Tuesday, March 12, 2019

My long poem: "The Miracle".

John Wallen

PART ONE: Meet Hari Chand
Hari Chand—investigative journalist
Determined to illuminate
The terminal decline of Bharat;
With a special roving commission
From Anil Patil,
Concerned kshatriya of Maharashtra
Province: late professor of dermatology
At Jizan Health College,
Saudi Arabia,
Now expatriated to New Zealand;
Living along the outreaches
Of the Western world,
In Tauranga,
Ayurvedic remedies
To dissipated Europeans

O where did it all go wrong?

When Patanjali’s sutras
Explained the Vedic scheme
Siddharta’s wheel of Dharma
Already ruled supreme.
While Krishna and Arjuna
Discussed the pith of life
The chariots of ignorance
Disseminated strife.
At Vulture’s Peak, the Buddha
Revealed the Tantric path;
But my dear friend, Anil Patil,
Only makes me laugh!

The Mughals came
The Mughals built;
Shah Jihan, to his cost
Spent all his wealth on Mumtaza
Until his realm was lost.
In latter days he viewed “the Taj”
Through iron prison bars
Incarcerated by a son
Who’d kicked him in the arse.

Caste, Caste, Caste, Caste;
Caste deflated India…
If I can’t touch you,
And you can’t touch me,
How happy can we ever be?

Brahmin priests and all their rituals,
Friends to the worldy ones,
Undid India.

Brahma. Vishnu. Shiva.
Did you ever really need them?
Brahma created without their incantations.
Vishnu, Krishna, Buddha,
Sustained and enlightened, indifferent to their technical mumbo-jumbo:
Shiva’s dance of death destroys, regardless of Brahminical threads and pride

Pride destroyed India.
And yet,
Avalokiteshvara’s infinite compassion still abounds; His thousand arms waiting                                  To rescue all sentient beings from the chains of their ignorance,                                                          Into the Sambhogakaya :                                                                                                                      The Buddhafield.

Om Mani Padme Hum.


I watched a snake charmer’s cheap trickeries
Outside Rajghat.
He wanted money.
Is it possible that one who is able to control
The dancing snake head
Can be in need of a few coppers from me?

O dissolute nation
Who had everything the world systems can provide,
But threw it all away--
What price must you pay
For your own unvirtue?

Hari Chand’s a secret guy;
You’ll find him in the bar,
Listening to private talk
(Not near, nor yet too far).
Whenever India’s discussed,
He’s got it on his mind
That something just might be picked up
Explaining her decline.
And as we know, he works for one
Inextricably bound
To the travails of Bharat and
The Ganges’ rushing sound.
It’s good to know that even when
Anil is in his dreams
Hari Chand is on the case
And life’s not what it seems.

PART TWO: Delhi Musings

I spent some time in Delhi’s maze
Of beggars, rickshaws, bikes and shit;
And everywhere I felt the gaze
Of those who would abandon it

A mother with her bundled child,
Tapped upon the moving glass.
Her eyes roamed, desperate and wild,
And wouldn’t let me pass.

I offered up some gift of notes
And suddenly there came
A hundred more in tattered coats
And each one had no name.

I looked upon their greedy eyes,
Then waved the driver on;
And inwardly, without surprise,
I felt compassion gone.

The poor and desolate are our friends,
They teach us generosity;
Let’s love our enemies better than our relatives
(As those who hate us give an opportunity for the practice of patience).

Perhaps one day I can become wild and homeless myself,
Though without the unmindfulness of a Delhi street beggar;
No, no, but with the green tinge of an enlightened Milarepa
Seeing beyond the limitations of


Ashkhardan is beautiful
And, in just five years,
Volunteers built its stone temple
In the old way, fashioned from the imagination and love,
Without steel and iron.
Krishna consciousness pervades the essence.
Om Hari Krishna
Om Hari Krishna
Om Om Om

Hari Chand is on the case. He sees all, but says little. Everything is placed in the balance.
Dr. Anil will have his answer.

PART THREE: Dr. Anil in Motion and Still Life
Dr. Anil gave up all his glamour
When he travelled to Jizan.
He tried to show the Jizanis,
Through an innate pride in his nation,
The glory of the Vedas:
What they are, had been, and ever would be.
Even when they scoffed,
And asked him if the sacred cow had been his mother,
He persevered,
Watching old movies about Gods and Avatars
In his pleasing home,
Surrounded by a loving family:
His wife, Priyanka,
And blessed daughter Vishakha
Who, as the reincarnation of Anil’s maternal grandmother,
Was (somehow) close to Shiva
Lord of the dance.

Dr. Anil, disciple of Shankacharya,
Why did you come to Jizan?
Get away as quick as you can!
Talking’s just a barrier
To the enlightenment of man.

