Random thoughts in a pandemic

Compassion seems to be in short supply. It’s being zapped from us right under our noses. The problem is it is not just on the personal level, but it is happening on a global level. The ‘Zapping’ is happening through all the main social media channels and their agenda is shaping our children’s behaviour into one ever-growing and expanding compliance programme of alternative values.

This zapping brings my Wobble expedition over to the world artificial intelligence. Yes AI, the thing that some scientists insist we are years away from. Some deny it even exits. Doesnt that sound familiar? But I’m afraid the behavioural modifications designed by humans and perfected by AI is right here and now. I believe humanity and AI is touching nose to nose.

We surrender our sensibilities as we become digitally hypnotized by Google and its many tools of compliance, that offer maximum convenience and zero privacy. It’s justified to be in our best interest to embrace technology just as long as we consume, consume, consume.

But we need to examine this closer. Google and AI is not just trying to manage our consuming behaviour. AI has watched and studied us at a cultural and global level. And as does this it controls the narratives that makes us believe we are in control, or out of control depending on which government they approve of. Here we see how this impacts on international events and our responses to them. This type of behavioural control resulted in the phenomena we now call Brexit.

Cambridge Analytica was exposed for the personality profiling it released over Facebook, and the resultant influence over millions of wavering voters is well document. The result effect was the Brexit outcome.  This outcome was chosen for us, the people, not the other way round.

This is how the Google mind works. It is how AI works. It is learning human behaviour, mimicking how we think and feel and in doing so befriends us and gains our unwitting trust before it attacks us. Similar to how viruses attacks surrounding cells in the body. 

Before he died Professor Stephen Hawking warned us that AI is a risk to the future of humanity. He expanded his warning, to say that unleashing AI without ethical safeguards would be catastrophic to our species. I often reflect what does that mean? How could we allow anything to endanger our on species. That’s insane. But look around us now, our species has been fine tuning the extinction of our own making. Climate change, poverty, racism, biological and chemical warfare and the permanent threat of nuclear war which still looks ever present.

This is Hawking’s warning, to trust with extreme caution, but we have already possess a built in trust mechanism based on fear of consequences. This the other side of Google, it knows what we fear and why we fear it. Then it reinforces our basic fears by bombarded with narratives, memes and media reports from the frontline of the escalation of everyday violence, and this reinforces us into compliance.

How do we stop this system of reinforcement? Is it possible to stop using AI? I believe it’s too late to prevent this because it is here, it is already surrounding every thing we do. But is not too late to change this. We have a fast diminishing opportunity to up our game. How do we begin to engage in non-violent, non-dualistic, non-compliance. We have to become de-radicalized to AI and turn the maddening thing off. Have a break, sabbatical or Sanzen. Have a path, with those you love and might love and find our way back to humanity. To do that we must embrace compassion.

Compassion is found in the simple things like how the Barista, on a cold morning in Costa, tries to muster up a smile, the first smile, to the first customer who comes through door. I say hello and asked how she is? And meaning it as I watch how her smile becomes natural and relaxed.

Compassion is also found in attempts made to reach out to the hardest to reach people, who are struggling to make sense of it all when nothing appears to be making sense. And we are seeing a massive resurgence in global pain and suffering during the pandemic.

Compassion is never lessened, stunted or injured by guilt or blame. Acting from a place of compassion means we surrender notions of guilt or blame, it just reaches out into the void of human frailty and gets on with the job.

Dedicate to many more, too many more of my colleagues who have lost their battle but not their courage to Covid-19.

Poetry 'n Prose

21st century blues

21st century blues

Acoustic Ramblings

Unrequited Blues


Wherever the blues is singing, that’s where I can be found


Poetry 'n Prose

Talking poetry with the taxman

I offered a stanza

He couldn’t account

for comodity of feeling

In my recant

Poetry 'n Prose

Leave me the chasms of lost promises

Leave me the chasms of lost promises, the chaos, leave the gulf, leave nettle poison, rags.
Take everything.
I’ll be a mountain cave, live like a wolf
or crazed wild man, eyes full of suffering,
who cannot learn what love has always claimed
but longs to find it, unsheathed from the clasp
of someone who owns nothing, naked, maimed:
to give all for a dream beyond his grasp,
to die in peace, yet drink lifes bitterness,
to sieve pure song, full throated, out of thunder deep to sound the depths of woman’s innerness,
then perish on full lips, flesh ripped asunder
yet not be bound to earth by bony time, gripped by his own delusions,
he hears how the wind cries

These stubs of pain have shrivelled, since your fire
has burned them out and what was left, their ash,
scattered on windswept water, and desire blistered on the flickering of an eyelash, smudged, crumbled and dispersed — except for this,

Whatever self your substance might allow
has so unravelled, past analysis,
that what I was no longer matters now.

