“All I want to do is be with you, Amida, this early morning.”

“I send you Avalokitésvara and Mahasthamaprapta.”

After six hours of perfect sleep I sit peacefully and meditate.

Ten minutes later I’m downstairs in my dressing-gown feeling refreshed.

It’s terribly important that in moments of sanity like this

I allow myself to be guided with regard to the day ahead.

In my ‘down’ period I inadvertently committed blunders

which are a source of regret. I probably disappointed people.

Most of all Maria must have suffered from my involuntary neglect.

I’ll do anything in my power to make it up to her today.

I will avoid making promises and resolutions I can’t keep.

I’ll be glad if today is even slightly better than yesterday.

Save energy without becoming despondent – that is the message.


The sky is blue. Sunshine throws shadows of our tree on the neighbours’ wall.

Up on the wire the blackbird watches to see if I have any food.

Tibetan rites are called for. They will keep me occupied usefully,

stretch my muscles and get me back into the meditational mood

my day began with (I feel myself slipping back towards inertia).

Dressing-gown off! Onto the floor, after winding up like a Sufi.

Exercises done, I am bowled over by a wave of gratitude.

While I splash my body with hot water the inward man rejoices.

Maria is here, putting away the drying-racks on the landing.

O six hours’ sleep! You have greatly improved the condition of my back.

A happy young mother smiles at her child as Cumberlege hits the street.

(I’m still the mystical Marcus who meekly kneels at Amida’s feet).

Bambino is open for ink! I can print while Maria’s away.

Shopping gets me out of my head and into the world of challenges.

That sun now finds me on the garden bench. Five minutes with the angels.

Back into town. A string of talkative children. I pass unnoticed.

Luckily Rida’s in the Délicious to give me one of his hugs.

“Marcus appears when the sun comes out,” he perplexes me with his smile.

My chemist, the sweetest man in the whole of Bruges, is slightly tipsy

after a whole week-end of sex with the wife he’s busy divorcing.

Insanity’s not confined to the quirks of manic poets like me.


Both of us have activities to attend to in the afternoon.

Maria goes to her drawing lesson, me to my Spanish ladies.

With resolute expressions cyclists and pedestrians go their way,

evidently at home in the unpredictable urban landscape.

“My paradise on earth” is this week’s topic of conversation.

The other guy steals the show with his charming village utopia.

Afternoons spent in our garden writing are my idea of heaven.

Anabel walks me to the door as always, and we part the best of friends.

The state of torment I was in last week she refers to as ‘tiredness’.

God is looking after Anabel and Amida is looking after me.

Love is the antidote to fear – fear this poem will prove a failure

and that such a highly spiritual start should end in a miscarriage.

Maria fills the deep-freeze with masses of food to keep me going

while she is away in Nantes visiting the annual patchwork fair.

She makes yoghurt, cracks walnuts, puts a huge shepherd’s pie in the oven.

As the hour of departure draws near, my love for her comes on strongly.

Could I have done something to ease the burden of human suffering?