Thursday, October 31, 2013

All Hallows

The dead do walk through fields of night,
in scattered, bony tread,
devouring meals they cannot eat,
reminding life of death.

In spectral shapes they haunt the edge,
of this material world,
and speak with those of open heart,
whose minds have not been closed.


You cannot lose someone, no matter how deeply felt
the loss of them might be, in the physical, material;
the absence of touch, the feel of their presence and,
the warm, living reality of flesh and skin and breath,
so disconnected from an image and a voice, which
is all they have to offer across great distance and space.

As if, the connection has been broken, which it has,
in that literal way which speaks to us so powerfully
and so completely and our nature knows that feeling,
most soulfully, connects us with those we love,
and without that marriage of one body with another,
however fleeting, in the same space - we do lose.

Words may be repeated, over and over, again, and again,
reminding us that we bond at spiritual levels,
for which there is no limit, no distance, no time,
and no space, but in the raw, felt world we know,
this is not true, in any real way which can compensate,
for their absence and the lack of two crucial senses.

Love by its nature will grieve always for the loss
of touch and smell, no matter how often an image may
flicker on a screen, or a voice speak across oceans and
hours, for we were made to hold one another and breathe
in the substance, soul and heart of those we love and
distance will always deny that; reminding us of loss.

You can lose someone. Not completely. But enough
so that it hurts when you are reminded they are not there,
that you cannot reach out and hold them, embrace them,
connect in that way of coming together as two material
beings, in the way that you once did when they were close,
and not far away across oceans. You can lose someone.

But the hardest loss of all is not material; the deepest
oceans and the greatest distance is that where mind and
heart are separated by belief in ways which still surprise,
because once connected, joined, it is impossible to comprehend,
that someone might no longer be there - and yet it happens,
and then the losing yawns deeper, wider, darker than any other.

Small steps on a publishing path... very small steps, but, steps all the same

I have had a few poetry submissions accepted in the past 18 months, mainly because now, with online submission, it is actually possible to submit from the wilds of Africa and elsewhere. Or maybe I am just a bit lazy and it is so much easier than hard copy and post office which I dabbled with years ago, whenever I found myself back in the First World where one could post something in the first place with some expectation it might reach a destination.

The latest is in Poetry Nook. I have work in about a dozen anthologies and journals now which isn't much in the scheme of things as a writer, but better than the proverbial 'kick in the teeth' as they say.

Poetry has become something of a booming field with the internet and there is no doubt that the opportunities have increased.

It's nice to have something to put in the bookshelf. The next step, when I am back in Oz in a couple of years is to self-publish the six or seven novels, one non-fiction, three family ancestry books, and maybe the grand-children can flick through them in years to come and say: 'That's what nan did!'

My kids, Damon Ross-Walker and Morgan Ewart might even read some of my work!

My life as a creative writer did not begin until they were grown up, and in between moves around the world there was actually time.

In the meantime, there is nothing like seeing something on a printed page.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sea and Sand

Dealing with rejection as a writer

How does one deal with rejection as a writer?

The simple reality is that success and talent are not synonymous and never have been. Good and great writing gets rejected and bad writing gets accepted. It has ever been so. Of course you can learn lessons and you will learn lessons but that does not mean that success will come.

Many of those writers which are now called 'great' were rejected for years; many were not published until after they were dead. In a hoax a few years ago submissions using the work of some great writers were sent to agents and publishers and all were rejected.

Can you imagine James Joyce and Ulysses even getting a look-in these days when the fashion is for 'shopping list' writing? He was serially and seriously rejected in his time until someone actually recognised brilliance but today he would be unlikely to be accepted by anyone.

Which raises the other issues which relate to whether or not one is rejected or accepted and first on the list is, taste, or 'fashion.' With the death and dearth of brave and brilliant literary agents and publishers - although the developments online are helping improve this situation - it is the market which drives decisions. In other words, what the agents and publishers believe will sell is what matters, not the quality of the writing.

So your writing may be utterly brilliant, but not to the 'taste' of agents, publishers and the market at this point in time. Rejections will push many to make a decision as to whether or not they continue to write in their own unique and distinct way, no matter if they are never accepted, or whether they will try to change their style to 'suit' the fashion. The latter choice will not gaurantee acceptance either. Which brings me to the other factor at work and that is fate.

Returning to the stark reality that success and talent are not synonymous, and never have been, in any field, takes one to the issue of fate, destiny and plain old dumb luck. There are countless brilliant writers, poets, singers, artists, lawyers, architects - pick a profession or creative skill - out there who will never succeed. There are some who will, alongside lots of mediocre if not incompetent others.

