The Simple Life

The Simple Life

A bird sang at the top of a tree

A male chaffinch in full plumage,

Colourful,

His song strong and beautiful.

He watched me warily but did not stop singing.

He sang with all his heart

But he was not singing for me.

His song was a warning.

He had staked his claim.

His song was a boast.

It said he was powerful.

He warned off the other males.

He called out that he was here.

He was shouting that this was his patch

That he existed.

That he was strong and fit.

If he sang long enough,

With enough force.

If he sang the song of all time perfectly

She would hear it and she would come.

They would mate, nest and rear their young.

It would make his song worthwhile.

She would come.

So he sang with everything he had.

One day he might not be wary enough.

One day he might not be strong enough.

He would be eaten,

Or chased from his tree,

Succumb to the cold or hunger.

Drop from his perch.

For now he sang.

Life was simple.

She would come.

Opher – 4.5.2021



It is too easy to romanticise nature. Life is hard. You fight for your territory, assert yourself, prove yourself the most handsome, the strongest, the highest status, the one able to provide, and you are rewarded.

Life is simple.

You need food, water, shelter and a mate.

You fight for it with all you have.

If you are the best your mate will come.

If not she will select someone else.

If you are not watchful you will die.

If there is not enough food, water or the weather becomes too harsh, you will die.

So you find a place with sufficient, assert yourself; you sing.

It is a song of strength, a threat, an enticement.

You boast with all your might.

Singing is naked aggression.

If it is enough they will stay away and she will come.

Out of One Comes Many

Out of One Comes Many

Starting with one

                Giving rise to many.

Coming from a place

                Where there wasn’t any.

Impossible to understand

                How it came to be.

Everything about it

                An impossibility.

From the inanimate

                To consciousness.

To see, hear and touch

                The more with less.

We’ve created religions

                To try to understand.

Now science steps in

                To lend a hand.

But to understand

                Is beyond humanity.

No phony explanations.

                Appreciate the majesty!

Opher – 11.4.2021

We live in an amazing infinite universe.

We do not know how it came into being.

We have consciousness. We see, hear, think, touch, smell and taste.

We do not know how.

We live and we die.

We find death frightening so we invented an afterlife.

We found the mysteries of the beginning of the universe, life and consciousness too bewildering. So we invented gods, heavens and paradise.

For some of us these inventions explain everything.

They explain nothing.

They are inventions.

We live in an amazing infinite universe.

We have consciousness.

It is a wonder.

That is enough.

Out of the Unknown

Out of the Unknown

Out of lightning into reality.

Out of chemistry into biology.

Out of nothing into life.

From the darkness into light.

From the mindless into thought.

From lifeless to where it’s rife.

Opher 11.4.2021

There are many great mysteries. One of the biggest is the question of how life arose.

How did a bunch of chemicals become infused with life?

What strange reaction occurred to imbue inorganic molecules with life?

In a universe full of wonder there was nothing to see, hear, touch, taste or smell it. All that incredible majesty was unnoticed.

Then came life and the light, sound, touch, smell and taste came alive. The unverse had a witness.

Over billions of years this life was honed through mutation and evolution into the myriad forms we see around us. Each one a wonder.

This is incredible.

I live.

I walk. I eat. I breathe. I see. I think.

I am conscious.

Nobody knows how.

I find that too amazing for words.

Some invent god to explain it.

Why replace one incredible wonder with another?

Just marvel at it.

That is enough.

A Moment

A Moment

A moment.

The only thing that can ever be

Perfect

Is a fleeting moment.

Nothing lasts.

The flawed universe

Leaves everything

In torment.

In the magic

Of a single instant

The dream of perfection

Is no longer

Distant.

Opher – 29.1.2021

If we could only hold on to those moments where everything comes together in a flash of wonder and the whole universe is vibrant, alive and perfect.

But they evaporate.

If we could only bottle the ecstasy of discovery, revelation and understanding.

But it is elusive.

We live in the moments.

Killing Time Before Eternity

Killing Time Before Eternity

We’re all killing time

Before eternity kicks back in.

On a brief holiday

Within this flesh and skin.

