Every look we cast at others strikes

Before we go to bed we vegetate
No need for teacher but a compost heap.
And as we vegetate, we drift to sleep
While in our dreams our other mind debates

But mostly we’re unknowing in this dark
Where God himself may manifest at will.
His dazzling darkness makes our souls be still
And wait a strike by living, glowing spark.

But in the morning, we come back to strife
Take up our work and suffer every stroke.
From sapling to the oldest, strongest oak
Each thing must choose again its proper life

Every look we cast at others strikes
Reflects and shows us what we have become
And when there is no movement, we are done
Our mind and heart have chosen what they like.

So in our end, we vegetate again
And no more rise to labour in the day
For now, we fertilise the fields passed on our way
And show the end of woman and of man.

A daily round becomes our life and death.
We live because we’re breathed by sacredness.

Why are marionettes so very kind?


Speak to me, I cannot understand
Despite much thought and patient reverie
That chickens  never use elastic bands
Nor porcupines write daily news to me.

Speak  to me, I often wander here
In the ancient woodlands of the oak
Asking why the owls like drinking beer.
Asking why the robins like to smoke.

Speak to me, disrational is my mind
Despite my knowledge of the cubic form
Why are marionettes so very kind
Why do my own feet not keep me warm?

Speak to me, I  long to know the worst.
Has Theresa May left footprints in the church?


Singing still the ancient elegies.

Reverberations of the ancient elegies
The coffin carried by the four dark men
Agitate the mind  with memory

He has gone and where will I  soon be?
Am I to live and utilise my pen
Remembering all the ancient elegies?

I’d like to ask him what beauty he could see
Before he smiled and dropped his head again
Don’t agitate the mind with memory.

Hamlet asked, to be or not to be
But most go quietly when it is their turn
Singing still the ancient elegies.


Can we trust the darkness we perceive
Where god hides his great mystery from man
Don’t agitate the mind with memory.

Violently, with passion, the young burn
Then  stone temples  harden as they learn
Reverberations of the ancient elegies
Wound the human mind  with memory



Seems to speak

Intangible but evident like smoke
Like scents of perfumed oil left in the air
An essence of his presence seemed to speak.

My voice was dumb, my feelings ran amok
I knew he had passed through but all is bare
Intangible the evidence like smoke

The senses are not separate but leak
Like watercolour runs, like sorrow’s tears
An essence of his presence seemed to speak.

I strained to hear or see or to partake
But nobody yes, nobody was there.
Intangible that evidence, like smoke

Loss makes such great waves when a life breaks
Yet I am grateful for his loving  care
An essence of his person seems to speak.

Twice in life we humans are a pair
With mother and with spouse, if one appears
Intangible but evident like smoke
An echo of his lost voice seems to speak.







Merriam Webster



1 : capable of being touched or felt : tangible

2 : easily perceptible : noticeable

3 : easily perceptible by the mind : manifest


The tension in the courtroom was palpable as the jury foreman stood to announce the verdict.

“The beautifully shot, meditative film takes on a palpable sense of urgency after Maria makes a fateful move, leaving both the young woman and her family in a quandary that forces them to deal with the outside world, including a harrowing trip to a hospital where no one understands their language.” — David Lewis, The San Francisco Chronicle, 26 Aug. 2016

Did You Know?

The word palpable has been used in English since the 14th century. It derives from the Latin word palpare, meaning “to stroke” or “to caress”—the same root that gives us the word  palpitation. The Latin verb is also a linguistic ancestor of the verb feelPalpable can be used to describe things that can be felt through the skin, such as a person’s pulse, but even more frequently it is used in reference to things that cannot be touched but are still so easy to perceive that it is as though they could be touched—such as “a palpable tension in the air.”

Politics and mental health




So what is helpful? What’s the cure for political depression? For one thing, liberal conservatives are going to have to borrow from some of the left’s irrepressible optimism. But if my last few months of lethargy and dark doctors’ waiting rooms have taught me anything, it’s that all those in search of a cure for our current political malaise could do well to look at recent advances in the mental health ward. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, or CBT, is today’s wonder cure – but what does it actually entail, and can it save a country as well as it can a person?

CBT is all about breaking unhelpful mental patterns. It’s also about the art of the possible. Under pressure at work? Find one request you can reasonably make of your boss. Determined to run a marathon to feel better about being obese? Start by using the stairs instead of a lift.

In politics, focusing on the big picture can often seem overwhelming. The future is bleak; there are a lot of battles that the forces of liberalism seem unlikely to win. When I think of Trump in the White House, Erdogan imprisoning critics in Turkey, martial law in the Philippines – I could continue – I curl up and go back to bed. When I think about the two refugee friends who I’ve got coming to stay next week, I scurry up and start readying

Poetry and politics

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Adrienne Rich on the Political Power of Poetry and Its Role in the Immigrant Experience



Adrienne Rich — who spent a lifetime contemplating the relationship between art and capitalism and became the first and so far only person to refuse the National Medal of Arts in a political act of protest against the foibles of that relationship — considers poetry’s singular promise amid a culture increasingly preoccupied with the unfeeling superficialities of rampant capitalism:

Poetry can break open locked chambers of possibility, restore numbed zones to feeling, recharge desire.


I have never believed that poetry is an escape from history, and I do not think it is more, or less, necessary than food, shelter, health, education, decent working conditions. It is as necessary.


Where every public decision has to be justified in the scales of corporate profits, poetry unsettles these apparently self-evident propositions — not through ideology, but by its very presence and ways of being, its embodiment of states of longing and desire.

With an eye to the commodification of feelings in contemporary culture, she considers the tragic resignation of despair — a notion the great humanistic philosopher Erich Fromm had examined half a century earlier in his timeless treatise on human destructiveness, and one which Rebecca Solnit would echo a decade later in her sobering clarion call for resisting the defeatism of easy despair. Rich writes:

We see despair when social arrogance and indifference exist in the same person with the willingness to live at devastating levels of superficiality and self-trivialization… Despair, when not the response to absolute physical and moral defeat, is, like war, the failure of imagination.

One of Rich’s most potent points examines the role of poetry in the immigrant experience and in the flight from oppression. She considers poetry as a counterpoint to the problematic metaphor of the “melting pot”and writes: