It’s All About Your Future
Writings by Sha’Ra On WindWalker
(in collaboration with Sha’Tara EarthStar)
Copyright (©) 2017 Cocoons to Butterflies Publishing
Published by: Cocoons to Butterflies Publishing
Chilliwack, B.C. Canada
Cover pictures by: Top, Alfred Borchard
Bottom, Barun Patro
All pictures found on FreeImages.com
Space Picture: ESA/Hubble
I hope you enjoy these writings.Feedback is welcome.
These books contain a form of free verse poetry, opinions based on observation, and some humour and imagination, engaging the heart as well as the mind. A critical look at many current issues intriguing and plaguing man. Spirituality, interaction with nature and environment, social changes, dwindling resources. Well worn issues now, indeed. But the poetry and other works in these books gives this subject a different perspective. I daresay that here we can find a “higher” vantage point from which to look at ourselves within the cosmos.
Who knows but some of the ideas in the books may get you inspired to do that thing you always wanted to do, even if this comes in a very small way, to make your corner of this world a better place to be in. Who knows but you may realize your little corner is a really nice place to be in after all.
It’s all about life, if at times expressing life “outside the box” as the saying goes.
A strange old man, a very ancient figure,
that’s who he was, who he is.
A man of many titles in as many times:
poor Bill, mendicant, beggar and tramp.
panhandler, good-for-nothing loafer,
deadbeat, vagrant, hobo, gypsy
and in more recent times,
a welfare bum.
Sometimes this strange man
comes back from the sea,
sometimes from the wars or prison:
no one comes to the quays to meet him
and to hug him. Alone
carrying a damp and dirty canvas bag
he limps down some dark alley
to find a familiar den,
a smoke-filled tavern, an inn.
For a few coins, a room under a stairway
a garret with drafty shutters
become his home ‘til the angels come
or the demons, but who can ever tell?
Sometimes he just gets tired of jostling
for position and wealth—leaves one night
never to come back. What for?
His wife re-marries, but does he care?
Who’s to know? Not even he
wandering the drafty city streets
with his new title and essential wealth.
He’s a successful miner now,
mining garbage for treasures
carefully arranged in a rusty shopping cart
(of missing front and bent wheel
from an accidental encounter with a taxi)
until deposited for safekeeping.
They call him “homeless” now—the
politically correct term
for this strange old man who never did fit,
who in his youth had a strong back
to break up the coal, carry gear and pack a rifle
walk through flooded paddies
and burn babies in their mothers’ arms
inside grass huts in a land so far away.
He knew well enough then why he did this:
for God and country and freedom
they’d told him and he believed.
He came back from the killing fields
to log the dark green hills
until the trees were gone.
He cleaned out curbs and culverts
for a pittance in part time jobs
to bolster free enterprise and capitalism.
“It’s all good” they said with a leer
and what could he do but believe?
He doesn’t remember much of that
and really, what does it matter now?
the rich got richer and died,
the dead remain dead
and he’s got his place
behind four loosened cement bricks
under a bank where he keeps his valuables,
drinks, sleeps and feeds his nightmares
of bullets and blood, of flames that roast flesh,
of screams of pain and terror:
endless screams—the voices of the dead.
Until it’s time to work the streets again,
push the rusty cart with the one bent wheel
until the angels return again
or the demons, and who’s to know?
He’ll be there again tomorrow
and the day after that
and the day after the Great Day
there he will be in his dirty tattered rags
his long stringy hair blowing wildly
in the cold, cold winds that haunt
the endless noisy, dirty, drafty city streets
and who knows what his title will be
next time I pass him trying not to notice?
I think I already know this, in my heart
as I look around and ponder this place:
he’ll be a survivor.
A path maker,
beats a track in deep snow,
walking to, then fro,
so older ones,
those not so sure of foot,
smaller of stature,
or a woman with child in arm
can get through without stumbling.
In his dream, the path maker
helps people along their own way;
he extends a helping hand,
a kind thought,
offers an encouraging word
to make a memory from a smile…
I realize how each individual
must walk his own path.
This does not mean, however
one cannot place a few markers
along the trackless void.
I was walking through a very nice wood
which is what I proclaimed as loud as I could
when they all objected as I knew they would
and to stop listening I pulled up my hood.
There came a pink train with a car or ten
at what time you ask, well I don’t know when
and you should know this did not happen then
but only after all the pigs got locked in their pen.
The pink train huffed and puffed at a pretty pace
and of its passage it left not one trace
save that on my left shoe was a broken lace
which wither I pulled I could not unlace.
A puffing came the train rounding a hill
the noise from its whistle came out rather shrill
while round about the land stood solemn and still
and the ticket-master introduced himself as Bill.
Out came a thousand tickets in great fanfare
as the ticket-master punched and said, ‘beware!
I can spot a fake ticket, or even a silly pair’
and scowling he said, ‘fool me if you dare’
Now came the station as pretty as you please
and round-about the land was a bowl of green peas
so inviting it seemed, as for to give great ease
when a great buzzing came, as from a million bees
A man in a black hat stepped boldly forward
and said, if you please, my name is Edward
had you paid attention, at the start you’d have heard
this is my train, I travel with my bird.
Said a green parrot who just loved to be heard,
‘he travels with his bird, he travels with his bird,
not always the same bird, you see I’m the third
and of green feathers you can see I’m gird.’
The pretty station stood at the bottom of the vale
which if you know your history is much like a dale
and there lay the train neither hearty nor hale
So we come to the end of this very sad tale.
This story of course has a very good moral
much as some seas have islands of coral
and if this could talk the moral would be oral
and as for the writer, what but a crown of laurel?
She was born to run against the wind;
knowing naught of walking lightly
in silken nightgown on a morning breeze.
Mother said: girl, you make it happen
no one else does it for you…
and she became a believer.
No stepping back from life’s thrust,
no time to create a peaceful, tranquil space
where uplifting thoughts could flow
to people her nights and fill her days.
A child was born to her; a man was lost
and in her joy, and in her pain,
she found the peace she’d never known
hidden within her own understanding.
She became a flowing river
winding her way through life,
allowing the course of events
to mold her, never enslave her.
She found herself moving forward
in laughing twists and crying turns,
adding new dreams to old, and in these,
finding hidden paths to unknown places.
Finally she saw the child grow strong;
free in the world she had nurtured.
embarrassed (more than slightly)
by my silly humanity
its disconnected deeds
destructive witness against itself…
I long for that time
that place I know
sure to be revealed
to be opened
to those whose desires
such a place
in the universal mind
a world without end
thing of time we dare call
Fly South, today, Lady Marion,
to the ends of the Earth
Come share the River
and Walk the Sands of Time
once more with WindWalker…
The River flows
in all her Fall glory
garlanded in gently falling leaves;
she waits for You
after the rains.
It may be but for a Day
reckoned in Earth’s old Time
but Eternity will carefully mark
this Soul Passage
as Love in Flight
and when we leave
this Enchanted Place
Eagles will hold it secure
until another Slice of Time
connects it All again…
So come with me
Bringing your Joy
Bringing your Freedom
Bringing your Power
Bringing your Laughter:
Earth will supply the rest!
And it’s the year 2020
There’s a computer by the pharmacy
at the local wal-box, China-mart.
Slip in your card, enter
password and etc.,
look directly in the camera,
pictured center screen.
Press for “voice” and follow
the friendly prompts.
Colors, symbols, pictures
and a bit of your Facebook page
with your Google mail address
and map of your back-yard, front
door. And you
eating breakfast: “Can you describe
what you had for breakfast?
and your mother’s maiden name
for a new pair of glasses.
2 days delivery: a drone
buzzes your door and there,
your new $39.99 + taxes glasses
in bubble pack:
30 minutes of careful unpacking,
to reveal, as expected, not yours,
of course, wrong name, wrong street,
wrong town, wrong province,
wrong country. Wrong everything.
Did you really expect anything?
Nice glasses though.
White: an empty canvass waiting for the
splash of colour
White: wispy, aimless, rainless clouds
teasing a parched land
White: fog: hiding, camouflaging, confusing
changing without change
White: sun-fearing, hiding, creeping, silent
death sucking saprophyte
White: superior human skin, vain and proud,
afraid of light
White: creaseless virgin sheets proudly
White: snowy web of changeless lifelessness
inert time before life
White: garments of prejudice preventing
perceptions of shame
White: ghostly night-wrought smell of death
illuminated by a burning cross
White: the spectral mantle of power ruling
White: purity without the mark of passion
shade of nothingness.
and war memorials
make no bones about it:
they are about the dead.
But the city, now,
is another story,
Here, people hustle and rush
to and fro, doing this,
But who are the dead?
Those who lie quietly underground;
whose names are etched in brass?
Or those who run about
mindlessly making more
of what is already too much?
Those who punch in
too early for death;
too late for life;
who live in twisted shadows
of flickering fluorescence
and shrill neon?
Who run through smog
chased by a million
“Out of my way!
I have an appointment
at the clusterfuck.”?
How swiftly did death take my beloved
at age twenty two they buried her:
her body lies under the maple tree.
I look out of the kitchen window
just before dawn;
I remember watching the birds feed;
remember her delight in hearing their songs;
I cry as her face crosses my aging mind:
it was yesterday we walked along the river bank,
planning our certain future…
I still feel the warm kiss upon my lips
as my hands caress her slender body,
feeling her hand clenched tightly in mine.
The warming breath of dawn draws near:
my heart swells with gratitude
for the short time she was my joy:
a last star twinkles in the sky like her last smile.
How I have missed her in the years;
yet how I have felt her indwelling spirit
keep my heart from bitterness,
unlocking the door; releasing the pain
allowing our love to continue to flow
from here to eternity.
An old man sitting on a bench
both of us watching a sunrise
in Springtime- years ago.
He turned to me
and spoke of his youth:
My old man was a mean bastard
and I grew up hating the S.O.B.
he said, looking at the sky
My mother raised me.
She was a kind and gentle person
and I think she really loved me.
But you know what
he said more quietly
when my mother died
I couldn’t cry for her
and no tears would flow
but when my old man died
like there was no tomorrow.
Once upon a time, I (the child)
knew nothing of life: I
followed my fathers’ footsteps
cutting down trees, digging holes,
and putting up fences and walls
Keeping in and keeping out
my possessions and insecurity.
I never stopped to think
why I was doing this: everyone
was doing it -why not me?
Who would look after (me) if not (me)?
Without a fence, my things
could easily get lost
on someone else’s land…
Without a wall, my world
could easily get changed
by someone’s interference…
But all that changed one day
(no, I don’t know why it should)
I heard the voice of the Spirit:
He asked me what I was doing
(I told him what I was doing)
He asked me why I was doing it
(I told him why I was doing it)
come here and listen:
I know a better way.
You work so hard for food that spoils
When it’s already laid before you:
but you forget that nothing
of value is ever
l o s t
You are one with everything
Do not separate yourself
from your environment
for if you do -you will die.
Do not build fences or walls
they poison the life
I’ve given you.
In the soft light of morning
an alpine meadow awakens
as it arches away from me
into the remaining shadows
cast by distant rocky peaks.
In the silence of the dawn
flowers cautiously open
to welcome the sun’s light.
Bright diamonds of dew
sparkle on leaves and stems
spreading colour upon colour:
what awesome beauty!
I think to myself
standing here alone, silent watcher
casting a restful glance
upon the first day of light.
I cannot help but wonder
why so many choose the city.
The suffocating enclosed spaces
of its giant marketplaces;
its endless rush of traffic;
its fumes and gaudy artificial lights
and its painted artificial smiles
rouged by its inferno.
We have a choice, do we not?
If I stand here alone today,
why not another also?
The beauty that surrounds me,
the land offers free every day.
The feeling it gives me
could be that of another as well:
feeling of peace, of tranquillity,
of respect for life
and everything in it:
the city emasculates those feelings
but how many know this now?
Angry, pushing and shoving,
and someone loses it:
what should I do
when this happens to me?
Return eye for eye,
curse for curse?
How easy it is to say “yes!”
Negative thoughts run swift
under the dark of the moon;
when shadows replace love
deep in the night…
and how much night there is here.
Who shall shine the light
when there is no light to see by?
Who will calm the angry one?
Who will embrace the stranger who staggers
under the weight of old fears?
Under the whip of oppression?
Who, if not me?
If I love only those who love me,
of what use is that
when no one remembers the victim?
When those who have
forget those who do not?
These are my feelings
expressed in mere words.
And how useless are words
if my life does not demonstrate
in how I live it.
Sure the ideas are there
and where else could they be but “there”?
