You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Canberra’ tag.

Paintings and drawings

Drawing of Afghan women by Latifa

 

piled up in a corner

Art reflecting life

In Berkeley

In Afghanistan

In San Francisco

Ink sketch of San Francisco by Pamela Collett

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a refugee camp

All originals

Drawing by Afghan girl, Nafisa, age 13, in a refugee camp

All true statements

in different styles

Different mediums

Different lives

By different artists

Will they survive

Will anyone remember them

And what they sacrificed?

 

I place my computer

in its purple jacket

Carefully on the floor beside the art

out of the way

I must have a clear path at night

Remember

the secret to a long life is

hold on to the handrail

Do not fall

on your way to the toilet

with the nightly insomnia of age

And you sometimes sleep walk

Keep the path clear

Always

Hold on to the hand rail

even when there is none

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written at Life Before Death,  Poetry Workshop with Paul Collis, 17 April 2019

National Museum of Australia, Canberra

 

Dead possum

Dead thylacine

Dead people

How to be alive

even when dead

How to continue

with no story

no land

How should I bury

the dead possum

in my front garden

How to show respect

How is it that today

this very day

there is death at my door

and on the radio

a program on

environmentally appropriate burial

listening while on my way

to Life Before Death

a poetry workshop

 

We need to change everything

The way we live

The way we die

The thylacine

could not change

trapped by invasion

The koala

cannot change

trapped by deforestation

We are trapped

By coal

By corporate greed

By subservient politicians

We are trapped

But trying to break free

 

Young people on strike

Urging us to escape

To do so requires change

and the changelessness

of indigenous cultures

who lived

with the land

with the animals

with the plants

with the rivers

Too late for that

But we must break out

And go back down

Down down

into the deep past

Embrace the deep past

For a renewed future

 

I do not know how

to bury

the dead possum

in my front garden

Perhaps I will learn today

The thylacine will teach me

Thank you for the lesson

I hope I have learned

Dead possum found in my front garden

 

Musical instruments from Kenya

Post script:

I did bury the possum

I read this poem.

I dug a hole in my front garden.

I used music makers from Africa

to send the possum on its way.

 

Your comments are always most welcome.

Please check out my other blog about the

novel I’m writing.  https://familyandfiction.com/

Thank you!

 

 

 

 

San Francisco Sunset, from Oakland Shoreline Park

 

What have you

noticed

observed

learned

after three weeks

in Oakland California?

 

Can you live in two places at once?

Can you accept a divided life,

bringing together past and present?

You thought you had to place your allegiance

with only one

with Australia

after struggling to accept and be accepted

You evaded and avoided

the other country because of your politics

and the comfort level you had achieved

living in Australia

 

Returning to the USA

motivated

by your mother

to distribute her ashes

on the beach at Pt. Reyes

according to her last wishes

And to help your friend Martha

in the momentous change

from an academic life

to so-called retirement

Where should she live?

Where would she accept

and be accepted?

 

You returned to Oakland, California

for three short weeks

Getting a snapshot of the lives

of past friends

and current family

After initial culture shock

living in a smaller space

with less autonomy

more people

more stress

more cars

more people

you settled in

Found a pace

and a space that suited the current you

You can be both

Just like you have two passports

You can incorporate both

the past and the present

 

Returning to Australia

on the bus ride

from the Sydney airport

back to Canberra

looking at

clouds upon clouds

that I lack words to describe

rolling hills

gum trees with grey-green leaves

I am calm and comfortable

I embrace my life here

without turning my back

on previous lives in the USA

 

Brindabellas, near Canberra, Australia

Greetings to all who read and follow this blog! I started it in 2011 in homage to my mother Bette Hutchison Silver.

Now I’m onto a new stage… and a new blog… www.familyandfiction.com about the process of researching writing and rewriting an historical novel based on events in my father’s life,  W. Lon Hutchison.

Tracking the Human: nobody’s a long time is the story of Lew, a teenage runaway from Oklahoma, who overcomes drug addiction, mental illness and family betrayal to become a successful entrepreneur.

