A to Z Challenge – P is for Petrol

April 18, 2015 at 12:05 am | Posted in A-Z Blogging Challenge 2015, Indigenous health, Poetry | 9 Comments
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A2Z-BADGE [2015] - Life is Good

This poem is one that some may find offensive or distressing. I wrote it after seeing a “Lateline” programme on ABC TV about the predations of a paedophile in Mutitjulu (Ayers Rock Aboriginal community in the NT). Petrol sniffing is still a problem.

Petrol for Sex

.

Her body moves in rhythm to his thrusts.

Eyes closed, she’s in another world,

unaware of what is happening to her.

Twelve years old, a child –

the focus of his warped desires.

Should be in school, but it never was important

even when she was aware.

No future anyway. Why bother?

.

Finished, the old man pushes her aside.

She whimpers, and reaches out

for the can of petrol on the sand – her payment.

Dull eyes momentarily gleam

as she holds it to her face and inhales,

killing a few million more brain cells.

But she doesn’t know about that –

And he doesn’t care.

.

(c) Linda Visman

A to Z Challenge – O is for On the Rocks

April 17, 2015 at 12:05 am | Posted in A-Z Blogging Challenge 2015, Australia, Nature | 3 Comments
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A2Z-BADGE [2015] - Life is Good

Another of my poems for the A-Z April Challenge.

.

On the Rocks

.

There are scribble patterns

on the small rock pool’s sandy bottom,

where clear water is warmed by a winter sun.

Slow-moving shellfish, like half-marbles

in black or white or zebra-striped,

with their confused nutrient wanderings,

have woven lines that twist and tangle

and seem to go nowhere.

.

Plankton, barely seen by human eye,

swim and creep and crawl, on guard

against darting minnows –

the big fish in this miniature pond.

Tiny crabs dart beneath rock overhangs,

knowing that death lurks

in every movement from above.

.

Soon, the tide will turn, battering

the almost-still life into wakefulness;

fresh, cold waters flushing out the old

and bringing in the new –

oxygen, nourishment,

more inhabitants to scribble in the sand.

And so it will continue,

tangled patterns of life renewed

tide after tide, as it has been forever.

.

(c)   Linda Visman

On the rocks at Shellharbour.

A to Z Challenge – N is for Never-ending

April 16, 2015 at 12:05 am | Posted in A-Z Blogging Challenge 2015, Poetry, War and Conflict | 4 Comments

A2Z-BADGE [2015] - Life is Good

 

This is another poem I wrote for a contest. The poem had to be in Pi form. This comes from the mathematical value Pi, which equals 3.141592653589793. The poem thus had to have the number of words in each line correspond with each number in the Pi sequence, with the number of lines equal to the number of digits in the sequence.

Whilst the poem was written for a contest, the subject I have written of was already in my mind, and I had been searching for a form in which to express my thoughts on it. I decided to use the Pi form, and enter the contest too. Along the way, I came up with a potted history of war in the twentieth century and beyond.

Again I write of Man’s intractability, his inhumanity. A sign of the times! The last line says it all.

 

Never-ending War

– A Pi Poem

..

The Great War

Appalling –

Ending all wars forever?

Delusion –

Man’s intractability makes this impossible.

More wars erupt, in Russia, Spain, China, and elsewhere –

Lesson unlearned.

Then comes the Second World War:

Killing brought to the cities –

Bombing; death; destruction;

War no longer just soldiers.

Now, civilians, homes and livelihoods become valid targets.

Suffering, caused by a megalomaniac’s dream of world domination.

Cold War Bomb, Damocles’ sword, hangs suspended.

Korea, Vietnam, Middle East. Now Terror’s War rages worldwide.

Mankind never learns.

..

(c) Linda Visman

A to Z Challenge – M is for Mowing the Lawn

April 15, 2015 at 1:47 pm | Posted in A-Z Blogging Challenge 2015, Australia, Birds, Gardens | 7 Comments
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A2Z-BADGE [2015] - Life is Good

I love mowing the lawns – do you?

…..

M is for Mowing the Lawn

Back and forth, I tramp across the yard,

pushing before me this raucous machine

that devours grass and sticks and weeds,

masticates them in whirling blades,

spitting out their shredded remains

in long uneven parallels of green.