So, skittering, feeble, pitter-pattering heart,
although you seem past breaking, still you’ll beat on and on,
timekeeping for the voiceless part
that heralds this — and darling I that can’t retreat
to habitats of longing, well entrained
by those on whom your love have never rained who too lay in wait

in the chasm of lost promises. 

Photography Poetry 'n Prose

In The Dreamtime

C_bM0B7XgAE6xWZ.jpg_smallIn the dreamtime
I saw you in the reflection of the sunset,
as the auburn red and gold
began to light up the night.

Poetry 'n Prose

Finger tips

Those days I held your hand
we couldn’t help it
watching endless love
from the sidelines

even when you make me
watch those bloody antique auction programs
didn’t need to know
how much it was worth

You see sheep know what I’m saying
I’ve read their newsletter
Zen and the Art of Abattoirs –
an impressive article on stoicism

and love
in every issue.


Poetry 'n Prose

I’m afraid

I’m afraid of the dark

I’m afraid of giant machinery and sharks

I’m afraid of finding worms in the apple, after the bite

I’m afraid of how easily Capitalism has become the effective tool of governance and social policy

I’m afraid of friendly fire and planes as bombs and bombs from planes supported by gods whose followers could only be pathetic as their descriptions of their gods;

I’m afraid [like Geldof?] of the “great indifference” that consumes our lives

Poetry 'n Prose

Swift Poem

Swifts are wonderful
For almost all their lives
They live in the sky
Landing only to nest,
Nurture their young
And die

Poetry 'n Prose


me without you

is me without glue

a process without due

a truth subdued

philosophies empty

artwork  brutal

brittle bruised broken

me without you

Poetry 'n Prose

On Days Like These

On day like these
I see the sun is out and my laces are undone
toddlers on mobiles
they know where the game is at

On day like these
I see older couples on benches
sliding palms over each other’s thighs
the comforting touch

On day like these
I see weeds refusing to be judged
no matter how hard
they’re pulled at the roots

On day like these
I see birds ignoring pecking orders
And marching to the front of queues demanding
And winning acceptance of their aspirations

On day like these
I see queues at food banks
fighting back the tears and blows of austerity
an austerity that never starts at the top

I see celebrity presidents without fear,
on fake news
boasting the size of their [nucleur] buttons
warplanes, gunships and drones,

ready in the wing for more strikes against
orphaned refuge babies
hoping somewhen, somehow
someone will love them again.

On day like these
ever resilient scientists develop
a new polymer protective covering
as the ozone layer disappears…

I see optimism and hope
like icecaps into the sea

On day like these
my shoelaces are still undone.

Poetry 'n Prose

The Heart’s Final Stillness

Open yourself to the clearing,
you may retire to receding
points of suspension and yet…
The perfect enclosure beyond
the hot summer’s cauldron

The dark forest mushrooms
The undertow of our longings
And yet there will always be
calm, sky-bearing lake

Is this the last declaration of love or
the heart’s final stillness?


Turner Sky

Poetry 'n Prose

The Drunken Proletariat

There is so much to remember and what of it would matter

to a silent universe devoid of humans or sentient beings?

All the poetry, all the literature what is it for?

The universe is mute to our desires our ambitions

Just as all we amounts to nought in the universe

with each passing moment of our lives.


Every generation forgets and the next generation has to learn again

Teenagers are hard wired to ignore their parent advice

so why do we bother, why do we bother with social order,

with moral relativism or absolutism?


Their generation will ask if such a thing as good or evil in the universe exists?

What is the hunger in human being that there even be a God?

Why is he good, why do the right thing? Who will impose order when God is dead?

The minimally educated, the war dis-empowered, drunken proletariat

manipulated by riches of man’s regress, greed and ambition

that make us fight against that which will benefit all men.


As moral relativism collapses, moral absolutism collapses too

and chaos takes its place,

Resist…. children, resist: question thoroughly

deduce logically, induce imaginatively and compassionately.

