The word from the high empyrean

Hark, hark to the word from the high empyrean

And bring with you your teeming hordes

Bow down before the ancient’s wisdom

Snatch hope from the teeth of devouring jaws

 

For dark, dark is the void of the Beezlebublean

Whose rivers of horror cross bloody fords

Whose principals are cast from demon and goblin

Where screaming of terror strikes chilling chords

 

Bark, bark the slavering hounds of hell

While nipping your ankles and corralling your soul

In fire and brimstone lose faith in death’s knell

For no death awaits you in hell’s fiery hole

 

Mark, mark aged words of the wise

From their learning of grace and all that is well

Where the choice of good versus evil applies

Ne’er beckon an offering for your soul to sell

Said Prospero, “Every third thought shall be of my grave.”

What Prospero said should not be decried

Give death its rightful standing in our lives

As a lens through which to view the good for which we strive

To ponder temporal versus the eternal that is always nigh

To elevate appreciation and despondency defy

 

And so, when vibrant youth immortality implies

When healthy vigour makes the future glisten in our eyes

When happiness is at its peak with all that it supplies

When prosperity creates opportunity many are denied

When security is such that all our fears it belies

Take a moment to remember it is only life that dies

 

Value life through death as on times fleeting wings it flies

The mind that honours death values life on high

How to quell Dragon fire

As liquescent a structure as ere had been born

Fluid in movement ancient evil forlorn

It rose from the surface as broken and torn

Through mirror like glaze the ragged head formed

 

Then took on the shape of mythological dread

The hunter and the scourge of the living and dead

Seeking blood and soul for a hunger ne’er fed

It rose every night from its hoard of a bed

 

The villages around at its mercy enslaved

To its will and its service when it sped from its cave

Deep within lake water cold as the grave

 

And it sought for its prey along tarns stoney shore

Cold hard rocks gave purchase to the legs at its fore

As snakelike behind it writhed serpentine lore

Dripping mucous dropped from the rank fetid maw

 

Scales of hard metal shed the pallid moonlight

Keen black eyed pupils pierced the night as if bright

Those who saw cringed at the terrible sight

 

Menacing and malignant beast’s cold beating heart

Razor like claws black knives of the dark

Terror inducing roar shaped the growl of blight’s bark

Spiked tail that it whipped left brutal spike’s mark

 

The villagers knew it would come just a matter of when

They planned and they schemed in their way of men

But against such a dragon who could they send?

When so many had tried and then failed again

 

One day came a stranger of the land of yore

So it seemed by his weapons and the clothes that he wore

Confidently speaking with the villagers he saw

Not intending to stay as he travelled some more

But the people saw a chance to hold him by law

And they plotted his detention by creating a score

As a bond so he’d fight at the dragon’s front door

 

A maiden they ‘suaded of rape she would cry

Of shame and dishonour and that he should die

They held him in prison for a year and a day

They said  they’d release him swore on their shades

If he’d fight the dragon and marry the maid

 

Before he would agree to do things their way

He thought and thought how the dragon he’d play

And a plan took some shape as he thought that he may

 

They fitted him with fine armour a new double edged sword

They released him to freedom as a man of his word

And he stood proud and strong in the sunlight en guarde

 

The road to the cave was hard wearing stone

The chill of the wind cut to the bone

He was cold and was tired as he advanced on beast’s throne

 

The dragon saw him come as many had before

It counted the notches three score and four

It drooled and it schemed as it watched from haunt’s core

 

The stranger he’d come from the land of the Goth

Where courage and valour were never enough

Shrewdness and cunning were part of his troth

His weary limbs clambered to the lake mountain loft

 

He spelled at the mouth of the ravager’s chamber

Took sustenance, slept and awoke with more vigour

For the maid who truly loved him gave magicked liquor

 

He advanced down the passage to scents of rot and despair

Knowing his fate awaited down there

Each step his last as he rounded each corner

Each shelter inadequate behind massive boulders

 

Fetid smoke clung to the walls and ceiling of each room

Grey light only to guide him through darkness and gloom

With the breathing of the dragon loud all to soon

His sense of foreboding filled the space as a tomb

 

