The victim

 
I knew fear
When the bully turned his attention to me
When his sneer settled into a satisfied smirk
Accompanied by a condescending glare
Comprised of evil glints behind the blackest of eyes
and a palpably hot internal furnace of anger

He knowingly appraised me
He looked into my very soul
He asked himself the unspoken questions
only I should have known the answers to,
but he determined in a instant
What vulnerability lies here?
What weakness can I exploit
to the point of causing immediate pain
and then
terrible ongoing hurt?

Thus
I became a victim
I let him use my own low self esteem
as the leverage necessary to do me harm
To render me powerless to resist
To enable me to damage myself even further
To punish myself for allowing
the damage to be done

I became complicit
in my own degradation and misery

With no one to blame but myself

Lover’s touch

The curve and swing of shapely hip 
Inclines my eye to stray aslip
Invites a touch a lover’s grip
That pulls you in for ear lobe nip

My hand upon your rising chest
Tells me how deep you are at rest
The rate and depth of rise and fall
Is enough to tell a lover all

The fingertips that stroke my back
Are fingertips with lover’s knack
For tantalising or powerful pressure
To change a mood for love or leisure

My lips upon your upraised mouth
As tongues flicker lightly about
Full and soft moist and wet
I cannot forgo I’ll ne’er forget

The foot that strokes my leg in bed
Before we sleep each night has said
With this caress I love you each night
A touch confirming love’s delight

The cheek that absorbs teardrops weight
Is the cheek I brush for comfort’s sake
At the pleasure of our love’s great joy
At grief’s sadness when loss employs

The Bridge

My response to Lillian’s d’verse challenge to write a poem in a modern form called the Puente. The first and third stanza must have an equal number of lines and be connected by a second stanza bridging line demarked by the tilde. https://dversepoets.com

We dreamed of a bridge to adulthood
When we bought a house looking good
We’d settle as a family
My wild days behind me
Having scrimped and saved all we could

~the bridging finance broke us~

The deposit we mustered and paid
The lender suspiciously delayed
We were soon out of pocket
Bridging costs on the docket
Lost the house and felt quite betrayed

Strathbogie Cycling: Nagambie – Murchison Loop

Link & Chain / Road Cycling Route

Download from the link at the end to view route photos.

Route Name / Address:

Nagambie – Murchison Loop

Start / Finish locations:

Nagambie Railway Station Prentice St., Nagambie 3608

Mode:

Road bike (or any other mode you prefer)

GPS 36.785292° S 145.160579° E

Difficulty:

Easy – as long as the distance is OK for you

Distance:

50km

Elevation:

211 – 145m

Topography:

Flat

Surfaces:

Sealed bitumen. Narrow around Kirwans Bridge and Goulburn Weir. Firm dirt shoulders. Murchison East has quite a bit of through traffic, but broad sealed shoulders. Morningside Rd has quite a bit of patching. It is the roughest section, not too bad.

If you wish to join the Rail Trail to Rushworth at Murchison (another 7 – 10km one way dependent on where you start), you will require a bike able to manage a gravel surface.

Description and Features:

Nagambie is well serviced, Murchison less so, but can offer accommodation, food and drink. This is flat river plains country. The route parallels the Goulburn River, Weir and major irrigation canals most of the way. There are various scenic sites, such as the aged Kirwans Bridge, broad vistas across prime grazing and cropping land, quality horse studs and wineries.

Riding conditions:

Generally, fairly low traffic during the week with more tourists about on the weekends. Some long straight stretches. There is little shelter from the elements on the road.

Options:

Include the Rail Trail to Rushworth.

Start anywhere

Clockwise or anti

Clockwise Cues:

Start Nagambie Railway Station

Straight Prentice St

Right High St

Left Lobbs Lane

Left Kirwans Bridge Rd

Right Goulburn Weir – Murchison Rd

Right High Rd

Right Wahring – Murchison Rd

Left Morningside Rd

Straight Hayshed Rd

Straight Grimwade Rd

Straight High St

Left Prentice St

Straight Nagambie Railway Station

Amenities (in each township):

Car parking

BBQ

Fuel

Shops

Winery

Seating

Parkland

Waterway

Playground

Picnic tables

Public toilets

Potable water

Walking tracks

Accommodation

Historic features

Sports Reserves

Swimming Pool

Railway stations

Directional signs

Information signs

Extension routes

Cautions:

Open water

Soft shoulders

Limbs may fall

Embankments

Uneven ground

Slippery surfaces

Subject to flooding

Road surfaces vary

Snakes may be active

Beware of vehicle traffic

Mobile reception may be unreliable

No potable water outside townships

Carry food, water, First Aid, be SunSmart

Be equipped for self-reliant riding 

Restrictions:

