Friday, 3 July 2015

Making things

I've got a friend who makes furniture out of old pieces of wood and metal etc he finds in in the hard rubbish left on the street. Last night he was showing me some of what he has made and how he makes it.

It occurred to me that what he was doing would make a great community TV program. It is also a metaphor for how we should treat others.

Since I didn't have a camera on me at the time I wrote a poem instead...............


Every now and then
The fuzz clears from the brain
And you see

Not the illusion of what is
But the reality of
What is meant to be

It’s in the old wood
And rusty iron
Not just recycled
But reshaped
Not loosing any of the defects
That make it what it is
Even perhaps gaining some
A hole accidently drilled in the wrong place
Filled with a spare rusty bolt
Useless as application
But essential for the nature
Of its existence

The hands of the maker
Glide softly over the surface
Sanding lightly
Clearcoat only
Anything else would destroy the patina
Devaluing beyond words
In vain attempt
To make better

Our natural tendency
Is to panel beat the surface
With a blunt hammer
And a coat of shiny paint
As long as it looks
The same as everything else
It’s OK

If you hide what’s underneath
Maybe like the quantum
It’ll cease to exist
At least for a time

But the inconvenient nature
Of the quantum universe
Ensures that it just
Pops up again
At random
Someware else

It’s much better
To help the ladder
Become the table
That it’s meant to be
Than to force it
To be the shiny
Set of steps
That you want

Thursday, 23 April 2015

An addition to the cosmic dustbin

I haven't posted to this blog in almost two years - partly because I haven't written much poetry in a while - but mostly because I couldn't be bothered.
There is probably no one reading this - and it didn't seem worth the effort - but then it occurred to me last night that even though no one may read this now, it will hang around in cyberspace probably for millennium after I have returned to star stuff, and in the far future some alien cyber archaeologist having a particularly boring day wading through the financial documents of countless 20th and 21st century corporations or the equally inane musings of our media moguls and their lackeys of both the print and video and audio variety will come across this and may actually read it before tossing it into the cosmic recycling basket of history

Out of the Dark
Out of the dark
And into the black
As mercy fades into morning
And imaginations spirit
Floats along with the dawn
Through the byways of the world
Among the dust and the darkness
The scared, the scarred and the sacred
The walking wounded
Lost wandering the world
Stuck on one marble
Blue amongst the black
And pinpricks of light
Unrealised destiny
Dust to dust
And back to dust

Star stuff are we
Every molecule
Born in the heart of a star
Sometimes an exploding one
And scattered to the four ends
Of the universe
Along with suffering
And mercy
And the pain of forgiveness
That we must accept
From ourselves
Our scattered selves
Our shattered selves
Individual and collective

For where mercy and compassion
Doth begin in the heart of one
It needith to not stay there
Least it die
But hard it is
And terrifying in the least
To break the hereditary chains
Of ego
And isolation
To accept the other
As the self
And set one free
From expectation, achievement and doubt
The little boy lost
That will never grow up
And maybe should not be encouraged to try
Suffer unto
The little children
The little child

Unless you be as such
As one of these
Lost among the stars
And the dust
And the darkness
From which it was born
Wandering the byways of the universe
Away from the imagined safety
Of the cradle
The marble
Blue amongst the black
Star stuff
Dust and destiny
Life’s promise
And terrible reality
One and the same thing
To be embraced with
Arms outstretched

As we float in the blackness
Punctuated with
Pinpricks of light
Our universe
The universe
Any universe
Every universe
Punctuated with pinpricks
Of thought
And feeling
Wrapped in heredity
And dust
From the heart
Of an exploding star
But still greater
The universe
Any universe
Every universe
Our universe

Locked in thought
And feeling
Arms outstretched
Amidst the blackness
And the pin pricks
Of light
Around us
Our stars

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

The Madness of Life

The last couple of days I have been filming the Communities in Control Conference - which I do each year - and the last speaker was Ita Buttrose, who is, amongst other things president of Alzheimer’s Australia. She spoke about the need to educate people about how to support people with dementia, in and as part of society.

