The Old Country

I have moved to the old country.
The land of my sires: a hard land;
poor in wealth and rich in spirit.
We find God in each other here.

For generations, my fathers delved under ground.
In Devon for tin, in Penn’s wood for coal,
finding only endless toil and death.
I am heir to their pain and strength.

Is my work all that different?
I want to think so.
Yet have I not sold my life, day by day,
working with little delight for mere pay?

Only when I am not on the job,
can I labor on what is significant.
The toys that bring me such joy,
the expression of things not seen.

Striving to find the balance.
My daytime work provides food and shelter.
Moonlighting as mystic, seer, and maker;
reflecting my truths in both realms.

I have moved to the old country.
The land of my sires: a hard land;
poor in wealth and rich in spirit.
We find God in each other here.

Time

I am unstuck in time.
Each moment unique:
momentarily eternal.

What is time?
I am discovering,
some truths of time.

Time can be an illusion.
Consciousness and perception conspiring,
in creating causality.

Time can be a product of our limitations.
We cannot experience everything, all happenings,
all at once.

Instead, we experience time;
stretching those events,
across a lifetime.

I am unstuck in time.
Past is present is future.
My presence is.

Eccentricity

A new thought, sparks in a mind.
Not like a fire, or the sun’s light,
not as any thing, which is only physical.
An idea, an inspiration, an obsession.

She meditates on it.
It is disruptive,
she does not want it.
It cannot be unthought.

It challenges beliefs long held.
She has discovered
a cracked foundation stone,
in her tower of understanding.

Over several months,
she examines it.
Though her variable moods,
she holds it in her heart.

The world reels around her,
as the reality of what was true,
ceases to exist.
Her new Truth is born.

A new tower takes shape,
out of the rubble of the old.
Each Truth examined anew,
as each course is laid.

A new thought, sparks in a mind.
Not like a fire, or the sun’s light,
not as any thing, which is only physical.
An idea, an inspiration, an obsession.

Anastasia

My daughter wrote this poem ten years ago, with her permission I post it here.

In the golden city,
On a diamond throne she sits,
Anastasia!

Where my heart belongs,
That is where it always lies,
Anastasia!

On the empty throne lies
A crown that was her own,
Anastasia!

The battle was fought;
The sky blackened by arrows,
Anastasia!

There our Queen sat still,
Enclosed in a silent gloom,
Anastasia!

In that starry night,
The ground was soaked with dark blood,
Anastasia!

On that fateful day,
Demons came up and took her away,
Anastasia!

Cursed and swore we did,
On and on we kept calling,
Anastasia!

In the dark we searched,
Until we found the hidden lair,
Anastasia!

Our weapons were wasted,
We fought until we could not fight,
Anastasia!

As I turned retreating,
I got a look at our Queen,
Anastasia!

She was not alone,
All the slain were there with her,
Anastasia!

I could not go forward,
I could only go backward,
Anastasia!

As I saw her eyes,
There was only pity and sorrow,
Anastasia!

There she was silent,
How I wanted to join her,
Anastasia!

My eyes pleaded,
My only task has failed,
Anastasia!

People would mock me,
She would haunt me forever,
Anastasia!

I will now wander,
I am only a shadow,
Anastasia!

Please, let me join you,
Where you are; I will be happy,
Anastasia!

My spirit is gone,
I will fall on my sword soon,
Anastasia!

My love, ’tis for you I go,
I will go to the halls of death,
Anastasia!

Listen to my tale,
So listen to my sorrow,
Anastasia!

The Mystic

Is there not more?
More that we can see,
more than we can touch.
Unseen, unheard, yet present.

Before we invented history,
we explored the unknowable.
Through ritual, fasting, prayer and pain,
pursuing wisdom through the dreamtime.

Christians and Muslims, Brahmans and Buddhists,
and too many others to name or number.
Influenced all by that nameless presence,
which whispers to our souls.

Perhaps, all arts have this source,
a wellspring deep within our being.
In spiration* with all creation,
we inhale deeply of pure, raw, possibility.

See for yourself.
Close your mouth and eyes.
Quiet the restless mind.
Listen in stillness.

Listen not only with your ears.
Listen with your entire being,
feelings, guts, blood, and bone.
Trust your Self.

Is there not more?
More that we can see,
more than we can touch.
Unseen, unheard, yet present.

* spiration

1 obsolete : the action of breathing as a creative or life-giving function of the Deity
2 obsolete : the action of breathing as a physical function of man and animals

The Seer

“What is Truth?”, They ask.
“Truth surrounds us, can you not see it?
Feel, touch, taste, hear it?”,
whispers the Seer.

She whispers on purpose.
Angry mobs with stones,
are unusually restive;
when obvious truths too loudly are revealed.

