Friday Poem:Prayer

IMG015I had another poem in mind, but I found this one first…It seems appropriate as the Australian Government is being forced to close Manus Island refugee detention camp – not that they plan to exercise any mercy if they can help it. I’m not sure if that is forgivable…it’s certainly not excusable.IMG_6295 (Large)

Give me compassion
Big enough to forgive
Those who have none.

Heart of Compassion,
Give me the power of love.
Burn out my ego –
It’s better to burn out
Than fade away-
But either will do
For my ego.

Burn out my obscurations!
Fade away my false self!
Empty me of everything
But Peace and Love and Empathy.IMG_6297 (Large)

If only governments could be emptied of ego, obscurations and falseness, and filled instead with compassion. I can dream…

The first photo is a drive-by shot with my old phone during a hailstorm – very obscure! then we have a crystal from a broken chandelier, and last, the rainbow light that the sunshine summons from a faceted crystal, always so pure and beautiful, I can’t help but fetch a camera if I have the chance.

Friday Poem

I wrote this short poem years ago, and I wish it wasn’t relevant any more…DSCF4507 (Large)

“Peace!” is my battlecry,
With love I taunt my enemies,
And when they writhe in travail
on the floor,
I ache with empathy.DSCF4509 (Large)

The images here are from an artist book I made with an inspiring quote from Ian MacKaye,and the last one from an altered book. I learned about the concept (and reality)of dominator culture through reading Derrick Jensen‘s book, A Language Older Than Words. It was a challenging read, but well worth it.

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Only love can conquer fear.

Friday Poem: Cornflakes

Lord of the DanceI came across this poem in an old notebook, and decided I should release it into the world…A few ideas have come together in this one, and it’s not actually “me” speaking, but I think it’s quite fun if a little impolite…nov 2011 018 (Large)

Oh how I love you
My Naga,
My Nataraja
Lord of my Dance,
My Shiva.
Sacred Lingam,
I bring for you
A bowl of warm milk;
An offering
Poured over
your cornflakes…

I will also tell you
that cornflakes
Are not food –
Unfit for consumption;
And that you
Should not be
eating them.

I will also remind you
That they were intended –
Somewhat fancifully –
To prevent erotic thoughts;
Unhelpful for a love god
Like yourself.nov 2011 021 (Large)

If you didn’t know, it is the custom in India where Lord Shiva is worshiped, to pour milk over the sacred lingam, which is a symbol of the energy and potential of the god himself. Cornflakes, on the other hand are made from twice-cooked toasted corn, created by Dr Kellogg as a source of dietary fibre, which he believed would protect young lads from wanting to please themselves, if you know what I mean…  I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work!

Friday Poem: Brotherhood

The politics of this country is a sore point with me, more so than usual, as it is, I’m sure, for every disgruntled idealist, so I’m sharing a sort-of political poem this week. (I just typed “plotical” for “political’, which may well be a Freudian slip…) Please note that I use the term”anarchists” in the ancient sense that humans are able to behave decently (with peace, love and empathy) without needing rules imposed on them to do so. The more modern bomb-lobbing type misused the word to put themselves outside of the law and also the common decency originally implied…rainbow heart (Large)

Transcendental misfit poets
Wild softhearted anarchists
Strike a blow and strike a chord
With a paradox absurd.
what’s the point and what’s the matter?
Smug complacency must shatter.DSCF4507 (Large)

I suspect that creativity and art are the way to go in countering dominator culture. “Fighting” it is just joining in, so that doesn’t work.

“Ah, the dreamers  ride against the men of action, Oh see the men of action falling back…”

Leonard Cohen

may 2011 038 (Large)

The images I’ve used are from mixed-media artists books I’ve made.

Creativity: Escape XXIII

DSCF9433 (Large) (2)

Back this week with my altered book, “Escape”. I am almost at the end of it, but not quite. The list on this page comes from Martha Beck’s book “The Joy Diet”, which has almost nothing to do with food, and everything to do with living a joy filled life (which is not necessarily the same as being happy all the time). All the original text was obliterated with two colours of acrylic house paint (sample pots rule!), and I’ve painted swirls of various colours of watercolour over the top of it. A bird sticker, from Kikki-K, completes the decoration, and then I wrote the list with a sharpie, using a playful style of lettering.DSCF9434 (Large)

The following page, also painted over, has an image torn from an art magazine stuck in the centre. I added earplugs and another skull to illustrate the ideas, plus a thought about Creativity versus Duty, which is my constant bugbear. There is quite a lot of colour on this page, but in random blocks, unlike the swirls on the previous page.

Creativity: Escape XVIII

Escape 49

On this page of my altered book “Escape”, I covered most of the text with half a torn big yellow sticker, and wrote my opinion about opinions over it with a black sharpie pen…I added a stamp of a bird cage and a smudge of paint down the outer edge. I left the words -“mother” and “Yes” because I am a mother of five, amongst other things.Escape 50

The next page is much softer in style and content – I do want to have harmony and some consistency in a book like this, but also contrasts and variety, otherwise it would be boring. And we don’t want that!