When babies cry they cry for all of us

all of us burdened by this spiritual dis-ease

a disease ignored and replaced by the desperate attempt

to find the masses and to fit in – no matter the cost.


Yet we rue so sadly, we crave praise, and cover up blame,

all the time looking away from our rights and responsibilities

for personal freedoms, handling over our hard won privacy

to social media, its algorithms of money and the mind

for big brother who still keeps the watchful eye on us.


We settle for this psychological detention until the only choice left to us

is nothing more than competing brands in the supermarket isle

which are nothing more than warehouses of compliance

where we exchange consumer rights for citizen rights

We remain the drunken proletariats unable to rise up.





Poetry 'n Prose

Tree of passion

Buddha tree
Tilopa tree
zen tree
tantric tree
Kali’s tree

trees of passion
language tree
speaking names
telling stories

depthless tree
deathless tree
tree of comrades
of airs we breathe

dancing on water
cupping clouds
emptiness in form
form in emptiness

immortal tree
human rainbows

come near
see them blossoming!

blossoming now!

Poetry 'n Prose

Tree of dreams

Tree of dreams
and visitations
leaved with hair
of fallen heroes

snake wreathed
giant guarded
threaded with voices
and children’s laughter

against the morning
a scented trellis
spanning noon

blue crowned
tree of earth
water fire
of air of airs

light ship
dusky barge
sailing on
wind seasoned

around year ends
and back again
clay moored

soil harboured tree
prow lapped
by heaven’s tides
sun cradle

moon basket
cloud blanketed
cask of stars
rocking meteors

shaking planets
ploughing galaxies
on long oars
world hammering

sky raking
word breaking
rocksplitting tree

wrist of boughs
tower of strength
pivot fulcrum
axial roof tree

ever turning
clawed through crust
on cliff and crag
pointed dactyl

spark igniting
flame hurling
quill clutched
in a stone fist

day’s page
in green and gold leaf
chiselling plaques

in night’s crypt
with serifs inked
kindling speech
of origins

to sing darkness’s
molten core
of ice moss and coal.

Poetry 'n Prose

Tree of life

Tree of life
planted in my core
spreading growing
many branched

tree of songs
flame tree
rooted in life
breath blown

bone fibred body
tree in a seed
full throated

thousand tongued
thick skinned
creaking tree
enduring thunder

wind eroded
snow bound
under storm clouds
budding slow

through despair
thrusting hopes
of high skies
cirrus strewn

milky ways
and birds returning
wakening sleep laden
circled in memories

close grained
and summerwood.

Poetry 'n Prose

Tree of madness

Tree of madness
tree of angst
set with thorns
sweating blood

pain tree though
showering ghosts
shedding loss

Overshadowed tree
insect gnawed
rot infected
lightning blasted

around whose roots
the serpent coils
around whose branches
flits the white bird

buried in heaven
to flower through veins
arteries nerves
capillary tree

in infinite skies
descending up
and ascending down
rod of aeons

on the high mountain
moss and lichen
mould gathering

where the spider weaves
and the rocks nest
and the bat flitters
and the kestrel waits.

Poetry 'n Prose

Tree of time

Tree of time
revolving burning
prising open
history’s lips

drilling its jaws
to spit pips
needle twigs
and wiry shoots

earthed in its seams
and blood routes
ore flowers
on brittle stems

magnetic amber
resolving mysteries
and diadems.

Electric tree
lightning conductor
fuelling years
with quiet breath

tree of creation
tree of destruction
temple planted
worming woody

fibres through
eye socket
and mandible.

World tree
scroll keeping
cave covered
by sky mountain

joy tent pitched
in wilderness
dome whispering
aspire trembling

gargoyle gnarled
buttress of hills
glory cone
mist piercing

latticed steeple
nesting angels
fan vaulted.

Echoing tree
runged ladder
for the soul’s fingers
valved throat

winged glottis
ringing singing
rib cage tree

forest airs
coral tree
perpetually blazing


Poetry 'n Prose

Laughter is the religion of love

While troops moved in on
Bagdad last night, we sat
in a car and talked
till the moon quit the sky.

We turned from the suffering
the phlegmon of war,
forgot the children born
with cannons for brains,
bullets for food:
forgot the girls maimed
by the dribblings of nervous men,
the upholders of “right.”

As we kissed we ran
through a fantasy world
where streams bred fish
not to be caught but to swim,
where birds flew fearless
in the trees below the sun,
and lovers sang of love—
not in the past tense, a lament,
but in a now of permanent fruition.

