Monthly Archives: August 2018

The Patience of a Gardener

Zen and the Art of Gardening


What better training for meditation

Than training vines along a trellis,

Winding each tendril through the

Frame, gently threading the trails

Under other branches to dangle

Just enough in the sun to shoot more,

The stems too short enforce a wait:

Patience until they can be tucked in,

Behind a stronger stick, weeks or longer

But soon, after some years, just, fronds

Hide the structure; lost like thoughts

Through the training, green grace gaining.


Acceptance of constraints and learning

Yet, for every yin a yang and yearning

To grow we know some still unable

To conceive the concept of what a

Plant implies, portents to be, and see

The straining ungainly, slicing at green

With a pair of shears, wreaking

Destruction tsunami like, leaving

Tender tendrils to push forth once

Again, taking time to train, regain

The sense of self through restraint.



The idea is to make this concrete retaining wall disappear beneath ivy and honeysuckle. Somebody with a shears thinks that the best way is to cut back the new growth to stimulate more growth…

it’s an ongoing situation. Time is hopefully on my side…


The Man with the Shears


Seems the man with the shears will always win…


We coax and encourage fronds to sprout forth,

Watching, enjoying each tiny new leaf burst

In a verdant self-creating sculpture, we wonder

What shapes it will take as we wait while it grows


Doing our best to protect from frost, but we know

The pruner needs pounce only once a year

Undoing all our efforts with his sharpened shears,


And we must go back to coaxing, and just hoping

The trunk grows a little stronger in between setbacks,

Each year more resistant to withstand these attacks.






International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.


At the End of the Days


Ultimately, if our civilization

Can’t continue without further

Ecological destruction and

Genocide of tribal peoples,

It’s not very fucking advanced.



I wrote this the other day after Reading Gary Snyder’s The Old Ways.

Then I heard that August 9th is the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.

Here’s a video.

The main point about allowing people to live the way they always have is to understand that they are not “Stone Age,” nor primitive, and that if they have not already become part of our globalised civilisation it is because they do not want to, not because they’re too ignorant to know better. They do know better. They have heard of the ways of the world outside and they have rejected it. Sometimes because of a very real fear for their lives.

Second thing is to understand that the land they live on, if it belongs to anyone, belongs to them. We need to stay the hell out of there – and that mostly  includes loggers, miners, ranchers, palm oil producers… all those nice people…

Here’s another video. As it asks, how long could you last alone in the forest?

On the other hand, how long do you think it would take one of the Yanomami kids, currently being affected by a measles epidemic,  to figure out how to play FIFA on your playstation?

Five minutes, is the answer to both….


As Snyder said back in the 70s, to be able to survive off what the land under your feet provides is a sign of extreme advancement. Our society can’t do that. it needs so much more…

here’s another poem.




Balance comes in all we observe;

It is a fundament of our Universe:

Strong forces and electromagnetism

Keep atoms unified or flimsy, gravity

Balanced with a satellite’s speed keep it

Spinning instead of spiralling away.

So too on our planet, as the mountains

Rise, so the earth underneath goes ever

Deeper. In our humanity we see the same

Climbing by pushing down others: leisure

Comes only by enslaving or exploiting,

Creating peasants and proletariats;

Cites spread by denuding vast areas outside;

And imperialism depends upon

Ecological destruction.



I donate 10% of my royalties on the Silver Nights Trilogy to Survival International.

The planet needs them, and they need us.







The Lepidopterist’s Dream

Turning on a mountain track

We stumble upon a lepidopterist’s dream:

Butterflies abounding, bouncing from

Bramble to buttercup, clover to cornflower;

A dancing profusion of colour in heat

Haze of August morning amplified

By the addition of dragonflies, damsel

Flies, hoverflies and bumblebees, with

A host of other insects humming and

It occurred to me, that there were once

Such sights in my own suburbs, along

The hedgerows down below and beyond.

That once everywhere outside the city

Centre was an entomologist’s dream, and

The countryside the same for ornithologists

Now they lament the stark scenes

Silent callows empty of corncrakes, and

The bees barely seen in park trees,

Moths no longer litter windscreens

Of a night drive, and these hills, though

Still roamed by pigs and roe, seems so

Similar to those of South Africa, they should

Also hold antelope, lions and leopards

And once they did, until all were lost,

Along with the bison, auroch, and rhinos.


As for the sea, it also should be teeming

They say in the seventeenth century,

Thrashing tails were seen from shore.

Now trawlers roam for days, and only

Coral reefs this century remain, as

The bramble banks of the sea. Yet

How long can its rainbow dance continue?

We watch their wonderful choreography

Holding on to those tiny joys to keep going

But the world is crumbling, we are bumbling

While the coral is bleached clean. Unless we care

More than before, these brambles will be as bare.




if you zoom in, you should be able to see some of the hundreds of butterflies up along this track. I took a video, but it wasn’t very steady…