Thanks, don’t answer that; I’m not
trying to impress you, or me. Words, words,
oh, they’re so jumpy, today, so,
another piece of recyke hits the can,
un-carefully crushed -- I know,
I know, unpolitically incorrect: should
have been carefully folded
and stacked. And bagged. And binned.
And labelled: RECYCLED PAPER
Aye, but there’s the rub, I survived
from old school. Didn’t recyke
in ‘em days. At least not as
ostentatiously hypocritically as done now.
No politicians in white ties and
white-gloved hands-out legislating,
if not legalizing,
plethora’s of green fees (if
you care to know, we had no golf courses)
and no PC eco-freaks godlessly
praying to goddess mantises
of rain forest fame.
Can’t say I care much for all that eco-freaking,
fracking: you lose, you pay, I win. It’s all
so, so, so, well-oiled and tanked up(!)
this political/environmental bank rupturing
printing out fee samples in fee simple
as if there’d be no tomorrow. If we’re lucky,
there won’t be. And we’ll all be the richer
for having no future. Call it foresight.
Do we recognize the Gift?
Winter’s snow falling gently
upon bowing evergreens;
the sun’s soft warming light
when life would seem too cold to bear;
the bright moon’s eerie ways
guiding us down midnight paths?
Do we recognize the Gift?
From some unfathomable depth,
perhaps from within ourselves,
from nature’s womb and cradle,
life courses, races through our blood,
fills our senses to the brim:
a Gift to be of value must be accepted,
The life we live, the times we have,
are they of our making…
Or is it a Gift to be recognized?
We have played with life
as if it was some toy;
as if it could be broken, discarded
and another would be found…
Does our knowledge of life
not tell us otherwise?
Are we but a memory in the making?
A mist passing through time and space?
“This gift of life man takes for granted,
Who is the Owner and final judge
of use or misuse?”
Embrace all who enter your life,
the young, the old, the weak, the strong
friends and strangers, gather ye ‘round the table!
For whatever reason exists, let them sit:
are they here to be awakened by growing wisdom
or to share a changed outlook
following a massive Earth change?
Or are they of those who come to enlighten,
to increase awareness within this duality,
bringing experiences from life in the beyond?
Embrace all who enter your life, friend or foe
and you will surely know who you are!
How else can you transmute energies
from this obsolete and dangerous system,
or help another seeker through his transition?
Help each other discover knowledge
from sharing dreams that seem to make no sense;
from speaking of other worlds seen in the shadows;
not forgetting to understand this world
through this experience in broadened perspective.
Be ‘off the wall’ and who really cares
if you come across as really “out there?”
You’ll still walk those streets tomorrow,
‘cause the System’s shut down its loony bins
due to a perceived lack of funding…
you can have the last laugh, Oh, yes!
fogs lift slowly
from sleepy valleys
to remote barren hills
fogs lift and part
a ribbon of sunshine
down narrow draws
to timber line
above rising clouds
domain of ice and snow
lichens and mosses
bloom and shiver
in the restless breeze
among coal-black rocks
and gentle dreams
above drifting fogs.
America: the coddled society
with drugs are a-plenty
pill pushers – doctors – more!
so eager to give you paradise.
Feel a little ill, feel a little pain
rush to the doc’s office to complain:
take a routine examination
and what do you get?
a routine prescription, that’s what.
Rush to the drug store,
don’t wait to get it filled,
pop, pop! POP ‘em all!!!
the red pill, the blue pill, the white one,
now everything’s OK,
you can watch TV again -
no head-ache, no pain,
need something else to complain.
But what are flu’s and colds and such:
Diseases? Signs of poor health?
Of course not!
They’re testing the immune system,
see if it’s working; if all is OK.
By-pass the test with a pill -
feel OK in the moment
but your immune system is not tested,
its batteries may be dead;
last upgrade not done
comes a deadly virus,
sorry, it is not there for you
your body becomes infected
and death not far away.
Choice: make yourself feel good -
pop that pill, relieve that ache, carry on
with the party, the game, whatever:
sooner or later the real thing comes
and you won’t know until too late
your immune system lacked an upgrade
and wasn’t standing by:
no response to the alarm.
Accept a cold, a flu, an odd ache and pain:
they’re there to test the system, not to kill.
“Every human being is the author of his own health or disease.”
The River of Time flows faster
as one approaches its gaping mouth;
roaring waters echo wildly
through canyons of time-bound lives
seeking to escape the surging stream
into the unknown sea.
“Stop running away,” it says,
“I am life’s normal rhythm:
my flow cannot be reversed with fear.
Let my life-giving water become a mother
carrying a child: the soul of your life.
I am not an enemy,
I am the companion.
All that comes here
must reconcile with me
or fear me!
Give up the need to conquer,
the selfish demands crowding your mind,
the desire to win eating at your soul:
I can give you peace in this sojourn
as I must carry you to the portals of life.
will you see the light
in the morning?
In the first splash
of dawn-coloured hills,
the enchantment begins.
Through my portal of desire
I enter the forest,
beyond my senses.
The path I follow,
trod by angels’ feet,
brushed lightly by angels’ wings,
filled with angels’ laughter!
Beauty accompanies my heart;
love buoys my spirit;
joy cries to be recognized.
Dappled hues brighten
a peach-toned sunrise;
morning mists dissipate
in laughter and dew drops sparkling
a diamond on every little finger!
Here is the full glory announcing
a new mountain summer day.
Dark clouds roll in from the West
marking a change in the weather;
warmer air heralding Spring.
This is the time
for the return of Tara!
She will ride her dark stallion
from a far away land
beyond the distant horizon:
will she stop for me this season?
I remember the times we shared
which passed as love to me,
But what were they to her?
Spring and Summer
she laughingly shared with me
as she did with others…
She left in the Autumn,
springing away lightly
over wildly tossing waves
on her shoreless ocean:
left me yearning for her touch
as Winter cast her frigid spell,
in the wake of her leaving…
does a flower dream of the sun
touching its petals
long before the dawn arrives
as I dream of Tara’s return?
It’s your future we speak of (They said)
You should be concerned – and don’t you know
It all depends on believing in the right things?
What sort of right things? (I said)
I’m sorry, I wasn’t really listening there,
Thinking rather of those without a future.
Where will you spend eternity? (They said)
Don’t you know there is a hell
For those who do not obey God?
I’m sorry, what was that again? (I said)
His load is heavier than I had anticipated
no wonder this man was down on his knees.
