[Byzantine Bindings]

Monday, 9 November 2015



seasons come and seasons go
timeless ones smile give thanks 
for the impenetrable now
mountain stream
rushes to the sea
upon arrival
what all the fuss was about
years in the deep ocean
falling again as rain upon the mountain
we are mountain ocean stream and rain

Sunday, 8 November 2015


locked in some fantasy
unable to see a way out

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Quintet of Cinquains

road less travelled
somehow known all along
singing in the mornings glory

dead end
circumstances led us
light at the end of a tunnel

false start
wrong set of clues
hoping to find something
sensing a foot in the gutter

looking skyward
anything other than
awkwardly standing inside now

longing to see
waiting for clarity
looking for that which is other

Sunday, 25 October 2015

It is what it is.

Sun shining through hazy cloud.
Always there sometimes obscured.
Depends how you see the world.
The dream I thought I would remember seems to have slipped through the net.

I seem to find myself doing what dad did, writing out recipes, not recipes but gardening books. That's what I have decided my next project is. To make gardening journal. I always said they were formulaic when you have read 20 or so then you could recite one so here goes in a bit...
Cinquain first;


sorry for loss
comfort in memory
smell of the pipe in the kitchen
walk on.


Can it come upon me so late
wondering where the word came from
let alone in time
hellish future landscape
driven to my shores by ailing spirits
seeking something
some expression 
a warning from the gods
communicated by
a loving father
to his only son
through the holy spirit.


Many have been here before me casting their eyes across the empty shells of highly prized concepts. Economics, religion, politics, identity, nature and technology all reduced to ash. The thinking must have led to what in it's wake would follow, where in its wake would the children walk and find something when hope had fled the box.
What would new hope look like and who would care to deem it necessary amid the ensuing carnage? Would it arise in me and where are its seeds? It would be best to find them now before it's too late and death wreaks havoc upon the world I currently inhabit.
Conscience consciousness developing here in this space time before the eschaton. Another world comes to mind exactly as the first and they are both intimately linked and perhaps reflect my reflections.
Is it a warning somehow of what is round the corner?
There is a feeling that it is so.
If I put myself in the way of it then surely it will come and make a home in me, just as surely as Jesus said, John 14:1-31 see especially verse 23-4 "If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." (RSV)
Notice with him not in him as I had previously thought. 
Making a home with...
A man cannot serve two masters Matthew 6:24. Therefore verse 34b "Sufficient to the day is the evil thereof." (KJV)

Where is all this going then, are you staying that I invented the whole thing?
Well to the extent that all life is and invention, a fiction, you choose the characters the world you in habit your parents and that you have to learn yes.
So it's all just an unfolding saga about which I can do nothing and in which I have no say; the determinists were right all along?
Not exactly. Determinism is itself a construct, part of a paradigm to which people subscribe once they use language and then use it in a specialist way. Effectively this provides a barrier, you have to cross a threshold after which the world is no longer the same.
So it's all an invention?
Well yes, really, unless there is something to which you can point that doesn't run that way.

Plato's cave and the myth of Er. Well worthy of exploration Plato's myths, and the myths of other philosophers and especially those to do with gardening or nature. Now there's a research project of note.

Discovered Charles Dowding's Veg Journal - that might just do the trick for now. 
Labyrinth or maze that is the question Borges or... who knows.
The excitement level is building to possible attachment, best go for a walk to cool my ardour.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Morning Prayer

Here we are then.

The journey had taken a lot longer than either of them had imagined.
Better start thinking about supper and a shelter for the night.
The valley looked it's best at this time of year with autumn well established and winter coming on there was enough warmth in the colour of the turning leaves to keep the soul fed.
I'll get some branches for the fire.
Meet you at the cave.
Perched above the river, about which hung a gentle shroud of mist, sat the cave which would provide them shelter for the coming nights. It would need a clear out she thought, after the winds had shaken leaves about her mouth.
That sweet smell of death hung around the stillness of early evening. He arrived with the branches, some kindling and the bark from a silver birch.
Within no time the fire was hissing and crackling with life and the entrance to the cave filled with warmth and light.
The unpacking of rucksacks and the ordering of sleeping arrangements took no time at all and before the light dimmed dinner was cooking.
In the open with no sounds except those of nature a panoply of stars twinkling inspiration light and a stilling of busy minds an easiness entered the mind and wrapped itself around them.

missing something
glowing in the darkness
something creaking in the distance

She saw the worm
in the garden
maggoty mouldy smelling of death
sweet sickly story told under a bush
he heard the story
pretended he didn't
they shared the story
slippery slimy
needed nor wanted
for nothing that moment
worm headed off
back to the soil
stars and sun.

