hill, range, summit

through the spine of the land, through outflowing sighing

ridges undulations centuries buried new now exposed

embedded freed its balance fall gentle unyielding softness

giving way springing again resilience of line and shape

slow extended momentum peace and stir swollen lift

of space-time over the mind into stillness gaze into blue

or green hill crest in the single spirit till self pours out

soft sigh breath of being over all levels and slopes

of landscape form without plan, being free of intent

great eternal present whose past future (unreal) exist

beyond within, only here in us and there, also eternal.

So small this, tormentil’s star-flower pressed down,

un-bowing, sweet to taste eternity, pure its unknowing,

immense its energies, deeply purposeless its beauty,

moving in me like love, our gift to the universe,

a way of seeing, a way of being, no path, swiftly across

and gone through the long grass into the hills and trees.

So uniquely one this repeated bud-blow yellow glint

of light, of our star, enduring, indomitable, patient,

so deep in memory, fallen, risen, under my feet,

dewed, glowing, beaded, brave, part of me, universe.

White pure cloud on the great wind bows the oak,

stirs the bitten-down grass, the close-cropped turf,

eye-studded all vast energies one caress all giant’s

strength as humble delicate as the giant movement

of love in the mind all (all those aeons of being,

creatures, we) all love all lovers all we created.

Once on the Earth, on the hill where the may white

may gathered, flared, over the furrow where hare

passed, heart in mouth, feeling the tremor, pulsing

with trembling heart, once I lay down, touched heart

head here to the core and length of England sighed

the great sigh knew with knowledge enough to have

feet pass through me over me all the far flow all

the deep fields, all the last love-long breath of Time.


Write the poetry of the spirit,

don’t perform.

Be inaccessible except

to humility, love, night.

Wary of insidious feeling,

test each tremor of meaning,

as all irrational visions, old

beliefs, superstitions are akin,

but beauties, fires, lights are equal,

all mind potentially sweet

grave, deep resonant, if first

empowered and then expanded.

Cherish the new, naïve,

marvellous unknowing,

the unsullied endless generations

all over Earth.

Subterranean Rivers

I always found it hard to resist

imaginative creations,

worlds of others, made of other mind,

the alien substance,

and therefore endlessly

seductive, challenging, deep.

They teach the malleability of mind,

the fragile nature

of the real, that truth, love, beauty

are constructs, that we

project ourselves on being,

create each universe,

always finding a magic

in the silence, mist, darkness,

fearful, but desirous of paying

our dues to the ferryman.

Out Over

Sailing free over world, kestrel’s wing-beat,

that heart-beat stillness, flicker,

the brown lit shoulders

flaring subtlest energy.

Over fields, roads, lake-shore

up to infinite azure, and beyond,

infinite darkness, starlight, earthlight,

then swoop down emerald mountain

over granite by still waters,

ground, home for the humans.

The flight of the thing (windhover)

its play, work, dream,

glitter of need, rest, being,

arc of possible realms,

circle of steadiness, glide, fall,

resumption, benediction.

Strangest Flower

Mind in the universe, my stranger than fiction, wiser

than darkness and the realms of the dead or old errors

of incantation, curious because suggestive though wishful

thinking, which is not true of mind in its proper place

performing without thought or rather deep down

in the spontaneous exertion of skill and being, termed

creation, as nature ‘creates’ out of purposeless purpose

leaves it can, birds it can, not all known but all within

scope of the flowering mind the strangest flower.


The poet’s work darkens on my table.

Drunk on his influence long ago,

now the black distillation settles

congeals, no flask of pure azure.

There’s no substitute for living,

being, loving, dying of hurt, joy,

truth, shame, no substitute

for being young, or being over again.

Deep in the Long Grass

Crossing the road, once off the wheel

watching the straining faces, spinning eyes,

wondering why no one heads for stillness,

mercy, the lovely world without progress

we could create, not merely by sitting still.

Power sucks us dry, the building, the using,

how we allow the things to use us too.

Even old texts went wrong, lost in power

over world, self. I cherish those off the wheel,

gone in an instant, deep in the long grass.


You must sing the Earth

and sing it right

what follows on

is long goodnight.

You must love the Earth

to leave it too

a fraction deeper

after you.

You must kiss the world

a sweet goodbye:

it’s nothing strange

if time must die.

You must ease the world

out of your skin

then end where

others must begin.

The Joy-Givers

Doing simple things together,

no outlay but love and effort,

the joy-givers bind us tighter.

Thinking only of time, care,

the eternal now, exchanging

intimations of mortality,

making simplest things together,

food, music, laughter, requiring

only love and effort, sets us free.

How Wholly How Little

The naked self is fine, how foolish

all the ways are of society,

how lovely the great world

nature flowing in deep still air.

The moment of the self’s beyond

all history, all cultures, all belief

our infinite inherited pure sense

of how naked all existence is,

how vibrant, how precarious,

how wholly, how little, about us.

Time Is

Time is the creature in the wood,

the half-seen emblem of our good,

like the child among the trees,

explorer of the mysteries.

Time is the serpent in the mind,

that clearer vision of the blind,

the walker in the blowing grass,

the moment, Here, that cannot pass.

Time is the heart, beloved, you

the deeper symbol of the true,

our meeting pool of flesh and sense,

the fulcrum of our rare intense.

Time is the creature, naked, dark

moon-white, night-black, clothed, stark,

the shadow-substance of the dream,

the world’s complicit silent stream.

Plants and Stone

Stones and plants caress my mind,

dark wrinkled mossed solidity,

and green mystery.

Water on black soil, light,

the furrows of feeling,

cool seeing.

Mind clear of the world

deep and sweet

as the rain.

Walls of rock, pure green


to the gaps between.

Places where eye can rest,

rinse ears and heart

in the fall.

A universe of plants

and stone

easing the flesh and bone.


Looking down on

the silence of Earth

from the plane

is salutary. Peace.

The dark continents

brown and green,

hatred invisible

through cloudy air.

Love too, but I bring

that with me,

a small victory

though late.

Beauty and truth

slip through too,

reason to celebrate.

Simple Fires

Forget-me-nots, countless blue

five-petalled eyes with gold irises

each one a small sun,

a white butterfly swirls by.

Columns of lemon balm,

citrus scent of rubbed

leaf lovely on fingers,

lingers a little, gone.

A single yellow Welsh poppy

luminous-belled facing

south-west filled with light,

fringed edges, slim stalk.

Red fibrous rough-leaved

thrust of foxglove,

heading north,

crown of unruly green.

Marjoram and a host

of wild flowers trapped

in a half-moon of sun,

warm days, simple fires.


Coitu is beauty as form

of mind, release of mind,

free of leverage, coercion

sprung from love.

Neither mystery nor order

but harmony, life.

In the gentle heart, peace,

body of the gentle heart.

How we reconcile ourselves

to our beginnings.

How we break through

the net that binds us to

the madness of society,

and make flesh sing.

True Notes

Founded on feeling, we are

deep-founded on feeling.

The rest the machines

will do, not yet emotion.

My Turing test would be

subtleties of feeling not reason,

and language, true poetry

and its translation,

where one false note jars

like a broken string.

Beauty and love are ours

as yet, truth’s another thing.

Deer Trails

Deer trails soft in the wood,

gone magic and myth,

they smell bark, earth, breeze,

avoid us, and our killing.

Deer trails deep in the wood,

the trail we follow,

they dance through fern, birch

oak, elusive, subtle.

White Bamboo I

Under the white bamboo,

beyond anxiety,

dark pebbles

in the pure creek.

No more washing

ears with sand,

no more chasing

phantom purpose.

All this flow’s the Way,

all this beauty Process.

Don’t think, don’t think,

don’t do, don’t do.

Close the mind in

perfect awareness.

White Bamboo II

All this process is the Way,

what you cannot find, cannot lose.

Here it is, all around,

under the white bamboo.

Looking at it, cannot see it,

going, cannot leave it behind.