Leave it all to Hari… Hari Chand.
Hari’s built for sniffing out the meaning of life,
And the reasons for strife.
He’s a smooth operator
And sooner or later
He’ll find out all you want to know
Of virtue, knowledge, death and View:
He’ll show you what to do,
Explain the transcendental light
Of wisdom, just for you.

Om Hari Hari Chand.

Take refuge in the Hari.

PART FOUR: Vulture’s Peak

Rajgir was the setting for
The Dharma’s second spin:
The prajnaparamita core
Of emptiness within.
Thus have I heard: at Vulture’s Peak
The Thusly-Gone one taught
All aspirants who truly seek
To find a secret thought.
“Nam m’yoho renge kyo”:
The blessings showered down;
The diamond and the lotus show
The heart within the crown.
Assembled Boddhisattvas watched
Shunyata’s face arise
From Union with Emptiness
(And in the Buddha’s eyes).
Oh India you were not fit
To learn the Tantric truth
From Uddiyana’s great pandit
(Nor Krishna’s guileless youth).
Ganges, Yamuna, Saraswat:
Sweet Gangetic plains!
Holy rivers of Bharat,
Filled by monsoon rains!
Why did the flowing Dharma cease?
Why was the Tantra dumb?
Why did that mighty soul decrease?
Why didn’t Moksha come?
Why did the Buddha at Rajgir
Decide to hide the truth,
From India and all the world,
In Nagar serpent tooth?
Oh why is Ramakrishna’s faith,
Nandranath’s noble jewels,
Diluted by some Pretan wraith
Into a billion fools?

PART FIVE: Hari Reports Back to Anil

Anil rebuilds his life in Tauranga;
And even Vishakha,
And his dear departed grandmother
(Who now holds a New Zealand passport),
Is/are content.

Life is good.

Hari Chand’s report
Has just arrived from Delhi, giving meaty food for thought.
According to Hari
Life is a bitch
And we just have to try and get over it.

Anil (on the whole) finds himself in concurrence with these noble sentiments.

Om Tat Sat!

© John Wallen

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

I have started a Poetry Podcast.

Check it out!


Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Monday, August 05, 2013

Monday, July 30, 2012


I always loved reading Foucault for the alternative slant he gives you on things: you don't necessarily always agree with him--but he is always intellectually stimulating. In particular, I admire him for his anti-statist points of view. Big brother is watching: but most of us are not fully aware of just how great the surveillance is-- and Foucault, in this respect, can be an eye-opener.
I wasn't sure what I'd get from this late work: but the themes are much the same as elsewhere in Foucault. He is concerned with the way the state uses sex--or sexuality as he prefers it--to control bodies. He begins, contradictorily, by negatively critiquing the most prominent discourse on sex in the twentieth (and twenty-first) century: the state does NOT want to repress sex to consolidate its own power so as to stop emotional libertinism from getting out of hand and causing a rebellion. Rather (according to Foucault), the power of the state wishes to direct the multiple discourses on sex in order to control its power. Repression would be too simplistic a tactic. Foucault moves into uncharted territory as he begins to make his essential argument that since the Enlightenment, the great confinement and emphasis on a sterile medicalization of discourse, the state has had to look at the big picture of what it wants when it comes to population, birth control, demographics, genetics, etc. Clearly, many of the most essential areas for state control are bound up with sexuality in one way or another. In these circumstances the state has found it expedient to medicalize the ever increasing number of discourses on sex. Therefore sexuality has become, essentially, discourse-based at the present time: more so than at any other point in history--and the ones who can control the discursive debates on sexuality will have the real power. Often, there is a hegemonic and Gramscian aspect to Foucauld's ideas, where the superstructure of a society begins to work in an independent and subliminal manner, unconscious of its adherence to state power structures. For example, though Foucauld doesn't say it directly, one conclusion to be drawn from the way the state may wish to regulate the sexual activities of its citizens could be to encourage gay people to "marry" (gay marriage) within the existing structures as this is better than having them "infect" the demographic equation, having biological kids, mentoring them with advice based on tolerance, anti-state ideas etc., which would destabilize the rules-based heterosexual production of compliant children. Perhaps Foucault felt this quite deeply as a gay writer himself--or as a writer who happened to be gay. According to Foucault, the state surrounds us with so many discourses about sexuality because this is something hidden that must be made known for the state to manifest full control. Keeping an individual and silent space for sexuality would be to escape the power of the state as it would no longer know what its citizens were doing in this potentially explosive area. Therefore, the state prefers to have all the fantasies and compulsions out in the open where the medical industry can classify it into "appropriate" and "abnormal" behavior. In a sense, secret discourses about sex is what the state fears most as its control would no longer be guaranteed over people as individual agents took responsibility for their own lives and went off in different moral directions. For the state, it is essential that "sexuality" remains monolithic even though the discourses about it must constantly multiply in order to keep things under control. According to Foucault, one concomitant of this is that the state encourages us to define our essential nature in terms of our sexuality--a way of submitting one's essential bodily reality to the supervision of the state. In a society regulated by psychiatrists and psychotherapists who are (hegemonically) encouraged to convince us that all aspects of our lives and nature are founded on sexual impulses, there can be no escape for the tormented, individual psyche which, when it tries to revolt, is quickly brought back into the sheep pen by whichever discourse on sex can best indicate the subliminal sexual impotence of the subject. Foucauld makes it clear that beyond the needs of this bio-power of sex, there is no independent logic or reason for people to define their essential natures in terms of sexuality; no more than there would be for them to define it in terms of musical taste or personal diet preferences. In a more neutral place, our sexuality would just be one aspect of who we are: but the modern "bio-state" wishes to convince us that everything we do, everything we are, can be traced back to our sexuality--as this is the most effective way of controlling large numbers of regulated bodies.
Volume 1 was an exciting trip. I fancy vols. 2 and 3 might be a little slower, with their emphasis on the uses of pleasure in classical antiquity.