We came from nowhere

And we’re heading that way again.

Fortunately, in between,

We evolved eyes and brain.

We see, we feel,

We experience wonders all around

Standing on a spinning planet

With feet upon the ground.

We are incredibly lucky

To be conscious and aware

Of all the majestic wonders

Around us, everywhere.

We’re on a short break

From the void of nothing.

Staying here for a short while

In the realm of something.

It’s a mere speck

In the eye of eternity,

But we should grasp it

Most heartily.

For this time is all we have

To wonder and enjoy.

With all the enthusiasm

We can muster and deploy.

Opher 27.12.2020

Life is so short.

Experience is so limited.

But we have eyes to see, ears to hear, tongues to taste, hands to feel, noses to smell and hearts to love.

For a short while we have been afforded the privilege to experience the wonder of a whole universe.

I am determined to make the most of this brief window.

Every second is precious.

Poetry – Loss and Gain

Loss and Gain

Every step is loss and gain.

Progress is never painless

We always leave some things of worth.

Choice is often brainless.

Relentless drive towards a future

Losing respect for the past.

Grasping out in one mad rush

For things that will not last.

Opher 29.7.2018

I wrote this in response to the madness of Brexit – people lusting back for an age that never existed when everything was wonderful.

Yet there are things in the past that were valuable and have been lost. Progress is never all for the better. But nostalgia never sees the terrible reality of the past either.

Poetry – Open Your Eyes

Open Your Eyes

We open our eyes into a wondrous place;

Close them and it is gone.

What gives it meaning?

‘Curing the sick,’

Says the physician,

Operating on the tiny child.

‘Giving life to the dying,

Hope to the parents,

Relief to those in pain.

That provides the meaning.’

Understanding the universe,’

Says the scientist,

Solving the problems of the world.

‘Finding what makes the atoms tick,

Where we came from

And the secrets in the depths of space.

That provides the meaning.’

‘Making something beautiful,’

Says the artist,

Creating something unique.

‘Crafting a scene so wondrous

That it moves the soul

And opens the heart to love.

That provides the meaning.’

‘Caring for those in need,’

Says the nurse,

Smoothing the hair from the troubled brow.

‘Providing comfort

From the stress and strain,

From pain and fear.

That provides the meaning.’

‘Worshipping God,’

Says the Bishop

On her knees in prayer.

‘Giving thanks for our lives,

The wonders of the universe

And hope for all eternity.

That is what gives life meaning.’

‘Living in the wonder of the moment,’

Says the atheist.

‘Taking pleasure in the awe

Of each and every moment

And wanting nothing more.

That is what gives life meaning.

We open our eyes into a wondrous place;

Close them and it is gone.

What gives it meaning?

Opher 25.7.2018

Sometimes it is important to reflect that life is short and means different things to different people.

Perhaps there is no meaning other than what we give it?

All I know is that we are born; open our eyes into a place of wonder; live our lives, and then close our eyes and it is gone.

What takes place in between is a product of our desires, our cultural perspective, our indoctrination, our free will and our experiences. Perhaps nothing more.

We live in a moment. We can choose what we make of that.

Infinity – the reality.

This is an anecdote from my childhood as clear today as it was then. The sensation altered my life – a spiritual epiphany.

Head In The Clouds

I was fed up mooching around. Jeff’s Mum had dragged him off shopping. I was on my own.

I set about touching up my track bike; the one I’d put together from parts I’d dragged out of ditches. I’d painted it in rainbow colours scrounged from my Dad. It needed touching up because it took a battering on our little race track in the woods.

After, I oiled the wheels and chain and adjusted the peg holding the cigarette cards so they flicked on the spokes sounding like a motorbike.

Cool.

I decided to call round for my mate Tone. Perhaps we could go hunting lizards? With the roar of the cigarette card engine, I set off up the street.

Tony wasn’t in so I decided to go on my own. The meadows weren’t that far away. I threw my bike into the long grass and started hunting. I checked under the sheets of corrugated iron, poised to fling myself down on any snake or slowworm, but there was nothing. I stealthily crept through the long grass straining my senses for the rustle of a lizard that I could dive on, but to no avail.

