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 

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.

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?
   

On poetry

the romantic
 
Breathe with the moment
Focus the eye
Tune the ear
when poems are nigh
Be transported
To experience afar
Adventure and romance
Illumination of stars

Poems are companions
For very good reason
For poets are adventurers
Beyond bounds of the seasons
Beyond bounds of the earth
No measure of their worth
Can keep words from welling
Can restrain the work of telling

They convey feelings through
the art of painting with words
Not read before not seen or heard
Beautiful weavings that awaken our hearts
To the emotions of others who cannot impart

Anonymous poems from times immemorial
Modern poems with layers to peel
Poetry is the magic carpet
Flying to places unknown
Ride on the carpet and know you have grown

Trumpian Buffoons

 
These characters are buffoons.
Full of laughter they rail at you.
Carping and harping blaming all.
Innocent of everything when the law calls
Dangerous in their own special way.
Ready to trick and seize the day.
Yet by their pompous humorous demeanour.
You’d think all would have seen it sooner.
The vile attempts at undermining.
The rotten values they’ve been hiding.
Self confident enough to infect the masses.
Rich enough to corrupt all classes.
Replete in vanity self-declared divine.
So full of shit they make shit shine.
Larger than life with seismic crows.
Ready (not) to be the one big (side)show.

The Reed Warbler

Reed Warbler at Polly McQuinns
 
That clamorous reed warbler
With the protracted breeding song
Passages of enamouring power
Designed to bring along
A partner for the season
With whom to court and spark
To share nesting in long reeds
At the edges of the lake
 
I do not know the words
Of this loud and spirited song
Launched from this small bird’s throat
Into the gathered avian throng
In the early morning,
at the end of each long day
Persistent and single minded
Seeking a mate to hold in sway
But the message is clear and proud
I am the one for you
Come to me my darling
Let’s see what two can do

Expectations

If you can’t find the key …..

My view of the world is not an honest view because my expectations interfere. My ego inserts itself into every unconscious and conscious perspective. I create altered realities for bending the world I see toward addressing my wants. This constant aspiration engenders a manipulative restlessness within my persona. I look, see, expect and act accordingly, never finding the time or mental resilience to resist. Never engaging with the appreciation of a moment or the truth of where I am.

The more I understand this, the more I seek to stop, observe, contemplate and appreciate. I try to place myself differently in the world, as within rather than without, as an internal part rather than an external entity, as influenced rather than influencer. I think this practice is helping.

The water

 When Sissy 
went into the water
I followed.
Naturally.
Because I,
a younger brother,
had an older sister
I adored.
Well, what else is a sibling
water daughter for?
 I saw her wavering figure 
deep down ahead,
cutting through
crystalline
mountain water
like an arrow.
Streaming effervescence.
I saw her
touch the bottom
of washed sand,
of rounded stones
smoothed by years
of grinding,
with a pat of her hand.
Box ticked.
Camp task
number one
accomplished.
River mastered.
 She rose then.
A lithe silver nymph
spearing her way to the surface.
And I knew I was in trouble,
as I
continued down.
Caught by the current
like one of those
smooth stones,
tumbled and bumped,
grated and ground.
 I had no hardened surface 
to resist the battering,
no thick skin
to soften defeat,
no awareness
of up or down,
no ability
to swim or float,
not even the desire to flap about.
 I just froze,
one with the chilled water.
Not desperate,
not fearful.
That would come later.
I was
simply,
absolutely,
completely,
unable to comprehend
how I could find
myself here.
What did it mean
exactly?
 Incapacitated  
by lack of learning.
Paralysed
by ignorance.
Alone,
for the very first time
in my very short life,
the refracted sky
above was still blue,
the fluffy clouds
were still white,
the trees on the bank
were still green.
I,
however,
remained unseen.
 The water became 
my atmosphere,
thick,
tangible.
The known world
began to disappear.
The water
filled my ears.
Sound disappeared.
The water
filled my nose
and my mouth.
I couldn’t call out.
The weight
on my chest grew heavier.
I couldn’t breathe,
anything,
but water.

Walking

As I head

toward the door

Questions

head my way

Where are you going?

Walking.

Where to?

It doesn’t matter, I say

Walking

a destination in its own right

Walking

the easiest way

we can fully engage

With the natural world

In walking

we place ourselves

at a new destination every minute

we escape ourselves

And we expose ourselves

to genuine experiences

of our surroundings

and the elements

on the human scale

What will you look for?