There's a kind of knowing that isn't to do with reason. It has to do with rawness hunger and life. It often comes in moments or reverie, times of suspension and those off guard moments when love reaches out and touches us.

Moments of holiness inbreaking of the kingdom, if that's what you believe.
epiphanies tiny wonderments
threaded on life's silken thread.
deliberately ephemeral
smoke and mist
dancing in the minds eye
looking inward
catching the light
momentary glimpses
fragments of the eternal
half heard
gone in a flash
lasting forever
vision of the grail
mumbling thank you
stumbling construction
helplessly into her arms
melting hopelessly
the pain of separation

"She loves me she loves me not"
and the weary daises woven crown
upon her head
grace those moments
lily of the valley
star of the sea
rose of sharon
fountain of life
trapped in the broken fenced
stained glass window of hope
east window
welcoming dawn

Evidence of something
etched into the oaken floor
lines of compassion flowing
through time
bearing witness
crafted by eternity
polished by curious pilgrims
encouraged but not overly confident
wait and watch
linger long enough to know
allowing some muddling faith
to breach the unforgiving
nature of the day

Piles of stone
sitting in the river
water worn
noted by no-one
once served another mistress
in a time when events moved slower
space seemed thinner
grace flowed in every moment

Tomorrow the sunrise, but before that dreams delivered by timeless sleep, and a world in which everything was possible and nothing existed but this amen moment.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015


yesterdays manifests
stored somewhere in the consciousness

Wondering again about consciousness
that somehow I know what I am doing
yet I have done things I would not do knowingly
what takes over
what rips the dam wall down sparking the deluge
am I one or am I many
why do birds decide to take off

Perhaps there is a softwiredness to it all.
An amorphous connection that at times accrues sufficient energy,
given necessary conditions,
ignited by a spontaneous combustion.
One half of the brain then closes down
we appear to be in a heightened state
where anything and everything is possible.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Wren questions.

How do we fly
dear mother dear mother
How do we fly
through the air with such ease?

'Tis the way of the feather
dear crow and dear robin
the way of the feather
dear wagtail and crow.

What keeps us up there
dear mother dear mother
what keeps us up there
in the heavens so high?

Why, the air keeps us up there
dear sparrow and kestrel
the air keeps us up
in the heavens so high.

And what of the fallen
dear mother dear mother
and what of the fallen
in the ditch there below?

Of that ask your father
dear pipit dear woodlark
of that ask your father
dear king of the birds.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Morning Discipline


what are my gifts
how may I serve the world
what is my purpose being here

50 Words

early morning discipline
asking upon waking
observing the answers
watching the pattern
using the senses
gently coaxing
fragile fragment
that already know

without forcing
bribery or coercion
discerning by some other
yet to be discovered muscle
reflex action
lovingly encouraging

clear pathway
shining light
smiles behind clouds.

Friday, 2 October 2015

So here's the thing...

thats what they say these days
indicating import

and so it goes
ceaseless rounds
endless speculation
necessary conditions arise
attention to the breath
noticing attachment
letting go
this too will pass
relinquishing attachment
pain and joy inevitable
suffering optional
let them go
things become what they are because of me
and so I let me go

becomes through Google translate Hindi Chinese and back again
then I 'translate':

On and on
always wondering
about the necessary things
for growth.

