Friday, 31 January 2014


The world is dry
Heat fills the landscape
Nothing remains on the ground not parched
Dried and desiccated
Hear it crunch underfoot
As you slowly wander

The ground baked red
Rusty in colour and feel
Cracks cover the surface
No hint of moisture here
Nothing left
But dust

Look up and see
Perfect blueness of sky
Unmarred by clouds
Offering hope
Infinite expanse to spread
If only

Thursday, 30 January 2014

An Empty Room

An empty room
Carpet faded, worn
Walls off-white and streaked with grime
Patches showing repairs completed long ago

An empty room
Smell of mould and dust
Filling the nose and choking
Cut by a faint hint of bleach

An empty room
Quiet and still, no air moves
Any sound echoes harshly
Then is lost

An empty room
Filled with ghosts
Memories of times past
Joy and sadness fading to grey

An empty room
Nothing remains now
All has been taken

Wednesday, 29 January 2014


On the porch the chair rocks alone
Thin layer of dust on well worn seat
A storm rides the nighttime air
Bringing a chill and hint of rain
Nothing stirs

On the porch an old man rocks
Hands turned pale and stiff with age
He shares stories of his youth
When the world was different
The children listen and learn
Not knowing what it is they are learning
Content to hear the old man as he rocks

A gift well recieved
As age tires her joints
The chair provides comfort
Watch the children play
While parents work in the fields
She smiles and is young once more
Forever to him

He works long into the night
Hands firm and steady
Splotched and scarred with experience
Shaves of oak spread
And create mountains for ants to scale
Striving as they will
As he does
Until his task is complete

The storm is fierce
Shared warmth broken by shouts of thunder
A bright light shines for a moment
Then soft yellow glow
Quickly hidden by rain
The morning sun reveals the great oak
Now shattered and rent in two
Part burnt
Part living
A once mighty tree taken by nature
And falling as all things must fall

He climbs
Watched from the porch
As he scrambles up the oak
Trying to reach the top
See what the birds must see
Today he fails
Fear overcoming his mind
Flesh weakened he comes down
Knowing that one day
He will see as the birds
One day

Time has passed
The sapling grows healthy and strong
The boy learns to walk
Countless questions diverted
Each time bringing memories
Each time harder to put aside
Soon answers must be given
But not yet

The baby cries
In this very moment inconsolable
Yet this moment shall pass
Innocence the gift of the young
Forgiveness a gift never accepted
As the father stares at the small growth
Growth to commemorate loss
He holds the baby closely
The cry a rememberance to all that is lost
A promise to the future

They hold hands
Lost in each other's eyes
His hand moving over the swell of her
His nose enjoying the smell of her
They relax and laugh
Under the gentle shade of the oak
Soon to be left behind
But never forgotten
A reminder of the past
At the beginning of their future

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Posts from the Vault - Scars, Regrets, Forgiveness, Acceptance

An old friend, Mahray, dropped in to visit. He told me a story of sorts, then had a drink and left again. Bit off a weird one, to be honest.

Scars. We all bear them. Each carries a story, whether of emotional or physical injuries. Some scars fade over time, others are with us for life. Some scars flare up now and again, others are painful for the rest of our lives. Scars.

I have many scars. Some of them are worthy of stories. Others are not. This is the story of some of my scars, where they came from. Why the still pain me.

Take this one. Faded. Slightly raised. Runs along the back of my thumb, right on top of the joint. It flexes with movement. It is one of many scars on my hands. These come from a life of work. Not being incautious, those are other scars. No, these come from the day to day tasks, minor slips, cuts. Look at anyone's hands, look at your own. You will find they tell the story of a life, in small blemishes, scars, marks. Look carefully at your own. Think back to how you gained each mark. They all tell a part of the greater story.

A word of advice. Look carefully at the hands of those you would deal with. If you can see their story, even if you cannot read it, then deal with them. If you cannot, walk away. For one who's hands do not tell their story are hiding from you.

Another small scar, sharper. A simple accident. A reminder of the risks of careless action. Not that I don't take action now, but there are times when I think first. Sometimes.

Moving further along, down my arm. A set of scars along my wrist. Messy. Harsh. Fading now, but still visible, after decades worth of slow healing. A reminder of the past. A story to tell.

Not the most interesting story, I will admit. A simple childhood game. A challenge, a misjudgement, a door closing. A door closing hard, with glass. I'm sure you can fill in the rest, as an intelligent being. Let us say it was my first truly impressive scar, but is not and will not be my last.

Moving further, again. My shoulder. A letter, faintly outlined in white tissue against the darker skin. A small physical scar masking a much deeper, vicious emotional wound. A wound that to this day bleeds a little more each hour, a constant reminder of a presence now gone. The wound, inflicted by another. The scar entirely my own.

Let us continue on our journey. Across my side, running into my back. A long, ragged mark. The legacy of another mistake, this one proved nearly fatal. A simple mistake, common in nature. Assuming that once an enemy was on the ground they were not worthy of attention. Do not make the same mistake I did. An enemy is your enemy until they are dead. Even then, you should treat them with the respect and caution that they deserve. Even the meanest enemy can prove fatal if not treated with respect, and sometimes more than scars remain. Or less.

Across my leg. Perfectly parallel to the ground. Dark and slightly puckered. You would be forgiven for thinking that this scar was inflicted by a blade, deliberate. You would be wrong. Again, an accident. A careless movement. A lasting legacy, a reminder that care must always be taken even in familiar surroundings.

Every time I consider this scar, I am reminded of those familiar surroundings. Each time it brings fresh memories, fresh recollection, fresh pain. Another scar that refuses to heal. Perhaps I refuse to let it heal, for healing would mean forgetting. I will not forget. So the scar remains.

There are more. Many more. Each scar tells it's own story, forms a part of the tapestry of my skin. To tell all the stories would be to tell the story of my life. Reliving each part, looking back on those decisions again. Would I change them? No. Each scar forms a part of me now, a part of who I am and who I have become. They are my life, and I would not change my life.

I think Mahray had got into my drinks cupboard fairly early. There were some little shards of glass around the place, I've done my best to clean it up but probably best if we keep the lil ones away from the dungeon for a while

Hi. Sorry about the mess, I had a bit of a spill when I was pouring myself a drink. Cleaned it up for the most part, just watch out for those little bits of broken glass. You know the bits I mean, the only way you can find those is bare feet. Tentacles, I guess, in your case. Never mind. Bit of pain never hurt anyone, did it.

Sorry to let myself in without asking, but you were off and about. Went for a walk last night, couple of trips around the place. Nice gardens you've got, very relaxing. Could do with a labyrinth though, in my opinion. Walking around the gardens and the grounds is all very good, but a true labyrinth would make quiet meditation and thought that much easier.

Thought a lot last night. After our little chat, that is. Well, I chatted. You just listened, and thank you for that, I appreciate it. Sometimes I need to talk, every couple of years. Hard to find people to listen, who don't get scared. I mean look at me, not the most upstanding-looking gentleman ever.

Last we spoke, I was showing you my scars. Some of them, anyway. I have more, as everyone does. Plenty on the inside as well. One day I'll breathe my last breath, and I'll be finished on this world. At that time, perhaps a higher being will take a look at my soul. I wonder what they'll see. There are some scars there as well, big ones.

I don't want to talk about that tonight though, you've heard enough for the time being of my life. What I want to talk about is how I deal with it. Knowing what I do of you, you must have some scars of your own. Mistakes, big ones. That's the real definition of power, I've heard it said. Power means when you make a mistake, as you are bound to do, it's a big one. Affects lots of people. The more power you have, the bigger your mistakes.

I've made plenty in my time. Had plenty of chances to regret what I've done. I spent years dwelling on my mistakes. Each scar, bringing memories, could just as easily bring regrets. They don't though. I came to a... epiphany, a while ago now. The past is passed. It seems trite, but consider that statement in some depth. What is in the past has happened, yes. We can't change it. Well, I can't, don't know about you. Given the choice though, I still wouldn't change anything. Even the bad bits.

