Stephen Loomes (21ST JUNE 1950 / SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA)
You stick your head out and there’s lights blazing and people
Talking and there you are in the middle of this world
Which dances in infinity somewhere around the third planet out
From the sun and what are you supposed to make of it?
Are you going back in a Rolls Royce to some comfy castle
Or are you going to roll around in a cardboard box crying, screaming
Scared beyond sense waiting for the protector who might never come?
And that’s the beginning of life, lying on your back crying
Or staring up at faces, visions of who-knows-what
And knowing that a smile is kind, and a frown is danger
And waiting to know who is a friend and who is a stranger!
And all of this in the middle of someone else’s history.
Are you a Jew or an Arab a Christian a Hindu or Jain
A Moslem or Latter-Day Saint?
Whatever it is they’re telling you, shaping your life from day one;
Here am I telling you, you ‘aint!
It’s a gamble how you’re treated
Because as a child you’ve got no rights
You’re a blackboard in someone else’s classroom
Where others choose whether its darkness or light.
George Bernard Shaw quips from the side,
“the child is father to the man “
He should have told this to the girl who became the bride.
2. The Gamble
Life is a gamble, it is understood;
If you are lucky in your childhood
You might find yourself at school
Or all alone without control.
Are they being nice to you,
Do they care how you feel,
Are they reaching for the genius within you,
Or branding you as the fool?
And how is your body? Do you look normal?
Are the other children treating you with respect
Or are you the one they laugh about
Abandoned and lonely through neglect?
Are you the one that’s left out
Or the one that they protect?
The centre-of-attention getting all the love you need
Or wide-eyed alone and starving, wishing to be loved?
As a growing child you’re powerless at the whim of those who tower above,
But what are you going to do about it when you know that you are not loved?
When the teachers reject you, without parents or friends to protect you
What are you going to do and and who can show you what to do?
Are you so wounded-wild you want to hurt the ones who make you sad,
Or so mild that you can’t face them,
Or worse, you try to please them when they are bad.
What lessons are you getting? Is some adult telling you there’s a God
Who sees everything you think and do, and as this intrusion bears down on you
Do they tell you how you are going to survive
When all you want is to be loved?
Or are you loved, safe in a cocoon, like the chosen in the Bhagavad Gita
Born of noble birth, a child of Yogins
Or is your mother crazy and your dad a boozing cheater?
Are you destined to win, or are you programmed to lose?
And in the midst of it all on this rock shooting through space
Can you learn to be a master of your face
Or are you so lonely and needing for love
That you want to be a master of your race,
Or glorying in the encirclement of a chosen race?
There’s so many distractions when the hormones come,
And there’s so many attractions; and when are you going to get some?
Many thoughts and needs that circle around your head
And schoolwork and bookwork and religion
Some which want you living and some which want you dead.
Through the five portals pour the music and video and television and movies
And preachers and all around without restriction, hypnotists
Media-generals fighting war for your mind and attention and money,
Create a sea then throw a rope so you won’t drown
While role models let themselves and the world down.
So your thinking gets confused as a million hucksters hawk their wares
Some dressed like bishops trying to sell you salvation like blue-chip shares.
They’re crooning and they’re shouting or they quietly pour their poison in your ears
Think this way, and no-one confesses that what they’re trying to sell,
Has come out of someone else’s vision of what’s heaven and what’s hell.
They have it packaged and blended and sweetened
So that you’ll be attracted and think it would be fine
But the ideas that they are peddling you can never say are mine!
And they’re not going to give you time to come out with your own ideas anyway
They just want you in their line.
4. The Narrow Gate.
But if for a thrill or too much time to kill,
Or a pain from someone unkind,
Who crushed you when you could not fight back
If it’s not religion, a way to think or behave
Someone will offer you a joint, a pill for what you lack
And next thing you’re off one step forward and two steps back.
As the drug seeps through your innocent heart,
You might feel better at the start than how you felt before
But then the chemical has a home now in your body and your brain
It is comfortable in there and it wants to remain
Looking out of your blank stare.
So your spirit is running along a steep trail.
And it is like nightmares sometimes
Grabbing hands flail for you as you try to climb,
Drawing you into the world of a junkie
Where a chemical steals years of your life.
But never gives you back your time.
5. Preserving the Holy Grail.
Whether the Holy Grail of your mind
Is filled with poison of the backyard kind,
Or shaking in your prayerful hand
On the road of someone else’s ideas.
Like Paul on the road to Damascus
Dressed like Colonel Sanders of early years,
Saying I think the folks will like this one
Franchising ideas and fears
Your mind was not meant for these snares.
But do you go into your closet and pray
In secret and alone become assured
Because you know the Lord has heard
Or are you down on the street corner rejoicing for the reward?
Ok well you’re still standing after that struggle
And suddenly George Bernard, he is there
Introducing you to this adult person who is you
And you are coupled with someone and amazed
That on this third planet way out in space
Your heart beating inside you as you see another’s face
And you love them and you need them
And like Plato said in his Symposium
He said like flat-fish we people are
Only half of a whole and when you find
That other half you are in awe
It is then that you discover
You are completed by your lover;
And what power is released
For ever and ever and so be it that love
Has the power of a thousand suns
But can you be certain of emotions
Any more than the God above
Or will either of you betray for another’s love?
Who among us can be trusted
With this precious gift and power?
But take the plank from your own eye
Before taking the splinter from your lovers; It is morality’s hour.
How much fear runs your engine when you are left alone?
Do you want to destroy those who take what you love
Or can you forgive them when they’re gone?
When love’s denied does the door open to hate
Can you let others be if they don’t fill your needs
Or like a murderer do you wait?
When you are crossed by a good friend, do you strike their mind until it bleeds?
What depth has your compassion
Is there understanding in the end?
Is there goodness within you, or does it come from up above,
Have you found it deep inside, from a deep abiding love?
Or are you a painted vessel with a hollow-nothing where you hide
What makes you real and what makes you feel.
It is you, who must decide.
When watching lovers punish each other
Through hurt they hurt back harder
With little compassion on show.
I wonder is hate the fate of love?
Is love divine, for evermore,
Or just a congress with a whore?
William Blake, the mystic with mind complete,
Spoke of the whore that goes from street to street
Weaving old England’s winding-sheet.
But I see this great and mighty whore
Shining holy evermore,
Thrusting humanity on through time
As Bill’s mortal coil inexorably unfolds.
Look now as you, trembling like never before,
Watch the midwife coax the infant into this world,
Or you the mother, wailing with pain
Delivering a human being into this worldly domain.
Then you see a new being staring up at your eyes
Crying to be loved cuddled and fed
Your love once political glows unalloyed
Your own child deserves no lies
As you cradle their sweet head,
Your excited heart feels more love than can be said
You bend over their crib and listen for the breath
Ensuring this loved one be kept from its death.
And so through this pattern which mankind pursues
With optimism life and knowledge renews.
Comments about this poem (Solipsism by Stephen Loomes )
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