Give It all You’ve Got.

Give It all You’ve Got.

All the laughs,

                All the love,

                                The agony

                                                And loss.

Will be forgotten,

                Count for nothing,

                                With nobody

                                                Counting the cost.

In the darkness of forever

It won’t matter

That we went for it

                Hell for leather.

All we have is

                A brief moment in time

In which

                We love and shine.

Though it won’t matter a jot.

We’ll still give it all we’ve got!

Opher – 25.6.2022

I often feel that life is a gesture, nothing more.

It is testimony to man’s essential nature that, despite knowing that it is all meaningless and destined to end, we still strive to create.

Pointlessness does not matter.

In the moment we attempt to understand, to express and to raise our puny flags as if staking out eternity.

In this moment there is no death, no aging; no such thing as futility. In this moment all things are possible.

In this moment we can experience everything, fill ourselves with bliss, understanding and love; we can live. Only in this moment.

That is what makes life worthwhile.

Reawakening – A Sci-fi novel – an epic journey through space, aliens, wonder and life.

Reawakening

 

This is the sequel to God’s Bolt.

Helen Southcote, the sole survivor of a stricken Earth, is alone on the Space Station.

This is the tale of her journey through space and time towards Tau Sagittarii, 122 light years away  …

This is also the story of the aliens who live in the system around Tau Sagittarii and their reaction to the destruction of Earth.

After dealing with the rigours of isolation, mental illness and hopelessness there is the hope of awakening.

Then there are the questions about the purpose of life, altruism and the nature of consciousness all in the course of an epic adventure.

Extract

Author’s Note

While this is a sequel it is intended to stand on its own as a story.

The novel is concerned with an alien civilisation based in the region of Tau Sagittarii. It takes 122 years for radio signals to reach Tau Sagittarii from earth even though they travel at the speed of light.

In order not to create confusion all dates used are earth time.

Chapter 1 – Awakening

Year 0 Day 1 – 2325

I opened my eyes to discover I was in my own room. It gave me such a shock that I quickly closed them again. That could not possibly be right, could it? I mean, I had to be dreaming.

I lay there with my heart thumping trying to gather the courage to open my eyes again.

That room no longer existed. It was my room from 2159 when I was fourteen. I’d recognised it straight away. It even smelt right. It felt right. The bed felt right. All those things that I’d totally forgotten, that were lost in the depths of time but which were flooding back to me down the distant corridors of history through some ninety two years. It had given me such a shock.

This time I opened my eyes slowly and deliberately, braced for what I was about to see.

It was still there. It was definitely my room down to the smallest detail. There were even the scratches on the paintwork by the door where Woody, my beautiful collie dog, used to scratch to be let out.

I couldn’t have been more shocked if I’d bumped into a tyrannosaurus. I’d seen one of those in the reconstruction zoo, subtly called Jurassic Park after some film that had been made centuries before I was born.

I allowed my eyes to roam around taking it all in and rediscovering all those tiny details that I had long forgotten. They were all resurfacing as I looked – those strange lights that I’d taken a liking too, the garish colours of the walls. What had I been thinking? Orange and green. How could I ever have thought that was cool? The patterned carpet that made your eyes go funny. There was definitely something weird that happens to adolescent minds. They go very strange. But how did my parents allow me to do it? They really did indulge me, didn’t they? – Much more than I’d appreciated at the time.

I looked over to the large mural of Carl Sagan that dominated the wall opposite. My hero Carl held pride of place. Around him were my favourite Zook and Zygobeat bands of the day. I remember I had quite a crush on Zed from Isobar. He had the coolest hair and sweetest face. I adored him. Well looking at him now he just looked like a simpering little kid, barely out of nappies. My Dad used to be very disdainful of Isobar. ‘Computer slush for slushy minds’ he used to say, much to my fury. I used to retaliate calling his music ‘archaic noise for the demented’. He used to laugh – which only made it worse.

I edged myself up in bed. I felt so weak.

I looked around for Woody, my dog, but he wasn’t there. He usually lay curled up asleep at the side of my bed. I half expected my Mum to call up from downstairs to tell me to get up; it was time to catch the scud to school, or my Dad to start chiding. What was going on? I expected to hear my brother Rich mumbling and grumbling from his stinking pit across the landing that resembled a rubbish tip, only smellier. He hated getting up while it was still daylight. I thought about my older brother Joe who was away at Uni.