Let’s try again – do you believe in God? (They said)
The Bible has all the right answers
for those who sincerely seek salvation.
I have heard that before (I said)
It’s OK, let me carry this a bit farther for you
You are exhausted and obviously hungry.
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (They said)
And he will forgive your sins
And in the end take you into heaven.
Yes, I know, I’ve heard that too (I said)
But for now could you give me some money
so I can get food for this man and his family?
Oh no, we preach the gospel (They said)
It’s not our job to look after the destitute
There’d be no money for the ministry.
Ah, I see, of course (I said)
I let the anger in my heart flow out silently
no worse off for blessing than for cursing.
“Rage, O winds!
Thunder mighty seas!
Crash upon the rocks of time;
defeat them, grain by grain;
each a memory
scattered with purpose
upon the vast expanse
of my watery world
where lie the remnants
of golden Atlantis.”
Long ago, but in this past;
in pouring rains and pounding surf
a Mermaid clung tightly
to cold, dark granite rocks
for days seemingly without end,
her fingers dug painfully
upon the cutting edges
of Earth’s young stone.
The rains lessened with time:
she felt the changes
in the swollen tides;
she tasted the winds
full of the rot of exposed death.
But the air became clear—
Earth’s mighty thirst
quenched by the deluge
and she knew then
life would once again
drape in emerald hues
the alien lands of Earth.
Her time had come:
she dreamt a soft sandy shore
under a protective cliff
of soft white stone
and there brought forth
her first born from the sea
while a Mer-Lin watched
in deep amazement.
Out late at night, walking the streets
searching for pocket change
in aluminum cans, plastic, glass bottles.
In my search I see the police,
I was taught are heartless, uncaring people:
but tonight one policewoman chose
to show me where I could find
lots of empty beer cans…
Such a simple gesture,
yet leaving me glowing with joy.
Police officers are what they are,
the product of a society living in fear;
sometimes they get a bad rap.
They enforce a law; they play the system=s game;
they hired on to referee, make sure the game
is played by the rules, and that
is what they get paid for.
If we don’t like it this way, there is a better one.
We don’t need rules, referees or a System,
to make us get along:
may I suggest what the policewoman demonstrated?
Unconditional love, no judgment?
Or… is that too simple? Too frightening?
As steel filings on a magnet
are overwhelmed by its power,
so are we drawn into the currents
of other people’s forces;
draining our strength,
feeding their hunger for control,
causing us to lose sight
of our sense of direction.
We must find the strength
to contain this hunger for power
—this lust for control—
so stifling to creativity:
We cannot long survive
being thrust in strange rivers:
to do nothing
is to become flotsam
on the sea of time.
a soft field of
dancing purple asters
under an afternoon
waning summer sun
still damp with dew
turning white light
the royal color
preferred of those
who like to rule
I walked a gentle field
of purple asters
in my child’s mind
Dust to dust, ashes to ashes,
so it was, so it is, so all must go.
But that is all so wrong—it’s
dirt to dirt, isn’t it? Wait, no: more accurately,
sand to sand. Each death, a grain of sand;
each grain of sand, another death.
Sand! Sand that blows in the winds;
collects at the bottom of the seas;
piles up in dunes on endless shores
and the deserts grow apace
from baked ground gaping blindly
as each day another garden dries
and brings more death, creates more
sand: such a healthy, deadly growth.
A desert was made of a world
and not from movement,
but from death—from billions of deaths;
uncounted deaths spanning endless time
and the sands whisper and slither
through sun-baked cracks, worm holes;
fill beetle tracks and crickets’ holes.
never needing to ask permission.
A proper home for those destroyed,
are the sands of planet Earth
hissing out awaited revenge
upon the quasi-living knowing naught,
devoid of understanding remaining.
It’s as if it was written in a Book
that so it must be, and that, forever.
He moves the wooden paddle
that spins the wheel
that the clay rests on:
clay he extracted with care
from the bosom of mother earth.
Hands move gently;
fingers probe and push,
shaping a piece suitable
to honour the imperfect
which fills his world
within creation’s love.
This new piece is not just an object
of visual beauty,
but a burst of spiritual energy
reflecting an image
revealed from spirit.
Once it is complete
it will forge new thoughts,
give birth to new experiences;
fill life’s soul with compassion;
its wild heart with love.
Emerging from the wheel,
it truly is a rare sight to behold,
strong and firm, perfect
in every way, flowing
from the potter’s devoted hands
the ultimate gift
to a heart longing for bliss.
The potter gives the breath of life
and she runs from his hands
to laugh among the daisies…
my outer light
the soil of earth
birthing new life
in nature’s gentle
the sun’s radiance
the wind’s breath
over earth and sea
A black sky reluctantly reflects faded lights:
it could be harbinger of an icy Prairie drizzle
or maybe a blizzard of snow, who’s to say
all he knows for certain is
it’s all the colder because this is the city
and it’s only been a month since he left the country
when the leaves were turning red and yellow
and through denuded hedgerows one could see
the combines hungrily searching for late harvests.
Without plan he walks along a poorly lit street,
unsure, thinking perhaps he shouldn’t be there at all
thinking also that not being there would mean
not hearing, or seeing; not observing
and remaining ignorant of a way of life
billions experience, endure and he knows nothing of.
He passes a bar, a drunk staggers past him,
he dances out of his swaying path
to be rewarded with a round of curses,
Get used to it he thinks to himself under an uncertain light,
‘it’s the city, don’t let it intimidate,
and forget the ‘always ready to offer help’
for although they need it, they don’t want it
for they are afraid, and their fear has turned to anger:
a black, involuntary anger cultured in blind hatred.
He passes an apartment, a man is yelling at a door,
pacing the wet cement walk on the ground floor.
A woman shouts obscenities and a child wails.
Lewd swearing accompanies verbal threats;
a door slams and the man backs away,
turning slowly back toward the bar—his second home
and in that moment he becomes a leaning shadow
beside a creosoted power pole—the unseen watcher
hands clenched tightly, heart full of tears
watching the drunk going to keep faith with his bottle.
He walks on into sprawling suburbs of row houses
that all look the same silhouetted in the dark,
stunted trees and shrubs creating ambiguous shadows
on dried-grassed lawns waiting to hide under snow.
A dog barks behind a fence, a cat hisses and snarls,
and on the far side of the river a whistle blows
a shift change at the brewery.
