the colour of our lives

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

Archive for the tag “prose poem”


jerked from sleep by a loud name – his – urgent
stumble down the hall, into her room.
– Dad, I had a nightmare, and he lifts the weight
of her growing body into a hug.
– Want me to sleep next to you, in the spare
bed? – Yeah. – Let’s go to the toilet first. – OK.
Carry her down the hall, and back, still sleepy,
– Want to tell me what the dream was? – Yes.
And there are good and bad lands; white-striped,
face-painted warriors milling on the far shore.
Mum is there too, defending. The narrow water
between good and evil is leapt, breached, and
none of it makes sense in a narrative way…
– Thanks for telling me … we’re going to go to
sleep now. Love you. –  Mmm.
A single rustling turn; breathing, regular, quiet.
Nothing, then a bronze-shelled insect, closer,
along a vertical wall, closer in the pale tungsten
light, and he is awake again, facing his own


please stop arguing

The cosmic constants align, just so,
and by mere existence generate
infinitesimal probabilities, lunged
towards by God’s self-appointed
collectors of irrefutables. Shrill
Dawkins countered that argument,
although it cost him the multiverse.
He carries now a debt of chance;
thoughtful credibility teeters once
more toward the theophiles, but their
arguments remain luke-warm
renditions of the full banquet. Even
amongst the faithful, the genealogies
of creation are endless; certainty may
not be deferred, and wilful ignorance
is an impermissible position. Logic
and higher reason, faith and dogma
tumble over one another, shaken like
dice in the cup Einstein rejected. The
proof we seek may never be found.


DanSomething appropriate for the exact first anniversary of this blog. Thanks to everyone who has read and commented, especially the regulars. Keep the faith!


leviathanthis is our normal way of living.
slowly, we built it, this god we thought
that we could control. It would do
justice in the world, reward with wealth and
comfort the strong and resourceful, the driven
and the inventive, the diligent and the lucky.
It would punish the indolent and the weak,
the unfortunate and the outcast, while
teasing them with the incentives of the good.
And it was ours; within our power to tame
and destroy. In our greed we began to question
and resent our own control; our dragon would
more willingly concede its store of gold unshackled
and, having won its freedom, our monster
flourished. Untamed, its acts became increasingly
random; the blessed were triply so, the accursed
received their due in poverty and squalor.
Slowly, in an ironic and obscene revolution,
the beast could again be reined by those
whom it had rewarded; power built power,
ignoring the destruction and death
visited upon the weak.

Everywhere in our world,
this is our normal way of living.

past full

two days past full, an oddly flattened moon maintains a constant bearing as I walk, trying to only feel the walking, the moment, but thinking forward, back, over in time with insistent steps


with the moon at my back a meteor shoots, adding ions in a blazing death to thinnest air, ionosphere, and the there is no luck in its falling, only the type of fortune that sees walkers under lonely night-time skies


oval moon cuts tracks on the street opposite, along inhabited windows curtained against the cooling night and the creatures abroad in it; no place for me, not behind the traversing moon, neither, despite my earnest efforts to fit into a human mould, on this old and tired earth, unforgiving in its impassion


strange, no, that we place such high
significance on maximising a maybe, a
possible future, something we will never
know we have found until we’re there and
not be sure even then. Human potential is
not measurable in aggregate, on average;
set limits, and someone will prove us wrong,
reach beyond the humanly possible. We
burden our children with this immeasurable
ideal, vaguer for an individual even than for
the collective, and there are ten billion
directions, more or less, in which to reach;
in the span of each modern life we have one
quarter of a second to seek each single path,
so each human child must choose, or have
chosen for them, one or two at most. The
margin for error is large, left to chance
or coercion; we reap the consequences: a
natural musician excels in medicine, the
perfect athlete makes a sensible choice in
the building trade. And we pay, subtly but
dearly, for realising the wrong potential;
the dull, inexplicable hunger in moments of
true reflection; for some for whom the
choice was more conscious, the recurrent
sting of regret. The cure for guesswork
or obligation, of course, is passion, but to
let Love or Desire make our choice requires
us to relinquish control, to release our
selves and daughters and sons to still,
small voices and violent rushing winds.


Somewhere between the extremes
of public nakedness in shame-filled dreams
and the occasional
middle-class angst of over-possessiveness
lies a balanced freedom;
for the man in mid-life who, on a
narcissistic whim, starts wearing
an earring again, losing it all except the
accidental contents of his car – wife,
daughter, guitar, a full tank and we’re off
on the apocalyptic road, into a timid new
world depopulated by rapture, plague,
or war, from which
mercifully, we have been spared,
for now. The same man, this time
wearing a domestic, pragmatic hat, steps towards
nakedness paradoxically;
radically, but more subtly; by plunging,
ego-first, into eternity, full
of the fear of subsumption


schoolyard racing

In the time it takes to ride my bicycle the width of this school, I watch them: two girls about eight or nine years old, set to race to the boundary fence. An unseen signal, and they’re running; the elfin brunette with natural speed and grace and rhythm outpacing the tall blonde girl like she was born to run, and the other running self-consciously, like she needs to think about every step, like speed is a borrowed coat. Half-way, already strides ahead, the dark-haired speedster breaks her step, turns a full and perfect cartwheel – she doesn’t care that her friend has caught and passed her, that her seizing of this timeless moment has cost her the race but not her friendship. The tall girl reaches the fence, arms raised in victory, while her little friend, now just a step behind, coasts in, happy with the way things have gone.

[2001 sometime]

fool’s gold

It was the afternoon of Queenstown’s adolescent hustle. Later we found that
small town, named for the arrow swiftness of its small river born in steep
highlands of schist stacked sideways that leaked ancient gold, on its
whim, to bright-eyed and desperate Irish and Chinese, enduring winters
sheltered by those same flat and shining rocks. Up Bush Creek, we shook
gravel in pans in its icy current in search of overlooked treasure; the
glittering specks we chanced on, no doubt, Fool’s gold; no matter. There
was gold enough in that evening for this fool: sparkling ale shared in
brown bottles that flashed metallic in the summer sunset; the familiar
golden halo of your hair; the riches of your conversation and laughter
as we sat eating on star-sparkled stones and saw green leaves brighten
brassy in the evening’s glow.

Fools Gold

November 2001
Image cropped from original at

9 October 2001 #1

Everyone has that feeling sometimes
when walking alone; the way the rain
taps lightly on your umbrella, or the wind
makes a stilted rhythm in the trees.

There’s something sinister about not quite
being sure if you’re being followed, and as I
walk closer to the edge of the path, and avoid
looking back, I’m wondering whether my shadower

is too polite to pass, is frustrated by my
slightly slower pace (but I did make room),
or is even a friend trying to catch up
(but why don’t they call out?).

Of course, when I’m nearly there, I can’t resist
looking back; it’s no surprise that there’s
no-one but my own raised hackles. Who would
be out in this weather anyway?

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