Everything was so right and that’s what made it so wrong. This could not possibly be happening. This room did not exist. Not only was it a throwback to my room from some ninety odd years ago, that had seen so many transformations as I’d grown up and then left home – this being just one incarnation among the many – an incarnation that was buried under layers of decorative archaeology by the time I last visited home. It was also a room that had been completely destroyed when God’s Bolt, that damn fucking asteroid, had wiped out the Earth all those years ago.

So how was I here?

I eased myself up in bed and sat propped up against the wall. My heart had slowed down but my mind was still racing.

I noticed my hands. You get used to seeing your own hands. They are not very attractive as you get old. All those brown splodges of liver spots, and your knuckles all swollen and lumpy, your skin all crinkled and leathery, like some dry, wrinkly tissue paper that you could never get smooth and soft again no matter how much lotion you use. But these were not like that. They were a young woman’s hands. Not the hands of the slip of a girl I was when I had this room, the hands of a mature young woman. I recognised them too, even though I had not seen them for some eighty years or more.

I got out of bed, walked across the room, or should I say tottered, I felt so weak I thought I was going to collapse at any moment, having to rest a hand on the bed in order to keep my balance, and opened my wardrobe to look in the mirror. My hair was a straggly mess but the body and face that peered back at me was that of the twenty year old Helen Southcote that used to be.

‘Eunice,’ I called, ogling this body I had not laid eyes on for over eighty years, ‘what have you done?’

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Poetry – Explaining

Explaining

Explaining sight

To the blind elephant

Is like explaining life

To the foolish.

Opher 29.11.2018

I don’t know what made me pick on elephants. I guess it is just that they are highly intelligent animals. But explaining a missing sense to someone who has never experienced it is a ridiculous thing.

It makes me wonder what senses we have missing.

What would the universe look like if we were better equipped? How much are we missing out on?

Who could possibly explain?

Poetry – Nothing to say

Nothing to say

If you’ve got nothing to say

Why bother saying it?

If you have nowhere to go,

And nothing to do when you get there,

Why bother going?

Just filling in time.

Opher 29.5.2016

Nothing to say

I was talking to Lazy Lester a few years back and he kept telling me that he knew someone who had nowhere to go and nothing to do when he got there. He thought it was highly amusing and said it a number of times. I liked it too.

I kind of feel the same way about most of what I see in the society I’m part of.

In the midst of huge dilemmas, issues and decisions most of us are content to drift along being entertained and pretending the big issues are not of their concern.

Why is that?

Do we feel so disempowered that we are impotent in the face of politics and the big corporations?

Yet even the most powerful individuals in the world are human beings just like us – not super-beings. Their intelligence, understanding and mental processes are no different to our own. They started life as helpless babies. They are people pretending to be important.

The internet is full of trivia, celebrity nonsense and crap. TV is a mess of shallow rubbish.

I believe it is like that because that is how we want it.

Time to change.

If we have nothing to say then perhaps we should stay out of the way of the people who have?

Why clutter up the attic with superficial nonsense?

Are we living or just filling in time?

Poetry – Reviewing the past

Reviewing the past

As I awake and lie in limbo,

Not fully connected,

Reviewing the collage of my life –

The could have-beens,

Was and did;

The happenstance,

Chance and wonder,

Spread out

Like a huge quilt of parts

In colour.

All the sadness, ecstasy

And inspiration,

Flashes of understanding;

The loves, losses

And friendships,

The beauty, poetry

And argument –

Like fields seen from afar,

Isolated oasis

Of moments,

Each preserved

As a unique tableau.

As I lay back

To relive those moments –

The yearning,

The unusual,

The fondly remembered

And pathos –

Separated by deserts

Of forgotten days,

Forgotten nothing.

Yet all

Reinvented,

Rearranged

And altered to fit.

Nothing more than a false representation

Of what has been –

Only a life –

Nothing real –

A hazy, reimagined past –

As reality kicks in.

Opher 23.1.2016

Reviewing the past

There is a strange state of being that exists hovering between wakefulness and sleep in which the mind has not fully kicked in. It is a reverie. The mind hangs suspended. There is a lazy hand at the wheel. It drifts back and forth. Your life, thoughts, memories and dreams are intermingled.

