I was born without the gift of innocence.
I came naked and you told me that.
I came without the gift of faith.
Even the wondrous power of belief's
Credulity was withheld from me.
Why then do you puzzle at my remoteness,
My cynicism, my indifference to your religion.
You say you feel sorry for my plight,
Yet, it is you believers who
Anguish over your own lives thereafter.
Why should you care, you and all your fellows?
You, who once kept your secret words,
Secret in a foreign tongue
Lest I should read and understand.
You protect your "concept" with the threat
Of my death here, and worse in what you claim
Will be my life hereafter.
Blasphemy, I hear you cry,
"Be nice to our "God"
Or we'll kill you, because your words
And actions will upset him
And he will punish us,
We who worship
And believe in him".
Him, your omnipotent one, who single handed
Built this world, this Universe;
Created all, will he really quail before
My questioning mind?
You know that with your concept, of a "God"
You have added a new dimension
To this, our world.
No longer length, height, width and time
You have created a "beyond".
A extra dimension lying
Beyond this life.
Beyond this world,
It may surprise you
But I too recognize a beyond.
So I question what is your beyond,
Is it the same as mine I wonder?
Now I ask you,
What did the shaman see,
(And those that are, still do),
When on their "journeys"
To another place?
Was it their experience
Of something out there;
Something other, that led,
In time, to the growth of religions?
Is your belief simply based
On what the shaman saw?
I think it is,
And because so many people
Now believe in something
Outside their own world,
I have to ask:
Can all you millions be so wrong?
However, organized worship,
Ritual and hierarchy,
Leave me cold;
Drive me away.
I have a brain, I can think,
And I can choose to shake my head and wonder,
Or bow it and yield to your belief.
What then do I believe?
I praise good deeds
Yes I do consider dying,
And the possibilities after death.
Although I live alone
And my house is empty,
I oft times feel a "presence",
Not just of a recently departed guest
Or a friend long passed away.
Certainly not with a sense of fear or alarm,
But just something to make me think
Of your "beyond".
Yes I talk to the dead, but not with them.
Departed friends live with me yet,
Though they have been long gone,
And ceased to pay their taxes in this place.
What good does it do to talk to the dead?
When there is none to listen – or is there?
I rationalize, and see my visitors
As two-dimensional friends.
As such, they pass along the swirling paths
Of brain and mind, to centre in my breast.
Where in a flurry of palpitations they come to rest.
They come and go with the force of will.
Using no energy
Needing no power other than desire.
Thinking about them, they come.
Perhaps thinking about me, they come.
But what good is this "presence"
This feeling of something other?
What evil or benefit does it bring?
Is it here to do which of any of us good?
Am I starting to believe in spirits,
These are I feel, not quite
The angel guardians,
Whatever they may be.
Although my effortless
Escapes from past dread
Stop me in my tracks
And make me wonder.
But then would it matter if they were?
I am sure that the same experiences
Felt by the ancients
Brought the concept of "other" to their minds.
Of this, I am certain:
That nothing new in the idea
Of "beyond", has entered the human mind
Since the days of early fossils,
Or however long that man has fought
For his place upon this earth.
Once and long ago,
Bursting into my head.
But I was too young,
To be other than frightened.
I lacked the courage, the guidance,
To take that final step into the unknown,
Without a hand to see me safely home.
But the beyond was there,
Touchable, scary, and a place too far for me.
I wonder if that too is your beyond,
Your final destination?
You practitioners of god-led wonders
May have only come but one
Single step along your way,
And like my self, lacking guidance, have
Halted in a comfortable place,
Seeking the reassurance of the like minded
To bolster the insecurity
Of an empty core.
Adopting by necessity
A bristling stance,
Protecting the wavering
Acceptance of an imposed faith.
We, who can, question,
And hope that logic will out
And free you from your anguish.
© Jim Macaulay
I was writing about the end of the world
When a friend said, Bah humbug!
It's the middle of winter,
Been raining for a solid week
[perhaps he should have said "liquid" week]
Say something to cheer me up.
We'll all soon be dead, I said, to give him cheer.
Oh! fine that's a real comfort.
Espying an old calendar in a corner,
I saw kittens, so I suggested:-
Paws without claws,
Your sofa's safe.