I hope you will follow my new blog.

Thank you! Pamela Collett RN 2

Haiku walk during contour 556 biennial public art festival

Lake Burley Griffin

Canberra Australia

21 October 2018

 

pushing a stroller

upright man

Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra Australia

gazing at lake

companion

walks head down

 

circulating

tree fluff

from foreign trees

 

brown leaves

white fluff

floating

dull green lake

 

red shirt

red pants

green meadow

two men

far apart

 

sculpture

unmoving

landscape

changing

 

large boat

small lake

artificial

 

headless

floating

dead magpie

 

Trash assembled

people attracted

 

Snake in tree

hanging down

tempted

 

White floating fluff

brown slow moving stream

 

zig zag in stream

sacred submerged

 

zig zag above

sacred beneath

Sculpture

minimal

stream

reflected

 

Cat on a leash

owner trained

 

Long dress

high heels

out of step

by the lake

Why can’t I read

novels

prose

as I once did

Devouring stories

lives

characters

immersion

I open a book

and close it

then another

and close it

within minutes

 

Is it the fault of poets

such as Clive James

Where every word counts

causing

prose

novels

to fall flat?

 

Or Samuel Wagan Watson

Ali Cobby Eckermann

Eleanor Lerman

Kenneth Rexroth

Other poets

names forgotten

sitting on the shelf

to be read and reread

 

Emotions linger

Specific poems

unremembered

Poets’ words

pierce

shine

penetrate

Leaving novels flat

colourless

Spoiled by chance

or choice

 

Now and then

poetry escapes me

the terms foreign

the language English

the context unknown

unwanted

unseen

 

A sometimes thing

poetry’s direct hit

reaching the heart

Pelicans Tucacas Venezuela

 

 

 

 

29 June 2018

 

Carpet shampooing

brings change of venue

Moving furniture

to shampoo carpets

Spring cleaning in winter

to welcome VIP visitors

Son and daughter in law

coming from Kenya

Sitting in the kitchen

with my computer

Different outlook

than at my desk

 

Sometimes I ride the bus

to the Canberra CBD*

or the Kingston public library**

to write

Not for inspiration

but for change

of venue

of thought

If I set out to write

some place other

than at home

I am a writer

 

What has brought

the most change is

support from two women

in our writers’ group

AND writing the blog

Life Expectancy:

searching for reconciliation***

Reliving the time and travel

to research about my father’s life

 

Writing the blog

makes the story

the book

I am writing

Life Expectancy

come alive

I recognize

my own commitment

appreciate it

accept it

and will continue

My father W. Lon Hutchison as a young man                  
photograph with artificial colour added

———————————–

*Central Business District

**Kingston is a neighbourhood in Canberra, Australia

***Life Expectancy is the title of the fictional book I am writing, based on some events in my father’s life

Poetry in motion

(on the bus in Canberra Australia)

 

Grey green rain

Winter grass

surviving

Fog shrouding

Black Mountain

Softening the

harshness of

Telstra tower

Bare tree limbs

reach up

Edging the lake

Ride ending

Get off

Go on

 

Reading Gary Snyder

Grey shale roof

Mountain over village

A few lines

Others go nowhere

Awareness sharpened

By thought and travel

Can we all be poets

If we keep moving?

 

 

 

Pain of cars upon cars

taking up tree space

Metallic invaders

destroying people and plants

Square standing building

Windows in shadow

Books upon books inside

protected forever

Will someone read them?

Why write if not read?

Why paint if not seen?

Why breathe if not loved?

17 April 2018

Last night at Smith’s Alternative, Canberra, Australia, a night of poetry reading, speaking out for refugees and human rights.  That Poetry Thing: Not Very Quiet Journal Presents: Women’s Voices for Refugees – Poetry Fund Raiser for Canberra Refugee Support.

I was the last person to read after a series of poems by refugees and powerful spoken word presentations of the agony of asylum seekers imprisoned on Nauru and Manus by the Australian government.