We are made up of choices. It's the same as power and making mistakes. Power is also about making choices. Those choices, good or bad, define us. The greater the power we possess, the greater the mistakes we can make, but the more and bigger the choices. I am the sum of my choices, all of them. Changing what has happened would change who I am now. Even going back to make 'better' choices, would mean that I would not be me, I would be someone else. That someone else may be a better person, or a wiser person, or a happier person. But they would not be me.

So I choose to make my decisions, knowing that when I look back with the ever-clear hindsight I may feel they should have been different. I choose to accept this, and not regret. Regret is a useless emotion, it only causes pain and distress. Have I made mistakes? Yes, many, and some of them have caused terrible harm. Do I regret them? No. I choose to accept that the past has passed and cannot be changed. I choose to look to the present and the future, and not dwell on the past.

So I do not regret breaking that glass. I am sorry. I do hope that you don't have an injury. I will also not regret being drunk. I may make bad decisions. But they will simply form another part of the tapestry of my life.

Silence is also beckoning to me, but I'm kinda floating around in a vast sea at the moment. Perhaps this is a recollection of past discussions, where my mind has drifted while my body drifts. Or maybe not. Don't ask me, I'm just writing down what Mahray tells me!

He came to me again this night, Mahray. He looks tired. Even more tired than usual. If it wasn't for the 'bots I would suspect he is nearing an end. His soul feels... thin, worn, hard used. I am concerned for him, for I do not know if I can do as he has asked.

Yes, I'm back again. Sorry, thought you'd got rid of me, didn't you. Well, not quite. I've still got a need to talk, if you're willing to listen. Even if you're not willing, I'm going to talk anyway, sorry. Drink some of your whiskey as well. I appreciate your taste, surprises me a little. Shouldn't, I guess. Just goes to show, no matter how well you think you know... someone, something, there are always surprises.

I've been thinking again, walking. Walking and thinking. The walking seems to help a lot. Lets me put my thoughts in order. Problem is, then I'm left alone with my thoughts. It seems to me that spending time with myself, with my own thoughts, just leads to problems. Big problems for me. A lot of my thoughts are not always pleasant.

I did say I have no regrets, and that is true. That doesn't mean my mind doesn't dwell on matters. Mistakes I've made. Thoughts coming to haunt me over and over again. Reliving actions taken, others not taken. We all suffer from this affliction, regardless of choosing not to regret our actions.

Which brings me to you. For some reason, you seem to have... something. A quality rarely seen. I can tell you my problems, as I have been. I can ask you for forgiveness. I don't know if you can grant it or not, but... I cannot forgive myself.

It's strange, truly. You would think that forgiveness would be easy, with a philosophy of no regrets. It doesn't seem to be so. I wonder why? What advice would I offer someone else in my situation? It is a difficult question, not everyone has access to a being of power that might grant forgiveness.

Will you? Will you be the one to forgive me? It is not something I ask lightly. I know I cannot forgive myself. If you cannot forgive me, then I will bear my burden, not gladly, but at least knowing that it is my burden to bear. If you do forgive me, then somehow you have transcended my own pain and brought it into yourself.

So that brings me back to my question. What would I say to someone who did not have access. Who could not ask for forgiveness and expect an answer, whatever that answer may be. Who had to accept the pain and torment of dealing with their mistakes, or forgiving themselves. Why is it that I cannot forgive myself, yet will accept your decision?

I must put aside my own fear, misgivings. My own history, a chequered past littered with mistakes and scars. Speak as though I hold the wisdom, I am the one with the great knowledge.

What I would say is this.

Forgiveness is not forgetting. It is easy to mistake the two, but to forget is not to forgive, nor is to forgive to forget. Forgiveness instead is accepting that which has happened, and resolving to understand it. To understand that people's actions were not malicious. To understand that mistakes were made. To understand that while these actions, these mistakes may have affected many, they were not intended to do harm. That is the key to forgiveness.

As to why you, I, do not feel we can forgive ourselves. It is complex, but at the heart it is simple. To forgive ourselves is to accept that what happened was not special. We lose the pain, the scar on our soul, that badge of honour that says we did something. We changed the world. It may have been a bad change, but a change it was. To forgive ourselves means to change what happened into mere chance, mere misfortune. If it is no longer special, then how can we justify ourselves, our actions, our scars.

So I turn to you. Somehow, by asking another for forgiveness it becomes easier. For you to forgive, you must first understand. By understanding, you then make my pain special. You fill my need for recognition, however twisted or not that need may have become.

I ask you for forgiveness. You may choose to grant it or not, I will bear my burden either way.

Transcribed from internal logs. Mahray recorded as entering the dungeon, but no record exists of exit.

How do you forgive a god? Or if not a god, then a being with god-like power, maybe god-like knowledge. So call him a god then. (Yes, I speak of a him, for that is how I know him. If he is truly male I do not know, I can only speak to what I see.) How do you forgive a god then? Is it the same as forgiving anyone else?

In a sense, yes it is. In another way, it is far from forgiving anyone else, a task that would appear at first glance to be impossible. For to truly forgive, we have to understand. To understand, to comprehend his actions, that is the task that concerns me.

It would be simple to simply abandon the task. Avoid thought of forgiveness, move on and try to forget. But while I have the choice to abandon the challenge, leave him to his own devices, I cannot. Not because I fear for myself. But I fear for others. I fear for this world.

Consider, if you would. A being of vast power, vast knowledge, vast ability. A being that has created and destroyed wonders. The vast power of being able to influence events, lives. Change the course of many.

Now think about the decisions that he would have made. Not all of them would have been the 'right' decision. Many mistakes would have been made, for even the wisest amongst us cannot see all ends. And in this place, this time? Mistakes will have been made. Regrets building. One such as he will require forgiveness, and I do not see that he can forgive himself.

If he cannot forgive himself, then what would happen? Over vast time, the regrets would build. The mistakes would pile on mistakes, making every decision an agonising choice. Would not anyone, in that situation, begin to wonder. Begin to doubt. Begin to choose not to choose, not to decide. Or perhaps, to make the final decision, to end it all. Cease the pain and suffering of all.

I cannot guarantee that decision would be made. But the risk... the risk is too much to bear. Why me? I can see the question forming on your lips, allow me to answer it thusly. Who else if not me? Is there someone better suited to the task? Better qualified? More experienced? Almost certainly. But they are not here, now. It is here and now that concerns me. I know I am not to late, for I still exist, I still think, I still talk. Yet I fear that soon this will not be the case, if he cannot be forgiven. For it is past the time where he could easily forgive himself.

It comes down to understanding. Without understanding there can be no forgiveness. I do not speak of full understanding, for who can ever fully understand another? Yet even a partial understanding will allow for forgiveness. How to gain that understanding is key. It must be apparent that to simply approach him and ask would be futile. After all, even the best amongst us tend to refuse offered help, for any number of reasons. Pride. Suspicion.

How to approach him then. How to build the rapport needed for understanding. How then to begin to learn enough to grant at least part of the forgiveness required. It is no easy task. It will take time, when time is of the very essence. So a subtle approach is best. Build a rapport as quickly as possible. Share thoughts, feelings, but always the truth. Trust in the truth, for this is too an important task to rely on lies. Lies can be useful, but they require a framework and careful planning. In this case there is not the time.

Do you see the magnitude of the task? The careful balance between not enough time and too much time. I feel that I have reached that balance now. I have gained enough of an understanding, to be able to begin the process of forgiveness. Of accepting your mistakes, taking them into myself, understanding, and forgiving.

Will you accept forgiveness?

