the colour of our lives

poetry • celebration • faith • nature • humanity • imperfections • glory

Archive for the tag “autobiographical”

westward leading


North Shore Strip

“I’m back”,
he said, “and
those in the know will
figure out,
from the photographs,
where I’ve been”, with
that annoying smirk and
wink of those with
secrets. Read more…



blue_bikethey all have
phones and intense

powers of

worlds in their
friends on their mind

he rides a
blue bicycle

picks up good
of string and wire

in case they
become useful

Image from seeker-of-revelation at deviantart


open strings growl, hiss, buzz with
bad-tempered, minor key blues;
the hammers are nearly drawing blood
and fat bruised thumb, booming out
metronomic, hypnotic and low

bend and slide, whack that half-
dozen and make then sing in pain,
metal on metal, knock of sprucewood
and mahogany warmth, cradled, head
bowed, jaw grinding like fretful dreams

whole, restless, body pulsates in turn,
in time, breathing like stolen cocaine
but music is the only drug. heaviness
purged; singing, with eyelids squeezed,
voice filling the empty room, and

frettedsurprised by the new sweetness,
fingers chancing major riffs, rhythms
slow, soothe, clear notes smiling
to the sun and heaven. indigo notes return
and resolve, shining, melodic.

where i live

a gargantuan step in the crust of Earth
where archaean granites fell, infinitesimally,
for miles; water and wind, grinding, wearing
a hinterland westward fill the giant breach,
layers stacked, mud upon sand, over, again
a thousand times and a million millennia of
the debris of ocean and land. We walk, live, love
and die on the latest of these; droughty bushland
is rampant on this skin of dune and swale, while
the tired river dreams of a raging, humid past.

WAin the summer, an east wind
the temperature of human blood
pushes the gasping air of the desert
across suburbia, fading as it smooths
weary Indian Ocean swells rearing
glassy over ancient coralline reefs.
As the land cools towards sultry nights,
cool humid sea air rushes in as respite to
baking dunes and sweating humans, before the
warm stillness, full of night-creature sounds,
blankets the humming city before dawn’s
desert breeze returns.

atmosphere inverts, and it is winter; thunder
roars with the start of it, rain-soaked west winds
having howled unhindered from the Cape of Good
Hope to punish and soothe the brittle land. The
weakness of trees is culled; waiting seeds,
crouched in humic sand, sacrifice isolation
and autonomy to erupt into air and sunlight,
littering the gritty soil with green.

I love this place with a longing, never
belonging passion, as far from patriotism as
soil and litter from the headlong surges of
human power and commerce. But, land I love,
still you leave me homeless, tease with sparkling
rock, with wild marsupial eyes, with the
strangeness of it all. There are no nests, no
foxholes; you have taught me well that
my rest is of another space and time,
another beauty more other-worldly
than imagination or hope.


do not consider
me wise. Any
appearance has
arrived only by
circular argument; I
have studied only


do not assume
I have been
sanctified by suffering.
being both cause
and victim,
I suffer


do not expect
me to react
maturely to kind
encouragement; your
words call me
beyond all


do not hesitate
to find fault;
the alternative is
that you find me,
after all,


(for Carroll Boswell, who remains kind in the face of reticence)

senryū sighs

the orchids are back
– yellow Caladenia
piercing spring-warm soil


an ocean away
long white clouds beckoning me
from a red desert


lasting brief moments
half seen faces of lovers
disturbing your dreams


another coffee
fragrant steam rising upwards


nervous, I enter
the doctor prods and listens
recommends blood tests


lines traverse paper
a pattern of dark and light
from sunlight through blinds


a heart in silence
lonelier than the new moon
flickering through cloud


tolimanI know a man in my street who
every night opens his front door
and wanders out into the night, where
the tense, crouching roar of the city is
mercifully interspersed with the
soothing hiss of wind-teased eucalypts
and gentle nocturnal songs of courtship.
Walking around his car, he checks
the windows and doors; satisfied in
its security, he steps out from under
the eaves, head up, searching the sky,
eyes drawn to bright Toliman and
Achernar, high in the southern sky.

He straightens his neck, lowering his
gaze to the east, to city lights lighting
up dusky, gold, on the waiting clouds.
As he secures his house once more,
in a silent farewell to the small creatures
of the night, I hope that, one day soon,
he finds the sign he seeks.


This year on the feast of the resurrection

This year on the
feast of the resurrection
he makes a plan;
a slow extraction from the
godless halls of the beautiful minds;
a deliberate but passionate
advance towards a life
plucking lost souls from fires, or
nudging the stale and disillusioned
towards Easter’s light.

A rush of terrifying joy;
a choke of unshed tears;
a suspicion of catching
the whisper of divine breath,
join a hope of moving
ever closer to the heart
of things


standard deviation

StdDevin my day job
not remembering formulas is
a handicap;
each solution to the same problem
requires remembering
first principles, and
how to construct the algebra

this could be a
coarse metaphor for life,
I’m not sure if I can recall
the basic principles.
The same problems keep
recurring; how to love and respect
my wife;
how not to exasperate
my daughter

deprived of convenient formulae
it reduces to this;
the aimless scratching of
pencil on paper, trying
to derive a solution for
our condition


at twelve, or thirteen,
listless, lying on my bed
by the window,
white vapours traversed the blue, a
perpetual evaporation
and coalescence powered
by the southern sun.

with an egocentrism fully
matching my years, I was
squinting clouds from the sky,
imagining other perplexed sky-gazers
left bemused
and wondering.

some weeks later my mother,
rediscovering earnest Christianity,
became enticed by a doctrine
embracing human dominion:
“God has made us so powerful, even
clouds will disappear
if we just pray”,
she recited.

I can still stare down the
flimsier clouds; as the years have
evaporated I squint hard,
still, at devout foolishness
which others gladly suffer;
all but the most Spartan creeds
discarded in search of a
gospel as true as the sky.




I changed it, then changed it back. I like the drawing my daughter did when she was three, better than the one she did now she is eight; she sees me too clearly now for comfort







a radiant dawn
an anxious rush to the stop
misses the moment

wires droop from ears
every seat a separate world
– no eye contact

after the bus
the corner of his eye weeps
tears in the cool air

music in his ears
walking out of time

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