Take rubbish with you

Historic relics are protected

Native flora and fauna are protected

Riders must use formed roads only

Strathbogie Cycling: Violet Town – Boho Foothills Loop

Violet Town Railway Station start and finish
Hub & Spoke Cycling Route

Route Name: 
Boho Foothills Loop

Start / Finish locations: 
Violet Town Railway Station Corner Primrose and Cowslip St., Violet Town 3669

Mode: 
eBike, road, hybrid, MTB

Map:
GPS 145.7164 -36.63884
 
Difficulty: 
Intermediate: modest rises

Distance:
23km

Elevation:
179 – 252m

Topography:
Undulating terrain

Surfaces: 
Good condition bitumen

Description and Features:
A pleasant loop that follows the line between the base of the Strathbogie Tableland and the plains surrounding Violet Town. Broad vistas, attractive landscapes, pleasant foothills and roadsides of aged River Red Gums.

Riding conditions: 
Largely exposed to the elements

Anticlockwise Cues:
Start Violet Town Station
Head south east along Cowslip St
Straight Urmston St
Cross Hume Fwy
Straight Harrys Creek Rd
Left Hayes Rd
Right Boho Rd
Left Boho Church Rd
Left Smiths Rd
Left Boho Rd
Right Hayes Rd
Right Harrys Creek Rd
Straight Urmston St
Straight Cowslip ST
Finish Violet Town Station

Amenities (Violet Town):
Car parking
BBQ
Fuel
Shops
Seating
Parkland
Waterway
Playground
Picnic tables 
Public toilets
Potable water
Walking tracks
Accommodation
Historic features
Sports Reserves
Swimming Pool
Railway station
Directional signs
Information signs
Off leash dog play
Flora and fauna habitat

Cautions:
Limbs may fall
Uneven ground
No potable water
Subject to flooding
Road surfaces vary
Snakes may be active
Beware of vehicle traffic
Mobile reception may be unreliable
Carry food, water, First Aid, be SunSmart 
Be equipped for self-reliant riding 

Restrictions:
Take rubbish with you
Historic relics are protected
Native flora and fauna are protected
Riders must use formed roads only

ABC Breakfast Radio interview

This morning’s interview with presenter Matt Dowling regarding my work on tracks and trails promotion in the Strathbogie region. Commences at 43.30minutes.

ABC radio tracks and trails interview

The Last Butterfly

A Common Brown photographed at Jubilee Swamp
 
 When the last butterfly flutters by
 your seat on the grass
 When the sun moves overhead
 in one more timeless pass
 When the creek’s empty water
 flows by and on
 When the creatures of the bush
 all around you have gone
  
 Will you sit and reflect
 on what could have been
 When you knew it was coming
 it had been foreseen
 Will you ask why you didn’t 
 when there was time and you could
 While you sat on the grass
 thinking I must then I should 

Cycling: Ruffy – Red Gate Lane Loop

Map: Ruffy – Red Gate lane Loop
Hub & Spoke

Route Name: 
Ruffy - Red Gate Lane Loop

Mode: 
Gravel Grinder

Start / Finish locations: 
Corner of Longwood – Ruffy Rd & Nolans Rd., Ruffy 3666

Difficulty:
Intermediate 

Distance:
14.5km

Elevation:
394 – 547m

Topography:
Undulating with some steep inclines

Surfaces: 
Longwood – Ruffy Rd is sealed
Nolans and Red Gate Lane are gravel

Description and Features:
Depart the Ruffy main street for rolling green hills of pasture, sweeping views and treed roadsides
	Rocky outcrops

Riding conditions: 
Little traffic, road conditions are generally good, can be very hot in summer and cold in winter

Options:
Clockwise or anti clockwise

Amenities (Ruffy):
Ruffy Store open intermittent hours or by booking
Car parking
Seating
Parkland
Playground
Accommodation
Historic features
Sports Reserves
Directional road signs
Information signs

Cautions:
Steep climbs
Soft shoulders
Uneven ground
No potable water
Slippery surfaces
Subject to flooding
Road surfaces vary
Snakes may be active
Beware of vehicle traffic
Mobile reception may be unreliable
Be mindful to keep within the Reserve
Carry food, water, First Aid, be SunSmart 
Be equipped for self-reliant riding 

Anticlockwise Cues:
	Start corner of Longwood – Ruffy & Nolans Rd
	Straight Nolans Rd (west)
	Right Red Gate Lane
	Right Longwood – Ruffy Rd
	Finish corner of Longwood – Ruffy & Nolans Rd

Karl Jaspers – a very brief, very relevant reminder from the past.

Nationalism: you can get it anywhere.

