Yes, well…

15 June 2020

… I haven’t been around.

You know that Buddhist term ‘monkey mind’?  An apt description for that mind that just can’t focus on one thing with any consistency?

You know that goldfish memory that, well, isn’t?

Can you imagine the two combined in some fishbowl-confined underwater jungle where the goldfish leaps over and under tree branches and the monkey runs around and around and around the belly of the bowl, scratching its head and gaping?

That’s me. Or rather, it’s a representation of the inner workings of my brain, and has been for a while. I like to think that I’m not alone. If I am, well I aim to remain in blissful ignorance because there’s enough to worry about at the moment, isn’t there?


I am anti-racist. I am white. The tiny taster of horrific, brutal racism and the privilege that I have that means that in my daily life I never have to think about the colour of my skin has hit hard. It has forced me to truly take on board the fact that my experience of the past few weeks is as nothing when compared to what people of colour regularly have to deal with, in addition to the normal stresses and strains of every day life. Or the not so normal stresses and strains since CoViD-19 came knocking on the world’s door.

I don’t think that I am ignorant and have experienced enough direct ‘isms’ and ‘obias’ of my own over the past decades to refuse to accept hatred directed at other groups. Making the conscious decision to be anti-racist feels like a heavy, burdensome thing. But the burden is nowhere near as heavy as just letting racism continue, through being silent. I refuse to have that on my conscience.

On this matter, the Black Lives matter, my brain is focused. That monkey mind is more akin to one of those Japanese snow monkeys that bath in hot springs in Japan.

The goldfish? Forget about it.




And then all that has sustained will decay

And then the ignorant may no longer be blind

And then dry deserts will devour all that was fecund and free


And then the great and the poor will be desperate

And then the poor and the great will be parched

And then hoards of money will no longer cause a great divide


And then all Earth will be wasteland or dead sea

And then the greed of some will be vanquished by the needs of many


And then all will share equally in Nature’s harsh vengeance


And then all will drown like the sick and the weak and the old


And then parents will gaze on their young

And then the young will die in their arms


And then Earth will be free of our species once again.


This poem is inspired by Judy Chicago’s ‘Merger Poem’an altogether joyous, inspirational piece that, in my hopeful and happy moments, I really enjoy and admire.

Bizarrely, ‘Desiccant’ came to me out of seemingly thin air as I was lying in bed early this morning. Except of course it hasn’t come out of nowhere given the state of the world both politically and environmentally. I’m a great supporter of Extinction Rebellion’s work, so I dedicate this poem to them, and to Greta Thunberg, who has started a revolution where others have failed. 




A teacher, a rabbi came to this earth

courtesy of a star, a manger and a virgin birth.

Ages before, despite the temple’s destruction

oil of one day stretched out to eight –

– imagine the miracle!

Hope lights our times, shadows flee in their wake

Hanukkah, Christmas in one time combined.

Faiths diverge but converge all the same

in their wishes for peace and love and brotherhood,

if you can cut through the soundbites and posturing, that is.

I am a mongrel, one foot in the Deep Mid Winter of my past

My heart swelling to Baruch Hu as I whisper Kaddish in memory.

Y’hei sh’lama raba min sh’maya

Bitter sweet at this time of disruption

For all that is gone, for all that has broken

For all that divides in words left unspoken.




Shalom Aleichem.

As Salaam Aleikum

Oseh shalom bim’romav hu ya’aseh shalom

Let us welcome the Malakhi, in whatever form he – or she – takes.


It’s been a while. Longer than I thought. Life, you know?

Last night saw the first night of Hanukkah and Christmas Eve – two miracles for the price of one. It inspired me to take some time during a small oasis of calm to share my thoughts, my feelings, to highlight just a tiny slice of the similarities in the underlying hopes of the three Abrahamix religions, not to mention in some of the words used in greetings and wishes bestowed.

Yes, it’s probably a bit clumsy (I’ve not written for a while) – but it’s all me.

Whatever faith you follow or not, I send my love to you, my brothers and sisters in this messed-up, argumentative worldwide family of ours.