I smile

knowing whatever I look for

I will also find many things different

I don’t need to look

for anything in particular

because I will find

small parts of everything

Walking always takes me there

A winter day

A photo a day.

Cold, wind, sleet, sun, rain, wood chopping, fire, magpie release, novel reading, photo learning, koala watching, glass and nail collecting, vegmite roll, tea, miso, water, Coca Cola, salad roll, apple, banana, writing, poetry, improving news, art, music and a photo a day.

Birdlife

20200811_pho_Miepoll 04

Birds sit in the top of the trees

Planning attacks on insects and bees

They sit on their branches

Scanning insect sky dances

With shelter from leaves as their eaves

 

Birds on the end of a bough

Twitter loudly just to show how

They can talk to each other

Every sister and brother

In a way that says Hey, we know how!

 

Birds that forage on the ground

A set who are basically unsound

They defy law and order

Like lambs to the slaughter

Because predators are always around

 

Birds that drink from a dish

Do so in order to wish

For more handouts of bread

To keep them well fed

As their tails twitch and go swish

 

Birds that peck at a window

Are very much likely to forgo

Food on their plate

Appetite they may sate

Fighting themselves as a foe

 

Birds that fly in the sky

Look down and say my oh my

All the people down there

At whom we can stare

Choose to be grounded why oh why

 

Birds that float on the water

Think it’s the place where they oughta

Because the land is not safe

From trouble and strife

The water is a more secure quarter

 

Birds who love to eat worms

Queue to take it in turns

At freshly tossed compost

Of breaking down humus

Knowing a worm never learns

After I climbed the mountain

When I climbed the mountain

to stand at its summit

and declare

my love to the world

 

I had no idea

you were preparing

to leave

down there on the flat.

To turn away from my

rugged individualism

my heroics

my boyish raffishness

 

I had no

idea it was coming,

your going.

No insight you might even

have entertained

the idea or could be

thinking that way.

I didn’t know I was that way,

in your way

 

You never told me

what it was that got

your goat.

How was I to know I had to

change to keep you

or is that?

how was I to know I could

never keep you,

no matter how

much I tried or thought

I needed too

 

When I came home

from my victory

and declaration to

the world below. I was

still walking on air.

On the cloud of

the conquering and

the anticipation of you

 

You said there was

no evidence that

was the way

I felt

and there was never

likely to be.

That I was the only

one who knew

what was going on

in my head.

You said I was

my own best company,

that I should go

back to the mountain.

Where I belonged

The Way

The way a beloved dog rests a lazy head upon your knee

The way a wooing look invites you toward mutual intimacy

The way a cup of tea slows time and calms an over active mind

The way a good book immerses you in new realities that bind

The way a word becomes a story, a poem comes of rhyme

The way a voice becomes emotion, movement becomes a mime

The way a favourite song transports you back to that special place

The way a touch can speak of love as it brushes across your face

The way a first wildflower discovered announces coming spring

The way a view from a mountain can make your heart leap and sing

The way a beautiful landscape incites gratefulness, awe and joy

The way a true love will not  waste time with you by being coy

The way a walk in the forest restores hope, balance and well being

The way a look deep into the stars can change your way of seeing

The way a composted garden grows better in space and over time

The way a perception can be a knowing, a knowing can be a sign

The way a naked body is a beautiful body as long as there is beauty inside

The way a grievous loss becomes warm memory after someone special has died

The way a child’s innocence equates with unqualified trust

The way our lives play out

Live best you can

After it’s just

Dust

Their hands

Their hands when they touch

Flow from rolling of wrists

Each touch is a signal

Each touch is a kiss

 

Their fingers are folding

On whispers and secrets

Cupped hands are holding

All ahead that will be

 

Their fingers trace circles

On their palms telling futures

Tender are the touches

Of their hands as their tutors

 

Their hands rest together

One on top of the other

Their hands mark their measure

Their harmonious hands

 

Their hands spread out

Open and true

Telling each story

Each soul on view

 

Hands hold each heart

Supporting each core

Their hands do the learning

Of what more to adore

 

The extension of hands

The parallel lines

Pads of sensitive fingers

Their dreaming defines

 

There are fists and shaking

There are dips and rise

There are quivering fingers

Before flickering eyes

 