A summary of Karl Jaspers’ writing, “Sunk in the noise of nationalism and technology, people become intellectually and emotionally stifled, stuck. The crowd rules. Slogans and rhetoric pass for meaningful conversations”. Marietta McCarthy, How philosophy can save your life. Penguin Australia 2009.

What have we learnt? A German survivor of the first and second world wars, Jaspers was an early 20th century philosopher. He still speaks to us with relevance, as if alive today. Nationalism is destructive. Those who seek advantage through manipulating others naive enough to follow blindly, to adopt the slogans of ill considered electronic media and rally to the flags of puppet masters – will be perpetrators of great harm.

However, Jaspers was not without hope. “Amidst discussion, a silence is possible in which people may listen together and hear the truth.”

Are we still able to effectively hear the truth, to discover and explore the scant remaining silence? Or have we sunk so deep into the swamp of nationalism and the noise of technology to be beyond positive, constructive, truth seeking communication?

Too long is forever

 
It has been too long without you
There has been too much time
Worlds lie between us
As I pay for my crime

My cell is my world
of four hard walls

Spartan and bare

My memory is my cell forever
I keep seeing you there

As each long
long day passes .....

My sentence every minute

Gives way to darkness
My loss lies within it

When I look through my barred window
I expect in some light
To see you running towards me
Again
my mind at flight

I pace I groan
squat in the corners

Of this tiny space

Close and open my eyes
And still see your face

I see you on the day as lovers we were wed
I see you in the night on the matrimonial bed
I see us on every outing all the things we did
I see us laughing and loving as besotted kids
I see your auburn fringe and wavy locks
I see your long legs above bobby socks
I see your bright blue eyes black long lashes
I see your olive skin the smile that flashes
I feel you in my arms in the softest embrace
I remember all your charms
I feel my disgrace

Where is your world now my love
And is he there with you
No I am not proud my love
If I could bring you back I’d kiss you

The winding track and where it led

Every corner, anticipation. Every crest, a new horizon.

It was the idea I loved. But, first came the words. The words were, “A winding track.” The words became the idea. The idea developed.

The idea of a two wheel dirt track ahead. It winds up a wooded hillside in the golden hour of late afternoon. This romantic winding track, no destination in sight, no point of origin, beckons. It’s mystery entices.

So, I now find myself travelling this track. I’m leaving things behind and I am excited by the unknown destination ahead. I am savouring the journey.

Savouring, now there’s a word! A word to savour. A word begets an idea, begets a reality.

Ah, here is the real joy, the savouring. The pleasure in the journey, the exciting anticipation of getting there. Wherever there may be.

A bike for every occasion?

My recently acquired touring ebike. Battery assist range 150km. It includes an auto power selection mode. Pedal pushing is always required, but you can choose how much effort to put in. You will keep fit!

Sub title: Central Victoria, the Centre for eBikes.

As I have aged (now approaching my mid 60s), I have progressed from road bikes to mountain bikes to hybrids and now, ebikes.

My message to everyone out there who rides or is contemplating riding is “Get on your bike!” If you are fit and able enough to provide your own power, find the bike that best suits your journeying and ride. If you think you are past it, reconsider. From 8 to 80 years old, anyone with balance who can get astride a bike frame now has bicycle touring at their feet!

With the advent of ebikes for all modes of cycling, the Central Victoria region is perfect for you and your bike. There are many kilometres of un-trafficked rural roads and tracks traversing diversely beautiful landscapes. You will be amazed at where an ebike can take you, from sealed flat stretches across the plains, amongst rustic rolling foothills, to tall treed dirt tracks through mountain forests.

Many people have asked me about the different modes of cycling I refer to in the cycling route descriptors I publish. Most often, about Gravel Grinders. Gravel Grinders as a specialty appeared somewhere in amongst my cycling experience. I missed their rise until alerted by a mad keen cycling cousin.

This alert coincided with the commencement of my mapping and publishing of walks and cycling routes in and around the beautiful Strathbogie region. A good port of call for those interested is the Gravel Grinders Melbourne fb page. The article linked below may be American, but is brief and indicative of gravel bike features for the uninitiated, as well as being fodder for dreamers. It is worth noting that one of the bikes listed is an ebike.

apple.news/AJlzTcm5gRhO2EROnKg-VTw

The cycling routes I have been recording will be found here on seanmathews.blog/cycling and the Connecting the Goulburn Broken Catchment Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/591666734808645 .

