These paper boats of mine are meant to dance on the ripples of hours, and not reach any destination... Rabindranath Tagore

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past...F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby

We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.
On the way to the river are the old dormitories, used for something else now, with their fairy-tale turrets, painted white and gold and blue. When we think of the past it's the beautiful things we pick out. We want to believe it was all like that.
--from Margaret Atwood - The Handmaid's Tale

Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another's skin, another's voice, another's soul.
- Joyce Carol Oates

Saturday, November 11, 2017


Surrender (2005) - Sonya Hartnett

I am dying; its a beautiful word...
I feel old...
But I am young - I'm the martyr's age...
I am only twenty...
Living and dying in a little town called Mulyan...
a town of abominable secrets and myth..
I am Anwell...
But to Finnigan, my 'friend'.
I am Gabriel, the messenger, the teller of astonishing truths...

Death has been an acquaintance of mine...
Like a chameleon
In many shades...

My parents
Stifled the drive of my spirits...
For awhile at least
(Insert wry, satisfied smile here)

Vern was my first death...
his birdy shadow
My first secret...
I was only seven...

changed the colours of my life...
His was a world of light and speed, of flame and trickery...

We shared
A dog for all whims
And all seasons

And then there was Evangeline...
like a sprite...
toying with me...
just beyond...
Though I tried to hope it would not always be that way...

Yet ultimately
It was Vern
Older yet never older Vern...
Who finally reached out

To take my hand...

SurrenderSurrender by Sonya Hartnett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time bursts like fireworks, twisted with colourful word spins... Anwell, the storyteller most times, morphs into Gabriel, an angel of sorts. He has a co-writer, 'offsider' Finnigan, who declares 'I've touched them all: I'm like the plague.' And then there is Surrender, the dog, who chooses to swing with his moods and his loyalties. Mix in disabled Vernon, (a cameo appearance that lingers ghost-like), plus discordant parents and here is a novel that could be an enigmatic painting in progress. Death is the major player, seeming to work with and against anyone, always creating an endless cycle of dramas. Overall, a mesmerising read that leaves the delicious feeling of 'what just happened'...

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Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Penelopiad...

The Penelopiad - Margaret Atwood - Canongate Books (2005)

Now that I'm dead I know everything...

Helen was a siren
my measure of all things I can't be...
and don't wish to be
most of the time

who needs beauty if there is no secure happiness...

But I am no role model...

My father wanted to gift me to water when I was just a child...
That had no clear or pleasant explanation...

my mother was a Naiaid
spirited in all things water
No surprise that her wedding advice involved water...
Remember you are half water.
If you can't go through an obstacle go around it.
Water does.

And Odysseus
(my apparent husband)
He simply had to keep travelling
on water

So if water is meant to be the supreme cleanser
Why did my life feature

So much blood?

The PenelopiadThe Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Unusual...creative...But I'm not sure...Penelope, Odysseus' wife endeavours to present her story from ancient spirit worlds...Penelope is adamant that her life amounted to far more than years of loom weaving and staving off suitors while she waited for Odysseus to return from his travels...She wants to embellish? the legend record with a little help from 12 maidens, who intersperse the narrative with the traditional Greek Chorus line...Is she a weaver of dreams just as Odysseus seemed to be? Were they really the perfect match? Should we sympathise or judge?
Overall, an unsettling departure from Margaret Atwood's accustomed style... little evidence of rich and lingering turns of phrase...
And is the chorus a little too burlesquish?
It's all so different...unusual...creative...But I'm not sure...

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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

No Thoroughfare...

No Thoroughfare is a mystery story written by Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens.
 It was originally published in the Extra Christmas Number of All the Year Round, 12 December 1867 and in Every Saturday, Boston, December 1867.
 Written with a stage adaptation in mind, the story is divided into an 'Overture' and three 'Acts'.
 The dramatisation followed publication almost immediately,
opening at the Adelphi Theatre on 26 December 1867.
The edition I read was a Project Gutenberg e-book - released April 4, 2005

in the beginning was a clock
St Paul's iconic clock
marking the time for
a great journey
to begin

a foundling
a little nameles
synchronises with good fortune

but the wine is not yet 
quite ready

there are masks and mysteries
truths and deceits
the usual rubble of circumstance

and then
far away
is a mountain to climb
inclement weather to face
and survive

good wine
needs to mature
but surely

in the end was a clock
a clock-lock
marking the time for
a great journey
to go on

No ThoroughfareNo Thoroughfare by Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Deep in the shades of 1835 London unfolds a story, a mystery. Walter Wilding is a foundling with enigmatic connections. A developing wine business, inherited by Wilding, slowly unmasks the seedy character of Obenreizer, a man keen to further his own fortune, even if it means bartering the life of his fair niece Marguerite and her love for George Vendale, Wilding's partner. It takes a hazardous trip to Switzerland before all the threatening, mysterious shades can be laid to rest. The clock-lock affair (and a secret room) spins a wonderful, tense climax.

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Saturday, October 3, 2015

The October Game...

Hello October

The October Game (1948) - Ray Bradbury

He had never liked October
when winds release the annual 
sad season

those autumn leaves
so disconnected
and the trees
so empty

especially tonight
he could be just another autumn leaf
but then
he could also be
the tree

THE tree

at last
he could drag her
into the dark webby roots of hell
his hell

and then
walk into the dark light of 

and at least

secretly smile

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Wreck of the Golden Mary...

