She flitted by

She flitted by at night with a flash

of white limbs in the dark under her

black coat; her image burned into

my brain to return again and again

to stir me when I was feeling down.


In my heart I have walked that street

time and again, trying to recall her

perfectly to mind; but each time she

fades a little more in failing memory

like an ailing spirit in an old, old story.


(Julian O’Dea)

On A Winter’s Afternoon

On A Winter’s Afternoon

Close to sleep on a winter’s afternoon,
but hearing the liquid sounds of garden
birds singing to my ageing memories;
and remembering the soft watery light
on your dark hair and eyes like pools at
night, and how we have kept the seasons
sweet together; and enjoying a reverie
of dream honeybees gathering pollen
for whatever tomorrows may yet come.

(Julian O’Dea)


Now published here at Friday’s Poems.

The day must come

The day must come when even
the beauty of that young woman
will seem to me no more than
the plumage on some rare bird in
a forsaken forest on an island
which, riotous with life and
shining like a crystal in the sea,
I had long ago to leave behind.

(Julian O’Dea)

Why I don’t think we are living in a simulation

The idea that this world is not in some sense “real” but that we are living in a simulation has gone from a notion in the minds of a couple of fairly obscure thinkers a few years ago to mainstream news.

‘We will prove we’re in a simulation’ Silicon Valley convinced we’re living in the MATRIX

It is a remarkably hard idea to shake, and it is not surprising that the notion has been catching on among technocrats who think of themselves as radical thinkers and iconoclasts. (After all, what idol is more worth smashing than the mundane concept of “reality”.)

Nick Bostrom was one of the originators of the idea. The ever-imaginative Robin Hanson has even provided us with hints on how to live in a simulation.

In my opinion, this idea founders on the same problem that materialism cannot explain: the existence of qualia. I have written about why I consider that the existence of qualia requires a non-material solution in this paper. It seems to me that if phenomena we all experience in this world (pain, pleasure, emotions) cannot be reduced to a physical explanation, the possibility that we are living in a purely physical “computer simulation” can be dismissed.



There she is

The distress of the cold piques her

prettiness; there she is framed and

still as if frozen in that photograph;

clenching her hands pink and white

in the chill;  a long dark coat draping

her limbs and a short bob of hair her

cover; a little suffering has given her

such lasting beauty.


(Julian O’Dea)

On the fetishising of the clavicles




More on women’s clavicles.