So while there may be valuable lessons to learn which may bring acceptance and success for some, for most there will not. And the only lesson left is to enjoy what you do, speak in your own true voice, gain satisfaction from your creative expression and leave the rest to fate.

Anyone who is called to write and in it for the long haul of being rejected in the main for decades needs to reach a place of acceptance and dedication to the writing art for itself. It is not easy to write without the encouragement of acceptance and publication.

It is like spending days preparing a fabulous meal and having no-one eat but never telling you why. Too hot, too cold, too salty, too foreign, too plain, too rich ….. It takes enormous courage and dedication to write without the support of acceptance and in the face of constant rejection and writing is perhaps unique in that all that effort can be for virtually nothing in any real sense.

You can self-publish and put it on a shelf, sure, but even with a painting, sculpture and other creative arts, you can give your work away, hang it on the wall, put it on a shelf and have it receive an occasional admiring look – not so with books of prose or poetry. They must be picked up and read. My hat goes off to and my heart goes out to writers who write for their soul, with no acceptance and the possibility they will never get it.

At the end of your life, the quality of your creative expression will not be important, no matter how much of a success or failure society might deem you to be; who you were, are and how you lived your life as a person first and writer second will be what matters, to you and to everyone else you touched.


Hung, like Odin on the tree, or Inanna, naked, hooked,
and the sanguine fool, upside down, still smiling, patient,
waiting for the healing, which must  and will come;
not to be resisted, but embraced; the lesson salient,
so is the work commenced and held in place that wholeness
may be found, created, birthed; the Soul made radiant.

The archetypes abound, reveal the lessons that we need,
as image, sense, dream and feelings so profound,
and still we fight relentless, holding onto what has been;
refusing to give way, relinquish long-dead ground,
where rotting corpses lie across synaptic, hidden waste
and death demands it's price, slow feeds the ravening hound.

It's only in surrender that the work is ever  fully done,
for fate does guide who will, and drags regardless, all the rest,
knowing that the call to being is the greatest, vital force;
life released, an arrow across time from birth to end,
for firm and feathered flight, eternity does surely measure,
then upon the cross of days, deep nails of night, the ego bends. 


Separation drags us from connected place,
within, without, and stands us cold alone,
so does opportunity make unexpected claim;
observe, reflect and see your shape true born.

It's only beyond shadow that the edges clear,
that form is thus defined without confusion,
and there we can perceive and know revealed,
the truth of who we are without persuasion.

Pain does hold the pen and draw the shape,
so sharply and meticulous defined,
displays in stark relief, the soul and self;
alone, distinct, abandoned and refined.

For those who do dismiss and cast aside,
are teachers on the path to inner growth,
and force our stand in isolation's glare,
that we may have the strength to stand alone.

It's when we know and trust our own true form,
that we can make our way back to the fold,
restore connection as our full potential;
be present, not consumed; our boundaries hold.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Thoughts did rise and huddle close to fading image,
holding hands across the edge of time and space,
cold-fingered, tight-lipped and chilled through flesh,
full imagined in the wreck of broken grace;
rising yet to taunt and tighten heart and mind's resolve,
mocking, silent, settled on the days as grieving breaks.

Remembering - that putting back together piece by piece,
jigsaw patience, sorting through the dust of hope,
where all the broken shards of lost relationship do hide,
and pain does set adrift on salty tears what reason chose;
drowning, arms adrift and soul in tortured, helpless wake,
beneath the brutal waves where nothing will be known.

To waken - believing that it has been nothing more than dream,
and then reality smooths careful place upon the bed,
sits with folded arms, smooth brow and unforgiving glare,
as wishes are with sharpened knife, so surely bled;
dying, surrendering to that which has been always clearly known,
so long denied, and yet a meal of truth so forceful fed.

Rememberance Day

Maggots chew and suck through rotting flesh,
that soup sublime, as all is slow reduced in ordered time,
and deliquescent dance dictates, reduction,
as  Death, takes charge, determined and imagined;
sensual and seductive, grasping shredding hands,
to lead the lost through mysteries and mud,
where rivers mark the edge of unknown lands.

Such is the law and course of conflict through the years,
where bodies break upon the back of fear and rage,
and youth is squandered in the name of greed and hate,
that others may hold power or be enriched;
while horsemen ride in riotous, prancing gait,
to wave the flag apocalypse once more, and roar
in voices brittle and confused - destruction waits.

