Rob Harle

The Mystic Fire

mystic fire

Painting of Subhasis Das

In the crucible of the turning world

the alchemist’s furnace smoulders,

salt, sulphur and mercury fume

pluming like clouds across an endless sky.

A voice booms:

“View the foundations well that here are layd:
This is the seat that the eternall mind
For universall monarchy designd.” (1)

The gold of fools is ever tempting

though this is not the gold the furnace yields,

the ‘stone’ alone transforms vile greed and hate,

the gold of fools feeds this rapacious gluttony

enslaving all who seek the glitter.
The serpent eats its body whole

clearing ash and dross away,

as the Phoenix rises from the mystic fire,

soaring higher, ever higher.

The cycle of eternal mind

spiral-spinning, turning, pulsing

forever rising and descending

draws us inward

to find our place within the flame.


(1) From Hermetick Raptures by Torrescissa (Alchemical Poetry 1575 – 1700 ed. R.M. Schuler. pp. 584)


Belongil Morning

The silvery sea reflects unknowable shapes

the pre-dawn-dark eerie and confusing,

she strolls undaunted over wet sand

foaming ripples cooling her mind.


The first orange rays glisten across the sea

kissing the crumbling sand dunes

dissolving those strange sea ghosts,

a warm peace and calm descend.


She drops to her knees on the white sand

marvelling at the singular solitude

unthinkable in her native Europe,

a pilgrim on the global route to Byron.


A morning meditation  in the arms of nature,

the wave’s gentle crashing sooth a busy mind,

the lack of city noise calms a modern mind,

she drifts into the deceptive spirit of The Bay.


Blood curdling screams resonate inside her head,

cries of anguish pulsate against her temples,

her heart is racing, thumping hard

as she falls helplessly into an unchartered time-warp.


Whale’s blood drips over her eyelids,

shrieks of splintering trees pierce her ears,

howling anguish of slaughtered indigenous spirits chill her bones

muffling the screeching death-cries of cattle and pigs.


The invisible time-warp portal closes,

sparkling blood-red reflects in the calm sea,

peaceful solitude returns

her bewildered mind returns to Bay Central.


Her morning meditation agitates her deeply

as she pushes frantically down the crowded concrete,

clear to Bundjalung Elders The Bay holds deep secrets,

hidden beneath the ‘New Age’ crass commercial gloss.


A transubstantiation transforms whale meat into Vegan bread,

preservation, conservation replaces ‘Big Scrub’ destruction,

the Light House may be coming full-circle

as the energy of the new Cosmic Dance heals The Bay?


NB: Belongil is a beach at Byron Bay, the most easterly point of Australia. Now a haven for back-packers & home for New Age healers, writers, artists & musicians it recently was a place of slaughter – trees, animals, whales and Indigenous Australians!



The Scream

The old crone screams

her voice as jagged as broken glass

face as callous as dry leather

inflicting her anger

her self-hatred

her self-centred obsession

on the peaceful shoppers.


The target of her tirade

sits stunned and bemused

a calm peaceful lady,

passers-by shuffle awkwardly

their day tarnished with vile distress.


The crone strides away

her invective still stewing,

eating her inside like acid.

She returns, the screaming starts again



tinged with the hatred of self contempt.


My coffee arrives seductively

the fragrance a joy to the senses,

by rote the waitress recites:

“Have a nice day!”

The crone has gone

the air is clearing

peace descends on the cafe

just another day in Nimbin village.



White Birds and Epsilons

The white birds silhouette the sky once more

each Spring a reassuring Nimbin return,

soaring to and fro from their secret cave

deep below the sacred rocks.


The philosophers no longer stir

the old graves serene,

troubled searching souls are now at peace

every searing question silenced

drowned out by the silent roar of smart phones.


The dumbed-down shuffle forth

heads bowed in techno-obedience

texting within a solipsistic nightmare,

techno-bondage with invisible constraints

from which there is no possible escape.


Huxley’s Epsilons shuffle in single file

each connected to mind-control-central.

Dame gorgon Google the keeper of all information

has become the dominatrix of perception,

the whore of spiritual disintegration.


New shiny micro-towers litter the verdant hills

terrifying the old guard with invisible rays,

enraging even wise old Nyimbunji. (1)

Thousands upon thousands of Epsilons drifting,

shuffling past the peeling painted facades,

none shift their gaze from the smart phone screen.

Oblivious to the blueness of the pure sky dome above,

Oblivious to the wise white birds soaring,

Oblivious to the answers they carry.


(1) – Bundjalung – “little spirit man with great supernatural powers, he is powerful, wise, generous and kind.”


Digital Visitation


Mainak Bagchi’s photography

The Madonna materialises

pulsing out of the digital vortex,
the eternal mother of all
dismayed – down cast eyes
fall upon the disaster before her
aching with a deep sadness –  unmistakeable.
The digital matrix is silent
forever becoming
changing states, on-off
processing potentials
climbing in a spiral of complexity
towards an unknowable future.
Always busy we Epsilons,
the subjects of her observations,
arrogantly oblivious to her concern
mindlessly fall into the future,
uncritically embracing every techno-gadget
mercilessly hawked by capitalist opportunists,
sold with false promises of progress
devoid of wisdom
a pathway back to the primeval swamp.
The Mamata despairs – retreats,
disappearing into the silence
realising too late
we no longer smell the roses.

Rob Harle is a writer, editor, artist and reviewer – born in Sydney14346_1512791502310716_3171114166924106398_n Australia, August 1948.Writing work includes poetry, short fiction stories, academic essays, and reviews of scholarly books, journals and papers. His work is published in journals, anthologies, online reviews, books and he has two volumes of his own poetry published – Scratches & Deeper Wounds (1996) and Mechanisms of Desire (2012). Recent poetry has been published in: Rupkatha Journal (Kolkata); Nimbin Good Times (Nimbin);  Beyond The Rainbow (Nimbin); Poetic Connections  AnthologyIndo-Australian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry; Rhyme With Reason Anthology); Asian Signature; Muse India; Voices Across The Ocean Anthology); Episteme Journal); Indo-Australian Anthology of Short Fiction. LIRJELL Journal; Homeward Bound Anthology; Voices Across Generations Anthology. World Poetry Yearbook. (2014);Temptations (2016); Taj Mahal Review.

His past art practice was sculpture, then digital-computer art both for the web and print. His giclée images have been exhibited widely and featured both in, and as the covers, of various literary journals and anthologies. 

Formal studies include Comparative Religion, Philosophy, Literature and Psychotherapy – his thesis concerned Freud’s notion of the subconscious and its relationship with Surrealist poetry.

Rob’s main concern has been to explore and document the radical changes technology is bringing about. He coined the term technoMetamorphosis to describe this. This past concern is now moving towards helping to restore our abandoned metaphysical and spiritual modes of being through literature especially poetry.

He is currently a member of: Leonardo Book Review Panel. Manuscript reviewer for Leonardo Journal. Advising Editor for the Journal of Trans-technology Research, (UK); Advisory Editor for Phenomenal Literature, (India); Member of Editorial Board for:  Episteme Journal, (Bharat College, India); International Journal on Multicultural Literature(India); LIRJELL, (Lingayas University, India); Ars Artium (India); Iris (India); Daath Voyage (India).
Full Publications, Reviews and selected writings are available from:

Artwork from: