Category Archives: poetry

Maybe Tomorrow

Limerence – Word of the Day

RAG TAG DAILY PROMPT

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Paul Gustave Fischer (1860 – 1934) ‘In The Train Compartment’

Maybe Tomorrow

Everyone smiles as you pass,
your laugh a gentle therapy.
No one ignores you.
Three seats down, side on
if only I could catch your eye, just for me, just once.
Your energy, your hair, that, yes, that curve ...
My pulse is crowding my temples.
My lungs are drawing in fire.
Surely I will cease to exist if I can't speak your name.
Someone speaks ...
My mind is lost, floating.
"What?"
"Is that seat taken?"
"Oh, no, no ...
Leave me alone with my thoughts,
don't even breathe.
My heart races, surely I am exposed
I'm giddy, drunk.
But she looks elsewhere
out the window
like yesterday.
I exhale sharply as you leave, again.
The train doors roll shut.
Love retreats down platform nine.
Maybe tomorrow ...
Maybe.

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under life, love, poetry, Trains

Liquid Life

Liquid

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I love the ocean, I love rivers and lakes, but there’s something about a country creek, especially the sounds of the running water as it sings over rocks, such a glorious song.

Which reminds me of a line from a poem by Wendell Berry: “The impeded stream is the one that sings.”

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under bush walking, mindfulness, nature, poetry, quote

Blackwood Seasons

Photo Challenge

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In this place there are a number of songs that seem to pop up fro time to time, one is the Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows” with that wonderful line “Turn off your mind relax and float down stream …” On so many levels that is applicable in this place, the Blackwood River, Augusta.

Blackwood Seasons

Time softens, flattens, slows,
the blade a pleasing splosh and slurp
as we glide the water,
Dolphins at the bow, Whiting below.
There are memories here
of life seasons.
Kairos, time within time.

My footfall feeling the earth
as we weave the trails.
Either the softness of green,
or the crackle and crunch of the dry.
Blind ends, bends that beckon,
stumps covered in moss and lichen.
The granite is unyielding.

Light plays across the leaves
and bathes the bush in a warm palette
that pleases my eyes,
in reality my mind;
though it really is my heart.
Surely, it is my heart.

Birdsong pushes through 
the whispering breeze,
the leaves as triangles and tibrels,
the bough as cello.
Though I hear a kangaroo in the distance, 
I cannot see it,
nor the scuttling ghekkos and skinks.

The rain.
Of course the rain, petrichor abundant.
And rivulets forming little creeks
running home to big sister and brother.
I relax.
Iam home,
I am in my place in the world.

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

18 Comments

Filed under bush walking, kayaking, life, poetry

Tides

via Daily Prompt: Tide

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The tide coming in at the Wilson Inlet, Denmark, Western Australia.

Rachel Carson, to whom we all owe a debt of thanks for her tireless work in advocating for the protection of nature, once said: “The winds, the sea, and the moving tides are what they are. If there is wonder and beauty and majesty in them, science will discover these qualities … If there is poetry in my book about the sea, it is not because I deliberately put it there, but because no one could write truthfully about the sea and leave out the poetry.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a poem called “The Tides.” An autobiographical  poem that speaks of despair (the loss of his wife) and the rediscovery of joy (the tide upbore – lifted him up) as the tide lifts him from despair.

"The Tides" Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

I saw the long line of the vacant shore,
The sea-weed and the shells upon the sand,
And the brown rocks left bare on every hand,
As if the ebbing tide would flow no more.
Then heard I, more distinctly than before,
The ocean breathe and its great breast expand,
And hurrying came on the defenceless land
The insurgent waters with tumultuous roar.
All thought and feeling and desire, I said,
Love,laughter, and the exultant joy of song
Have ebbed from me forever! Suddenly o'er me
They swept again from their deep ocean bed,
And in a tumult of delight, and strong
As youth, and beautiful as youth, upbore me.

But none ever so bleak as Matthew Arnold’s famous poem “Dover Beach.” A poem that is thought to be four very loosely connected sonnets about change. The third stanza tells how the tide is representative of the institution of the Chrisitan Church, that it is fading lifke the receding tide.

From "Dover Beach" Matthew Arnold, stanza three:

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and rounded earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Arnold would have been a contemporary of Friedrich Nietzsche, who wrote “God is dead.” (“The Gay Science” 1882) The way I read Nietzsche, is the way I read Arnold, they are simply pointing out that the institution of religion was dying, and the idea of God (the Medieval, the Christendom, God) was dying. For me that has been a positive, the old had to die for the new to come to life. Just as the tide goes out, it also, with equal regularity comes in again. this is its natural rhythm. Religion as a political power elite has been receding for some time, thankfully, and spirituality and mindfulness have entered that space. The absurd God of tribalism and petty moral values has died, thankfully, and a new sense of the divine has enetered, a more communal and relational divine.

So, in the end, I really resonate with Longfellow’s last line from “The Tides” –  “And in a tumult of delight, and strong as youth, and beautiful as youth, upbore me.”  The tides of Arnold and Nietzche simply wash away the dross of what ails religion, while the tide of Longfellow indicates hope in a season of loss and grief in an uplifting tumult of delight.

Paul,

pvcann.com

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Filed under beach, Country, life, mindfulness, nature, Philosophy/Theology, poetry, quote, religion

Notable, Remarkable

via Daily Prompt: Notable

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Warren Macdonald, still climbing.

In April 1997 Warren Macdonald was in the midst of a long sojourn in the Whitsundays. Macdonald, an experienced bushwalker and avid climber set out to climb Mt. Bowen on Hinchinbrook Island. He teamed with another climber Geert Van Keulen, a man he didn’t know, had only just met.

They set out on April 9 (1997). Mt. Bowen is 1,121 mtrs, and though short, it is a tough climb with rain, mud, streams, loose stones and boulders, and the humidity. They climbed for some time, eight and a half hours,  and made camp, but they hadn’t reached the summit.

In the dark,  Warren went out to “take a leak” and then things took a turn. He went out to a ledge across a stream and tried to accommodate the rock, as he positioned himself there was a rock slide and he became pinned, a large wedge of granite had fallen across his leg, the crack he had heard was the breaking of his pelvis. He screamed for Geert, and so the long proces of getting help began. Geert could not budge the rock. and so, the next morning he set off to get help. It took him eleven hours to get down. When Geert arrived at the lagoon he was exhausted, and there was no one to contact, so he made camp and decided to set out the next morning.

Warren Macdonald was rescued, and then went through a very lengthy rehab, losing both his legs above the knee.

What is inspiring is his tenacity, courage, and strength in adversity. He never gave up, sure, he doubted, and lost his cool at times, but he stuck with getting on with life. He worked hard with specilaists in prosthetics and as a result was able to have specially designed prosthetics that enabled him to climb again. He would be the first to say he didn’t do it on his own, doctors and specialists yes, but also family and friends, love and support also helped get him through.

Macdonald has climbed Cradle Mountain in Tasmania using a modified wheelchair, later he climbed Federation Peak (also in Tasmania), Mt. Kilimajaro in Tanzania (being the first double above the knee amputee to to achieve the summit), El Capitan in Nevada, and the Weeping Wall in Alberta. He has also become a motivational speaker.

In one of his talks he says “It’s not about climbing mountains” and in one sense he means that his life is not just about conquering mountains, and in another sense he means that mountains represent many things.

We all have mountains to climb, sometimes we have the emotional or physical equivalent of be being pinned by a granite rock miles from help. And here we are, we’re still here to talk about it, we have survived! We will continue climbing life’s tracks. There will be other trials, and there will be trials for those around us, we can be our own coach and we will undoubtedly be called upon to coach others. Together we can make it. That old saying “It takes a village to raise a child” is true enough in my experience, but I also think it takes a village to survive. We need each other. Warren Macdonald had Geert, hopefully we have our Geert or Geerts when we are pinned down, but also our own inner strength to call on too. And hopefully we are Geert for others.

