Category Archives: Poems

Once I realised that the snippets of rhythmic phrases that keep dropping into mind, are not ‘notes towards a novel’, but fingers to the moon of poetry, life became charged with the joy of editing.

At this stage of the blog, I’m sharing poems written in a burst after a Writers retreat with the estimable Jungian psychologist Jeremiah Adams. Some have been performed at Bar Luna, Ubud, Bali, an epicentre of supportive community creative expression. Most are best tasted aloud.

Some take the form of Australian Bush Poems – metrical, narrative and characterful.
More recent are poems on the road though Morocco and beyond.
Some are song lyrics; I look forward to recording and sharing them.Many are an acerbic tracking of a tough route in and out of love.

Heading to Gallipoli Pt 2- Dreams

Pt 2-  Dreams

Once upon a time, I read a passage in a novel that struck me profoundly.

Queen Guinevere, reflecting on life, sees that the young believe their growing up- gaining knowledge and money, power and status- will bring them more choices in life.

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Then how she’d learned that lives become not wider,  but more confined, by the consequences of  choices we make and the overwhelm of  choices made by others.

Strangely, when I re-read that book years later, the passage wasn’t there.  Perhaps I’d dreamed it. Perhaps my soul was sending me a message I needed to hear as I embarked on an adult life that’s certainly had its share of narrowings and overwhelms.

And now I’m the other side, in a regained widened space.

My kids are grown, my father’s passed away, and I’m on the road,  backpacker, grey nomad, waltzing my matilda on an open-ended journey.

So many people tell me how lucky I am. Living the dream they say.  

Really, I think, is this your dream?  

Jealous, some say.

(I shiver when I hear that word, make signs, avert the evil eye)  

I won’t go into the realities of monadic backpacking right now. I’d rather do that with humour and I don’t feel funny today, heading to Gallipoli.

I’m solemn, like the Dawn Service, like the Recessional echoing through Sydney canyons.

 But I accept that my travelling is a dream.

Not as in a ‘dream boat’, a sugared fantasy. Not as in a ‘dream house’, the envied culmination and ‘got it all now’ haven.

But as in a multiply confounding, dislocating, provocative profusion of half digested image.  Where things change as you look at them and maybe nothing is as it appears. A royal road yet barely there track through the ‘vale of soul making’, this world.

My travelling life is so little about ‘sightseeing’, though I do keep my eyes open.

It’s more like a mobile retreat. So much time to observe in solitude, pay attention to small things, to just be there with no role or obligation beyond breathing. To loosen old chains, ponder on shadow and meaning, privilege, trust, hurt and renewal, identity and choice; to open up to the extra-ordinary  or retreat to my hotel room de jour.

That’s not what people envy though, cos it’s not what they imagine.

That’s just my way,  the way that I create it. My choice. And that, I think, is what people envy, if they do. Or aspire to, or wish me well in.

The privilege of choice.  

 This brief chance to roll though possibilities, for better or worse.  Before the next run of no-choice narrowings – an accident, old age, illness, stroke, confinement and death.

My daddy’s dead.

 That stern and generous man who ‘paid it forward’ long before that phrase came into vogue.

Who knew that ‘privilege’- that he worked so hard for and passed on to me, unearned – carries an obligation. Pass it on, do some good. Pay for someone’s doctor, help them on their way.

 A year ago, in my Bali time, I wondered what he would think of my life now,  wanderer, dreamer.

Then I saw him in repose in clouds above my house, and took it for an answer. It’s OK.

He was bound to his commitments. And he set me free to roam.

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 If my living ‘the dream’ in these hotel rooms and bus stations, ruins and foreign streets, throws a ray  on  others in their confinements or creativity,  confusion or compromises

we’re still paying it forward

by being where we are.

Next stop. Gallipoli. For you, Dad.

More photos of  Indonesian skies in this Facebook album
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Following the signs

Following the signs

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The Temple of Athena wasn’t where the painted arrow led

To rocks and weeds, an old man and a dog behind a fence.

Not even fallen jenga stones that might have been her glory once,

like stand there, resurrected to Apollo, on the hill.

 

So I walked on along the road and found myself enchanted

By a sign I couldn’t read, down curved steps, ribbons on a grille

A flowered space protected with a spirit tree and bell

A small cave turned by villagers into a candled chapel.

 

The angels there were human and polite

We told each other stories in the fading shadowed light

while chatting women came and went in faded daily clothes

To tend this tender rock where peace and faith could find a home.

Icon

 

Perhaps Athena Gloriana died off with her father.

Perhaps what’s rich is what’s below when we lay down the armour.

 

Written in Rhodes, Greece.

Brother Wood

 A song to my guitar, at the point of wondering whether to bring him backpacking… of course, I did.

Brother Wood

If I leave you, what will I regret?

Could I leave an old friend to go out on the road?

I’m scared and restless like my heart’s already homeless

Memory of exile, diaspora in my blood

Perjalanan ini feels like throwing crumpled paper on a flood

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 I can’t read the signs,  I don’t know the meaning

 why I choose this path again of onlyness and leaving

 How many times do I make myself a home

 And tear myself away again, create myself alone?

 If I carry you, will you carry me, too?

Or will you only be something else to lose?

You will weigh me, I will have to bear you,

Will you be a token of a dream that I have lost?

Or will you give me comfort and the strength to be the one who pays the cost

When I’m lost and tired, my heart is feeling homeless

Will you find me friends along the way?

Brother Wood if I commit to you, will you give me back some love each day?

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If I don’t take you, what would I forget?

Maybe you’ll remind me out there on the road

Cos I think you’re coming with me, I think that we both know that

You can call me troubador and play me through the times

When a journeying heart can only speak in rhymes.

