poetry

Mantra

Dream and laugh like a river.

Sing around the throat
of a fire.
Shout at the moon, because
she is your sentinel.

When you cry the river will
carry your tears away,
from the current of memory.

In anger I hurl my fists and
fury at the mountain.

He watches me through the
history of my words,

and accepts the challenge.

 

PhilosopherPoet

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Articles, Reviews

words for my father

Father Ballam hooking a big one.

My father is a warrior on many levels. He has risen up through the blizzard of a divorce. He soldiered through his own dyslexia and the currents of a busy family to conquer his Masters in Philosophy. (I better have another drink here this is starting to sound like a damn eulogy…and the bugger is still alive!) Allow me to reel this story in, the way one would clasp the steel nub of a coffee grinder’s arm. I can sum up my father in three words…

Fishing. Philosophy. Ideas.
These are the forces that drive him. They propel him onto the cold mud of a riverbank or into the furnace of concepts jostling in an academic paper. I know when he starts his 5 o’clock mornings ( a ritual the family has grown accustomed to), he first rustles around the kitchen like a wise old badger. To make his coffee he doesn’t turn on the kettle. Instead, he puts a pot of water on the stove and waits for it to boil.

Having a pint with the old man.

I remember being an angst-fuelled 23 year old telling him, “But that takes so much longer!”
He looked at me, a warm smile filling his eyes.
“You do not live with a woman and small children.”
His sensitivity, back then, baffled my own immature mantras. His modest income meant the houses he occupied where no mansions. In a nutshell, he would rarely give up his morning routine and at the same time…restrain himself so the family got enough sleep. Allow me to get back to the badger and his early morning.

My father in his element…or The Element perhaps?

Coffee in hand, he trundles to his favourite chair in the lounge. (If you read as much as this intellectual mammoth, you earn the right. Or perhaps, the chair finds you?) He sits down with a big red book of Rumi (a Sufi poet). It’s the perfect blend for him, mysticism and metaphor.

A gentleman always tells the truth. He allowed me to reel this fatty in so I could experience “the rush”. I compromised and said I’d take the photo as his hands were still full of fish!

Over the years poetry and books kept the two of us together. Much like a weekend for him, alone, pours cool consciousness back into his bones. He may not believe in a god, although he will make an effort to crawl back into nature to get in touch with something close to a Divine. Whether it’s internal or buried in the ripples of a rise…well, that remains to be seen.

Having another pint!

I love you Dad. Happy Birthday!

 

PhilosopherPoet

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poetry

that afternoon

we sat on the bank
father. son. river. rod.
3 ducks watch us,
they wait for knuckles of bread
we throw out for carp.

“yaa! piss off!” – my father’s arms
writhe in the wind like an angry officer.
i hoist my box of orange juice
i take a swig.
vodka swirls
like a warm hand into my chest.

before our expedition…
i hid in the car, and
my father was the lookout.
the rear door left open,
a suspicious window.
i drained juice from the carton,
my fingers unscrewing caps
a thousand thoughts whirred
in my head as i mixed the booze.

the ducks became bored and left.
my bait starts to swirl in the distance,
a fistful of bread
with a hook in it (half immersed).

“you see that?”
my father starts to twitch, jiggle,
his hands bubble up through the
arms of the camping chair.

rotating bait equals a fish, gently
gnawing, picking, probing
underneath our excitement.

“have another drink Dad!”
“n-n-not now, i have to watch your bait.”
his eyes cut through the afternoon air,
heads of trees watch us,
insects trickle in the distance.

the bait stops.
my father sighs, his shoulders sag
like branches of an old tree,
he has a drink.

it is the last time i will see him,
i crack open a volume of poetry,
ducks chuckle further down the river.

we exchange poems, metaphors, stories
embalmed in the loam of our language.
vodka sways through our sentences,
no more bites.

the moment is perfect.
well, almost. maybe if there was
a bronze body dancing in
my father’s hands?

night draws over us
like a heavy curtain.
our sighs parallel,
our hands collect rods and bags.
two chairs jut out of my arms
like old telescopes.

“you good to go?”
i nod, and we trundle back on
the mud path
where our memories
lie buried.

 

 

PhilosopherPoet

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Reviews

Eating Dirt – Charlotte Gill (book review)

Eating DirtEating Dirt by Charlotte Gill
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s rare that I finish a book of non-fiction. This is a gritty and visceral read. The prose is sharp, vivid and riddled with shards of experiences.

At times I could feel myself crammed in rusty pick up, hurtling along the dirty road with other soil-plastered planters. Reading this can be frightening, and sometimes funny as hell. It’s written from the heart of someone who isn’t afraid to take you to being in the middle of nowhere.

I learned a great deal about planters, forests, creatures, foibles, and speckles of ecology that intersperse Gill’s memories.

View all my reviews

 

PhilosopherPoet

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Art, Inspiration, Thoughts

The Life of Death

Here’s a really moving video I saw on Vimeo. I thought I’d add something slightly different to my blog for a change. Enjoy 😉

The Life of Death from Marsha Onderstijn on Vimeo.

 

PhilosopherPoet

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poetry, Uncategorized

beginning

his feet pump
with the weight of words
muscles in his voice
ignite and imbue
the asphalt

his face fidgets
in the creases of the wind
yet his eyes
remain resolute
through the old fog

his mischief wades
down the street
a scarf embraces him
like the soft pulse
of a mothers arm
whose embryo voice
whispers and says

– today you’ll be the
gentleman that
echoes empathy from
the folds of his heart

 

 

PhilosopherPoet

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poetry

midnight

in the evening he slides
onto his motorbike
it bristles with angst

he carves through the road
(as supple as a tongue)
the stars jostle
passed pious heads
of clouds

his iron stallion pauses
at the throbbing traffic light
impatience quivers inside
his throat

a green ghost oozes
whirls briefly before
the stallion soars
through the ether

his eyes are open
or even alive to pulses
of motion that fall
grip
wring
swallow
collide
into a sublime being

who dances
in the face
of the fuel tank

 

 

PhilosopherPoet

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