Tuesday, February 27, 2007

No lights

Some days
you stop at the kerb
of every road you come to
waiting for the cars to stop
waiting for the lights to change
waiting for a gap in the traffic
but there is no break
and nobody brakes
nobody stops and waves
to let you cross
and the cars stream past
car after car after car
on and on and on
until some kind soul stops
waves, and beeps the horn
but you're lost
hypnotised by the stream of cars
and with a curse and a frown
the kind soul moves on
and the cars stream past
car after car after car

Monday, January 15, 2007

Like silk; love silk; set silk free.

A few days short of six months since my last entry here. That's about long enough, isn't it?

For years now I haven't been eating meat, and having very little other animal-based foodstuffs; not many eggs, and then only free-range; not much dairy, and then only from cattle stocks with low-impact karma (basically, most dairy cattle are culled when their commercial usefulness has ended; I make sure all the dairy I consume comes from cows who are treated well in life, and allowed to die naturally). As well as that, I don't support other non-food industries that involve the suffering and death of animals: no leather, no suede, no furs, etc. I've only just discovered, however, that silk is another thing that should be in that list.

Of course, I was aware that silk was farmed from animals, but what I didn't know was that the harvest involved the death of the silkworm larvae. This is not something I can be comfortable with; it's especially bad as I'm rather fond of silk clothing. It was easy to remove leather from my life - shoes of rubber or canvas, bags of hemp, etc - but silk might be a bit harder to remove. Fortunately, synthetic silk is available, but it's one more thing to watch out for when shopping; one more concern to have.

Did you know that silk was formerly used as a type of armour? Because it happens to be the strongest natural fabric known to man, it proves itself useful in stopping arrows from seriously damaging a person: if there is silk being worn, the arrow would push in, still managing to break the skin, but the silk would not be damaged. This would facilitate the removal of the arrow, and also helped prevent infection in the wound. All those silkworms died to protect men of war.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Indoor shower, indoor sea

Ever since getting a chair for use in it, I've been having several showers a day. I'm telling myself it's solely for the purposes of keeping cool in this oppressive heat, as I haven't done any actual washing in there yet (neither my body nor the dishes). Several years have passed since I was obsessive about keeping clean. I would have several washes and baths a day, but that, thankfully, has been cut right down. Having a shower - quick, easy, economical - newly returned to my list of options is a mixed blessing. When the summer has stepped down from its pedestal - this is high summer indeed - I shall hopefully limit my showers to a morning and an evening, to clean my body, nothing more; and I shall continue with my midday baths, for the purpose of getting thoroughly clean. I look forward to it. Until then, keep clean, keep cool. I know I will!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Don't vegetables feel pain too?

One of the questions asked of vegetarians concerns the death or suffering of plants. How can I, avoiding karma negatively influencing my future life/lives by not causing pain or death in an animal, justify causing pain and death to a plant?

Firstly, a plant's nervous system, if we can call it that, is not as advanced as that of an animal. But this alone isn't justification enough. Still the plant suffers, still the plant dies, still that suffering appear on my karmic record. My solution is to offer first the food to the Lord Krsna. By having my food blessed by the process of offering it into the presence of God, the karmic reaction is reduced to zero. The Lord cancels out the suffering; He knows about it, therefore He, who controls karma - in fact karma is a part of His universal body - can protect our souls, our futures, from the negativity created by causing suffering in another lifeform.

It is God in his infinite love that supplied this food for us, therefore we must thank Him.

Monday, June 26, 2006

A magic penny.

I give to the homeless.

I give money directly to the homeless person, despite the recommendations of the homeless charities, and I also give money to the charities. The charities provide, with my money and the money of others, food and shelter for the homeless. The money I give directly - that's for the recipient to decide. I don't drink and I don't take drugs - I don't agree with drinking or taking drugs - but if that's his or her choice, then so be it. If it's what makes him happy, if it's her way of blocking out the pain and the sadness, then so be it.

I am confident, though, that many of the people on the streets are interested at least on some level in improving their situation - in staying alive rather than blocking life out. They buy food, they buy a new blanket, they buy shelter for a night.

But there is more one can give to the homeless. Not just money - you can buy food for them, or buy the new blanket. I've done this, too, and I have also on occasion sat down with them, and been an ear willing to listen. People need food and warmth and comfort - but they also need companionship. Friendship. Love.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Thus spake Zarathustra

I made it into town today - a few days too late for the Rathayatra, but not to worry...

I was on a mission. My mission, if I chose to accept it, and as it was me assigning it, I was more than ready to accept it, was to find a book on the subject of Zoroastrianism, buy a copy of Anoushka Shankar's latest CD, and eat in Govinda's restaurant.

Govinda's was a success; it hasn't moved from the last time I was there. Wonderful food, it really is! Anoushka was also a success - an expensive success, but a success nonetheless. And the book on Zoroastrianism? I went to two of the biggest bookshops London has to offer, and there was nothing, not even a pamphlet. This isn't going to turn into a story of someone finding something in a smaller shop. I tried some of those as well, and still nothing. It was an idle search before, a curiosity to fill a gap on my shelves. Now it's turned into a real mission - must find! I don't want to have to resort to online shopping...

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Here's a poem I wrote earlier this year. It was universally misunderstood and misinterpreted. I gave it the title "birth", and that's what threw people off the scent. One clue: it's not about giving birth, or being born.

she closes up but she cannot contain
the torrent that threatens to tear her apart.
for a moment, too brief, far too brief,
a moment that passes in the blink of an eye;
for a moment, she keeps it all dammed in,
but a sob escapes, then a wail, and more.
the pain is astounding, the anger too.
the fury, she is overwhelmed, it flows on,
on and over her, she cannot keep up.
it washes over her, and she drowns, she sinks.
she's in her next life.

Any ideas?