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.

We Came From Oblivion

We Came From Oblivion

We came from oblivion and opened our eyes

Upon a wondrous universe.

We lived to fill each second with marvels.

We lived to the full.

Then we closed our eyes

And went back to the oblivion

From whence we had come.

There were no fairy tales;

No reawakenings;

No meetings,

Just oblivion.

It was not long enough.

It is never long enough.

Yet it was long enough.

Opher – 5.3. 2017

It seems so human to me to attempt to deal with death by imagining mystical reunions, reincarnations or an afterlife in some future world that lasts for ever.

I see us as biological organisms living in a physical universe of wonder.

I think it is amazing. That is enough for me.

Life is an amazing phenomenon.

Life is to be lived to the maximum. Not to waste a second. It is rarely long enough.

Poetry – Life


Life is like a meander through a wood on a sunny afternoon.

You know you’re going somewhere but you don’t know where.

At first the trail is big and wide with many people to direct you.

But it soon begins to fork and split and meander off into the unknown.

Some paths are enticing but they rarely lead anywhere.

Sometimes you become distracted by a pleasant glade

And stop for a while to linger in the beauty of its dappled warmth.

Sometimes you are lost within the darkness of forbidding trees.

Trails come and go and usually peter out into thick undergrowth.

There is no map to guide you on your journey

And the tales of the fellow travelers that you meet along the way

Are often not at all helpful.

When you set off you had all the time in the world

But it is already late afternoon. The sun is low in the sky

And night is drawing near.

There is no way back to from where you came and no end in sight.

Time is slipping away.

There were so many things that you intended to do;

So many places that you intended to visit

And so many people you wanted to meet.

There was not time to do it all.

Now, as night is about to fall, you wonder if you followed the right trail.

Where did all that time go?

How did you get here?

This is not where you intended to end up

That morning when you set off down your trail.

The journey distracted you.

The trails led you away.

But have you enjoyed your day?

Opher – 8.5.2019

I’m not sure if this is a poem at all. Reflecting back on a long life one is struck by the way one has drifted along. Days were filled with all the routine of work, chores, family and the necessities. Rarely were their moments of clarity. Choices were always a risk.

One packed in what had to be done and selected the options from the menu on offer.

The meal was not always what one ordered.

Poetry – Jack


Society tried to sell me a dream:

                Work hard,

                                Fit in,

And keep your nose clean.

Jack sold me an alternative view:

                Go Go Go,

                                Live it,

Nothing less will do.

Opher – 22.4.2021

I was sixteen when I discovered Jack Kerouac. He came at the right time. I did not like the life on offer. I wanted something much more.

Jack offered sex, excitement, madness, exploration, wonder, awe, music, zen, marijuana and shared adventure.

That’s what I wanted.

It sounded much better than a career.

Philosophical discourse.

According to Descartes, and I go along with him, ‘I think therefore I am’.

The only thing we can be certain of is our own existence. The rest of the universe, including our own bodies, is up for grabs.

We will wake up soon.

All this world is but a stage.

I should imagine all people find it hard to imagine the whole of this universe coming from nothing.

Yet some people do not find it hard to imagine a God coming from nothing and then creating a universe out of nothing. Why is that? Surely that is at least twice as much implausibility?

I think we are back to the nature of mind and consciousness. I am conscious. That is all there is. I’m not even sure about you.

So I get on with it and make the best of it. I could be discorporate in the midst of nothing. Anything is a bonus. Perhaps this is all a figment? Yet what a glorious construction. I should at least relish it.

Is it easier to imagine a mind coming out of nothing?

Imagination is my greatest tool. It can create universes.

Beware! You may be dead!

If you wake up with one of the following symptoms you may well be dead!

  • You heart has stopped beating
  • You are not breathing
  • Your body is stiff
  • You are as cold as marble
  • You cannot move
  • Your brain is no longer functioning

If you have one or more of these symptoms you may well be dead!