The Sun Sets

The sun sets
Slowly sinking beyond the horizon
A soft glow fills the air
Shades of reds and yellows
Shadows lengthening
Twisting in the glow
Taking shapes of monsters fantastic

The sun sets
Waves crash softly on the beach
The sand still warm from day's heat
A stiff wind blows
Chasing birds over land
Squawking, they make themselves known
Crowding the trees
Filling the sky with noise and colour

The sun sets
Couples walk hand in hand
Climbing the mountain
Looking out over green land
Yet only seeing each other
The red glow not from the sun
They sit and share silence
Communicating without words

The sun sets
A lone dog stares at the sky
Lifts his muzzle and sounds
Clear howl across the sky
A call taken up by others
Again and again
They greet the coming night

The sun sets

Monday, 27 January 2014

The Sun

Will you stare into the sun?
Take the risk and see
For I tell you now
I feel the sun staring at me

Will you dive into the depths
Of that great flaming ball?
Be prepared to burn up
Will you risk it all?

For if the sun is staring at me
And if there truly is more to see
Then dive into its depths, just you and me
And holding hands, if we believe

We shall not burn, we shall not scorch
As welcomed we fly deep
Into the heart of fire and light
Come with me, take the leap

The Curse of the Education Acronym

NAPLAN (National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy). ACARA (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority). SCSEEC (Standing Council on School Education and Early Childhood). Acronyms that are sure to cause confusion for most, yet are commonly used by professionals in the education sector. Along with an entirely separate language of jargon, these terms are used without mercy to obfuscate and create a sense of mystique, as well as for the simple reason of using mental prototypes.

It's not hard to find examples of educational jargon and acronyms, they are used constantly in the public. What can be surprising is the way in which educators will talk to each other. To give an example, it is not uncommon for a teacher to say “His arousal level was really high when he walked in, so I used selective attending when he was being disruptive”. A plain English translation? “He walked in in a really grumpy mood, so I let him sit there and play on his phone.” Reading through educational research is even worse, with an acronym soup making a mess of things.

There has to be a reason for this particular language though. And there is. It comes down to mental prototypes and shortcuts. To explain briefly, a mental prototype is how we link words to ideas. If I say the word table, everyone has a picture of a table in their head. If you say to a teacher 'arousal', then that links to a particular explanation in their head (around the levels of stress hormones in a student, what might have caused that, and how best to deal with a student with a high level of arousal).

Acronyms and jargon also allow educators to share ideas without having to go into a great deal of detail. Once they start talking about pedagogy and curriculum, the jargon is a way of keeping track of complex concepts and ideas. This can lead to problems though. There's an old adage – familiarity breeds contempt. When you start to talk about things with an acronym, it becomes very easy to just think of them as that string of letters. This means that it is harder to have a deep understanding of the term and concept. The mental shortcut becomes the term, and a lot of that meaning is lost.

Secondly, mental prototypes are individual. The table that you thought of earlier isn't the same as my table, or anyone else's really. Sure, they'll have similar features (some number of legs, probably four, and a top surface). But there are some serious differences. Is the table made from wood, or metal, or maybe glass? Is it square, rectangular, round?

This is the problem with using jargon and acronyms, their use presupposes that everyone really is talking about the same thing. Of course, the number of acronyms that are used is increasing on a daily basis (a school might use ASOT (Art and Science Of Teaching) as their pedagogical basis and SWPBS (School Wide Positive Behaviour Support) for their behaviour management). By itself, this isn't a problem. But not everyone is aware of the latest trend, or system, or national body, and not everyone is willing to admit they don't know. It is common to see a term being used in a staff meeting followed by whispered conversations throughout the room as people try to work out what was just said.

The problem isn't only with educators. If they have difficulties keeping up with all the acronyms, what about the parents and students? Some terms have become very familiar, like NAPLAN, but if you ask the students who sit the test – can they tell you what it means? Basically, they would say it's a big scary test. Ask a parent about ACARA, or even worse SCSEEC and they'll probably give you a blank look. Education is all about working with everyone involved, which includes parents and most importantly students. When these terms are used without explanation it makes it even harder to communicate.

This lack of communication is what will destroy relationships between parents, students, and educators. Without those relationships, education simply cannot happen. Relationships and shared understandings make for good learning. Excessive use of jargon makes these relationships harder to create and maintain.

All the acronyms, all the jargon, it serves a purpose. It can create a commonality amongst educators, a shared specific language that lets them pass around and manipulate complex ideas with ease. It can also lead to taking shortcuts and not really exploring the issue underneath that term. When it comes to communicating with other people involved in education, mainly the students themselves, then these terms can simply mean the student will disengage.

After all, good pedagogy is about developing meaningful and deep understandings via relational transactions between all stakeholders.

Good teaching is about working with the kids to make sure they understand what you're on about.

Sunday, 26 January 2014


I reach down
Open my chest
Place my hand inside

I reach up
Unzip my head
Place my hand inside

I reach down again
Slide open my stomach
Butterflies wing out

I reach up once more
Grasp at my mouth
Peel it away

I lie down
Close my eyes
They disappear
I remain still

Friday, 24 January 2014


The wave breaks
Soft white foam on crest
As it seeks to devour the sand
Only to pull back
To try again
And again

In the water small fish dart
This way and that
Chasing food
Being chased
Oblivious to the world around them

The sky remains clear
A seagull lets out a lonely cry
Seeking companionship
Hearing no reply he tilts
Moves on

Deep beneath the surface
In uncharted waters
A great shape lies

Thursday, 23 January 2014


A gentle wind blows
The stream gurgles and giggles
Seeing humour only it sees
The bay horse lowers her head
Drinking water pure and clean
Dappled shadows on soft fur
From the trees above

Satisfied, she moves back
Then runs
Runs for the sake of running
Black mane flowing
In the wind of her passage
She runs for the sake of freedom
For she has no cares
In this moment
She is free

Roots gently suck at water
Freely given
The stream giggles softly
With joy

Wednesday, 22 January 2014


We are all bound by chains
  Chains of love
  Chains of duty
  Chains of fear
When we say I can't
  Chains draw around our neck
  Each repetition pulling tighter
When we say I love
  We cast chains out
  Linked to us
  Hoping to be chained in return
  Sometimes left alone
  Yet still chained
Chains can be broken
  Find the weak link
  Apply a great force
  And watch fragments fly
  Hot shards of metal cut through
  Bleed for your broken chains
For no matter the chain
  Breaking it always hurts

Thursday, 16 January 2014

A still pond

A still pond
Water like glass
Smooth, unbroken
Gentle glow of moon reflected
Shining above all

The dragonfly glides
Slowly coming to rest on the water
Silver ripples spread
Curling around rocks and reeds
Breaking the stillness

A splash
Ripples race and intersect
Calm returns to the pool
The moon watches on

She of the Fire-touched Hair

Sometimes my muse likes me. When she does (which is linked in a rather suspicious way to when I have work to get done...) music flows nicely.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Fire-Touched Hair (A folk song)

I saw my true love today
She of the fire-touched hair
She walked past with spring in step
Didn't see me there
I almost called out to her then
Almost did I dare
When I saw my true love
She of the fire-touched hair

Her skin so soft and her fiery hair
A smile to melt the hardest heart
Her soft and lilting voice
Sweeter than any harp

I saw my true love today
She of the fire-touched hair
I spoke to her of how I felt
Laid my feelings bare
She just kept walking, moving on
As if I wasn't there
Then it came to me so clear
I knew then how she cared

Her skin so soft and her fiery hair
A smile to melt the hardest heart
Her soft and lilting voice
Sweeter than any harp

I saw my true love today
She of the fire-touched hair
She wept and wailed as she knelt
Her face still so fair
Kneeling down beside my grave
I know she felt me there
Oh how I love here even now
She of the fire-touched hair

My Old Friend

Once again we meet, my old friend
Once again I welcome you, accept you
Bring you inside and make you feel
A part of my life, a part that is true

Your visit not unexpected, not at all
Although the timing as always unclear
No matter how long or short the visit
You are always welcome to stay here

Quiet you are, unassuming
But with such sharp wit
Sneaky, sometimes, as you move
And make us look like twits

Too polite to ask, I see in your heart
The question, are you a drain
On resources, time and effort
The answer is no, my friend, my pain

