Friday Poem: Where I’m Coming From

I haven’t posted a poem for ages, but I’m back for today, at least. I’ve been asked (several times) where my antecedents came from, as if it mattered to who I am. But I don’t believe it matters very much where a great great grandparent was born. What matters is how you love.IMG_20170518_172123_919

I am born of earth.
I am human,
Made of stardust and love.

I don’t care
where you or your forebears
came from;
we are all out of Africa and ash.

I care about
Kindness
Peace Love Empathy
Justice, Compassion
Freedom and Joy.

I respect the compassionate.
My heart bleeds for the withered hearts
that only know hatred and fear.

I am bodhisattva;
I am of earth
to earth I shall return.IMG_20160711_191930

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Weekly Photography Challenge: Corner

Standing on the corner, or in the corner… so many possible angles to this challenge….

I’ve chosen a corner of my life – and the corners of my sunroom, which I’ve been redecorating and decluttering (work in progress!)for some time. My Dad built this room – an extension of the existing verandah – about 25 years ago. It was his therapy after my sister died, and it’s served a number of functions over the years. On a sunny winter afternoon, the couch is the best seat in the house – and a favourite spot for the cat, of course.

Taking photos of my decor gives me a greater appreciation for the work of interiors photographers – there’s more too it than plumping the cushions and clicking the button! I suspect that someone does a lot of tidying and “editing” of the homes we see in magazines. I’d love to see before and after styling pics – I think they’d be instructive!

weekly Photography Challenge: Chaotic/Magic

I’ve been away from home and with limited internet access (horrors!) for most of the week, because I was at my Mum’s place making a start on the magic art of shed clearing. My dad stashed a lot of things out of sight and mind, some I guess because they might be useful, some I really don’t know why…The photography challenge for this week is Magic – and not only is clutter clearing “magic”, there is a kind of magic in coming across forgotten,and rotting, mementos of my parent’s life together.

The contents of the shed were incredibly chaotic, layers of junk and buried treasure accumulated over years and years – dusty jars, juice bottles, tyres, rusty nails, bolts, screws, unwanted furniture and carpet (2 lots pulled up 25 years ago – Mum didn’t know they were there!), pieces of timber, large and small, 2 old decrepit Mercedes cars, used as storage containers….and so forth.

My youngest son and I put on gloves and sorted, chucked the real rubbish in the skip and salvaged whatever was usable or interesting. It isn’t finished yet, but we made a good start on it, and we only brought home a boot full…including Dad’s moth eaten suit.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Nostalgia – In The Pines

negs-set-2csAs I was walking my daughter’s dog last week, I wandered over to a stand of pines, picked a sprig and sniffed it _”Ah, Pine tree!”, and, to my surprise, immediately burst into tears. When I was little, my Dad spent his days slicing pine logs into boards, and that smell both brought him to life and reminded me that he died recently. So, the weekly photography challenge theme is “Nostalgia”, and my answer is “In the pines”.

Monterey pines were widely planted (in plantations) in Victoria in the fifties, and there was a plantation near home – The Piney, or “Plan pinetation”, as my little brother called it. The trees were cut down (harvested) by the Forest Commission , and then Dad would go out and collect his logs, using the old Blitz crane.s

I didn’t take this photo – it’s about as old as I am. Mum gave me some old negatives, because I was looking for old photos of Dad’s Commer truck. I didn’t have a proper film scanner, but thought it was worth trying the ordinary flatbed scanner and found it worked fairly well, so long as the images weren’t too light (meaning the negs are dark). I recently did some editing of the image, as I’d decided to have it printed on canvas, as a memento of Dad.

Canberra is blessed with many walking tracks, and the one near my daughter’s home passes through a ‘tunnel’ of pine trees. I took the camera for a walk to them, for these nostalgic pine tree images. They bring back memories of a day when Dad took several kids, including two boys who were vising my aunt, and we all spent the day out in the pines playing while Dad collected his logs. I remember beating out primitive rhythms on a granite tor with thick pine sticks, and flattening one of the visiting boys with a rugby tackle. I guess I was about 11. In retrospect, it wasn’t an ideal childcare arrangement, but we all survived, even that unfortunate boy…

And here’s a little more nostalgia…aka In The Pines.

Friday Poem:Unfoldment

It’s been a week since my Dad died. He was 85, and in poor health, so it came as no surprise. There’s been a lot of organising of travel arrangements, and looking for photos and reminiscing. It’s sad, but hardly tragic, and life goes on unfolding – what matters is love. Have you ever noticed how linens seem to expand and grow when you pull them out, and shake out the folds?folds3-a

I want to unpack my love
Bring it out of storage
Unfold it and keep unfolding
Spread it out across the world
‘Til there is nothing left unloved
And love has covered
Everything
Sheets and sheets of love
Reams of it
Unfolding from the cupboard of my heart
Fine linen bandages
Bolts of it unwinding

The more love is unfolded,
The more there is.

I took some photos of folds especially for this post. I think it’s amazing how much there is to see in such a simple subject, and a little tweaking of contrast and saturation can change plain white into lavender-pinks. The three pics in the gallery are all of the same raggedy, naturally dyed silk scarf, yet they are all a little different – just like us humans: basically the same, but all a bit different (some more so than others).

Friday Poem: Song For The Broken

swamp4small

List-making is a time-honoured method of building a poem, and this poem is basically a list of attributes of a broken unhappy person – but, like Pandora’s box, there is Hope hidden at the bottom.remains small

Split-off
Over-feminised
Conflicted
Words words
Describe you
Circumscribe you
Cannot fill you in

Clouded
Hopeless
Emasculated
Time to run away
Burnt out
Faded
Imploded
Nothing defines you

Hours of madness
And joy
And despair
Joy & Woe
In the end
Emptiness
Quicksand to the neck
Dead sea

In the end
Something else begins
Begin again.
remains of the organ small

The first image is of Reedy Swamp (aptly named!) near Shepparton, and the other two are of the very broken old harmonium at my parent’s house. Mum would have liked to have had it restored, but Dad moved it outside when some decorating was being done, and that was the end of it as a musical instrument. Years later, it is a poetic ruin, covered in fallen leaves and sticks and slowly falling apart.

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.