It is a very pleasant state and one that I regularly enjoy.

Sometimes it appears to me that my life is nothing more than a series of anecdotes held together by some overriding phenomenon that is me. Memories are like the beads on a string. Moments and scenes played out in vivid colour. Around them everything else recedes into an impenetrable fog. The scenes are performed repeatedly and the intervening days, weeks, months and years have been blotted out. They are gone.

Yet even the memories are really vague snatches of what has been. They are not real. They have been redrafted, rearranged, embellished and augmented. Only a hint of the feelings and emotions remain as fleeting, tantalising glimpses.

How I would like to re-inhabit the various people I used to be; to revisit a handful of the forgotten days and become reacquainted with my former selves; to taste that idealism and certainty again.

Perhaps one day soon they will invent a drug that will enable you to do just that; to resurrect the entire experience of a day from the past. I know if that ever happened that I would be first in line. I also know that any drug like that would be instantly banned.

Until then I am quite happy to lie back and reacquaint myself with the scenes from my life, spread out before me like fields seen from a mountain top.

That will have to do.

Poetry – Life

Life

Life is a mystery –

An interim of consciousness

In a boundless ocean of oblivion;

A string of moments

That are opportunities;

A momentary awakening

Into an infinity of wonder;

A window into a universe of awe.

Life is a brief ripple

In the river of time;

A chance meeting

With other minds;

A discovery of self,

A sharing of beauty beyond measure;

A moment’s love

Before the cloistered doors close.

Life is measured in seconds.

All we have to do

Is to fill each one.

Opher 12.1.2016

Life

The universe – perhaps a multitude of universes – exist. If there was no consciousness to perceive it then it would still exist?

Yet there is. There is consciousness – and it exists in many forms. It came into creation and has evolved on this planet. It is called life.

We are alive.

We open our eyes into a universe of light, heat and solidity.

But for a few physical laws and chance occurrences this might not have been the case. This universe could easily have merely consisted of dissipating hydrogen, absolute cold and not a hint of substance. Instead it formed stars, light, heat and complex molecules. It created consciousness.

We can see, feel, breathe and experience.

That is the wonder.

In the big scheme of things a lifetime is the flash of a strobe. We are here and gone.

Yet in a lifetime there are many days and much to do, to feel and experience. It is how we fill our time that is the measure of our worth.

It can be a long, drawn-out affair of trivia, routine and dreariness, or a delight of friendship, love, exploration and creativity.

I believe that consciousness is so rare in this universe that we almost have a duty to give it all we’ve got.

Poetry – LIFE

LIFE

In us, all humanity lives forever.

The ripples of a life flow through us.

We are atoms in the oceans of humanity.

Yet we carve new shores in the sands of the future.

Ripples embrace the soul in us,

Setting examples for us to see,

Subtly changing us and through us – the culture.

At the end a man is judged

By the balance of the good he does

With that of the evil;

The building and the destruction.

Some leave cities raised from the dust

Some leave rubble

And some leave whole green continents

Of love and warmth and smiles

For others to inhabit;

Continents that can change the direction of an ocean.

Opher 5.6.96    (For John Duffy)

Life

I wrote this poem following the death of a man I barely knew. We had met a number of times as he was the father of one of my best friends. I could feel his compassion and warmth and sense he was a good man who put more into life than he took out.

When he died I was compelled to write this poem.

Some people touch everyone they meet and leave them feeling better than they were before.

John was that type of man.

Those people are the ones we must measure ourselves by.

I don’t think I have ever shared this poem with my friend Rich. It was almost too personal.

Strange Days – a poem about life, trolls and purpose.

Strange Days

 

It is a strange week that has tracked me down –

Full of poignancy and sadness.

The death of a friend, who had already long gone,

Cast adrift in the fog.

The news that another has but weeks to open her eyes here –

Who blithely jokes that at least she is spared

The agony of that same fog –

A fog that like a creeping funeral pall hangs over us all

Like the latest modern scourge.

And amid the ruminations and sad reflection

The words of strangers intrude,

Whose pleasure is to be found in rudeness;

Who play the same playground sad game

Of bullying and ridicule

And seek amusement in hurting others.