As I listened to the poetry readings,  I had been thinking how could I possibly follow these powerful presentations?  Do I have anything to say? When called upon to read, I got up from the rear of the rather crowded venue, climbed over several people, stepped on a few toes and climbed up on the stage.

I read two poems, one an excerpt from Frontline by Tony Birch, the other poem Identity by me.  I focused on the expropriation of Australia by European settlers.  Why was I allowed to come to Australia but asylum seekers on Manus and Nauru were imprisoned?  Who determined who had a “right” to be here? All of us, except the Aboriginal peoples, were interlopers, invaders and migrants.

Here are the poems:

Broken Teeth: poetry collection

By Tony Birch

Excerpt from Poem:

Frontline Australia

 

we call on all white men

of military experience and

willing to defend

 

at whatever cost and vigilance

our coastlines, our cities

our clubs, wallets & women

 

against the vast mass

of humanity not of us

as we know us to be

———————–

24 Jan 2017 (date of writing)

Identity

By Pamela Collett

 

Mine was never based on

birthplace

religion

family

 

Mine was based on

Getting best grades

Going to university

a pragmatic

empirical

daily

identity

 

No roots

Just a bundle of

values

that could travel anywhere

A floater

living in my head

 

Confused by questions

of identity

in Australia

European people

living in a place based on

denial of place

of country

of those

who have been here

for 65,000 years

Upstarts

destroying records

bones

artifacts

to assert their right

to control identity

 

Watching, listening
People at Kingston Library
Canberra, Australia

Very stressed man
The well-dressed man, black pants, long-sleeved, light blue cotton shirt, dark, maybe black tie, first stand against the plate glass window of the library
stand up talk and straight. Is he waiting for someone… no one comes

Then he sits down on the low brick wall encasing a green garden that has no appeal, that is something green, growing but without definition, just bunched together green, with a green metal bench near by. Yet he does not sit on the bench.

His head is down. His hands rub his almost bald head, with the remaining hair shaved, newly shaved, must be shaved every day. He’s using earphones that are plugged into an iPhone. He is not talking to someone is he listening to whom to what?

Now he lifts his head and rests his chin on his hands. Wait a minute
He just moved his hands and he is talking now. His hands show some frustration as do the wrinkles in his forehead. He seems somewhat upset, tapping the phone in his right hand while into his left, his hands are moving back and forth. He is wearing cuff links. I could see them before. Now he looks as if he is thinking about what is being said, but he is not happy about it. He punches something on the phone. He strokes his chin. He looks down but not at the phone. His chin rest on his left fist. Now he lowers his head again shakes his head puts his hand on his forehead briefly. Now he chews for a second on his finger of his left hand.
Looks upset. Lowers his head. Shakes his head
Rubs his head, left hand holding the mobile phone
White strings of earphones hanging down
Right hand cradling his head
Cannot see his eyes
Not looking anywhere                                                                                                         Left hand momentarily lifts the phone
Now he looks up briefly over his left shoulder
Head down again
Hand on his head
Left hand now cradling his chin
Moves mobile phone to right hand
Thinking
Moving left hand over his face
Pulling on his nose, his chin
Looking over left shoulder
Taking up phone again
Punching something into phone
May be making a call
Looks at phone
Yes probably but now puts phone down beside him
momentarily picks it up again
Rubbing his head with left hand, right hand holding phone
Seems to not know what to do next
People walk by but he does not see them
Now chewing on fingers of his right hand
Looking up but not seeing
Slight smile crinkles around the eyes
Now he is talking? Briefly
Gets up
Straightens trousers
Adjusts belt walks towards library
Stands outside Vietnamese restaurant
Is he talking? But he doesn’t have a blue tooth just earphones which enable him to hear but not talk
Now he is talking raises his hand
Points with his finger
Walks over to low wall
Right foot on low wall
Phone behind his back in left hand
Walking with arms crossed, standing near Vietnamese restaurant
Average looking chap neither thin nor fat neither muscular nor skinny
yet no pot belly
Now can no longer see him

