Sunday, 27 March 2016

Lascaux II

It is a facsimile
but few galleries are more beautiful.
There is a hush,
a sense of the sacred.
In the dim light the walls shimmer
with copies of artwork,
walls and ceilings covered
with confident boldness of line,
beauty of eye, antler, hoof and horn,
curves and bumps and ceiling too
masterfully integrated into one fluid flow.

17,000 years ago,
in the nearby cave of Lascaux,
men and women mixed their colours,
prepared smoke free oil,
built their scaffolding and,
like Michelangelo,
covered the walls or lay on their backs,
painting the roof,
moved by their muse,
a deeply human compulsion
to not just represent
the power of hoof and curve of horn
but to create beauty,
to seek meaning
and surely to reflect the sacred,
a sense of something vast beyond themselves
of which they were a small, vulnerable
but gifted part.

I know you, my brothers and sisters.
Your sensibility is mine.
This human finger, touching the keyboard,
shaping words into patterns,
seeking order and meaning,
surely comes from shared desire.
Is it really so different
that your vision was herds, horns and hooves
and the mark of your hands upon the wall,
whilst mine is songs of the heart,
longing for compassion and surrender to love,
when we, in vulnerable mortality
and common humanity,
across this vast desert of time
desire the beauty of art
and seek communion beyond self
with the mysterious divine.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

The Only Chance We've Got.

When you think about religion
It's enough to make you sick.
Blind Freddie has sufficient sight to see
It's full of mind-boggling hypocrisy.

Who hasn't heard the rant and cant
veiling cruel actions and unloving hearts.
"In God's name this. In God's name that."
Blind Freddie can also smell a rat.

There are the diamond shark smiles,
the "God wants me to be rich" brigade,
the sickening show of "humility"
masking a sense of superiority.

Paedophiles lurk behind the smock
and men in gorgeous coloured robes
deceive themselves that church reputation
Far exceeds any moral obligation.

There is blood in Rome, death in Salem
and burning in Calvin's "city of God."
History shows that this sorry mob
should never have any political job.

It's a pretty sad mess, that's for sure,
enough to make you cynical,
but when I think of the Nazarene
I don't feel in the least equivocal.

I'm not talking about that image
with shampooed hair and dreamy eyes
nor all those artistic marble statues
in wealthy institutions built on lies.

I'm thinking of the flesh and blood man
who was a friend to outcasts and poor,
who challenged the rules and status quo,
who gave until he could give no more.

He dined with harlots and publicans,
he touched lepers, the sick and the sad
but those who held the keys to wealth
ridiculed him and declared him mad.

He doesn't seem mad to me.
He had  a kind of moral divinity,
was a great poet and a teacher too
but I most admire his brave humanity.

I'm praying that he comes back.
I've read that he'll fix what we cannot,
the violence, inequity and oppression.
I'm thinking he's the only chance we've got.

Lyre Birds, Minnamurra Rainforest, Budderoo National Park, NSW, Australia

Well above the boulder-lined mountain creek,
its tangled profusion of vine and tree,
the spreading glory of the strangler fig
and remnant cedar’s towering beauty,

where the mountain steeply slopes,
filtered sun casts a dappled light,
tall trees grow from leaf-littered ground,
stop and stand still in hushed delight.

Two young lyre birds cavort and display,
practising for some more urgent time
their dance, spread of tail and joy of song
with beauty far beyond the power of rhyme.

Their tail is two curves of yellow and black,
enclosing silver gossamer wisp,
as seemingly delicate and coloured
as dew-filled web or wind-blown mist.

This glory they arch over their backs,
graceful, delicate, surprising long,
then dancing a quick, little staccato bob
pour from their throat liquid miracle of song.

Mimicry of diverse forest sounds
in effortless beauty from their throat pours-
kookaburra’s laugh, whip bird’s soar and crack,
king parrot, rosella and many unknown more.

Hush! The vault is blue, white and green,
there are ethereal slants of light,
great supporting buttress columns of trees,
and a choir praising in unrestrained delight.

Walk quietly away from this pure moment
with feelings privileged and sublime,
a heart full of wonder and gratitude,
a sense of a glimpse into the divine,

For on that on that leaf-littered mountainside
with effortless beauty these small birds raise,
without tuition or much thumbed page,
a wondrous hymn of beauty and praise.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Seals At Play. Admiral’s Arch, Flinders Chase National Park, Kangaroo Island.

the western waves roll
across three oceans
to crash upon the cliffs.

southwards the rolling sea
stretches far beyond the horizon
to distant Antarctica.

the salt-laden wind blows
over the huddling heathland's
wild, remote beauty.

Beneath the cliffs
but above the surge
are crevassed platforms and a curving arch
leading to a pool of mirrored transparency.
Everywhere fur seals bask,
argue over position, laze in the pool
or clamber awkwardly towards the sea.
Where once men clubbed them
to near extinction
they are protected, contented and safe.

Two young seals are at play
in a steep narrow gully,
a rush and retreat
of foaming turbulence and unforgiving rocks.
They surface in tangled somersault,
wrestling, diving, breaching again and again,
young, joyous and unafraid,
toddlers in a playground
confident in their skills,
except this is no playground
or carefully constructed, rubber-layered, safe zone
but the immense, cold, surging,
cliff-pounding sea.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Fraser Island (revised)

Fraser Island.

Miranda, on her magical island,
heard music in the crash of wave,
high, clear notes in the treetops,
dim timpani resound from distant cave.

Surely here she dwelt with Prospero,
their realm undiluted sand.
No pebble, rock, clay or loam
stains symphonic Fraser Island.

Music softly and sweetly sings
from serpentine streams so clear,
so unclouded and untouched
they could be water or could be air.

Music murmurs in the mangroves,
in the cobalt blue of upland lake,
in banksia grove and pandanas palm,
in forests of coastal she-oak.

It crescendos in the rainforest's
green palms that densely entwine,
stands of white towering blackbutt
partnering spotted Kauri pine.

Twice daily the eastern wave sings
as she washes from her sand
the countless tracks of 4 wheel drives
that scurrying, scour the land

and even though tomorrow
the traffic will again resume,
closely following the tide will sing
her lyrical, relentless, cleansing tune.

O gently, gently, twice a day,
the attendant tide comes in
and joyously singing as she goes
makes the beach pristine again.

Then the magic that Miranda heard
ripples or crashes in the sea,
or high in towering treetops
sings songs of exquisite beauty.