‘Then one starts thinking. Why not drop it all? Why not finish it? Why not give the ticket back to God?’

From Osho, ‘The Heart Sutra: Talks on Prajnaparamitam Hridayam Sutra of Gautama the Buddha’
Copyright 1977 Osho International Foundation

When I wrote the bulk of this poem , in my early 20’s, thoughts of  ‘giving the ticket back to God’  were strong.

Several years later, arriving in Osho’s (then called Bhagwan’s) ashram in Poona, India, I finally found sanctuary.


lights of Harehills
a pointilliste palette of a life left behind,
a premonition of a life ahead,
its mystery and pain

stranded on impossible dreams,
half homeward, half

season of standstill and decay,
bereft time,
cant time,
time to leave these shores

was Christ crucified here,
here in this quiet park?
or on the walls of the Uffizi gallery
or on the steel girders of Howrah Bridge?

all this
pen and bistre

white body colour

did Rembrandt ever visit London?
there is some doubt on this point
he drew sketches of the cathedral and the river –
but did he ever go there?

‘this sketch is drawn after my wife,
when she was 21 years old, the third day
after our betrothal,
8th June 1633’,
the hesitant smile, her eyes half-closed,
the flowers in her hat,
veronica prostrata

inside the parlour,
in a chair full-length,
fastened by her grip,
her essence,
the surreal gleam of skin,
her zeal

all this
pen and bistre

white body colour

a feeble elegy to a feeble saint,
his lucid halo, slumped torso,
Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?
his delirium,
the mirage of words and exhortations,
the vanishing,
the shing

veronica prostrata

where rests the unborn man
the undying man


Leeds, England 1970