that magpie
has been
sitting on that bough
for half an hour
black and white
against the crying sky
it chortles and carols
from time to time
i watch and listen
biding my moment
despite the march of time
i look up and down
magpie looks left and right
we witness the crying sky
present and separate
each in place
some kind of joy
and the sky cries on

Lessons in love

Disturb your equilibrium
Just let them come
Move in your direction
This movement can’t be smothered
Dear heart
Give your far and near heart
Wherever to your beloved
Hold it
Extol it
Embrace, enfold it
The desire for your one and only other
Give it
Take it
Taste it
The passion for your lover
Freely love
Don’t measure love
Pleasure your love
Give no reason for redress
Miss your love
Kiss your love
Bliss your love
Speak your love, confess
Trust love
You can love
Appreciate love lost
The benefits you will see
In love
Of love
For love
Love was, is and will be


today i am wrapped in a cloak of rain
enclosed in my own world
the smallest of human worlds
rain’s grey shawl renders me invisible
everything around me, invisible
the sky is invisible
the only thing i know to be true is that my feet are on the ground
i can almost believe
i am the only person
to ever have been here and now
then i realise i am
and it is kind of nice

I read poetry

I read poetry and that strikes me as something of a strange thing to do because I perceive the large majority of people don’t. Why would they when it is so often hard work? Finding the rhythm if there is one, gleaning the meaning, interpreting the language and often deliberately obscure references to matters of apparent yet not obvious significance. 

Poetry is where we can discover more than words alone can convey. Where more can be said than with words themselves by unconventionally contextualising their expression.

But without effort there is no reward. Oh my, I read poetry because it calls to me. Whether baldly belligerent or so subtle as to confound. I often thrill and marvel at meanings real and imagined, stimulated through another’s mind in the most pure yet ill defined form of communication I can follow. Where numerical patterns, rhyme, metre, syntax, verse and free form prose all rate as valid, where everyone who can write has an opportunity to write in their own unique way. Where understanding is so fluid you can literally read a passage as if it’s meaning is either explicit, implicit or complicit. Every which way will be different. Where poetry trumps language there will always be found adventure!

The art of deception

 To be deceived by art
 Is where the pleasure lies
 As Oscar Wilde said
 When the finished work dries
 Art unexplained
 Awaits reference in time
 For art to have context
 Someone must find
 An intrinsic meaning
 An enchantment or spell
 A hard fact or history 
 That explains it well
 So ethereal
 This imaginative bent
 Where art creates product
 But may not pay rent
 The elusive success
 Of an artist such as me
 Depends on the work
 And conveying what we see 
 To be reminded of something
 That may not be there
 Is the way we see art
 Reminiscent or bared
 The artist displays 
 What the artist portrays
 The observers creates
 What the observer says
 And the feeling is surreal
 This fraught disconnect
 Must artists defer 
 To the critics subject
 Is it in artist’s deceit
 Where the pleasure lies
 Taking the work 
 and working it wise
 Psychological or literal
 The interpretation applied
 Is anything worthy
 In a meaning belied
 With all the definition in 
 Every artists hand
 The lines of description
 Are at critics command
 The intensity of design
 Or depicting a glance
 For artist and critic
 It’s the art of chance
 Is ugly ugly
 Or is it brave and true
 Is beauty beauty
 Or a sop to me and you
 Only the artist knows
 Where the artist goes
 But as deception grows
 Across art shows
 The artist bows
 To the stories faux
 As the critics row
 And the sponsors crow
 And the buyers coo
 Gallery owners woo
 speculators too
 Attempt to choose
 The number 1 pick
 That makes art slick
 To turn a buck
 Art by the truck
 Instead of art refined
 As in the artist‘s mind
 But only the artist knows
 Where the artist goes


Portrait of a Kookaburra
Ever watch a kookaburra
Sweep in from on high
In a perfect arc
Geometry made art
Beak as an arrowhead
Body flat as an arrow
Piercing the air
Fletched tail as rudder
Precision steering
A dart to the bullseye
Wings not moving a millimetre
Purposeful focussed targeted
Missile like glide
Ever watch a kookaburra?

Thoughts on art (from the NGV & me)