Most of the original text is again covered up, but this time with a sheet of handmade paper, and the notes-to-self concern my dream of opening a craft cafe, and the desire to experience live music as often as possible…The text at the top of the page I adjusted a little to suit the theme – and the final sentence was already fitting – so I have repeated it for emphasis. Of course I must open it! Just have to figure out all the details….escape 51

The next page looks rather messy and unresolved, I think…A print from a carved stamp coloured with watercolour paints, and a couple of commercial stamps for decoration. The paper is not the best for the watercolours, but it is bright and cheerful, obscuring the text, which isn’t.

Friday Poem: Question Everything

The poem came first. Then somehow I had some Time Alone this week, with pen and paper, and thinking of the poem and all that has been going on in the world of late (what’s new?), I wrote a little rant…question everything

Nothing is certain,
Not even this:
I don’t want to be certain-
I want to wonder
And to exercise curiosity.

I don’t want to be
Like a man who is sure what is true;
Such men are dangerous
For sure.
There have been a few.

Let me instead
Always question everything,
And keep ‘if’ and ‘maybe’
Firmly in my vocabulary.question everything 2

I don’t like Dominator Culture, however it is expressed. But, because we are immersed in it, it can be difficult to see – but once one is aware, it’s everywhere. Misogyny, abuse of children, spousal violence, unequal pay scales for men and women, cheap, illegal Mexican labour used for dirty, dangerous and underpaid work, 1% of the world’s population “owning” as much as the other 99% put together, violent struggles for control, whether for families, neighbourhoods or whole countries or religions. Keeping up with the Joneses and other extringent goals, playground bullies trying to assuage their own miserable self-worth by destroying someone else’s….Dominator Culture surrounds us every day, in ways both large and small, with the seemingly insignificant feeding on and into the blindingly obvious.

No one can beat Dominator Culture, because beating is joining it…So how to counter it?

Mohondas Gandhi taught non-violent non-cooperation, and one form of non-violent non-cooperation that anybody can participate in is to ask questions, maintain curiosity and to live an actively creative life. To be widely read, and go into the wild without wanting to tame it, to regard all persons as the equal of oneself (am I sounding like Walt Whitman? Don’t mind if I do…). To draw in the margins, and colour outside the lines. To love one another, and cultivate compassion, even towards those who seem to be the very worst…All this is deeply radical behavior,
and utterly contrary to Dominator Culture.question everything 3

Creativity: Escape X

A couple more pages form my altered book, “Escape”, which is built around the theme of creativity and the glorious escape that brings…Escape 30

My favourite quote from Kurt Cobain, written in felt tip onto a background of yellow house paint. There’s a bit of the pink from the opposite page mixed in in places (and the reverse on the other page), because you can be as sloppy as you want, as long as it’s good…There’s a doodle of green ink in the margin, and a sticker from a pack intended for scrapbooking…I’ve no idea what that thing is, but I love the colour!

The fiercesome chaps – not sure if they are demons, or demon-destroyers – are cut from an art catalogue. Whatever they are, they definitely have passion! I have painted out the background, blending it into the page. This is a great treatment for photos where the background isn’t wanted in your image, whether they are personal photos or borrowed ones like this. The text on that page is from me – a play on a quote used in publicity for a movie called “Love Story” many, many years ago. It was “Love means never having to say your sorry”, which can be taken in the entirely wrong sense of never apologising, rather than having no regrets.

Freedom is accepting everything you like, making your choices without regret, accepting responsibility for yourself, letting go of all that you cannot control (which is a lot!).

Friday Poem: For Sandra

It’s not Friday anymore…my Friday this week was super-busy and my internet was too sloooow for a quick post, but I wanted to share this old poem. A few days ago, because of a series of coincidences, I spent maybe twenty minutes catching up with a man I hadn’t seen for almost forty years – back when he, his wife Sandra and my husband Bryan were very young teachers in Terang, Victoria. I wrote this when Sandra and Iain’s first child, a daughter, was born. I didn’t think to ask him if he’s a Grandpa!fonz

I thought of you.
I thought of you in your bed of pain,
Brought to bed of a child;
Brought to bed of a daughter.
A daughter to suffer as we have suffered:
In travail to bring forth,
To bring forth a child again.


DSCF6756 (Small)I don’t have any photos of Sandra from back then (or later), so here is my daughter and her daughter, a few days after juniper was born last year. The Fonz does date back to the 70’s in Terang, though (actually, that’s Simon, aged about 15 months). We were young folks, and we made our own social lives in a small country town. One of our themed parties was a “Fifties” night, party inspired by a current TV show called “Happy Days”- maybe you’ve heard of it!

While I was working on/prevaricating over this post, I came across this series of mixed media pieces I made a few years ago, called “Pattern Making”. It was inspired in part by an extract from a Victorian book which advised that little girls should be encouraged to play with dolls in order to learn to look after babies, do the laundry and generally make themselves useful. Which annoyed me. I have five children, and I absolutely understand the human drive to ‘bring forth’ children, however, I am not at all taken with the idea that girls should be given dolls in order to be made “gentle and useful”, nor with the notion that doing laundry will give her “the most intense delight”, as if that were the be-all and end-all of life for a female.