Signs of the Times

The old times – the good times

Have been a-changing down the years.

And these times – the worst times

Evoking gloom and End-time fears.

For your times and my times

Are lived within this frame,

So it’s high time – the right time

To stake once more our claim.

1998     [Inspired by M. Heidegger]





Did the powerful waves erode the rocks to make this little bay ?

Or did the land itself entrap the sea ?

Listen to the forest music ! Trees

Without the wind are silent

And wind without resistance

Makes no sound.

The splendid sun himself

Cannot, unaided, form one little rainbow.

And those best-loved, enchanted hours

Of dawn and twilight

Could never be,

Without the tender, lingering, sensuous play –

The joyful, free embrace of night and day.

Subject and object die

And phoenix-like,

Our liberated one consciousness


Together, we embrace the world.

Accepting and accepted

We are at once most creative and most at peace.

3rd/4th April 1968



Between the world of knowledge

And the problems of the world,

Between the day of indifference

And the detachment of Enlightenment

is the shadowland.

From justification through Art

To a need for atonement for sin.

From the vision of despair

To the affirmation of life

Is not so far

As from inauthentic existence

To any alternative way.

Between the world of the beautiful people

And the ‘cult’ of clinical concern,

Between the powerless intents of pacifism

And the disillusion of diplomats,

Between grievance demanding revenge

And tolerance of fallibility

Is far enough

To keep us talking interminably

Of the alienation of man.

Between the words I vainly say

And their meaning to another,

Between my most significant gesture

And its interpretation,

Between the intensity of my cry of pain

And the futility of its impact

Lies the division of the world.

Resignation is not enough

And stoicism, an escape to another illusion.

To stretch across the brink

Has some meaning.

And death itself is vindicated

If it opens the way for others

To cross the divide.

October 23rd 1967   [ Just after arriving at Keele University]



An Experience

It is not that life itself has changed

For I still can see quite clearly

The sad perplexity

On every hand.

And yet there is a new mysterious lightening,

A quickening of spirit that I don’t quite understand.

It is not regeneration which so often comes in Spring,

But a vibrant orchestration in my heart,

In everything.

Not the tenderness of being loved

But the creative energy of loving.

Not the touch of your hand

But the living spark of your soul

As it awakens mine.

Here is an ecstasy hitherto unsung,

A gateway to awareness.

For to know one other soul

Is more important than all

The books of philosophy

Ever written. And to love is to know

A kindredship of spirits

That transcends the futility.

This is the mysterious beauty of human existance.

To this we give our assent and in doing so refuse

The lure of death and open

Our hearts again to life.

Mar. ’64


On Remembrance day 1961

It is not so much that we remember them

Or stand in church and sing and think and pray

Our eyes cast down.  But rather it is they

Who speak to us.  Even the scarlet emblem

Is ours alone.  A light to guide our way,

Not to bring them sympathy or sadness –

They have no use of these.  Gladness,

Victory and life was theirs.  Dying, they say –

Life is in you.  Go and live.  Not sinless,

Not without sickness, suffering, bitter tears.

Bring to life the desire to live.   Be heedless

Of death’s sweet allure.  The years

Are too soon gone.  Therefore be tireless

In being glad.  In living without fears.