Thursday, 31 March 2016


While lingered yet your sweet cologne
My heart did learn it was alone
For though I had but a moment’s glance
I understood all the happenstance

There beside you in concealed wood
Lying with you where I should
He who with veiled communication
Would force me to my abdication

So when you left me with nae a sigh
I felt my heart convulse and die
That is why all folk are gawking
For I am just a dead man walking

My flesh does rot from bones now weak
I barely have the strength to speak
For you have stolen life’s last breath
And made me naught but history’s shibboleth

© Mark Chimes

Saturday, 19 March 2016

What a Waste

The Southern Cross at its zenith
The moon moving slowly across the sky
The Ox plodding across the Milky Way
Far-away stars winking, coy and shy
And you’re not here to see it
You’re not here to hear my sigh


Saturday, 5 March 2016

Be careful what you wish for

There has been a lot of comment by the media in the past few weeks around the possibility of a severe downturn in the property market. While Toowoomba is traditionally a little protected from the huge swings southern markets endure, consumer confidence is the single biggest factor in the buying and selling of a family home.

Most pundits have been indicating that any downturn would be a good thing for the majority, particularly first-home buyers, but I tend to disagree. I read an interesting article during the week about the negative effects of a market crash that succinctly articulates my opinion on this topic.

You can read the article here.

Saturday, 27 February 2016


My melancholia, whether from disposition or habit, is like any man's; unable to be vindicated by stoicism or wisdom, happiness or patience, generosity or even godliness.

Melancholy is the character of mortality. Any man who is able to avoid all melancholic feelings from his thoughts, desires, and anxieties shows proof of an inability to fully and properly comprehend life itself; for to avoid melancholy is to avoid empathy, refuse comprehension and shun participation in reality. To hold to a perpetual tenure of happiness in life is ridiculous and absurd. Even Solomon himself held that "in the midst of laughter there is sorrow". Indeed, to not know melancholy is to make oneself unable to reciprocate true feelings and affection to another.

Melancholy should not be mistaken for depression, nor should it be joined with any other thoughts or attitudes that may legitimately be considered vain, egregious or erroneous in some way. Melancholy provides a window to different perceptions. It enables a deeper understanding of distress and trouble, and once understood, opens doors to the provision of support and anchor for the one suffering.

For some, their melancholia may have derived from a period of disquiet, an issue raising apprehension or even an event that caused perturbation. It may creep in during a season of distress or during a time of upheaval. The arrival or existence of melancholy is not evidence that something has gone wrong. It is not a state that requires correction or "fixing". True, a prolonged period of melancholy may be an accurate indication that help is required, adjustment made or support given, but the same can be said for prolonged periods of celebration, extreme physical activity, and over-work.

Of itself it has the same right to exist as contentment, peace and calm. Melancholia promotes contemplation, reflection, and personal insight. Just because it may lead  to an unhealthy measure of introspection does not mean it should be avoided or eradicated. That would be like refusing to teach children how to swim because some might drown. True melancholy does not focus on the inner person. It is not a self-indulgent, introspective, ego-centric, "woe-is-me" deportment. These conditions indicate depression, not melancholia. A true melancholy state provides a time of reprieve in order to assimilate the current season and conditions and to adjust attitude, approach and response. 

There are times in my life when I deliberately seek a melancholic disposition. I am careful to keep my demeanour appropriate when I am with others, but I find the environment and culture of melancholy helpful for personal stocktaking, attitude and perception adjustment and it assists me to maintain a humble and judicious attitude towards others and life in general. Melancholia can sometimes make me pensive and sometimes this may come across as being despondent or disconsolate, but I am rarely in either of those states. 

In short, occasional melancholy makes me easier to live with and that's got to be a good thing, right?

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Oh Happy Day!

Whoot! Last night, at 7:23 pm our eldest daughter gave birth to our second grandchild. A girl of unknown size, weight and dimensions. (Her father was tired, excited and was not able to pass on this information). 

