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24 Oct 2012

revised 11 July 2018


Sorting books

moving between


Why do I choose

to keep poetry books?

Profound emotion


in a few words

Like Chinese landscape

brush paintings


intense connection

with a few strokes

Sketch of Beach at  Tucacas, Venezuela



Silence Spoken

Poems and drawings by Pamela Collett

Available with a discount on or

on Amazon or Barnes and Noble

with no discount.

Thank you for your interest.

A new blog coming soon about my novel

                                          Life Expectancy. 


Here’s some feedback to my book of sketches and poems, Silence Spoken

Available at a discount on  Enjoy!



The poems I liked best are those set in Venezuela, describing aspects of the environment and the sea and those set in Beijing capturing the impact of rapid change – for good and bad, especially “Observed:Beijing”. It’s what I felt when in China, but succinctly and eloquently expressed. I enjoyed the whole book, for what it expressed and also for what was left unsaid, or merely hinted at.

Mary, Canberra, Australia

Below are comments from people who have read my book of poems and drawings, Silence Spoken, available on

Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 11.44.14

The poems I liked best are those set in Venezuela, describing aspects of the environment and the sea and those set in Beijing capturing the impact of rapid change – for good and bad, especially “Observed:Beijing”.  It’s what I felt when in China, but succinctly and eloquently expressed.  I enjoyed the whole book, for what it expressed and also for what was left unsaid, or merely hinted at.

Mary, Canberra, Australia

Thank you very much for your awesome publication.  Sketches look lovely & will enjoy browsing too.

Khalida, Blue Mountains, Australia

There is another side of you, a contemplative one that I would not have guessed.  I am no poet and so can’t comment on the poetry but I like the sketches.

Anita, Canberra, Australia

2. Ink Tucacas Sea 3 web

I just browsed through it and your art work is powerful.  I especially like the brush painting from Pakistan. But then your “essentials only” style on Langata, Nairobi, Kenya is so spot on. I’ve read some poems too, but you know me, the art is so immediate.

Sheila, Berkeley, California, USA

Thanks so much for your book of poetry and illustrations!
It is really lovely.  Keep creativity alive!

Margot, Berkeley, California, USA

3. Pak Karkoram 772 webKarimabad, Pakistan

I have looked through it and read several random poems and David has spent much more time with it. We both are enjoying looking at these snapshots of your life.  Your drawings give life to your travels.

Linda, Baldwin, Kansas, USA

I am enjoying reading your poems and I like your sketches very much. You have experienced so much in your life. Your words are an eloquent expression of your suffering, joy, awareness and appreciation of the natural world. The book is very attractively designed and printed. Congratulations on publishing it!

Anne, Kansas City, Missouri, USA

7. Ink Nairobi Person webMan walking, Langata, Nairobi, Kenya

The poem Somewhere, snagged my eye. A knee jerk response to seeing my birthday near the bottom of the page. Reading it through I can only say, thanx for the birthday present.

The poem, Fishing at Sunset, I was timeported to Elk California doing that same such thing using carpenter’s line with old spark plugs on the end for weight. Holding the line for the twitch of the rockfish that might be dinner or dining on smaller fish if it slips the hook.

David, Baldwin, Kansas, USA



The last few days

a very active sea

Waves pushing me

Dictating what I could

and couldn’t do

Just like my emotions

my moods often do


Today calm sea

Grey green

beneath a grey blue sky

Muted colors

Muted waves

Floating undisturbed

Watching for pelicans

Not thinking

Just being



Sea meditation


What if

we could throw all

the violent, revengeful people

into the sea

Get rid of their anger and hate

Jumping in the waves

Let the waves control them

Not their emotions


Then the next day

throw them in the sea again

This time a calm sea

They can relax


Experience the immense

sea and sky

Watch the pelicans dive

Feel at home



Calm sea, dawn, Tucacas, Venezuela

Calm sea, dawn, Tucacas, Venezuela

How to heal a hole

in the heart –

a weak spot

placed there

two generations ago.

Lack of love

lack of caring

lack of support

passed down

and across

the generations.

Talk of

mental illness

on both sides

of the family.

Hole in the heart

or hole in the head?

Lacking love

how to pass on

what you never had?

Turning to

Father Mother God

Loving me.

