Friday Poem: O Spring

As winters go on planet Earth, ours here in Southern Australia is quite mild – where we live, snow is a rare and welcome novelty, and cabin fever unheard of. But, even though the woods will never be snowy, dark and deep, we’ve found our winter long and cold this year, and everyone is longing for Spring sunshine. DSCF9455 (Large)

Monday dawns dull and grey

Overcast sky and misty rain

Wind from the south and the icy sea

But Spring! Oh, Spring!

Cries the pink blossom tree.

Put on your coat and scarf and hat

You’ll need them all to walk in that

Take an umbrella to stroll and chat.

Run, little dog, this isn’t spring,

But the pink blossom tree

Would argue with that.

The wheelbarrow is to show you the reality of winter in our area – after the dry dusty summer, weeds suddenly germinate and over-run the garden. Every year, when longing for the rain to come, I forget that it leads to an explosion of weeds – and now we are longing for sunshine, and forgetting about the downsides of summer. Such is life!

Creativity: Escape XX

Post number twenty of my altered book “Escape” – there are not many more pages to go now…

Escape 56


The text here is obscured with stickers of my art work, plus free-hand painting and stamps. The hand and heart art work was meant for a Christmas card design, but I wasn’t really happy with it for the card, and used something else. I bought the rusty heart cut-out somewhere, and added a copper washer on top with an enameled heart from a piece of jewelry inside it. The pixie is a drawing I did of Kurt Cobain, years ago, in response/reaction to my husband accusing me (incorrectly) of “drawing Kurt Cobain with butterfly wings all the time”. I did draw Kurt, and I did draw figures with wings, but this was the first (and only) time I combined them. The wings belong to the Monarch butterfly.

The original pencil drawing was photocopied, and the copy coloured with Derwent pencils, after which it was copied again. I had it printed on a tee shirt, at a time when that meant going to a place in Ballarat to have it done. Now anyone with a PC, a printer and an iron can do their own. Technology isn’t all bad! I’ve drawn over the version printed in here with a fine-tip pen, and painted over it a little to blend it into the page. Originally the dictionary definition was hand-lettered above the image, but this smaller version has the definition cut from an old dictionary – evidently an old one, because “pixilated” now means something else entirely… The word ‘explore” has been added in commercial and hand-carved stamps as well as hand-written. escape 57

The following page features a loose watercolour painting – a sort-of self-portrait (I used to have brightly multi-coloured hair) – with another note-to-self written around the edge of the page. At primary school, we were taught to write in straight, horizontal lines, which has its place, but when making art, rules need not apply, and you can write wherever you want!

It’s also the picture I used for my Gravatar.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Symmetry

The theme of the week for the Photography Challenge is  Symmetry – heart

The shape we all recognize as “Love Heart” is usually perfectly symmetrical, as is this lovely old brooch. I would like to wear it more often, but the clasp is…untrustworthy, so it is likely to come undone, and get lost.a pair of jackets

Not quite symmetrical, this pair of baby’s matinee jackets were both bought in op shop/thrift stores around thirty years apart. They are knitted to the same pattern, but are not quite identical, either, as the newer one has a larger collar, and only two layout

maybe I should have cropped this picture a little, so that the table was exactly in the middle, to emphasise the symmetry of the image. We were working on the layout of a book of the history of our local Hall, and spread all the pages across two trestle tables in order to survey the whole thing. You can see some of the local pioneers portraits at the bottom – our Hall is famously adorned with them, and Anne had spent months on the task of unearthing information about the lives of as many as possible – difficult since some of the names had been mis-spelled over the years, quite apart from the lapse of time. Kelly, on the right, has relatives amongst the pioneers – another piece of symmetry.

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: Out With the Newish, In With the Quite Old

She was fine really – a little unsteady on her feet – but quite attractive, and she’d been lighting up my life regularly for several years. Still, I always knew she was temporary…A replacement had been waiting in the background for almost as long as I’d known her. All  the new shade needed was a suitable base, and the old girl would be out. Well, this week the perfect base has come in to my possession, and the shade I was planning to re-cover with a gorgeous flower print tea-towel has been done…

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I made a pattern for the lampshade by laying the plain-jane shade on a sheet of brown kraft paper, and drawing around it in pencil. Start at the seam, and carefully draw whilst rolling the shade along until you reach the seam again. Add seams and turnings, and then cut the fabric according to your pattern. It should fit neatly! I slipstitched the side seam, and glued the top and bottom turnings with white craft glue. My base was a bit grotty, so I gave it a good clean before putting on its new shade. Voila! Some old things are new again!

Friday Poem: Brink

“A masterpiece is not the result of sudden inspiration, but the product of a lifetime of thought.”

Virginia Woolf


Meditating or sleeping
I am hovering on the edge
Of something almost understood.
What is it?
I turn my head;
It disappears
Just beyond my grasp,
just beyond comprehension,
Just beyond realisation.
It is a light
I glimpse but cannot see;
A solidity that dissolves
Before my touch.

If I can make myself
Quiet and empty enough
Perhaps it will enter
By itself.window

Sometimes things just won’t come together, and it all seems like too much struggle. Sometimes there’s no time to do all the things I want to do, and the would-be masterpieces are nothing but vague ideas, bubbling away gently on the back-burner of my mind. That’s a really good time to let everything go, to just sit (or walk) and be mindful, to flow in the effortless way of a river. Eventually, things will become clear again by themselves.

