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

You know where I’m going with this

You know where I’m going with this 

To the place of rant and rave of whinge from a cave

To the normed deformed and ill informed

Who drive nonsensical stuff social media guff

Of bluff and bravado of truth innuendo

Where everyone is offended and all’s fully rendered

You know where I’m going with this

To the place of the dancing where real men are prancing or mincing or wincing in deepening self doubt as they squirm and they shout to no one with ears for their crying into beers because the dears are the girls in their whirls and tossed curls they chop spikes and go dykes on the bikes of their brothers the others whose macho is smothered by the rise of their eyes
They pant to the beat chasing fresh meat party til they drop ecstasy or sop they outdo each other get done over recover blame and shift blame self blame without shame it’s such a shame when the game that they are in has no purpose it’s a sim they’re in but they don’t know it or if they do don’t show it cos the deal is the real is uncool as it heats and the threats as it heats mean the gets can’t be beat so they retreat to their sweet petting havens as the lascivious and craven always do 

You know where I’m going with this

To the crush of high density that rates with propensity for legislature longevity and population growth my oath you and me both with the millions that come to the bustle and hum to the high tensile strum of the energy guns at our heads pay the bills or family fed? that is the question we dread as executive bonuses build mansions and poseurs as the export of gas ups the home price real fast and don’t talk to me about electricity duplicity so mean to me these corporate utilities fat cats and multinats squeeze me til I’m dry then have another try so my life is a scythe cut the stress with a knife kiss good bye to the wife and the kids and the love that I loved for loves sake it’s a home bake

You know where I’m going with this

To Parliament House the joint of no nouse of no brain of no gain where celebrity reigns were the state of the nation equates with fashion our political ration gets smaller and smaller as narcissism self interest and recidivism ism their way to the fore we want more or they want more no yore just more for the future is now a cash cow to be milked at the fence of public expense as the full and the fat suck at the teat for the treat of squeezed taxpayers sweet forming rivers of milk and honey or is it money pouring forth from a new scam that’s rude derived from ineptitude it may be batts it may be courses they may be entrepreneurs but they’re on the horses bolted after the gates have closed

You know where I’m going with this

To the foreign affairs where the hand shakes and stares look like one thing and mean another to every sister and brother to the lands of the sun where who flung dung sticks and islands they build with a military guild in navigation zones where none knows the homes such that possession is nine tenths of the law it’s a bore as new shores rise from the sea we cringe and we pee like the US to Putin when he’s Ukraine a rootin and his snatch what a catch of a patch on the fabric of history Crimea cry for thee the Russia of yore cry for the poor for perverse plans of those who want more. Or should I say piss-Tory and so they go on to challenge the status quo where we say we’ll go, but ho ho ho Australia knows we’re a no show all hot air and blow no blast from the past just cower against shower of the weak with raw power of the ability to buy off the try hards and show offs extend influence of policy overseas despite probity without give but with the motility of far distant polity the bread baskets for Asia droned by Asia owned by Asia sown by Asia cloned by Asia grown by Asia mown by Asia swallowed and honed by Asia and backed by the USA

You know where I’m going with this

To the US beholden superpower olden folding the flag turning for home in the gloaming of their watch withdrawing notch by notch uncertain where the crotch of the matter lies or whether their power even applies, exerting pressure as trade plies but not so sure regarding human rights and the rise of the stateless states the unreliable mates the dates that became rapes where the bright promising Spring quickly wings to a cold dark winter on the sling of David and the Saudi flings and the belated failings where democracy no longer sings.

You know where I’m going with this

Away from paradise lost from the costs from the Fausts from the oppressive hosts from the submerging coasts to the ghost of the past rewritten to last where my heart harks for hope in the sparks of principles sublime not bereft but to the time I have left in the cleft between life and death in hope of nurture in the sweet natural wealth of transparency before stealth

You know where I’m going with this

Winter rain

winterrreign

With Winter’s reign

Comes winter rain …..

Heavy, Kamikaze, straight into the ground

A relentless, driving, ominous sound

Drumming incessantly on iron clad roof

Beating out rhythms of Winter’s truth

Pummeling every deciduous bough

Weighing branches to a seasonal low

Forcing autumn leaves to their final leap

Reminding trees it is time to sleep

Sean

 

 

 

Tarrawingee – Hagan’s poem

Tarrawingee

I came across this poem my son, Hagan, wrote some time ago. It is about overnight stays at his grandparent’s place in rural Victoria. It is quite lovely.

at night cars on the highway whisper distance

we are so far from anything

a collection of warm souls

glowing like an ember of the burnt out day

 

the cars breathe wordless thoughts

the sound of loneliness

is the sound of something passing

but we stay

 

grandma and grandpa asleep in the one room I have never explored

young famililes in the back room

single males or older siblings alongside

in a lounge room sealed with folding doors

 

every move a quiet one

from quiet good night to good morning

breakfast a thief’s meal

the day’s plans discussed in conspirator’s tones

 

the house so still

the closing of cupboards in the kitchen a rough sigh

the carpet in the hall soft and relaxed

becoming cool kitchen lino underfoot

 

and here’s Ruth, any Ruth

whispering hello with a laugh

as if she’s either not used to whispering

or she’s sorry for waking me

 

while Nutri-Grain sing their deliciousness into the bowl

the first in a day of pleasures rare and reliable

reminders of things I have always known

that I will belong somewhere, that I am happy

 

happy now, in a house warm and never stifling

allowing the comfortable movement

of elements between its walls:

air and light, peace and love, enough for all

Ashes

“We brought her ashes here.”

Someone could have said this

That someone could not have been me

Because I wasn’t there

Not in mind, not in spirit, not in body

I was absent on every level

In fact, I think I went to school

Did I really go to school?

For want of something better to do

That must have been weird for the teachers

Their dead colleague’s son returns to school

Instead of attending their dead colleague’s funeral

I wonder if it hurt? (Me? Them?)

I didn’t wonder at the time

I just didn’t want to go

Didn’t want to know

I saw the dead when death was done

No need to attend a funeral rerun

Clear and simple

That was the way I saw it

 

“We brought her ashes here because …..”

I can tell you I have no idea why

I wasn’t there I tell you

I wasn’t involved

Not in the slightest

Not for the sightfest

I guess it was because standards were everything

I guess it was convenience if anything

 

“We took her ashes elsewhere”

I mean

It would have made more sense don’t you think?

Well, with hindsight anyway

I wonder now where that elsewhere might have been?

I imagine there was a place somewhere distant to the mass ash repository

Somewhere that had more meaning?

To her

To Dad

To us

To me?

I wonder where that place might have been?

It bothers me that I have no idea about this

Instead of being encapsulated

Did she think about where her ashes might be cast?

She had time

So much time for dying

Was there time for thinking about this as well?

Thinking about the special places

The places that meant something

The places where her ashen cloud

Could manifest as transient shroud

One last act of giving

One finale to living

 

“Here lie her ashes”

I still don’t know where

I still don’t want to know

I haven’t been there

Don’t want to be shown

Wherever there is

And I won’t go

Because there is a neutral and meaningless place

At least, I don’t know what it means

Elsewhere might have been easier

Somewhere I could understand

Where she could still lend a hand

A place for her to show

Somewhere I might want to go