Dark pebble in the stream,

tries to be not-stone, not-water.

Silent, existence speaks.

Being, is what you are.

When you move it is mute,

voice of the inner process.

Not For Sale

The sacred is not for sale.

Mind and Truth are not for sale.

Emptiness brightens the silence,

all our structures turn beyond us.

From the void, from the creature

to prisons of imagination.

Yet children dance in the night.

The sacred is not for sale.

Against every form of power,

for all energy, forms of sharing.

I see the sunflower in the yard,

I know intellect against time.

Beauty a function of the mind.

No art or love without delight.

The sacred is not for sale,

Everything given increases.


(With acknowledgement to Gerard Manley Hopkins)

All that is counter, original, spare,

whatever does not consent,

all creatures

of the separate trail,

all lovely deep blind alleys.

All that is secret, shadowed, small,

hides in interstices of place,

builds from flotsam,

jetsam, burrows clear,

all twigs of evolution.

All that is individual, silent, still,

all intricate motion at

the edge of being,

all that by-passed progress and survived,

all subtle self-containment.


An impossible purity of

belief in the one sweet

ringing echo of the word.

Intellect against all

exploiters. Emotion

against eternity’s pain.

Your image in absence

hides all others. The heart

of morality is delight.

Theft of a way of life

is theft of love in the mind,

the deep carved traces.

Our task to make peace

with the creatures, find

our joy in transience.

Tao for Beginners

The living creature

possessed by love

cannot depart

from the process.

The mind, the tongue,

the heart, the rest

cannot depart

from the process.

Each move away

is just one more

swift flicker

of the process.

Whatever you think

you leave

behind, that is

not the process.

The bright eye, click

of vision gleams

and glares,

behold the process.


The slow roar

of the lion in the dark

shakes the heart.

One old bull

cut from the herd

sways the long grass.

Blue metal water

wells each day

over the hot earth.

White egret lonely,

black eagle circling,

colours of birds.

Eyes, through the dark.

O, fellow travellers,

share this clutter of stars.

Only One

There is only one sin,

violence in all

its manifestations.

From the abuser

to the killer,

from body to mind.

Violence against

freedom, against

integrity of being.

From the individual

to the State,

left, right, or backward.

There is only one virtue

love – in all

its manifestations,

delight in the shared,

un-violated meaning,

free truth – is love.

The Task of Art

Is to connect us

to what knows

nothing of us

our purposes.

Everything out

there open, unzipped

waiting, space-time

empty full of form.

Wind in leaves

pine sky is the music

with no meaning –

we need to hear that,

till mind forgets

learns transience

bird-cry, dust-stir

leaf-click, light

connects us through

to whatever is,

the question being

not what it is

but why we can’t accept.

Mountain Sighing

All this civilisation,

mountain sighing.

Get no nearer the stars

the closer we come,

not those in the mind.

Hawk floats over lake

on a thousand feet of air,

deep blue in rock cradle.

Swifts pass over grass,

cry, flicker and beat.

Mind floats inside-out

though architects mostly

unknown, every language

is outer, shared, as much

as Mozart, or Dante.

All this civilisation,

barely speaking,

mountain sighing,

its voice louder,

the stars to come.

Sign for the Human Race

Keep out. Keep away.

Don’t conserve

the rattlesnake,

pass by.

No one here liable

to cull or


Natural laws apply.

Wire rusts here,

posts fall, trees

grow, things adapt.

Keep out, or die.

Without this, science

still works, arts

flourish, easily.

Keep out. Get by.

A Toast to Monsieur Mallarmé

No Nothingness, all is Form,

the Void mere imagination.

Transient patterns in space-time,

must learn to accept their station.

Truth is contingent, true, but

contingency our second nature.

Only what we can manipulate

in Mind is true for the creature.

Language is frail, the skein of dark

across the light, as on porcelain

the Master elaborates the flower,

delight concealing effort, pain.

Nothing is frozen, no sterility.

Intellect on featherless wings

rides the Moment, our eternity.

The flow of energy makes things.

Musicians of the Void, in dream,

our Being floats on all Existence.

We, the strange insistent gleam,

Beauty out of pure persistence.

Solitude, My Beauty

Solitude, my beauty,

sweet as light,

in the rain, on the window-pane,

or the soft night’s

quiet descent towards dawn,

my inner life, world-dream

no-one shares,

the ultimate freedom,

that green place

where I was made,

careless of all allegiance,

my depth of being,

my powerless power

over the universe that dies with me.

Solitude, my beauty,

where fear, anxiety, hurt, shame,

bitterness, anger, memory

all that the others generate

vanish, in your calm,

and like that presence, poetry,

life gains form, truth, sincerity,

connects to all the ages,

every landscape,

enters the space

beyond authority,

possession, oh the free

movement of mind

in the hour of eternity.

Naked and transformed,

potent in mystery,

your eyes my eyes,

silence your witchery,

as the trees are silent, the grass,

the night-creatures, the gaze,

stone, cloud, star, horizon, silent,

as the word is silent, waiting there,

to speak internally, silently read;

yet unspoken, is not language.

Quiet at the flame’s heart,

truth in water, in light,

this world I give love to, I love

Solitude, my beauty.

Dark Main

Night, in the mirror, of Eternity I fall,

far as the constellation, inward glimmer,

as light falls, not falls, spreads outward

through what? Space-time ever thinner,

cold with void, all emotion mine alone,

flower white foam, lace of the universe,

silence of fire bright tremor bare place

of now patterned matter without memory,

the void where I drown starve silk of star

Earth a hole in the sky, banner of blue,

feeling, thought all within, us, no echoing

motion of air, light, resonance of the true,

trembles in this glass, the sphere goes on

ringing with absence only in living mind,

flame flows through infinity, not intellect,

none there of all we imprint here, azure

silver, black, ancient transparency, pane

of energy, matter, shining towards us

absorbing whatever of this is mine, ours,

pure fountain, immortal garden, dark main.

‘In the interstices of your spirit’

In the interstices of your spirit

I place my spirit,

stone in the white fall,

root in the stillness.

No matter what echoes

of other streams play

down the slopes

of your swift meaning,

if I too share your sunset

and your dawn

light on a thousand ridges

gold, crimson, cloud-shot,

or your soft evening, closing

in grey and silver,

trumpet of star-lit metal

calling the abyss,

in a trail of sighing trees,

shepherdess of the void,

your glittering eyes

sparkling with absolutes.


Foam of the sea, flow, restless desire

always to be more, always to exceed,

madly stirs beneath lights pinned higher

through us the tremor of fantastic need,

so that on panels of antique walls their

curious silk brushed now by curtained swirls,

breezes of evening catch your midnight hair,

cool your skin’s nacre, fingers’ slivered pearls,

until in the mirror lace and music fuse

their ecstatic dance of impossible seas,

slow waves of time, murmurings of the Muse,

bitter gone recollections, mysteries,

impassioned lance that challenges the night,

chalice of depths reflecting endless light.


Great bird settled to rest,

head bowed on the breast,

eye fixed on the wave,

whiteness beyond the grave,

emblem against the black

of wind-threshed trees,

o question-mark at ease

on the glassy track

ask what of the void,

the un-echoing night?

bring here unalloyed

the silence of light,

o intentionless sail

set for deeps without waves

soft plumage dark laves,

snow glacier icy grail

ready to plunge or beat

water air on your back

nailed to the perfect rack

Earth there under your feet

the mirror of a star

that moves through the galaxy

expressing what we are

chance form of eternity.

Whatever Creates

Oh no, no dark visions,

everything bright,

learn the Tao, float

on endless light,

beauty and truth and love

in mind alone

world makes, make world

the real is

deep in the bone.

Oh no, no wingless voids,

everything sweet,

perfect the intercourse

where spirits meet,

what we create creates us

the shared is free

affection multiplies

the given

brings liberty.