This is our daughter and son-in-law's second child and even though they are over-the-moon with joy and happiness, their emotion is a mere drop in the ocean compared with our's. (Every grandparent indisputably knows that grandparents enjoy their grandchildren more than parents enjoy their kids).

This child, like her older sibling, will live a blessed life because of the wisdom, insight, love and devotion of her grandparents. Pa and Nanna, closely followed by Granny & Gramps, will endow this child with love, affection and support better than any other child will ever receive.

There is no doubt that she will become a Nobel Laureate, a space engineer and a brain surgeon, after ....

[Daughter] Dad? What are you doing?

[Pa] ... an educational career including Dux of the...

[Daughter] Dad! Stop it!

[Pa] ... school and Universi...

[Daughter] Dad! Stop it! NOW!

[Pa] ... ty valedictorian ...

[Daughter] Dad, if you don't stop right now we will revoke all visiting privileges.

This broadcast has been halted due to technical difficulties.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Home Free

No ghosts from the past with sordid history
No skeletons in the closet or places to be
No chip on my shoulder, no monkey on my back
No muse in my head to blame for my lack

No dues owed to the Ferryman, no tiger by the tail
No need to pay the Piper, nothing beyond the Pale
No fear of the Reaper, no angst t’wards Old Man Time
No grief for anything that ever was mine

No bad dreams to falter or things I want to forget
No tears of dread to cry, there is no regret
No niggling doubts to ponder or trivial questions “Why?”
No unsettled dispute, no little white lie

No pressing appointments or points to prove
No soap-box to preach or stumbling block to move
No chain to bind me, no lock without key
No debt tying me down - I’m home free.

No magic trick, no sleight of hand,
No fancy foot-work, no shifting sand
No ace up my sleeve or joker in the pack
No magic wand or rabbit in a hat

No spin of the dice, no four leaf clover
No reason to look my shoulder over
No rabbit’s foot, no lucky charm
No hasty retreat from a rushing gendarme

No other agenda, no facade on my face
No rockets in my shoes to cheat in this race
Not counting the blow but turning the cheek
Not eager for fame but fervent for meek

No fear of flying, no terror of heights
But an awe of flame and a kin for lights
Facing the challenges, no fear of fear
Living my life as if my Saviour is near.

No baggage to carry, no millstone round neck
No run-away thoughts to be kept in check
No prison to hold , no handcuffs on me
No reason to stay - I’m home free.



Thursday, 14 January 2016

Re-connecting with an old friend

Most of us remember the days of our high school years with warm reminiscence, or at least some fondness. Life was full of possibilities; exciting and full of exploits. The adventure of an unknown future not yet handicapped by a long history meant that most of us looked forward to the life ahead of us with more than just a little optimism.

I was no different. In fact, even today, more than four decades later, I still find myself viewing new possibilities with enthusiasm. It seems that I am not alone in thinking this way.

Yesterday I caught up with an old school friend I have not seen since we both left high school. For the past 40-odd years he has lived in Darwin and spend a lot of time travelling abroad for his work. He has seen a very different life than I have. He sort of 'fell' into many of his jobs - a case of being the right person in the right place at the right time. His work has taken him into the seedier side of life where he investigated the nefarious activities of those in society who ignore laws and hold no consideration for others. While he was describing his work history to me I got the distinct impression that he has faced serious threat to his life more than once.

And yet, here's the thing: he remains just as adventurous and inquisitive as when I knew him in school. He is still an optimistic man confident that life will return good things to him. He has enjoyed a life filled with interest, excitement, activity and relevance. Of course, there has also been the monotony of persistence and the tediousness of continuity to contend with, (none of us escape those things), but he remains positive in his outlook and unequivocal in his expectation of good times ahead.

Tony, it was very refreshing to catch up with you after such a long time and to see that the friend I knew in our teen years is essentially still the same man today.