My daughter is studying sociology.   At present she is learning about the sociology of health.  In her last lecture she discovered that health is directly related to socio-economic status.   The people at the very top of the tree are the healthiest of all.   They are measurably healthier than those even just one step below them.   The reason for this is that they have complete autonomy.   Also they are free of money worries.

That explains why the Queen of England is so hale and hearty and why she smiles so magnanimously on her subjects.   She can afford to.

Over here in Australia her subjects are paying record prices for domestic energy.  The cost is so high some people are being forced to live without heating this winter.  

Our  Prime Minister met with the leaders of the energy companies and urged them to consider the plight of those on lower incomes.  They all agreed it was a matter of great concern then they all nodded and smiled for the photo shoot.   Beyond that they did nothing.    The Queen, of course, was not present at the meeting and it was no surprise to discover she has made no comment on the issue.

                                   gas bill







My response to my “On the Road” prompt – Travelling with the Moon

It’s been pointed out to me that there some glitches with the tags and links to others responses to On the Road prompts.    I’ll take some time this week to figure out a better system.    On the Road prompts are inspired by my reading about haiku and related forms.    I’m coming across some interesting ideas that don’t really fit within the prompt section.   For that reason I will also start writing posts that reflect on writing techniques and the ideas behind haiku and related forms.    These posts will be irregular but will generally be posted on Wednesday (Australian time).

I’m going to take a very short blogging break and will be back midweek with a fresh approach.  Thanks for your patience.

Rolling Stones

The staff in the local Salvation Army Op Shop love to play the old vinyl records that are donated.   As I wander around looking for a bargain amidst the bewildering detritus of other people’s lives Bob Dylan asking plaintively  “How does it feel it be a rolling stone?”

Now there’s a song that takes me back – visions of my brother as a young teen, his long brown hair flopping in his eyes as he puts Dylan on the turntable in his suburban bedroom.   Just what year is this I wonder as I gaze at the second hand books.   On the top shelf a box of floppy discs sits beside a pile of tattered magazines.  On the cover of one a girl with big hair models a jacket with wide shoulder pads.

Leaving the books I move through the rest of the store as Bob Dylan continues to wail.  I have to be in the mood for these places and that mood can quickly evaporate as I breath in the stale odours of outdated material goods.  In the second hand clothing section I come across an African girl fingering the lacy cloth of a dress.   She looks to be more at home than I feel.  Quite a few African refugees have settled in this town over the past few years.

In the next aisle I walk past a Middle Eastern couple.   The woman is in full hijab and the elderly man beside her is in a long pale blue robe.   We don’t see many people in such clothes down this way.  This couple look like new arrivals and I imagine a welfare agency directed them to the Salvos to get some basic household goods.    They look the other way as I pass and I wonder how it must feel to be refugees from a country many here see as some kind of enemy.

2016-07-04 13.48.14




Anzac Day – an alternate view


Ravages of war,
                                the tears of the fallen
                                     staining the soil.

Today in Australia it is Anzac Day – the day when those who served in World War 1 are honoured.  Ceremonies are held across the country in commemoration.  The main focus of attention is the terrible suffering experienced by Australian soldiers at Anzac Cove, Turkey.

I have been to Anzac Cove.   I have stood beneath the Lone Pine Tree and heard in my mind the haunted echoes of the anguished cries of the young men dying there on the beaches in 1915.  What many people here in Australia do not know is that the Aussie diggers at Anzac Cove did not actually defeat the Turks at Galliopli.   For years the two sides battled it out.  Both armies lived in appalling conditions and the casualties were high for both sides.   Eventually our troops were recalled when the government realised it was an unwinnable battle.   It took many months of petitioning the government before they accepted this was the case.  AnzacStory.htm

I am a pacifist.   I have heard the stories of from WW1 and from many other wars.   I decided when I was in my teens that I do not condone war at all.  I have not come across any information since that has made me change my mind.

