Saturday, 17 March 2018

On A Windy Day

The tree branches engage in a mysterious dance
An ancient frenzy; dos-à-dos and enchufla
The steps of which remain in taxonomic secrecy known
only to the phylum; even the wind does not understand
the choreographic response of the fronds.
The rhythm of their writhing declaring an impenetrable knowledge.
No matter how long I observe their swing,
sway and shimmy, I am no more learned of their communications than
before the weather changed.

March 2018

Sunday, 11 March 2018

The Cost of Creativity

The cost of creativity is born by few while being enjoyed by the many.
More than material cost or financial cost is the personal cost paid by the artist
Knowing aforehand that they will follow their creativity
regardless that fortune and satisfaction will likely avoid them
Bound to their gift like a slave in chains
even though they feel freedom is not a choice available to them
Unwillingly accepting the inherent emotional risks
that are part and parcel of a creative life

Enduring for long seasons at the hand of their endowment
Undone by their gift, dying a little with the production of each work
And yet renewed a little by success, should it choose to come,
such recompense being elusive and fleeting.
And should success, wealth and fame present themselves
To then have to avoid the so easily stumbled upon offenses
of arrogance, conceit, narcissism, and pomposity.
Resolved that their artistry always leads to anguish
Either via the path of disappointment and exhaustion
Or the flame of fame and adoration.

Perceiving that humanity may be willing to adore their works
But not consider it important enough to purchase
That they will bemoan the poor state of funding by governments,
selfish procurement by corporations and
opportunistic acquisition by the wealthy
but make no effective step towards personal cost
in order to enrich their own lives, endow enterprise with pleasant environment,
or even to maintain the aesthetic culture of society.

For this reason, it is rare to find a truly creative person that is
Free without being wild
Expressive without being excessive
Unrestrained without being intemperate
Solitarian without being reclusive
Melancholy without being saturnine

Can we blame them when
Their solitude turns them into an eremite
Their ill-humour into moody antagonism
Their indiscriminate sins into public excesses
And their attempts at amelioration
produces alcoholic manic-depressives

We approve when a corporation commences an expensive re-engineering of itself
in order to better serve its customers.
We demand that politicians commit to a higher calling than their personal betterment.
We applaud when a sportsman lives on the poverty line in order to reach his goal.
We admire the mother who goes without in order to give to her children.

Why then do we observe with disapproval the artist who gives to the point of emotional bankruptcy for the very thing that brings purpose to themselves and amenity to the world?

March 2018

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Considering Past Misperceptions

He sits, pondering, looking out the lounge window

The curtains billowing from the zephyred evening
The twilight air fretting upon his aging skin
His stubborn thoughts fretting upon his aging mind

His opinions framing his perceptions
like the window curtains filter the tableau through the casement
But a window needs drapery and perhaps the faulty
view is the price to be paid for such lovely curtains.

March 2018

Sunday, 18 February 2018

The Concert

The slight nervousness
seeking allocated seats
seeking for known faces in the crowd
seeking for calm before the storm

The programme dims
auditorium lighting
conversations, pins dropping
vestiges of footfall

The roar of adulation
lifting people from their seats
raising their arms in adoration
satisfying their expectations

The first chord strikes
another explosion of elation
another wave of worship
another spike in audience adrenalin

The measure of music
halts chronology
stretches eternity
present and future united

The final encore brings
the thunderclap of applause
the exodus to the carpark
the sigh of fulfilment
the vacuum of insatiable desire

Feb 2018

Sunday, 11 February 2018

The Pleasure of Sounds

The symphony of cicadas,
conducted by calendar, not hormones

The conversation of trees,
discoursing branches batting pros and cons back and forth

The raucous romp of rain,
gurgling and gargling its journey down the gutters

The aria of birds
rivaling a heavenly choir

Sausages on the barbeque,
arguing with snap and sizzle

The peals of playing children,
their lilting laughter calling to Evensong

The weekend reprise,
either boisterous pandemonium or quiet somniloquy

The humming of my wife,
quietly administering the household chores


Saturday, 10 February 2018

What is required of a man

One of the most obvious things missing from the daily lives of most of us is kindness.

