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Retired from 10 years in the Canadian Navy, and 28 years in the Canadian Diplomatic Service, with postings in Beijing, Mexico City, Sri Lanka, Romania, Abu Dhabi, Guyana, Ireland, Trinidad, and, last but not least, India.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

The Strange Case of the Fallen Guard

This poem is part of the series:
On The Establishment, Care, and Maintenance of Personal Social Parameters

The Strange Case of the Fallen Guard

This is the way of things:
I recognise you, and
react towards you,
and interact with you,
in this manner.

Through a series
of mind tricks, I am aware,
but do not react 
to the person you present me.
Seeing you for what you are
forces me to hide.
The mind structure is tower-like,
but not a Disney castle,
more like Bran Castle 
on a dark and stormy
All Souls’Night.

I have arranged complex schedules
for the guards:  
never look within the rooms
never open the doors
be deaf and heedless
to strange whisperings,
stay alert.

We may speculate on why the guard slept:
too tired for too long?
spite and the hatred of a boring job?
Or had he perhaps always known
he would sleep.
Speculation does not change the fact:
when the guard was fallen
the truth of our relationship escaped,
and things were never the same.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Sleeping Naked

A slow motion cascade
of gold, and dawn
teases her way slowly
into the day.
The dunes are drenched
with warm shadow,
and displayed with endless variations
of sand, sun, and shadow.

In the silence of this jungle clearing,
an orchestra slowly grows.
Soft sounds of life,
unseen but felt
as a rhythm slow
and eternal.

The stars stretch to forever,
and the lanterns
on the dugout fishing canoes,
scale universal splendour 
to this night.
And the waves that bob the lanterns
flow relentlessly south 
to a distance Antarctica 
ten thousand kilometres away.

I hear your breath in the night,
and feel the harmonic 
being near you brings.
Then, just as smiling sleep
reclaims, we touch,
to travel,  yet again,
our variations on a dream.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Bathroom Continuum

My father's face surprised me one morning, 
peering at me from my bathroom mirror. 
My joy at seeing him (dead these many years) 
was tempered by a sudden knowledge of the message
he brought.

I never sought wisdom from my Dad, 
but in my blundering adolescent way 
found much that would return in later years 
to haunt, and to guide me.

He, a quiet yet vibrant man, taught me 
that sorrow and tears were never solely
the private prerogative of women: 
men also wept in private anguish.

He, an undemonstrative man, showed his love 
at the most unexpected times. 
A sudden gift, and shy explanation 
of how he thought I might like it.

He, an unlettered man, offered support,
approval for my serendipitous ways. 
With hesitant words he voiced his pride 
in the directions I had taken.

Seeing myself in my children's eyes, 
I can only hope that the genetic gifts 
I leave with them can partially repay 
the legacy of my father's love. 

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Collateral Damage

Just a euphemism we have coined
to mask the slaughter of innocents,
people much like you and me
who got in the way of war.

Just a phrase to make it neat,
and hide the body bags,
while we wave our flags,
sing our anthems, and shed a tear for  “heroes”.

We colonised, destroying cultures,
imposing religion, and societal mores
on peoples who had been civilized
long before the Enlightenment.

We pushed our hegemonic aspirations,
driven by corporate greed,
and the leitmotif of economic expansionism,
with military muscle hammering compliance.

We speak democracy, but install tyrants
who ensure human rights abuses,
economic stagnation, theocratic indoctrination,
and we ponder the causes of terrorism.

So: another day, another headline,
screaming of blood, and death, and pain.
When will we realise the collateral damage
is empathy, tolerance, and social progress?

Friday, 26 May 2017

Sound Bite

The motorcade,
stopping before camera crews,
and microphones,
was as incongruous
as a guffaw
at a funeral.
The surrounding buildings,
derelict and time-worn
as the few faces
peering, confused,
from mouldy doorways
and flaking windowsills,
were stark:
tones of black, white, and grey-
a dismal dream
of some forgotten battlefield.

The mayor,
cloaked with a bonhomie
born of a profound sense
of self-worth,
smiled, facing the cameras:
yes, the city had concluded
a mutually satisfying agreement
with the developer.
The area would be 
and released from the state of decay
into which it had fallen.

