Sunday, 17 April 2011


While I walked, I licked my finger, and picked up the stars, like hundreds and thousands.
They tasted sharp, and tickled my tongue.
I coughed, and when I exhaled a mist of incandescence emanated from me. Sparklers.
I covered my mouth, afraid of losing them.
The moon, a soft marshmallow on my tongue.
The trees nodded as I passed.
Assenting. Allowing.
The bats twittered in the trees,
and the cicadas played a ballad.
The wind interrupted with its opinion as I walked.
Only sometimes.
The ground, alive with leaves and debris,
groaned at my passing.
A sound escaped from my mouth,
a tune, a lullaby.
The song rose like hot steam.
It touched the sides of this picture frame.
The city lights in the distance,
a piece of dotted fabric spread over a contour.
Ready to be picked up, and shaken out.
The crumbs fell off the tablecloth,
as they did in a suburban backyard, in a faraway time and place.
The lights spread and fall, shaken off the fabric.
Or, I just drape it around me for warmth.
The lights itched on my skin.
The darkness caressed me,
following my every move.
Tight around me,
my constant companion,
cosy lover,
infinite hug.
The stars made me thirsty,
and I drank from the fountain,
the powerful river,
this quenching landscape.
My throat was no longer dry.
I stopped. I lay down. I slept.
From a distance, I could no longer be seen,
I no longer existed.
Only a landscape remained as I blended in,
camouflaged, a moth on the bark of the earth.
I lay there for hours, days, weeks, years.
I fluttered my wings and joined the breeze.
Only then was I visible.
I rose with the left over laughter in my throat.
And that is all.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011


When I first moved out of home, I grew things.

I had looked after a wonderful hen and chicken fern for many years. He lived on my desk, and I looked after it, talked to it, watched it unfurl, watched it grow...and it still lives in my mum's backyard, in an ever-growing pot.

I loved the surprise of a new shoot, a new curled frond, like a gift for me, like a shy baby arriving into my world. I would coax it, encourage it, praise its every graceful extension into the world. And then, about once a year, new babies would grow right out of its leaves. Little chickens, which would become new plants. I loved its green honesty. Sitting there, still, and yet so very active and powerful.

So when I moved out of home, I grew things. I grew vegetables in a rocky backyard that seemed like it would never be good enough for any vegie. We had chickens that fertilised and scratched the soil for us, and then beetroots, tomatoes, and corn sprang out of the ground. Every day, the new shoots on the plants, or a single radish grown out of a seed was something to be proud of, a creation.

My ferns multiplied, and I soon had a collection of my lovely shade plants.

But later, the ferns started to die. The busyness of life, the rushing around of study, the neglect that those babies were experiencing started to take its toll.
We moved, moved them to a better place. A new garden was started, new vegetables grown, and this happened another two times.

After a few years, I got sick of growing things, the rewards shrank. I seemed to be killing plants around me. I had the kids to worry about and growing them was taking all of my energy. The same rewards that I had once gained from green growth was now so much more palpable to me, in a very different way.

I haven't grown any plants for about 8 years. I couldn't be bothered. Too many gardens started and no fruit to show for them. Too many disappointments thrown into the earth without any result, or any sorries. No seeds germinated from tears. Too many memories entangled in my ferns' simple fronds. New Zealand, many rented homes, my gardening friend who never rang back.
I think we plant things because of the outcome, our expectations of what the earth will give back if we put some effort into it. We put work into life because we know that the fruits that we will harvest are worthwhile.

I have started growing things again. I am holding my breath and asking the earth to deliver. I am trusting things to the ground, putting my roots into the ground again. I am ready to accept that some of these plants that I am trusting to the earth will die, bear no fruit, be forgotten.
That peach tree in the corner, the one I have not watered since I moved into this house, is suddenly important. I want it to survive, I will care for it and give it another chance to have its season. I think I might be ready yet again to take a leap, take a chance, risk the death of a few seedlings, sacrifice my time and my effort for an outcome.

I am glad I haven't lost that hope. That youthful hope that things can only get better, that you are the owner of your destiny and that you have got to try. Extend those limbs into the sky and grow, bloom...and yes, probably one day die.

I think I will ask for my fern back. I am glad I had someone to look after it until I was ready to welcome it back in.

The purpose

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