Abide in the Vine


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My first grapes!

Kept thinking about The Vine and the need to ‘abide’ if one is a branch.

I am a minor twig, but I want to be fruitful so I am not pruned and

thrown on the fire.


Within without 2010: Turrell Skyspace


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Based on the James Turrell artwork at The National Gallery

of Australia in Canberra…


Within Without


We have chanced to wonder at the Skyspace

and find ourselves drawn down the sloping path

to the Victorian basalt stupa.

We enter through a portal, so smoothly,

as if flies had followed the labyrinth

of a cochlea, or had gained entrance

to the gentle spiral of a snail shell,

only to hear a quiet ululation.

The universe is made immanent and

we sit on a concrete bench, out of time,

searching for a cloud like a camel, or

a shape like a whale, but all is cloudless.

We are alone and yet we are connected,

within; without – experience distilled –

interior and exterior are

like the two vessels of an alembic.

Are we in a maharajah’s tomb, or

Pharoanic chamber? We are infused

by a laser beam of cosmic insight.

The world tilts on its axis and we see

segments of reality as they change,

until the sun adjusts its slanting beams,

casting a gnomic shadow on us,

branding us with a present awareness.

No clutter of materiality:

there’s only an uncanny sense of peace.

At some point the operculum descends.

Either our eyes, or the oculus blinked.



Local Hero


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Robert- gassed at Ypres.  Lived to 90s

Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders

My hero.


Photo- Stephen Sweeney.  Titan crane


The trench gaped to receive him at last,

over seventy years since he’d escaped its maw

at Ypres.  Other bombshells had been cast:

his daughter’s death at four; her hair as straw-

hued as bales bedded in Picardy barns.

She’d waited for him in the nether tier,

between the pewter Clyde; Kilpatrick tarns –

close to where he’d toiled as an engineer,

in ruts of rusty shipyards, hail or thaw.


I stroked Wilfred, Pip, Squeak in childish awe;

loved the sepia photo of Five Bobs;

marvelled that only one of them came back

to supplement the King’s shilling with jobs,

where the main goal was to avoid ‘the sack.’

It was little better than digging graves.

I used to ask him how he’d survived the gas.

He said he’d run away from its green waves.

I asked him to recount how lads would burn, en masse,

lice from their tunic seams with candle flame,

until they heard shells crack.  Then and I unrolled

his trouser leg, amazed he was not lame,

with that lump of shrapnel, which was pure gold,

as a Blighty wound, taking him away

from the Front line, to Palestine.


The cranes, his guard of honour, now gone too.






It’s Not Coming Home


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Viewing The Wilton Diptych on the Day England Realised

‘It [wasn’t] coming home.’





We knelt with King Richard – supplicated;

wanted to wave that pennant of St George,

which was frustratingly just out of reach.

There was no revolt; the ‘peasants’ behaved.

Why did the Virgin reward Croatians?

Why did Henry Bolingbroke take the crown?

Why is the Pope a Catholic?


All our hearts were couchant and chained today.

The shock of failure was epiphanal.

Our livery badge was the three lions.

The angel team seemed to be in clover,

while we were brought to our knees in wasteland.


After four years the Revenge Parliament

will sit.  We will challenge hollow power.

Our heraldic past was manufactured –

attributed, as Edward’s martlet shield.

Our feet seemed to be made of feathers

like the little birds thereon depicted.


Shrines and treasures are often portable

and they can be exchanged across countries,

like trophy WAGS.  We would have kissed the feet

of anyone who’d helped us win the cup;

not let it pass from us

into some thieving Benjamin’s rucksack.

With sainted management behind us, we,

like Joseph, will recover the chalice.

Margaret Preston


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Margaret Preston Berowra 1936.jpg

(Photo in public domain via Wikipedia

Margaret Preston at her Berowra home,



Mosman Bay   Sydney Bridge   Harbour Foreshore

Shoalhaven River

Flowering Peach   Still Life   Modernist principles

Gum blossom

Implement Blue   bruise palette  Australian Legend

Berowra suburbs

commonplace truths

soda fountain

Lacquer Room

fragmented planes

rhythmic sea

golden thread

unseen things

life blossom    flowering palette   still river

Modernist Legend