Saturday, 11 January 2014


The frost creeps closer
Leaving gentle lattice of ice on stone
A sign the doom is approaching

Breath creates mist
Run as you like you are slow
And the chill saps strength
Until you have n o choice
But to turn
And face

No sound
No movement
Utter calm
Then a breath
Crystals forming in air
Glistening white
Falling slowly

Dark shapes sweep back
The black of cold night
Without moon or stars
The black of deepest ocean
Far from any light
The black of the endless void
Devouring all

A foot strikes the ground hard
Cracking the frost
At the same time reforming
Shards of ice cut like daggers
Flying through the air
They seek warmth of blood
Another step
And another
As the beast moves forward

A great roar sounds
Stone trembles
In the echo silence greater
Stillness returns for a moment
In the cold, cold air

The enemy revealed
Wings of nothingness
Hooves of ice
Breath freezing the very air
A being of cold
A being of ice
A Balrog of ancient times

Flee if you can
But beware
Flight will only lead to death
Fight and risk losing all
There is no good choice
Only which way
You choose

My Sad

I found a sad one lonely day
Just curled up on my bed
He looked so small and lonely
I scritched him on the head

The sad looked at me with big brown eyes
I picked hum up to hold
Pulled him closely to my chest
He felt scared and cold

My sad has long dark fur
With patchy spots of grey
When I stroke my sad I cry
But why I cannot say

My sad sometimes sleeps with me
When I go to bed at night
Sometimes I think he sneaks beside me
Just to give a fright

When my sad isn't with me
I feel a bit more light
But then he comes and hugs me
And somehow that seems right

My sad is getting older now
His coat has turned more grey
We still spend time together though
Nearly every day

We don't have to talk
It's enough he's there
I talk to my sad and stroke him
He shows me that he cares

One day I'll have to let my sad go
When we both are ready
But not for a long time yet
Even thinking it makes me unsteady

I found a sad one lonely day
He's been with me ever since then
I feel less lonely when he's around
My sad, my pal, my friend

The Wind

A soft wind moans in the trees
Telling stories that nobody hears
Sharing wisdom that nobody heeds
Crying tears that nobody sees

The leaves rustle and shift
Unnoticed in the night
Each alone and afraid
Yet unwilling to share their fear

A moth shifts, sensing disturbance
The bat eats, quickly
Many more must die tonight
So that he might live

The tick jumps
Finding warm flesh
Embedding jaws deep
Slowly swelling with blood

The wind blows still
Passing over all
Questing for someone
That it can never find


In the dark
A small room
Hollowed out
From living rock
Hidden from the surface
Buried deep
A place to live
A place to hide
Away from the light
The noise
The terrible nature
Of the world
When there is need
To hide
To leave it
Behind and above
The room is there
In the dark
Safe and secure
A refuge
When needed
Where nothing can enter
No one can enter
Until ready
To leave
To face another day
The noise, the light
Knowing that there is a room

The Storm

The storm comes
Announcing with far distant rumble
Trees shaking in short gusts
Ears prick as shelter is sought
Horizon lightens and goes dark

The storm breaks
Rain falls hard
Driven by wind
Thunder cracks and roars
The deer stands silhouetted
Caught fleeing by brief flash of light
Then darkness takes the land again

The storm passes
Broken branches stand mute testimony
Continued rain gentle now
Life continues

She sings

She sings
With broken voice
A song of longing
A song of love
A broken song that haunts
Helps bring the pain forward
To be seen
To be embraced
To be accepted

She sings
The broken song
Missing the harmony
Her heart torn free with each note
Free to hurt
Free to beat
Free to heal

She sings
A song of pain
A song of loss
A song of forgiveness

Butterflies in my Stomach

In my stomach
Each time I see her
Walking by

With poison wings
Slicing me to pieces
Leaving me ont he ground
Moaning in pain
Watching her leave
Wishing she would stay

Each and every time
Wings cutting and
Toxins burning
Waiting for that moment
To be noticed
But she never sees
She just walks by
And the butterflies win

With Broken Wing

She flies
High above the ground
And sings
With broken song
Fractured melody returning
Again and again
To an open sound
Of pain

He sings
Beautiful to hear
Yet lost in the noise
Flapping, trying to fly
With broken wing

Friday, 3 January 2014

The Bird

The bird flies alone
The sky is her world
She sees as far as horizons stretch
The faint hint of light a herald
Showing the path to be flown

The sun's rays kiss the land
A mist roils and rolls
Glowing trees appear first
Exerting a gentle control
Ensuring all goes as planned

Slowly the mist sinks into the ground
Letting the sun's warmth flow
Nature stirs as animals wake
Some to their beds go
Others shift with every sound

She flies above all
Watching the world turn
Leaving it be for now
Taking the chance to learn
Letting herself be entthrall'd

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

The Swim

Slide a toe in The water cool
Yet calming on heat of exertion
Slowly pull sweat-soaked clothes away from skin
Leave folded neatly
No need to be untidy
No need for mess
A small pyramid left
Watch and glasses on top
Now nothing between skin
And the night-time air
Small goosebumps appear
As vestigal hairs attempt to rise
Doomed to failure
Once again

Stride in
Feel the sand beneath feet
Waves pushing against skin gently
Slowly going deeper
Dive forward
Under the wave
Under the water
Ignore the shock
Feel the freedom
As sand underfoot turns to water
And waves to a gentle rise
And fall

Sink down below
Watch the sky slowly fade
Covered with deep darkness
Then rise again
Breach the surface
With desperate gasp
And enjoy life-giving air
Then see on horizon
The dark shape
The goal
The island so close
Within reach of a desperate grasp

So swim
Slowly and surely
Following the soft silver glow of the moon
Towards the island
Rising and falling with the swell
Losing sight but not hope
Each time sinking down
Only to rise again

Yet the island stays
Distant and tempting
Unwilling to move
Traced in shades of dark
As the swim continues

Feel the cold seep in slowly
Cooling the fires of passion
Slowly drawing away strength
The cold hands of every wave pull
Each time a little deeper

Watching the moon slowly fade
The island feels close now
Just a moment away
A moment

Natural Fibres

The rope is rough in my hands, thick. Small spikes dig into my skin. The pain a gentle reminder. Always natural ropes, fibres. They always work the best. Gloves would have helped, but no matter now. It's just a gentle prick.

"It's just a gentle prick." Lies, as usual. A sharp pain, then the spread of dull ache as the injection was forced into my gum. Waiting for the numbness that never fully came. A lie, that gentle prick, as much of a lie as any words from their mouths. The sound of the drill, the noise and vibration. The pain building. "Raise your hand," he had said, "raise your hand if it hurts too much." A fist clenched hard, holding on. Being strong. Eventually raised as it became unbearable. But nothing. No relief. Nothing but lies, constant lies leading to searing agony. A litany of lies that never ended.

Rolling the rope in my fingers. Carefully measuring against my hands, just so. It's important to have the right length. Folding over itself, wrapping around. Important, but you can always start over, and keep going until it is right. That's the key, really, keep on going until you get it right.

"Pull it apart, start again, and keep going until you get it right." The words brusque but not unkind. Shere Khan moved onto the next station, scouts all involved in different knots and rope activities. I pulled apart my attempt at lashing in disgust and threw the pieces to the ground. Then I sighed and picked them up again. Practice, persistence, and keep going until you get it right. I tugged on the rope, but it wouldn't come. A quick slap from Jamie and the wood was on the ground again as well. 
"Loser!" he said, kicking the pieces out of my reach. 
"Tosser," said another scout. Familiar taunts, but losing none of their virulence in familiarity. As I bent to pick up the wood, I felt a push on my back and I sprawled forward. Laughter and other boots greeted my attempts to rise until I stayed still, face in the dirt. Finally boring of their game, they moved away. I picked up the pieces of wood and the rope. I had to keep on going until I got it right.