Saturday, July 07, 2012


I've been watching a lot of films and reading numerous books about the Nazi conduct of WW2. Sometimes, it is underestimated just how close Hitler and the Nazis came to establishing their 1000 year Reich--and also how the strategic importance of Britain played a major part in Nazi planning (and also in their eventual defeat). After Hitler had conquered continental Europe, only Britain stood in his way. But what to do next? Britain was a major rival that wasn't going to roll over easily, separated as it was from the continent by 22 miles of water. The Nazis might have come up with some plan to try and take the British airfields by the use of paratroops, but it would have been very risky and likely to fail. The British naval superiority was less important as in the narrow channel, the RN ships would have been sitting ducks for the Luftwaffe that was protecting the invasion force. It was, however, necessary for the RAF to be destroyed before any invasion was attempted--and, crucially, Hitler's forces were unable to do this. Almost certainly, if the early waves of Luftwaffe attacks had been successful in their aim of destroying the RAF, invasion and inevitable defeat would have followed. This would have had crucial long term results. Hitler could have concentrated on his war with Russia without worrying about the opening up of a second front in the West or any effective participation by the US in the war. The USA forces were able to threaten the Nazis only through the use of Britain as a kind of static aircraft carrier on which they could build up all their resources for an invasion of France. If Britain had already fallen when the Americans came into the war, how could they have conducted hostilities so far from home? An invasion fleet from America itself was most unlikely--as unlikely as a direct German invasion of the US.

The second factor was the USSR. Ideology and Hitler's hatred was the main cause of the war with Russia--but the specific timing of the attack, in June 1941, was due to Hitler's failure to conquer Britain. If he could smash the USSR in just a few months, as most military analysts of the time believed he could do, Britain's hopes of aid coming from the east would be shattered. The Nazi plan was to confront Britain with a Europe that had been totally subjugated to Hitler's will. With everything settled with Russia, the Nazis would have been able to face the Anglo Saxon enemy from a position of strength. Britain would have been smashed whatever the cost and then the Nazis could have joined their Japanese ally in an attack on the US via Eastern Russia. For the first time in US history, there would definitely have been a foreign invader fighting on American soil--and the US, make no mistake about it, would have been fighting for its very existence.

To sum up, Hitler's failure to conquer Britain resulted in the catastrophic invasion of the Soviet Union and opened up the possibility of an eventual US attack on continental Europe, through the use of the UK as a storage base and launching site for invasion. It was a close run thing and if the RAF had failed to hold off the Germans in 1940, the war might have turned out completely differently. Even if the Germans had still been unable to defeat the Soviet Union, possibilities for a stale mate would have been significantly increased without the opening up of a second front in the West. Of course, some analysts would say that Hitler's forces were sure to have been defeated in the east, eventually, even without the opening up of a second front: but that is an imponderable we cannot be sure about. It may be true--but we can't be certain that things would have turned out that way.

Monday, February 13, 2012

You've just got to love John Barnes! On Talksport he really took apart all the holier-than-thou, faceless and politically correct "journos" who have simply jumped on the bandwagon of the Luis Suarez affair. Barnes--a great player for Liverpool and someone who often had to deal with racist chants throughout his career--correctly made the point that legislation will never lead to a society free of racism. As he points out, there is legislation against theft, but there are still people who steal: that's not to say some legislation is not required, but the main emphasis has to be on education. Barnes states that he's not interested in punishment, but wants to change the mind set of people in society--and simply legislating will never do that.

It's pathetic really how politically correct the U.K. has become while being empty--at least as regards the press and bureaucracy--of any true respect and compassion for those who suffer.