Oh no, no violence

only tenderness,

the sensitive the gentle

are not less,

see there what echoes

in the depths of night

the universe beckons


creates is right.

From the Rock

Grain after grain trembles in the whorl

of water in the basin, at the source,

so in my silence tremors pain on pain

whatever of you stirs with memory’s force.

In that same bath of silver and of gold

slowly your invisible meaning turns,

looking-glass absence where your beauty burns

flames in the child’s eye, becomes the rose,

its corolla like this flow, pure stream

envelope of tenderness, floats in space

carrying your sweet dance of spirit’s grace

chalybeate particles of mind and sense

orbiting deep inside the watery dream

time’s maelstrom, thought’s perfect tense.

Gnomic Couplets

The endless manifestations of Power are all alike:

Responsible, mature, and insane.

Blessed be the Individual:

Over-turner of all religions.

The Individual is the Universe echoing:

It is undirected, perfect, alien Self.

Only the Process brought us to this place:

Which if we don’t like, we should change.

Everything is immortalised, everything:

Because everything is adrift in Eternity.

The starving, crawling, dying World,

Is not our fault: it is our disconnect.

There is nothing more beautiful than the Given,

And Shared: Beauty only has to be.

Being and Feeling have no obligations:

There is simply nothing to achieve.

Spontaneous Thought draws on experience:

By your first thought I see what you are.

An Ideal is the transient’s permanent dream:

Compromise the art of failing our ideals.

The contents of the private Mind would shock the world:

All clear Minds are screaming inwardly.

Prophesy the Past:

It is re-created in every generation.

The Objective is Subjective:

The Subjective is Projective.

If I thought the human species was important,

I would weep.

Deep in Perception, the Other that we are:

The Other is only a heart-beat away.

What we share, Being, Feeling, Beauty, Truth, Affection:

Nature, Time, Light, the Flesh, exceeds Matter.

In Paradise all things are shared:

That is what we mean by Paradise.

The conjunction of the Subjective and the Objective,

Is paradox: Each exists wholly inside the other.

What you are in your heart is what you should be:

What you think you should be is an error of Perception.

We don’t get beneath the surface of World by seeing:

It’s by Feeling that we get beneath the surface of the World.

The Truth is always irresponsible:

The Beautiful is always True.

Fault Lines

Thoughts shaped in beauty

like the hewn stones

climbing the hill,

feel solid after a while,

but that’s illusory.

Rain guts them,

feet wear them.

time abrades, grain on grain

of stony dust and gritty air,

the tracks are shifting,

the mountain shifts,

is grass,

and light, and creature’s refuse,

and leaves, and detritus, and charred

remains of acres after fire.

Stars shift,

the galaxies wind, unwind,

the universe moves itself,

time is always this, the Moment,

always a vertiginous Becoming.

Stream fall from the precipice,

The water here, not-here.

Thoughts carved with care,

are transient, as I am,

like the gateposts

of these fields,

outwearing their creators;

and the hand-made dry-stone walls

running up precipices like lines

of the ideal, grey, hard to break,

and doubly hard to cross;

or cobbled slopes

on rain-slicked places;

are washed away by streams

and falls and snow-melt,

undermined by root and tremor,

fall through our dimension

as we fall through theirs,

million-year old rocks

tongued and grooved by passage,

even insects gnaw

along the fault lines of our world.

Oh Gold Autumn

Oh gold autumn


the unnoticed tree

suddenly there

the individual


free in the crowd.

Visible wings

in cloud skies


subtle song

so much,

colours in grass,

so many

islands afloat,

where pure

sound of

the lone flute

is still



fern, deep of trees,

white of stream,

last days

of the world,

I cherish,

asking nothing,

giving all.

Over the Lip

We go over the lip

of the valley

behind the sea,

down the long slope

of dark earth, nettle, fern,

scrub birch, broken branches,

into the narrow funnel

of meadow under the trees,

and there

beyond the gate

is a fragment

of old magical England.

That path along wood’s edge,

each lie of stone

and fallen trunk,

the ivies, mosses,

and a far vista

of thrown leaves


buzzards haunt here

over the field,

great oaks, heavy

leaden boughs,

sweet as silence.

A walk through paradise

and then

at the wood’s end

left up the incised field-foot

and right under over wire

into disused woods

old quarry junk

lost gardens, overgrown

and out,

legal again, onto

deep untouched turf.

Climbing again

by creature tracks,

weed-cloud, hedge-rose,

pale yards then,

stone backs of farm,

old fruit trees, road,

by fields of grass,

walled path, four foot wide,

we go out of the valley

over the lip

down to the sea.

What Space?

Grey-green evening.

The grey-blue sky

my soul,

being that part of mind

that is universe

and knows the process,

not that which


with deathliness,

this world,

O city, O image,

concrete desert,

electron whisper,

mouths of dust.

Walking among

the darkened buildings

heard the lion roar

down the centuries,

sounding, agony,

now, hear it,

breaking our order,

ruining our dreams,

scorning our statues,

roar of the universe,

grey-blue evening,

O my soul,

what have we done,

what space is this?

Who Know Who I Mean

Blessed the true spirits

still singing

hail the companions!

Who know holiness

has nothing at all

to do with any religion.

Who make it in beauty,

kindness, nature,

healing, seeing.

Who are immune

to power, bullshit,

moloch and plutus.

Yes, that moloch.

Though unconnected

The angels share

Who know that angels

have nothing at all

to do with any religion.

Blessed the stringers

of words, of sounds

which are thoughts not sounds.

And the realisation,

after the years,

the young are eternally right,

And the vale of tears

an unnecessary foolishness

committed by the rapacious

all down the centuries.

Which are smoke,

and the laws mirrors

made for the uncreative,

the creative long ago having lost

the desire to do what they forbid.

My hands on your waist tremble,

send me a leaf of the tree,

a mouthful of water,

and the fire, and the earth,

and the sky full of universes,

mask me from darkness.

Dissolve the Aeons.

Voiceless Banners Waving

This is the true beauty now,

to create.

Words are like

the fragments

under trees

or on the path,

leaves, feathers,

weathered fruit-shells,

moss, lichen, pebbles,

soil, ash, dust,



signs of the source,

deep, in that when


they reveal patterns

of intentionless

non-human, silent

form, which the right

words echo,

demolishing our


there beyond us,



voiceless banners waving.

Through Which We See

Between the World as we wish

And the World as it is,

Lies the dream.

The art that is.

Autumn, the golden groves,

Birch pointillist,


Woods on fire burn bright leaves.


Birds through

bare yellow and red,

Nature going on.

All this, in the mind,

delusion, not the things,

the space of energies

indifferent to us.

Charity of her hands,

or his, Maya, the Self,

illusion and the dream

greater with age.

Our ash sinks deep,

we layer this planet,

litter these stars,

the dream is beauty,

what minimises self,

increases the space

between the wish

and what is.

Deep colours,

flickering as

ancient peoples passed,

puce, umber, bronze,

grey bones of the beech trees,

lost smoke,

all this appearance,

and our spirit,

all this spirit

and our



Elegy for an age

in every moment,

gold Maya,

the secret, Light.

This world

roaring emptiness.

through which

we see.

Nothing Is What We Thought It

There is the loneliness, sadness,

down silent lanes, cold lights,

or at four a.m. sleepless

in the august luminous dark,

or on hostile streets,

in public spaces

of lost architecture

where the human is reduced

to a baroque grotesque

in a world of clean lines,

or in the soul

even at happiest times,

even at wild moments,

the eternal sadness

and loneliness

of existence, that Being,

that opens us tender

to fear, like a wound,

and beauty like a spear

and time like a madness

of meaningless change

in which our mirror

is the glass that distorts

and our room

the one without doors.

There is the loneliness,

of unfulfilled women

of unfulfilled men

in solitary houses,

in joyless office,

of children forced,

of creatures culled,

of untouchable truth

of reality hidden,

of cages and chains,

of what there’s no need to sing,

of what died in us in the twentieth

century, what lives on now,

of the tears on our faces,

the scream on our lips,

the love, the tenderness, the pain,

the beauty, the innocence still,

the purity, the dream in our hearts.

