My Dog Got The Tao

Our dog was forever barking. We’d tried everything, but to no avail.

One day he heard the words of the Buddha —

“Life is suffering.”

He thought to himself, Oh, that must be why I’m forever barking — I’m suffering! 

The humans in his life would often say to him “who’s a clever boy?”  He had no idea and wondered why they were asking. But seeing himself acquire this understanding of Buddhism, he thought to himself, I must be the clever boy! I must be a real thinker.

So, when he heard the famous words of Descartes, the Cogito,

“I think therefore I am,”

he saw that this must mean “I am.”

This really blew his socks off.  It led to his discovery of the work of Indian guru Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, and his book, I am that. He wasn’t sure exactly what ‘that’ was, but didn’t let it bother him.

He appeared to be a genuine seeker making real progress on the spiritual path. So a spiritual teacher offered to give him shaktipat, the direct transmission of divine energy leading to spiritual enlightenment.

The teacher called him over, “come here boy,” and touched our dog’s third eye. He wagged his tail, barked happily, and trotted off. 

The teacher commented,

“There’s not much going on in there, is there.”

“Probably not,” we replied.

Undeterred, our dog continued his study of Nisargadatta. He particularly liked the quote, though he hadn’t a clue what it meant —

“Love says: ‘I am everything’. 

Wisdom says: ‘I am nothing’. 

Between the two my life flows.”

Finally, our dog discovered the Tao Te Ching. He found he couldn’t put it down. He carried it everywhere between his teeth. 

One day, he read —

“He who knows, does not speak. He who speaks, does not know.”

I don’t know if he got enlightened but he never barked again after that.


The bubbles in soft drink

they come from nowhere

rise to the surface

and pop.

They wet your nose,

and tickle it. 

Then they join all the other air. 

They travel in groups, 

while on their journey 

through your drink. 

They need each other – 

being a bubble is a team sport.

They rise together

and take turns popping. 

Then they join 

all the bubbles

that ever popped 

since the beginning of time.

selective mutism

i wanted to write myself a note to say that my fountain pen was running out, but couldn’t because my fountain pen was running out

i wanted to find my glasses, but couldn’t because i couldn’t find my glasses

when i was broken i wanted to talk, i wanted to tell you about it, but the words refused to come out of hiding

thus and ever it was that the most important stories are bashful by nature, they prefer the shadows

for stories require ink of pen, spectacles of eyes, and words able to leave the safety of the mouth cave. 

Invisible friend

Many things in life are invisible 

Until we are ready to see them

Many things in life are visible

Until we are ready to see through them

Like an invisible friend

who likes to hide in the shadows

and remain unseen

and yet gets their feelings hurt when others look straight through them.

Image by Åsa K from Pixabay

Iffy and Spiffy

She loved her kids

She really did

She tried to not be an iffy parent

But who was she kidding

She could kid no one!

Even the kids themselves

Would say “are you kidding me mum?”

Cos they’d been Schooled

At Posh School

One of the Fancy Shmancy private ones

The ones that require lots of funds

Which isn’t fun

So they knew mum was iffy

But since they thought her spiffy

They thought —

If she’s iffy then as long as she’s also spiffy

Then it’s all taffy, which means toffee.

She said unto them,

Go Forth and Be Iffy and Spiffy Too, My Child.

And they did unto as Mother,

Or as they like to call her Smother,

Had instructed. Or ordered.

Lest she smother them 

Whilst they slumber in their beds at night.

Thus did the world’s supply of toffee multiply

Which they had with their morning coffee,

Because you should always have toffee

With your coffee

To give the spiffiness a kickstart

Each and every day,

Before making your way, in The World.

Helpful IKEA Instructions

Here’s all your bits, for some furniture you’ll love to bits

There’s quite a few pieces, we hope you don’t go to pieces

You came into the store and we didn’t let you leave,

we trust you did not take leave of your senses

We, the whole team, hope that the missing screw,

did not screw with your mind. 

And you enjoyed the Swedish Meatballs.

I haven’t thought of a title yet

I was writing a poem

but then i stopped, 

realising i was the poem.

I pointed to my toes,

each one of them,

and my shins,

and kept going up.

and then I saw your toes, spread out, splayed a little, from the weight of you

and realised you were the poem, too.

The Getting of Wisdom

It’s a well-known fact that you get smarter just by hanging out in libraries

I wondered how that could be

So I hung out in libraries until I became smart enough to solve the mystery

And it became apparent that imbibing the contents of books is just a matter of being in the same room as them.

Wheels Keep Turning

Someone told me once to ‘get on my bike.’ That’s when it occurred to me that I didn’t own one. So I went and bought one—no wait, actually two—bikes. A pretty blue mountain bike and a helpfully self-propelling one with a motor, a motorbike.

The three of us fell deeply in love.

The motorbike had the soul of a dirt bike, having been one in a previous lifetime. So it was attracted to dirt and gravel roads, and to mud. That was after a lifetime spent as a pink tricycle, with streamers hanging from the handlebars and ridden by a little girl in a pink dress with determined eyes, who would turn out to be me. 

The mountain bike was afraid of mountains, and heights in general, and preferred city streets. This was after meeting its end in its previous lifetime as a cigarette butt, flicked, spinning end-over-end, from a mountain-top sight-seeing lookout. Thus the dying of the light and the extinguishment of that particular lifetime. And of course its strong preference for the big smoke merely an inveterate habit of the many short lifetimes it had spent as a cigarette. 

Both bikes had done stints in previous lives as ten-speed racing bikes; as car wheels; and as various kinds of tyres. The motorbike was once a ferris wheel; the mountain bike a monocycle, and before that, a monocle. They both served me in a previous life-time, forming the pair in a set of regular spectacles. 

Going back a way, all three of us had once worked together on a steam train: I was the driver and those two worked side-by-side as wheels. And going back before the time of people and before memory itself, the three of us were nearby pebbles, beautifully smooth and rounded, in a stream, sometimes rolling together in the current. Then I decided to reincarnate as an eel-like creature in the late Cambrian period, whilst they remained in orbiculate occupations.

Together again now, our wheels once again turn together.