19 April 2011


A lately rare solitudinous eve finds me ensconced early in my bed surrounded by memories. There is a lot to cover, so this will be quite a long post. I doubt very much the phone will disturb me and while I write my evening will pass constructively. (Correction - brother texts to check that I still like Haigh's Chocolate.)

Having managed to break my recent Facebook habit, in fact, addiction, I have decided to focus on this blog for the time being. Whether this means I will post poetry, pictures and stories more frequently remains to be seen. I find this whole exercise a balance between truth, hope, overtly mawkish sentiments and outright idiocy. It is after all my story! Anyone who cares to read it or knows me may find it as they will. God knows how long my Facebook fast will last.

Lately I have felt the need to draw inward, much like the sap of a tree must feel as winter approaches. This is probably not an actual biological process. Trees don’t have a heart, or a core, but if they did, I imagine that when it is really cold and conditions do not provoke growth, all the sap, or energy, that would normally fuel growth and fill flowers and furnish fruits gathers instead to nourish the centre and keep it safe. In other words, I have not been meditating a lot lately, and yes, autumn is leading us inexorably to winter. (As an aside, it seems that ‘inoreaxable’ is a common substitution for inexorable and certainly it took me a while to work out the word I wanted; perhaps inexorable sounds too close to execrable for comfort.)

It is possible too that given all of the above, blogging is contraindicated and I will live in a silent forest not much frequented by birds, branches weighted only with chill snow. Who knows? The inward life does not mandate solitude and lack of self-expression. As much as anything, I am talking of the need to conserve and reserve my energy a little more.

Much leave coming, after 24 June this year, I will not return to the public service until January next year. Some have advised me to plan, plan, plan. Others say make no plans. I am only trying to save, save, save at this point. To a large extent, this involves curtailing my expenditure on cheese, but I am beginning to enjoy my parsimony. There is so little of worth that I spend my money on that it is not too difficult to stop and ask, “Do I really need this?”

It is with reluctance that I declare my next step will be to buy an espresso maker and make my own coffee in the morning. I do enjoy the social occasion of visiting Lonsdale Street Roasters, although I do it alone most often. They sell beans and I can get them there, visiting for an occasional treat I guess. Given I will probably need a grinder, I have some sums to do, but the transplant of this ritual from hip local locale to home and hearth is inevitable. Of course, when I looked online to buy one, I was immediately drawn to the Alessi version and gave myself a smart slap up the side of the head. There is an interesting article about where I live available here that mentions my favourite coffee shop.

Catching the bus from the airport to the city yesterday -see, I am taking this saving thing seriously- the following poem came to me:

The leaves catch fire as they fall
And leave the tree stark naked:
Hearken then to winter’s call.

A few other snippets of poetry have had this theme, although rhyming couplets seem to occupy my thought processes in general of late:

Alas, the sting of winter's lance,
Chasing my autumn romance.

This couplet would combine quite well with the preceding lines, even if it was composed to represent the tragedy of not having time to buy a coffee before work a few weeks ago. In retrospect, they seem the umbra of some prescient dream.


Leaves freed
Dancing in the
Final blaze
Of light's glory
To wake
Coat soon
With some
Frost hoary.


Well, I don't really know what winter will be like, even if it is the first time I have faced that season without familiar company for many years. Shelley instructs:

And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast
Rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.

(See The Sensitive Plant)

Whatever happens, spring will come and in the round all the seasons sing as preparation for The One, nay, in celebration, even. This is the difference between the square mind and the round heart. You can see four individual sides or else know the cycle as a web of being, grand.

I read a bit of Shelley today and really am in awe of anyone who can write 700 lines upon a singular theme. I must devote more attention to the Romantic Poets in general.

Went on a trip to Melbourne with CC over the weekend and saw three Comedy Festival shows amidst many meals and much lazing. I had never done anything like it before. The first show I mostly slept through, but the theatre does that to me at times and I had a very emotional day. During the other performances I attended, consciousness was maintained throughout. Melbourne is a vision of terrace housing and funky cafe eateries that always seem to be packed, because they are often too small. By comparison, Canberra seems lacking in spunk. If I lived in Melbourne, I might become devoted to the pursuit of the perfect breakfast experience. Melbourne does great graffiti as the pictures that top and tail this tale illustrate.

The hardenbergia I planted a few weeks ago is going okay, sporadically manifesting prolific growth and on other days appearing to be too busy with photosynthesis to bother extending itself overmuch. Something is eating the leaves, but it does not seem to have disease. Therefore, I will watch a while before deciding if it needs treatment. It strikes me as a fair contribution for a plant to make to the great circle of life – a few holes in a few leaves. I understand it stimulates the production of certain chemicals in a plant to be attacked thus, but perhaps this is more relevant to esculent species, given this response apparently increases nutritional value for the human consumer. Anyway, I am looking forward to the day that it has grown to cover my entire balcony rail so I can walk around naked in the mornings, more often than I do now anyway.

As above, I am not so fortunate that my poems emerge finished or perfect all the time anymore, but I do find a flow of imagery that I can sculpt to some level of satisfaction at times. The making of melodies adds another element of challenge. If I can make the universal accessible I am happy. Well, right now, there are just too many fragments, nascent visions and inchoate offerings to the altar of existence for me to harvest much more poetry tonight.

Today, on matters of love, a friend advised, “You don’t have a great track record of late.” I have to agree and I don’t actually know that success in the field will be forthcoming anytime soon, nor even what success might look like. This is probably a major factor in the confusion, but clinging to ideas is probably worse and I am a little stuck with some right now, but I will work through them. Still, it is quite roundly depressing to be honest. Misalignment of circumstances or needs and wants seems to be the rule and not the exception. Any appearance of synchronicity is difficult to nurture. The mystery only deepens. I recognise the need to guard against my heart becoming indifferent for that would be horrible. Knowing that is something good.

There are five days of holidays coming up over Easter and Anzac Day. Two of these I will spend in Adelaide with the family. Perhaps driving to the beach is a good idea at some other point on this break, seeing I have only ventured to the coast once since I moved to Canberra many years ago.

It's not Leonard Cohen, but:

I woke to find a secret solace in the night
On the pillow where your head once lay.
I gather to this place in accord
With the scar that forms when
For perfect love a perfect tear falls
Upon your holy leaving.


O Love, the poets have not exhausted you yet...we, the endless poets of an endless poem claim our right to compose endlessly.

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