‘Reality is always already the case.’ Adi Da Samraj
I don’t know much about nuns.
In my 58-year span, there’s only been two of any note. One was a confessor at the tail-end of a six-week stint in rehab where I had just turned 27.
The other appeared through the mists of lockdown on the web, less than a year ago, when I had decided to make the most of our shared inwardness by taking it seriously.
If ever there has been a time when the divine held up a neon placard to the world exhorting us to turn within…
‘You know why your culture is sick? It is sick because it worships the rebel and not the lover and servant. It is sick because it worships the man of reason and not the naked and dancing slave of God. It is sick because it has lost the image of sacred perfection that every mystical culture has known always. It is sick because it has chosen the path of futile domination over the Path of eternal love.’ Anonymous Sufi
There is an ancient promise to humanity that appears throughout spiritual literature — although perhaps you have to be ready to…
Out in the garden at dusk
my tremolo leg pulsing like it always does
the silken purse of memory opens
to a crate and a broom handle
cotton sheet for a sail
how I navigated the lawn as
Sinbad in search of treasure and
that girl in the
Lamb’s Navy Rum advert
then two boys in the back of a Cortina
as mother whipped her driving lesson
into an ordeal and
we shook on that back seat
like two Cape Town bananas competing
for that one Cape Town sticker
and a junior understanding
of the ABCs of apartheid –
& would Jim…
Where were you? The question always comes—
Where were you at life’s end?
Where were you when
Elvis & John Lennon died?
Where were you when Kennedy was shot
& the Twin Towers fell? Where were you? is
hindsight’s marker, the teleology of death
the forward movement of life arrested
& reversed. Where were you? is built
into the rise & fall of empires, yet this empire’s
cancerous spread is both global and hidden.
Few noticed its rise under cover of night so
how many will witness its end? How many
of us will be left? That’s the question we
never ask when separate from events. But now
Each early morning balcony scene
is a discourse between lovers, and I
wonder if the tongues of birds were
divided like Babel and if swallows and
sparrows really speak to one another
but joy is its own song and I know
it doesn’t matter, each chorus is
complete whichever language they
speak — or none at all —
I would love to know
their names but settle for tenor and bass
the occasional solo, this virtuoso lead
and the healing cool of a damp
in late middle age, the years of analysis
and uncovering that led me to this
particular balcony in…
Silence is the first gift of snow.
‘We rarely change without suffering
or satiation,’ I thought as we drove
in awe and trepidation through the city.
Everyone was cautious.
Instead of snow tires we had hope;
instead of a satnav, paper.
We combined prayers with the good wishes
of neighbours, and set out.
I thought it was just here, but she
tells me the whole world is cold.
People are speaking in plumes on the pavement;
our breath soon stains the windows,
and dinner conversation tends towards illness,
rapidly thaws each person around the table.
This is silence not as…
We had noticed the gate to our property was sticking
roots erupting from the path, bricks pushing themselves
into a hazard — they can sue you here if anyone slips on
the pavement outside your house — we tread with caution.
The pine tree already glowers, releasing an army of spiders
at the rusting click of the gate. If only we could house train
them instead of always getting bitten. We straddle the merits
of keeping people out but decide to set to it, do the right thing.
Someone had to start digging. ‘Which tools?’ she says.
‘A hammer & a chisel.’ We had to get the…