So often a tedious task, but not today:

A warm afternoon sun draws yesterday’s rain

From moist earth into clear blue autumn skies,

And a light breeze cools the well-earned sweat

That, in humid air, gathers upon my brow.

…..

Around me, in red-flowering bottlebrush trees,

Gaudy Rainbow Lorikeets quarrel vociferously,

Chasing their differences from tree to tree,

Their screeches almost overwhelming the mower’s roar.

Up the back slope, where I have not yet been,

Sedate Eastern Rosellas pluck plentiful grass seeds.

I do not mow all their granary, but leave uncut

The yard’s far reaches, amid tall Spotted Gums.

There, skinks and blue-tongue lizards hide

Among tall grass, bracken fern and fallen branches,

And, at night, brush-tailed possums play.

…..

As I work my way across the lawning grass,

Two lapwings follow in my wake.

Immaculately dressed in light tan and white,

Black collars and caps, and masks of bright yellow,

They show no fear as I turn the mower towards them.

Our lawns and the neighbours’ provide

A constant, well-stocked larder for this faithful pair.

Today, they enjoy a veritable feast,

Darting in and dashing out on red-brown stick legs,

Snatching and devouring their spoils – the unlucky insects

So rudely disturbed by my slashing monster.

…..

As I close the throttle at last, blessed silence returns –

Except for those still-argumentative lorikeets.

The lapwings continue to forage over the sun-dappled lawn;

They should sleep, well-fed, tonight.

The mower garaged, I survey, from the verandah,

A neat, evenly cut lawn beneath tall, sheltering trees,

Enjoying the glow of a job well done, and a feeling of

Intimacy with our local community of feathered friends.

…..

(c)  Linda Visman

A to Z Challenge – L is for Lost

April 14, 2015 at 12:05 am | Posted in A-Z Blogging Challenge 2015, Australia, Health | 9 Comments
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A2Z-BADGE [2015] - Life is Good

There are some things about living and working in indigenous communities that are heart-breaking. During the time I was in the Northern Territory in the 1990s, there were two problems that were endemic.

Alcohol abuse was rife, and quite obvious in some places. Many indigenous leaders, along with government and welfare organisations, decided that one way to attack the problem was to make a rule declaring their communities “dry”. That meant no alcohol could be brought into or consumed within the community and a defined area around it.

In a lot of communities, it didn’t work, and ‘grog’ runners made a fortune bringing in illicit liquor at highly inflated prices.

A second scourge in some places was petrol sniffing. This was mostly among youngsters and young men and women, who got some sort of high from sniffing leaded petrol. There were kids as young as seven or eight with brain damage as a result – but the damage was done to the older ones as well.

I wrote this poem after I left the N.T., when  I’d heard about more problems with alcohol and petrol.

Lost Generations

He awakens in his bed of rags

by his brother down the creek.

Just seven and ten years old they are,

with a life that’s cold and bleak.

Their parents lost in grog’s embrace

are hardly ever seen;

the boys once better off that way

than being victims in between

periods of sanity

glimpses of lucidity

lost.

…..

They feel no hunger pangs although

no food they’ve seen for days,

for they’re caught in another hell

that leaves them in a haze,

wiping out their intellect,

emotion – caring – being

a can of petrol all they want,

vacant eyes no longer seeing

periods of sanity

glimpses of lucidity

lost.

…..

Linda Visman

A to Z Challenge – K is for Kangaroo

April 13, 2015 at 12:05 am | Posted in A-Z Blogging Challenge 2015, Australia, Nature, Poetry | 4 Comments
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A2Z-BADGE [2015] - Life is Good

 

Through entering writing competitions, I encountered many different forms of poetry, and wrote them too. Some were better than others. The Revanche is another form with which I had previously been unfamiliar.

The Revanche is a poem of action, comprising alternating quatrains and couplets. The quatrains (4-line stanzas, with the 4th line in a different rhythm) tell a story, and the couplets (2 rhyming lines) have a beat that creates action and excitement to the telling of the story.

The form then consists of:

8 stanzas of alternating quatrains and couplets.

Stanza 1: a quatrain in iambic tetrameter;

Stanzas 2,4,6,8: Rhyming couplets in iambic tetrameter;

Stanzas 3,5,7: Quatrains, with 3 lines in iambic tetrameter,

and the 4th line in iambic trimeter.