The one radical reporter
who wished to question
relocation of the low rental units,
the rehab centre,
the soup kitchens,
was swept aside
by smiling, applauding
anxious to escape
such unsavoury environs.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Chronological Vortex

The speed of the outer rim
is little noticed in youth:
seconds grow to minutes,
minutes to hours,
spring to summer,
without end.

Age draws us on,
and gradually we notice 
the ambient speed
of our relentless passage.
We sense, rather than see,
the spira mirabilis 
shrinking in logarithmic glory
to depths
arcane and esoteric.

An ache here,
an ailment there,
searching for a memory
that continues to escape;
the baggage of years,
the wounds, the scars,
tender joys,
tumultuous love,
all weigh heavily
on failing shoulders
and weakening heart.

The speed increases progressively,
and we become obsessed
with slowing the descent:
diet, exercise, study,
philosophy, religion,
nothing decreases
the juggernaut in its plunge
to the obscure,
the unknown.

If we but abandon resistance,
embrace the breathless wonder
of life’s passage,
and yield to the message
that this moment is our gift,
and our gift is impermanence,
only then can we begin
to fully live,
and to seize our fleeting moment
under a dying sun.

Friday, 19 May 2017

The Beacon At The End Of The World

There was a beacon,
mindlessly broadcasting to the cosmos,
when the world ended.

The creators of the beacon
had long been consumed 
by the planet they destroyed:
but they built a beacon
to broadcast their folly
to the cold,
and uncaring,

It had been an amazing evolution:
so much promise,
so much brilliance,
stellar opportunity
for a toddling species
in the infancy of realised potential.

The creators carried baggage with them
through their evolution.
They carried hatred, brutish tribalism,
false and evil gods, 
distrust, suspicion, and
the strange desire to exploit,
to subjugate others.

War was relatively continuous
throughout their history.
Battles, banners, songs of patriotism,
and vengeful gods:
empathy and altruism stood suspended.

In their rush to enrich the few,
and enslave the many,
this species took all they could
from dwindling resources
with no thought of consequence,
only reward.

The reward came in the form
of catastrophic climate change,
and while factions argued cause,
a karmic pendulum had swung.

They programmed the beacon
to tell the stars our story,
but the stars didn’t care.
And neither did we.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017


She was proud of her skill
with her three-toed cane.
Her walk
from the Residence
to Thrift Store
took just twenty minutes:
then fifteen minutes
to the donut shop
where she’d meet
some of the Girls.

on her next step,
she was shocked,
as her faithful shoulder bag
was wrenched
from her grip.

Baggy trousers
slowed his sprint:
dragging cuffs
impeded his balance
as fate,
and forward motion
then placed him in the path
of the accelerating Transit bus.

She recovered her handbag,
and left the scene
a backward

Tuesday, 16 May 2017


The magnitude 
of his fear
his thirteen years.

While crushing
his spirit,
the streets also
extinguished hope.

Perhaps home, 
with continuing abuse, 
would remove 
the terror of the alleys.

Monday, 15 May 2017


He easily ignored
the stares,
the crude comments,
the threatening gestures,
by his street-corner ministry:
his testament of Faith.

He overcame his fear
with his Belief
that, even in these squalid
ghetto streets,
the Word
should enlighten.

While he sang
“What a Friend we have
in Jesus,”
a hulk in gangsta garb
spat on him,
and he worried that
his Testimony
only made
his God

The Ancient Hippie

The Ancient Hippie
Natraj dances with us all.

Welcome, and Namaste

Greetings fellow travellers,

For you American friends visiting, you will notice that this old Canadian uses Canadian English in this blog: kindly bear with me. As I blog primarily on subjects that are vitally interesting to me, I appreciate all feedback.

As I tend to be a bit of a language usage freak, I will, as required, edit obscenity and rude comments. That said, I welcome your opinions and discussion.

May your Dharma be clear


"If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended:
That you have but slumb'red here,
While these visions did appear."

Puck’s epilogue to A Midsummer Night’s Dream