And yet how poorly memory has served their sacrifice,
how little have the stories brought real change,
how meaningless the moments and the shrivelled words,
the poems and flags and tributes endless heard;
with war and death still stalking through the world,
blood, grief, pain and suffering, never to be checked,
in hideous mock; the battle flags stay full unfurled. 

Sunday, October 27, 2013


Shapes in spectral forming,
dusted through deep shadow,
images alarming;
mind has travelled far.

Worlds are in collision,
edges blurred and drawn,
past and future beckon;
ghosts are slowly called.

Imagination holds the night,
reality the day,
then swapping places suddenly;
brings thoughts in disarray.

Solid drowns emphatically,
ephemeral holds court,
the spirits rise in unison;
nothing as we thought.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Forgotten fields

Forgotten fields give birth in blood,
scarlet reaches high, as monkish hood,
reminders of the truth of hidden death,
memories of sudden, full stopped breath,
as stone remembers flesh as earthly food.

Cast corpses on the breast of bitter day,
chewed slow through mud and icy rain,
they gather in the darkened halls of youth;
the years denied.

Time does hold the brush forever high,
the colours fade, the paint does slowly dry,
and only in the stories can they live,
the gift which grief and hope will always give!
Light steps upon the terraces of  war;
the sacrifice is honoured evermore.


Those flattened fields of Flanders
scream of battered souls
and muffled howls which pressed
beneath time's tread has crushed
the cry of hurt beneath firm soil.

The heaving shape of shouldered pain
is locked by grasses -green terrain,
which grips and holds imprisoned fast,
the rotted world which once had passed:
in steady tread and huddled roar,
a raging spread of weeping sore.

The silence now holds heavy court
upon the place where thousands fought
and died with no-one there to see
them sucked beneath the seething sea;
a muddy grave which beckons still
with glutinous grin alive and well
beneath the veil of fragile green.

1988 - following a visit to the 'trenches in Ypres.


There rose upon the face of grace, a darkened light,
which wrote as sorrow, scrawled in wasted, falling pen
and washed as breath across the guarded brow;
reality,  which force of mind could not dispel.

As if some truth had pushed through cornered hope,
demanding that it speak beyond the depths of fear,
if only to reveal a substance, lost; that form of Soul,
which sings; demands we stop and surely hear.

The ropes hold fast around the mast of dead belief,
the body slumps, the visage chills against the wind,
as reason drives a steady course through raging seas,
to take us home regardless; salvation does begin.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


I remember me ... or do I just remember what has been told,
imagined, recorded in the hidden voices of others, demanded
as fact, and absolute, when it is no more than opinion, belief,
woven around the tangled remnants of forgotten past,
and childhood, hardly lived, and soon denied; replete with pain?

I remember me....or are they ghostly voices, echoes of dreams,
folded fantasies, side by side in drawers of darkened time,
where black droppings, huddle beneath tattered clothing,
and restless garments, shoulder to shoulder, wait to be taken,
to be worn again, no matter how rich the smell of mould may be?

I remember me I wander through those distant, gaping years,
trying to put back together the child, long lost, barely formed
and hardly grown, and yet made adult in an instant; formed as
mother in the face of loss and death and grief and deepest need;
I remember me .... at least I think I might if I try very, very hard.

Poetry Prompt: Go back to when you were eight years old. Write down all of the dreams and aspirations of that little girl or little boy. Now pick one and write what it would feel like to be living that dream authentically.  Really use as many sensory words as you can.

Word Prompt: Remember 

Sentence Starter: I remember me...

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Why is it that the dark where light is absent brings us fear,
as if where vision is impaired and shape and form denied,
we are more vulnerable; surrendered to potential and unknown,
which forces mind to reason, process and decide,
if that which can be sensed, or heard or felt in blackest night,
can be explained away; dismissed beyond the edge of what is real?

Why is it that when sunshine breathes in precious gasps again,
are phantoms, terrors, brittle dreams so easily dispelled,
and heaving breasts of horror settle slow, to rest upon the pillow,
letting go of all that was imagined; stories blackness tells,
like whisps of smoke in deliquescent drift upon fresh morning;
all substance disappeared wherever brightness lays?

Because through ancient times, and all our cells contain,
we carry truths of demons, dangers, born in places without sight
forgetting in those moments when nothing can be seen,
such fears are but ephemeral; no place in modern worlds for them to hide,
and even sunshine, once the only source to succour peace of mind,
is now replaced, by one brief switch, so darkness is restrained.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

How easily

How easily we give away
and hand to others power,
of all that we may be;
the doctor and the priest,
the politician too,
the lawyer and the therapist
who have their
own small truth.
So safe the place wherein
we sit, when others will
decide, and nothing can
be blamed on us; no fault
will be applied.
We'd rather
die than have to hold
responsibility, and that is
just what happens when
we fear to be free.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


In dribbled tease serenity does gather in my mouth,
wanting only to digest what time consumes in trust,
as morsels made in moments mad and meddled,
where reason does lie chewed; no more than crust,
like remnants of a meal from mind befuddled;
the dregs and dross of drowning hopes of youth.