There is the sadness,

of a long fall,

from a harsh paradise,

we cannot recover,

no longer we,

no longer

those creatures,

that place, that knowing

or those unknowns.

Eternity, existence, are lonely

are sad, and beautiful,


filled with the flare of our hopes,

and the ash of our lips,

far from the phantoms,

from plutus and moloch,

in the wild graves of space-time,

which does not exist,

(think about it)

are we gentle

in thoughts of each other,

are we kind tonight,

to the fragile

shallow ephemeral

touch of each other

to the words ever more foolish,

and the images ever more

strange, and the building,

the process, the science,

the arts for which we

have less and less feeling,

less and less reason,

are our hands tender on faces,

and really so?

Are we lonely, sad tonight?

So dangerous

to see through the world

to the love

on the other side,

which is, is,

only in us,

as the beauty

is only in us,

and the perception

of truth, inner

reality, only

in us,

who are spirit,


matter electrical,

chemical, soul

this reflection

projection on things

that we carry

this weight of a universe

heavier than steel, glass,

concrete, all only in us,

lonely minds,

sad minds,

singing the universe,

sadly in joy.

Who gave us love as torture,

beauty as torment,

truth as an ocean

forcing us down

to the volcanoes under the depths

and the glow of fire in the green?

No one. It made itself

this creature of sadness.

Because transience cries

in us as it shines in the rose,

blazes in us

as it stares in the creature,

roars in us

as it sighs in the leaves,

and sings in us

for our ancient union.

There is sadness, loneliness,

those eyes whose dark

I shall not bridge,

whose silence

I shall not enter,

and a resonance,

and a mystery,

and somewhere,

there, a spirit naked,

in all its integrity.

What For?

Nature. Towns and cities

gone, this earth and grass,

running its old silence.

Humans all gone missing,

The passes bleak, and hills

pale, rivers bright, and cloud

covering the grey-green reaches.

Mind no place to settle,

like dust, like hordes,

the whorls of pure existence.

Stumbling and clinging

to the steep slope

under black crag

admire the pine, green fir

down below,

the deer places,

where they drift,

salt-licks where they

taste, consider.

This granite beauty


by ages,

smoothed by glaciers:

dark indifference

meets fractured mind.

Oh those old sages,

by creeks and cliffs,

cleansing spirits

in mountain water,

eyes smiling sane,

and this century

all its works

what are they for?

Be Careful

Be careful with death,



not all minds can ride

the threat of silence,

the tremor of transience,

be careful with death,

and with fantasy too,

don’t play with other-worlds,

words can deceive,

longings erode,

ancient delusions

lead to confusion,

being is not understood.

Be careful with truth,

which we create,

what is in the world

is intentionless,

neither for or against us,



Human suffering, o dark earth

where the fractured

haunted spirit sings.

There are places you

should not see,

spaces you should not


sweet, sad flesh, and kind

gentle mind, yearning,


even in mind,

is best,

in spirit, not matter,

holiness, compassion,

but not religion,

none of that foolishness,

be careful with death,

and emptiness,

go for love, laughter

of the heart,

be careful of beauty.

Not Hostile, Perplexed


the creature’s eye,

the way it gazes,

stares through

our presented face,

the mask,

as if to see beyond

to some real


of this human.

They interrogate us,

even in blind


clearly mind,

clearly self,

eyes on face,

on eyes, to see

how we do it,

what we are,

the puzzle.


I gaze in alien eyes

and see a self

not-self reflected,

only wonder

how humans

can treat as things

such percipient


of our fate.

Please Re-Build

I disturbed your nest,

I apologise.

Power –

in this case

simply being bigger –

is always interfering.

I was trying to tidy

the hedge,

I’m sorry.

We gave ourselves this task,

it seems, of regulating,

what never asked to be


and you

were in the way.

Society needs order.

The individual

needs peace.

I regret my presence.

Please re-build,

though I doubt you will


The True Immortals

The true immortals

are not conspicuous,

not useful types

for literary music,

as hobos, convicts,

natives, artists,

wild eccentrics,

forceful tongues,

curious glittering-eyed


brought up

on paradise-milk,

sorry to disappoint you.

The true immortals

don’t disturb the grass

as they vanish

into the hills,

respect all life,

believe in non-action,

don’t engage,

don’t believe

themselves unique

in any way,

don’t tell tedious tales,

advertise strangeness,

are not characters.

The true immortals

are not such

as those in legend

without whom

the world would end


planted, alien, elect:

how unlikely

that is:

no, they are the ones

who’ve disengaged,

the powerless,

free of power.

The Meaning of Emptiness

The world without purpose

is empty,

without intention

is empty,

without mind

is empty.

The meaning of emptiness.

All one energy

holy in many spaces.

Spirit for us

not matter,

and the beauty

of endless detail,

going nowhere.

Form without purpose

is empty,

without permanence

is empty,

without mind

is empty.

The meaning of emptiness.

Craving ends to no purpose,

but human in many spaces,

compassion is our path

and not destruction,

creation of endless


all gone beauty.

Endless mind,

go fill the empty world.

No Gods, No Saints

the roar,

the vibration,

in silent coming,

silent vanishing,

with who

to prove,

in ocean stillness,

how such a one came



ah life question-less answer:

all is right with us

as we stand,

not as we think;


unworthy of mind;

hope in kindness,

joy in compassion,

truth in love,

love in beauty,

and all created

things delight:

no gods, no saints,

no buddhas, christs,

no way

unless no way,

float free

on a thousand foot

cliff of empathy,

so sensitive to

the dark

cannot view it:

Your gentleness


the void energy,

so do not act,

speak the truth,

be loss

and past it,

avoid the phantom,

cry the moment,


Been There

Neon lights,

the empty store,

expressionless faces,

midnight rain,

think of Florence,

the warm square,

the venture of mind,

all the Renaissance,

all the Enlightenment,

got us here.

Turn, and depart.

Small Birds and Children

Small birds and children

quietly squawking,

grass and leaves

are the secret of life,

no lobby no power,

no scriptures ideal

no fantasies real

the beauty the hour.

Small birds and children

and never a skeleton,

sunlight and shade,

no media hype,

no weapons no claims

no status no wealth

no action by stealth

the absence of names.

Small birds and children,

that we be forgiven

possession and harm

division and hate

the left and the right

the science we abuse

the creatures we hurt,

our pain and our dirt,

the madness we choose.

The Best We Can

Don’t go writing poems to me

about killing things,

to show how in tune you are

with native peoples,

ways of being,

ancient lives and ages,

keeping your tone morally neutral,

describing not analysing,

dodging the issue,

you don’t convince me.

Every human is culture,

not nature,

and beauty in holiness,

life’s sacredness,

respect not slaughter.

Don’t cull on my behalf,

everything we touch

we have corrupted,

somehow, every single thing.

Wu wei, sure, best we can.

Ancient Tower

Six turns of the rail,

dark metal, then midnight silence,

moon like that smooth white jade,

this landscape water

time gone misted

all sense of the heart,

a word for mind’s

emotional intellect,

sheaves of green reeds,

shadows at far lake’s end,

heron grey, wing-flaps,


All better if you were here.

The Deepest Love

Now and then a voice,

to be treasured,

speaking truth

nakedly without desire,

such friends of the spirit

better not known,

we meet distort,

we know we miss

essential being

striking through.

Now and then a voice

of compassion,


never a follower,

immune to those

who try to steal

our moral clothes,

one of the driven

searching for light

in the mental night.

Now and then a mind

somewhat less

alien to ours than usual,

sends us the lightning

better in silence,

the one to one

best that language

can do,

the deepest love,

the never un-true.