Then the roof disappeared the walls out of sight

A gilded shape on the floor sparked as stars in the night

And the massiveness of the creature depicted such might

The stranger sang noble songs to himself to fend off his fright

 

Apparently sleeping he skirted the great shape

Hidden partially by his stealth and the grey of his cape

He sought out a soft spot near the neck or the nape

As he held out his sword and shielded behind plate

 

The dragon knew he was there as a dog knows a flea

Playing fearlessly with the stranger nonchalantly

Arrogant in its power of vast energy

To kill with a furnace quick violent deadly

 

The dragon’s eye was a slit tracking the moves of the stranger

The stranger was calming unaware of the danger

As he prowled and he sought with the skills of a ranger

The dragon plotted its move as for a babe in a manger

 

A flick of the tongue burnt much as acid

A drop of saliva turned all fresh meat rancid

The tip of its tail was as sharp as a lance head

It’s chances of murder it very much fancied

 

The stranger noted the eye movement below the eyelid

He realised under veil of sleep a wakeful dragon hid

And he thought of his plan to play the dragon with a bid

 

He called to the dragon. “I know you are awake you cunning thing

And I think I can beat you, of lake mountain I’ll be king

Because I have something you have not, a secret magic ring

The only way to use it is with the magic words I sing

 

Now the greedy dragon was curious and true to dragon lore

It  wanted answers fast it cut to the core

Because if there is one thing a dragon must have to adore

It is the thing it hasn’t got because a dragon always wants more

 

The dragon gave up its ruse of gentle breath and sleeping

It stirred its mighty body to a better position for peeping

It opened its emerald eye to seek the ring it should be keeping

And followed the agile stranger over dragon’s hoard leaping

 

The ring he said I hold with me has power to turn lead to gold

If you can sing the song of the ring I’ll bring it from its fold

And you will have riches beyond all the riches of times old

But in exchange for the ring I challenge you, your fire must go cold

 

Three questions you can ask me to learn the words to sing

If you learn the words I’ll give up the power of the ring

If you don’t you will give me what the people want to know

How to quell your fire until it’s cold as snow

 

The dragon thought on this and being arrogant and mighty

It took up the challenge knowing it’s  intelligence to be weighty

To beat a human would come easily and the ring it did so want

There was no fear of losing when it was effectively savant

 

Question 1 Where are the songs words to be found that I might read them?

Answer 1  They are unwritten in my memory is where I keep them

Question 2 What do they say that I might use them for myself?

Answer 2 They say that only I may use them or give them for another’s health

Question 3 When my health is so good, how may I learn the song please?

Answer 3 When you ask without threat and villager’s wishes you appease

 

The dragon considered pondered deep long and ready to refute

Then It came to a decision to make the whole discussion moot

Why not agree to these conditions accept riches share the wealth?

After all it had so much was tired of loneliness and stealth

Not to mention it still had home hearth and many years of health

 

I withdraw the threat of storming fire and death

If you share the rings secret I will quell my breath

If we can all manage this land without suffering for all

I will accept the people’s offer I answer yes  to their call

 

Th stranger sighed the deepest sigh ever heard from any man

As the weight of responsibility lifted and he raised his hand

Friend dragon unto you I make this oath.

We will share the wealth of our land from coast to coast

 

With that he turned to go to find his way back

Aware that the peace of the land was now a fact

A new purpose was in him with promise of a new life

Ahead lay a new community a new home a new wife

And he sang the song of the ring as he wearily trudged to the town

As each foot passed the other as each mile passed going down

 

“I sing the song of the power ring

For turning lead into gold

The ring that sings of powerful things

That only the truest can hold

For lead be lead and gold be gold

And none can change the two

Except the one who can answer the question of

How to share wealth away from the few?”

