Ave Porca!

I’m aware that flying pigs can have a negative connotation (as in the expression “if pigs could fly, we’d all carry umbrellas”), but to me, the winged porcine is a symbol of infinite possibilities, and thus, of hope for better things. Such as peace on earth, all the time, not just at Christmas, love for all of our neighbours, even the ones we don’t like, and empathy and compassion for all beings, not just the cute ones. This little poem, therefore, featured in my Christmas card one year.

Slightly controversial Christmas card image!

Ave Porca!

I saw this night

a flight of pigs,

That flew across the moon.

I knew right then

That better times

Must be coming soon.

Through my rosy spectacles

The moon looked somewhat purple,

And shooting stars

Abundant fell;

And fairy dust

I found as well,

And by these omens I can tell

that better times

Are coming!

I’m still waiting; dominator culture still dominates around much of the world, and yet, every day, very quietly, love enters the world in unlikely ways, and there is still hope for better times all round. Did you know that economic inequality is bad for the health of the haves as well as the have-nots?  Who could have guessed. But there are scientists who care enough to make the studies and publish the results. Western countries spend enough on their military sectors to feed and educate the world’s children. Who cares enough to change that one? I now await the winged pigs, and the necessary changes. Ave porca!

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Just Do Something

Not quite ready for sleep after going to see the movie  ‘Bernie’, I  decided to draw for a bit before I settled down for the night. I picked my favourite subject, a random photo, and made a drawing. I think it’s pretty good, and if I’d known, I would have used decent paper. That’s what often happens when I just dash something off, with no particular intentions! I’m not the only one, either. Some of very successful songs were ‘just dashed off’ at the last minute – there’s a freshness and spontaneity that can be hard to achieve with more considered work. Coldplay’s “Yellow” is one such song.

I’m going to get a thermofax screen made of this image, and I might make a print block as well. Draw every day, I was told once by an elderly artist, write every day wrote Julia Cameron , do something that matters to you every day (that was me) . Then there’s Ian MacKay, of Washington DC band, Minor Threat, who said “We all decided that this is it, Revolution Summer. Get a band, get active, write poetry,write books, paint, take photos, just do something.” Wise words! Have yourself a Revolution Summer everyday. You never know when you’ll do something special.

Ian MacKay quote

 

I made a little mixed media book, using the MacKay quote as text, just to remind myself, whatever else is going on, whatever the distractions, just do something every day. So I just did.

 

MANIFESTO

Image

Don’t take each day

As the first day

Of the rest of your life

Treat it like the last.

Make the most of it,

Get the best of it.

 

Do something worthwhile,

Something that matters to you,

Make a difference to someone,

A difference for the better.

 

Push your barrowload

Of peace love empathy

And spread it in the path

of strangers

As if it was your last chance.

Perhaps it is.

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P.S.

 

It’s hard to push a barrowload

Of peace love empathy

In a world that stinks

Of discord hatred selfishness;

Where peace is bad economics,

Love is a febrile weakness

And empathy is dangerous to one’s health:

But someone has to do it.

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     I wrote this poem a number of years ago, by way of a ‘note to self’, a reminder of a new way of seeing the world. Although it is no longer novel, it is still  an apt summary of the way I want to live my life. P.S. came some time after “Manifesto’, in response to frustration with stale dominator thinking. It was a priest, in a newspaper interview, who claimed that empathy was bad for teenagers health, and should not be encouraged. Arms manufacturers around the world benefit financially from war and misery, and however much a fluffy pink version of love is promulgated, the gut-wrenching, self-sacrificing kind is not so much admired.

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The mixed-media artwork on this page, I made in a workshop taught by Glennis Mann, a textile artist. Somehow, the same old themes emerged! 

Seventeen Years Ago, a Record Changed My Life.

Junk Charm bracelet, made by me.

RESCUE

Here I was, becoming middle-aged,

Becoming fat and forty,

Drifting towards Liberty collars and sensible shoes;

Turning grey and getting duller.

Then you came along

And shouted in my ear,

It’s not over yet!

