Posted: August 12, 2018 in poetry, writing
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Today the magpies are singing

through the shards of ice outside.

The wind is rattling the door frames,

shouting, ‘I was always here’.

Inside the heater thrums, its warmth

dispersing, immersing, inside comfort.

Cold against warmth; warmth against cold.

Intellect versus heart.

Outside and the streets are cold.

A man addled by drink is turned away,

as the nearby heaters thrum,

and hearts are stones of ice.

Compassion thaws the heart

of a weary world, doesn’t it?


I wrote this in my journal last summer. It’s the middle of winter today; rainy, cold…I can hear the wind swirling under the eaves and rattling the windowpanes. But last summer, sitting in the park was another season. Another time in the film rushes of my memory.

Watching the world unfold. Faint sounds of young children in the nearby playground. Strains of music from the nearby club. Statues stand amid pioneer plantings, reminding me of this civic history and dispossession of First Nations. I pay my respects.

I think of my own history, and feel into my immigrant roots. I wonder about my ancestors a century ago in the coastal town of Troon in Scotland, where the hinterland ground was fertile; yielding. Of young love and a seaside crossing to settle in outback Australia. I think about young love in Ireland this time, and I feel the gentle ocean breeze, and the green-ness and rain on grass as the sun emerges. Another young couple leaving their lands, and clan, for Australia. One day their child would meet a man whose parents were immigrant farmers from Troon. My ancestors and my roots in far off places and cultures. Meiosis.

A young boy with a lollipop and a huge Acubra stops to stare. His Nona stands and waits, patiently caring for her family. In Italy, and perhaps Australia, she might live with her daughter and grandchildren. The sun on the back of my neck, too hot, I don’t want to burn. Bird sounds in this little oasis, surrounded by concrete footpaths, bitumen and petrol driven cars.

Three running boys are immersed in their game. A family from Asia is close; grandparents taking teenagers on a trip. Respect and the bonds of blood, celebrated and sustaining.

I have a rose scented hand cream on and I breathe its velvety perfume.

I wonder about the connectedness of everyone in this park. Why they come here? Why they choose to be near one another? And I know, or sense, or think, it’s because of the peace and belonging we find in community, and the quiet of observation, and nearness. It’s a good place to come on a sunny, Saturday morning.

Water giver

Posted: June 25, 2018 in poetry, Uncategorized
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One day I remembered, what I was supposed to do.
I thought about the ground my feet had walked,
Across fields of green, and dust, and fire,
To the lake’s edge. To the water.

I walked beside a guide on my journey.
I didn’t look into his eyes; I feared that.
I remember he pointed to the water,
A million miles away, across an alien landscape,
Barren and destroyed by…I’m not sure.

I only knew I had to cross that wasteland,
With its dead trees and murky shadows,
To get to the water, for whatever his reason,
For pointing to it, as if I knew.

I remember now that water nourishes,
And quenches thirst. It carries things away,
Like words and thoughts, and experiences.
I crossed that barren land…like he said,
To find myself, and now to write these words.

Grey rain on the roof,

green breaks through, slightly swaying leaves, in time.

Softness, wetness; birds stay close to temporary homes.


Thoughts are a gentle hum,

faraway the iPhone clatters, reminding of electronic connections

but today there is respite in the natural world.


Conscious thoughts go to past time,

a yellow wattle tree outside a window on an old home.

Softness, wetness; grey rain on a tin roof.


Streaking windows,

droplets of feeling moving down the pane.

All is well, all is watched, silently from peace’s parapet.


As eternal as time.


It’s been a good start to the year. Health wise, I’m ok but like all cancer warriors I touch wood when I say that. I’m feeling much better than I was at this time last year however it’s been a long road back, rehabilitating my immune system following chemo and radiation, and also building strength and overcoming physical setbacks. That is cancer for you…the gift that keeps on giving.

I have my last CT scan coming up in the next few months; part of the surveillance oncologists implement following cancer treatment. It will be three years since diagnosis. After the CT scan, providing it’s clear, I will be handed over to my GP for six monthly blood tests, and that’s it. So getting on with things beyond cancer, and working within any limitations treatment has left me with, is a priority for me this year.

Cancer leaves many legacies – good and bad. One of these is an inbuilt ‘I don’t muck around anymore’ mantra. Dysfunction, things that aren’t working out, and old patterns that aren’t in my best interests, are dealt with swiftly and decisively. You learn there simply isn’t the time ‘to much around anymore’. Which brings me to my fight with the sulfur crested cockatoos that visit my home every year, to feast on my pear and apple trees. I love pears. They are soft, full of good stuff, and I eat them every morning. I’ve been waiting for them to ripen, conscious of the cockatoos’ arrival. They came again this year, but I was determined to get them out of my pear trees.

For years I’ve been talking to the birds that nest in the many trees surrounding my home. Call me what you will but I enjoy communicating with them, and they’ve become friends. I have a group of magpies that stand guard around my house, two crows who go walking with me, plenty of parrots who fly close by me, and the cranky plovers who grudgingly accept my presence near their nest because I faced them one day when they were swooping and angrily shook my fist at them. (Sure I might look like a crazy bird person to outsiders, but I don’t really care!).