Then in that vein,
Dogs without hairs, who never poo.
Doing without forgetting the things to do.
Letters without writing, oh! where is my pen?
Meals without cooking, now and then.
Dishes without washing, leave nothing to break.
Need I go on?
Income without tax, if offered I'd take
Ah, here's a thought.
Africa without disaster, aye the world would be flat.
Joints without ache, where the pain makes you shout.
Now these are all things to do without.
So, I thought what would be good to add?
Then it occurred to me
That I already had everything
What I should need is less.
Would that make us happy?
Fewer laws, fewer rules
Fewer folks needing drugs.
Fewer words ending in "ness".
Fine he said, tell me about the end of the world.
© Jim Macaulay
A Sudden Sense of Adventure
I awoke with a sense of adventure
From a restless sleep's strange dreams.
All night long I'd conversed with a voice
Who spoke in my head without means.
The story it told of the end of the world,
At the time mattered nothing to me,
But a sense of adventure took over my will,
When I heard what the outcome would be.
IT SPOKE THUS:-
"At the end of your world
I will be there to sing
As my song brings the end to all things."
Just what is the song that you sing?
Is it not just the same
As a wolf pack's howl?
Or the odd squeaky voice
Of the deep swimming whale,
Or a wind in the trees
As it flutters the leaves?
"No, my song is quite different,
It comes from inside;
It comes from deep down in my core.
The sweet measured notes
Which arise from within,
Use rhythms passed on from before.
I'm the Orphic lyre with my music of time
Holding all in its sway with my sound.
Do you know all that you see and all that you hear
And all that feels solid below
Are naught but the hum of vibrating cords,
Strings which are, and are not really there?
At the end of your world, in its cycle of time
With the hum of its quarks slowing down,
The song that I'll sing
May be OM or AMEN,
For both bring an end to all life.
There are some who may know
That their world's going slow
As their river of time ends its run.
With my energy spent by the end of the song
Your world will be still with no sound"
Is that it? Is that all that there is?
How will we know of the change,
Will our bodies disperse,
Or will vibrations just stop and have done?
When our actions then cease, will we die?
Oh please won't you stay your terrible song
While we strive for our turn,
Of a spin on life's wheel,
And a chance to take part
In your challenge of living with death?
Now you plead halt.
It's too late to cry stop!
For I must away to distant
Universes, their pitiful cares to attend.
Of course, need you ask?
Yours lies here at the back of my mind.
Arise, my child, since you are the special one.
Slough that body, come with me,
Explore my multiverse.
There learn my song,
Leave your fingerprints
On a different place.
Tame the serpents of the mind.
Surf the waves of cosmic wind,
Slide through the cracks of mind's mental thought.
Be at all places omnipresent.
At all times have been there before.
Nurture any who try to rise above.
Select the one with whom to talk.
Is that it? Is that all?
© Jim Macaulay
Oh! I would unto a Wild Wood go
And there seek the calming balm of indolence.
Oh I would into that Wild Wood go
And there let down my guard.
And there, on beds of moss will I,
Rest beneath the star filled sky.
And once that I am safely come
I will lay me down, light as innocence
Care-free as a lover's step
When hence to his beloved's arms he turns.
Oh the magic of a mind set free:
Free in the Wild Wood without a care to be.
But can I into the Wild Wood go
To seek and find that thing
Of which I do not know;
And be content?
And if into the Wild Wood deep I go
But find no peace,
Because my cares I could not leave,
Then sorrow lies within my soul
And I will pine and grieve.
May not it be there is no Wild Wood there for me?
Save over yonder mountains high.
But no one there may safely go
With hopes of safe return.
For it is but a spirit place
Where groves of fairy trees
Stand tall, beset by magic
Crowned with beauty, draped with webs
Upon which dew jewels sparkle,
Day and night, lit from within.
But you should know
About this place,
A place on which
Men hang their hopes.
But they like all their kind
Know not that simple hope
Does not a freedom bring,
Nor yet relief from fear and woe.
So if you would into the Wild Wood go,
Take care the burden which you bear
Is left behind outside.
© Jim Macaulay
Originally published 15 January 2007. Updated: 22 October 2008