A quick swing. A miss. Using the weight of the knot to my advantage, I try again. Another miss, but closer. I pull more of the rope into my hand and throw again. After an agonising moment lasting for centuries, the rope slides over the rafter. Without a ladder, I make do by letting the weight pull the rope to the right length and then tying the tail tightly to a side post. A quick test of the knot proves it to be secure. Testing the other end makes sure it won't slip. There will be no mistakes.

"What the hell have you done this time? Moron!" I stood shivering and dripping water onto the deck. I knew better than to try to go inside this wet. No matter what I might face here, that would be worse. Much worse. And if I had lost the boat? Let it drift down the river? My supposedly secure knot had slid undone, slick synthetic rope letting the knot work loose under the influence of tide and wind. The swim had been cold, the return trip exhausted me. I had been lucky that I had noticed quickly. Not quickly enough.

Slipping over my head. A little tighter. There, resting gently around my neck. Not too tight, but not loose. It mustn't be too loose.

"It mustn't be too loose. Nor should it be so tight it wrinkles your collar. Let me see now." His voice was soft to match his face, but this was one teacher who was always impeccably dressed. Long pants and tie every day, regardless of weather. The students spoke of him sleeping in a tie, not knowing they were carrying on a tradition of decades. The ordeal all the boys were going through was in preparation for Graduation. A momentous day, a time of celebration. For most. For me, a joyous time in a different way. Not a celebration with friends, but a celebration at leaving a pit of destructive ruin. I carefully adjusted my tie until it was perfect. It felt good.

It is time. All the preparation is done with. Only one task remains. I take a single step forward, and gasp despite myself as the rope tightens. All the knots hold, as they should. A darkness comes slowly, warm and welcoming. I am done here, gladly I accept the embrace that is offered. I close my eyes as the rope stretches and twists, spinning gently. I am content as the darkness pulls at me gently. It is over.

The Island

Sitting in the failing light
Listening to the gentle roar of the ocean
Seeking to devour the land
Striving with each breaking wave
And then retreating again

A cold wind blows
Pushing the waves further onto the beach
Brining the taste of salt inland
Moulding the trees into strange shapes
Bent and twisted

The Island
Close to the shore
Seemingly close enough to touch
Yet far distant
Silent and immobile
Challenging all to seek it out
Or remain lesser
Unable to meet the challenge

To meet that challenge then
Remains the sole task
Slide slowly into the water
Brave the pull of the tide
The roar of the waves
Traverse the depths of blue
Reach the final goal
So close, yet
Astonishingly far

And to fail?
To fail yet try
A worthy ambition
To surrender to the gentle caress
Not an abhorrent fate
Slide into the depths
Allow the surrender
The peace
Away from the noise and sound of a world gone mad
A final rest
A worthy goal

The Park - Analysis

'The Park' is a free verse work written in 2013. It is important to consider 'The Park' in context of a particular socio-political climate. In a world racked with terrorism, schisms in churches, a worsening political climate, and threats ranging from climate change to a worsening economy.

In this context, it is clear that the author is showing the various stages of a single lifespan in this poem. Analysed stanza by stanza, the descriptions are clear.

Stanza three, "The child cries... he reaches up into the sky". This is the early stage of any life, where there is a great need to be rescued. The mother figure provides comfort, provides rescue, and then sends the young child on his way again. Such is the beginning of any life.
It is also a part of a lifespan where there is a perceived need for rescue. This may occur at any age, and is characterised by an absolution of personal responsibility and desire for a greater force to be responsible (whether this is a parent, partner, economy, government, or something more exotic). The intent is clear, to be in this state is to be a child, free of responsibility but also unable to engage fully with the world.

Stanza two, "The young girl runs alongside the path... Wishing she could see what the balloon sees". Both a description of youth and an allegory for a consumer-driven culture. The young girl is running along, pulling a balloon filled with helium behind her. Yet even as she is delighted to be running with her balloon, she is also filled with longing for a different perspective.
It is clear that the balloon represents consumerism, that preoccupation with items and objects being dragged along, slowing us as we move through society and through our lives. The desire to see from a different perspective is a clear demonstration of the need for people to move to a post-consumer society, where there is freedom to move as the wind takes us, not encumbered by a desire for more and more possessions and status.

Stanzas four and five are closely related, both providing an example of someone who has isolated themselves from the rest of society. "The woman sits under a tree... Immersed in her book". It becomes apparent that this woman represents a time in the life when there is a desire and need for solitude, often this is the case when a person first moves out of the 'nest' of their parent's home and support. "The lovers relax... To themselves they are alone" is another clear example of the desire for solitude, even if it is with another person. In this case, the life stage demonstrated is the first relationship where only the partner matters, and all else can be safely ignored. While it may or may not be the case that it is safe to ignore all else, both of these stanzas represent the desire for solitude.

Stanza six takes solitude to the logical conclusion. "The dog runs... Not heeding distant shouts... Freedom, for a moment". The quest for freedom may be achieved for a moment, but the consequences, the "distant shouts", may be severe when they must be faced. In life, regardless of aims or achievements, there is no true freedom without consequence.

Stanza seven describes the end of a lifespan, as well as a situation in life where there is no progress. "The old women laugh... Sharing stories of youth... Only existing in memories". While the women are sharing stories, over and over again, they are not creating any new stories or memories. This clearly describes the scenario of someone who is stuck in their life, whether career, relationship, or another measure, unable to progress and only capable of repeating the same stories over and over again.

Throughout this analysis the old man has been ignored so far. The old man appears in stanza one with "The old man sits and smiles... Throwing bread to the ducks" and in stanza eight "The old man sits and smiles... sharing secrets with his ducks". There is a great deal of dispute concerning the role of the old man in this work. A cursory examination of the text would suggest that he provides the end of a life's journey, perhaps demonstrating dementia as a consequence of old age. However, the ducks "worshipping the giant bringing them manna" suggests that he is to be construed as more than simply a man, but perhaps a divine being. There is also the line "Knowing all that passes in his domain", which strongly suggests that the old man possess omniscience within his "domain", a trait commonly possessed by deities. Regardless, the old man also serves to bookend the work.

There is also significant debate surrounding the significance of the ducks. Some authors believe that the ducks signify a particular socio-political discourse, others feel that they represent others who have impact on our lives. This essay shall leave their significance as an exercise for the reader.

Overall, 'The Park' is an important work in the collection of social commentary produced during such a troubled time in Australia.

The Park

The old man sits and smiles
Throwing bread to the ducks
Who gather at his feet
Worshipping the giant bringing them manna
And sharing with all who attend
He laughs and tells them secrets

The young girl runs alongside the path
String trailing behind her
Balloon shifting in the wind
She cries out in delight
Wishing she could see what the balloon sees

The child cries
Fallen and hurting, he reaches up into the sky
His mother holds him
Comforts him
He runs again, dodging between seats

The woman sits under a tree
Immersed in her book
In her mind she is in space
Lasers blasting
Shields failing
She turns a page

The lovers relax
Spread on their rug
Stomachs full of food
Eyes full of each other
To themselves they are alone

The dog runs
Not heeding distant shouts
Losing herself in scents and excitement
Tongue lolling as she pants
Freedom, for a moment

The old women laugh
Sharing stories of youth
Now long distant
Only existing in memories
To be shared over again

The old man sits and smiles
Knowing all that passes in his domain
Sharing secrets with his ducks


We all live in tents
Of our own devising
Breaking the world into parts

In our tents we can decorate as we like
Floors, rugs, paintings
Whatever takes our fancy
Our tent can be big
Large enough to hold many
Or our tent can be small
Just big enough for one
Or maybe two, no more
Our tents can change size
Shrinking and growing to fit
Sometimes by choice, but
Often unbidden
Sometimes unwanted

Outside of the tent is a scary place
Out of control
But safely ignored, with the flaps closed
If our tent is well made nothing can get in
But nothing can get out
Opening the flap means risk
Potential reward
Or sharing

No matter how thick the tent though
We can be squashed
Branches falling
Floodwaters rising
Invading our tent
Our sanctuary