Living the daily
pinned by granite mountain
I arise by love

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under bush walking, Country, Haiku, life, mindfulness, poetry, psychology, self-development

Who’s A Cur?

via Daily Prompt: Cur

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Nope, definitely not a cur. Vienna is on loan to see if she fits into our family and life, but after two weeks we are already quite taken with her, and she with us. She is no low, viscious dog, but a lovong member of the family.

The cur is the grumbling, growling, biting dog, the back alley dog, the drooling menace, the lowest of the low. A dog of mixed breed, or unknown parentage, ugly, fearful yet aggressive, angry but yet a true coward.

The cur doesn’t discern, but simply lashes out, bites and runs away. The cur hides in darkness, in shadows, is easily whipped by the masters tongue, and grovels to the one who feeds.

As a child I heard this term used as a putdown on a number of ocassions, listening to the men talking at the BBQ, now and again an absent man would come into discussion (isn’t that the way of it? To analyse and disect the absent ones) and I have a memory, that some were described by the epithet cur, or its equivalent mongrel! “That bloke’s just a lying cur.” “He’s just a no-good mongrel.” “He’s just a bastard.”

Something in me would twinge, I felt for the absent ones. Was this how we were all described when absent? Was this the sum view of all who didn’t fit this group? Besides, I knew some of these ‘curs’ and I didn’t share that view! Ever since I have puzzled over the way we tend to use comparison, to take nature and make it a negative description of a person. You pig, you scaredy cat, you cow, you dog, you wounded duck, you silly goose and so on. It all rolls easily off the tongue, especially when angry.

Cur when applied to humans, means, the person who is grumbling, annoying, untrustworthy, reactive, unreliable, disliked, cowardly …

Sadly labels stick – either directly in the social milieu, or in the mind of the agressor, or worse, in the mind of the victim, there is no easy escape. We so readily resort to defiining the other, and sometimes negatively, boxing them in, giving us and them a mind-map to follow, defining their potential and their future. Words have meaning, words convey place, words have power, most especially in the mind, but also in the group. With a word we convey goodness and hope, with another social death, and isolation. With words we steal life itself and terminate those we so easily label, sucking their identity from them, and boxing them into our definition. Control!

But there is some redemtion of the term. There are dog breeds known as curs in the US. The Catahoula Cur, the Blackmouthed Cur, and others. These are dogs bred for rugged conditions, mountain dwelling, coping with bears, pumas, coyotes, and other threats while guarding sheep and cattle. They are adept hunting dogs, and loyal to the family or individuals who care for them.

What I like about that is the opportunity to turn the term around. So what if the cur is loyal, hard working, protective, fearless, helpful …

I love binary terms, they shouldn’t exist but they do, and in the end the positives always outweigh the negatives. The binary of cur is a gift. We can use that gift to refute the negatives and redeem the victims everytime. I believe there is good in everyone, we just have to set aside our filters and bias to see the true person before us. With a word we have the power to box people in, or, set them free.

I want to set them free! (And, I too want to be free)

That your name is cur
recurs, recurs, until we
set you free to be

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

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Elaborate Masks

via Daily Prompt: Elaborate

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An elaborate Renaissance Ball Mask. The masks were elaborate, but so was the ruse, an attempt to create mystery and tension, the possiblility of romance or illicit liasion. The masquerade was a feature of carnival season of 15th century Europe. In time masks became works of art. They were made of diferent materials, and bejeweled, like the one in the photo.

The masks we put on every day are not bejeweled, but they are clever, intricate, and very elaborate. If you want to read an early understanding the human mask, then Shakespeare is the one to read, and in particular, the ‘Taming of the Shrew.’ Psychologically, masks are a form of protection, we tend to mask anger, grief, anxiety, fear, a sense of failure, feeling like a fraud, needing to be the hero, the great intellect, and so on.

