– a poem by Tarchin Hearn

The inner tangle
and the outer tangle,
This generation is entangled in a tangle,
So pray, Gautama,
Who can untangle this tangle?
(The Vissudhimagga)

Metaphor and meaning are slippery subjects, and so too is money.  Money is a currency for exchanging objects.  It is countable, measurable, gross and specific.  Metaphor is a currency for understanding.  It is ephemeral and approximate, subtle and pregnant with nuance and intimation.  Money is a blunt instrument to facilitate living in a fantasized existence of  defined edges and graspable properties.  Metaphor is a language for enabling universes of interpenetrating worlds of lived experience, in all their ungraspable fullness.  It is sometimes said that money is for realists and metaphor for poets and dreamers, but in the end, money itself is a product of metaphor.  Metaphor is a mystery that can lubricate and gather together an immense dance of becoming, an emerging symphony of felt/sense understanding.  In the subject/object market-place-world, anyone can buy stuff with money.  Some believe that given enough of it, they could buy any thing.  It takes, however, deep calm, bright awakeness and a solid base of life affirming relating, to unfold the art of metaphor. 

To indenture ourselves as apprentices of wonderment and awe in the studio of all embracing life, this is how we can begin to untangle the inner and outer tangle.


He was a purveyor of metaphors,
buying and selling to all and sundry,
wandering widely, he set up shop,
in village greens, in conference centres,
in living rooms and places of time and knowing
that lacked geographic coordinates.

He dealt in metaphor of all kinds;
the cheaply mass produced fads, and popularizations
and also, an extensive range of useful ones,
for cleaning and removing stains, for unsticking
and lubricating squeaky hinges,
for collating and organizing data.
He had metaphors with hand grips and ergo-metrically
designed straps and quick releases.
Some were big.
Some were massive.
He had light ones and dark ones and ones
that were both light and heavy, dark
and dancing, all at once.
Some allowed you to see all the way to Betelgeuse.

Wherever he went, he was always interested in the old and rare
but also the new and innovative
and he carried an uncanny knack of
sniffing out ones that people packed around with them,
or had stored away in dusty cupboards
forgetting they were even there.

His personal collection was extensive and it
was rumoured that he had some that were
so refined you could place one on the finest balance,
and it’s weight was less than the lightest feather.
A collector and dealer, a connoisseur of connoisseurs,
moving with ease through the lives of countless modes of being.

Yet few know where he came from.
He seemed to just appear,
and then, with a smile,
he’d gather all his wares and stuff them into a tiny bag of blackness.

I say blackness,
but, actually,
I couldn’t really make it out.
It wasn’t like anything else in the world.
It was silky and soft and heavy and encompassing,
and everything went tumbling in to this bag of silence,
this unseen baggage of belonging and vastness.
Looking around, he’d grin and then,
tossing his bundle in the palm of his hand,
he’d pop it into a pocket,
right next to his heart.

Some people said that he lived in a far away place that had no need for metaphor, that his own house was simple and unadorned.  It was even thought by some with wild imaginations, that he lived in the bag of blackness, or the shirt pocket!  Of course, there were always gushy mushy types who thought his home must be his heart.  To me, he was a purveyor of metaphors, a travelling tinker, a mysterious vagabond, who trod the roads and byways of our lives.  He once allowed me to carry his bag.  Truth be said, I think he saved my life.

© Tarchin Hearn