The Wreck of the Golden Mary (1857) - Charles Dickens
Kindle edition
It was written in partnership with Wilkie Collins
I am the Captain of the Golden Mary, Mr. Collins is the Mate 
- Dickens told Angela Burdett-Coutts (Letters 8: 231)
Angela Burdett-Coutts was a 19th century philanthropist.
With Charles Dickens, she co-founded a home for young women prone to theft and prostitution.
The home was known as Urania Cottage.
Further, Dickens dedicated his novel Martin Chuzzlewit to her and many other friends.

it's nigh on Christmas

aging Captain Ravender
more living
on the high seas
on the Golden Mary

I am so tired of darkness

but his living
a shared shipwreck
a shared survival

to friendly
and not so friendly
inner strengths

too soon
a ghastly white moon
the darkness

for some

and a little child
keeps her doll


she made a doll of the Golden Mary

Linking to;
Poetry Pantry #260

 Wreck of the Golden MaryWreck of the Golden Mary by Charles Dickens
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Very brief and very scintillating. This fast-paced narrative could be a Canterbury Tale on the high seas. After all, stories are told and songs sung to pass the time. This could be a parable... all that glistens is not gold, but some golds are priceless. A shipwreck allows time to magnify loose threads in characters who are cast outside the usual regime of society. And, like a Pied Piper, Captain Ravender encourages the passengers to find courage and hope within. So interesting that the Golden Mary was headed for the Californian goldfields and the child with shining fair hair is nicknamed Golden Lucy. So many metaphors tantalise this tale. A small treasure.

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sea drama...
This tale of the sea dives quickly into action. There are thoughts of being lured to the 19th century discovery of gold in California, but ultimately, the story is all about how personalities react to the challenge of a shipwrecked Golden Mary. And then there is the strange obsession of one passenger for a child that is not his. The narrative is very brief, but still it whisks the reader into a breathless climax... There's a feeling that there could have been far more to the story. An unexpected tale from the 19th century master of writing novels which usually are grounded in cities and explore the social colours of levels of society. Perhaps this narrative suggests a particular, pervading enthusiasm for adventure in worlds beyond English society. I have given this fragment a 5 star rating mainly because it represents a refreshing, alternative perspective of the Charles Dickens that we think we know.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Journal of an Expedition...

Journal of an Expedition into the Interior of Tropical Australia (1848) 
by Sir Thomas Mitchell (1792-1855) - Surveyor-General of New South Wales
Kindle edition

there must be a river to the Gulf

the Darling tribes may be hostile
unlike tribes near the coastal colony

but there must be a river to the Gulf

convicts strengthen my numbers
and drays carry our loads

there must be a river
there must be a river
there must be a river to the Gulf

acacias and
for beauty
melons and

this tropical realm
sultry airs by day
to frosts by night

there is a river
there is a river
falling far and far north west

I verily believed that THIS river would run to Carpentaria, and I called it the Nive...

but he didn't know
couldn't know
the river flows west to Tambo
and then

flows south

The Nive River is a tributary of the Warrego River (south-west Queensland)
which in turn, flows into the Darling River at Bourke in western New South Wales..
The Warrego is the northernmost tributary of the Darling.

 Journal of an Expedition into the Interior of Tropical AustraliaJournal of an Expedition into the Interior of Tropical Australia by Thomas Mitchell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the mid 19th century, Thomas Mitchell set out on his 4th expedition in Australia. He wanted to find a river that flowed from the inland to the Gulf of Carpentaria in the north; he wanted to find a sound, overland route from Sydney in the south to the Gulf; he wanted a closer connection with shipping and Singapore. Mitchell recorded his experiences from Parramatta in New South Wales to inland Queensland in a journal. He included meticulous details of plants found and changing weather patterns. This is not an exciting read of adventures. It is more an intimate insight into living out a dream day to day. Mesmerising.

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going west...
A journal that details plants, terrain and weather... And shows just how treacherous trying to stay connected with water can be... How valiantly exploring surveyors toiled, with a passion, to open up our knowledge of the unknown. Here too are interesting comments on native people... Their wisdom is highly respected... Convicts find a purpose and a measure of self-worth when they team up with the exploring party. The journal represents an opportunity to see through someone else's eyes and to walk in their shoes.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Erasmus James...

Erasmus James, King of Kid's Paradise (2008) by D.C. Green

I was modelled on weirdness

Dad gave me the gift of Zapp World
and I flew

Inside every head swirls a galaxy of zapp stars and
planets formed with the big bang of being born.

like a helipad

Every living person possesses their
own unique zapp universe, filled with worlds created
from the same subconscious cauldron that generates
dreams in bubbles of hope and fear.

like  the universe beyond Neverland
that Peter Pan 

Erasmus James, King of Kid’s Paradise (ZAPP, #2)Erasmus James, King of Kid’s Paradise by D.C. Green
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It was one of those bleary, wet winter days when I had my fill of reading and writing mind challenging words. I felt like a good dose of crazy. And I found it in this book. OK! I grant it is for young ones wanting a young hero in a fast wild adventure. But then, it does the older one good to venture into a young 'no man's land' for awhile.
Raz's dad declares that '...the Zapp Principle sucks our legs into our ears in a hyper-paced spinning loop that shrinks us to the perfect size to materialise on a zapp world inside the cortex vortex of your fiendish boy brain.’ Yes! It's out there...
Raz becomes king of of his own paradise, but even paradise has its this land, Grats. And Raz loathes rats.
Grats are essential to the running of Kid’s Paradise, King E,’ said Zara. ‘They clean, cook and perform other chores, plus various religious–’
Raz's paradise teaches him a thing or two that even a fun paradise needs appreciation of all living things, appreciating what they have to offer and learning that he too must give a little.
Perhaps I have been a little harsh in the rating. But then, I'm not a kid anymore looking for a kid's world. I've grown up...I think...

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