Tag Archives: poem

Possible Observations to Consider About Life Through the Metaphor of Food

Possible Observations to Consider About Life Through the Metaphor of Food

the dehydrated pea rattling around an empty plastic bottle
makes a great rattle for a child but
represents the entirety of your mortality

a secret being told to you
is the opening of a packet of chocolate biscuits
and you scoff the lot

doubt sticks to the roof of your mouth
like a fresh white bread and peanut butter sandwich
after adding a layer of butter as an undercoat

you take your tea with milk and sugar
same as your father
and recycle the teabag to make another cup

Dear 2021: The Start of It

Late last year I contributed to a project run by Nik Perring, Writer-In-Residence at Sheffield Library in the UK, titled Dear 2021: The Start of It.

The project was an initiative of Sheffield Library and their new digital channel. And it is now live. You can watch and listen to a range of poems.

Dear 2021, The Start of It videos

Here’s the teaser: Sheffield Library Teaser

There’s also a playlist of those who contributed: Sheffield LIbrary Playlist

And here is the link to my contribution: A Prayer for 2021

I hope you spend some time listening to these are there are some remarkable pieces reflecting on the year that was, and looking forward to the year that will be.

Here is the text of my poem so you can follow along as you listen to my Antipodean accent.

Next year
is a year of cautious uncertainty
of starting lists of Things To Do, People To See, Dreams To Have
written on sheets of wet paper
trying hard not to push the pen through in our haste and excitement
Slowly, slowly. Take your time.
We wish for the ordinary like shopping for toilet paper, attending birthday parties, listening to live music, having cups of tea together

After the year that has been
we remember Death still has its sting
not the quick, sharp bite of a Band Aid pulled from the skin
but the tearing of a soul from soul
where we collect the leftover memories like crumbs
to drop them as markers to find our way back to a hope worn gently across our shoulders
a favourite hoodie we wear for comfort in our solace and solitude
hands stuck deep into pockets, cradling ourselves

May gentleness be our watchword, a whispered prayer for salvation
heard in the boiling of the kettle
seen in the pegs holding our washing on the clothesline
the ghosts of ourselves dancing in the wind

When our hands were empty of crumbs, they retreated in fear
tightened into fists holding nothing but emptiness
let us unfurl our fists and dip them into bags of seeds
planting in the fallow soil and hoping for a harvest
let us return to the courtesy of common unity, enrich the soil of our neighbour’s yard
bless each other’s humanity and pray for rain to water the soil

Next year
we will listen for the cadence of time in the snap of fresh bed sheets
not the turning of pages of the calendar like autumn leaves

Next year
while I have lungs to give breath to speak
soaked as they are in the condensation of compassion and doubt
I will squeeze my lungs out like sponges
and give utterance to my hope
letting my words drip over my hands
down my arms
running off my elbows
into the ploughed ground of next year

Next year
each day is an advent, the waiting for an adventure
the coming of things promised

Things To Do While Sitting With Grief

Things To Do While Sitting With Grief

tie your shoelaces with the perfect tightness you like. send a text to your best friend asking how he’s doing at the moment because you haven’t spoken in a while. and send one to your sister for the same reason.

write out a shopping list of what you will need for the week and include a treat for yourself. count the drops of rain falling and see if you can make it to one thousand.

read a book; the one you said you always would but never get around to.

respond to your best friend’s text and invite him over for dinner and ask him what his favourite food is and plan to make it. add the ingredients to the shopping list you started earlier.

turn your phone off. listen at the window. make a mental note of what you see in the colour of the sky and shape of the clouds. remember your first kiss and why it stays in your memory and not the last kiss you gave or received. wait for the echo.

paint your fingernails and toenails even if no one will see them. later, put on your favourite socks, the comfy ones you wear around the house with slippers.

measure the distance the shadow travels as it pushes in like the rising tide. tomorrow, time how long it takes.

draw the flowers in the vase and capture their fragility; a daguerreotype of death. next week, draw them when they have wilted. preserve it.

listen to the sound of your breathing, through your mouth, through your nose. clench your fists breathing in. release them breathing out.

The Correlation Between Writing and Single Line Drawing

The Correlation Between Writing and Single Line Drawing

A single line drawn; a continuous, unbroken line.

The pen invents the existence of the image from the blank space of the page, drawing the white into the pen to reveal the darkness of the solar system beneath. Conversely, the tabula rasa of sight is given vision through the pen, leaking the blackness of the imagination onto the page.

The line takes shape: straight paradoxes, curved obstructions, angular indices, folded waves, circular epiphanies. The brevity of a single line suggests, coaxes, entices or has the complexity of a woven tapestry to illuminate, postulate, seduce.

As it is with words.

Single words.

Verb. Noun. Adjective. Preposition.

When connected together they expand, like the line, to form phrases and clauses. When arranged in single horizontal lines as sentences they give direction and purpose to the shape of the narrative.

Sentences with the lines of tailored couture bestow a resplendence of awareness.

Sentences with the sparseness of underpants and socks bestow a nakedness of understanding.

What are words but a single continuous line.

Prayer of Lamentations

In the light of a hostage tragedy in my home city, Sydney, Australia, we joined as a staff in the College chapel to pray. 

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Last night, in the midst of the uncertainty and doubt, I was inspired by the story of the social media hashtag #IllRideWithYou, where it demonstrated the biblical adage, “Love thy neighbour as yourself.” Despite race, creed, religion, people wanted to stand side-by-side with their fellow commuters and demonstrate their connection with one another. I haven’t been able to find out if it happened, but I hope that there are positive stories to be told.

As a community we prayed for understanding, for strength, to be instruments of peace. And as we joined in silent, contemplative prayer, the lines of a poem began to form in my head.

The biblical narrative contains the Book of Lamentations, a book of sorrow. Read in tandem with the Book of Job I see the power of grief and mourning as a time that should bring us closer together. It is a time to share the burden even when we don’t understand it. To simply be and let the people around us grieve in their own way in their own time. It is a theme I return to in my writing from time to time, and I have returned to it today.

image

Let me hear the song of your heart
The song of lamentation
uttered in voiceless silence
and salted tears.
As I sit with you
pray with you
eat and drink with you
I will listen to you
That we may find strength
In one another’s grief
and extend comfort
through our joined hearts and voices
Teach me the song of lamentation
That I may know the song of your heart

 

Hello, My Name Is…

Hello, My Name Is…

 

A distinctive nomenclature and

classification of the familial

An ancestor’s genealogy

anchored in the present 

Catalogued by a birth date,

a Medicare card, and eventually,

 a tax file number 

Others give their own interpretation

In the form of a nickname, a moniker

While I adopt the facade, play a charade,

engage in a deliberate ruse.

My label, my identity, my personality

and my character yet

an enigma, a question, a riddle

unsolved and unanswered

A statement of intent,

a declaration of purpose

a sign of the times and

a dream of the future.

 Hello My Name Is V2