I have worked with people who use humour to mask what they perceive in themselves as a lack of sophistication. Others have thrown around biting sarcasm in order to keep others at bay. Some it is fear of success, so they play the incompetent. I have had the experience of never really knowing someone, at a funeral once I heard so much about someone I thought I knew, only to discover they had protected so much of their lives from public scrutiny, a compartmentalising. On another ocassion, when I was going through a difficult time, some said “I thought you had it all together” (like, really!!).

If we’re angry we may resort to condemnation, if we are grieving we might project happiness or amusement, anything but what we’re really feeling. That might be important at certain points in our lives, a boundary. But when it becomes avoidance, deception, fear, then we risk burying our true selves and others may never really know us. Even to the point that well entrenched masks become who we are. The question is, what are we trying to hide and why?

Jung developed the idea of the persona, the person we wanted others to know as ourselves, but not our true self.

I love this unattributed quote: “She threw away all of her masks, and put on her soul.”

That says it all. To dispense with the lie, the deception, which is really self-deception at best, the fear, and embrace our true selves, the raw self, the truly beautiful self. Created, bejeweled physical masks can be creations of great beauty. But the one who lives their true self, nothing could be more beautiful. We often use the phrase “warts and all”, meaning even our less good parts can be seen, our less succesful, less socially acceptable selves can be seen, yet this is healthy. The first step on the road of recovery is to know that we are never going to be perfect. And once we let go the ego, then masks become redundant because there is nothing to protect.

To put on our soul is to let go and find the juice of our lives and let that flow.

When we put on our soul, we are truly beautiful.

Hiding in layers
the weapons of deception
my real is naked

©Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

21 Comments

Filed under art, creativity, Haiku, history, life, love, mindfulness, poetry, psychology, quote

Bestow Love

via Daily Prompt: Bestow

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Ramana Maharshi (1879 – 1950) was a Hindu sage, in fact a Jivanmukta, a liberated sage. Maharshi once said: “Unless one is happy, one cannot bestow happiness on others.” 

Maharshi is saying, obviously, that we can only give what we have within us. So if we carry anger, we share anger, if joy then joy, if hate then we share hate, but if love then love, and so on. We can’t give what we don’t have. Love doesn’t come from hate.

To be proactive, Rumi urges us to: “… bestow your love even on your enemies, if you touch their hearts what do you think will happen?” A purpose Jesus taught with his famous instruction to “Love one another”, including our enemies.

Rumi begs the question, what will happen if we do love our enemies? It’s simply rhetorical, the answer is clear, they will, over time, learn to love. I can see that example in so many people I have had the privilege of meeting and befriending, but also in those who have become known for their acts of selfless love – Martin Luther King Jnr., Mother Theresa, Rosa Parks, Ghandi, Malala, Maximillian Kolbe, Oscar Schindler, Bernadette Devlin, Mandella, Fred Hollows, or this guy:- Doc Hendley, who by his own description is but a humble bartender who had a vision to do something about water.

Hendley isn’t a sports star, or rock star, or movie star, just an ordinary guy bestowing clean water on those in dire need. While in reality he is also bestowing his love and compassion. He got angry hearing about the water crisis in the world, but he translated that anger into positive action (rather than reaction) and fifteen years on there’s a process for helping to provide clean water in the Sudan.

Doc Hendley is a great example to us, that we too, humble as we are, can bestow our love, our happiness, our joy, compassion … on others in meaningful ways. Where I live a local girl, Bella Burgmeister has become an author, motivational speaker, and project initiator, not bad for someone who is eleven. Bella has written on the impact of global warming in her book “Bella’s challenge” and she has iniated a project in our community by convincing city council to invest in thirty lockers for homeless people, a fantastic project. Bella has bestowed her passion and energy and love on our community for the benefit of all.

We can all do something, we can all bestow our love in some way, great or small.