I hope.

red moon 2

That’s the eclipse of the moon, a couple of nights ago. Eventually it came back, all by itself!

Dominator Culture

A social chat at the gallery soon came around to politics. The arts community tends to be left-leaning, from my experience, and no one was impressed by the current government’s policies or budget plans. The director commented that he doesn’t want to hate them, and that he thinks they believe they are doing what is right. Which set me thinking…KDC

Dominator Culture operates from a paradigm of fear, giving rise to wars and rumours of wars, spikes in doorways to deter rough sleepers, economic “rationalism”. Fear of change, fear of the ‘other’, fear that the poor will take advantage of the wealthy, fear of women in power. So we have isis wanting to bring back a caliphate in the Middle East, and the Australian Liberal Party wanting to deny economic support to unemployed youth, for example. No one can believe that reducing a jobless young person to utter poverty is a sensible way to get them into paid work, unless they are mired in Dominator Culture and really need to get out a lot more…

I could go on about the obvious, and vast, flaws in this policy. Bizarrely, the Government is aware of the flaws. Whilst “saving tax payer’s money” by not providing welfare to unemployed youth for six months at a time,(welfare that is barely enough to get by at  best ), a large sum of tax payers money has been put aside in the Budget to cover the inevitable problems. Community Welfare agencies are stretched to the limit already and consumer confidence has sunk. Is that policy rational? I don’t think so.

We have been told that there is a debt crisis, and that everyone has to share in “heavy lifting” – a story created by wealthy men who lift no more than the pen that signs the story. Our “enormous debt” is less than the personal fortunes of a few individuals who have control of our country’s mineral wealth – helped along with subsidies and tax breaks funded by struggling working and middle class tax payers…Is that rational? Is that the Fair Go we Australians are so fond of?the key

Our “Leaders” – under-parented, unempathic, strongly sociopathic, product of a bullying culture, dishonest, wealthy and triumphantly and smugly on top of the heap. What if the democratic process included extensive independent psychological testing of would-be candidates, allowing only the fittest to stand?

That’s psychologically fit,not “able to ride a bike and can swim” fit.

There are only two feelings.
Love and fear.
There are only two languages.
Love and fear.
There are only two activities.
Love and fear.
There are only two motives,
two procedures, two frameworks,
two results.
Love and fear.
Love and fear.

Michael Leunig

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men (sic) to do nothing.”

Edmund Burke

Daily Prompt: To Boldly Go…3 Quotes

Today’s Daily Prompt asks us to think about the coming year, giving rise to reflection and goal setting – what bold plans we may have. I’m not much good at the “lose weight/get fit/learn to jive etc” style of resolution. My resolve may be to sit in cafes fomenting revolution of the peaceful kind, hinted at in these three quotes…Tara -embodiment of compassion

“What we are teaches  the child more than what we say, so we must be what we want our children to become.”

Joseph Chilton Pearce

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”

Pema Chodron

“A person with ubuntu is open and available to others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated and diminished, when others are tortured and oppressed.”

Desmond Tutu

Being what I want my society to become, embodying as much as I can compassion and Ubunto seems especially important in the current political climate in Australia. Policies on education, asylum seekers, the oppressed generally are rapidly devolving. There is little that any one person can do against this tide of uncaring, only stand up and repeat “Not in my name – never, ever in my name.”

My goal is to stand up.


Daily Prompt: Future

The future, whether it comes from in front or behind, depends a great deal on the present. “Study the past if you would define the future”, so Confucius averred.

From this I divine that my future will include more coffee, more cafes, more notebooks full of scribbles, some of which will morph and appear on my blog. Something I recently wrote in that notebook – “I have always wanted to sit in a cafe fomenting revolution…”Cappaccino, notebook, pen...

This kind of revolution – you may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one…




Dominator Culture – An Example

peace love empathy - hand made book pageI read a news story recently about a pair of young Albanian boys who are afraid to go outside their house because their neighbour has a vendetta against their family and aims to kill them both in revenge for a member of his family who was killed years ago by a relative of theirs. It is a long standing and crazy tradition  in that country – especially in remote villages – that if a man is killed, then his (male) relatives are obliged to kill the (male) relatives of his killer. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth – Albania is blind and toothless…

The mother of the two housebound boys committed suicide, hanging herself in the barn, unable to bear the lifestyle of fear and constriction any longer. The family were given three days ‘grace’ by their oppressor in which to bury the mother before the stupid game was on again.

The boys only education is with a female teacher who visits every two weeks or so to teach them to read. They rarely venture outside, and have never known the joy of running freely in the sunlight. What kind of a life is that? And for the neighbour, what kind of a life is that? Consumed by hatred and sworn to pointless revenge – which, if exacted, starts a fresh vendetta back in his own direction. Presumably the idea of trying to kill all the (male) relatives is to have none left to start over trying to kill all yours…

This is Dominator Culture at its maddest. They say it is a response to a lack of justice , and that the solution is to hand retribution over to the judiciary (those boys uncle went to jail for 25 years for murder…). But I say it is the result of a lack of empathy, a dearth of compassion, and absence of love. The solution must lie in education, and probably should start with the women, who are responsible in a large part for rearing the next generation of men. Teaching mindfulness in schools would also help.