Further along the broken sidewalk
and frost heaved pavements of un-kept streets
a row of slum-lord housing outfaces him,
dark phantoms protecting their sleeping ghosts
for another night—if no one comes by, if no one shoots.
A light smell of garbage endures the cold,
mixed with spilled gasoline fumes from a wreck
without front wheels or doors—a sad old Buick
that has already told a story no one remembers
until now—for he listens and it tells him
of the drugged up teens in the back seat
and the engendered child—now dead.
It was at that time and long, long ago
that the stranger walked a city’s cold-shouldered streets
and sought to see into the heart of the people,
but found only fear and rejection.
It was at that time and long, long ago
that the stranger turned from the city’s unfriendly streets,
looking for other places where the people lived
but everywhere he went he found the people
busy building another part of the city,
buying and selling shares in corporate misery.
It was at that time and long, long ago
that the stranger left the city with a sad sigh,
returning to the country where he died quietly
just before the people came with another section of the city
to establish themselves in depravity
and when they burned down the farmhouse
they also burned his diary and his notes.
Do we lose things along the way?
I lost my hat; I lost my cat;
I lost my way!
All is energy:
it is quite impossible to lose
Other things or other lives
simply grow tired of us
and slip out of our control
for a time or for ever.
To be able to lose,
we must be able to own,
but where or when did we
get the idea of ownership?
No one can ever own anything
and life is full of surprises:
I may “lose” myself before morning!
The things I own
likely understand the truth of it:
they break free of owners
and suddenly disappear.
Not for those who have learned
to think outside the box.
Besides, it’s a lot more fun
than just tick-tocking along
stuck in the same old beliefs.
Go ahead, lose your mind!
I heard you playing last night;
the notes cascading softly
through the wall
and settling gently in my heart.
They came as waves
drifting upon a shallow sandy shore
on a quiet moonlit evening,
I could feel your caress
on the polished wood
and every brush of fingertip
on vibrating strings
pulled strange feelings
from deep within my soul,
stirring up some un-named passion.
Your guitar gently sang,
expressing a new meaning for life,
an essence of happiness.
I felt as if I had found the freedom
to cast my unbound love
throughout a world
burdened with sadness;
as if I had the power
to change that old melody.
I hope you’ll play again this evening -
I’ll be listening.
It is a hard thing, is it not
to know anyone’s tears in the rain?
Yet many tears fall thus
and only the tear-maker knows
how they were created
why they came to be
and where they went.
Tears flow with the rain
when the fabric tears;
when what should be
does not come to be
and what should not be
breaks down the door
to take away the child.
I have seen tears in the rain
for I have seen the sky
cry over the earth and the sea
many a time, too many a time;
when the sun could not shine
upon earth nor sea
for sorrow would not let it.
And the child that was lost
I saw again past her wandering.
I saw her somewhere
as another face in the rain;
another tear-streaked face
staring at a dark-grey sky
and barely did I recognize it.
I knew she’d looked her last
upon the things once called good.
Through tear-filled eyes
she’d reached for the hand of faith
and grasped at the arm of hope --
but hand and arm dissolved --
how bitter are tears in the rain.
symbol of vitality,
symbol of life;
anchored in pasts
and possible futures
where I walked and walk,
not always alone—I hear
its voice echo softly
through the mind—I feel
its life energy healing
my soul deadened
by the city’s chaos:
I stand recharging
under its green protection
and I say, not proudly
“thank you, tree
and I hope you’ll still be
here, giving life
when I, or another child
needs you again.”
A toaster is built!
Ah! Made in Mexico, profit!
It lightly browns gummy white bread.
It kills what nutritious value
the bread may have accidentally contained
but who cares? We can hear that delightful
crunching sound in our mouth, feel
that commercial goodness fill our guts
when suddenly, expectedly, one of its coils dies.
The whole damn thing must now be thrown away
in some overflowing heap called a land fill
oozing with toasters, dirty diapers and
other such non-recyclable human waste.
Thus we are forced to buy a new one
and the game goes on
until we too,
Comes election time and people say:
You’ve got to vote!
It’s your duty to vote.
If you don’t vote, don’t complain
if they don’t do what you would like.
This gave me food for thought.
First, ‘tis obvious people vote
to have something to complain about.
Secondly, if I were to vote
it’s just as obvious to me
there’s only one person on this world
who’ll always do what I want
and that would be ‘me’
so put my name on the ballot
and I’ll vote
for my majority of One.
I took a walk I’d hoped would be pleasant
on a cold, wet and windy day
and how I wished the sun had shone;
how I wished for a soft, warm breeze
to warm my face and hands today.
My troubles hound me like a cold wind;
like a driving November rain.
They penetrate my clothes;
keep my heart in their icy grip;
keep me from the love I seek to share;
they numb my hands: and I cannot touch.
There is a way out of this;
a place beyond these troubles of mind;
where bitterness is washed away
as rain washes down a street.
There is a way to see;
a way to skirt potholes and cracks
on the uneven road of life;
a way to not stumble, nor to fall;
a way, a sure way, a final way
to replace fear with love.
How? Consciously choosing
to transform the fear-filled mind.
Is everything a living entity?
a tree, a leaf, a drop of rain,
a piece of paper, a stone,
a hammer, a flower,
a cloud, a universe:
do they have feelings?
What does life have to say to that?
Yes, they all have identity,
existence, energy, feelings;
a sense of self-awareness
all being a part of the All-ness:
life expressing itself.
Thus do I understand; do I know:
everything deserves respect;
for I am of everything
and if I would be understood
I must express same in turn.
A simple enough lesson to learn.
But man has no compassion;
he is but a mindless consumer
that cannot feel the pain his needs
engender in a world that can never be
his to use or abuse at will.
And so he brings forth his own end.
The prophet heard the coming of the times:
of course he did, that’s what prophets do.
The prophet saw the rising of the tides:
of course she did, that’s what prophets do.
The prophet tasted fully the changing of the times:
of course he did, that’s what is said people will do
to those who insist on being prophets --
to those who always must give the right message
always in the worst possible time: when society hears
but finds it terribly inconvenient to listen.
The prophet for her trouble was nailed upon the tree
and her children sold into slavery.
“Should I have remained silent for the children’s sake?”
She screamed in agony dying abandoned and alone
but for waiting vultures perched on two lesser trees.
The question has been answered already by society:
by a railing, mocking, gawking, thieving multitude
that stole her last possession and jeered:
“If thou be the Prophet and True, save thyself and us!”