Breath is helpful like music
coming and going
sweet water dripping
letting go of attachment
seeing that
athough pain and suffering are inevitable
suffering is optional
because of how I see things
and so I let myself go.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Part of the 500

Nothing sticks really except the sticky bits, toffee paper golden and waxed.
Not so much that it doesn't stick, lots of it sticks but so little of it grows and that's the problem.
What's the problem?
It doesn't grow.
What doesn't grow?
That which comes on the wind.
That which is gifted to you?
Yes, that which is gifted to me.
How is it nurtured and encouraged, how do you tend it and what are your expectations of it?
Perhaps I hadn't thought that way, as if those things were possible. Perhaps I thought the gift came whole and ready made, honed and complete not to be picked and poked with. Something complete beautiful and whole.
What else is like that, in no need of shaping and nurture?
Nothing of which I know except that which grows wild and that which arises like a cloud billowing and fading in the clear blue sky.
That is so.

Monday, 21 September 2015

50 Words

river of prayer
washes down to the sea
endless ebb and flow
some foam
washes up again
catches us unaware
on that strange shoreline
covers our feet
we laugh and let out gaps of delight
we are caught for a second and are
we are reenchanted by childhood memories

Thursday, 17 September 2015

50 words

Worrying does nothing
keeps me in the future or past
tied to a burning stake
locked into suffering

Wondering now about the pain
and everyone
the dishonesty of it

Refusing to share
And our children's children
will see our folly
why did they not see and speak out?

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Everything In The Garden Is Lovely

Even the fat slug
That drags its belly nightly
Over dank paving
And into the heart of the lettuce
Is lovely.
And the seething myriads in the ant-hill
Are lovely.
The stealthy, disruptive mole,
The grubbing, wet-nosed hedgehog
Are lovely.
And the millipede,
The centipede,
The sexually reproductive woodlouse
Are lovely.
The dung fly and the dung beetle
Are double lovely.
The burying beetle, the emmet,
The devil’s coach-horse, the dor
Are lovely.
Bean blight, leaf scab, club root,
Rose canker, cuckoo spit, wireworm
Cutworm, carrot fly, codlin,
Woolly aphis, apple weevil,
Leaf curl, algae,
Big bud, brown spot,
Rust, smut and mildew
Are all of them lovely.
And the flowers are lovely, too-
Nightshade, broomrape, henbane,
Love-lies bleeding and dead-men’s fingers,
Viper’s bugloss, red hot poker,
Wormwood, woundwort, rue.
And the gardener himself is lovely-
With one eye on the stable clock
And the other on lovely nothing,
Flat on his back where he fell.
The lovely flies walk in his lovely mouth.
Everything in the garden is lovely.

Alasdair Aston 1975

Sunday, 19 July 2015


where has wondering got me
wondering without purpose
wondering with purpose


bumping into
ready to stop now
ready to rest and see how things coalesce
stick to the stick
form and grow

catch on and interact


re encounter
wonder again
wander again.

Once there was a tin of precious
value lay in other than money
but now
probably because of
I mostly bring too much of me
so there is little or no room
to listen
or learn

never too late to lay it down
let the morning dew
bring healing
gently coming to terms
happily making agreements
in order to start afresh.

Once there was a tin of money
crawling through the holey stone
struggling (don't laugh)
entering by the narrow gate
go pile it all up
sell the pile
give it the poor
burden them with it
follow me
whoever I am
I am.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Always Chasing -

never still.

What the silence said:

sitting still
the butterfly will come
and land on you

your job
look deeply
sensitise yourself
in order to see
beyond joy and pain
in its landing

how nothing lands
on nothing
what lands on what

to be aware
through breathing
where you are
in this moment
at this time
in mindful silence

What my heart knows:

Daily practice
roots me
allies me
alloys me
connects me to the river
puts me in the way of
an endless flow of stillness.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

This Morning

it rained

so close I could touch it
at the same time
so far away


in two places at once
full of emptiness
more than enough
for many lifetimes
packed into
a drop so tender

smiling I understand
and give thanks.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

What power do I have?

Considering in the daily discipline
the role of power and my misuse of it
mindfully concentrating on the breath
and realising
that I am unable to control my breath -
I am breathed every minute
of every day
and yet I take for granted
this miracle of life...