Beautiful lichen on stones and bark,

green-orange, curls of light,

the tiny details

the fractal world

mind’s coastlines

miniature universe


Seeing is sometimes all enough

those who study insects

leaves, mosses, worts

what do they see,

deeper than I,

another universe

hidden in this one.

Great cliffs repeated in stones,

trees in weeds, the child’s eye;

and galaxies, clouds, in foam,

Coleridge’s galloping hordes,

a great seer,

a great neglected eye,

outlasting them all.

Such marvellous detail,

bowing under the tree

to the wood’s floor,

time’s carpet,

all these centuries

of foolish mind,

a few clear eyes.

The Tree Collection

Acres of light,

the heavy presence

of soporific

scented Cedar,

eastern trees

with names

I don’t know,

silvery Latin.

Giant Redwood, out of

place in this space,

but beautiful

against English blue,

and almost

Chinese green.

White fir,

Golden Juniper (Chinensis).

Poplar, Alder, Oak,

familiar beauty,


Sawara Cypress,

that’s from Japan,

gold, acrid, resinous.

Trees are individuals,

Chilean Firebush, Dombey’s Southern Beech.

Good to chant at night

leafing through the field-guide,

like Homer’s ships

the long line, cranes flying,

Himalayan fir,

Mountain Hemlock,

Aspen and Tulip-tree

Oriental Plane.

Natural profusion,

sweet collection,

gentler than us,

poor tender flesh,

oh and a leaf here

brown between pages,

Red Horse Chestnut,

silent time.

We Make Tracks

Rock-caves in Lesotho,

those drawings ochred

on Botswana stone

or Northern Territories’

bush-now reaches,

deep in the limestone Dales

or some ridge in Arizona,

scare me, all these traces,

all this spirit

all these thoughts gone centuries,

all this waste,

that is a dance

and so no meaning,

nothing wasted,

clear the mind,

and dance eternal

trickling truth

lightning and rain clouds

on distant desert

our trail goes through,

and out of dark,

towards the stone, the tree,

the root we know,

the cleft, the throat, the canyon,

we make tracks,

we sing the lover,

sometimes close our noise,

and hear silence,

deeper than all

these words,

knowing streams and cliffs,

bark and bead,

pollen, grass ear,

ash and soil.

Pave, tar, lay

the concrete down,

all over what we knew,

and can’t get back.

Eat polar ice,

loose rain

on English fells,

criss-cross Russia

with roads as Pushkin said

in a few hundred years,

and compromise,

our being.

You don’t think so?

Your prerogative.

I think so.

All compromised

we dream our ancestors.

No Time

There is no Time.

There is this state

of Universe


and change.

The Past, these traces

left ‘behind’ in mind

or in reality,

but either

simply present.

The Future, these projections

conceived in mind,


from reality,

and so present.

The equations of Time

are regularities

of change,

this single moment

Now, becoming present.

The now of a thousand

years ago

was this now,

this Past

once existed.

The now of a thousand

years hence

will be this now,

its Future

still existing.

Everything is now,

though un-nowable

everything is change

and is changeable,

the world exists.

There is no Time

except the scalar,

not a vector

(there are no


points in time),

that measures

regularities of change.

Every ‘direction’

in Time

is forward (the way we face)

no going back

only going on,

with this universe

that bears us

that we bear.

The Sweet Echo

The sweet echo

of your voice

makes all

the difference.

Oh that’s the human,

all compassion,

who wants justice

more than peace?

The loving


makes all

the difference,

not tenderness sad

and weeping


of mortal time,

but the wild heart

of non-violence,

and the true heart

of all recall,

and the sweet voice

of shared given

and no lists

and no babble

but love’s babble,

of crazed light,

and the laughter


We understand.

Foolish too

but understand.

Transient Eternity!

Man, woman

and the night fallen

over immense river

your eyes in the mirror

your flesh,

the secret book,

the thronging bodies,

time’s mysteries.

I publish this

in free space,

for free eyes,

and free minds,

On the hill of waters,

In the well of hearts,

In the garden

of the rose.

Gone Masters

Drifting over the mountains

like clouds,

silent under the trees

like fallen needles,



slipping over the rocks

like white water,

whispering through the grass,

like breeze sigh,

cleaving, opening like rock

on the silver cliffs,

singing without one

mouth opening,

mist on the hill,

snow on the pine,

dust in the light,

gone Masters,


frozen in the air,

words like pebbles


in the stream,

ah glittering eyes,

who bow

to all eternity….

You think they lack

the moral stance,

and what is that

precisely, the moral stance,

they create,

they do no harm,

they show delight

at all existence,

free of human interference,

they laugh

at all this irony

of being,

they float free,

no they don’t lie down

with the beggar and the sick,

they don’t alleviate

(who does for long?)

the sufferings of the world,

and there are sensitive hearts

who would die

of the darkness too near,

and is that their fault?

Will they absolve

your world, no.

Will light, or dark,

or snow, or tree?

Somewhere around the mountain,

bodies like floating clouds,

nothing in the great nothing,

sweet joy, no fuss,

frost on the radio,

this year no year,

scurry and shimmer

of light on stones,

all human nothing human.

In the deep pool

old fish under the bridge, gulp,

sink into cold green darkness,

bright silent buzzard beat up the sky,

then soar with upturned wingtips,

glide these woods, and vanish,

fox head turn to gaze,

red flash in the fern, then gone,

ah, the Masters,

pavilions on the mountain,

tents at dawn,

soft fires,

serenity is no terror,

and beyond the abject world,

be true,

all life is spirit,

speak for the things we love.

A Lot of Yourself

You’re a guru, yes?

you think a lot of yourself,

old and famous

old and stupid

sitting behind the mask of days,

and getting

the job well done.

Ah the great oracle,

but realise the leaders can’t lead

any more than we

can be followers,

they’re just like

you and me

only with power.

Which is not knowledge

or wisdom

or joy

or grace

or love

or beauty

or even true ability, to create.

Guru, I bring you flowers

for your better

understanding of nature,

and human nature,

and with failings

bring you your failings,

this great heap

which we share

with the foolish species,

glad to have

only our own,

and I absolve you

of arrogance

in the name of no religion.

Soft Metaphor

It was Lorca’s hummingbird

glittering in a scene

you depicted for me,

hovering against the flower

and sipping the deep

honeyed silence,

the strange

nurturing beauty

of the world.

It was his metaphor

soft or hard in the hand:

not the little long-tailed birds

high-peeping in the edge

of the birch trees,

that flew through space

inside the mind,

but the weight of love,

and its enormity.

The way the body

is inserted

into mind

and minds merge

in our merging bodies,

and time confuses us

with flesh and dream,

and waits for us

in the shadows of the field.

Love like some old Aztec god

ripping out hearts,

without which

the sun stops.



love as a duel

where we turn

to gaze at our opponent?

But here in your words,

simply a bird, winged,

fluttering of the spirit,

obsessed holding of self

in the air, before the other,

to imbibe life,

a flash of rainbow light,

into the mind’s whiteness.

Scene by Moonlight

Pierrot stands motionless

in the light of the moon,

held on its huge white disc

like a mute sacrifice.

His head on one side,

his Clown’s features lit

by the quiet Universe

deep above his head.

Not the Hanged Man,

here, but the sad man,

in the frame of being,

with a whole lifetime

in his Jester’s clothes,

on the terrace of earth,

and in the core of life,

eyes open, lips sealed.

And Columbine, ragged,

dancing the white dance

of the body, always naked,

Preciosa with her tambourine,

or dark-eyed over the well,

the gypsy of silver daggers,

and the hiss of the serpent

whirling over the leaves.

Now, she will leave him,

for Harlequin, for the wild

lunge of time, the tremor

of the womb. Oh, fragile

beauty, angel in the night,

radiant torment, pain of

Love, flighty sweet mind

in the unattainable flesh.

Pierrot waits unmoving

cold, sad, ephemeral,

aimless on the moon disc,

gazes out, at you and I,

his dark mirror-echoes.