Walks can be found at strathbogierangesnatureview , VictoriaWalks and in Pozi online mapping

Small Flies and Other Wings

Small Flies and Other Wings by Christine Ay Tjoe (Oil on canvas) 2013
Art in the pink, the hope that it brings
Wings painted from, the smallest of things
The joy of the colour, the mess of it all
A pleasure to view, this artist's call

Not quite abstract, the painting surreal
Based in fact, then allowed to congeal
Into pastel riot, of colour and lines
Into a many makes whole, artwork refined

What underlies, there's tissue paper petals
The subject mixed up, then left to settle
What was the intent, forethought soft light
To please the eye, or just to feel right

So busy so active, yet here is still life
Outlines overshot, not cut like a knife
In the blur there is movement, on a canvas full
But the subject is lifeless, the message - killed

When you look deeper, what do you see
Something different to me, most certainly
I see part of you, I see part of me
I see a gift, a sadness, in humanity

Did this idea form, in the artist's mind
Develop and grow, the mind to bind
An irresistible force, the desire to create
A bane and pleasure, that will never wait

This poem is a response to a dVerse ~ Poets Pub challenge

Being Human

 
This being human is brutal
Where survival remains primal
Where savagery can be ruthless
Where being human is animal

This being human is joyful
Where sharing is a pleasure
Where smiles reflect happiness
Where being human rises above

This being human is indulgent
Where affluence is wasted
Where consumption is recreational
Where being human is an economic unit

This being human is religious
Where unknowns engender hope
Where faith equates with confidence
Where being human could be spiritual

This being human is political
Where a few choices matter
Where many choices don’t
Where being human is good and evil

This being human is being creative
Where knowledge grows exponentially
Where caution is thrown to the wind
Where being human is a contradiction

This being human is arrogant
Where entitlement reigns
Where extinctions surprise no one
Where being human is collective stupidity

This being human is ridiculous
Where universes are vast
Where consciousness is nebulous
Where being human is being alone

This being human is scary
Where thoughts beget actions
Where actions beget unanticipated consequences
Where being human is in itself an existential risk

To add another dimension to your experience of poetry, I recommend you also engage with the international community of fellow poets at d’verse virtual pub poetry challenges

The green cane chair

The green cane chair
 
 I sit 
 on my green cane chair
 The best chair for thinking
 It is outside 
 It has the advantage 
 of being 
 in a good place 
 A verandah from which
 there is much to see
 Even if the weather is cold
 it is in the right position 
 because the wind slides past 
 laterally
 In this chair 
 you can avoid 
 confronting winds of change
  
 You can sit here for 
 a long time 
 confident 
 you won’t have to move 
 or make way 
 for someone or something
 
 You can watch 
 all sorts of things 
 unfold from this chair
 Insects birds animals people 
 the day the night 
 the light 
 Seasons pass you by 
 I unfold from this chair
  
 This is a sitting for thinking chair 
 It gives access 
 to great scope for thought
 A matching cane table 
 stands 
 by this chair
 It is for
 all the paraphernalia 
 I choose to utilise
 for observation and thinking
 for research recording and writing
 Endless cups of tea 
 Vegemite and salad rolls 
 Fruit  nuts
 stacks of books
 Pens paper 
 Camera iPad and phone 
  
 Background noises 
 surrounding this chair 
 are soothing
 Creek water 
 tumbling over rocks
 An irregular breeze
 wafting at leaves
 Morning song birdsong evensong

 Another nice sound
 I often hear from this chair 
 is children playing 
 Always happy to be outside
 In cooler months
 running along the bush track   
 In summer  
 swimming in the waterhole by the bridge
 or excitedly calling to each other
 as they splash 
 about amongst the cascades
  
 You need to wear 
 a brimmed hat 
 sitting in this chair 
 regardless of the season
 This is to shade your eyes 
 from the northerly and westering sun 
 To balance the glare 
 against the shadows 
 on the surface 
 you are working on
  
 This chair has soft cushions 
 for the seat and for the back
 They rest against its structure of
 bent cane
 It is a very good fit 
 You can sit for a long time 
 before needing to move 
 
 However, the arms of this chair are narrow 
 They may confine you 
 to a limited range of positions
 This has the advantage
 of forcing movement
 This state of affairs 
 is  conducive 
 to constructive
 thinking by prompting
 physical activity
 around the house 
 along the verandah 
 in the garden 
 along the creek
 
 Such activity can be necessary 
 to continue to be 
 effective
 A mental activity reset
 New approaches 
 come with a reset
 Quite often they are so
 new
 you get a pleasant surprise 
 This is because 
 you didn’t  know 
 they were there 
 within you
 beforehand
  
 Another way to reset is
 change the scene
 move this chair
 to the edge of the verandah 
 or reorientate
 A different outlook
 New space
 New thinking
  
 You have to remember 
 to take the cushions 
 in 
 every evening 
 to stop them
 getting damp
 They get tired and worn
 They are due for 
 a new skin
 Just like me
  
 This chair is exposed to the elements 
 One day it won’t be there
 I wonder will another chair
 be so generous?