All quatrains are unrhymed.

This is the first and only Revanche poem I have attempted, as it can be a difficult one to work at. I found it a great exercise, and one which increased my appreciation of what can be created in a poem.

.

Old Man Kangaroo

– a Revanche poem –

.

They drive out where the ground is rough,

through mulga, scrub and spinifex,

past dry creek beds and rocky tors,

to hunt the Old Man Kangaroo.

.

Alerted by the engine’s throb,

a tremor stirs the grazing mob.

.

The driver’s craggy face lights up,

his mate beside adjusts his seat,

anticipates the chase to come,

prepares to use his gun.

.

The Old Man Roo stands up full height,

defiant in the evening light.

.

The men ignore the fleeing does,

the joeys racing at their side;

and focus on the Patriarch,

a target worth the run.

.

The roo explodes with mighty bound,

then turns and zig-zags ‘cross the ground.

.

Through trees and scrub, up creek and rise,

the battle-scarred old truck gives chase;

its engine strains, it spins and slides

then lurches to a halt.

.

Atop the hill the roo looks down;

again he’s beat the men from town.

.

(c) Linda Visman

A to Z Challenge – J is for Justice

April 11, 2015 at 12:05 am | Posted in A-Z Blogging Challenge 2015, Poetry | 9 Comments
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A2Z-BADGE [2015] - Life is Good

During my most creative and productive years, when I still had the enthusiasm and energy for my writing, I entered many competitions. A lot of these were on wordpress.com. Some were for short stories, and a lot were for poetry. Through entering these competitions, I encountered many different forms of poetry, and wrote them too. Some were better than others.

One form, with which I was previously unfamiliar, was the pleiades. This was

invented in 1999 by Craig Tigerman, Sol Magazine‘s lead editor.

The poetry form name comes from the star cluster Pleiades in the constellation Taurus, which consists of hundreds of stars, though only six are visible. In Classical Mythology. seven daughters of Atlas and half sisters of the Hyades, were placed among the stars to save them from the pursuit of Orion. One of them (the Lost Pleiad,) hides, either from grief or shame. The Seven Sisters were Alcyone, Asterope, Celaeno, Electra, Maia, Merope and Tygeta. Nearby in the cluster are the parents, Atlas and Pleione, which are clearly visible.

The Pleiades form consists of the following:

A one-word title;

Seven lines, each beginning with the same letter as the title;

Each line is usually six syllables, but can be longer.

Here is the Pleiades poem I wrote for a competition:

Justice

Judges, uphold rule of law;

Juries decide outcomes,

Juggling fact and fiction.

Judicial process becomes a

Juggernaut, lumbering,

Jealously guarding forms’ sake;

Jeopardising true justice.

(c)  Linda Visman

A to Z Challenge – I is for Imagination

April 10, 2015 at 12:05 am | Posted in A-Z Blogging Challenge 2015, Poetry | 3 Comments
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A2Z-BADGE [2015] - Life is Good

  

Have you ever wondered what this thing is that we call imagination?  What a wonderful thing it is! Many will say that it is imagination that separates us from the so-called lesser animals. Imagination allows us to look at ‘what ifs’ and it leads is to question, Why and How.

Here is a little poem I wrote one day whilst pondering the nature of imagination – using imagination to create something from my imagination. 

 

 

Imagination

 

 

What is imagination?

I only wish I knew.

It’s hidden deep within our brains

Far away from view.

 

 

It comes out in all sorts of ways:

In music and in art;

In story writing and poetry;

In science and in sport.

 

 

Imagination leads us on

When life seems very boring;

It helps us pass the time away

In thoughts that are transforming.

 

 

It works within the fertile mind

To bring forth ideas brand new;

It shows new ways of doing things

We never thought we’d do.

 

 

It’s made the world a better place

In very many ways;

It’s brought us nice new gadgets,

And eased our working days.

 

 

It’s our source of entertainment

Our ticket to the stars;

It’s wonderful what it can do;

I’d like to bottle it in jars.

 

 

Scientists can poke and prod

And do their experiments,

But they’ll never find the source of

The mind’s creative talents.