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

The Story Box

A Wednesday morning story

You have no doubt heard the story of why the sea is salty? How the salt grinder fell out of the boat and sank to the bottom of the sea a still grinds salt. Well today something very strange happened. I lost the Story Box!
I know I put it on the bookshelf last night after taking it to read with Sam and Sophie, but blow me if it seems to have been moved in the night.

Captured by the Factors, those beastly types who don’t like stories and grind out only facts. What a poor world would it be if only constructed of facts?
Anyway I checked the facts and the facts were that I was coming up to bed and thought to bring the box upstairs as I wanted to leave the kitchen side clear and so took it upstairs. There seemed to be no space on the bookshelves themselves, so I lodged the box on top of some books.

A quick look round and the box hand mysteriously stood itself up and placed itself next to The Celtic Book of the Dead. What a surprise. The big question is how did it get from lying down flat to standing up during the night.

I opened the box to find out…
and that’s when I came upon the hidden doorway into faeryland, right there on the bookshelf. What I discovered and what happened then would fill a thousand books but just let me tell you that when passing through the doorway my life changed forever.
But first I had to find a key - more than that I had to find a way to make myself shrink to fit through the door, and that’s another story…

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

The Good Path at the Crossroads

I'll have to make it up
too long ago to remember
have to re-member it now.

She was loved by all the villagers
dressed impeccably
flawless skin
generous to a fault
always asking after the health of their children
their old folk.

Providing extras for table at village fetes
a loving mother and wife.


And yet there was something.

Her daily ride took her over brook and stile
that day though wind whipped bramble
surprised her at the turn
off she fell and lying there feeling pain
seeing blood in her mind's eye
understood things differently.

She did not lose the sight in her eye
but despite the efforts of the surgeon
bore on her cheek the scar of entanglement
for all to see.

From that day the villagers loved her the more
blest her and made her their own.

Perhaps perfection is hard for others to bear
and leading with our wound as bad.

How shall we find the good path at the crossroads?
What ancient voices wisdom guide our step?
Who is to know and how discern
voices that ghostly whisper
Come, follow me.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Slight Changes - New beginnings.

For a month anyway
re ordering
re structuring

"The night is passed and the day lies open before us"*

When I make a space
a break in time
somehow come into the presence of that which is entirely other
as it were
come back to my senses
become aware of who I am and the presence.

The falseness and apparent contrived nature of
awkward space
liminal place
provides opportunity to to interrogate
not only how I come into the presence
but how the presence
comes into my presence.

There's some sort of negation taking place as we each find a chair
sit facing each other
eyes meeting
mood changing from 'I to thou'
back and forth
in the ebb and flow of difference and oneness
poured backwards and forwards the mystery unfolds
the river flows
breath becomes one
stillness is followed by silence
the pendulum slows to a standstill.

Difference fades
I hear the chortle of the stream
telling its endless story.

* Common Worship - Daily Prayer

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Soul Journaling

sitting in the garden
overlooking life
long learnings
wandering turns to
taking stock and seeking
some meandering meaning
it seemed to me the rivers flowed
into a sea of knowing in an un-known way
and back again
lives and loves intertwined
wove comforting bright cloth
about the shoulders of my mind
today within the sights and sounds
this fleeting second
sidelong glances
angel sounds
sense signposts
tenderly touching
opening out into
the landscape of my soul

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Out of the silence

"Set yourself to read and garden write paint and play the guitar. All of these things await and
Follow streams which
lead to the sea wherein
lies the very essence of love and the
stillness of the universe beating
heart the love which calls forth the
life from within the soul the ground of being of
truth and passion of
love and beauty - all
will be
well... dreams and fragments of reality course through time
and make us well with the world from which we cannot be
separate and longing ever for that
final journey when we cast off the
ties which bind us to this
mortal body so shall it be
and so shall the life of
every living thing teach us that that in the end we are all
dust but what marvels and miracles we weave
whilst in the present moment if only
we can see the little fissures of
light which sparkle
endless day endless

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Fifth Triad

either by nature
or self - infliction
lying imobile
when true nature
requires story telling
handing on tradition
radiating sun's energy
with every breath.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Fourth Triad

In the beauty of the morning
in the garden
fabulous apple tree blossom
such evidence there is
indicates continuity

year upon year
to which I belong
am a part
and give thanks.

