Thursday, September 29, 2011

Painting in the Dreamtime

I dream of painting: 

dipping the brush in colour and watching it streak across canvas.  

An ochre red undulating line:  

the earth, singing.  

Above the ochre line I would splash ultramarine,

 a vivid intense blue, a pale reflection of our southern sky.

The blue hovers over the land, blessing it with story and spirits.

I would add a dirty olive for a tree, thirsty always,

with leathery leaves to save the secret water:

leaves trailing down and rattling in the breeze.

I would paint this breeze to soften the air and

to lift the ochre dust

so waves of red would lap the shores of roots and Spinifex.

An angled kite of brilliant white – of cockatoo –

measuring my ultramarine

would focus the sky.

And I would frame the whole with sound:  

the wind,

the swift beat of wing,

the crack of leaf against trunk

and the songs of the ancestors filling the dreamtime.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Wardrobe Misdemeanour

A new Magpie Tale.  Thanks to Tess for the borrowed illustration and the prompt.  More serious magpies can be found here.

Wardrobe Misdemeanour

Now you are teasing me, punishing me – killing me

– all I asked for was a drink

O heavens pour then, skies rage, drown us!

Raven fly, leave me

Take messages


Tell them never to forget the sky’s revenge

And feed my dragon

Sell my tampons

Divorce my husband and set my people free!

Or then again, keep silent

Can you swim?


Thursday, September 22, 2011


Seriously ...

Oh!  let us not take ourselves
too seriously, let us not

For in the end, serious or not,
we are taken, are we not?


Monday, September 19, 2011

The Last Enchanteur


The Snake Charmer, Henri Rousseau, 1907

Gather round and hear my tale of paper-cut leaves

and sticky tape, punch out birds and string grass dipped in glue

and painted tempura green.

Come children and listen to the whistle of the man-dog-gorilla,

on his hind legs, cloaked with skin of others and his own.

His splayed toes grip the bank and the pipe,

his chant slinks undulating to the moon, picking up wayfarers,

footless beasts with ears all belly and sound like lunar rings.

His familiar, if he has one, waits again, keeping erect,

apart, listening for the songs’ end:

the transfiguration of serpents to leaves to trees to sound

that flies and grows wings be-feathered,

tosses from limb to limb to fern and vine.

Keep close children:  do not stray: the enchantment lasts

only for now, here in this grove of tenderness

while beyond the water, where the moon lands coyly,

the serpents have no speech to respond to the call,

no souls to uplift, no laughter to charm the feathers from the trees.

Away, the leaves are not cut paper but poison and dead,

the grass nettles, the fangs bite.

The dog-man-gorilla is haunted and snared

and his song and all its lessons, dies in silence.

Thanks to Tess Kincaid for the image and the prompt.  More Magpie are here

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Apostrophe to Punctuation


How I love your signs

squeezing meaning out of chaos:

the necessary               <full stop>

the useful                    <comma>

the elegant                   <semi-colon>

the dramatic                <colon>

the enquiring               <query>

the over-used              <em dash>

and the brutalised       <apostrophe>

But please, keep your              <exclamation points>              to yourself!!


Monday, September 12, 2011

Wish Ghost

The Revenant, 1949, Andrew Wyeth

Wish Ghost

As if winking could    undo


return the past

as if fading out            detail



could induce               forgetfulness


A future of honey and stasis

The sweetest roses have barbs

thanks to Tess for the prompt and picture
more Magpies  here

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Fingers Crossed

Thanks for the kind thoughts devoted readers ...

Marius flew back to Melbourne a little over two weeks ago to check up on me and to "escort me home".  We had a lovely week being tourists in Melbourne before succumbing, one after the other, to a special Melbourne head cold.  Marius is mostly recovered while I am stuffed with drugs in preparation for our flight tonight.  In fact, we have left behind the steam driven internet at my parents' and are enjoying the hospitality of the Air New Zealand lounge (and their wireless broadband) before embarking.

Yes - the desert beckons.  I have been lucky to have missed the worst of the summer and am looking forward to more pleasant conditions in the dust.  I have enjoyed the "winter" in Melbourne - nine weeks of it - and am more than ready to return to my own patch.  I have kissed the faithful dog goodbye, patted the parents, hugged the children, packed, checked in. 

Marius is sitting next to me enjoying a fine Barossa Valley red, checking his emails while I am writing this.  A fateful date to be travelling.  I was in the air over Europe ten years ago when that incident occurred.  I sincerely hope that there will be nothing memorable about tonight's flight.

All the best to those remembering the lost lives and innocence.

Normal transmissions (with pictures I hope!) will resume soon.

Isabel  xx