the colour of our lives

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

Archive for the tag “relationships”


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)


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.

or not to work


spy colleague
the other way

social net

scoop coffee
water: blissful


prayer in the company of strangers

[warning – explicit christian religious content] Read more…

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.

morning retreat

This time the sun chooses to
pick bright points of light from
the green translucence of leaves
and birdsong pierces the still
air; when three people can sit,
together without words
before the sun retreats upward
into spring clouds

imagined conversations with my adult daughter

  • Do you think it’s weird, you know, that I’m your Dad?
  • Nope.
  • Ok, cool.
  • Dad, it’s gotta be a minor sixth for the harmony!
  • Oh, yeah, sorry.
  • That’s more like it.
  • Remember when you were about eight and I started wearing that ear-ring again?
  • I wanted you to take it out … I still do.
  • Oh.
  • There’s this guy at church … he thinks you can only read the bible properly in Greek.
  • Really? – what do you reckon?
  • He’s such a bonehead, Dad. Sorry, but he is.
  • I love trees!
  • I like it that you’re into the environment, like your mum and me.
  • I would’ve been into it anyway, Dad.


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



a work in progress
my fear of knives is as reasonably based as my mistrust of God or man

Holding the shining culinary blade
gingerly, avoiding
the imaginary, painless first slice of skin,
muscle, sinew;
the decelerating scoring of bone
stopping everything like
a conversational slap or faux pas.
my anxiously foreseen hazard
redoubles with flooding panic;
dropped steel’s honed edge
cartwheels, a gravity-powered dervish,
past lower body parts
with the merest of margins. I do not
know what to say or do
in such a situation.
Blood wells; drips warm in thickening
flows from dissected flesh; elsewhere,
it pounds in adrenaline-spiked vessels,
louder than insistent self-denigration,
clearer than an imagined sneer


algorithm for non-conversation

first if
should someone share information or
emotion you

– well, while we’re on that topic . . .
– that’s nothing . . .
– here’s what you need to do . . .
– oh, really? when that happened to me . . .
– now let me tell you . . .

if no initial gambit is
if several of the previous type
have been successfully implemented
start discussing

the weather
any topic on which you have strong
non-negotiable opinions

you will have good chance of never having
the authenticity or connection you were
avoiding in the first place

or else
you may need to resort to


that should do it

walking feet

my feet were not made for concrete and asphalt, not for straight lines and perfect geometric curves; these are for machines, with wheels for feet – gear I’ll wrap around me when it suits; when I haven’t left enough time to go the distance, or the air is more hot or wet or cold than I prefer, and I have forgotten what my feet are for:

crushing the fragrant litter beneath them; gathering dew and grass and mud to remind my house what it shelters me from; carrying my brain slightly aloft at just the right height for thinking through my life; walking into love, walking around love, and (thwart me God!) walking away

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