Man on Fire

Deep and uncompromising …

Poesy plus Polemics

"Man on Fire" Digital art by M053AB From deviantart.com “Man on Fire”
Digital art by M053AB
From deviantart.com

see me as I am
eyes won’t suffer
from the sight
red and raw
skin afire
the arson of age
burns from
inside the nerves
melting myelin
drips from old
photographs
cracked in the
creases that smile
through flames
I need no one to
pity my pictures
all men wear
a future the past
could not see
whether better
or worse time
adds parts to a man
and his personal
pain cannot ever
outlive him

see me as I am
not the man
I had been nor
the one you imagine
reach into my fire
touch the scars
where they blaze
mapping wounds
cruel inflicted by
weapons of mind
ugly beauty exists
in the flesh
of this world
don’t turn from it
don’t let the smoke
veil your vision
with tears
all fire like life
is ephemeral
give me a place

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Harvest of Being 2015: Ilkley Moor…

The Silent Eye

Ilkwknd 181

Skein of Time

…Gloom.

We head into a green gloom of Heber’s very own making, for the late evening light is still bright in the sky… and almost immediately we start to climb.
Water falls, gurgling on both sides of us as the path twists first one way and then the next and just keeps on climbing up through the steep ravine and ever up heading for the light expanse of the moor but holding the gloom intact like a tight-rope walker his balancing pole.

“It is quite possible,” says Wen “that the whole of the moor once looked like this.”
“It feels old somehow… much older than it has any right to be.”
“Time holds no sway here,” smiles Wen and then, “Oh, look there’s a pointy stone.”

Wen gestures away, over my shoulder, to where there is indeed a rather large and somewhat incongruous looking pointed stone. And…

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Forget-me-not

The Silent Eye

Image SourceImage Source

As I pulled the book from the shelf and opened it, a flower fell from between its pages. Its colour gone, its petals so fragile they cracked and crumbled as I caught the little thing. Still there was enough left for me to recognise what it was… a little sprig of forget-me-nots. My face remembered before conscious memory kicked in, the smile and the tear meeting halfway across my cheek. It was a long time ago, but for a second, imagination painted two hands where there was now one and the soft blue of the flower glowed ghostly blue. At its centre, the golden eye of a distant sun looked back at me. A very long time ago.

How much my life has changed in twenty years! How much the world itself has changed. Children who have grown into parents, people who have moved through my life, taken…

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Rooted in the Land: a misty dawn

The glory of a misty English morning – some beautiful photos and memories from Sue …

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

SE Ilkley 2015 alveley fenny bentley ironbridge (19)We were up and away early, very early, Friday morning. It was tempting to look at some of the historical treasures of Worcester, but we really didn’t have time to get stuck in a busy city centre on a Friday, especially when we were due in the north that afternoon. We hit the road before breakfast instead, and our reward was a beautiful, misty dawn.

SE Ilkley 2015 alveley fenny bentley ironbridge (3)We had only to glance at the map to realise that the one thing that stood between us and the north was Birmingham; a big, big place. Not a place you want to hit in rush hour, when even the motorways come to a standstill. And rush ‘hour’ is a misnomer there. It lasts for ages. We could, of course, go round the long way… which seemed to me to be infinitely preferable.

P1230936Taking the back roads in a vaguely northwesterly direction we meandered through…

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Harvest of Being 2015: Ilkley Moor…

The Silent Eye

Ilkwknd 185

III A BAPTISM OF FIRE

Joshua said, “Judas Thomas, while you are still
in the world, attend to the questions of your heart,
and it shall be revealed to you: who you are,
why you exist, and how you will come to be.”

“Who are you to say these things to me ?” Said Judas Thomas.

Joshua said, “you do not know who I am from what I say to you ?
Then you have disregarded the living one who is in your presence.

You are like a fruit picker who loves the fruit but hates the tree.

I am the light that is over all things,
I am all: from me all has come forth,
and to me all has reached.

Split a piece of wood…
I am there.
Lift up a block of stone…
I am there also.

I shall give you what no eye has
seen, what…

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Ben’s Bit – Part … of a greater story

Steve Green Man Dyingv4AA

It began with:

“There is a wall and, across the dark room, another wall.

I walk between them. Getting there – to the other wall – is the goal.  What is in the middle is mere mathematics: five strides sees me across the old stone floor, and I practice so that my toe touches the far wall exactly on the fifth . . . the edges of the room are safer; I have no idea why . . .”

And then it grew … What started as a light-hearted riposte to ‘my’ character (Ben) being cast into Bakewell Jail by my partners in crime Sue Vincent and Stuart France, in the latest series of their ground-breaking books on the nature of spiritual involvement with the British landscape, began to take on a different life of its own – so much so that a number of people engaged with both sets of writing and began to ask when Ben’s Bit would be published …

Having published six books in this series, beginning with The Initiate, Stuart and Sue had firm plans for their continuation into the next set of three adventures: ‘Lands of Exile’.

Those involved with any form of writing will know that characters take on a life of their own. In Ben’s case this became very vivid, very quickly, as the incarcerated man found his voice and began to tell his tale, using heart and head in a way that I had not anticipated. Being the primary writer of the Silent Eye’s distance-learning courses, and, until this year, the annual workshops, it was quite a joy to write something light-hearted … but with a dark twist.

