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Poetry Competition Results

Let a thousand flowers blossom” –Chairman Mao

There were a large number of entries to the philosophical poetry competition in Issue 2. Most were of a high standard, although there was a noticeable tendency towards introspection and melancholy. Where are all the happy poets? The poems were judged one riotous evening by a ninestrong committee using a voting system of amazing complexity, and the final decision was extremely close.

I have decided to print the winning poem and the two runners-up. The winning entry was by R.J.Caldwell, of Coulsdon, Surrey, who therefore gets the bottle of Jack Daniels.

The Body-Mind Problem

I’ve had about me longer than I’d own,
this thing of flesh and blood and bone,

and a changing face I think would fit
anyone who laid a claim on it.

What is this heavy-breathing thing
that makes a joke of love, and lovemaking?

The substance I am, and which lurks inside,
has its own, and not a body’s pride.

Or, when I hear the Bach B Minor Suite,
does an ageing carcase still tap out the beat?

Did ten fumbling fingers play the notes
on which my stranded spirit dotes?

If I lost a finger or a toe
would a little piece of mind then go?

I am not my body, cannot understand
what I am linked to through a pineal gland.

The body, mocking at the mental view,
has a body’s metaphysics too,

declares the mind’s aspiring thought
a wayward germ that it has caught,

prattling of eternity, and spreading lies:
the disease from which the body dies.

(R.J. Caldwell)

The Midas Touch

Untouchables, gaunt spectres at the feast, we wander through a wealth we cannot hold; starve in the midst of plenty; see the bread and wine of Mother Earth cast in the mould of our desire, what we reach out towards sealed instantly in flawless useless gold, the perfect vivid image of itself; our world reduced to statues, stiff and cold. What laughing god will pity us and lift our curse, what river wash away our gift?

(Paul Mackintosh)

Where Lies Escape?

Where lies escape?
Bound as I am to time and space,
It seems I have no choice
but to stand here, now, fearfully
and face the fate
decided by conditioning.

Where lies escape?
Landscape determines where
Mindscape determines who
So, here I stand now, tearfully.

If I meditate,
Spiralling into centre
Will I find the crack between two worlds?
Can I wriggle through and find Eternity?
Thoughts deceive by promising Eternity
and combine to set me up again
in just another time and space
“This could go on eternally”
My time conditioned mind implies
Where lies escape?

The One who rides the rollers of superspace
astride twin porpoises of Yin and Yang
roars with laughter as I try to trace
my pathway in the gloom
Across the wavicles its message zooms
Walk on
There is no escape.

(Betty Clegg)

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