• • •

Young woman shapely tight dress
very tight dress can see her crack,
movement of buttocks,
not very shapely legs, high heels,
black and white horizontal stripes

• • •

Out of sight for some time
The stressed man has something in a small paper bag in his right hand.
He still has the white earphones in his ears with the wire trailing down to his left pocket when he has placed his phone
He is gesturing and talking while he walks across the street and disappears

• • •

Overheard: mobile phone conversation

Why because of the money
She miscounted it
Why
Doesn’t she want to go home?
Are you kidding?
No you don’t want to deal with it
Yeah
Yeah
Are you looking for anything else, Katherine?
You cannot go on like this
You either have to go home or do something
Your health is
You’re going downhill
She’s really being rude and awful
And
She’s really converted into
Noise of opening door obscures conversation
Another opening door

• • •
Another overheard mobile phone conversation

Lookalike of stressed man but taller, thinner and checked shirt
Large eyes
Balding shaved head

That’s right
Well it’s like trouble like this
It’s the essence of special case
She might get back
Noise again
But what
Yeah
Oh my god
I’m sorry
Okay
Now she’s not well
Yeah
Yeah
Yeah
Uh huh
Well ours starts at 8:45 so that’s all right
Oh yeah yeah yeah
Yeah yeah
Yeah
So what
She
Yeah
Yeah
Uh huh
Yeah
Uh huh
Yeah
Huh?
Half laugh
Change in stress of voice
Jackie who?
Jackie Boodle I thought she left
Yeah
I don’t know her
Other people turned up
You had to go to the side door or whatever to let them in
Um humm
Yeah yeah
Yeah
Uhmmmumhumm
Is Kerry being mean still or
Yeah
Oh
Well it doesn’t look good
All I can say
Think about coming home
Still a ways away
Yeah
Yes
Okay I’ll talk to you later right
You too bye
Bye

• • •
Man trying to look distinguished but
his stomach so protruding he cannot button his suit jacket
A Michael Moore look alike
Fat
Sloppy
No neck
Swinging arms
Walking around the corner

I’ll walk you through that
Yes the walls have been painted
Yes
Um I believe that yes
I’ll ring up the book
I remember because I was there
Okay so
On the ninth of January
I am reading his handwriting

• • •

Two unlikely characters
one quite thin, flat hat, young, dark hair, heavy black eyebrows
One quite fat, shorts, more typical Australian hat, straw, blue band, belly sticking out shirt cannot stay tucked in, light hair, blue eyes
Beard, beige shorts, brown leather sandals

Put in your details
I’ve seen multiple copies
I’ve seen like
Unfortunately not
Go for the license issue
The technological issue

I’ve been applying for jobs
You just don’t have the right voice
My day off
Needs some polishing
And said for you to proof read after he’s done
It’s always good to have another pair of eyes
It’s a job at the ANU for a library position as well
Working in science
Many years ago
Research part
Going to use you as a reference
I knew that would be okay
Chris said to use him
Great
Is that the visitors’ centre
Yeah yeah
You would have been fine the deadline was February 1st.
I did apply for that
I just couldn’t budget and all that sort of thing
Yeah
Sure
Yeah
Is this all about the
That’s the way
A wake if he’s still alive in a lot of ways
Well you took care of him
Hello
That’s incredible

•   •   •

Gaggle of girls going by
Like parrots on the ground
instead of in the air

• • •

Yet another overheard conversation

Okay
I know
The critical element
Yep
It is
But you can’t
Yep yep
Okay
What do I need a little more
Anything in particular you were looking for
Thank you very much
What’s that?

A dead end
a cul de sac end of conversation
I wasn’t there
So I don’t know
Yeah
Yeah
All right
I was trying to ring up
Good afternoon
How are you
It did
It did
No worries
Sounds perfect
John’s working on it
And I am too
My pleasure
Talk to you later
Bye

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