Ben’s imprisonment, for what initially seems a trivial first offence, began to take on deeper meanings as he found himself between the jaws of an – initially unseen – set of forces. By Part 9, these had begun to crystallise in rather sinister way, much as life can often do …

Ironically, and graciously, Sue and Stuart were obliged to change their initial writing plans by ‘Ben’ jumping in ‘with both feet’, and the reaction to the story. They knew the intended length of Ben’s incarceration, whereas the poor prisoner knew very little, accept that, as Stuart said, “It could be some time”.  Mischief is one of their finest characteristics. In addition, and quite wonderfully, we had each begun to construct the same extensions to the present storyline … in isolation; coming to realise, with astonishment, at the recent Harvest of Being worksop, that we were flying over the same landscape, so to speak!

So … in a fine gesture, which, I have no doubt, will ultimately be expensive, they have suggested that we synchronise the production of the parallel stories. To accommodate this they have altered the sequencing of their new series of books “Lands of Exile’. There is a slight casualty of this process in that it will mean that I need to back-pedal on the publication of further episodes until the start of January 2016, at which point the two books will become synchronised but still-separate stories. We all think the combined result will be worth the wait.

So, a big thank you for the responses which prompted all this … and bear with me/us to the New Year, when the story will continue.

I will be using the interim Saturday slots to do other things … please watch this space …

Steve

———————————————————–< to be continued in January 2016 –

Ben’s Bit is a continuing first-person narrative of the character created by Stuart France and Sue Vincent, which may bear some relation to the author of this story, Steve Tanham, their fellow director of the Silent Eye School of Consciousness.  In the latest of their books, Scions of Albion, Ben is arrested for his overly enthusiastic part in a mad escapade, and the other two are nowhere to be seen . . .  For more, enjoy their Doomsday series of books, and the new series (Lands of Exile) beginning soon. Click here for details.

All characters portrayed are fictional.

Index to Ben’s Bits:

Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven, Part Eight, Part Nine

Sue Vincent describes her and Stuart’s perspective on Ben’s imprisonment: Part One, Part Two

The Doomsday Series of books by Stuart France and Sue Vincent

The Silent Eye School of Consciousness – a modern mystery school.

Silent Eye modern masterAA

Nine Deadly Sins with Coffee, part 30 – Twins of Fortune

Hercules Lion HeadedAA

(Greek pottery image from:  http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/Herakles/apples.html)

Over the weekend, one image from the Heracles myth had haunted me – that of the victorious hero wearing the lion skin – particularly the head. The picture of the two heads occupying the same space remained in my mind right up to the moment that I entered our cafe on the Monday morning.

John was there when I arrived; but he was sitting with his back to me, at our usual table, in what was normally my chair. Rose, the owner, nodded to me as I entered the cafe, following my gaze and looking warily at my uncle, as though wondering what madness he was to perform this week.

I advanced on the figure. “That’s my chair,” I said.

“How do you know?” the back said.

I thought about that carefully, looking over his shoulder at the two coffees. Like a sentry to pleasure he barred my way, but without violence.

“Are you going to stand there, forever?” he asked.

“Are you ever going to turn round?” I responded, in retaliation.

“But I’m facing you!”

I couldn’t help but burst out laughing. “No you’re not,” I chortled. “You’re facing nothing …”

“A harsh way to describe an empty chair …” he said. “Come and fill it.”

Something still barred my way – something in me.  What was this? What essence of the now lay in this curious arrangement that was becoming more serious by the second, whispering look, look deeper, as I stood there, mute to his request.

“Turn around!” I said, unable to bear the tension any more.

“When you sit opposite me I shall be turned around,” he said, softly.

I heard myself shout, “No you won’t …” And then, in a burst of energy that was part anger and part emotional release, I reached to shake his chair, forcing him to stand and, now grinning, turn to face me – but backing into his usual place as he did so. The effect was surreal. He sat down without speaking, still smiling at me. There was no threat at all, and yet my hair felt like it was standing on end …

“It’s empty,” he said, gesturing to my seat, which had grown in importance to the point of being explosive. “But it’s not the same, is it?”

I sat down, clumsily; disliking this assault on my normality. My face had reddened and I must have appeared confused. I looked around, certain that everyone would be staring at me. As I scanned table after table, I could see that no-one was … except Rose, who held my gaze with an intense power and a deep smile which seemed to urge me on.

None of this was making any sense … and my heart was racing.

“Who are you, now?” he asked me, with nothing but warmth in his expression.

“Who …wha?” I whispered.

“Heracles and his labours …” John said, switching the topic as though he’d just finished chewing a biscuit. “At what point do you think they begin?” He was still moving backwards; becoming smaller as other things pressed into my now.

