Category Archives: Illustrated poems

Photos my own unless credited to an inspiring other

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.

551408_4915171851601_261978343_n Sad eyed lady

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.


 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

Following the signs

Following the signs


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.



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.

Guide and Bless


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


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.


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 🙂 


In Erachidia I said


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.




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.


Written in Raja Ampat, Indonesia

IMG_0347      IMG_0282

For more photos of this area, please see my Facebook Album: Indahnesia




With current rivers fluttering the mirror sea

inpouring on the tidal surge till

lapping in surrender to the white and tender sands,

I climb up on a twisted tree

to call you, distant man, and sit awhile

amid a grey green crown of graceful strands.

And grateful for this place- so less entangled

than our town- and gentled by the empathy

of waves, wish you were here.


Not for my sake. But for you, I wish

this vision of a vast and silver blue

where sky and water never parted

where light  refracts to motion

where each day ends more glorious than it started.



Tonight, above the spangled hills of Ambon,

nestled in an old man’s song of telling truth in love

there came a line, just one, in my own tongue.

I recognised it instantly, and felt a flooding

sympathy of rhythm in my blood

sting of salt tears on a tiny tide.

Oh, if there comes a time, my friend,

your resilient enduring trunk is crowned again

with green and graceful tendrils of desire,

and if you want to climb the stairs

to call someone to meet you there;

in that sweet resting place where elements combine and free

Let it be me.

Everly Brothers reunion version of Let it Be Me, sweet as the music of Ambon …