I breathe, therefore I am

I am

breathing in,

breathing out,

like all the other

living creatures

sharing this planet

and this air.

But more,

that air has been

shared by all the creatures

who ever lived,

been refreshed by

all the plants

that ever grew,

since the beginning

of Earth time.

Each new breath

combines all the

old breaths of creatures,

and people, long gone.

Each breath is a kind

of immortality,

existing long after

each of us has

taken our last breath,

passed on to each of

us taking our

first breath

Hand on head instead?

What is it with

Americans putting

their hand on their

heart at solemn

occasions like the

funeral of an


They do know,

I suppose, that the

heart is just a lump

of muscle that

circulates blood?

I mean, we have known

for five hundred years

that the heart has

nothing to do with

emotions, so why

put your hand over it?

Home alone

When I was young

I was too embarrassed

to invite friends home,

thinking they would see

the old furniture, the

worn carpet, the odd

books, the unappealing

prints, the washing

on the old clothes line,

the unwashed dishes

in the coldwater sink.

It was only later in life

that I came to realise

everyone was embarrassed

in the same way, and,

more importantly, no one

noticed the flaws in your home.

In the same way other

people’s lives seem glamorous

exciting, sophisticated,

easy, planned, while your own

seems the reverse.

Only later do you see

that some people envy

you your life, failing

or ignoring, the bits

of it you find embarrassing.

If I had understood

these things much earlier

my social life as a child

would have been much richer.