Ah, nothing is directed.

Over the wide green lawn

Come the shrieking throng.


Over the smoky trees

the crows go home at twilight,

tiny in blue-black distance,

pale sky, deep green pines;

fly through the transient heart,

here still, over my existence,

as T’ao Ch’ien said, no way

to express, no mind, no words,

that flicker of little birds, too,

dark, under the maple-trees,

this white cold land, tonight,

and higher, the space of stars.


Cutting the path through old holly,

over wet leaves, brown and caked,

up above the lake, to bring us out,

under gold birches and amber oak.

This the forgotten way, grown over,

a world half carried away and lost,

that foxes run through, rabbits pass,

an autumn space, thorn, mountain ash.

Can’t feel the pain of the world, here,

except in eternal echoes of the mind.

The twenty-eight stations of the moon

rule this space, the level sun, no humans.

On Reading Philip Hoare’s Leviathan

More than two-hundred

year old whales still glide

through the Arctic waters.

Melville was still writing

America’s, the world’s

killing, as they plunged

through the deep well

of the creature, fleeing

the strange species’ lust.

Tribes, animal nations,

forests, lands and seas,

we’ve plundered them all,

and left the polar bear pup

sadly gazing at the camera

head lodged on its dead mother

on the deck of that ship,

in another century, and still

we in our madness kill,

whatever is left of the portion

of beauty and mystery

in the world outside us,

not just the great and glorious

but the mice, rats, birds, cats,

dogs, apes, chicken, cows, all

we can get our hands on, breed,

all we can wipe away, or think

we can, all the crimes of man.

Oh No, Not Neutral

Technology will kill us all,

Technology will save the world,

Technology on you we call,

Technology that’s starwards hurled.

Technology for conservation,

Technology for masturbation,

Technology to rein us in,

Or facilitate original sin.

Technology to which we bow,

Technology absolve us now,

In you our ethics sadly graven:

Not-doing signifies we’re craven.

Even to meddle is to state

Our morality, now, too late,

The ancient world is done and dusted,

The new world gleams, as yet un-rusted,

Or not yet rotted in the cell,

this new world we know so well,

from Goethe’s odd homunculus,

to Mary Shelley’s dream of us,

products of artifice, design,

neither human nor divine,

form in which we’ll meet at last,

assuming we avoid the blast

of destruction we’ve created,

razing whatever’s germinated.

Technology, you’re ethical,

Only your ethics may appal.

Keep Abolishing Space and Time in Your Heart

Slow gained liberties soon lost.

Values hard to come by hard.

Sweetness that goes

down deep to the heart,

still delicate desire.

No delight, no art.

Pines float in the fog.

Universe so dark, so solid,

so light,

so intentionless.

Soft fog in larch,

white morning glare

dries bright ground.

Downed logs ease the spirit,

but less than living trees.

Our hearts flutter in long grasses,

our minds sway

on high hills.

This the sensitivity, splendour,

mysterious intricacy.

In your hand the hearts fragments

no one else’s.

Moth’s mind strung on the stars.

If living creatures are not

claimed by fire, they’re nothing.

On the mountain my vision:

imagination still supreme

over all illusory powers;

love of the individual

unmoved by time.

Oh, keep abolishing

time and space

in your heart.


Loving, kind, truthful, sincere,

sensitive, free, eternal, real,

sexual, secular, spirit, free,

nomadic, natural, flexible, process,

moral, generous, future, creature,

planet, spontaneous,

create, self, mind.

Rampant, power, imprisoned, transient,

phantom, tormentor,

religious, mammon,

city, matter, artifice, rigid,

codified, history, authoritarian, thing,

exploiter, universe,

world, conformist.

desecrator, defender,

know, make? Heal.

Why Be Silent?

At the end of mad wars

the dark eternity,

stars over battlefields,

bomb-lit streets,

on the rubble of

religions, races, nations.

Why should poetry be silent?

The young aren’t.

Empty world, transient

shines over generations,

in mindless sanity,

beautiful amity,

Possession ten tenths of it,

dispossession, sterile loves

in unnatural spaces,

blowing the Human into the void,

for the sake of the names,

the gods without meaning,

oh, every kind of god, all

Maya’s delusions and foolish

agendas, manifestos of death

of the body or heart,

and big buildings to house

their gods, corruption to bless them.

For god you may read idea, ideal

unilateral atomic enforcer.

At the end of mad wars

the cloud-filled or deep sky,

dark as the pine’s crown

scraping the stars,

beyond us, thank Nature, all time.

And Tell Me…

And tell me why your heart

tears out my heart,

the long thread of connection

hangs through eternal space

jerking the soul to a stop

or feeding it beauty.

A great well of tenderness

where aching we go

to forget this world

and its voice of departure,

singing the centuries,

great well, of green dark water,

Friendship in eternity,

what else is there? Love,

the amity, speech of minds, fire

of unreal inner world

burning away the unreal outer

down to the flesh of desire.

Don’t say a word, no need,

you being perfect sweet mind

in eternity, now, and nothing else

necessary, spirit

not matter, since matter

just fools us.

Why poetry is supreme:

the irrational singing,

and rebellious mind

against laws not made by the heart:

which preserves it

when bombs fall, or silence.

Tell me why we are one, and two,

quietness of light, souls of the

Great Year, circling the galaxy,

talking land to far country

in tiniest human signals,

as birds go touching the seas,

where whales rise,

in other eternity,

and mountains

where lions still roar

for a while, tell me

why we are more than eternal,

transient too. And no matter

that no one listens to poets,

our words, yours too,

being poetry roar through eternal

night, glow in eternal time,

destroying all phantoms.

Tell me why I tremble at every

thought of you, why the Human

beats through my flesh and yours,

why we are of the Resistance,

of the non-action that seeks

peace throughout eternity.

And our only sin not to have

lived, cried, shouted,

screamed enough light:

though there is no sin.

All of us either create

or destroy, there is no

other morality.

No Politics for Poets!

Scratching dust through the centuries


dazed by violence, superstition,

ruled by power-seekers,

seduced by opiates and fictions,

saved by the private world alone

of intimacy and endurance,

that’s no way to live.

Serving time through the centuries


dazed by effort, self-delusion,

ruled by power-seekers,

seduced by opiates and fictions,

saved by the private world alone

of intimacy and endurance,

that’s no way to live.

Chasing the future through the centuries


dazed by technologies, confusion,

ruled by power-seekers

seduced by opiates and fictions,

saved by the private world alone

of intimacy and endurance,

that’s no way to live.

Share give love truth and beauty,

respect the creatures, respect the planet,

reject all power,

the power-seekers,

reject the opiates and fictions,

celebrate the private world

of intimacy and endurance,

this way we live.

I Sing To You Of Peace

I sing to you of peace

I sing to you of the simple and human

My mind on yours my hand in yours

In the space of centuries I speak of peace

The womb of the day is green with the silence

And the river of suns goes quietening the heart

I sing to you of beauty and love

I sing to you of the world without violence

My voice in your ear is the voice of planets

In the empty cities I tell you of peace

The womb of the night is blue with the silence

And the river of stars goes soothing the heart

O body of our desires

O colour of absence!

Nothing Is Owned

Nothing is owned

In the silence of life in the burning of death

Nothing is owned

All of the centuries nursing what’s theirs

Calling it order

Calling it progress

Nothing is owned

The forest of Russia the Arctic forest

Tundra and desert

Nothing is owned

Though you rape my surface

My core is beyond you

This Earth

Nothing is owned

Not the ease of the night

Not the blue of the day

Not the flower

Or the child

Not the creature or cloud

Neither spirit nor time

Nothing is owned.