The prophet has returned to her own world to grieve
and “The Prophet’s Story” is now known far and wide
across immensities of space where other worlds spin;
where humans evolved beyond the plagues of darkness;
where they listened to their gifted ones and realized in time
no one has ever choked from swallowing one’s pride.
A new body has been given her but she insists
that on her back, her hands and feet, as in her heart
it must continue to broadcast the scars of her passage
to remember, to feel, the hate-filled sea she faced in trial
and every night no sleep she allows to ease her sorrow:
cry she does, tears uncounted she sheds, for her children lost
who unknowing and un-remembering must now die
beyond reach of any compassionate heart or mind.
She was sprite, elf, wild, untamed:
she loved to dance to danger’s beat,
always one foot on the very edge of life.
Thus I encountered my mystic love,
in a place of her own devising.
I knew any love she expressed,
even from the depth of her heart,
would be as fleeting as a desert storm;
that she would fade away as a season;
as a summer wind.
I needed the experience offered
of a sacred moment of passion:
I boldly stepped within the circle
she drew for the daring in the sand of her life.
Though the wind blows cold now,
and the love I knew, beyond the farthest star;
though I walk in emptiness and pain
of a fire no longer kindled, yet still burning,
I remain without regret
in the memory we created and lived.
Now I too can dance with danger;
can live on the razor’s edge:
from her I learned to disregard caution.
The past is the springboard,
the future, free to look to its own ends:
I can but live for the moment.
I knew heaven in her season of passion,
in her laughter and her kisses:
why refuse a taste of hell now?
My life belongs to that untamed past
where she still dances in kinetic waves
but my soul soars on winds of eternity
where I surely will recognize her again…
( get all you can while you can and
damn you, yes! my antiperspirant
A N Y
other brand of antiperspirant )
is quite a bit like
what it’s commercially tele-
The wild easterly sweeps from the open sea;
gray ocean waves batter a gravelly shore,
their white-crested manes tossed
like some watery hell stallions galloping,
neighing their freedom; thundering madly
over a heaving, frothy wintery moor.
Whipped snow and sand hiss among brown grasses
mixing brown sugar puddings, drifting, filling,
mercilessly driving shorebirds from shelters.
Plaintively peeping to one another
these seek new refuge among standing rocks.
White gulls glide on motionless pinions,
skirting lashing waves, crying;
black cormorants in rapid wingbeats
skim the green tempest purposefully
diving out of sight in rolling trenches.
Scavenging along the thunderous beach
turnstones and black oystercatchers
seek their allotment of daily sustenance
among tortured seaweed and rolling gravel
occasionally bashing to its death
a small crab flung high upon the shore.
From a distant rock hidden by driven clouds
a mournful horn blares its warning:
warning passing trawlers and freighters to
!stay away!!stay away!!stay away!!
The storm rages unabated
its perceived violence proving once more
that in contest between man and sea
primordial force will always possess
the last word upon this magical world.
I once met an old man,
“Time is never a friend,
It conspires against us;
allows us to believe
it has a generous nature
to rob us of life.”
I’ve thought about those words
every day since that encounter
and what can I say?
He has a point!
Who can deny it?
Waging war on society,
creating global injustice
in the name of security or profit:
does that really work?
Does this make us “better?”
Longer-lived; morally superior?
Does it not just bring us closer
to some catastrophic downfall
of a world that has turned its back
on sharing and understanding?
If history shows anything at all,
it is that continually waging wars
has never brought forth
the “intended results” -
given individuals or nations
the peace and security they crave.
All violence is not evil -
but violence planned
to achieve some selfish goal
at another’s expense,
at the cost of another’s life
or livelihood: that is pure evil.
All the wars waged by man
upon this benighted world
fall in this latter category:
there has never been a “just war” -
only “just more war” -
for wars create enemies;
and “enemies” are fed by fear, anger, hate
and a desperate need
to get even if it takes a thousand years.
Kindergarten lesson number one:
Wars, by their very nature
are not waged against enemies:
they are waged against society;
against what we call life;
against all; against our self.
Some ponder daring trips
down rampaging white waters
driven by the need to conquer.
A perceptive one told me:
“To travel a river quietly
in a light canoe or sleek kayak,
is not to conquer or to win
but to find oneself far away
from driven madness.
The exercise rests the mind,
giving it a peaceful unity
within natural surroundings.
What point is there fighting for life
in raging waters
making it impossible
to savor the passage?”
I learned from this that
challenging white water canyons
at the risk of life or limb
is but another expression
of thoughtless human pride.
It is best to remember
that nature’s mighty or tender ways
are given to be enjoyed
not dared, conquered, tamed or killed
(and may I add:
not raped nor destroyed!)
Some live on and long
past the expiry date
on the birth certificate
brandishing a valid
credit card number and
some die young
some not so
some in notoriety
some in fame
some still popular
and some, oh well
that should read
and for most, oh well
not much of anything
young or old
the poor rich
and the rich poor
in faded jeans and business suits
in trading places
and they unseeing
walk the same sidewalks
drive the same freeways
frequent the same attractions
and death, like a mousetrap
on the fat and skinny
the cute and ugly
the smart and dumb
the white and (the
politically correct) non
will that be dust or ashes
the undertaker asks
his death silent
seriously reposed overtaker
eight hundred and twenty-third
lopsided grinning loser
that’s all she wrote.
Dawn, and I open my arms wide
creating a vision of you dancing,
O beautiful woman of the sea:
of your love sweeter than the finest wine
to fill the hunger of my heart.
Noon: your soft hands caress my skin
lighting the fires of desire
and now, on these golden sands
the whole of me consumed
pants and sweats – the sun smiles.
Evening: by the gentle flame of our fire
I touch your perfect body
feeling the feeling that gives life to life;
the feeling that defies all languages;
the feeling which only you
could ever kindle in my soul.
No other has cared, even less dared
share the sacred place, the sacred space,
with one like me between land and sea;
or soared among the stars to love one such
as I but you: wonder not why fittingly
I dedicate this day to you.
from selfish goals.
Raging mountain storms
for mundane thrills.
In the tossing chaos
that is my mind
I hear a peaceful voice
speak this wisdom:
pervades your soul;
when anger and fear
grasp your heart;
rules your desires;
reach for yourself
and you will see
you are not the things you own
nor the beliefs you were given.
You were never
unclean or sinful,
but a being of light
hidden in a coffin.
