Posts Tagged ‘monk’


my shame of owning
this brand new iPhone 5S
— reveals my inner
monk/puritan — quite distinct —
a sub-personality

Well, microchip technology is quite something after all. Conversely, I experience a swell of pride that I successfully weaned myself off a mild addiction to Twitter and Facebook (I’ve deleted both). The film Steve Jobs was, for me, a useful prod to the imagination to help grasp just how momentously computers have changed all our lives. Computers somehow engage our emotions whether we like it or not — which is quite some irony given they are totally emotionless themselves. Since a couple weeks ago I now own my first ever brand new iPhone. Prior to that, I had been using my sister’s cast-offs. I dreamed last night that I was holding my iPhone 5S under a stream of running water, trying to wash it clean. Then I realised with a jolt that I was supposed to have waterproofed it first. There was some quite  specific procedure for waterproofing, and I couldn’t for the life of me remember if I’d already carried it out or not. This was an anxiety dream and a wake up call to realise I care far too much about my iPhone! But the poem focuses upon the figure in my own unconscious who seems to be always whispering to me how much better off I would be if I owned nothing at all.



magic, white or black?
— a cup of tea or coffee
lovingly prepared

Funny how magic can be either white or black. Likewise tea and coffee. This is a very odd little poem, triggered in the short term by my dream last night which included quite a lot of Christian ritual. The subject of ritual led me to think of the Japanese tea-making ceremony. Way back in the nineties, I stumbled across a book that meant a lot to me — Street Zen — a biography of Issan Dorsey who was a Californian Zen monk who died of AIDS. In the book, there is a quote where Dorsey is trying to describe a moment when he feels he sees into the nature of reality in a flash. It’s triggered by something as simple as seeing someone carry a cup of tea. That has always stayed with me. Magic so often enters our lives via tea or coffee. The most conventional of all drugs. The most mundane of all possible things to be concerned with. Yet who would deny that, in preparing a caffeine drink, we touch routinely on some sense of ritual. And so many of us treat the drink itself as a magic balm. There was nothing about tea or coffee in my dream though: so I am puzzling a little, as to why these thoughts precisely now.


bless him, how he tries —
his face shines with the light of
profound foolishness

I think I spent yesterday at work somehow trying too hard. I was on my own in the office. So much for working without supervision. In my dream, although I was wearing a monk’s robes, I was in fact a guest at the monastery. My companion on the other hand was clearly recognisable as a monk just from the way he smiled.

Many years ago at the height of my ‘psychosis’ when I was homeless and paranoid, believing I was being followed by nuclear scientists from NASA, I stumbled into the beautiful parish church of Much Wenlock in Shropshire and stayed for Evensong. The priest used a well known blessing at the end of the service which moved me profoundly. I have never forgotten it. It’s from the Old Testament.

“The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.”’