I decided to try a bit of attitude on the thieving cockatoos, so I looked them in the eye and yelled at them to get off my tree. My partner and sons laughed…the ‘mum’s being random again’ thought crossed their minds. I was undeterred. Next I got a riding crop and waved it in the air at them, making a whooshing sound, and telling them to stay off the pear trees. The cockatoos flew off screeching back at me. For the next two days, it was back and forth until only a solitary bird would land in the tree. I would stare the bird down until it flew off.

Then the cockatoos thought I was a potential friend and began appearing in the gum tree outside my window every morning cawing, not screeching; kind of like saying ‘good morning’. And so my ‘friendship’ with them developed. The pear trees? They by and large left them alone, however I haven’t dropped my guard because they will have another go at trying to get what they want, and I’ll have to try and keep what I have. It’s just the way it works, but they do make me smile.

Anyway, enough mucking around with the cockatoos. It’s time to finish the many writing projects I have outstanding now. That, and a bit of exploring…wherever that may take me this year.

The year of ‘me’

Posted: December 31, 2017 in Uncategorized

2018. Two years ago, five years ago, 10 years ago…I remember those new year’s, the people and situations and the good and the bad. But today is for looking forward and planning, not in detail but the general tone of the year. I’m setting my intentions, trimming my sails and aiming for a destination. My destination in 2018 has everything to do with good health and wellbeing. And creativity. I would like to solemnly declare 2018 as the year of ‘me’.

When I imagine the year ahead, visions of ‘me’ at the day spa come to mind. Or me banging away my next novel on the laptop. Or me on a beach…or at an interesting metaphysical workshop; enjoying my pot of English Breakfast with friends, learning and laughing, not dwelling but cultivating joy and happiness.

I’m now in my 50s and over halfway through this lifetime, if I’m lucky. That means I need to make the absolute most of the time I’m given. So far, I’ve thrown myself into raising three boys and managing the trials and tribulations being a parent brings; and I’ve worked hard to establish a career as a professional. I love that I’ve kept building experience and skills, and can offer that to my employer. I’m versatile and useful, get to work on things that really matter, and I intend to keep learning in my career. That ain’t over yet. BUT…

There’s more to learning than just increasing professional skills and qualifications, and pursuing meaningful work. I’m fascinated by Eastern philosophies. I’m also a student of metaphysics, so 2018 will include further expeditions into the unknown. I don’t mind adventure.

And at the heart of ‘me’ is the need and desire to be creative. That means I’ll be writing again. Already a story is germinating.

The bucket list. Yes, I’ll be ticking a few items off that as well in 2018. A little travel hopefully. That art class through the University of the Third Age is a goer for sure. Something daring and left of field also, though I’ve yet to decide what that will be.

Parenting, I’m sure, will remain a constant throughout 2018. Just because children grow into young adults doesn’t mean they don’t need help when they fall; or someone to really believe in them when the world appears against them. Caring for loved ones is particularly important when you consider just how crappy life can get.

But first, I’ve got to treat this poor, old, aching body of mine; a product now of multiple surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation. Thankfully, I’m still ‘no evidence of disease’ (NED) as they say, and hoping that NED will be with me for many years to come, but he has left his mark and 20 months later, there’s still a need for nurturing and healing. That is a prime goal in 2018.

So, that’s pretty much all I wanted to say in this pre new year blog post…other than I hope 2018 is a brilliant, meaningful year for you. And that gentle winds speed your journeys towards the goals you set in this new year, hopefully bringing you good health, happiness and wisdom.

All the best.

A lot has happened in a month. We’ve started 2017, set our goals, and our sails, and got on with the start of the year. I was pleased to start a new year as 2016 brought many personal and health challenges. However when the new year ticked over it was like someone had wiped my slate clean. The old fears and worries disappeared, replaced with optimism. Yes, optimism.

I’ve always been relatively optimistic,  believing that opportunities and new horizons would come my way. That was a belief that was based on experience. I’ve been incredibly lucky throughout my life to have had many adventures but the horribleness of cancer treatment during 2015 and 2016 made me wonder if there’d ever be anything to be optimistic about again. Well somewhere along the line, something switched and I greeted 2017 with excitement. I wasn’t sure why I should feel that way, the old challenges were still there, but I couldn’t help it.

Without conjuring anything up, I really feel optimistic about this year. That’s based on   an expansive view of the future and renewed interest in the present. And also something else. I’ve decided that there is nothing to be gained from being pessimistic or doubtful even if the situation is dire. Far better to keep a positive mood because any other way is just a waste of time. I don’t know about you, but I’ve not got any time to waste.

So whether it’s watching my favourite English drama on tv or writing a report for government or industry, or writing a future bestselling manuscript (gotta have hope), or walking the dogs under the canopies of Elm trees, or yarning with old friends, I’m interested in having a go. And that makes me optimistic about the future.