Sunset

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Sunset 

Amazing, for almost several seconds in the sunset

Your arm around me, trailing like a cloud across the sun

like you were trialling the concept of affection in the moment

But as I turned toward you with my warmth, just like a cloud, you’d gone.

Too little too late, my darling

Too long I been waiting for that moment

Too long living in longing

And now I’m just relieved to be falling out of love with you.

Seems I’ve had my ration of sweet midnight skin unfolding

Now just sweet nothings, what’s app in other elsewheres of your time

But I was pregnant from the love songs that you’d sung into my eyes, babe

And I can’t feed a growing heart on soundbites and other people’s lines

How strange, my door was opened

For setting free a bird that never flew

For trusting and stepping into freefall

Where languages are failing and I don’t know what to say to you

You say patience; waiting doesn’t matter, we’ve got so much slippery time

But you would never put that kind of tension on yr strings

And this one’s breaking into the realisation that you really don’t want me

And losing what I never had is worse than when I wanted for nothing

How sad, that gentle garden

That could have flowered between us never grew

That beautiful duet never happened

And now my sweet release is to be falling out of love with you.

Sometimes, I know we’ll meet again, around the town, babe

I’ll still feel for you, please understand you’ll always touch my heart

But the fire’s out and I got more to do than stand here crying

Maybe later when the wood’s dried there might be another spark

But for now,  it’s too late, darling

Too much water, too few bridges

How deep the valley, down between the ridges

Where I will watch the sunset and remember when I was

              Oh sunshine, I was so in love with you.

Guide and Bless

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photo by Tony Surya

From the infinite energy of Sun and the space of emptiness we are endlessly created

Guide and bless creation, all creation, endlessly.

Created from the variegated seeds of karma Guide and bless our transient flowerings

Created with mind and senses

Guide and bless our mind and senses

Created as woman and man

Guide and bless our womanhood and manhood

Created of yearning and intuition

Guide and bless our yearnings and intuitions

Created with capacity for loving connection

Guide and bless our loving connections

Created with pain and limitation

Guide and bless our pain and limitations

Created with intelligence and power

Guide and bless our intelligence and power

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Created with laughter, song and speech

Guide and bless our laughter, song and speech

Created with hope and silent knowing

Guide and bless our hope and silent knowing

Embodied in frailty and beauty

Guide and bless our frailty and beauty

Mortal and ongoing,

Guide and bless our deaths, our grievings and resurrections.

Cafe Tissardmine

Thanks to Cafe Tissardmine,

a writers retreat and artistic sanctuary in Moroccan Sahara.

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Erg Cheddi

MORE photos in my Facebook album: Morocco

Twelve Day Writers Journey at Cafe Tissardmine with Jan Cornall, January 2104 

Thanks to Colleen Cassar of Roam like Queens for the connection 🙂 

ERACHIDIA

In Erachidia I said

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Photo by Christine Colton

Hassan, there are no women here!

Hassan replied,

It’s hot. The ladies maybe melt if they come out.

Softly spoke, his voice held pride

That ladies of his tribe

Are sensitive and worthy of protection.

Are not required to hit the street,

To meet the harsh demanding light,

like this one, melting to a new perception.

***

This desert is a feat of heat and wind.

People stay inside their tiny boxes on the rock

And do whatever they can find to do.

Weaving, sweeping, music, watching TV from Algeria.

So nobody will think it strange this lady,

blown in with her different skin,

is reading, writing, here behind the walls.

Cocooned and taking stock.

***

The sky here sings with light this dawn.

Glimpsing briefly, knowing all is well

I roll on back to sleep

to not responsible.

No action is required and life goes on.

 

SUGAR

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And after travelling long hours through the dust,

I saw you jewelled sugar cube

charismatic white in this expanse of rust.

Crystalline; a fallen star

and travelled from how far

to be laid bare in this Moroccan bowl.

Delectable as hope, or trust;

so vulnerable to

just whoever fancied using you.

And  though I don’t take sugar, thank you,

had to have you, suddenly, a lust,

sweet thing.

I placed you surreptitiously,

(but secretly so urgently)

into my tea.

You softened to your destiny.

And softened me to sudden tears

to see you fall and disappear.

Little Red Lies

LITTLE RED LIES

I grew up by a railway track

And often little me was woken up by primal tension

as the power of the brakes reined in

the weight behind the engine.

Surprising then to find out, as I grew to venture past the fence

That scream and grind

adrenaline  beyond my ken to handle

wide eyed in my bed at night;

depended on a very small red light.

My dad said

“Driver’s gotta to see the light, to make it home intact.”

Despite the thrill of riding the momentum

or dreaming, drunk, distracted

by the gleam allure of onward tracks

or dulled out, too familiar with the sight

‘The driver’s gotta to see that red light every time and pull the engine back’.

Then later on I learned that sophisticated railways

can compensate for human frailty

Or override a will for immolation.

I hear a higher power comes to save the day

with scream of brakes on auto slam; the driver wakes.

So if I seem a little distant, dear, these days

It’s ‘cause a silent screaming

in my cells, a gripping  tension is

demanding my attention.

Despite how much I want to just dissolve into your eyes

The brakes are sliding on.

So many small red lies,

how easily you tell them,

and I’m alarmed how carelessly

you put me in complicity.

And if I daily pray to higher forces, as I do,

I have to waken when they try to save me.

And I can cry or sigh or

wish the journey had gone different.

But it didn’t.

And woken in my adult bed, the primal forces raging:

the magnetism of your midnight skin

against my indignation.

I must choose another destination,

and I don’t think you’ll mind,

it seems you’re fine to glide on your own rails.

And I’ll remind myself; to you, be always kind.

I loved you once,  without a reservation.

But it’s really not your train,

if it don’t stop at your station.