My mother and grand mother both lived the last years of their lives in this condition. My mother passed away a few years ago in a psycho geriatric nursing home in New Zealand with me only able to visit her for a week at a time a year or two apart, and totally unable to emotionally deal with her condition.

Recently a good friend of mine passed away in similar circumstances. I had lost touch with him over the last three years mainly because I was unable to deal with his condition.

I wrote this poem on reflection of this and other things at the conference.......................

A Prayer

Oh Lord I beseech thee
That with thy beneficent mercy
You look upon your people, all people
The lost, the lonely
The mad, the angry
The hurt, and the sad
The winners, the losers
The strange and the happy
The correct and the less so
The wrong, the right, and the left
And the victims in the middle

And teach us to forgive our own trespasses
And those of our neighbor
And our crazy old mothers and grandmothers
And ourselves
Lost in the fear
Of going slowly nuts in a nursing home
Incontinent and unable to remember
Which planet we are on
And what universe we are in

Certain that everything we try
To make the world better
Is in vain
And dust and dirt
Is all that will remain
After we are gone

Like the dinosaurs
Frozen in cold hard stone
A reminder to those that come after
That the more powerful your are
The more extinct you will become 


Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Cogito Ergo Sum

I've been thinking a bit about thinking - and I've come up with my latest poem.......

Des Cartes

I think therefore I am
I thought therefore I was
I’m not thinking at the moment
So does that mean I’ve ceased to exist?

We think too much
Processing electrical signals in the brain
Trying to make the universe
Make some sort of logical sense
Quantum mechanics, string theory, uncertainty principle
Behavioral psychology, neuroscience, brain plasticity
Bible study, comparative religion, theology

It’s all in a cloud somewhere
As we pick bits out
They become real
Only to vanish again
Back into the uncertainty
When we move on to the next idea

The reality of sanity
Depends on
How many ideas
We can hold in our heads
At any one time
Before they vanish
Back to heaven
Through the quantum tunnel

The more ideas
In any single moment
The closer to
The divine 
We come

But it hurts!!!

Then I thought I'd better do some research on Rene Descartes who (as I found out long ago from Monty Python) came up with "I think therefore I am" - and I found this wonderful video on you tube which pretty much sums up what I've been thinking lately (especially the bit about the proof of God - which despite having thought about it for quite some time, still makes sense to me) - maybe theres hope for me after all and I'm not as crazy as I think I am - or maybe its just that the rest of the world is as well !

Sunday, 14 October 2012

The "Yes Win" Situation

Like James T Kirk I don't believe in the no win situation. Failure is only an indication that you haven't succeeded yet, not an excuse to stop trying. Look at Nelson Mandela in Robin Island, he didn't give up when they took everything away from him and locked him up, and out of a seemingly impossible situation he succeeded. The list of people who have succeeded when they should have failed is not endless, but it is much longer than we think. Mandela, Bishop Tutu, Mother Teresa, Gandhi, and the ultimate example of failure that is success - Jesus.

The idea of mutual unconditional love is definitely a vote looser to those who prize immediate success above everything else, which in today’s modern western society appears to be just about everyone (or at least according to the media, everyone that matters).

The ultimate truth is all about the last being first "unless you are like this little child" - always trusting, always learning, and always making mistakes.

And now for the poetry...........

Hard Rubbish

Forgiveness is like a hard rubbish collection
We must put on the kerb
All the things we collect daily
Or by the hour
Or by the minute
Or by the second
And let go of them completely
And immediately

If we clutter up the present moment
With the past
Or the future
We lose it

But it's not easy to do
The vagaries of life
Hang round in the unconscious
Like an inconvenient unpleasant odor
That we tend to blame on others
Or on God
Or the devil

And blame is counterproductive
Even blaming ourselves
Is only a hole to fall into

Repentance is not about blame
It's about resurrection
And the fall
Can only be understood
In the light of the cross
And it's aftermath



Celebration of suffering
Celebration of mercy
Celebration of forgiveness
Celebration of sacrifice
Celebration of death
Celebration of life
Celebration of joy
Celebration of spirit
Celebration of truth
Celebration of love
Celebration of unity

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Keep on Keeping on

Often times it seems that no matter what one does, whether one starts new projects, or keeps on doing the same things, that one only ever gets so far (however far that is - it seems to vary from person to person), and life keeps going round and round in circles, and that it is always someone else that is on dancing with the stars, or Australia's next top whatever.

