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Spiritual Poetry is a reflection of a ten year spiritual and not-so-spiritual period in my life. It is not all my life. Just a period. It spans a Silent Retreat through the Sahara Desert with the Poem, ‘I Am’ which in many ways was the most natural and sane experience I have ever had.
It also contains poetry that tells tales of my travels and experiences such as ‘Junkie’ which was also a brief memory from when I was drunk in Rotterdam and invited a homeless man back with to my flat. The next day I realized he was a serious drug addict and had to ask him to leave but before he left we discussed Ginsberg and he read me some poetry.
‘Food’ reminds me of the Tibetan Buddhist ritual of leaving the dead out in nature for the vultures to eat. Quite gruesome but also brutal like human nature sometimes. I’ve just read ‘God is Dead’ again at a time when I am just starting to read Neitzsche again at 47 but like Neitzsche I like to think I and he are just killing the idea/concept of God but not the experience. I keep going backward and forwards from The Bible to Neitzsche.
‘God King’ is me doped up on too many Buddhist retreats and profound Buddhist books but I wrote the poem after a Big Mind retreat which blew my mind but in the end really added nothing to my life. There are too many chiefs these days. Maybe one day I will meet a real teacher. Oh wow so was ‘The Fabric of Existence’. I suppose sometimes when we do retreats we get a different perspective on things and that’s not that bad.
I just read ‘Fiery Tiger’s Tails’ after many years. I remember getting a bus to Dover to get a ferry to get back to Holland where I was working. Opposite me there was an old man with a grey beard and around his neck he had a large wooden cross. I just had the idea of this fiery tiger. Maybe there is a god.
‘The Piper’ is for my father and now in hindsight he has passed away and stands as a great testament to his skill as a musician. Unfortunately Scotland never did vote for Independence so what can I say. ‘Rotterdam’ is just Rotterdam what can I say. I loved the symmetry in the modern architecture and there is something about God in symmetry that I like. And the Kunstal Museum.
‘Collateral Damage’ is based around a news story about a soldier that was charged with murder. Of course war is atrocious on all sides but I believe if you take a person and train them to kill then you systematically go out of your way to dehumanise them. When they go a wry it is a shame but what do you expect. It’s about compassion for both sides.
‘Rise’ is cool as I started out practising Zen with the Deshimaru lineage but I have not been sitting for years but I am thinking of returning to Zazen and will find a new Sangha soon. Zen rocks but all religions rock at the heart of it when practice is applied. ‘Africa’ and ‘The River’ are kind of romantic stories either about the continent Africa and its continuing struggles and also ‘The River’ is just the passing of time. Fun poems to exercise the heart and mind.
‘Child Soldier’ is a reminder of early childhood struggles and being brought up among domestic violence. This is a reminder of what all people who experience different types of abuse are like underneath even as adults. With ‘Solitary Pilgrim’ I end up in the desert again. If I have the courage I will die in the desert just before my time. An astrologer told me I would die at the age 78 so I have a rough idea of when I am supposed to leave.
My poetry begins in the desert and ends in the desert where Christ found his soul.