Heavenly love

could not heal the hole.

Material wealth

could not heal the hole.


Tucacas, Venezuela, sunset

Tucacas, Venezuela, sunset

Start practicing love

Everyday love

everyday suspension

of the hole in the heart

that cried out

Me me me

Love me now

right now.


don’t cry out

don’t listen

to harsh words,

Stay neutral or positive

every minute

in every circumstance,

Do everything for

the other,

Go out in the night

walking up and down

trying to find

exactly what was requested.

Every day

positive or neutral

for one month

What happened?

The hole in the heart

was mended.

That was the turning point.


Tucacas Sunset, Cayo Medio, with Oil tanker

Tucacas Sunset, Cayo Medio, with Oil tanker

The others deserted

in the moment of need.

The others feared

yet more harsh words

more rejection

more pain.

The others accepted

the hole in the heart.

That was the turning point

with two hearts mended

although scarred.

That was the point

when the others

turned away,

not able to see

that the hole in the heart

could be mended

through conscious

daily love

that they had refused

to give.

And they would refuse

again and again

until the very end.

One arguing

on the very last day.

One not present

to say goodbye


Pamela on the Indus River, Pakistan, 1994

Pamela on the Indus River, Pakistan, 1994


*   *   *  *  * *   *  *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

NOTE: A poem found while going through my files in Tucacas, Venezuela.  Probably written about 1994, while living in Islamabad, Pakistan.

Besham is a village on the southern end of the Karkoram Highway, which goes through the Himalayas on the way from Pakistan to Xinjiang, China.

*   *   *  *   *   *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *



Red bougainvilleas over the doorway

swaying in the warm autumn wind

Fine silvery sand blown up

from the banks of the Indus

Silence broken by river rapids

a low dull roar echoing

off the rocky mountain sides

The smell of wood smoke

A woman dressed in red

washing clothes by the river

Her daughter brushing tangled hair

Her son collecting gum leaves

for a long-haired brown and white goat

with twisted horns

A peaceful life

but I must push on.



Women washing on the Indus River, Pakistan

Women washing clothes on the Indus River, Pakistan


My Mother’s Room

Mom's room 0215 web

Walking past

every day

thinking of her

looking into the small


What else does she need

to feel comfortable?

To feel at home

here in Venezuela

in our apartment

by the sea.

When we were

thinking the impossible

in Nairobi, Kenya

looking at faxed

floor plans

of  a non existent building

on the beach

in Venezuela

My mom was the one

who advised

get three bedrooms

so there will be one for me.

We did.

Her bedroom is here.

But she is not.

We miss you Bette.

Wish you were here.

Bette Hutchison Silver, Residencias Emerald Suites,  Tucacas, Venezuela, under constuction, early 2000

Bette Hutchison Silver, Residencias Emerald Suites, Tucacas, Venezuela, under constuction, early 2000

15 Sept 2013

Tucacas, Venezuela

on the Caribbean Sea

Red Sunrise Tucacas, Venezuela

Red Sunrise Tucacas, Venezuela


I’d better write about it

Before I forget

Before I take it

for granted

Before I think life is

always like this.


Pelicans Tucacas Venezuela

Pelicans Tucacas Venezuela

How do I wake up?

My bedroom

A wall of

wide open windows


over the Caribbean

light creeping under

my sleeping mask


long and flat

towering and grey


Frantic swallows

Gliding frigate birds

Scurrying beach birds


orange, red, gold

Fishing boats


Throwing out

their nets.


Sunrise with birds Tucacas Venezuela

Sunrise with birds Tucacas Venezuela

Terrace breakfast




Frigate birds



Resident pigeons


Mist over the hills

Mugs of coffee:

Strong not bitter






and strawberries

with home made yogurt.


Breeze so gentle:

body temperature

the softest caress



Alone in the ocean

Sometimes  calm as a lake

Sometimes rolling swells

Sometimes small white-capped waves

Scanning the sky

the clouds

Swallows swooping

Frigate birds hovering

Pelicans diving

With a splash.


Alone in the Caribbean sea

Unbounded space

Water meets sky

Almost imperceptible

the separation

Expansion  of self

Rather contraction

No self

Floating in a grey green sea

Staring up at bright blue sky.

