Boy Man World.
The boy in the world will wonder
The man in the world will strive
The world in the boy to open
The world in the man to thrive
Boy Man World is a collection of poems, reflections and lyrics written over the last two decades, with one or two from earlier days: they are offered here as observations, contemplations and stories for you to enjoy.
The un-discovered country;
in his eyes
when he praises you.
He attempts to hide the nervousness
as the rate of his breathing increases.
His father never gave him praise. Never gave him glory.
Never it seems, made him the special centre of the moment.
And yet now he works this gift for you,
does so with no experience.
Is motivated by the desire to see you grow.
To see you swell with growing.
He stumbles over foreign land.
A son: your father.
Not measured by calibration.
Not perceived in weight or wonder but
as hard stone,
the slow carved mark
You walk with him.
Your hand in his.
The path new, but well worn with wishing.
This image is an invocation:
Father and son, two friends like fire,
like kindling, like warmth
If we imagine this for many sons and
for many fathers
it will not be
so much further off.
Saigon Battle Children 1972
While I was learning to savour the new taste
of cashew and walnut in the autumn of that year
you were learning to eat the bones of your neighbours dog
as you fled from an earth gone moist
the leaves of war were torn from the jungle
as a cavalry of shrapnel burnt away the air
you were learning to hold your breath
while I was doing the same in a suburban swimming pool
when the dust of your family filled the lids of your eyes
being left to see for yourself held quite a different meaning
while your skin seared from the heat of warfire
I was feeling the warmth of a shopping centre in winter
when you went without feet,
a landmine exploding your underneath world underneath
I sprained an ankle at basketball
the words of an American god spat forth from an automatic weapon
and you saw the tongues of the lamb
inviting you to feast in a foreign language
and when I drew in crayon on the kindergarten wall
you were drawn in the crosshairs
just before the smell of cordite
2:15 PM Roma Street Sunday Afternoon
the three of you
waving your brave little hands
smiling love and mischief at me
through the tinted glass
of the big green bus
I’m standing tight to the kerb
screaming at the concrete
as I smile
and wave back with gusto
‘I love you‘
mouthed in silence
‘have I failed you?’
a silent question
I wave until you’ve turned the corner -
gone in a juggernaut like
the street where we laughed
only a minute ago
now more empty than a new coffin
I walk back to the car knowing that we will go through this
again and again
every time you visit for the weekend
He Was Big On Tea
A little empty that morning
she sat on the top step
of the verandah
sipping tea, sipping thought.
Three steps down to the pavement
squares of sandstone
lay in even handed rhythms;
flatly refusing to contour.
He’d moved away last week; big bloke, big smile
could clasp four pavers in one hand,
laid the lot inside ten days,
maybe a record, who could say.
Completed, the pavement was now empty of him,
no more scraping back, no more chipping out,
no more broad smiling hands
reaching for her cups of tea.
She missed this, as she missed the slightly flat renditions of
‘midnight oil’ and ‘fleetwood mac’, the cock of his straw hat
and the farewell call of... "see you sometime in the morning suze..."
(always at exactly 6.30 a.m.)
He was big on tea,
said he was glad
to meet someone who knew it
wasn’t merely the dis-colouration of milk.
She’d smile at that, he was right,
things like tea were best, given time to infuse.
She sipped her tea, sipped her thoughts
and the deeper taste that came with a little time.
Away to the Silence
As the fire subsides
into furnacing embers
And the ocean's voice washes
in from across the field,
making ready for sleep
you offer a glass of peppermint tea
and wish for us a restful goodnight.
In evening's air, at night time's breath,
we sip and without word listen: to
crickets rhythmic and persistent as they
chorus out at the perimeter of shadows and stars,
to the gentle ones at rest on their perches
each with an eye on the moon
who call or croon at irregular intervals,
to the ageing house who creaks unevenly as she
shifts her shoulders from one
side of night to the other.
Then with a gentle kiss
and a last wish for good night
we turn to ebb
away to the silence
away to our sea
After Cutting Timber
at the top of the hill
I waited for you
not long enough for the magpie’s
wing-feather to fall from the conifer
and then your silhouette
along with the sunset
and drawing closer
Some stars are set free to come live with us
Some live with sadness thinking they do not shine in this heaven
you are not abandoned
you are formed in the shape
of brilliant light
you are brilliant life
in the visage of life
a free heart brother
cry not your river
your brothers steady you
in their rock arms
and in turn, you are
the expression of this