My lips were moving without words. My mind racing with images of court cases where I had been forced to reach deep into my mental and emotional reserves. One in particular loomed large in memory: a crook – a fraudster – trying to convince the jury that he had not wronged an honest man. His barrister had been so slick, so very clever, and they were winning the case …

“Both chairs were always there …” John’s voice in the background was saying. Be quiet, be quiet. My wordless lips framed the injunction, as the man on the witness stand looked across with confidence at his adviser, and I fixed him with eyes grown full with confidence … because I had seen the falseness of what he was saying; had seen the small hole in the armour they had welded him into …

“Their two-ness is necessary, but only one of them can drive the twin self,” the distant voice droned on. “And when that happens with intent, then the man …”

I was losing it. Things were rushing down a long tube, the end of which was bright – very bright. I opened my mouth to speak and the defendant opened his, forming the same words on his lying lips; his barrister rising to his feet in alarm at the turn of events; at the way the puppet had switched owners …

“Then the man can act from within …” the distant voice said.

The lying defendant spoke the truth, the vital word coming from his mouth, with his barrister screaming behind me and the judge banging his gavel to restore order …

“Then the man can act from within the lion’s mouth, because the man, who was never just a man, can reveal that he was always …”

“The sole responsible party,” said the defendant.

“The solar force,” said the man within the lion’s head.

“The soul,” said my lips; not to a cafe full of disinterested people, but to the far-away relative opposite, who was suddenly closer – so close that I could feel the warmth of his smile; and that of Rose who had come to stand behind me.

Soon after, I was gazing out at the sea. No-one was speaking. My coffee remained untouched. Instead, Rose had brought me a cup of tea, saying, “Hot sweet tea – can’t beat it after a shock like that, love.”

John’s voice was almost subvocal, “And so Heracles begins his labours at the point where he sees that he is …?”

“A soul incarnated in a necessary but devious body, rather than a body aspiring to be a soul …” I said, watching the judge leave the courtroom, shaking his head in amusement; and the guilty man’s barrister slamming his brief case onto the bench.

But the guilty man looked peaceful … more peaceful than I had ever seen him, before.

———————————————————–

Nine Deadly Sins with Coffee is usually published on Thursdays.

All images and text ©International copyright, The Silent Eye School of Consciousness, 2015.

Steve Tanham is a director of the Silent Eye School of Consciousness; a place of companionship, sharing and the search for the real in life, using the loving techniques and insights of esoteric psychology. He retired from a life as an IT entrepreneur to establish the School in 2012, and, having persuaded Sue Vincent to . . .

Read more (500 words)

The Last Tailor

Osiris Green GodV5 ace 21Sept15

The Last Tailor

The clothes he wears are not his own

They dressed the flesh to suit the dead

With colours picked from nature’s prime

And perfumes rare that round his head

Entwine a crown of rule and law

In broken pieces whispering of a thread

——-

The white ones came and spun the rope

That covered tailored blood and green

And in his eyes they painted death

To cover tracks of life unseen

Protecting deep and final rest

And shielding paths where none had been

——-

And down this thread his life was passed

To draw all those whose time conveyed

That he might witness love or lack

And, bloodless till all life was weighed

Become the place to which we pass

His breath the stone on which our life’s displayed

——-

Each day our footsteps nearer tread

Unto that chamber where he dwells

In perfect silence now – his inner garb

Awaiting time when scales meet shells

And there will hold and cherish hearts

One life not death revealed in deepest wells

©Copyright Stephen Tanham, 2015

Base Osiris image from Wikipedia

Ben’s Bit, part nine – Bakewell Newsheet

Peak Past newsheet

<See index below for other parts of this story>

———————————————————–< to be continued-

Ben’s Bit is a continuing first-person narrative of the character created by Stuart France and Sue Vincent, which may bear some relation to the author of this story, Steve Tanham, their fellow director of the Silent Eye School of Consciousness.  In the latest of their books, Scions of Albion, Ben is arrested for his overly enthusiastic part in a mad escapade, and the other two are nowhere to be seen . . .  For more, enjoy their Doomsday series of books, and the new series (Lands of Exile) beginning soon. Click here for details.

All characters portrayed are fictional.

Index to Ben’s Bits:

Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven

Sue Vincent describes her and Stuart’s perspective on Ben’s imprisonment: Part One, Part Two

The Doomsday Series of books by Stuart France and Sue Vincent

The Silent Eye School of Consciousness – a modern mystery school.

Silent Eye modern masterAA

Names Matter V…

Stuart concludes the riddle …

Stuart France

uffington and rollright 066

“Boing!” said Zebedee, “time for bed.”
The Magic Roundabout

“Are these names authentic?”
“Names Matter…”
“They just don’t seem to be in keeping with the rest of the tale.”
“And what would you rather have, ‘Athelstan’ and ‘Ingmar.’”
“Methusalem sounds like another clue to me.”
“Well, there should be five really.”
“In which case, they would be ‘clews’.”
“So I am led to believe.”…

…Well, she felt that horrud. Howsomediver, she hard the king a coming along the passage. In he came, an’ when he sees the five skeins, he says, ‘Well, me dare I don’t see what ye will ha’ your skeins ready tomorrer night as well, an’ as I reckon I shorn’t ha’ to kill you, I’ll ha’ supper in here tonight.’
So supper and another stool was brought for him and down the tew they sat.
Well, he hadn’t eat but a mouthful or so, when he…

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