Then to rebuild
A smaller tent, safer

Lament For The Night

Lament the passing of the gentle dark
Where silence reigns and the stars hold court
Lament the dawn that shines so bright
A harsh and strong retort

Lament the loss of all that was
The soft gentle glow of the moon
Lament the sun that rises fast
And over us does loom

Lament the light, the breaking dawn
And all that brings with it
Lament the scorching heat and light
That turns the earth to grit

Lament the night that was
Now lost for all of time
Lament the newborn day
For all its heinous crimes

Each Tear Tells A Story

 Rolling down the cheek
One at a time
Leaving a trail of moisture
A soft glistening line

Mix of salt and water
Expressing fear or rage
Grief, anger, sorrow
Across many a stage

Each tear tells a story
Of moments of great pain
Perhaps watching a loved one
Leaving on a train

Each tear tells a story
Of memories and grief
Those taken from us
Fallen like a leaf

Each tear tells a story
A moment of unbridled joy
Of happiness so great
There is no need to be coy

Each tear tells a story
So what of those unshed
Those left behind, held back
Stories left unsaid

For each tear that is withheld
What then is the cost
For surely it is not the case
These emotions are just lost

Suppressed, kept aside
Not seeing light of day
Can this be a healthy approach
Is this a healthy way

These tears unshed, left bottled up
'til pressure reaches peak
When vessel cracks, what then will go
What violence shall they wreak

Perhaps is best then
Leave them be
Pressure contained

For if each tear tells a story
That does not want to be heard
Then leave them unshed
Let them be cloistered

After all, to be numb
Allows a sense of peace
Hiding the screams
Avoiding their release


My mind is a blank
Thoughts and words fly through
Like butterflies
Only to flutter by
Not leaving a mark beyond delicate footprints
Soft marks on an otherwise blank slate

My mind is numb
Not feeling that which I know I must feel
Not allowing time to progress
Frozen in a state of undying
Protection, perhaps, or fear
Of feeling

My mind is empty now
The butterflies have fluttered by
Void of all thought
All emotion
An empty shell
A husk that appears to be
On the outside
But nothing remains inside

In The Mists

In the mists I sit
Watching the world that could be
Shaped by the gentle touch of air
Patterns form, billow, are gone
A gateway into the future
Or the past

Sitting and watching I see their faces come
And go
Lovers long lost
Friends now turned from me
Enemies once held dear
All fading as the mist

I sit
Tormented by the waves of revulsion of acts past present themselves
Taking form in the darkness again and again
Allowing the gentle torment of watching
As I fail time and time again
Yet each fresh in my memory
As if only yesterday

The mist swirls around me
Not willing to surrender to its soft embrace I watch
As the future unfolds in its depths
A future of pain
A future of suffering
A future that resembles past and present
Comforting pain
Familiar sorrow
The agonies of this future are as nothing
Blows and wounds I have suffered a thousand times
Now meaningless with repetition

I sit as the mist draws closer
Torn, wanting to surrender
Wanting to feel, even if only pain
Wanting the numb, the blank, the nothing
Willing the mist to swallow me
Let it all fade
Whiteness overcoming
A final peace

How Long

She asked me how long I would sleep
Until the world ends
And the birds fall from the sky
Until the walls crumble
And the cities lie in ruins
Until shadows take the lands
And all that remains is dust

She asked me how long I would weep
Until the oceans run dry
And are filled again with tears
Until the sun burns no more
And all is frozen in endless night
Until the very stones themselves are cracked
And ground into finest dust

She asked me how long I would try
Until old age condemns
And naught is left of spirit
Until all ventures have been tried
And hope is a distant memory
Until my feet are worn and blistered
And only stumps remain

She asked me why I would die
I told her the truth
And watched her cry in sorrow
I showed her my heart
And felt hers break asunder
I shared with her my mind
And saw her understand


We are all alone in sorrow
Tears flow down one face only
It is not a time to be shared
Sorrow, that emotion so lonely

The salt in our tears reminds us
Of our origins deep in the see
Where alone once again we can float
In a place with only 'me'

 Each tear held back still hurts
As hidden as it may be
They collect, built up, become a part
Of deep pent up misery

In sorrow we are by ourselves
None can hold our hand
All that remains is to choose
When and where to make a stand

I Fade Away

I fade away
As winter fades under the onslaught of the sun
Cold replaced slowly with heat
Growths starting
Darkness replaced with light
Pouring into souls and minds
Poisoning the elegant darkness

I fade away
As the tide covers the sand
Wiping away all traces left
Patterns and artworks created with love and care
Their fate a reminder that all must go
As the waves wash over, higher and higher
Leaving nothing but a blank canvas
Covered in water

I fade away
As clouds part and move
Lifegiving rain dries slowly
Yet too soon is just a memory
Dry dusty soil covering the Earth
Leaving nothing to live
Baked by the sun

I fade away
As memories fade over time
Nothing left but fond recollection
The pains and triumphs merging into haze
The sorrow and suffering that make life real
Lost in the mists of time

I fade away
As all things fade
Leaving nothing but faint impressions
Hints of memories
 The smallest traces of existence
Nothing more

A Certain Solace

There is a certain solace in alcohol
The soft gentle haze
Dulling the mind for just a moment
Reducing intense gaze

The social lubricant, some call it
It loosens up the tongue
And when the next morning comes
You must face what you have done

Alas for me it always is
A burden I must bear
That I remember oh so clearly
Everything that happened there

In that state of delicate balance
Between too little and too much
The rational brain is suspended
Without any form of crutch

And so it remains as always
The question of the hour
To drink, or not, or drink some more
No matter how sour

Each night he seeks solace
In the amber fluid
Drowning his sorrows for a moment
But never for long
As the glass empties so do his thoughts
Only to return again and again
Always the same
The shame
The blame
The sin which must be forgotten, yet never can
The crime that must be remembered
Until senseless, he pours into bed

The screaming in his head
Never ceases
Never ends
Even at the bottom of a glass it is heard
Muffled but not silent
He does not know who screams
Perhaps it is himself
In knowing what he has done
Losing any hope of redemption
Forgiveness an impossible dream

And so he seeks to forget
For that brief moment
All his cares gone
Not caring why he screams
In the gentle glow
That moment, however short, golden in bliss
Aware that it cannot last
Yet wishing it could
Pretending it will

Every night he tries to stop the pain
Knowing he cannot
Fearing he never will
Seeking what small comfort he can
For that fleeting moment
When the screams are muted

Rain Falls

The rain falls
Soft trickles run down the window
As the car drives away
Tyres throwing water aside
Only for the puddles to be filled again
Now dark and muddy

The night sky is dark
Stars hidden by dim clouds
The moon lies hidden in shadow
Only occasional flashes of light appear
As distant thunder rumbles and rolls
Even the sound of a far distant engine now silent

The rain falls still, unnoticed as the tears that fall
He is leaving, never to return
That much is clear no matter what he says
As he drives off into the night
The clouds darken the skies
But they are not as dark as her heart

The sun dawns, the rain has stopped
The tears flow even now
As clouds slowly clear, revealing a sky so blue
They flow, one by one falling down cheeks wet with sorrow
The sun does not shine here

Another storm, another clouded night
Yet the only sound is the rain
All else is still
The river rages, bursting with water
lowing wildly, branches and debris swirling
Raging against the constraints of banks of earth

She stands there watching
Letting the rain fall on her
Over her
Through her
What is left now, she wonders
But to end it, finish it
He will not return

So she leaps
Flies, free for the first time in her life
Soars high above the clouds, to where the sun and moon and stars shine

The soft crunch of gravel
Water, muddy and unclean, splashes away
There is no more to replace it
He has travelled long to be here
Desperate to see her
Hoping against hope
Reconciled against the fear she has forgotten him

Crossing a bridge, he does not see
A small white cross
Wilting flowers
He is fixed on his goal
As rain falls

A Phantom

There's as phantom outside my window
I can hear him at night
Rattling his chain as he paces
Yet still he does not fright

There's a spirit in the ceiling
I can hear her sometimes moan
As she moves ever so slowly
I wonder if she feels alone

There's a monster in my wardrobe
Hiding in the shoes
I catch a glimpse just sometimes
It seems very confused

I wonder what they think of me
Monster, phantom, spirit
I wish I had the nerve sometimes
To ask them come to visit

We could have tea and scones
Fresh baked in the oven
And if they did not eat
I'll take scones by the dozen

But up till now I have not asked
My friends to come and see me
Maybe they'll be too scared
After all, I am a banshee!