Shades of Strathbogie

Visitors to Strathbogie see

Verdant hills of rolling green

Vast tors shaped fantastically

Amongst which sprites roam unseen

The tales are told of ancient times

When across the landscape and in the glens

First Nations travelled along song lines

For sustenance, spirit and their ken

Their spectres still hunt the Tableland

Taking what’s needed leaving the rest

Some of us glimpse their wraithlike bands

Ghosts flitting through trees as spirit mist

Their home the forest barely survives

The existence they shared quickly fades

Both cut down by lethal scythes

They fell like wheat to harvest blades

Fear

I feel it behind me

stalking and faceless

skulking and malevolent

The hairs on the back of my neck

stand on end

like highly sensitised

oh so brittle antennae

 

I walk more briskly

I am tempted to run

but not tempted to tempt fate

Each step announces

a deepening sense of dread

a heightened anxiety

a rising feeling of panic

 

Evil is about tonight

amongst the chill night air

and the cold dull haloes

of the too distant streetlights

 

There it is again

The faintest of scrapings

rapid and sequential

advancing along the pavement behind me

Demonic footsteps of malicious intent

portents of pain and suffering

They strain my hearing to the point

of questioning whether I hear anything at all

but I know they are there

coming

closing

 

My eyes dart urgently

from side to side

A tic

twitches my cheek

I am shaken to my core

I startle at a moth that brushes my cheek

My head flicks left

My head flicks right

My fully dilated pupils

black as any pit in hell

scream at me for more light

and scour the edges of darkness

for a bolt hole

Sanctuary

any hope to cling too

Peripheral vision

reams in the sidelines

desperately seeking refuge

struggling to see ahead and aside at the same time

 

Sweat begins

to bead my brow

Cold sweat

Shivers

wrack my body

I begin to whimper

I don’t want to hurt

to plead for my life, my soul

for mercy

I don’t want to die alone

I don’t want to die here

and now

 

A movement

in the corner of my eye

I stumble in fright

miss the kerb

roll my ankle

The pain shoots up into my calf

and something tears

I gasp

My flight becomes hobbled

I limp on in fear

dragging my injured foot

scraping the rubber of the sole

on the hard surface

of coarse concrete

 

Then

comes the first touch

An icy point

A razor-sharp prickle

pierces my jacket

In one swift motion

needlelike it penetrates the fabric

just breaking the surface of my skin

 

From my lower back

a cold finger of ice

tracks a paralyzing pathway

up toward my right shoulder

Muscles cramp

then seize

into an excruciating knotted strip

of rock solid pain

Futile teardrops begin to fall

I sob in absolute horror

and misery

“Oh God, help me, somebody help me!”

I wheel

there is nothing there

 

 

The second touch

burns

as a keenly sharp edge

slices a clean shallow line

fully across my left cheek

This one is hot

like dry ice

The blood flows

as thick warm syrup

It makes its way down my pallid face

mixing with the tears and snot of fear

dripping onto my stained clothes

gluey on my hands

I didn’t even sense the blade coming

let alone what wielded it

 

Dread wells up inside me

threatens to overwhelm me

I pursue escape

from terrifying pursuit

The road is empty

straight

as far as the opaque darkness

allows my eyes to see

Where pavement ends

terraformed tracts of bare earth begin

A homeless housing estate

 

At the periphery of illumination

feebly provided by each dreary streetlight

is murk

thick with ominous foreboding

It envelops the world

on this souless, moonless night

Hope fades

 

The third touch

is a heavy thump

in the small of my back

It cripples me

I stagger

It is all I can do not to collapse

I must stop to breathe

to fall on my haunches

straining to fill my airless lungs

 

I double over

when I need to stand

I pause

when I need to run

I falter

when I need courage

I give into weakness

when I need to find strength

I heave

when I need to draw breath

 

The fourth touch

comes as a surprise

Desperately preoccupied with surroundings and survival,

my head and neck are parted,

as I miss the prophecy of imminent death

but fleetingly register

oh timely release

oh sweet oblivion

Savoured Moments #1

I wake at 4 in the morning
In the small hours
When small things matter
and ideas can repeat in your brain
taking on more significance than they deserve
eroding your ability to unwind
Like a tap dripping in the next room

But not this morning
This morning it is soft rain I hear
gently tinkling on the metal
of the carport roof outside

It is warm under the covers
I feel secure
as your soft regular breathing resumes
after you roll onto your side next to me

