Shout Outs II


Here’s another shout-out from my little book of poetry.

This one is directed at Kitty Stirling, an artist, and more importantly in this context, a neighbour of mine at a music festival last summer. During the course of a conversation, she said something quite profound and later that day, in between music performances, I mulled over her words. Subsequently, this poem tumbled out.

It’s not my best piece of work. Hell it’s not even my piece of work – any depth which it may contain is solely due to Kitty’s words.

Which is why a shout out was appropriate.

More shouts to come…


Soul Bait

They dangle it
From up high.
Through the rippling
You may see the sun
And think this
Easy manna from

Beware beautiful
Brave soul
For attached to
The prize
Is a hook
And attached to the hook
May soon be you.

In our modern existence
We carelessly tag this
Click bait
As may fish
If they could verbalise
Call it bite bait
The reality for fish
Is that it is their
Which the angler seeks.

And for us,
Boys and girls,
We should know
That they who send
Down the treats
Seek to impale
Our essence.
Our very souls.


This contained magic
A liquid which would sing
As it ran through your fingers.
To breathe its aroma was to
Be intoxicated with joy. I
Would dance at the very thought
Of it.

I, of course, ingested and
Experienced little explosions
Of elation as I tasted this
Ambrosia, for sure
With its origins in a heavenly

I still return to the phial
Listening carefully as if
Sweet melodies might once
More be
I lift the grey dust to my face
And masticate dirty powder
Vainly expecting flavours of bliss.
It makes me sneeze
But I try to inhale it

No perfumes here today.

It has gone. No more.
Magic there once was
But somehow it flew.
There be only
A sad and moribund

Soon Gone

We dance here
As if at 3am
In blackest
Of shebeens
Beer and spliff in hand.

We imagine an
Eternity of existence
Here on this
Mortal dance floor
The break of day
That must be
Can surely
Never be
To you and me

But friends
I’m soon gone
It won’t be so long
I still dance
Leave imprints on the floor
So that maybe someone
Will recognise that
I went before

Ancora Imparo 2018

Don’t let anyone tell you

That you are the

Complete article

That you’ve reached the

End of the path

That you are



Or other adjectives

Which contain an

Air of finality

About them.

Truth is,

In an ever evolving


We are fluid;



Even if the cosmos

Was static

Chances are

The multidimensional

Complexity of our

Beings would continually

Throw up new




To explore

And realise

I’ve discovered something

Major about myself recently.


A holdall filled with large rocks

Slung over my back

That I’d been carrying since youth.

I’d never thought

To question

Its function or whether it

Were preventing flight

Ancora imparo

As the



Apparently liked to say.

Destiny always

Has a plan.

We Become Automata

I’ve been ill. I’ve had a lingering ailment for a couple of weeks and at the weekend it developed into a full-blown flu/virus type thing. So off went the computers, the office door was firmly closed and I took to bed accompanied by some of my favourite books, ancient Indian philosophy, a George Harrison autobiography, and even a small Kant primer. It was an enjoyable time and I wished that I would do this more often, without needing to be ill.

Something about being away from social media has given me the space to think about this modern phenomenon a little more clearly than when I’m deeply entwined in its sticky tentacles. Thus I have given it some thought, and I now have a conclusion. It’s this: social media is dangerous for the intellect and the soul. The reasons are probably manifold, but in my brief analysis I have highlighted three. 1. the brevity which is a feature of SM discourages complex meditative thought. This can develop into a habit (even amongst the educated and intelligent) which one takes into everyday life. 2. It is of a highly distracting nature such that even if one is pursuing an an activity which requires/leads to deep thought and meditative insight, one can be disturbed by the knowledge that a device is within reach offering all the dubious joys of SM interaction. 3. It appeals to one of the negative aspects of human nature; it is often said that one of the highest human behaviours is giving without expectation of reward. Social media is predicated upon an appeal to the very opposite instinct in us – the need for reward. Our actions on SM are judged (by ourselves and others) by the number of  likes, comments and views. This also is corrosive if it becomes ingrained in our behaviour.

However, as with most things dualism is at play here. It would be as disingenuous of me to state that SM is all bad as it would be for a tech evangelist to say that it is all good. It is neither. It is both good and bad. It is useful – for example I find Facebook and Twitter essential for keeping in touch with old friends and to be introduced to new ideas. Nevertheless, the three deadly attributes of SM described above cause it to be a  dangerous tool and should be treated with caution. It is also true that SM success can lead to recognition, fame and perhaps power but these are hardly core attributes of citizens of utopia. The societal outcome of SM is that instead of the enlightened humanity that we thought might be a feature of the future, we become automata: addicted, reacting, programmed. No longer able to devise and consider lofty ideals, we spend our time in the lower regions of conflict, greed and reaction, without necessarily knowing why.

The new generation who are being raised and socialised on SM will either recognise this and find a way to counter its harmful effects, or, with no knowledge of alternative ways of being, and with spiritual and ethical guidance in short supply, they will become slaves to the algorithm; automata.

We become automata.