And so it goes...

.......This is a blog where my other self exists in any number of the dimensions of Time and Space........... .

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Long Legged Fly

I first read this as a schoolboy, 1972, Turrammurra HS..and it has entranced me ever since..
Long Legged Fly
That civilization may not sink,
Its great battle lost,
Quiet the dog, tether the pony
To a distant post;
Our master Caesar is in the tent
Where the maps are spread,
His eyes fixed upon nothing,
A hand under his head.
Like a long-legged fly upon the stream
His mind moves upon silence.

That the topless towers be burnt
And men recall that face,
Move most gently if move you must
In this lonely place.
She thinks, part woman, three parts a child,
That nobody looks; her feet
Practise a tinker shuffle
Picked up on a street.
Like a long-legged fly upon the stream
Her mind moves upon silence.

That girls at puberty may find
The first Adam in their thought,
Shut the door of the Pope’s chapel,
Keep those children out.
There on that scaffolding reclines
Michael Angelo.
With no more sound than the mice make
His hand moves to and fro.
Like a long-legged fly upon the stream
His mind moves upon silence.

and I wished I had writen this commentary..

Saturday, 30 January 2010

American poets..

this piece intrigued me as university student in the 80s and further intrigued when I taught it in High School English..

Skunk Hour
(for Elizabeth Bishop)

Nautilus Island's hermit
heiress still lives through winter in her Spartan cottage;
her sheep still graze above the sea.
Her son's a bishop. Her farmer is first selectman in our village;
she's in her dotage.

Thirsting for
the hierarchic privacy
of Queen Victoria's century
she buys up all
the eyesores facing her shore,
and lets them fall.

The season's ill--
we've lost our summer millionaire,
who seemed to leap from an L. L. Bean
catalogue. His nine-knot yawl
was auctioned off to lobstermen.
A red fox stain covers Blue Hill.

And now our fairy
decorator brightens his shop for fall;
his fishnet's filled with orange cork,
orange, his cobbler's bench and awl;
there is no money in his work,
he'd rather marry.

One dark night,
my Tudor Ford climbed the hill's skull;
I watched for love-cars. Lights turned down,
they lay together, hull to hull,
where the graveyard shelves on the town....
My mind's not right.

A car radio bleats,
"Love, O careless Love...." I hear
my ill-spirit sob in each blood cell,
as if my hand were at its throat...
I myself am hell;
nobody's here--

only skunks, that search
in the moonlight for a bite to eat.
They march on their solves up Main Street:
white stripes, moonstruck eyes' red fire
under the chalk-dry and spar spire
of the Trinitarian Church.

I stand on top
of our back steps and breathe the rich air--
a mother skunk with her column of kittens swills the garbage pail.
She jabs her wedge-head in a cup
of sour cream, drops her ostrich tail,
and will not scare.

Robert Lowell

Friday, 29 January 2010


"'Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around - nobody big, I mean - except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all."

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Keats..1970s, 1990s

this was a schoolday poem..must have read it first in 1971 or worked then for a strange seemingly outgoing but some what of an internal living boy ..and now I am waiting for Bright Star to come to Goulburn cinema ..I am sorry ro say I don't think it will I taught this, and others , several times in senior English in the 90s..

Ode On Melancholy

No, no, go not to Lethe, neither twist
Wolf's-bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine;
Nor suffer thy pale forehead to be kiss'd
By nightshade, ruby grape of Proserpine;
Make not your rosary of yew-berries,
Nor let the beetle, nor the death-moth be
Your mournful Psyche, nor the downy owl
A partner in your sorrow's mysteries;
For shade to shade will come too drowsily,
And drown the wakeful anguish of the soul.

But when the melancholy fit shall fall
Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud,
That fosters the droop-headed flowers all,
And hides the green hill in an April shroud;
Then glut thy sorrow on a morning rose,
Or on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave,
Or on the wealth of globed peonies;
Or if thy mistress some rich anger shows,
Emprison her soft hand, and let her rave,
And feed deep, deep upon her peerless eyes.