Strangely I learned a few years ago that my grandfather was also a pacifist.   More than that, he was a conscientious objector in WW1 and did not go to the war.    This fact was hidden from me by for many years.   ‘Grandpa was too young to fight in that war,’ my father said. There was also some improbable story about how my grandfather, a keen home gardener, had somehow kept the neighbourhood supplied in vegetables for the duration of the war.  It was only when my father neared the end of his life that he told his children what had actually happened.

The truth is my grandfather refused to fight.   He was a devout Christian with Socialist leanings.  Although it is now forgotten history, there was a huge anti-war movement in Australia during WW1.  At that time free thinkers wanted to establish Australia as an independent nation no longer ruled by Britain.  The war was seen as furthering the  cause of Empire.

My father was so ashamed of grandpa’s action he lied about it for most of his adult life.   It is only now that Australia is even beginning to recognise that conscientious objection to war is a valid stance.

As the world teeters on the brink of another catastrophic global war I am inspired by the position my grandfather took.    There are alternatives to war.  Peacemaking, peace-building, mediation and non-violent conflict resolution are all alternatives that work.

Articles on non violent alternatives to war can be found on –

I used a flat bed scanner to create the image on this post,  I then added the text in photoshop – image prompt –

poetry prompt –

Percolating Poetry

I wrote this post a few months ago on Art and Life.   I think it’s worth bringing up to date and  reblogging here for it’s still pertinent – perhaps even more so now.

Is it that I’m percolating my reactions to current events,

global and personal,

outer and inner,

or is that I’m waiting for the dust to settle

on political changes here, there and everywhere

or on the inner spiritual upheaval/regeneration I have been experiencing?

Either way, percolating or letting the dust settle, it’s hard to string words together to form grammatically correct sentences.   I woke this morning to this thought/idea/concept-

                                                In the canyons of my mind

                                     Ginsberg howling from the Afterlife

                                                 ‘All is not how it seems’.

Unfortunately I jolted fully awake before Ginsberg could howl out his meanings and his posthumous perspectives on it all so I am still percolating/letting the dust settle as I try to work out it is, or even how it seems to be.

So much fear and loathing being expressed by so many right now – the fear of World War, of Muslims and of migrants.   My life long fear of nuclear holocaust  is triggered.


As Ginsberg howls from the Afterlife I catch hold of ideas percolating in the ethers –

          I see that the old order is inherently corrupt

It favours the elite few over the often powerless and subjugated majority.

As new awareness and understanding, both political and spiritual, sweep across the globe the power base of the old elite is disintegrating.  As the old power structures begin to disintegrate chaos ensues.

Just what new frameworks we find to guide us into the future remains to be seen.

           Will the rabble baying for blood rule the day

            – will it be like the French Revolution where the elite were publicly beheaded

               or Nazi Germany where minority groups were shipped off to death camps?

                                    Will Trump nuke Isis and/or North Korea

                               – will we descend into the holocaust of global war?

Or will we somehow find our way, collectively and individually, to work together to create an egalitarian society where all humans co-exist peacefully in a world governed by sound ecological principles that ensure the ongoing survival of our species and of the bio-sphere we inhabit?

Our future hangs in the balance and the outcomes are, at present, unknown.

Percolating, or letting the dust settle, I dig over my new vegie plot.  I write haiku.  I meditate on peace.

I am free to change to my consciousness. I am free to transcend my fears and find a way forward that sustains me spiritually. All the same, it’s not a straightforward path.


excerpt from Howl by Alan Ginsberg – (you can read the poem in full here –

Visions! omens! hallucinations! miracles! ecstasies! gone down the American river!

Dreams! adorations! illuminations! religions! the whole boatload of sensitive bullshit!

Breakthroughs! over the river! flips and crucifixions! gone down the flood! Highs! Epiphanies! Despairs! Ten years’ animal screams and suicides! Minds! New loves! Mad generation! down on the rocks of Time!