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Poetry Corner

River – by Geoff Hoffman

Floating down the river of this life
where years are oars,
and passing illnesses
are metaphoric wars –
with the vision of the mind we see
crisis after crisis roaring mad
as rocks roar into rapids,
then a drift of peace as rivers flow,
slow, undecided, long and low
as life has intervals of calm;
and then dark waters
crashing down deep falls
that almost, almost bring an end to us;
then the illusion once again
of silent restfulness, enduring peace,
until at last the river finds the sea.

How shall we cope?
As we have always coped:
by living through
the nightmares of this life,
pretending that the intervals of peace
are more than intervals:
they are normality
until at last they are resolved in death,
as rivers reach the sea.



Miracle? – by Geoff Hoffman

Year after year after year after year

the bushes by this car-lined road

have grown and grown and grown and grown

up and outwards     out and up

spreading their tentacles across the pavement

trespassing into the hidden road

so that no prams and few pedestrians

could pass, and children were endangered.


Now suddenly, as if a wizard’s staff

had struck the neighbours’ undergrowth

bewildered bushes in the passing night

startled out of this impatient street

appear cut back into themselves

contracted to a world of neatness

shrunk and shrunk and shrunk and shrunk

de-thorned de-twigged to tidiness.


Striding from home towards the pillar-box

I see this miracle of alteration

and I wonder wonder wonder –

might this magic work on us, changing

our humanity to something more than human

no longer trespassing on others’ rights

no longer driving them into the road’s danger;

bringing a touch more safety to the world?



Voice– by Geoff Hoffman

Once I could sing:

my voice would soar to heaven and beyond,

for my soul rose upon the wings of song.

Singing, I touched the infinite.

I sang to God

and knew that I was heard

and answered by a deeper melody.


Age is a thief,

stealing my voice away;

but still, despite inexorable time,

awareness of a higher consciousness

echoes and re-echoes in my ears…


Dreamer – by Geoff Hoffman

Half asleep in the early hours of dawn

she heard her husband mumbling

eccentricities into the pillow’s ear:

“One and one are three.

Six and six are nine.

Nine and nine are fifty-six.

Fifty-six and fifty-six are twenty-two.

Facts are not what we think they are.

Reality is imagination.

Even my wife is a dream.

And I – do I exist?”


“Hush,” she said.

“It’s only five o’clock.

Go back to sleep.”


“I am asleep,” he said.


The Question – by Geoff Hoffman

Do not fear the dark of night.

When day comes, it will bring the sun

and wake the summer in the sky,

and bring the life back into life,

and wake existence into light:

and we shall all be born again.


The stars may fail, the moon may fall,

and shadows drown the universe,

but they will end when day returns;

and we shall see the woken sun.

Night is not eternal.  Time is

a circle.  Day will come again.


Look into the future.  Can you see

your dreams become reality?

Surely there must be an end to

fear!  Will wars never cease to be?

Is time a nightmare with no end?

Is the sun shining?  Is there light?



Who Knows? – by Geoff Hoffman

Four eyes gaze at me from an upstairs wall

dark eyes staring from another world

grandfather eyes     grandmother eyes

unseeing eyes that died

too many years ago


From old framed photographs they stare

those sightless eyes

into this human universe

sightless and yet who knows?  Perhaps they see

through those illusion-eyes and gaze at me


Perhaps unseeing they can see

from after-death

into this world’s reality

and so observe our undead lives

and judge us and condemn our littleness


Who knows?  Who knows?  Who knows?



Accident? – by Geoff Hoffman

Millions of uncounted galaxies,

zillions of singing stars,

billions of distant whirling worlds:

and only one of them alive with life

that senses and feels and reasons

and wonders how it came to be?


Was it in this one universe alone,

in this one galaxy, on this one Earth,

intelligence was kindled?

World after world after world after world –

and only here is there humanity,

and only here in this myself

am I myself, and all by accident

unplanned, a dream undreamt,

complexity without intent?

Can this be truly so?



Oy – by Geoff Hoffman

Oy sits in moy house and oy thinks.

Think, think, what do oy think?

Oy thinks that oy thinks,

But oy do not think owt else.


So oy just sits here in moy chair and is,

Just is; oy do be what oy am,

Nowt else; for what else should oy be?

Oy am myself: that’s all oy wants to be.



Answers, Please! – by Geoff Hoffman

Where is the heart of the Earth?

Does it beat with the blood of the sea?

Does the Earth feel?

Is the Earth real?

What is meant by ‘normality’?


Where is the core of the world?

Where is the heart of the sea?

Can leaves feel, as they uncurl

In the face of daylight to be?

Tell me, tell me, if you will  –

Where’s the home of infinity?


What is the cause of being?

What is the centre of life?

Did existence spring

From a micro-dot?

Do answers exist, or not?


Questions cannot answer questions.

You can’t pick up Truth from a shelf.

Distinguish Truth from deception?  –

I’m a stranger here myself!



Superstition – by Geoff Hoffman

To fly on a broomstick, to ride on the wind,

To walk through the walls of existence, and find

New worlds and new beings, new powers of the mind;

To read the far future written in stars; to see

Today hidden in tea-leaves; free

From chains of mere logical causality;


To move one’s hand in mystic waves through the air,

Turn light into ice with a magical flare,

Impressing the ignorant, making them stare;


Melt lead into gold, make mountains sing,

Throw fire at the clouds, and leave the air glowing,

With mumbo-jumbo syllables echoing  –


Is this magic,

Or the ramblings of a mind that’s sick?

Natural laws can’t be suspended.

The universe can’t be up-ended!

‘Magic’ in its literal sense

Is the palliative of the dense:


But beauty, in sunset or tree,

Is the magic of reality.

Sabbath – by Geoff Hoffman

 A city is one speck that’s buried in
The endless progress of millennia.
Dreaming behind the city’s mask of stone,
Infinity waits in unchanging equipoise:
Existence is an orb, gripped in the hand of God.
There is a peace that’s more than peace,
And a reality beyond reality
In time that knows no time,
Sleeping in a Sabbath beyond Sabbaths
Where purposes unite and are resolved,
And where all conflicts meet and melt to stillness
In the elemental silence where God rests.

And After – by Geoff Hoffman


And after this, can there be nothing?

No sight, no sound, no life, no consciousness?


If life is after death, it is in God.

If God is not, then nothing signifies.

If God exists, then God is everything.


Search – by Geoff Hoffman

Down city roads where the fumes fall like rain
We stumble, staggering through darkened ways
And running between houses tall as fear,
Peopled by ghosts, haunted by memories.

All life is a wild running through the dark,
A search for space between the hanging roofs
Of undefined desires, a labyrinth
Of corridors that wind within the brain,

Seeking a road that is no cul-de-sac
But breaks into a garden; to where glows
(Sudden within the sunrise) glory of
The unimaginable mind of God.


God, let us rest – by Geoff Hoffman

God, let us rest and live in lasting peace

free from the fear of endless war,

grim poverty and looming violence,

sickness of spirit, agony of soul,

the threatening terrors of impending death –

and the extinction of humanity.


Let us not live with this eternal dread

but see the sunrise following the night,

the light that symbolises life’s return,

the new day glowing, glory all a-gleam

with promise of a future without end.

God, let us rest and live in lasting peace!

Mon, 27 January 2020 1 Sh'vat 5780