When teeth do rot and crumble into shapes supine,
then so do all those futures, possible or not,
wherein the dreams of Self are mortared into shape,
discard themselves like shards of mirror dropped,
as that which Soul has lost; forgotten as it gropes;
on paths which trace the patterns writ sublime.

Then so is hope in silent choke so steadily revealed,
as vapour from the jasmine which will rise,
no matter night or day, or heat or steady cold, immersed,
for purpose has its power and strength besides,
the signature of being, unique and ever brought to birth;
and there, in pure creation, does peace, eternal breathe.


Communicate does hold the floor
and dictate to the dance,
to demonstrate and deviate;
so truth will have no chance.

The minuet is managed well,
the words are neatly spaced,
 and yet there's nothing really said;
connection can't be traced.


Dance of cloud demanding,
racing through the sky,
holding hands and laughing;
never knowing why.

Trip the light fantastic,
shapes are formed for fun,
drifting through the heavens;
magic does become.

See the kneeling elephant,
and the dragons set,
holding hands and laughing;
when they have just met.

Made in magic moulding,
monkeys form and fade,
unicorns are racing;
sunset draws the shade.

Dverse- poem for children.

Friday, October 18, 2013


If I could touch those childhood moments,
when sunshine danced on morning's face,
and sang of possibility, and abundance,
of optimism, expectation and simple joys,
then, like captured drifts of cloud,
or light consumed, fairy-floss of day, could,
would I re-capture, those fleeting times
when so much was imagined, and so little
carved in the stone of reality; when hope
giggled in ridiculous and unexpected mirth,
in the corners of established time, and reason
dragged frayed slippers across unpolished,
dream-rubbed floors, while curiosity waited,
with clasped hands, to have her wings dried,
spread wide and shaken in pure delight? Perhaps.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The dinner

Life asked us all to dinner.
We found the table spread
with all the bounty life can bring;
a vow all would be fed.

But as we sat and ate awhile,
I saw a curious thing,
the plates that lay before us all,
were not so even filled.

As people turned from side to side,
to check their neighbour's serve,
the eating slowed, and soon was stopped;
each face grew fearful stern.

And then some laughed, began to eat,
devoured at furious pace,
while others put some food aside
to eat another day.

And some could not enjoy at all,
the food which lay before,
so carefully they watched the crowd;
no time for eating now.

One woman sat so far away,
I scarcely caught her eye;
her plate was meagre, holding just
the bare necessity.

Her face was calm, her eye relaxed,
for she had nought to steal;
she savoured slow and steadily
and soon had ate her fill.

And then she rose and bowing slow,
bid farewell to the crowd,
turned and slowly walked away -
I sat and watched her go.

And while I sat it seemed to me
that too much time was spent
as dinner guests, when courtesy
should tell the hour is spent.


Imagination danced with joy,
in lurid, lost delight,
expansive and ephemeral;
reason did take flight.

No holding back or limiting,
no structure or restraint,
as consciousness abandoned,
the rules that others made.

In heady held expansiveness,
the world was born anew,
and all that was, discarded;
I lived my own deep truth.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Head raised, ruffled at the sill of memory and regret,
where tangled locks did gather and grace the hewn edge,
to fall, softly, in disarray, as breath frosted cold glass,
and grief drew frozen fingertips to trace the past;
so then did questions force the word in place, the Why?
that had no answer; the need that would forever be denied.

Dry lips pushed drier shapes of lettered, rigid form
so warm it fell as frost, as new life, glittered born,
and wrote in ice the message that demanded to be seen,
in scattered image, shattered voice and ancient keen;
as silence gathered strength, made reason pause,
dismissing childhood stories;  destroying hidden cause.


The dream in staggered haunting
reveals the image set,
repeats the message yet again,
of something lost ... but what?

It comes to taunt and teach me
of memory now tossed;
of time tied to forgetting
a pain of ancient cost.

Remembering is tangled
and broken through the nights,
of something which has happened,
yet hides in shadowed fright.

This loss is ever lingering,
a trailing through the years
of something dark and awful,
in shroud of unshed tears.

It's lost, it has no presence
in real words, or thought or form
and yet it wraps my world of dreams
in torn, tormented cause.