Who will drink from my cup
sit with me to learn kingship
in the silver light
of the knowledge of the new-born moon?

Sunday, 29 March 2015

and then it started

as a drip
in the cave of Merlin
walking down the high street
in my head
amid the hustle and bustle
of it all
a stillness
a silence that announced its presence
with a gentleness
a soothing balm
and grew to be a brook
a stream a river
a great sea
a cloud
gentle rain
falling on the misty mind moorland
filtering down the mossy downy

It started with a decision to choose life

It started when the horse
given a bigger field
became exhausted
hungry for
more than the food
of freedom
lost  and bedraggled
fell to its knees
in prayer
laid bare his neck
to that which he knew
was there in strange absence
present in an oblique way

It started a long time ago

It started with blood
smoke and cries of pain and
mighty loss
death throes passion
engulfing sanity
lost and alone on a hill above the action
staring grimly through
black wood
cracked wood
scorched earth
into the action
gripped with a madness

Cutting through
with keen cut sharpened sabre
irrevocably changed
better or worse
the question asked by
guardian of life's second half
why are there seasons?
the past is now gone
the future will take care of itself
now is present
all there is
the impossible present moment
that was and is and will be forever


Saturday, 28 March 2015

it was this way...

I disposed myself towards something
put myself in the way of it
turned away from
turned toward
who knows
difference is dangerous
it implicates itself

Walking to town
counting the aves
finger rosary
like granny did
in the gas mantle light
of Railway Road

Then beads
strung together
a different feel
to life
Bridge Chapel
School of prayer

Opening and closing
breathing new life
into different dust
ashes of the past
take old ways by the hand
and enfold

The river tells its tale
of upstream
of downstream
chortling downstream
of mystery caught in the middle

Bless me father for I have sinned...
that's ok - we know
welcome aboard.

Thank you.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Change - the only certainty

if change is about exteriority
then perhaps there is an interior calm
observing it all
providential anchorage

if I say that all change is an illusion
I must know that from a place
of seeming solidarity
he illusion
of me

which in itself is paradoxical
if all is change
is nothing safe

if all is change
is not the mountain behind the mountain illusion also?

Perhaps I need to believe - have faith in that which is constantly the same; ever changing - and embrace the paradox of it all.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Times and seasons

The change of the seasons
whisper themselves
into our lives

where there is knowledge
there con be no faith
knowledge is temporary
best guessed thin fragile
icy bitterness
muttering to itself

faith something else entirely
known without knowing how
unleashed abandonment.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

St. Kevin and the Blackbird

wounded by the image
(or the thought of the image)
close to the home of childhood
stoic heroism
waist deep in life's coldness
yet the romantic endurance
surpassing pain and its contingencies
spur him on and on

at night time
St. Francis statued out of place and time
drops his arms
uttering a sigh that heals
the land for miles around
dawn breaks and before the sleepers
rise to prayer
he takes up his station once again

kevin of the two lakes
stigmatised with the twiggy nest
rewarded by blue speckled
glimpses of heaven
he stands in the teeth of gales
burning sun
blessed rain
grounded firmly

defended by the territorial cry
fed on song alone he stands
a living monument to the landscape
servant of the other servants of god
welcomed with outstretched arms
opened hands ready for the nailing
in lenten observation
with easter as yet uncertain

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Crock of Gold

To re-visit
perhaps to come upon
as if for the first time
old friends
new light
a dip in the pot

perhaps this is it
fairly low carbon footprint

keep an eye on things
before they get out of hand
whatever that means

Monday, 2 March 2015

The Illustrated Penny Catechism

Just an idea

How would that work
drawing on the history
the histories
her story

time locked
sifting misty fragments
from solidness
of first love
Verdi's requiem
Sister Philip.

Splashing home
the short way
sloshing about
walking miles
ways of coping
with change.