NGV escalator view
The artwork that changed me
Art in the time of pandemic
Let there be love
Making in isolation
Being in the vanguard of art and commerce brings depth and meaning and joy to the human experience
Art and engagement in times of change
Returning to unfinished works
Playful sessions
Return to simplicity
Art and design that speaks
Art and design that speaks to stories, preoccupations and traditions of our past, the moments of our times, the anticipations of various futures
With an intelligent eye
A familiar panoramic landscape
Bush walks highlands
Unconscious thoughts deigned to tease
Free form associations in response to amorphous
Deceiving the eye visual forms
Linear perspective
Questions of perspective, identity collective lack of knowledge
Reinvigorating textiles
Reworked to shift the original message
Monumental canvasses of vibrant colour
Markings in the sand with a bent stick
Monochrome drawings strike a chord
Audaciously different
Leaving their travels in the sand
A fluid state of synchronicity
A black and white stencil through a coloured door
Uncertainty fragility and unrest art calm connection and inspiration
Something unexpected
Reflect and expand
Shifts and transformations
Arts education is not a luxury
Day to day scenes of everyday life of regular people
Drink it all in
Bathe in it
Melted int the scene
The agonising process of resurrecting
An avid sketcher visually documents surroundings
Inspired by vibrant street life
Gravitation fought my attention as an invisible but omnipresent power
Nothing is simple, nothing is something, nothing is nothing
Everything is influenced by gravity
A force with a strong shaping effect
Th most important step is the mixture of the materials
A gathering of dear friends
Art compels us to reflect on our own uncertainty
Find the richness there
Artworks that provide intrigue and inspiration
This reminds me of
Calming and upsetting at the same time
The sadness in your eyes
Who is watching over you
The comfort and security this can bring
In dark times, when things seem absurd and surreal, companionship can bring us solace
Capture my imagination in a thousand ways
It is not a picture of something, the image is a character.
Are you a ghost or some sort of divine being?
Off kilter, uncertain.
Floating in space.
The space it inhabits is rich.
The textures are luminous and creamy.
The character maintains a clownish buoyancy in a transitional realm.
Awkward and serene at the same time
Printed, flocked and foiled
Beauty exists in paradoxes and puzzles.
Reflect on your own uncertainly and find richness there.
The quiet observer.
Meet the challenge, decipher the layers.
How to slow down and reengage with surroundings
Unravelling significance
A direct gaze, expressive hands conveying self assurance tinged by a light sense of uneasiness or tension
Hybridisation of life
Worlds based on symbiosis rather than exploitation and domination
Each person is lost in private thought about their own personal existence.
She now lives her life at the peak intensity the rest of us pretend too.
The images are figurative, liquid non realistic and strange
This work this artist this friend this moment change everything
Texture dapples depth and luminosity

Finding Middle Earth

	1. My father read Tolkien to me as a kid. It was the 1960s. 
2. Tolkien is still popular now. Sadly this fact more arises from movie reviews than book reads. Movies can be great, but also they lose so much. I wonder why people do not experience FOMO when they have only viewed the movie and there is a whole book waiting to be read?
3. A single book can change the world. Tolkien’s four books of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings created new worlds of imagination, changed the world of literature and the world of art would never be the same again.
4. My father’s copies had stiff cardboard covers encased in a red fabric fading to pinkish. The fabric was worn to threadbare in places such as the corners and finger grip sites. The spines were ragged and peeling.
5. The physical books themselves looked and felt to me as timeless as the story.
6. My father was in his late 20s or early 30s. He was full of energy. He loved to read.
7. I don’t know where those books went. I have owned other editions in paperback, but despite three rereads, they never read quite the same way.
8. Possibly one of my sisters still has those first Lord of the Rings books I inhabited.
9. In my teens, I met many people who read and reread Tolkien. Quite appropriately at the time, another thing we had in common was being permanently stoned.
10. Tolkien was interesting all over again in my teens while we smoked and toked like chimneys.
11. It didn’t matter who you mixed with when you were permanently stoned. Almost everyone was interesting in a pumped up, flattened out sort of way. So you could readily share Tolkien imagery in one way or another.
12. I met many people who thought they were connected to other worlds in that time. Middle Earth was often their gateway.
13. Middle Earth was my gateway to the other amazing worlds of sci fi and fantasy. They remain as close as I ever got to the more esoteric experiences though. Not for lack of trying.
14. Some people said they had mastered astral travelling. I liked the idea of watching my detached body from the ceiling while it lay on a bed or the floor or a couch below as I prepared to launch myself into otherworldly places.
15. I never mastered astral travelling. Although I did master tripping on several occasions.
16. As weird and wonderful as tripping could be, Tolkien’s Middle Earth was more real, coherent and creative. Eventually I decided I preferred the Middle Earths of this world.
17. Middle Earth has deep cultural experiences in which to partake. It is full of creativity, new beings, new languages, rituals, text based and oral histories, poetry and songs.
18. Every time a poem or song came along my father went into character such that he gave life to these many cultures so I could understand them better and live them through him.
19. As an adult I will never return to Middle Earth in quite the same way, so I am so grateful I went there first as a child.
20. I hope I have given some of the same experiences to my children as a father and I look forward to trying again as a grandfather.
21. To CRT Mathews and JRR Tolkien - I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the world of Middle Earth.


Brittle branch breaks under weight of bird landing
Falls to ground
Alarmed bird flutters to new bough
Insects break down branch
All is right with the world

Butterfly lands on native flower head
Tongue extends for life giving nectar
Butterfly moves on
Flower is pollenated
All may be right with the world

Mountain Water flows over rock
Down toward the sea
Sediment forms floodplain soil
Landscapes bloom with new life
All was right with the world

Forests, grasslands, wetlands and ocean life
Breathe for and cleanse earth and sky
Working together
part of a whole
All is not right with the world

Broken branch is tidied up by gardener
Native flower is replaced by agricultural product
Mountain water is harvested for commercial gain
Land and ocean are raided
Diversity is diminished

Brittle the world breaks