3 Good Things Only #08

1 Waiting for a baby, then hearing her cry for the first time, seeing her early at the breast, knowing everything is going to be OK.

2 Feeling grateful for the loving, informed, proactive and justifiably proud parents.

3 Learning that even though locked out you can still immediately bond with your newly emerged granddaughter on FaceTime as she sprawls across her mother’s chest in search of a second breast. Her purposeful efforts encouraging, her fresh ruddiness a healthy glow, her determined expression inspiring, her chubby robustness endearing, her tiny hands already reaching out to the world. She personifies a truth, where there is life there is hope.

Fledglings of fear

The dawning was a slow one
we were fledglings of fear
victims of illness,
Children of Lir

Number 1 was long strong.
Her job to protect.
Strong for a long while,
until proven imperfect.

Number 2 was a mess,
times hard as hard
for that little girl,
our fractured shard.

Number 3 was me.
Death to the fiddle!
Hate for love.
None in the middle.

Number 4 was Baby,
always our most precious.
Watching and suffering,
the indiscriminate malice.

Mother was mad
as mad could be.
Inside we knew,
outside, 
none could see.

House to school
school to house
all running scared
each quiet as a mouse.

Freezing bath water,
heads held down.
Gasping for breath.
No sound,
lest you drown.

Smothered in cereal, 
honey as glue,
naked on the floor
kicked black and blue.
 
We lost our only friend.
Older sister on the verge.
Took flight literally.
Our life and death dirge.

To young to know.
To young to do.
I first noticed the down
while cowering, we few.

Necks stealthily extended,
to get a better view
of punishment to come,
forewarned by cue.

Heads tucked under wings,
to avoid each other’s pain.
Our wings were getting stronger
unobserved by our bane.

Three remaining cygnets
together finding voice
seeking strength together,
a transformative choice.

Reddened eyes were normal,
the feathers came next.
Black, as our experience
lengthened our graceful necks.

Then came time to speak
with red bloodied beaks
making plaintive warning sounds
ugly ducklings began to sneak.

Eventually, we broke out of bounds,
braved an outside world,
the hurt, the rage, the hopelessness,
to unravel and unfurl

And when we told our story,
of years of abuse and neglect,
no one knew a thing
out of privacy respect.

Together we remain fragile.
Together we remain strong.
Together we mourn our sister.
Grief upon hope upon wrong upon wrong.


For Sinead O’Connor.


Strathbogie poetry #strathbogiepoetry

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?

You know where I’m going with this (short version)

SPOKEN2019

This weekend I organised the second annual “Strathbogie has SPOKEN” event. We had 22 presenters and an audience of 50-60. This number pretty well filled our small, and acoustically delightful venue, St Andrew’s Church in Main Street. It was a seamless and fascinatingly diverse set of orations that made the two hours fly by. I kicked things off with a shortened version of the political piece below, which I wrote last year. It felt good to give written work air!

 

you know where I’m going with this

 

to the crush of high density and population growth

my oath

you and me both

with the new city millions that come

to the bustle and hum

to the high tensile strums

of the energy guns

at our heads

pay the bills or family fed?

that is the question we dread

as executive bonuses build mansions and poseurs

as the export of gas ups the home prices real fast

and don’t talk to me about electricity duplicity

so mean to me

these corporate utilities

fat cats

and multinats

squeeze me til I’m dry

then have another try

so my life is a scythe

cut the stress with a knife

kiss goodbye to the wife

and the kids and the love that I loved

for love’s sake

it’s a home bake

 

you know where I’m going with this

 

to parliament house

the joint of no nouse

of no brain

of no gain

where celebrity reigns

where the state of the nation equates with fashion

our political ration gets smaller and smaller

as narcissism, self-interest and recidivism ism their way to the fore

we want more

no!

they want more

no yore

just more

for the future is now a cash cow to be milked at the fence

of public expense

as the full and the fat suck at the teat

for the treat

of squeezed taxpayers sweet forming rivers of milk

and honey

 

or is it money?

pouring forth from a new scam

that’s rude

derived from ineptitude

it may be batts

it may be courses

they may be entrepreneurs

but they’re on the horses

bolted

after the gates have closed

 

you know where I’m going with this

 

to the US beholden

superpower

olden

folding the flag

turning for home

in the gloaming of their watch

withdrawing notch by notch

uncertain where the crotch of the matter lies

or whether their power even applies

exerting pressure as trade plies

but no so sure regarding human rights

and the rise

of the stateless states

the unreliable mates

the dates that became rapes

where the bright promising spring

quickly winged

to a cold dark winter

on the sling of David

and the Saudi flings

the belated failings

where democracy no longer sings

 

you know where I’m going with this

 

away from paradise lost

from the costs

from the Fausts

from the oppressive hosts

from the submerging coasts

to the ghosts of the past

rewritten to last

where my heart listens for hope in the sparks of principles sublime

not bereft

but to the time I have left in the cleft between life and death

in hope of nurture

in the sweet natural wealth of transparency ….. before stealth

 

you know

you know

you know where I’m going with this

33 kinds of rain

The misting rain as light as being

The pitter patter rain of anticipation

The sun shower rain of joyfulness

The dawn lit rain of new awakenings

The driving rain of persistent harassment

The piercing rain of pain and hurt

The bleak rain of uncertainty

The saturating rain of grief

The pounding rain of anger

The cold rain of fear and loathing

The persistent rain of melancholy

The drought breaking rain of celebration

The tropical rain of surprise and relief

The tin roof rain of night time snuggles

The slanting rain of getting under your skin

The fat wet rain of things to come

The dull rain of misery

The easing rain of hope for a day

The sheeting rain of washing your sins away

The aerosol rain that never settles

The eddying rain of indefinite endings

The ominous rain of growing darkness

The thunder laden rain of shock and fear

The storm driven rain of nature’s authority

The drenching rain of no escape

The floating rain of disproportionate outcomes

The harrowing rain of oppression and spite

The lightning flash rain of vision burned

The unexpected rain of scrambling for shelter

The flooding rain of tears

The icy rain of an unknown future

The sleety rain of chilled to the bone

The sunlit rain of clarity of purpose

The dancing rain of swirling possibilities

The evening rain of contemplation

The elemental rain of fundamental outcomes

The cloaking rain of secrecy

The wispy rain of dissipation

The hard rain of death

The transparent rain of release

The soft rain of peace