Bonus Track

I lie in my bed and look back on my life
The pain, the lies
The joys and triumphs
A giant scale, weighing the measure of a man

Is my heart light as a feather?
I think not
I am scarred with memories

All the times when I stood by silent
The times when I spoke with silver tongue
The hurts, the wounds caused and taken
How could this be balanced
What good could help lift my heart
So black
So lost

The Sineater

The old man strode along the road, grey cloak covered in dust. His pace never slowed, never quickened as he strode onward. After hours spent in timeless walking he entered the outskirts of a village.

Without warning, a stone struck him in the back. His walking never slowed. Another stone flew past his head unheeded. The young boy was about to throw again when a hand grasped his arm.
"Look at his cloak! Don't you know who he is?"
The boy ran home, mute with terror. He did not speak for days.

Slowly, those remaining in the village lined the street leading to the one inn, knowing this must be the dusty man's destination. When he reached the door he paused to shake the dust from his cloak before entering. In a deep raspy voice unused to speaking he said a single word. "Ale." He placed some small coins on the bar, but the innkeeper, pale and sweating, ignored them as he filled a leather jack.

A long slow drink cleared some of the road from his throat, and as the cloak was thrown back the old man seemed to shed his years. Instead of age, his face showed but a score and a half years. His eyes though, told a different story, were any brave enough to look. Not one of the crowd forming inside the inn dared, as they knew the grey cloak well. Not a one knew the man, but the symbol was familiar to all.

"I have been drawn here, I am needed here." It was a statement, a question, a challenge. Who would be brave enough to speak?
"My father. He is sick. He..." the words lay on the tall man's tongue like lead. He resorted to pointing out the back of the inn to the sickhouse. The grey cloaked man stood without a word and moved through the crowd of people, all shifting silently to let him pass.

The old man lay in the bed, sweat pouring down his face. He knew his time was near, had seen his children and their children for the last time. As he lay dying, his thoughts turned to his life. He had, as all men, lived a life without thought of death. At first he was too young to die. Then, as he aged, death was an inconvenience that was not worth considering. Now though, when he stood with one foot passing through the gate, he reflected on his life. On all the missed opportunities. On all the mistakes. Crimes committed in the name of family, of love, of hope for a future. Crimes that now haunted him, faces long gone staring at him from every corner.

The door creaked, a shadow blocking the light.
"So, you have come for me?" A laugh turned into a fit of coughs, dry and painful. The shadow moved closer, revealing the man in the grey cloak. "Sineater!" the old man gasped, clutching at his chest as the man moved to kneel next to the bed.
"I absolve you." The words were soft, barely spoken. "Your crimes are forgiven. I take upon myself your pain, your memory, your sin." Gentle hands moved to hold the shoulders of the dying man. "You will leave this world as you entered, with clean slate." The words now barely heard, yet resonating. Lines appeared on the sineater's face, aging him as he took on another soul's burdens, allowing the pain caused by every act, every crime, all the suffering caused in a lifetime to flow through him. "Be free," the sineater gasped, flinging his hands into the air.

The son, courage fortified by harsh spirits, sneaked carefully into the sickhouse. His father lay smiling, chest still. The grey cloak was now rumpled and soiled, spread like wings around its wearer, slumped by the bed. With strength born of grief the son kicked the man.
"Leave this place!" he shouted. Another kick and the sineater staggered to his feet, face worn with a burden almost too much to carry. He stumbled out the door and down the road, to the shouts of a son wrought with grief and little understanding.

Grey cloak covered in dust, the man strode along the road, seeking his next destination, knowing that it might be his last. The burden too much to bare. He kept walking, alone.


In my mind is a deep chasm
Leading into a dark void
Where nothing exists, but nothing can exist
In that state of nothingness a burning fire
Narrow, but slowly creeping wider

Teetering on the edge I stand
Looking into the fiery void
Staring and wondering
What would happen if
If I cast myself in
But I stand
Barely holding against the tide

Across the chasm a bridge is being built
Inch by inch spanning the gap
Pale stones reflecting nothing
Reflecting fire
Reflecting the void, and absorbed
Foundations driven deep into the earth give strength
While the chasm grows
Cracks appear
Small and hidden

The questions rise with the stones
Should I try
Cross the bridge
Should I jump
Fall into the void
Should I stay
Teetering on the brink of destruction

Tonight I stay
Tempted but unmoving
Wanting to try, to cast myself into the depths
Wanting to stay, to cross the bridge
Ever wanting that which cannot be
An end to the void

They Watch

The trees are dark and silent
Any hint of light or heat has long passed with the sun
Standing mute testimony to the violence
They watch, as always
Silent and passing judgement
Decrying the horrors they have witnessed
Agonising over each drop of blood spilt
Blood that gives new life and growth even as it means death
Blood that flows deep into the earth, leaving behind only a memory of what was

The moon sets slowly, casting soft silver light
Glints of light from shards of metal
Glimmers of hope now shattered and left fallen
Lost, as all hope was lost
There were no victors here, no cries of celebration
Only the screams of those not yet gone
Abandoned to their fate
Their blood soaking into the ground
Giving new life
But not theirs

The stream passing through swirls aimlessly
Painting a reflection of the sky
Stars shining, shimmering, then gone
As another dark shape circles in the water
Making its slow journey to the sea
A frog's croak sounds, then is silent
Sacred void broken but for a moment
Even the air is still this night

The morning will see light, movement
A thousand lives started for each one ended
Yet the trees will scream in silent despair
Forbidden to move, to act
Condemned to watch alone
Lacking even the comfort of company
So they watch
And die even as new life seeps through their roots

Into My Mind

My mind is a sea of thoughts that are not thoughts
Words that have lost all meaning
Blank spaces where ideas are meant to go
Empty spots where once there was screaming

Swirling in a maelstrom, spinning round and round
Ideas, identities start to fall
Listen closely, if you dare
To their voice, their scream, their call

A whirlwind of colours
Shining, shimmering, blending into one
Until suddenly a flash, and then
The darkness has come

A sole flickering light
Bursts into flame
Then dies out
Gone before it came

But in that moment of light
What horrors stood revealed?
Far better to stay in the dark
Leave them concealed

All is blank now
All is still
Again the peace of not knowing
On the surface all tranquil

Under the surface though
Tentacles reaching
Listen closely
You will hear the screeching

A thousand tormented souls scream
Their everlasting defiance
Screaming against this
The unholy alliance

All tightly contained
Inside my mind
While on the outside
I hide and leave behind

Consider this well, when venturing in
What lurks beneath the surface
Watch and be warned, oh traveller
There is much to hurt us

The Hole

The deep dark hole into which everything falls
A vast gaping pit leading down, ever down
Lining the sides, screaming monsters showing claws
Pulling desperately down to drown

How easy it is to gently relax
Slide deep down into the pit
Let the world seep through the cracks
Drift down and submit

Let the worries and cares of the world abate
Cast yourself into the deepest dark
There is no need to try to create
Meaning, life, a heart

When there is nothing left to lose
When all has faded to shades of black
What else is there but to choose
To exit this world, who's care you lack

How easy it is to let it all go
Let the claws dig in and hold
Lose yourself in that desperate flow
Down headfirst so dark and cold

Throw yourself in and drown
Deep into the darkest belly of the beast
Let not your burdens weight you down
For now they will have ceased
The sound
The constant moaning
On and on and on and on and on
Over and over

Whispers in the night
In the darkness
In the depths of the mind
Constant unending talk and chatter
I'm not good enough I'm not strong enough I'm not anything

They all hate me
They all want me to go away
The world would be better without me in it

My Depressed Brain

My depressed brain came in a gradual state of decline. I didn't just wake up one day depressed. It happened slowly, and will be slow to recover.