There are none so blind,
as those who choose not to see.
So it is, with most of us.
We live among the lies we tell ourselves.

If only, we had known,
we tell ourselves.
If only, we had realized,
what might have been!

She only knows what is.
She will tell us, if we ask.
“Listen closely.”,
whispers the Seer.

The Alchemist

Light, that’s all it was.
A light divine,
too pure, too bright for mere mortal eyes.
I still see it in my dreams.

Prentice to Albreq, I was then.
Clearing an oaken bench, long disused.
Curious flask, holding a metallic powder.
Well sealed with wax and twine tied in knots Gordian.

Of course, I opened said curious flask,
testing the powder by means arcane,
discovering nothing.
A candle knocked o’er the powder which remained.

Light, pure light, in that darkened room.
Burning like the fire of the Greeks.
Neither sand or water would put it out,
burning through a hands width of solid oak.

Many years it has been,
many lustra* since I became master,
many powders have I tested.
I quest still to find that powder.

My prentice has now been given this task,
carefully putting each powder to the flame.
Well warned is he by his master’s blindness,
since that day.

Light, that’s all it was.
A light divine,
too pure, too bright for mere mortal eyes.
I still see it in my dreams.

* Lustra – plural form of Lustrum – 5 years

Service

Something I wrote for Veterans Day today.

I have enlisted in the fight once more,
not like I did before,
not in my nations service, as I did in my youth.
Full of the idealism and the invulnerability of the young.

I am older now, much older, scarred, fat, and slow.
Cunning, wise, and patient.
I serve now in a contingent, which does not destroy or kill;
where the ends never justify ill-means.

A warrior monk who forges weapons from words.
Words which touch the soul.
Not my words, but the words of the most high.
The Creator whose voice gives birth to worlds.

Every mission now is one of rescue,
encouragement for the despairing, comfort for the dying,
My attention and presence for everyone.
Leading by Following.

Obaidullah

President Barack Obama,

I found a remarkable document on the USA Amnesty International website last week – ‘I AM FALLEN INTO DARKNESS’. It is the story of a 19 year old Afghan man named Obaidullah who was swept up in one of our raids in Afghanistan in July of 2002. He was imprisoned at the United States Bagram Military Airfield in Afghanistan, where he was tortured (The torture is described in great detail in the ‘I AM FALLEN INTO DARKNESS’ document above – you should read it – since your government is responsible for not prosecuting anyone from the George W. Bush administration for the war crimes documented therein.) He was then transferred to the United States Military Prison on the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base on 28 October 2002.

The torturing of Obaidullah continued at the Prison on the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. At some point in the past 11 years we stopped the overt torture. Obaidullah has not given up, even to the point of participating in a hunger strike with his fellow prisoners from February to July of this year. (During his hunger strike, we responded by putting Obaidullah into solitary confinement.)

The United States Supreme Court has refused to hear Obaidullah’s Habeas Corpus appeal.

The United Nations Working Group in Arbitrary Detention in May of this year concluded that Obaidullah’s detention is arbitrary and violates international human rights law and that an adequate remedy would be to release him with compensation.

Obaidullah wrote the following verse in 2011 – it is from his poem ‘Separation in the Real World’.

Give me a hand through my dream,
I am fallen into darkness.
Although I am alongside others’  laughter,
I have been living ever in deep sorrows.
I am living on a great ocean’s shore,
But always in shackles.

These men have suffered enough. Please let them go.

You could pardon them. You could do it today.

Shaker Abdurraheem Aamer

President Barack Obama,

I decided that I should devote some letters to individual Guantanamo Bay Prisoners, but how could I pick who to start?  As is happens Shaker Abdurraheem Aamer is the first name alphabetically in the Wikipedia listing. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Guantanamo_Bay_detainees) And as it turns out he is an excellent choice. Mr Aamer has been cleared for release back to Great Britain by both your administration in 2009 and by George Bush’s administration in 2007. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaker_Aamer) He is an outspoken defender of his fellow prisoners, engaging with his captors; attempting to negotiate with us and then resorting to hunger strikes when we did not negotiate in good faith.

Why is Shaker Abdurraheem Aamer still our prisoner?

Mr Aamer wrote the following poem entitled: “They fight for Peace” .

Peace they say.
Peace of mind?
Peace of earth?
Peace of what kind?

I see them talking arguing, fighting –
What kind of peace are they looking for?
Why do they kill? What are they planning?

Is it just talk? Why do they argue?
Is it so simple to kill? Is this their plan?

Yes, of course!
They talk, they argue, they kill –
They fight for peace.

Mr Aamer has suffered from our abuse; we have no excuse for treating this man the way we have. Please let him go.

He also deserves an apology.

You don’t even need to pardon him. You could release him today.