I Follow Where

I follow where true poetry leads

Through all these incarnations of spirit,

The conscience of flesh in the mind of man

The landscapes of fire beyond the phantom

Where we meet and laugh inside our bodies

And walk in the groves of singing time

In the freedom past our atrophied senses

In the peace we long for always denied us

I follow where true poetry leads

Into the naked rain and the leaf-fall,

Into the suns and mirrors and moments

Crying the cool air and the flames of longing

Erasing buildings and roadways and steeples

Refusing the domes and the doors of silence

Till I find you imperfect in day’s completeness

There is verse more perfect where being lingers

I follow where true poetry leads

Where the scream of despair is turned to joy

Where the self is built from infinite feeling

Where the birthright is life and the dream of life

And none of us need to look for forgiveness

Where all stands free and facing the universe

And the great breath the great bird wings outwards

And I am in you and you weeping in me.

In My Mind Hearing the Songs of the Few

And what came out of old Europe

was the sensibility you carried

into the forests and deserts and mountains of America

the empathy with life-forms,

the sense of landscape

the sense of freedom and possible dawns

and not the killing

the exercise of stupid power

the delusion of owning an immense land

between two Oceans

You made a new meaning

a liberation of the individual

beyond the revolutions the Revolution

and returned it to us

sensitive East-Coast, sensitive West-Coast,

denying your own perversions the might

of the military machine of all machines misused

denying the violence

the exercise of mindless matter

the delusions of prejudice and religion

from shore to shore

Young sweet minds playing with futures

assumptions of human expectation

eyes on the galaxies and the star-ways

everything beyond

blind matter, nations, superstitions,


screech of the species,

the music of mind and the beauties of heart

the song of rights and liberations

the enlightened few singing to serve

all the poems to come all the times beyond

The Flowers of the World

Cloud veils the Earth

Moon fills the bowl of water

Between two hours

Cries of the bamboo flute

Things are our calm

We are spirit there

Contemplating all

The flowers of the World

Even when we sleep

This weight of others

This void of Time

This dream of being

The silver of the grass

Covers my thoughts

Mysterious energy

Aimless beauty

A Day

A Mind in the shadows of beauty’s silence

Your stillness so pale in many disguises

All the blue clouds of the evening moving

All the soft hands of the grey leaves lifted

The rain and the sun in a shower of mirrors

The lightning gone in a blaze of gold gazes

Over and over the green branch of tenderness

A stone in the fall and a tree on the mountain

Every long process cried out from infancy

The past and the future in silent procession

Madness at dawn light and faces of crystal

Desire and decision circling like planets

The ghostly phantoms of miraculous being

Every sound of the spirit all measures of time

The infatuations of heartbeats and of cornices

The place where we are and where we become

The nameless imaginary beacons of meaning

The Mercies of Truth

The beauty of chance

That nothing need be

No theory conceived

Predicting the flower

The strangeness of all

The way up and down

Mathematics’ delights

Now leading us deeper

The dance of the fields

Every energy’s charm

With no non-existence

For all to emerge from

The freedom we find

Enthralled to eternity

Intentionless spaces

The mercies of truth


I have looked in the eyes

of the creature

and seen

myself reflected.

Under the tree of being

I have seen

my counterpart

in spirit.

I have seen the heart’s


the animal


I have seen the eyes

that share

a part of the

human soul.

Have felt

the creature’s gaze


in its prison.

How can I touch you, brother?

How can I reach you, sister?


(The Maya Tomb at Palenque, Temple XVIIIA: She speaks:)

I have sealed the door with plaster

from the bowl at my feet,

I have left my handprint

there, for all the centuries.

I have sealed our silence,

softly burning in the darkness,

I have left the flame to gutter,

I have clasped your bone to me.

Cinnabar night, Jade stillness,

I have entered in the only

Time, where love remains,

the Moment of the given heart.

The Voiceless Flute

What is worth our grief?

Sweet emptiness

beyond the road,

our silence in the wind.

Where is the sound

of our unhappiness?

Empty universe

filled with energy.

Uncreated light


all beauty in a star

or in a leaf.

The back and forth

of pain, the emptiness,

Earth’s tremors.

What is worth our grief?


Trying to love all life

and even the non-living,

in truth, to wait, endure,

sincerity a man’s good nature,

bowing down, the bamboo,

to the grass.

Trying to love all life

being kind, being clear,

trying to unlock

the compassion, born of emptiness,

rustling, the pale bamboo

above the grass.

Trying to love all life

cultivating beauty,

cultivating joy, and delight,

beyond the pain of living, sweet

swaying, the white bamboo

above the grass.

And Bring Comfort

Sing the song of life

and bring comfort

to the silent minds

to mind aware:

sing it for companionship.

Sing the real, essential

being, the beautiful

relaxation of nature

its deep

spontaneous intensities.

Breeze in the valley,

and over the mountain.

From pine-trees, gazing down

through fields

of enlightened air.

Go Flee Pain

The dream forever

to escape the phantom,

into interior space

or virtual world,

or relationship,

or nature’s detail,

or far space-time,

go run to flee

from blinding pain.

The dream forever

long for and pray

doomed in time

and transient

and therefore free

in time for emptiness

stripped down

don’t cry for man

he’s vanishing.

The routes the roads

they’re done

why man be here

choose solitude

and silence nature

Tao these energies

let power rage on by

go seek what’s left

of river mountain.

Old world poor world

what made elegance

in which we walk

time and chance

ecstatic emptiness

of form on form

now slipping down

and slipping by

the new society’s failed

the old failed deeper

and the ancient? who

knows now slow gone

down into silt and sigh

of willows over stream

and grass for miles far.

I’ve no place among

all those voices drifters

deadbeats human deeps

all beautiful detail gone

means nothing now

the dream forever

and to chase the phantom

into nature mind relationship

virtual space far space-time

go flee forever

from the human

go flee blinding pain.

The Dark Vision In Empty Light

The dark vision in empty light.

Faces of the Maya, Aztec faces,

Mongol or Amerindian silences,

all the peoples of Asia, Gonds,

Aboriginal gatherers, San, even

Neanderthal and vaguer, gone,

lost and no one cares, the founders,

proud eyes in dying evening bleak

the dust dark of red-soiled Americas,

China, India, Arabia, Africa, Russia,

those who failed to sidestep in time

those whom the road buried dustily,

those whom the bare bones of pain

shrouded by avenues of vacant trails

turned to ghosts and phantom fire

dug down deep scarified shattered

fragile as we light under the surface,

nameless, family-less, faces, eyes,

wraiths of the tents and the ways,

undermining our tale with theirs,

and no respect no shame no mind

but the greed that levels forests

scars the plains drills ice and sand

a long far wailing cry in eternity.

Stand in the empty land, and feel.

Embracing Empty Peaks

Losing society, loving rocks, streams, boulders,

careful of freedom, unexpected acts, the spirit,

respecting individual being, in hatred of crowds,

a dream still of connection, though in solitude,

mind like a great wild space of energy empty

which is to say no possession, no authority,

intentionless, a universe without word or aim,

awake and aware in the movements of the process,

nothing inside or outside the process all surface,

no mortality in the liberation from being except

the common death of the spirit into the beauty,

and the radiant silence which is not wholly

expected, know Maya, hearing the bamboo flute,

climbing up hand and foot into the snowy void,

through raw fog and dark true night to summits

where the stars rise and circle in ancient groves

and the hiss of time is jewelled in far spaces.

With the tiny travellers on the frost-far road,

weaving between cataracts, fording high rivers,

cleansing the ears of space, all mind of time,

with ragged wanderers, the strange mad poets,

in love with truth and its delight, and fragile

delicate beauty and its delight, amans amantis,

stripping all meaning down to its essentials,

the glowing emptiness, the blue-sky dreaming,

the once clear call of the species the reverie

grounded but not where others are grounded

the moment in eternity the golden downpour

three times round the mountain and in silence

marking the trail advancing the trail reminding

this civilisation in love with power and time

novelty and matter and frantic movement

that in every pebble there is a shining jewel

one universe in the immense and in the slight.