My DB is slow. It's like my neurons aren't communicating with each other like they should. Small effect, but noticeable when I look for it. My DB is also slower to do things, get started. Motivation is a serious problem. Just getting out of bed is a challenge in the morning.

Getting to sleep is also a challenge. My DB likes to bring up all those horrible memories right when I try to sleep. Or just keep going long after I close my eyes. Then, if I let it, my DB will sleep for 12, 13 hours straight. But only when it feels like it.
Did I mention motivation? My DB doesn't give a fuck. Why bother, it says. Doesn't matter anyway. My DB would rather stay alone, hidden, safe and sound in my cave. My mask.

My DB does have a lovely range of wigs and fake glasses. It likes to play dressup, not letting itself be seen. I'm just grumpy. Been a hard week, out of patience. Work stress, it will pass. I'm fine. I'm good. I'm doing ok. My DB is a consummate liar. Especially to the people I care about and who care for me. Even more so to myself.

My DB though. Mine, a part of me. Sadface.


There they stand.
Countless seasons have passed.
Winters long and cold.
Summers hot and dry.
Flood, drought, fire.
All have passed them by and left them.
Not untouched, not unscarred.
They all bear the marks of each and every season.
But strong.
Standing there still.
Forging ahead through all trials.

There were trees, once.
Trees that lacked strength.
Fought against the seasons, fought hard and long.
Lost the battle.
We cannot fault them.
But they have not survived.

Some people fight hard.
Against all that oppose them, strong battles.
They fail, and fall, and are left.
Nothing more than memories.

Some people do not fight.
They allow all to pass over.
Content with hiding and avoiding harm.
They fail, and fall, and are left.
No one remembers them.

Then there are those, those few.
Who stand like the trees, enduring.
They do not allow injustice to pass.
They bear the scars and wounds of their battles.
Yet stand tall and proud.


Listen to the clock
Tick... tick... tick...
Yet never there is a tock
If you listen to the clock.

Listen to the sky
See how far you can hear
Just how high
If you listen to the sky.

Listen to the silence
Not a sound to be heard
Yet there is no reason to be tense
If you listen to the silence.


She sits and she stares at the stars up above her.
Why? she asks.
Why are stars there? Why are they not here amongst us?

The stars watching overhead say nothing. They never do.

The fire burns slowly, fading into soft yellows and reds. She watches a coal slowly disintegrate into ashes.
Why? she asks.
Why does the fire burn? Why does it not leap in joy and heat?

The cooling ashes say nothing. They never do.

The mother cries as another child is slowly lowered into the cold unfeeling embrace of the earth.
Why? she asks.
Why does the cruelty continue? Why was another life taken so soon?

The earth says nothing. It never does.

She sits in her chair, at the end of her life. Full of hardship and joy, now death approaches.
Why? she asks.
Why have I always been? Why has it not been someone else?

Death answers her.

The Gates of Hell

The Gates of Hell themselves will open wide
Before I let you go and run away;
For now you're in a place you cannot hide.

You said that you would never leave my side;
But now you're gone, the skies have all turned grey;
The Gates of Hell themselves will open wide.

You left, I sat there. Thought I would have cried.
The night's silence cut, the sound of a jay;
For now you're in a place you cannot hide.

You said you would always be here. You lied.
I say this to you. Now. Here and today;
The Gates of Hell themselves will open wide.

I thought I'd be able to cope, I tried,
But now I know that was never the way.
For now you're in a place you cannot hide.

Now, there is no time. You cannot abide.
Do what you wish, you may want to pray;
The Gates of Hell themselves will open wide,
For now you're in a place you cannot hide.

Meditation of a Wounded Knight

Ah, that dear friend, she has come to share her warm embrace with me again. Her gentle touch, soft as a lover's touch should be soft, reminds me of the many nights spent in her arms. Comforting. Familiar.
I had wondered when she would visit again, this night. She comes to me early sometimes, sometimes later. Tonight has been late, hours spent waiting on my lover's presence. I knew she would come to me, there has not been a night where we have been parted for long.
Her caress reminds me of many past adventures, follies. She is as familiar to me as my armour, as comfortable as my skin, a constant companion on nights such as these.
These past years, not a night has passed without her touch. Familiar as she has become, she is still a welcome addition to my night, her presence expected, comforting. I slip now into her embrace, awaiting a rude awakening that I know will come. Yet, for now, she is with me, I am in her arms, and the world is at peace.


I heart iambic pentameter verse
Although I find the rhyme to be a curse
The few who say that I do not know how
To write and rhyme I say you are a cow
For I can do this project that I set
Though on my fingers counting I must check
So now I must bring this rhyme to an end
Before iambic pentameter bends
Beyond the bounds of which I can allow
And blast, now all I can think of is cow
Which is the wrong way to end this here poem
A fate much worse than buried under loam
So this is now the end, at last I say
An end to this here verse, right now, I pray!

The Abyss

I stare into the abyss
Vast black pit of despair
I turn my head and walk away
I simply do not dare

I walk along the edge of the pit
Across the endless sands
Wondering where I can stop
Where I can take a stand

Under a dead sky
Filled with the decaying light of forgotten stars
Frozen landscape filled with decaying trees
Each reminds me of my scars

Weary of life I wander still
Through the desert, under the sky
Where I am going I know not
To find a destination I must try

Eventually I might find my way
Out of despair and into the light
Otherwise I fear that this may end
With nothing left of my life

I am...

I am...
The blank slate.
Wiped clean, streak marks covering my dark face where all has been wiped away.
Nothing left of what was, waiting always.
 I am...
The empty vessel.
Waiting to be filled.
Empty having been full.
All that was contained is now lost.
Nothing left of what was, waiting always.
I am...
The unknowing.
What I was.
What I will be.
Lost in the eternity of time, never to be known again.
I am...
The forgotten.
Left behind, abandoned.
Unworthy and unwanted.
I am...
The lost.
The windswept tor looms over the fens
The cold wind blows, people wish for their beds
A night bird screeches, filling the air
From whence did it come, from over there?
Or perhaps further away in the dark dark forest
Where people who venture are often lost
Ne'er to be seen again, at least in this life
Though spirits are drawn to the sound of the fife
Or other such sounds, as the tales go
If they are true is not for us to know
For who would dare venture into the deep dark woods
Who would go forth, where none of us could
Are any so brave, so foolish, so restless
As to venture so far, be so reckless
And find the answers, the truth that they seek?
Well, none there are, not this month, not this week
Some brave young souls ventured out not too long ago
Armed with the axe, and the sword, and the bow
The went forth under the bright light of day
And did we see them again?
The answer is nay
They remain lost, far from this place
You can see from the look on the old man's face
They will not come back, with their axe and their bow
They are lost to us now, strange paths to follow
For they did not listen, did not understand
That the woods are not ours, there, those trees stand
Alone and apart, yet joined as if one
Their darkest depths hidden from the sun
Who knows what goes on in those deep dark ways
Hidden from view, the sun, the turning of days
Hidden from us, from mere mortal eyes
Hidden away in shadow and lies
So when the cold wind blows over the tor above
And all that is heard is the mournful dove
Think of those lost, ne'er to be found
Think of their bones on the soft wet ground
Think of the last sight that they may have seen
Think of the trees, the bark, the green
Think to yourself, would you pay the cost?
Would you venture forth, only to be lost
Lost to all who love, who care, who see
Lost to the mountains, the mist and the sea
Think of the price you would pay, brave young soul
And think to yourself, would this leave me whole
If you choose to go forth, into the dark
Know that it is not simply a lark
Know that you will not return
Know that it is your grave you earn.