She dwells with Beauty - Beauty that must die;
And Joy, whose hand is ever at his lips
Bidding adieu; and aching Pleasure nigh,
Turning to poison while the bee-mouth sips:
Ay, in the very temple of Delight
Veil'd Melancholy has her sovran shrine,
Though seen of none save him whose strenuous tongue
Can burst Joy's grape against his palate fine;
His soul shall taste the sadness of her might,
And be among her cloudy trophies hung.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Plath ..1991

1991 Teacher Education Sydney Uni and that most gifted of educating educators Rod Leonarder demonstrated an approach to teaching poetry ,,an approach I readily made my own..I used this poem regularly for years


Clownlike, happiest on your hands,
Feet to the stars, and moon-skulled,
Gilled like a fish. A common-sense
Thumbs-down on the dodo's mode.
Wrapped up in yourself like a spool,
Trawling your dark as owls do.
Mute as a turnip from the Fourth
Of July to All Fool's Day,
O high-riser, my little loaf.

Vague as fog and looked for like mail.
Farther off than Australia.
Bent-backed Atlas, our travelled prawn.
Snug as a bud and at home
Like a sprat in a pickle jug.
A creel of eels, all ripples.
Jumpy as a Mexican bean.
Right, like a well-done sum.
A clean slate, with your own face on.

Sylvia Plath

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Hopkins ,

Yes , Hopkins, being a child of the very godless sixties and having unusually godless parents I was a bit nervous of religious types, ..cynics like Eliot were OK but a true God Botherer of Hopkins' stature made me suspicious but..English 100 1973 Maq.Uni and I was won over and in many ways came to like him , his language and his rhythm...and of course my strange closed inward looking North Shore very Anglo world was unravelling fast, at times not fast enough.. .. and religion ..I still haven't really obtained any in any orthodox sense, or really in any unorthodox sense and am content in my Humanism but I do like other people having beliefs..good on them I say ...this poem is my favourite Hopkins..

Spring and Fall
Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow's springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

Gerard Manley Hopkins

Monday, 25 January 2010

Old English...The Battle of Maldon

so an image.. Rod McDonald, Tracy Newland and I.. wreathed in cigarette smoke, surrounded by coffee cups, our pens and paper and texts and glossaries spread out across several tables, translating for our Tuesday afternoon tute with Prof. Margaret Clunies Ross. The setting ; in Manning coffee shop, circa 1986..good days indeed..

The Battle of Maldon..Byrthnoth and his pride..

brocen wurde.
Het þa hyssa hwæne hors forlætan,
feor afysan, and forð gangan,
hicgan to handum and to hige godum.
þa þæt Offan mæg ærest onfunde,
þæt se eorl nolde yrhðo geþolian,
he let him þa of handon leofne fleogan
hafoc wið þæs holtes, and to þære hilde stop;
be þam man mihte oncnawan þæt se cniht nolde
wacian æt þam wige, þa he to wæpnum feng.
Eac him wolde Eadric his ealdre gelæstan,
frean to gefeohte, ongan þa forð beran
gar to guþe. He hæfde god geþanc
þa hwile þe he mid handum healdan mihte
bord and bradswurd; beot he gelæste
þa he ætforan his frean feohtan sceolde.
ða þær Byrhtnoð ongan beornas trymian,
rad and rædde, rincum tæhte
hu hi sceoldon standan and þone stede healdan,
and bæd þæt hyra randas rihte heoldon
fæste mid folman, and ne forhtedon na.
þa he hæfde þæt folc fægere getrymmed,
he lihte þa mid leodon þær him leofost wæs,
þær he his heorðwerod holdost wiste.
þa stod on stæðe, stiðlice clypode
wicinga ar, wordum mælde,
se on beot abead brimliþendra
ærænde to þam eorle, þær he on ofre stod:

...would be broken.
Then he ordered a warrior each horse be let free,
driven afar and advance onward,
giving thought to deeds of arms and to steadfast courage.
Then it was that Offa's kinsman first perceived,
that the Earl would not endure cowardice,
for he let then from his hand flee his beloved
falcon towards the woods and there to battle went forth.
By this a man might understand that this youth would not
prove soft at the coming battle, when he takes up arms.
Further Eadric desired to serve his chief,
his lord to fight with; and so he advanced forward
his spear to battle. He had a dauntless spirit
as long as he with hands might be able to grasp
shield and broad sword: the vow he would carry out
that he had made before his lord saying he would fight.
Then Byrhtnoth marshalled his soldiers,
riding and instructing, directing his warriors
how they should stand and the positions they should keep,
and ordering that their shields properly stand firm
with steady hands and be not afraid.
Then when he beheld that people in suitable array,
he dismounted amid his people, where he was most pleased to
there amid his retainers knowing their devotion.
Then stood on the shore, stoutly calling out
a Viking messenger, making speech,
menacingly delivering the sea-pirate's
message to this Earl on the opposite shore standing:

Saturday, 23 January 2010

William Blake & 1967

and it is 1967....1st form Kuringai High School, bigger Kids much bigger kids, some very scary teachers,,very scary.. more than a bit terrifying at times..and every Thursday period 1 , Big Bill Eason, in his academic robe and carrying a cane , booming voice reciting Poetry to 10 classes of 1st formers crammed into 4 rooms , those rooms with the folding back walls..and this is the only poem I can remember..but remember it well I do..