Sunset reflected 136

Late afternoon

on the roof



Palm trees




Fishing boats


Always birds

Long lines of pelicans

Streams of swallows


trying to capture

the essence

the most basic

with brushes

and black ink

from China.

Sketch Tucacas 139

Terrace dinner


Staring at clouds

Looking for


without rain


that light up the sky.


Red Sunset, hills beyond Tucacas Venezuela

Red Sunset, hills beyond Tucacas Venezuela


Foot notes:

Thank you Mom (Bette Hutchison Silver), for insisting that we get the three bedroom apartment on the top floor at Emerald Suites, Tucacas, Venezuela so that you could have a bedroom.

Thank you Mom for helping me build the kitchen, decorate and buy the furniture for the Tucacas apartment.

Thank you Paulo wherever you are, for doing all the paper work and bank transfers in the days before internet, when everything was done by fax.

Sunrise Tucacas Venezuela

Sunrise Tucacas Venezuela

9 October 2012, Tucacas, Venezuela

First Sorting, Culling

How can I?

Sitting at a large

wooden rustic table

made in Mexico

Purchased by my mother

in the year 2000

half price

at a shop in Valencia Venezuela

specializing in Mexican and Thai

furniture and decorations

Shipped to Tucacas.

I would like to take

the table to Australia

but that is not possible.

And is it possible

to take all these fat files

With me?

Should I carry the past onward?

To what purpose?

How can I?

Sitting at a large wooden table

in the sea breeze

Listening to the triumph

of the Revolucion Bolivariana

on the television

and wading through

20 years of my life

files upon files

The fat heavy thick ones

are about women

in Afghanistan.

The ones I easily discard

are about gender training

which somehow never worked

seems useless now.

Yet women are far from equal

anywhere in the world

as if the world stopped.

Did I give up?

Did I decide to go with the flow?



Let others decide.

Don’t push so hard.

Reigned in by



in a Nairobi slum

with young people

mostly male.

Far removed from

working with

mature Afghan women

mostly professional,

with Somali radio team

full of contradictions

and  betrayal.

I tried to overlook

while I concentrated on

well-paid international

do-nothing officials

as the main enemy.

But others were lurking

to ensure the work

or at least myself

was undermined.

Is that why I am tired?


but not bored.

Jumping up to

eat dark chocolate

for renewed energy

to face the past

And sort it out .


Tucacas Beach at Sunset

Tucacas Beach at Sunset

8 Sept 2013 Tucacas, Venezuela 

Papers sorted

with a scanner

In one week

Reliving 20 years










Dual citizenship

Friends since lost

or found again

Packing stuff







to send to Australia

Narrabundah house

Walls covered

With paintings, photos.

Floors covered

with rugs.

Walking through rooms

walking through my life

Making room for everything

and everyone.


Sunset Nanyuki Kenya

Sunset Nanyuki Kenya



One at a time

Across three continents

With my son in Kenya

With my son in Australia

With my spouse in Venezuela



South America

At one with the one

I am with

Missing the ones

I am not with

Will we come


Or do I prefer

One at a time?

Sunset REd hill 944 web

Sunset, Red Hill, Canberra, Australia


* * * A poem found  on 31 Aug 2013  Tucacas Venezuela

Written 29/4/91  rev 26/6/91 Canberra Australia


Thoughts after reading: MY PLACE by Sally Morgan

An autobiography written by an Aboriginal artist about her grandmother, Daisy

*  *  *

Daisy talking to her grandchildren:

“We was worried about you kids, then.  We thought the government might come and get you.  They didn’t like people like us rearin kids with white blood in them. Seems like no one took account of the black blood. You belonged to us.”

* * *

Loss of place, of land, of famiy

of control over your body

and your offspring.


for your place

Walking about

in your not self

Your identity denied

by thousands

by missions

by the people who control your land

200 versus 60,000 years

They didn’t win

but you lose

You lost your place

*  *  *

Daisy talking to her grandchildren,

“Could be it’s time to tell. Time to tell what it’s been like in this country.”

*  *  *

In this not yet a country

cringing from its own history

its origins

its aborigines

its otherness

which it must embrace

to find its place.

Sunset Tucacas, Venezuela, reflection on the Caribbean

Sunset Tucacas, Venezuela, reflection on the Caribbean

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