Friday, 15 August 2014

Poem for dad

My dad died.I hope you will forgive my use of the blog for this poem. I hope you find it some benefit, especially if you have lost someone close. Goodbye dad. You are here with us in the now. Loving you always my father

Composing a poem for dad, for me

Composing a poem for dad, for me
For my sadness, the tui, bright and flashy
as a black diamond
doesn’t care.
Preludes rising like your joy
and diving into anguish

Sometimes the Hutt breaks its banks in grief
and its tears anoint statehouse porches
Othertimes you see it has lazy acceptance in esses
You see it confined, know it swathed stones once, forming this valley
We sensed your restriction pulling away at the covers and tubes
And things they said for your own good

Mum dreamed of you at her back imitating her S shape in sleep
I wake with Chopin aching three mornings
The left hand is the carrier and the right plays its own tune
Mum woke and thought you were there
The right hand clasping left, her own.  

And there you are in the lament of right and wrong in my brothers,
the song, a great oneliner, an empty lazy boy and lifeless widescreen

We wound up following the Hutt River to that field where earth says welcome
Black granite, cold as dark suits, stabs up out of the ground
My friend Hugh tells me that the Books of the Dead tell what it’s like
My family like the idea that Christ himself mentioned
No inkling here so far, though faith be our torch with which we look
-except for the Monarch against the white hearse and
again, like a lolly against Mt Holdsworth fair and stark, sheeted and silent

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Demanding sorry

I hear alot in the news and elsewhere about apologies being demanded and withheld and so on. Recently I heard, more than once, that an apology was need to give 'closure'. I am saddened to hear that the apology has become a requirement of the process of an error and restoration of relationships. Before I am misjudged let me say that if remorse is felt -it usually is although our brutal pasts have cut us off from empathetic connection to others- then it can be expressed.It is wonderful when it is. I'm talking about a knee jerk automatic 'sorry' that comes, often under duress, from our mouths, which has nothing empathetic or any other feeling attached except resentment. Will an apology undo or lessen the pain that happened? Will a prison sentence undo the crime? I would love to get an apology for every time that I was abused or misjudged, but in truth, if I give someone else that much power i have left myself open to a long and painful wait. Especially if it is withheld. I have relinquished my locus of control, my ability to heal,  to somebody else.
Is it possible to understand that the 'event' had a lesson for us? Not "let this be a lesson to you" type of lesson, but one which  brings out some thought (strongly held ones are beliefs) you have about yourself. Such judgements like  "He treated me as worthless" and "I was abused" and "She abandoned me" suggest a judgement about an event in which we are clearly defined as victim. Under those lie thoughts which we don't even think of as thoughts; we mistake them for reality. I am useless, I am unlovable, I am worthless, I don't count etc or variations on those themes. That's the lesson-to bring into the light those condemming self judgements which I say are lies we believe to be true. And its the believing that does the damage, because those thoughts (beliefs) have a resonant 'negative' feeling state that goes with them, just as thoughts like' I am beautiful' and 'I am lovable' have joy and serenity with them.
I discovered a new way to forgive known in a book by Colin Tipping as Radical Forgiveness, in which the 'perpetrator' and the 'victim' are see as performing a kind of unwitting dance together. Instead of searching for blame and punishment it seeks to help me to consider a wider and more far- reaching story.It makes way for compassion, and real forgiveness-of yourself.It lets feelings be truly felt and opens the way for healing.

Anzac Day; Lest We Forgot and we believe in war

Has it all been said about Anzac Day? No, I've got some more! I heard a Gallipoli vet talking about his experiences.He talked about a field of daisies that constituted a 100 yard dash across heavily machine gun protected open  space. In his words the first lot of 30 to 40 men ran and they 'dropped'; followed by the next lot who also 'dropped'. The  language was such that I at first thought he meant they ducked for cover. What he was saying was they were killed. So he witnessed 90 to 100 men crossing this flowerbed to their deaths in probably around a minute. My friend Lucy from England said that there have been studies made of the type of language used in war-I'm betting in any situation where the reality was too much to bear. You get words like 'dropped' and 'served' and 'fallen' and 'in a bit of trouble'and so on. All to make it bearable which I sort of understand; however a part of me says perhaps naively that if we called it what it is then we would be truly conscious of the reality and revisit our firmly held views on war.
I had an argument with my partner Alice on Anzac Day about the way I criticise the commemorations.She said the people remaining need a way to remember them. I acknowledge that.It is very important.But if that's the case how come we are just remembering soldiers who died? Are civilian women and children the 'Glorious Dead'?I keep chuckling cynically at the 'Glorious Dead'-and getting iry over it. There's nothing glorious about it.They were bloody blown to bits!
And its too easy to say they "gave their lives". Is it martyrdom or a murder/suicide pact?I say its a convulsion and a belief in violence as a means of solving problems of resources, land. I will stop when we stop using war as a legitimate solution to problems.When parents, when schools, when society believes force is the answer to solving problems, how can you expect anything different on a 'macro' level, between nations?
People I know people I respect; who are well informed,church going Christians speak of war as if it is an inevitable conclusion. That's what makes me mad.
And what is behind youth's newfound interest in Anzac Day? I do know that schools force their students to represent the school at such events. I'm guessing its seen as a patriotic event for the community and to not be there is the thing you don't want to be noticed for. On the positive side, I think curiosity, perhaps compassion, the desire to stand for something so missing from our youth also make it attractive.
I don't believe that Anzac Day actively glorifies war. Some of my friends do.To me though, it is a great opportunity to look at these deeper questions. It is big on sacrifice (so is the Taleban) and repeats the Christian paradigm of "I died for you" that Christians are in to. Guilt? We owe them?   We all chant "Never Again!"; the plainly dumb mantra of an ill- informed populous. What with Pol Pot in Cambodia, Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia and other genocides we clearly need to drop "never again" like a hot spud. Perhaps what we mean is "never again" for us.
I'm for revolution, I'm for evolution too. We need a revolution so that we fit our world and all its inhabitants. I'm talking beyond religion -the people based organisations- to actually mutual recognition of our place on the thin skin we call Earth. I'm talking learning a new language of mutuality-one that recognises we share hundreds of deep yearnings, a language which we share with every stone and every plant. I'd like to see it supplant our current language which is the language of domination developed by our minds, where we believe in war,and in my win equals your loss.