Was it an interrupted dream?
I like not knowing everything that goes on in your head
After all these years you can still surprise me

I snuggle up to your back
and rest my forehead between your shoulder blades
As I contemplate what it is to be us
your heels settle into the angle of my ankles
your calves align with my shins
your thighs mold to mine
and your backside schmoozes deliciously into my groin

I raise my head to create more space
so I can wrap my arms around you
pulling your upper body into mine

As my arms embrace your warmth
I soak up your textures
I draw in your smell
With my eyes closed
I sense every point at which we touch

I feel our body rhythms synchronise
as my muscles relax
and my mind smiles
with the intimate pleasure
of as much body contact as we can muster
I savour the moment
as peaceful sleep reclaims me

The Bees

20140306_pho_GrevilliaBees

I walk under the flowering trees

I hear a mighty incessant drone

The canopy is filled with bees

The bees that pollinate our homes

 

A gift from flower to flower they spread

The food chain thrives and grows

They keep all animals and people fed

With pollen transfer and honey flows

 

At our peril we ignore their plight

Bees are dying around the world

As they depopulate out of sight

Desiccated bodies shrivel and curl

 

We blithely march into the future

Pesticide monoculture deforestation

While bees cooperate store and nurture

We blithely march toward desolation

 

Save the bees should read the banner

The banner we have left unfurled

Plant more trees in every manor

Preserve this insect and save the world

33 kinds of rain

The misting rain as light as being

The pitter patter rain of anticipation

The sun shower rain of joyfulness

The dawn lit rain of new awakenings

The driving rain of persistent harassment

The piercing rain of pain and hurt

The bleak rain of uncertainty

The saturating rain of grief

The pounding rain of anger

The cold rain of fear and loathing

The persistent rain of melancholy

The drought breaking rain of celebration

The tropical rain of surprise and relief

The tin roof rain of night time snuggles

The slanting rain of getting under your skin

The fat wet rain of things to come

The dull rain of misery

The easing rain of hope for a day

The sheeting rain of washing your sins away

The aerosol rain that never settles

The eddying rain of indefinite endings

The ominous rain of growing darkness

The thunder laden rain of shock and awe

The storm driven rain of nature’s authority

The drenching rain of no escape

The floating rain of disproportionate outcomes

The harrowing rain of oppression and spite

The lightning flash rain of vision burned

The unexpected rain of scrambling for shelter

The flooding rain of tears

The icy rain of an unknown future

The sleety rain of chilled to the bone

The sunlit rain of clarity of purpose

The dancing rain of swirling possibilities

The evening rain of contemplation

The elemental rain of fundamental outcomes

The cloaking rain of secrecy

The wispy rain of dissipation

The hard rain of death

The transparent rain of release

The soft rain of peace

A poem of parental love

20110423_pho_Bogie01

Head for home my darlings

Run the very last mile

Take your mother in your arms

Revel in her smile

 

See the family home awaiting

Doors always open for you

Embrace the love inside

The love that greets you two

 

To see you home again my loves

To look into your eyes

To touch your cheeks, your hair

Makes parents come alive

 

We hear the stories of life being lived

Interested and entranced

We see you grow and give

Toward life’s merry dance

 

Through all trials and tribulations

You know we’re always here

We hold you in our hearts

We hold you ever dear

 

Accepting your achievements

Your foibles and your flaws

Our pleasure’s in the hoping

That there’s always to be more

 

Lay down your heads our children

On the pillows of your youth

For sharing and for solace

This home is yours in truth

After the working bee

 

IMG_2396My colleagues have gone with a wave friendly

I sit enjoying my third cup of tea

restorative, after work as a volunteer bushy

the silence is golden, post a productive working bee

 

there is a koala up high looking down at me

a bee hive opposite, in the hollow of the tree

a cockatoo sits in shade on the creekside lee

blue sky above, sun shining brilliantly

hot on my back as summer clings enduringly

the wind is still, as still, as still can be

all I hear are sweet biscuits crunch, recharging energy

 

the water at my side this year flows sluggishly

not a ripple, not a splash, just mirror brown and glassy

the grass is dry and crisp, the colour yellow sandy

the eucalypts grey green, their heat resistance handy

not a breath ruffles the leaves hanging limp and lazy

the world outside is a world away, way too fast too crazy

 

the peace is as complete as any peace can be

as I sit in this place to savour, post working bee cup of tea

 