I soon lost the enthusiasm. It was too hot.  I sat in the meadow, lost in the tall grasses. The smell of sun-dried hay, the delicate scent of wildflowers hung on the breeze. The meadow was alive with the bustle of activity. I watched, lost in fascination. Grasshoppers, harvestmen and beetles scurried here and there. The flowers were covered in colourful flower beetles, shield bugs and tiny flies. Honeybees, bumblebees, hoverflies and butterflies droned or flitted from flower to flower. Ants tended and milked their herds of greenfly.

It felt like I was peering through a microscope at a different world as they went about their business oblivious to my presence. I watched them feeding, seeking a mate, or scurrying around intent on some task that only they knew.

The air was full of electricity, powered by the heat generated by that summer sun. The sun beat at my skin but this late in the summer I’d already peeled, my skin now tanned dark brown, impervious to its rays. Delicious.

I plucked a long stem of grass, lay back enveloped in its rich aroma, surrounded by the industrious dynamo of nature, serene, sated.

I chewed, peering up into the azure blue sky, watching the odd cloud drift past, at peace.

As my eyes pierced the heavens an idea surfaced in my head: there was no end. The more my eyes penetrated into that pool of blue the more the incredible idea gripped me. There was no barrier, no end, I was staring into forever. The dizzying realisation of infinity seemed to take hold of me. The blue seemed to whirl and suck me into it, falling up into the euphoric metaphysical epiphany of the discovery of infinity.

Just like those bugs, my whole life was minuscule. Reality was infinite. Nothing more.

Opher – 22.3.2022   500 words.

Poetry – Gaia Breathes

Gaia Breathes

A gentle sigh through the long grass,

Sending ripples across the meadows

Like waves across a pond,

Carrying the whispers of eras.

A roaring in the trees

Shaking branches and bending mighty trunks

Like the crash of great rollers on a shingle beach;

The roar of dragons.

Gaia breathes.

Driven by sun,

Ruffling the hair,

Giving relief,

Driving the clouds

To replenish the land,

Bringing back life,

Gaia breathes.

Opher – 20.4.2020

As I went on my daily walk a gentle warm breeze was blowing in my face. I watched the clouds scurry across the sky and hoped I wouldn’t get rained on.

I watched the breeze move across the fields rippling the grass. I heard the wind rattling the leaves in the trees.

It felt like the breath of a living thing.

Poetry – A Hidden Universe

A Hidden Universe

There is a hidden universe within my head,

Residing in the electronic pathways

Of my cerebrum.

This world contains the traces of days gone by,

Of people dead, places visited

Experiences felt.

It’s a store of things that no longer exist,

Distorted through time

Like an image in a mirror

Under the surface of a rippling brook,

Sometimes clear, sometimes hazy.

Memories revisited, unvisited and forgotten,

Waiting to be reawakened.

Incidents frozen in time,

Embellished, improved, recreated

And relived.

A whole life is trapped in fragments,

Unique fragments;

A vision of the world

Containing all that exists of many things.

It’s a jumble of oddments,

Some special, some mundane,

Poorly arranged, poorly stored, frustratingly incomplete.

Occasionally a stimulus causes a forgotten moment to emerge,

Like a silvery fish from amongst the weeds,

Darting into clarity from the depths to surprise us.

Then it’s gone.

One day it will all be gone forever.

Opher 23.2.2022

Inside my head, the whole of my life is recorded. Everything I’ve seen, heard and felt is laid down in a continuous tape, a chemical, electric phenomenon.

It’s a universe with a unique perspective. My view.

I find it miraculous to even begin to imagine this process.

My memory used to be sharp and clear – now it is hazy. So much forgotten.

They say that we rebuild our memories, remake them, change them, embellish hem. Often what we are remembering is the memory of a rebuil memory.

How I wish it was sharper.

I often wonder if it is the memories decaying or the process of remembering becoming less effective.

Age is a frustration.

I cannot remember people clearly, whole events are missing, most days have entirely vanished, yet some are as sharp as yesterday.

One day this whole universe will dissolve into oblivion.