I am not talking about the kindness you show to a stranger by helping them in some random, ad hoc manner. That type of kindness is easily offered.

One of the most difficult things for a man is to maintain a demeanor of kindness during periods of stress. If you can remain kind when you don't feel like being kind then your spouse, family and friends will come to trust you even when you doubt yourself. Like every other man on this planet, you will have to work at this. Being kind is not always easy. 

Sometimes kindness has to be dredged up from the depths of our emotions kicking and screaming. It's the last thing we feel like being. Sometimes there is no personal satisfaction in being kind. There is no emotional boost to our ego, no warm and fuzzy feeling flooding through us. Sometimes we think that gratification will come if we say something unkind, and indeed we may be right, but self-gratification that comes at the expense of another's hurt is never the ground upon which a lasting relationship can be built.

Sometimes being kind feels like the wrong thing to be, but it never is. No one ever lost anything by being kind. We often tell ourselves that we are only speaking the truth, but if we cannot speak the truth with kindness, if we cannot speak the truth with love, then the truth is buried under the emotion we are using to declare it - anger, exasperation, frustration, bitterness, hatred. And you know from personal experience that what is heard is that frustration, that anger, not the content of the truth. 

If we are honest with ourselves, we know that we have no right to tell someone else the truth if we are the one who will gain from it. Imparting truth should always be solely for the recipient's good, not ours. Selfish spreading of the truth is a wicked, debilitating behavior and does nothing to heal a relationship. Spreading the truth for the sake of titillating conversation or self-aggrandisement is simply gossip and we all know that gossip separates the best of friends.

Learning to be kind in every circumstance is not an easily won aptitude. This is a skill I am yet to master. It takes determination and application, and a little presence of mind. It forces us to consider our default responses and challenges us to consider our habitual responses to circumstances we dislike.

None of us like to be on the receiving end of an outburst of "the truth". We feel the truth is being used as a weapon against us. The truth is that the truth may hurt us, but it's delivery never should. We are far more likely to consider someone's comment to us, even though it may be disagreeable, if it is delivered kindly and with the recipient benefit in mind. 

What is required of a man? Kindness.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

The Australian Farmer

Australia; a country filled with green grass and promise. Where abundant rain falls in the tropics, and occasionally in the fertile valleys and plains. When the rain stops it is as if it had never come. The rain, long passed, turns into the Dry. The Dry becomes drought and children under four do not know what rain looks like. Where the Dry kills every crop, backyard garden and bowling green, the drought kills dreams, family dynasties and livelihoods. The Dry is a schoolyard bully but long foresight, deep pockets and early preparation might allow you to minimise losses. The drought is a cruel, harsh dictator; amoral and merciless. No one escapes the drought.

The only way to remove an unrelenting drought is by flood. Not any flood, not just a flood that causes rivers to swell, dams to be filled and inland lakes to breath again. Not just a flood that brings birds a-flocking, grass a-growing and bees a-buzzing. No, it has to be a flood that wipes out any remaining stock and crop, that cuts roads for days, wrecks rail lines, cuts power and phone for weeks and takes human life. When drought takes a firm grip of the country, only a flood such as this can break it.

And one thing is certain. Every flood is followed by a drought.

So the man who decides to farm this country, whether by own choice or the decision is made for him through the charge of family loyalty, long dynasty or paternal pressure, is a man like no other man. He is a man who is able to be stoic against the elements, resolute against pest and disease, and indomitable against the markets.  He has learnt plumbing and carpentry, mechanics and fitting, fencing and irrigation, agronomy, chemistry, biology, meteorology, economics, marketing, politics and value-adding. He is able to labour from dawn to dark in the field and then expend hours at night keeping accounts balanced, records accurate and orders submitted to ensure the next season has a chance. He is able to help a neighbour in distress even when his own family is impoverished. He rallies the community and brings strength to the weak, he advises paths of action to others even if it means detriment to himself.

He is not born this way for these qualities are never birthed in a man; they can only be forged by the searing of the sun and the slicing of hail; by bumper crops in time of market downturn and drought-ravaged crops in time of high market demand; by callous demands from ruthless bankers and cold-blooded policies from uncaring governments.  He risks his finances and jeopardises his reputation for the love of his family and his land.

This is the Australian farmer.