 

 

 

Don’t let them in

 

15yoDeathMask

When there’s tracks that bring you down

Pick up the phone

I’m glad you called

I’m surprised to hear from you

No, it’s not ok

You only call me when you fall

I know you don’t really want to see me

It won’t be much fun for either of us

Still we couldn’t be much closer

There’s so much more for us to discuss

Maybe we will last an hour

Before another breakdown takes place

What’s the difference now you’re older?

It’s the addict lines, etched in your face

I’ll light the fire to keep us warm

You place the flowers to freshen the room

We’ll find some hope to keep us calm

While I listen to you

Then I know the infiltrators will come

Make the room cold again

You’ll throw in a line, to bullshit me some

To ensure there’s an escape route at hand

Back to the life you just retreated from

That hooks and tears and claws

The life you chose that defeated us

Relentlessly demanding more

Don’t let them in

Our house

Could be a very fine house

With children in the yard

It doesn’t have to be this hard

Everything could be easy, if not for you

With apologies to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

The violent sky

IMG_7807

Storm light hues

A days greying light

As aggressive wind

Precedes nature’s might

The horizon darkens

Dry matter flies

Cumulonimbus

Pile up high

Scattered fat drops

Precede storms eye

Shredded black cloud

Goes racing by

Driven rain follows

Meets a dry earth sigh

As flooding water

Dust defies

Lightning brilliance

Thunder nigh

Magnificent concussion

Vault occupies

Above us all

The Titans vie

For heavenly dominance

In the violent sky

The bed

IMG_2380

“It’s not really a bad sort of a bed”

Yes, I think that’s verbatim, what she said

As the sheets of the bed turned brightly red

 

As the blood pooled, ran, dripped onto the floor

As it stickily coagulated, could run no more

She, holding the knife, felt she’d settled her score

 

The body lay prone with wounds in the back

I couldn’t believe our assailant’s strong hack

Or the size of the knife she wielded with such knack

 

Her slightly built body, her small fine fingered hand

The ring on one finger, the jewelled wedding band

The wet sleeve to the elbow, all bloodied and damned

 

Her action reaction, tragically violent in hew

In her mind no alternative, nothing else to do

With everything gone and nothing to lose

 

When I walked in the room she was standing there

A satisfied smile, a flushed face, a hand in his hair

I approached quietly for the knife from this desolate pair

 

That’s when she said, “It’s not a bad sort of bed”

One that they’d shared, planned their lives up ahead

But it seems he’d had others in the bed instead

And the only life she saw had him on the bed dead

Love’s gauntlet

Here once on this path love’s torment

Found me quietly pleading in fear

Then twice by this way love’s sonnet

Helped me to see my way clear

As I thrice put my case love’s comet

Struck me, rendered me seer

Four times in the midst of love’s torrent

My heart stricken by love beyond peer

A fifth run to the end of love’s gauntlet

Win or lose shapes my life on from here

the fortunate father: a poem for my son

From the father to the son

Two men bound as one

From your time as a boy

You have brought your father

Joy

From the father to the man

I will love you to the end

Not just for being my son

But also for being my friend

I love your powerful words

Your great sense of romance

Your reflection and your humour,

Love of life’s elaborate dance

But most of all I love

Self centred it may be

Your willingness to share

All these things with me

a poem for my daughter: she is like glass

 

She is like glass

I see through her

Tough and fragile

Transparent daughter

 

When we touch

Firm and thin

Like porcelain

Her boney skin

 

Yet she shines

Bright as day

Prism of love’s

Vital ray

 

Life’s hot spark

Lit to shower

Heart of glass

With inner power

 

She is like glass

Shaped and formed

Revealing beauty

Unadorned

 

I see in her

A future bright

I see crystal

I see light

 

This is not a plateau

Skeleton School Madelaine Last

Skeleton School by Madelaine Last

This new normal is not a plateau

This new normal is not the new normal bro

The simple fact is temperatures continue to rise

The simple fact is there are no alibis

Even when an individual climate change denies

Even when the fatalists are saying their good byes

Even though so many choose to walk on by

We can do our best and the naysayer defy

Because there are indicators that clearly show

There may still be time to protect our home

Despite the hothouse building in our greenhouse dome

 

2016 was the world’s hottest year

because El Niño added to the sear

Many politicians made this their bluff

On behalf of lobbyists saying it’s one off

Then 2017 was almost just as hot

The third warmest year and El Niño not

How is the first half of 2018 I hear you ask?