No Problem, Needs No Answer

The long ranges covered with snow,

powdered dust on midnight rock

milk-thin streaks of far cloud

under a New Year full moon

looking up and out to the emptiness

the intentionless void white starlight

go tell the Buddhists and the Catholics:

transience no problem needs no answer,

here only silence challenging the spirit,

we being nothing if not spirit, to create,

as Milarepa did not say, love beauty truth

that what is, is, and is not of itself grief.

High carved folded canyons pale slopes

frosted pines in windless air, clear sky

glitter of trees, the dark brown boles, flow

of truth, those energies that pass by.

Don’t make so much of man or self or time,

river flows land flows mountain flows star

sign of nothing sign of itself trembles flares

out of the rustling universe on snowy night

over rock-shrouded ice and cliff-bent yews

here a million years without patience moan

unwearied gracious elegant possession-less

shaped reformed dissolved beaten out new

so to return from the dead end of culture

now, realise our place in uncreated time

start from bitter blue cold in smoky mist

one more turn of the Earth about its star.

Empty, and Awake

Empty, and awake.

Examine the pine-tree cone, green needles,

dust on the path, bark and leaves,

see the beauty, see the products

of astounding chance appreciate

why everything here fits the hand.

What is free of external purpose,

with only its own purposes within,

is empty, the intentionless without

design, and no design on us,

don’t go stamping your selfishness

on the void, free energy is emptiness.

Empty and awake.

Consider the given that nothing gave

and the grace and the beauty of all this

beauty in us amazed by form and being

who create love truth beauty in the mind

and are no more than mind a little meat

What is free of ownership and possession,

free of authority, not wielding power

though powerful its inertia, is empty

form free of all design.

Don’t go imagining life as suffering

create from your compassion, love, delight.


Love truth and beauty

always there,

always potentially there,

beyond the individual

as a creative process

of the individual,

a possibility always

of this universe

since we have seen

and been

its actuality.

Its Surface Is Its Depth

Body like a drifting cloud

Mind like a falling stream,

Nothing I ask, nothing I need,

Sitting quiet, in the mountains.

What there is, is all that is,

Every sky-blue deep is surface,

No attachment no detachment,

Clinging to the mist and silence.

Nature inexhaustible,

Beauty inexhaustible,

Truth inexhaustible,

Love inexhaustible.

All hail!

The Road Is Not The Way

The road is not the way,

the way leads nowhere,

empty fields and hillsides,

no hoboes now, the cars secure, no rides,

all fenced, nowhere to sidestep now

except in mind,

to see that studied elegance

and excellence of natural being

four billion years coming

in hedge and bush,

and insects in the ground,

parting the grasses,

vanishing without trace, without sound

into the whispering grasses,

the road behind,

is not the way,

the way is empty,

goes nowhere, follows

nothing, sign or trail,

spoor or footprint, or logging

slash, where peoples went before;

quietly sitting also is the way,

the demolition out of mind,

the destruction,

no felled ranks, no gouged out pits,

a quarried silence growing over,

the road once crossed

is far behind, is not the way,

the way leads nowhere

let the machine go by,

straddle the ditch, through hedge, and fence,

over the tracks, hiss of rails,

over the streambed, into the wastelands,

drowned deep in feathered seed, in leaves,

the tangled undergrowth, no trace,

press dark mud, scramble old slopes

the thick of forgotten trees, abandoned scrub,

there’s no road here

this space is the way,

where the sphere of the universe centres,

where only mind moves

and then no mind,

the poor, the poets and the lost

their faces gone,

sweet sanitised the road

is not the way

the way’s directionless,

its compass earthwards

skywards, sky-blue eternity

or the diamond, pearl

in the hand,

the road we passed

beside the fields

in instant gone

the way goes nowhere

softly stalking emptiness

all living beings

anent the way we pass between the rows

along the furrow where the leveret hopped,

below the gull that soars,

through old dark stone

and gullies filled with leaves

down which streams flow

in other winters

the mind is blurred

no grasping no desires

breeze on skin and the ragged line

of centuries of tall adventurers

stalked invaders seeded armies

empty void of power

the road is not the way

the way is breath is thought

wild valleys and the high range

stretching eastwards

far as Kailas and the Shining Peak,

no vagrants on the road, no halts

forever flowing slowly dying

this fading river of imprisoned forms

the road is not the way

the way goes nowhere

and forever:

sidestep in mind,


watch the road pass by

Not Ours

The land belonged to no one:

‘How can man possess

what he cannot take with him

when he passes?’

Or woman, tilling earth, crushing seeds,

knowing sweet transience

three yards of ground,

the true perspective.

The land was un-possessed

in glittering reaches

oh you who stood on the great divides

or at the source of mighty flows

who gazed from cliffs of fall

at prairies and savannahs

untouched by human feet,

it was not yours.

Oh grieving phantoms we in mind

remember, in the dim red light

of cedared woods, in golden forests,

nothing owned

of all that beauty:

though what we don’t own

we can destroy,

of blue eternity.

The empty land the diamond light

and so strange ghosts of us

that lit on mountaintops

and hid deep

in the grasses of the world,

our angel selves the innocents

and walked waist-high through wastelands


Still owning nothing we are empty now

the land is un-possessed only waiting

the tribes of us down deep

the darkness under soil

more like when all men understood

the singing

and that the way through cannot be ours

our hands are empty.

Mind In World In Mind

The golden statue silent on its plinth,

below, dogs and small children

a rough patch of dust

one stunted tree, a girl

shy-eyed gazing from a doorway,

the golden face, the golden eyes,

the golden feet, the outstretched

golden hand, the humming

of the empty sky,

the irony of image,

the substantial

pointing at the transience,

beyond the spokes the wheel

the golden statue and above

the energies

galaxies in their immense whirling

in the black beyond eternal blue

the gold statue silent on its plinth:

‘Cease to suffer, it’s all a dream!’


All gone now the wild the wilderness

the un-penetrated un-flown-over unseen

by satellite or camera plane or truck

the un-conserved un-entered un-owned,

all gone down the wild and the wet, now

though beauty lingers sweet at the edges

though here the cougar and coyote howl

plants turn seeds heads flowers to the sun:

they sold the woods and carved the ground

the forests and the grasslands everywhere

and nothing’s owned by anyone round here.

And the creatures not yet gone cling by a thread

or burrow hidden underneath the soft brush

or chipped and counted lair in life’s recesses,

on sufferance in galleries of glittering air,

all the spreading lands that we hunted out,

all the mined lands which we have stripped,

all the dark seas where the whale’s concealed,

all the last acres of the uninhabitable deserts

mountains waters all our pretences laid bare

all gone down now the truth of us the beauty

all gone now the wild and the wilderness.


Wu-Chên’s sheathes and blades,

black wedges, white mist,

flock of dark wings, perching

in the void.

Hsü-Wei’s clotted swallows

ink on a pale jointed stem

the knots of bone, the wisps

of sinew, soft whiteness,

sie-i (essence of things)

Shi-T’ao, Wang Yüan-Ch’i,

breeze-blown feathers, lean

from slender wires, thinnest strokes

out of black moss and white stone,

(snow slope or brilliant light?)

blur the eye.

Su Kuo, the downcast shrike

clings to the bowing stem,

leaf-sprays like bird’s-feet prints in air,

the falling rain (unseen) on mottled water,

one seal (Sung), no calligraphy.

Fishing in a Mountain Stream

(Hsü Tao-Ning: ink on silk, Sung, 11th century)

Black boulders, tiny from here,

in the white flow.

Vertical cliffs with pines.

In the distance misty mountains

rivers without end,

winding depths of a hundred gorges.

Here dark trees along the shoreline;

the old trail crosses by a shaky bridge.

In the silence of white silk

I cast my line,

drift by slopes and shores,

by banks of crystal sands,

stare at the quiet flow below,

see the tall peaks touch the sky,

monochrome thoughts

without self or void,

slow valley curves,

those black boulders.

Index Of First Lines