And I'll bet that that the person who is currently Australia's next top Whatever feels the same way.

I don't think that the famous, the rich, and the powerful are fundamentally and different from the rest of - they are just stuck in their own circles, going round and round and never seeming to break out.

But I think the key word in all this is "seeming".

No matter how similar each circle seems to be from the last, no matter how imperceptible the difference, we are all progressing - whether we are progressing forwards or backwards seems to me to be a trick of the mind.

Some people just have a harder time than others in finding the "trick" that works for them - which may be a good thing if you follow the premise that "the more  pain the more gain" (though I think that this is fundamentally flawed - especially when applied by one person on another - the phrase "to be cruel to be kind" I think is just plain WRONG)

Though on the other hand there may be something to be said for the idea that what we get for nothing is worth exactly what we pay for it.

 The best things in life are free - or to be more precise - bought with things other than money - Love, Trust, Faithfulness, Perseverance.

And I think the "trick" is to try and shrink the circles down to points - to individual moments - and do your best in each - going from each moment to the next will then generally take care of itself..

And now for what really matters - the poetry (This was inspired by Paul Mitchell's reading at tonights "Rotunda" event) ................

The Pen

The pen is indeed
Mightier than the sword
And each key on the board
Is something to skip over
And dance upon
An understandable nonsense
Spills forth
From the brain
That is mired 
In molasses

Into the ether it goes
And clowns around
Totally overlooked
By the ostrich like masses
As it passes by 
The forests of the righteous
And the award winning
And discovers one soul
At the back of the room
At the end of the universe
To resonate with
And create
A totally unseen
And unheard

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Truth is in the Ear of the Beholder

At the recent Communities in Control Conference, at which I was filming, the second question raised at the Our say Panel session was about the importance of oral communication and language skills – it was: 

"One in 14 children in Australia is born without the capacity to gain, understand or use language. Without intervention they face a drastic future, so much so that 50% of youth offenders in this country have a serious oral language deficiency. Why, as a nation, are we not tackling the challenges that these children present us with?"

Stephen Mayne in response to the question highlighted the importance of Oratory skills, citing Barack Obama as the most obvious recent example of someone whose oratory skills has been crucial to their success. Click here to see the You Tube video of this

But while I agree with the importance of oral communication skills  I think we often miss the other side of the coin on  this issue – there will always be people who for one reason or another are worse at communicating than others.

We need to not only train people to have better oratory skills, but also, and more importantly, train people to listen to those who don’t have oratory skills - they often have something worthwhile to say, and sometimes the have things to say that are absolutely critical, that we need to hear for the good of ourselves and more importantly our society as a whole.

Sometimes the most powerful oratory can consist a very few words and a lot of silence for people to understand their meaning. I am reminded that Lincoln’s Gettysburg address lasted just over two minutes.

Even shorter were Jesus’ words when faced with an angry self-righteous crowd hefting rocks – “Let he among you who is without sin cast the first stone” – and then he sat down and drew in the dirt letting the silence that followed speak even more powerfully.

And now for a poem....... 

Black Hole Reflection

Is belief more than
The filtering process of the mind

Faith is an insubstantial whisper
Louder and stronger
Than the greatest ocean
Faster than the swiftest comet
Hurling through space
Carrying all our destinies

A plug for the black hole
At the core of our being
That we only recognize
In the contrast
Of the brilliance behind

Star stuff are we
Every molecule of our being
Born in a furnace
Hurled through the endless void
Forever and a day
Until it ended up
Here and now
And we don’t think that’s a miracle?

It’s the filtering process of the mind
There are some things we can’t handle
So we break them down
Into molecules and atoms and strings
And rearrange this dust
Back into us
By the process of random chance

But who are we kidding?
There’s still a black hole
At the core of our being
That we see only by reflection
Of star stuff
And no matter how hard
We ignore it
It’s shape
Can only be described as