 

 

We all have these mental faculties,

So don’t fall into stagnation –

Because we think of what is possible

When we use imagination.

 

(c) Linda Visman

 

 

A to Z Challenge – H is for Haiku

April 9, 2015 at 12:05 am | Posted in A-Z Blogging Challenge 2015, Poetry | 16 Comments
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A2Z-BADGE [2015] - Life is Good

 

 

Haiku is one of the old forms of Japanese poetry which have crossed over into other languages.

 

Haiku are normally short descriptive works of only 17 syllables. These are traditionally written in three lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables. Modern variations on this standard can be found, and many poets write haiku in 3, 5, 3 lines rather than the traditional. Other variations can also be found.

 

Japanese haiku deals with nature and the seasons. It contains words and images that would have been familiar with Japanese people. There is normally at least one season, and the focus of the poem is one moment or one image.

 

With our quite different experiences of the seasons, and of nature, English haiku has come to focus on a wider interpretation, and a seasonal reference is not necessary.

 

Here are some of my haiku poems, in both traditional and adapted styles.

 

Light

 

Silver beam of light

Catches a single dew drop

Shimmering jewel

 

 

Golden Moon

Full moon’s golden light

Cascades o’er tranquil waters

Shining path to heav’n

 

 

Spider Web

Spider legs

Spinning slender threads

Silken snare

 

 

Thunderstorm

Drum roll from above

Flashing lights provide the show

Downpour the finale

 

 

Egg

Smooth ovoid casing

Contains new life’s beginnings

Or delicious meal

 

 

 

(c) Linda Visman

A to Z Challenge – G is for Going Grand

April 8, 2015 at 12:05 am | Posted in History, Philosophy, Poetry | 7 Comments
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A2Z-BADGE [2015] - Life is Good

It is amazing what can inspire a poem. This one came from a newspaper report I read of an airline crash.

Going Grand

 

An old postcard, tucked into the mirror.

the writing, scrawled and faded.

….

How close is Death? Can we ever know?

Awareness of the grave is

a sword of Damocles above my head,

held by a single, flimsy thread;

waiting for a weakness, a jolt, a blade.

Inevitable extinction; the flip side,

the corollary – the end point, of life.

How long abides that life?

….

I turned the postcard over

to see the picture on the front.

….

Last week, a friend died,

six weeks short of his century,

a former prisoner of war

who reconciled enemies

and bequeathed to generations,

his life’s spirit, fruitful and inspiring.

….

Others died last week:

Wombed babies, aborted

by accident or design;

Infants, starved by war and famine;

Children, lost to accident or affliction,

neglect or violence;

Life barely tasted.

….

A curlicued border surrounded

the sepia photograph of a mighty ship.

….

Some died in the midst of life:

young men who drove too fast or lived too hard;

innocent victims of hate and suicide bombers;

soldiers, sacrificed in wars decreed by others.

Some welcomed Death’s cold embrace,

escaping the heated anguish of Life.

….

Others slipped away under the allure

of mind-altering drugs.

And how many others were just

in the wrong place at the wrong time?

….

The “Titanic”, in all her majesty;

symbol of a new and glorious future,

magnificently portrayed.

….

What of we, who have tasted

Life’s full flavour –

or frittered it away

in wasteful might-have-beens?

….

Are our lives any different

to those foreshortened?

Do we, any more than they,

know the time of our passing?

….

Dear friend, the writing on the back said,

‘just a line to show I am alive

and kicking and going grand.’

….

Death comes by chance alone

it seems at times – Fate’s whimsy.

Many say that Life and Death,

their time and span,

are not ours to determine,

but are in the hands of God;

or perhaps of Destiny –

our time written in the stars.

We do not know the hour;

and if we did,

would it make a difference?

….

The postcard was dated the day before

the ill-fated vessel sank beneath

the frigid waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

….

 

(c)  Linda Visman

Written after reading an article by Matt Price in Weekend Australian (10th Feb. 07) about the death, last week, of one journalist and the serious injury of another in the Garuda Airlines crash in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Price mentions the story of an old postcard that cosmologist, Carl Sagan, kept near his shaving mirror.

Matt Price himself died towards the end of 2007 of a brain tumour. He was aged in his early forties.

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