What to do


You have no need to do anything ever again. Other people will do everything necessary.


There are a number of benefits from this condition:

  • You will not have to worry about anything ever again
  • there will be no more pain and fears
  • You will not have to do anything anymore
  • All the problems in the world will not exist
  • What is going to happen to you will no longer matter
  • As far as you are concerned, you and the whole universe has ceased to exist
  • You will not have to put up with all the hatred, intolerance, cruelty, stupidity, lying, cheating, violence, destruction, religious fanaticism, environmental madness and thoughtlessness.
  • You can forget about the list of things to do


  • You will no longer be able to experience all the wonders of the universe
  • You will no longer have the love of your friends and family
  • You will never see a sunrise or sunset
  • You will never have a cuddle
  • You won’t be able to have a laugh
  • You will never gaze into a sky full of stars or see the moon glide through the clouds
  • You will never read a great book
  • You will never meet new, interesting people
  • You will never share a great tale or make new friends
  • You will never love your family
  • You will never walk along a beautiful stretch of sand and splash in the sea
  • You will never see colour
  • You will never write a poem
  • You will never stand on the edge of a cliff and gaze out at the wonderful scenery
  • You will never hear music
  • You will not dance
  • You will not fall in love
  • You will not eat a delicious meal
  • You will not watch a great film
  • You will not put the world to rights
  • You will not stand up for a better world
  • You will not fight injustice
  • You will not hold hands
  • You will not see all the birds and animals
  • You will not see a tree
  • You will not look up into a blue sky, feel the warmth of the sun on your face and a cool breeze
  • You will not have hope, anticipation, excitement or satisfaction
  • You will not feel the glow of having achieved something
  • You will not create
  • You will not drink a great coffee while a squirrel climbs a branch in front of you
  • A gorilla will not connect with you
  • You will not climb a mountain and look at the world laid out before you
  • You will not fly to a wondrous place
  • You will not smell a flower
  • You will not just sit around with people
  • You will not go off to see the sights
  • You will not plan and dream
  • You will not be with the ones you love
  • You will not find the unexpected
  • You will not change anything
  • You will never fly a plane, drive a car or learn a skill
  • You will not travel
  • You will not eat an ice-cream
  • You will not fry calamari in garlic butter and sea-salt
  • You will not smell fresh baked bread or cut grass
  • You will not sip a mellow shiraz
  • You will not discover a new writer
  • You will not stand in front of a Magritte and smile
  • You will not feel warm
  • You will not hear Buddy Holly, Roy Harper, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Nick Harper or Captain Beefheart and a host of others
  • You will not think nice thoughts
  • You will no go to the theatre
  • You will not share a meal
  • You will not watch England win the world cup
  • You will not see Hull top the premier league
  • You will not amble through a forest
  • You will not share a picnic
  • You will not sit in a meadow and watch the butterflies and bees dance with flowers
  • You will not hear the birds sing in the morning
  • You will not make love in front of a log fire
  • You will not catch sight of a deer standing under the trees
  • You will not visit Katmandu
  • Nobody will paint you a picture, give you a card, a hug, a kiss or a smile
  • You will not discover something fascinating
  • You will not think great thoughts
  • You will not dream wonderful dreams
  • You will not grill cheese on toast
  • You will not have a cup of tea
  • You will not do something that you thought you couldn’t do
  • You will not make something look better
  • You will not help someone and feel good
  • You will not buy something you love
  • You will not cherish something special
  • You will not get the satisfaction of a job well done
  • You will not sit in your garden
  • You will never kayak
  • You will not debate, argue and fight for what you believe
  • You will not hike through the Himalayas
  • You will not eat chocolate
  • You will not take a photograph of a pyramid
  • You will not solve a crossword
  • You will not sit with someone
  • You will not breathe fresh air
  • You will never hear that interesting programme on the radio
  • You will not laugh at a joke
  • You will not save a bee, a tree or a chimpanzee
  • You will not stare at the northern lights
  • You will not fight for justice
  • Rocks will not glow
  • Friends will not ring
  • Lovers will not love
  • Worlds will not exist

So beware if you wake up dead – you might not have packed in all that you could into your brief time here.