Laughter is the religion of love:
and we laughed while the world crept
to the edge of its perch last night,
and we sang and we died with the dawn.

Poetry 'n Prose

Gauge and Engage

Gauge and engage the challenge of your courage

throw down the glove at darkness and dance light

on paths unworn by guru or by sage

grant nothing is for granted, get your wage

only from getting right all that you might

gauge and engage the challenge of your courage


All precedents are clamour in a cage

priorities, mere prattle, crass and trite

on path unworn by guru or sage

if you must cast authorities in a rage

cast them, yet with humour and foresight

gauge and engage the challenge of your courage


And if you cannot stay bright with advancing  age

bind your dreams against austerity tight

on paths unworn by guru or by sage

and run the gauntlet of history, this gauge

you have measured chooses you to fight

gauge and engage the challenge of your courage

on paths unworn by guru or by sage.

Poetry 'n Prose

Catch You Up

How long does it take to reach the end of the lane,
almost stationary frozen? You tell me ‘Go
ahead and feed the ewes.’ I get my jar and catch
you up, take longer than I thought. But you are there
still, moving barely perceptibly just slightly
swaying side to side. You had said ‘Walk on. I shall be
very slow I shall take a long time.’ As distant
galaxies cross our horizon their image will
be frozen.

You often say ‘Go on catch you up’ but often I say ‘No.’
For I like to walk with you, your way more slowly
than the elephant, as a galaxy at the
end of time, faster than the speed of light, so you
are swinging out of ken faster than glances can
any more pass between, faster than I can see
any longer, than I can ever catch you up.

How long does it take to reach the end of the lane?
You are near the end as we watch the galaxies
fade, their appearance frozen in time. I tell you
‘Go ahead, I’ll see that the fire’s OK,’ as they
recede from us. But you are there still, are frozen,
moving barely perceptibly under the trees,
your dark form gathered in the shade. As we watch the
galaxies fade, just slightly swaying side to side,
by the time you reach the shed the sheep are fed, their
appearance frozen in time.

If I can ever
catch you up, put my arm round your shoulder,
distant galaxies will then be moving too fast.
You say ‘Go on’ as distant galaxies
cross our horizon. Will I ever catch up with
you? The end of the universe, frozen in time
as we watch, will never be able to reach us.

You tell me ‘Go ahead, for they will never grow
older or change. They will only grow dimmer as
they recede from us.’ Then when I come up to the
lane I expect to find it bare, but you are there,
your dark form gathered, too fast for me to see. As
distant galaxies cross our horizon, the light
they emit after the moment of horizon
crossing will never. be able to reach us. As
we watch the galaxies fade, which you so often
forget, you say ‘Walk on. I shall be very slow
I shall take a long time.’ You often say ‘You go
on,’ but often I say ‘No.’ For I like to walk
slowly; your way; this majestic way you exist
and travel through this space on the lane by the trees.

How long does it take to reach the end of the lane?
As we watch the galaxies on the way back the
gob of blood glistens on the tarmac where you coughed
and although animals later lick up the blood
the dark patch stays next morning when the tarmac is
I love the way you move so slowly that your mind sees
things differently You often say ‘You go on,’
but often I say ‘No.’ I like to walk slowly
with you, your way; more slowly than the elephant,
as a galaxy at the frozen end of time.

Poetry 'n Prose

Passenger’s view

In the far distance are coppices
that stand stock still
behind a shifting middle ground
and here, where traffic is quick and perpetual.

Properties change, but not that hanging
backdrop, true
to a mind expectant as actors’ boards
for acts by any available you, you and you.

Yet always others in the audience,
fluffing their part,
betray, come late, blur as they pass
this older passenger fixed in some memory.

Could he sit there by the coppices
and stare towards here,
here would stand still, a middle ground
play on, some distant audience interfere.

Who can return to youth and hope
for innocence
again? Most of the acts are known
and the best that age can do is avoid pretence

praying those distant coppices –
where the possible
was yet to be – retain their view;
the lad, if saddened, be unbetraying still.

Poetry 'n Prose

Sweeping Parakeets

Sweeping Parakeets
In sun setting trees swooning
An ageing man’s heart

Poetry 'n Prose


I am the moment
The sole inventor of paradise
Awkward and perishable
The most neglected of times
I am the moment
That mourns over its temporariness