Woke me up and shook off the cobwebs,

Cut my ropes and broke my chains;

Kicked down the prison house

That I was building for myself.

You rescued me, you set me free,

Reminded me of what I was,

No, who I am:

You rescued me.

31/8/96

     Seventeen years ago, I was nearly forty, a stay-at-home mother of five. A few things conspired to Change My Life that year – my youngest starting school, giving me freedom for six and a half hours a day, for one. But it was Nirvana Unplugged that was the great catalyst for change. Yes, folks, seventeen years ago, a record changed my life.

     Triple J had come to our area, and I was taking notice of music again, then one night in September 1995, the ABC aired Nirvana Unplugged, and I watched (and recorded) it, to see what all the fuss was about. I watched it again the next day (twice, I think), then went away for a week on a family holiday. I could think of little else than that music – the songs kept rolling through my head, even though I’d only heard then two or three times. I was hooked and wanted little else. I actually heard ‘Something in the Way’ on the radio on our way home, but I didn’t know what it was until I got the cassette.

     I ordered the cassette from the local record store, and it took weeks to come in – the store even moved in that time. Meanwhile, I wore out the video tape… Later, I acquired Incesticide, In Utero, Bleach, Nevermind… It seemed as though I had waited all my life to hear this music. Late in ’96,I pre-ordered From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah – and I won the promo pack for Ararat. Luck was on my side. I have since seen those muddy banks for myself.

      There were nights when I hardly slept – vivid visions of a gunshot wound to the head- Why? In Nirvana Unplugged, I had seen a young man with talent and charm in spades, loved by his bandmates and a rapt audience. I knew there was a wife and child- Everything To Live For. Yet he refused. Why?

     In April of the following year, I came across a tribute magazine, put out by Australian fans, which included his final communique to the world, a small clue, and the words Peace Love Empathy.

    Peace, Love – I had some idea what they mean – but Empathy? What exactly is that? Which lead me to read, and read widely. Everything I read, no matter what it was, somehow related back to Kurt Cobain, his life and his death. If only I could understand that, I would understand everything, including myself.     I started, I think, with ‘God in All Worlds’, a broad selection of writing on spirituality., and thanks to a Book Club,  and Reading’s mail order service, and the local Library, I was able to access a wide range of books on spirituality, psychology, social issues, child rearing, gender, thanatology … and books specifically concerned with Peace, or with Love, or with Empathy. After seventeen years, I’m still curious, still reading, still learning, still trying to figure out life, the universe and everything.

    And beside intellectual curiosity – I began to write poetry again, I began to paint again, I picked up my camera, and looked with new eyes. Creativity that had lain dormant for years, suddenly burst into bloom.

      I ate less, I danced more, I gained confidence in myself, I wrote letters to the paper, reaching for a freedom and joy I hadn’t known since childhood. I grieved again for my sister,who was also blonde, blue-eyed, brilliantly creative, and died at 27, in Jan /92 – just before Nirvana toured here – not that I knew or cared then.

     Somehow I became both a new person and more fully myself. This is, I think, what Carl Jung meant by Integration. I’ve read quite a lot of Jung, his ideas make sense to me. Freud, not so much.

     Hard to believe its been seventeen years. You should see my library. And my CD collection, somewhat biased towards friends of Kurt Cobain and bands he liked. No Abba, though! Lots of Melvins, although I don’t have ‘Gluey Porch Treatments’ (Yet). I got to see them last year, supporting Primus, Wished they could’ve swapped places on the bill! Awesome.

 Thanks, Kurt. A whole third of my life has been so much richer for watching Unplugged 17 years ago, and for all that has flowed on from that.

Some authors I have read and recommend – John Shelby Spong, Alice Miller, Carl Jung, Daniel Goleman, Arundhati Roy, Maggie Scarfe, Vikram Seth, Peter O’Connor, Robin Grille, Laurie Helgoe, Thich Nhat Hanh, Ram Dass, Garrison Keillor, Derrick Jensen, Patrick Holford. Of course, there are more, and maybe one day when I have a lot of time on my hands, I will attempt a more complete list.