You can open the lid
and walk out
…anytime you choose.
Old man in broken shoes, stinking rags;
back bent by harsh, cold years:
What are you telling me,
when you shiver on cold nights
barely kept at bay by dirty damp blankets;
your exposed skin stung by drifting pebbles
in drafty spaces under a railway bridge?
Old man, why do you pray? You say:
Please, all I need today is enough money
for a warm meal and a smoke.
Who do you talk to, Old man?
What sort of crazy are you?
Was it a mother who taught you such foolishness?
Like a hunchback of old, he walks away
and a gang of kids eye the raggedy shelter.
Their laughter is harsh: they speak of thrashing
the meagre belongings; burning the blankets,
destroying the collected treasures
carefully packed in Safeway shopping bags
when unexpectedly, one of authority says,
“Wait! Could be one of us some day, huh?
leave him some spare change
instead.” And curious,
they hang around for the old man’s return
but what they hear and see
shocks even these wingless pavement angels
for the old man, childlike kneels down with tears,
and thanks his God so naturally.
And I wonder at this miracle, this foolishness
of a man and his God…
Who is this God? Who answers such prayer?
Is each one of us “God”?
Each capable of stunningly amazing things
just not aware, too scared to dare?
To be that which we always were?
Ah, soul! I pray you be re-made
in the image of a real God of love:
dare I believe such a prayer? Can it be answered?
Years of taking, years of greed unchecked
leave a rich man’s coat threadbare,
with open seams and little warmth.
Faced with bitter winter winds,
vulnerable, fearful, apprehensive,
the rich man does not part easily
with outmoded ways and worn-out rags.
He hugs himself in tattered remains
of pride and prejudice.
He shivers in bitterness,
knows the inevitable is nigh:
the cold winds of his dying ways
end his money-powered life:
the worn-out coat disintegrates
as a new sun unleashes it’s warmth.
Survivors of his downfall,
who struggled; who did it with so little;
those denied the warmth and comfort
of the old winter coat in its prime
are thankful now they were not taken in
by false claims of earthly wealth
for now, in peace and comfort
they walk the shining new earth:
The rich man’s grave sprouts flowers
which children pick for their mothers.
I say, will they ever find a cure
for that dreaded thing we call cancer?
Think for a moment what would happen
to all those fancy establishments,
research facilities and accoutrements;
specialists and their bevy of helpers?
It would certainly mean more
than a few jaguars repossessed, wouldn’t it!
A few multi-million dollar mansions
in the hills, on the seashore, on some island,
would also be up for grabs…
Patients: oh well, why not call a spade a spade:
I mean, managed human pain and suffering
is the price we must be willing to go on paying
to keep the money rollin’ up those golden streets.
Well, at least it’s the price the selected few
who lied, cheated and kicked their way to the top
are certainly quite willing to charge -
The question is, how much we are willing to bear
while we watch our children die?
So, you will be tempted to say:
do you have a better way? A certain cure?
Well, let me say, at least I know this:
that whatever “they” are up to in their white coats
certainly isn’t working, so nothing to lose here -
everyone of us possesses any cure for anything
for there’s no such thing as a disease,
just a great collective lack of understanding
coupled with a great collective fear.
Didn’t a man of his day once claim,
(after curing a man blind from birth)
that greater things than that we would do?
Isn’t it about time we got serious about it
and stopped putting our lives in the gaping mouths
of little white sharks with drugs and scalpels?
I’m willing to think about it – seriously!
Tears in the wind
from life seen and tasted
past the boundaries of earth
past the last signpost
of this universe,
(but what did I perceive?)
that I could understand
walking this vale of storms
in restless winds
weighs heavily on my heart -
a tumble weed
disheveled, naked, hungry
lifting scarred hands
to unsmiling copper skies
I cried to faded stars
out of my pain
“Tell Me Why?”
—I heard my voice carried off
in raucous laughter
the wind’s laughter
through tears in the wind
I caught a glimpse of something,
unusual, fleeting, intriguing
and I called it compassion.
It’s no secret
secrets are the parents of gossip:
a secret that cannot be told
chokes the mind
and puts a fire on the tongue
until someone is found
to impart the secret to:
but don’t tell anyone!
The fastest way to spread a rumor
is to call it a secret!
So perhaps we should do away
with the concept of secrets:
hold everything in the open,
everything public knowledge.
No more secrets!
(And an amazing side effect:
No more gossip and of course
No more politicians!)
Speak to me of compassion
if you would speak at all
and do not speak of love
for love (as has been said)
covers a multitude of sins,
or should I say, hides them well.
Many terrible acts are committed
in the name of love,
but never out of compassion
for compassion cannot lie.
If you are to speak to me
yet know nothing of sorrow
then waste not my time
with your drivel
for compassion is found
deep within the well of sorrow.
Such knowledge is not
a popular flavor in the dish
of written new age spirituality
where uninspired corn
meets its twin flakes!
that I can give:
with life barely tasted,
what are you, child?
Why can’t I recognize you?
I look into a mirror
and there I am!
"It's mine to think on, mine to decide, mine to know --
mine to act upon” – so she thinks alone in the dark
as the day wears on the snow, the sea, the city of noise;
as she conceives it all -- the torrential flow of despoliation
to fill every valley, level every mountain, dry every river.
“It is mine to do as I please in this respect,” invisible
she stumbles through her thoughts alone in the crowd,
jumbling the words that will not form the conclusion
she is looking for in her mind -- "mine, not theirs"
she repeats endlessly as the winds suck her breath dry.
“However acceptable, however deformed, however strange,
my life belongs to me and me alone. It is mine.
Thus am I empowered to keep it, or give it away:
who shall gainsay me in this? The gods?
Those who had me killed for my healing hands?
Those who said the Devil empowered me?”
"Perhaps the Devil rules this planet of the damned --
his works are plain enough for all with eyes to see --
but if that’s so, the God who craves humanity’s love
most certainly is drunkenly asleep on His golden throne
with no one daring enough to wake him from his stupor.”
“So, earth, I ask you: if those in whom you trusted
have abandoned you to the ravages of predation;
forced you to serve them as a bawdy, denuded whore,
will you accept my help this time around?
Will you speak to me if I bring you the wisdom you lost?
Will you turn your heart to me for the compassion I carry?”
“Will you this time accept the alien cast down upon your shores
and agree ‘tis time you should humble yourself
before the one who would pardon your waywardness
and teach you the one sure way to save your innocents?