And I’m in no mood to respond

Or counter in kind,

But merely wonder at the sickness

That lies in the mind of men

Whose pleasure is but to destroy?

Ruefully looking back over the long furrows of time

Where the many seeds were sown with such great hope,

Seeds scattered in such love and joy,

Such expectation,

Now plants struggling to reach the light

Through the clutching grasp

Of the many weeds.

Yet still we trudge the land and plough

Though there are fewer of us

And no expectation of a good crop.

Wearily I pause to look back

Through the haze of distance

To the furrows ploughed

By my father and grandfather before me

Now smoothed by wind and rain

And returned to nature.

It is time to unwrap the sandwiches,

Take out the flask of coffee,

And sit a while

Else we miss the singing of the birds.

 

Opher 1.4.2018

 

 

It has been a week to make me think and reflect. The death of a friend from Alzheimer’s and the imminent death of another from cancer certainly focusses the mind on the worth of one’s life, the values one lives by, the nature of life and what we leave behind.

It was a week punctuated by the nasty unpleasantness of trolls on my blog seeking to upset, annoy and destroy. Their vindictiveness is symptomatic of these times. There is license to bully.

It puts things in perspective for me.

The reason why we do the things we do – for pleasure, fulfilment and altruism. So little will remain after we are gone. What is most important are the memories we hold in our heads and they will no longer exist. That is what is so terrible about dementia – it robs us of our greatest possession before we are even gone. That is why it is so feared.

All we have is the moment. We have to strive to appreciate it and not fill it with hate, destruction and nastiness. We have to live it to the full, seize all our opportunities and the hope that we can pass on something positive of our experience to the future.

What are you excited by today?

My grandchildren have been staying with us. My daughter has moved back from Holland to England. They haven’t seen her for a while.

Today we are taking them back to my daughter and they will see their new house.

My granddaughter is seven years old. I asked her whether she was excited today (not having seen her mummy for a while). She said she was. I asked her what she was most excited about – expecting something about her mum or her new house. She told me:

‘I’m excited about being able to breathe air.’

Perhaps we should wake up excited about the mundane wonders of life – like being able to breathe.

Poetry – I Aim – a poem about a dissident who refuses to swallow the story presented to him.

IMG_4244

Life could be totally wonderful if it was not for the greed that creates war, poverty, inequality and environmental degradation. I fear we will destroy it all along with ourselves out of sheer stupidity.

I suspect we are manipulated on many levels by many different groups with vested interests.

The politicians lie, promise and cajole.

The religious indoctrinate with false dogma.

The businessmen seek your gold.

In amongst all this manipulation, false facts, lies, deceit and indoctrination we are expected to believe.

I do not. I am sceptical about everything. All I know is the evidence of my eyes. It is sufficient to inform me that we are being exploited.

I aim

I aim

To speak

The truth.

I seek

The evidence

Of proof.

 

I want

To live

In peace.

Without

Fear that

This may suddenly cease.

 

I am not content

To believe all that I am sent.

I am agnostic

About its portent

And content.

I feel manipulated –

A thought

That cannot bear

To be contemplated.

 

So what

Is the aim

Of those that lead?

Self Gain?

But leave

The world to bleed?

Surely not? But Pol Pot

Hitler and Mao

Tell another story.

They hardly cover the

Human race with glory.

 

History reveals

The lies

We believe

To be false.

We are

Indoctrinated

With the rules

And beliefs,

Of course.

 

He who controls

The media

Controls the minds.

We are victims

Of the

Ruler’s crimes.

 

I do not know

My own mind.

It has been

Otherwise defined.

 

Go quietly into the market

To purchase all you can.

For the world is a supermarket basket

And a tantalising tan.

 

Religion is a morphia

Politics a scam;

Life the whole world over

Is based on a sham.

 

It’s all run for profit

Without regard to the future.

I despise all of it

As I seek a meaningful culture.

 

In vain.

 

Don’t give me the religious

Stance as real and meaningful –

Indoctrinated garbage

Controlling the sinful.

 

I reject its human creation

As contrived and primitive

Attempts to seek power

And apply the inhibitive.

 

Life should be free to wonder

And delight,

Not a fear to ponder

And an everlasting fright.

 

Give me life –

Make me free.

All I want

Is to be me!!!

 

Opher 9.8.2015