Pete Smiths cartoons of genius – trapped, restrained

P1120120 (2)

I think we all have those unanswerable questions in our head. We crave to be free to explore and find the answers to our existence, to penetrate the mystery, but we are held back by all the restrictions. Society, convention and the strictures of family, career and life in general clamp us down in their cloying chains.

How we long to be free!

Where am I now? The alternative life. Zoot Horn Rollo and me. The quiet life.

Opher Pete high

I’m presently reading the book by Zoot Horn Rollo (one of my musical heroes) Lunar Notes which tells of his time with Captain Beefheart recording Trout Mask Replica and others.

I was fortunate enough to see them play at their peak and the memory is seared into my brain. They were extreme to say the least. Zoot was young, wild, with exceedingly long hair and outlandish clothes. They were the epitome of the Sixties Underground – the alternative to straight society.

He says in his book that he’s now a pretty regular guy who keeps in with the neighbours and mows his grass.

That’s like me. The wild days of my youth in the British Underground, loud Rock Music, all night rapping, excited discoveries, explorations and wonder are in the past. I too paint the windows, load the dishwasher and mow the grass.

I raised a family, bought a house, had a successful career, am happily married and lead a fairly tame existence.

But I still have a lot of friends from those good old days, the sensibilities of those dreams of equality and freedom and an alternative to this capitalist nightmare still persist, the rebellion is still alive. I want a better world. I fight for it.

My environmental credentials are intact.

My creative juices still flow. I still like thinking outside the box.

I still go to Rock concerts and enjoy loud music, soft music and great lyrics.

I like to read good books, write good books and appreciate Art, Drama and Nature.

I travel and love the world.

The sixties gave me life and while my life is fairly mundane my mind and aspirations are still in the clouds.

Poetry – Long Journey – a poem about life, it’s purpose and doubts.

It seems to me that there are three types of people: The destructive, selfish kind who use everything and leave the world worse than when they came; the indifferent type who do nothing with their lives; and the ones that make a difference and change things for the better.

When I was young I consciously decided that happiness was not to be found in wealth and power. I deliberately chose not to go down that path. I wanted something more meaningful and fulfilling. I wanted a life that led to wisdom and creativity.

Now, towards the end of my days I think I was right. Pleasure is not fulfilment. Fulfilment is on a much deeper level and I have had more than my share.

I still believe we should strive to make the world a better place; more compassionate and harmonious. That to create and improve is more rewarding.

Destruction and cruelty never leave you with a satisfied glow in the way that love does.

Life is a long journey. We set off armed with our philosophy.


It’s a long road with no end in sight

On a journey that never ends.

They say the travelling justifies the time;

There’s always something round the next bend.

Sometimes you find a gentle glade

That satisfies your soul

Sometimes you settle in one place

But home is always the next watering hole.

You spend your time searching

For the diamonds in a friends eyes,

For the gems within the cosmic dust

That gives you the feeling of your size.

Sometimes it all makes sense

But those are the times that have to pass.

Sometimes you want to hold it close

But you know nothing can last.

These words are squiggles on a page

That’ll live long after me

And what use is their existence

Regardless of their quality?

 – they’re just words

You just get on and do it.

Make it the best you can.

Try to improve this whole damn universe;

As one grain within the sands.

Yet one grain can start a landslide

That buries something wrong,

And a landslide can lead to an earthquake

That lasts a life-time long.

Love melts the hardest hearts

As many an erstwhile fascist knows

Knowledge and compassion

Are the seeds a wise man sows.

A thought slips inside a mind

And down come the toppling cards.

A smile lights up a journey

And the road is not as hard


Opher 6.5.96