Will you reject your false lovers, your handsome Powers
your predators whose hearts carry the stench of death;
your oppressors whose mouths are filled with carrion?”
“Will you settle in my cupped hands as a wounded bird,
seeking refuge from your emptiness and loneliness?
Will you draw close to my open arms under the moon
when I offer you my life to heal your boils and open sores?
There is coming upon you and I the day prophesied
when the sun shall not rise as expected and the stars will fall;
when a poison of darkness will seep into your very marrow
and death will proclaim his victory over you and yours.”
“In your pride you said: “This shall never be.”
for the people said you were a goddess of power:
Gaia, they called you, and you accepted this false honour
though it never was yours to accept – and you knew it.
I just wanted you to know that I know – for it was said
that all things would be laid bare, even the deepest secrets
and they would belong to those who sought for truth.”
“Here’s my olive branch, wrought from my heart, my very life,
offered to you without strings attached: will you take it?”
And without waiting for an answer she continues her walk
whether to hall of fame or scaffold, she no longer cares
for now she sees it all and all makes perfect sense.
“Yes,” she sighs, not in weakness but in renewed strength:
“I will do what I determined, what I set out, what I came, to do.”
She brushed past my heart
in too early Spring,
her love’s fragrance briefly
filled the empty space
around my life.
I have seen flowers bloom
impossibly in lingering snows;
eager to cover earth’s nakedness:
I should have believed her,
put aside my doubts.
Now rain drips from leaf to leaf,
nature weeping, hushed in mist
and ever-present low-lying clouds-
or so it seems to me-
should I too, give in to tears?
What impressions do I retain
of my heart’s sudden encounter
with a love unexpected, unrequited?
My sorrow has replaced
my so foolish fears and doubts
and I wonder: will she ever return?
There’s a question about the Bible
in Christian circles, maybe others!
What does the Bible really say?
Seems it all depends:
if what I read is what I like
(then it means just what it says)
but if what I read I don’t like
then it’s obvious
the text needs interpretation.
Seems pretty simple:
I think the way to take the Bible,
not being of Christian persuasion,
is like any other political speech:
read my lips,
never mind what you think you heard.
I can look at biblical text this way:
I imagine God looking down
in perfect seriousness saying:
“I know you believe you understand
what you think I said
but I’m not sure you realize
that what you just read
is not what I mean.”
See? Now it all makes sense
Still, I have another question:
How will I know the interpreter
has figured out what God really means,
if God himself doesn’t seem to know?
By the monetary value
of his divine blessings?
By my health and happiness?
Well, by what?
(re-touched when the war against Iraq began – March, 2003)
How much pain,
How much suffering
How many deaths
will we continue to accept
(in the name of corporate greed)
before we develop the courage
before we realize our power
before we say “Enough!”
and change the course
of our history?
What’s too horrible to contemplate?
And what would that be?
How about sharing
all of earth’s resources?
How about acceptance:
me of you,
you of me?
How about respect and honor
Is there some great ancient law
that forbids us from loving one another?
if we get the guidelines right
the details will take care of themselves!
“Some are guilty -
all are responsible.”
(Abraham Joshua Heschel)
I see those who rape the earth,
and rob the sea of its life;
who hunger to condemn the innocent
and lust to enslave the weak,
unmindful even of the dying.
While the over-abused world
hovers on the brink of death,
but before all ends in darkness
I stand at the edge of the sea
and beseech Gaia, the Earth Mother
to remember the day in eons past
she brought life to the planet.
To Gaia, goddess of earth
giver of life.
I hear the wild ocean pounding
upon a very ancient shore,
its waves crashing and thundering
shaking rocks and rattling stones,
dragging the earth back into itself:
I hear the thunder as lightning
whips unruly clouds wildly driven
by swirling winds.
Yet, upon that shore I can stand
Alone, naked and unafraid – touch
that wild ocean’s back with fingertips,
‘til it lays purring at my feet,
caressing the shore gently;
‘til the sun comes out,
‘til the clouds turn white,
‘til the breeze whispers softly through my hair.
In that storm, there is great strength:
A movement of shaping, creation in toil,
majestic, wondrous changes being wrought.
Did it destroy? No, only a creative spasm,
Birth pang of mother earth, evolution,
A way of continuance, endless change:
Not power, nor death, but eternal life –
in eternal motion!
Daily I witness another storm
Full of brute power, savagery, unstoppable:
imprinting deepening scars upon the earth,
fueled by wild unreason and demented minds,
darkened by lure of greed, by lust, by ego gone mad.
I try to tame this one with love also
but it lunges madly at my extended empty hands,
attacks, tears and leaves me to die
among its legacy of dread and death,
to rot amidst shards, shreds, shatterings
of expiring life it sends flowing
down a polluted river Styx:
The power storm whose epicenter
holds so deathly still, so confident
in every boardroom of every land.
Who has experienced love
as a dance in the morning sun?
Who has realized
that love is never found
cringing in doubt;
clinging to old fears
or crying in loss and abandonment?
Who knows how love reveals
its depth and warmth,
its wisdom and life?
Who are those who,
in good times or bad
have offered her their hand
and walked her uncharted paths
with an open heart
filled with understanding?
Wistful golden waters
flow, twist and wind
an inviting amber path
to the setting summer sun
where skies burn crimson
and lovers make promises
they cannot hope to keep;
where my soul is drawn
by earth’s magnetic pulse
as a shaft of light pierces
burning scarlet clouds.
I saw her dance in autumn leaves
of misty vales;
I saw her run with wild horses
over wind-swept plains
her fading untamed world.
I don’t know why I saw her
as I was following the trail
of other hungry, greedy men
stripping her land of riches
long dead in the madness
called trading centres.
Perhaps it was just
a sudden warming breath
of the Chinook wind
which brought me a fragment
of her song from the wilds
causing me to stop and listen:
“Your soul will never be content
with riches sought from greed:
they bring but pain and misery
true riches are found only here—
in a garden planted with dreams
watered in celestial love…”
The sound of her voice,
the measure of her words
will haunt me forever,
the wandering poet
no longer able to believe
the world’s version of riches.
Who knows but some of the ideas in the books may get you inspired to do that thing you always wanted to do, even if this comes in a very small way, to make your corner of this world a better place to be in. Who knows but you may realize your little corner is a really nice place to be in after all. It's all about life, if at times expressing life "outside the box" as the saying goes.