How much reflected heat was there in which we basked?

It was the fourth warmest on the global tab

Again, no El Niño to be factored in the lab

 

Accelerating temperatures throughout the Industrial Age

Say greenhouse gas emissions cause climate change

Measures have been gauged stats have been paged

So many ordinary people are supremely enraged

 

Four straight years of temperature highs

Unseasonal fires, landslides, quickening dries

Ice caps melting at an ever-increasing pace

Ocean currents stalling changing weather’s ancient face

Sea temp differentials flatten there are water level highs

Since 1993 7.7 centimetres of seawater rise

And we’re still not ready damn our eyes

 

There is not one government that does enough

Where conservatives dominate, we are really stuffed

When we need collective accomplishment on the world stage

All they manage is the underachievement needed to end our age

When 17 of our hottest years since records were begun

Have been experienced by the planet since 2001

 

Fish are relocating due to warming waters

Resource wars are driving people across borders

Animals are struggling where small changes matter

Wildfire behaviour sees normal patterns scatter

Hard dry ground where crops should have been

Leave starving masses suffering sight unseen

 

In Sweden and El Salvador wheat and corn harvests dip

Four continents of heatwaves rock the state of the ship

Intense and longer storms, Flo’s protracted flooding rains

Deeper waters and drier droughts put more people in their graves

Nuclear plant shutdowns because river cooling water is too warm

Does any government or corporate body set off an alarm?

No, because they say we’re in the same safe boat

Despite some countries suffering in ways others do not

In Delhi people lie on the ground when record heat stops work after noon

Where there’s no techno cooling to ease every hotter summer’s swoon

Elsewhere electricity supply crashes due to air con demand

Dozens of heat related deaths occurred last summer in Japan

Basic system failures threaten water supply and food

Yet, all some do is argue, wring hands and do no good

 

2017 saw a carbon dioxide max for 800,000 years

But from Paris the US withdraws citing fake news fears

And the rich haven’t paid to help poor countries cope

As they promised in the accord to give some glimmer of hope

 

Global warming now moves faster than any models say

Are there global changes can be made to keep the worst at bay?

Like science harnessing knowledge to produce drought resistant crops

Or international government that can call on climate cops

Enforcing global policy solutions, a climate government pronounces

Or predicting global heat and rainfall for informed responses

 

We’re not talking about the risk to our grandchildren anymore

It’s the risk to today’s planet knocking at our door

Unless we lift ourselves from our decision-making funk

We’ll reduce the value of our world to the corporate status “junk”

 

Meanwhile, some people and Governments are acting somewhere out there

Funding research and renewables, reducing waste, doing their share

Protesters are demonstrating and actioning their care

Planting, recycling, whiting roofs, championing what is fair

But they can’t take on the weight of the world it’s just too much to bear

Will you help them, will you and you take on the dare?

The new world of work

tin man by katie van nooten

“tin man” by katie van nooten

This job calls for compassion and understanding

A willingness to share with diverse groups and individuals

The successful applicant will take responsibility for the welfare of others

It is a position where a keen eye for duty of care applies

Where dignity and respectful engagement are expected, and required

The role is one of leadership

The delegation of duties necessitates understanding of the various forms of merit

Authority is to be exercised with close attention paid to accountability

Demonstrable professional skills and knowledge will reflect ongoing learning

The position requires common sense

Applied to a process of evidence based informed decision making

The appointee must always act with integrity

As part of a natural tendency toward ethical consideration

The tasks to be actioned demand empathy

An ability walk in another’s shoes

Humans need not apply