When hands arc with arms

To gracious embrace

The lovers say nothing

As hands touch each face

 

Delicate lines are drawn

Across soft skinned cheeks

Then with touches to lips

Mouths start to seek

 

Two seeing hands

guide the blind

Sensuous and caressing they massage

Four hands synchronise

to breathe in kind

Entwined

in waves of love

My aubade

My aubade for thee

Played lovingly

Under window thine

On morning fine

Post sleepless night

Love’s tortured plight

I sing to confess

Hand on breast

 

As my music plays

I see our days

Together ahead

In love’s soft bed

Rich with the melody

Of my love for thee

 

Listen my love

At rest above

Unto me call

To climb thy wall

Open thy window

Into which I’ll go

To lie with thee

In love’s company

Love’s gauntlet

Here once on this path love’s torment

Found me quietly pleading in fear

Then twice by this way love’s sonnet

Helped me to see my way clear

As I thrice put my case love’s comet

Struck me, rendered me seer

Four times in the midst of love’s torrent

My heart stricken by love beyond peer

A fifth run to the end of love’s gauntlet

Win or lose shapes my life on from here

Where Have I been?

Diary of a Retiree: Day 247

181 days since my last diary specific entry.

Where have I been?

I have had this question a few times. Maybe it is time to answer it. I have been in a headspace called preoccupied. A week or two ago, I had a realisation. I realised that I may have finally arrived somewhere else. Where? Well, I think I arrived at some sort of understanding or reconciliation with the fact that I no longer need to be preoccupied with the concept of working under the instruction of others. It has taken eight months.

Admittedly, particularly in the last five years or so, I enjoyed a significant degree of autonomy in my work – a very fortunate and often rewarding circumstance. On the other hand, I found plenty of reasons to be dissatisfied, especially when I felt outcomes could have been better. Instead of settling systems into place, I have seen widespread and rapid change with poorly considered impacts on work groups become the norm. The recurring, patronising platitudes and executive level incompetence I have seen offered up in approaches to radical change management have been gob smacking. I have felt stymied by management incumbents and structures that do little other than promote power plays, churn and corporate memory loss. I have seen stabilising, value adding loyalty between employees and employers evaporate.

I have worked with some brilliant people. I miss and take my hat off to so many of my ICU and HITH nursing colleagues for their enormous depth of experience, their vast reservoir of knowledge, their diverse skill sets, their advanced professionalism, their teamwork and individual initiative, their collegiality and their highly-developed sense of empathy and compassion. How blessed to work with such people! I have been Supervisor, ANUM and Educator working with some outstanding Nurse Unit Mangers and fellow Educators. Very sadly, after 36 years of working in healthcare I can’t make the same observations about the medical profession. I have worked with some good medicos, but as a generalisation, I would have to say self-serving and arrogant are still the words that come to mind. The medical culture is toxic to efficient and cooperative healthcare institutions.

So, where have I been? Coming to terms with the haunting of my working past. Lifting the weight of working to protect colleagues and patients from harm at the hands of my employers.

The frustration is fading. I am beginning to look ahead, toward the possibilities of the future. The new question is, where am I going? It feels like an optimistic one.

 

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

Dark, black night, cold, white frost, warm, golden sunshine

The cold can bite you here. It is sharp and crisp and penetrating. In the dark of a cloudless, moonless, star bright landscape, in the nocturnal brilliance of  moonlit contrasts, in the shelter of a blackened room, it stabs through the bedclothes. It targets your knees or a hip, whichever joint is most elevated and least supplied with a warming blood supply. It ices your brain.

Then the morning comes. The frozen grass cracks under your feet. The birdbaths are glazed and crazed and the world is a wonderland of white light, of reflective crystals. It’s all worth it.

Then comes the sun. Gently rising over the tree lined eastern horizon, shafts start breaking through the cold barrier in scattered beams of raw illumination. Light sprays jump from each hoary crystal bed they touch. But just as quickly, just as they commence their flashy dance, they are replaced by translucent droplets, silvery and clear, mirroring the world around them in fresh formed globules like polished convex glass.

Then the rich, thermal bath of undiluted yellow sunshine begins. It bathes our world in a warming golden glow, washing from our memory the cold that was snapping at our heels such a short time ago. We revel in it. We revere it. We relish the transition from the sharp edged winter’s night to the slow, melting, immersive onset of another glorious North East Victorian winter’s day.