Rote learned tables
spelling catechism
in order to access
the sacred mysteries
written on and over
memory imagination

Wanting to say more but unable to find the words/ lapsing into vagueness (as if it were a crime) but grasping at something as the river draws me ever to the sea. Starting again/ and over - stitching thin things with fine needles / plaiting fog / as granny used to say about the impossible tasks in this world/ counting endless aves on her fingers to the accompaniment of the hiss of the gas mantle's incandescent wholly otherworldly holy glow.

Who knows if this is who we are
or were
then or now
something etched
gloss and hue
endless coats
the damage done
thick brown-ness
residue of guiding
Easter lilies
wherein lies god
and stood quite well alone.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Early Spring

And spring arrives
amid the tired browness of it all
amid the skeletons of last year's growth.

Beside the ever changing river
between the blasts of
cold air
accompanied by
hesitant half song of thrush
and bike pump regularity of tit
amid a reluctance of year-turning.

It seems
we just get used
to the rhythm
and pace of it
the cold grey dampness
of winter's overcoat
and then we are forgiven.

At walking pace, I'm told, the sun
walks up from the south
before halting a while
and then walks back...

But now spring arrives
amid the thin bleakness
of it all
with peeps
and squeaks
and green shoots.
Its molehill mountains change
towards warmth and growth
and I am blessed by it all in this existence.

Perhaps I'm selfish in drinking it all in
with no concern
for the problems of the world about which I can do nothing
except pray be the way I want the world to be.

Is that too simplistic
to ro
Mr Bombastic
made out of plastic?

I just  wanted to say about the molehills
so I called into KFC and had a cuppa
like McD's 99p.

Friday, 30 January 2015

Story 5

Chicken Fish
Child with Fish
Brendan Boat
Angel Bee
Four Toed Priest
Three Birds of Appetite

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Story 4

Old Woman
Dragon/ Wyrm
Angry Man
Burst Braces Man
Pointing Man
Clown Doll
Bandana Man
Wyrm Bird
Anguished man

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Story 3

The Cat with the Hat and Wand
The Golden Faced Woman with her hand in the Fish's Mouth*
The Auk
The Chicken
The Frogman with a Lobster Claw carrying  The Hen
The watcher


*look again!

Monday, 26 January 2015

Story 2

Hat Man
Fishing Rod
Head Hunter (Priest)
Shrunken Head

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Story 1

The Moon
The Hermit
The Salmon
The Mountains
The Shaman
The Hippo
The Horse
The Imp
The Sea
The Fool
Two houses
The Path
The Seeker
The Old Woman

Wednesday, 21 January 2015


not knowing
if a change might make a difference
a clash of direction
apparent obliqueness
tending to create an impression

lacking only blackbirds
there seemed only
a rainbow bridge lacking
in the situation
a gateless gate through which to
tread softly
noting new vistas
in mindscaped soul
where all was un
named equal

it all went wrong not in 312
probably a lot earlier
when choices were made
in gardens
far off behind some
word curtained

boundaries set
became more important
than observation
for its own sake
to test the mettle
of both parties
from now on

evening came and morning came

time was in the mind
broken apart
the one cried tears of light
into the void
wept animals
insects birds
mountains seas
wailed plants
every living thing
that creeps upon the ground

morning came and evening came

space was carved in the mind
variously carved
cut up into pieces
these things I have seen
in dream and nightmare
bodies bulldozered
into bottom less pits of hatred

evening came and lasted
in never ending darkness
icy cold gripped around
freezing parts until they snapped off
great ice mountains slowly ground their way
through the imagination
leaving scarring
leaving soreness
some wounds impossible to heal

but now the day dawns
the die is cast opportunity is the order of the day
possibilities beckon
call out
witness the life of one
who passed this way with dignity

be true to choice of life over death
and daily bread

Monday, 5 January 2015

Friday, 2 January 2015

Omens for the New Year

yesterday's gatherings:

Leftover Snow
Crow Caw
Wind in the Yew Trees
Twin Boys on Swing
Swollen Brook
Startling wind-blown Plastic
The River (i) 10.36
The Mystery Goose
The River (ii) 11.32 (Cormorant over the water)
Breakfast with Dad
Cormorant in the Tree

it's a start at any rate.