We’re on the edge of change here in Australia. The Federal Election at the moment looks likely to lead to a hung parliament and a mad scramble by both the current Labour regime on the one hand and the Coalition Opposition on the other hand to find support amongst the Greens and the Independents to form a Government.
Neither Labour nor the Coalition have policies which inspire a new, courageous and humanitarian vision for the future. It’s more of the same collapse into economic ‘rationalism’, social welfare engineering (and dismantling), continuation of the war in Afghanistan, and the theatrics – and meanness – of making asylum seekers arriving on boats as another version of the old racist policies of White Australia.
She took him to the edge of the field
where the blue flowers had begun their bloom
He was blind. She moved his hand
to one of the flowers. He sighed as his fingers
first one then another, touched the outburst
of blue; a shiver ran up his spine; a lone tear
bubbled. How many are here he asked. Enough
she said and moved his hand to where there
there were more. I can feel them going into the earth
and talk with the air; they are rich with sun
He stayed still, quiet now so she steadied him
her hands on his back and shoulder. The land
tilts, he said. I can hear the clouds. There are people
buried here, close, long ago. This is a dreamers
sky road that goes past the trees and the mound.
The earth remembers. Yes she said, you are right
here you are buried, here you return.
How many shadows to a life?
The unsaid often hangs heaviest in conversations. What people stop saying; what they don’t say out aloud but think to themselves.
That may be negative or positive statements/thoughts.
Then there’s the gaps between words. But today I am going to make sure I have words of praise, the shopkeeper who has a good supply of a favourite organic cocoa. Ted at the post office for having my mail ready and guiding me when I get confused with forms. My wife Dorrie for her huge commitment to me and to our son and grandson, that we all be well.
I’d love to hear how others experience the unsaid, the gaps, what they praise.
I’ve started reading Thomas Ogden’s ‘Reverie & Interpretation : Sensing Something Human (Karnac Books, 2005 edition). It’s a great book about psychoanalysis.
He has some very astute, useful comments about the psychoanalytic process and the importance of language in that.
‘Words and sentences’, he writes, must be allowed a ‘certain slippage’.
He cautions against stifling imagination by insisting on trying to define what we mean by ‘ever increasing precision’.
“Imagination depends on the play of possibilities’ (Reverie & Imagination, p3)..
Slippage, I like that.
I’ve just read a great review of a book by John Bradley called ‘Singing Saltwater Country: Journey to the songlines of Carpentaria (Allen & Unwin). It’s a wonderful piece of personal and anthropological writing in collaboration with Yanwuya families. And tells of the changing life of traditions which helped sing the land, that has that pulse of land be alive in themselves as well as the land. Alas, of course, much of this is now threatened by change.
I long for a time where there is more ebb and flow between cultures and people and that different, healing songs may again be heard.
At the same time, we’re witnessing more and more interest in the local, the regional, the national in the face of globalisation.
There are places that have me come alive more, sacred places, special places, uninhibited places that I find inside as well amongst rock and tree and deep gorge.The earth is the keeper of so many stories, our stories, others stories, the stories of plants and ants, all forms of life.
Sometimes snippets can be heard like word shavings found amongst the roots of a tree, or in branches held by the wind, gusted too, from one place to another.
Where is sanctuary? what does it look like, feel like?