And Did Those Feet In Ancient Time

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?

And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark satanic mills?

Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!

I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land.

William Blake

Friday, 22 January 2010

School Days..

and it was ..1972. 6th form Turramurra High School ..Chris Winter's Room to Move at 10pm on a Monday night and Ross McDermot and Geoffrey Howard and I were most intrigued by it all.

School Days
In Delaware When I was younger
I would live a life obscene
In the spring I had great hunger
I was Brando, I was Dean

Blaspheming booted blue-jeaned baby boy
Oh how I made them turn their heads
the townie brownie girls they jumped for joy
And begged me bless them in their beds

In Delaware when I was younger
I would roam upon the lake
In the spring I had great hunger
I was Keats, I was Blake

My pimple pencil pains I would bring
To frogs who sat entranced
My drift dream ditties I would
They would astride a dance

In Delaware when I was younger
They thought St. Andrew had sufficed
But in the spring I had great hunger
I was Buddha, I was Christ

You wicked wise men, where's your wonder
Your fallacies one day will pay
See my lightning hear my thunder
I am truth I know the way

In Delaware when I was younger

Loudon Wainwright III

and then there was Yeats

Sailing To Byzantium

That is no country for old men. The young
In one another's arms, birds in the trees
---Those dying generations---at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unaging intellect.

An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there  singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.

O sages standing in God's holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.

William Butler Yeats

In School..and 1973 at Macquarie Uni..and 1985 at Sydneu uni,,and then the Cormac MCarthy book and ..well I will get back to Yeats ,you can't really avoid him if you are me..



Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;
Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see
A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings
And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings.

In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song
Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong
To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside
And hymns in the cosy parlour, the tinkling piano our guide.

So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamour
With the great black piano appassionato. The glamour
Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast
Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past.

D. H. Lawrence

forever 1973 ...English 100  Mac.Uni..9AM Monday tutorials..

Ok , been cleaning up , and..

sorting books and  CDs and the like and I have decided that here, on this blog ,   I will attempt to   make a daily entry in the form of an extract from  one of the many,  many   books  poems or lyrics  that have had meaning to me over the years.. nothing else..I think I will let the pieces speak  for them self..
today ?..
for Fo..she was.. ....a singular moment in time ...I carried this song for years and only recently  resolved its message

If You See Her, Say Hello

If you see her, say hello, she might be in Tangier
She left here last early spring, is livin' there, I hear
Say for me that I'm all right though things get kind of slow
She might think that I've forgotten her, don't tell her it isn't so.
We had a falling-out, like lovers often will
And to think of how she left that night, it still brings me a chill
And though our separation, it pierced me to the heart
She still lives inside of me, we've never been apart.
If you get close to her, kiss her once for me
I always have respected her for busting out and gettin' free
Oh, whatever makes her happy, I won't stand in the way
Though the bitter taste still lingers on from the night I tried to make her stay.
I see a lot of people as I make the rounds
And I hear her name here and there as I go from town to town
And I've never gotten used to it, I've just learned to turn it off
Either I'm too sensitive or else I'm gettin' soft.
Sundown, yellow moon, I replay the past
I know every scene by heart, they all went by so fast
If she's passin' back this way, I'm not that hard to find
Tell her she can look me up if she's got the time.

Friday, 15 January 2010

To begin at the beginning:
..this is one of  my other blogs ..a place where my other self  exists ....

To begin at the beginning:

It is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless
and bible-black, the cobblestreets silent and the hunched,
courters'-and-rabbits' wood limping invisible down to the
sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboatbobbing sea.
The houses are blind as moles (though moles see fine to-night
in the snouting, velvet dingles) or blind as Captain Cat
there in the muffled middle by the pump and the town clock,
the shops in mourning, the Welfare Hall in widows' weeds.
And all the people of the lulled and dumbfound town are
sleeping now.

Just felt like a bit of Dylan Thomas..