Sunday, October 17, 2010

savage beauty

'The great affair, the love affair with life, is to live as variously as possible, to groom one's curiosity like a high-spirited thoroughbred, climb aboard, and gallop over the thick, sun-struck hills every day. Where there is no risk, the emotional terrain is flat and unyielding, and, despite all its dimensions, valleys, pinnacles, and detours, life will seem to have none of its magnificent geography, only a length. It began in mystery, and it will end in mystery, but what a savage and beautiful country lies in between.'
- Diane Ackerman

A docile life would be robbed of the real beauty - the savage beauty - that can only be witnessed when all of life's fears and heartbreaks and messy complexities are acknowledged in full.

I don't want a life of constant drama and endless confusion; I do want to find a self-assurance, an anchor in life's storms, an inner peace. But what I really need is a way to ride those rugged waves with salt-stung eyes, strong arms, and a steady heart, feeling the rightful fear of the brutal ocean embraced by that transcendent calm that comes only from beyond me, and only from within.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


When it gets like this I am a disease, a grafted organ repulsed by its host. I am Jonah attempting to wrench himself from the hostile bowels of the whale, to spew himself onto some sandy shore or desert or spot in the sun. Homeward bound down stricken home sick.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

morning haze

This morning I slowly woke to the sound of kids playing on the oval at Wilston Primary and a dog yapping outside the bakery. Through my closed eyelids I could see tradies with their meat pie and Breaka; mums with a loaf of white and three cream buns; Chris from the post office dropping in for his coke and chicken and avocado roll.

I vaguely thought, "Are we driving to the southside today? Picking up a cheesecake for family lunch? Afterwards we can stop at Sunnybank for Gloria Jeans and a cheap movie."

Then I opened my eyes to a different scene. Remembered Macrgregor and Rochedale South are a day - not a car ride - away.

And the thought of a marble cheesecake from Mrs Robertson's made me feel a little bit sick.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Poems from the heart of the season.

Queensland summer

Queensland summer is

a big belly laugh

rippling juices round.

It is an indulgent fart

bursting from the body


It is

farting because you’re

laughing because you’re


so much your sides burn

and your face explodes

and rippling juices

ooze from your eyes.

Norfolk Summer

Norfolk Summer is

a pup’s loving lick;

soggy tongue to the eyelid,

wet nose to the neck.

It is the fresh faced

girl’s giggle –

the tickle

of the dog's warm breath

to her strawberry cheeks,

her wheaten hair,

her sandy skin.

She rolls about the grass

and lays in its cold green,

watching the puppy

scurry away.

Friday, August 13, 2010

where the heart is

Something unexpected has crept upon me these past six months: I have found my heart has two, equal, homes. In hindsight, here's how I believe it happened.

February. Winter had devoured me and I truly thought it would never ever end; my memory of any warmth had vanished and I believed the seasons in this god-forsaken place would turn only from bitter to melancholy and back again. I was a forgotten ghost in an alien world, losing sight of the paradise I called home.

March. The light lasted longer each day. Birds whistled in the mornings. But I was still battered by the brash winds when I stepped outside and, with no certain date set for our return, only dreamed of my family and friends back home. Neil saw my tears and suggested: why not head home for a visit?

April. Homeward bound. On the flight to Australia I found the place where I could embrace everything fully, ready to let it all go after 14 days. I opened myself to every moment, every encounter, every ray of sun. And I noticed, staying at my parents' place, where I hadn't lived for six years, that my old home here - the flat in the Grange - wasn't home anymore. People had warned me I wouldn't want to return to England. But when the volcanic ash cloud turned my two weeks in Brisbane into three and a half, I missed home. I mostly missed Neil, but I also missed my new Norwich home.

May. Trips around England with Australian girls reminded me: I am an Australian in England. So simple, but somehow so tricky to balance. Too much of being an Australian and I lose out on being here now - the one thing I want most to do. Too much of being in England and I forget there are parts of me that think differently, know differently, speak differently - yes, I have an accent and everyone can tell! - though subtle, these differences are there and they are okay and they are me.

June. Heading home from an amazing trip to Barcelona, I realise I am heading home. We celebrate six years of marriage in a quiet Norfolk B&B. Here we are; we are here and we are happy.

July. Summer smacks me and laughs, "I am alive in these parts!" I roast on the balcony and plan my summer holidays, and the next school year. Here, at my school, where I am, now.

August. I thrill at the chance to host Aussie mates, showing them my new home, sharing discoveries of this amazing place. I will miss it here so dearly, I think. I already miss it, devouring every exploration and each enjoyment as though it will vanish any day. The stickers on the map in the spare room tell a tale of journeys made and journeys yet to come. There's more here for me, so much more. I research visa requirements, indefinite leave to remain. I dream about Christmas here again, about the Autumn illuminations, about frosty nights and snow days and my red winter coat.

I don't want to go home yet, because, I love this home.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Tonight I tried yoga for the first time.

Afterwards, I floated out into the zero-degree night, amazed at how much there is to yoga; how clumsy and awkward I was a it, yet how enlarging and organic it could be. All the while without the typical tension tightening my neck and shoulders and back when the weather nears freezing.

At home I sat again and practised awareness and breathing. Inflated with fresh energy; expelling waste. Slowly I felt the seasonal connection and it made sense for the first time: spring is the inhalation; summer the height of expansion; autumn is the deflation and winter the absence of breath. Without the winter, death lingers. Winter creates the vacuum inviting spring to rush in.

Today, March 3rd, I feel the inhalation of spring like a crisp shower after a sleepless dream. Birds wake me in the golden morning like a cliched cartoon. Cleansed of yesterday, absence has reached its panging fullness; breath rushes in.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Winter I

The musky marshmallow sky
Oozes honey
Drizzled over gingerbread houses
with marzipan trimmings
All this sprinkled with icing sugar
And I, in my red coat,
The cherry on top

Winter II

Stale stench clings to crumbling relics
Once rotting, now decomposed
Marrow sucked from skeletal trees
Left bereft
Maggots and scorpions have died out
Feasted on the chalky ash of remains
Their carcasses scatter the darkened alleys
Only blind ghosts
Wheezing their way past the hollow stones
Remember a shadow without fog
And wish they could weep for it