How this Buddhist is bringing delight to the web in lockdown

Photo by Jan Kopřiva on Unsplash

‘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…

My daughter Meg at her baby shower, Devon, England

He is a study in sleep
all seven pounds one ounce
hibernating on the curved liver-flesh
of his mother
just one day old when we meet.
Outside the night sky growls with
anticipation but he has no
designation other than he.
Your name can wait in some distant
cloud, your body a blackberry
clot wiped clean, one bit of
lightning, pop! & you’re out.
What rush is there to begin
the forging of identity?
The beyond still swaddles
the newborn hour, easier
to remember what you are
when beginning does not
entail beginning just yet.
In Africa, they would sing
you into the world for days
but you’ve done well enough
for a western child, sleeping…

Photo by Luke Porter on Unsplash

Dartmoor 1976.
The turning of time blurs
the clock-sprung word,
this story a Swiss cheese.
Please don’t ask for names
our shame is bordering the margins
scarce makes the page. Funny
is how it was at the time yet
now I see it through adult eyes.

A school scout troupe with girls
may have been their first error.
There were three of us that day
uniformed & hiking, toggling
our way through a pea-souper
listening to Pink Floyd’s Echoes
Fluff on a Saturday afternoon

so perhaps we were scared
a larger troupe behind us
another three taking that hill
after us. Hardly Hillary…

(on your 23rd birthday)

Noah Heathcote

A small boy tugging at my hand
‘Stop thinking, dad!’
his sharpness pulls me into line
this Zen master — child.
The hours we spent walking through
London, then driving through a blazing
summer, our water pistols poking
through windows and laughing
as we fired & drove off. Infernal visits to
the Natural History Museum &
less often its cousin in Science.
Long night drives from Somerset
to Richmond straight to the
cinema then sitting in Giraffe for
food & balloons, your crayon hand
a small crab diagonally traversing a shore
like any Cancerian close to water.
The walks by the Thames, soccer on
Kew Green, the films we watched at home
on repeat. Camping with your
sisters in X-rated…

Each Father’s Day I see him
with his umbilical cord in search of
a goddess
how his black panther stalked
desperate for a socket for that old cord

how the sea foam that brought
Aphrodite ashore
was rabies to his mouth &
the bit between his teeth
threshed, a shark scything fields
of green, how hope &

seduction took him down
(the face of Venus
silent and bewitching &
closer than kin )
a path of stone & thorn

Desire is a reel thing — one bite
& you’re hooked for eons-
its potion & spell files the soul
to fine…

Photo by Sohaib Al Kharsa on Unsplash

All spring, almost all last year
misery rained down
upon the humans, concepts were
slipped into long-silenced ears like bugs
& burglars, more transparent,
took the glass from your windows
until you could see nothing -
in the lexicon of demons all is reversed
‘Smart’ a simple synonym for fool

obliged by that silent ear, they
swept like a curse among the houses
where faculties were handed over
to tricksters on television
people none the wiser

how deaf we are to trumpets &
angels, the sounds of Heaven
while words from our abusers
gather like starlings in the throat-
the mob waking from its…

Photo by Markéta Marcellová on Unsplash

There is a trick to this whole enterprise-
ask any moth who sizzled on that lamp
a thousand times. I can’t stop speaking
truth but those concepts insist on piercing

your eye. There’s a lighthouse in the east.
Ask Rumi, Christ, any one of a thousand
saints what has to be released, how each
prisoner is already free yet loyal to ideas

& demons who prepared a way only for
themselves, unaware it’s just the stuff of bodies
and bodies have to die. That’s all the mind
ever brought you, a glitter ball of dead sugar

to fool even the…

Photo by Jonathan Francisca on Unsplash

So this is the drill when you say
you know a little astrology -
can plant stars in their therapy
to make things a little richer -
add frisson and zing, some light
canapés before the
main event when life can
really turn to dark water

as Freud said, the return of the
repressed not a song many will sing-
and even though you don’t draw charts
or gaze relentlessly at stars
they want the magic act
before setting to work & learn
how ugliness can be beautiful again.

It turns out, we’ve all broken
endless priceless vases
mistaken the rope…

Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

and white, I do not
diagnose conditions
yet feel every word
hear each bite

I am not from here
yet came to test the
temperature of
the average
human being

By the side
of the road
I sit, carding
before knitting the
broken hearts
of men and women

I was thrashed
clean in the church
of believers
long before you came

I am the Atticus Finch
of dreams,
down in the cellar
and on my knees

When your tongue is
ripped out at dawn,
as it surely will be,
I will lay out the map
and handle your shame

My gift will come and
go again, a tinder to ignite
your being, this jewel
I carry, a meteor to come
round once
every thousand years

COPYRIGHT Simon Heathcote

Simon Heathcote

Psychotherapist writing on the human journey for some; irreverently for others; and poetry for myself; former newspaper editor.

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