Heartless is my world
my wallet is cold, empty
warm is my embrace

© Paul Cannon

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

23 Comments

Filed under history, life, meditation, mindfulness, poetry, quote, Spirituality

Songs Lift My Soul

via Daily Prompt: Song

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In 2013 The Bridgetown Cidery became home to a regular Folk Music Night, where local artists performed both solo and together as a band. In the Photo above we have Daun on percussion, a woman whose name I sadly can’t remember, Mary Myfanwy (who has her own solo career), and Adrian Williams (who can play a number of string instruments) who was a catalyst for the venture. This was taken July 2014 when I was still living in the town. I regularly attended these events because I love folk music, and on occasion there’d be something from the archive of Steeleye Span or Fairport Convention, among others. It was a fabulous time.

When I was around three years old, I have a distinct memory (I can still locate myself by a song, even my mood at the time on some occasions) of the songs of Peter, Paul and Mary, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, and Bob Dylan (who I met in 1978 in Perth) and I have ever since had a soft spot for folk music of many kinds. My mother always had the radio on, BBC of course, and through those long English winters, trapped indoors, it was wonderful to be able to listen to music of all kinds. Fats Domino, Lonny Donegan, Cliff Richard and the Shadows, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Tom Jones, The Platters, Gene Vincent, Sam Cooke and more became known to me by their songs, it would be some years later that I would identify the songs by those who sang them. I loved music, I loved participating too. As with all children I was in the school “orchestra or band” I played the triangle, and eventually graduated to tambourine. I sang in a church choir for a time as a child, but when my voice broke it was deemed better that I not do that anymore 🙂

The sixties music had a profound effect on me. Who could ever deny the impact of the Beatles, but so many good songs and the bands who brought them into being.

My school band days migrated to the Australian school system where everyone was expected to learn to play the recorder (which drove my teachers and my Parents mad)  and every class had a singing session weekly to learn songs. I loved it all. I never did learn to read music, and for a brief moment in time I started to learn to play bass guitar, and was in a couple of attempted start-up bands. I did write some songs, but found I was a better poet than a straight up song writer. It was all good fun.

When I was in my teens, music, like reading, was a great escape, and I found music could also lift my soul, that hasn’t changed, it still does. I have my favourite songs, but I have a broad love of music and genre, from from folk to pop, blues to rock, gospel to hip hop, and classical and jazz. I have really enjoyed fusion, and the collaboration between cultures as pioneered by people like Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon, George Harrison, and including Robert Plant, and many others.

I find music affects me body, mind and soul. There are some songs or pieces that bring me goose-bumps, and ecstasy, others are deeply meditative, some energising.

Even the very serious Friedrich Nietzsche once said: “Without music, life would be a mistake.”

I agree, it would be a tragedy. But thankfully humanity is creative and expressive and we have a vast body of ever growing work to choose from. I wonder what your favourite song is? Perhaps like me you find it hard to choose just one. For me, in this moment, Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A Changin” In 1964, it was a very real song, an anthem. But now it is more – it is my constant hope.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

 

22 Comments

Filed under creativity, history, life, music, poetry, quote

3 Day Quote Challenge

Day Two

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Taken at a junction on the River Walk above Flat Rock, Augusta.

"... Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference."

From: 'The Road Not Taken' by Robert Frost

When I chose this one it dawned on me that I had another ‘road’  or direction quote. Well, so be it. Life is indeed a journey along a path – our path. And that is Frost’s point, we have choices, they are our choices as to which way to go. At the heart of these lines is the call to authenticity, will we go the road well travelled – the predictable, comfortable, everybody is doing it road; or the road less travelled – the one that is going to stretch us, deepen us, cause us to question (and question ourselves), enable us to grow, the one that includes pain or discomfort, love and love lost ….?

Frost, ever the subtle poet, guides us discretely to the thought that authenticity is about being true to self and honouring that which only we can bring to the world, to community. This not new, but Frost is original and profound, giving a new angle on life through his own experience. For Frost, the authentic person can only be truly themselves if they take their own path. It is an acknowledgement that no one can carry us or do it for us, no one else can be us. Frost doesn’t preach or moralise, he simply honours his own authenticity with – “And that has made all the difference.”  He rejoices in his choice to go his way, to therefore become himself, no matter what he meets along the way.

Today’s Nominations:

On A Mission

Soul Therapist

Moira

Paul,

pvcann.com

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