Tag Archives: peace

“One Australian.”

Barefoot with Vegemite smeared across her face, Lilly was running through ancient alleyways exploring her mother’s homeland.  With a Jewish mother and Palestinian father, her parents had moved to Australia… a modern story of Romeo and Juliette and love borne out of hate.

Yet, that hate had tracked them down. Grabbed them by the throat, until they choked. There was no escape. As the twists and turns of a war she didn’t understand flew from side to side, Lilly learned the Kookaburra Song.

“LILLY!” The scream echoed with reverberating anguish.

When she grew up, Lilly wanted to be a ballerina…

This has been another contribution to Friday Fictioneers. PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

…..

I struggled a bit with this prompt, as I’ve never been to Israel and was struggling to think of something and I remembered what it was like to go exploring as a child and how we ran barefoot through paddocks, and poked underneath my grandparents’ house so freely without any thought of danger. Growing up in Sydney, war was always somewhere else, although there had been some bombings by the Japanese during WWII, most notably on Darwin. So, I grew up with an idea of being safe.

At university, I remember meeting someone with a Serbian father and a Croatian mother and how they’d moved out to Australia to start a new life together and that inspired this story. That, along with the struggle many immigrants experience finding some sense of identity and belonging when the boundaries of home are blurred.

So, Lilly grows up eating Vegemite and singing the Kookaburra Song at school, which every Australian child learns and it’s usually sung as a round. Meanwhile, despite moving to Australia, her parents are still caught up in this war back home. There is no escape. Unfortunately, Lilly, the child of their love and an absolute innocent, becomes the the victim of that war.

Tragically, this sort of thing happens two often. Two Australians were killed in the recent London Bridge attack.

Oh for a perfect world.

Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with the words of the Kookaburra Song:

 

Kookaburra

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree,
Merry merry king of the bush is he.
Laugh, Kookaburra, laugh, Kookaburra,
Gay your life must be!

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree,
Eating all the gum drops he can see.
Stop Kookaburra, stop Kookaburra
Save some there for me!

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree,
Counting all the monkeys he can see.
Laugh Kookaburra, laugh Kookaburra
That’s not a monkey, that’s me!

Here are some alternatives that have been created over the years.
See if you can add some more to the collection.

Kookaburra sits on a rusty nail,
He gets a sore in his tail.
Cry, Kookaburra, cry, Kookaburra,
How cruel life can be!

Kookaburra sits on electric wire,
Jumping up and down with his pants on fire.
Ouch, Kookaburra, ouch! Kookaburra,
Hot your tail must be!

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree,
Eating all the gum drops he can see.
Laugh Kookaburra, laugh Kookaburra
Gay your life must be!

xx Rowena

F-Ferndene, Tasmania.

“When we walk slowly, the world can fully appear. Not only are the creatures not frightened away by our haste or aggression, but the fine detail of fern and flower, or devastation and disruption, becomes visible. Many of us hurry along because we do not want to see what is really going on in and around us. We are afraid to let our senses touch the body of suffering or the body of beauty.”

Joan Halifax

Welcome to Day 6 of the Blogging A-Z April Challenge.

Today, we’re driving from Eaglehawk Neck, South of Hobart to Penguin in search of Ferndene, a local nature reserve.

Map Eaglehawk Neck to Penguin

It’s 343.8 KM from Eaglehawk Neck to Ferndene, Penguin via Highway 1…a journey of 4 hours and 3 minutes.

Penguin is located on Bass Strait on Tasmania’s North Coast and has a beautiful sandy beach with some very striking basalt boulders covered in orange lichen. However, we’ll get back to that when we return to Penguin for letter P…a long way down the track.

Indeed, it was quite a search to find Ferndene. Being quite a long way down Ironcliffe Road, it is off the beaten track and difficult to find. Indeed, you really need to be a local, or speak with one, to find out about it. This also means that you won’t find rows of tourist buses parked out the front. Or, that you’re having to share your solitude with the throngs. You can commune with nature all by yourself under the shade of a giant man fern and dream you’re one of the wee folk. Well, that is if that’s what takes you fancy.

I hope you’ve brought your walking shoes because it’s a half hour walk to the old mine site. While the old mine isn’t that exciting, the gigantic, towering eucalpyts and huge man ferns are magical and on the day we went back in January, there was what I consider to be a perfect sky…bright blue dotted with white, sheepy clouds. Wow! I could just lie there watching the clouds float by forever if I was there by myself…and I didn’t have so much of Tasmania to squeeze into 3 weeks!

dsc_6994

 

While we pretty much had the place to ourselves, we did run into a group of young film makers down there and this very interesting lizard character, who was only too happy to pose for yours truly.

 

 

 

Well, it’s only fitting that we duck back down into Penguin for some fish and chips for dinner. The fish and chips in Tassie overall are great and there was only one place that was a bit average. You’ll also notice that the batter used on the fish is bright orange. This intrigued us so much, that I eventually asked someone how they did it. They add orange food colouring to the batter. I must admit I was gobsmacked, shocked etc as I really try to stay away from all of that. Colours do nasty things to the kids and I don’t think they’re good for me either. All the same, the fish and chips was fantastic and we also had a great piece of apricot crumble…highly recommended!

DSC_6764.JPG

How are you finding our trip around Tassie so far? I hope you haven’t been tempted to dart off on any detours without me, have you? Have you snuck back to Ashgrove Farm to Seize the Cheese? Or, perhaps you’ve headed over to the Raspberry Farm for pancakes or to the chocolate factory? As someone who isn’t very good at following orders or sticking to the plan, I understand but don’t forget we have G to look forward to tomorrow. You don’t want to get left behind…or do you????

See  you bright and early in the morning! I can’t quite remember where we’re going so this could be interesting!

xx Rowena

 

 

 

 

The Path…A Magnetic Poem.

Today, I was struck on the head by the magnetic muse in what could only be described as a “coup de foudre”.

In case you “ne comprendez pas”, that means falling in love at first sight. I thought falling in love, or becoming addicted, sounded much more dramatic in French.

Like a proverbial matchmaker,  Merril D Smith  introduced me writing magnetic poetry online at http://play.magneticpoetry.com/ It’s so much fun. I chose the nature theme and I was thrilled with the results. I felt my poetry gained very rich symbolism and I put images together which I never would’ve thought of combining before, yet made such sense and expanded my vision exponentially.

Dare I ask you what you think?

Well, here goes:

The Path

Shine moon spirit.

Listen.

Breathe.

My soul is withered.

I wander down a lonely path.

Every daffodil Spring,

the bright, blue bird walks

through the fresh earth.

Garden tendrils rustled.

Then some seed said:

“Use intuition.

There’s a sanctuary.”

Secret winds murmur:

“Climb the ancient mountain.

Know her peace.

Rest.

Leave moss be.

Make song.”

Behold,

I thrive.

Rowena Newton

Magnetic Poetry 23rd November, 2016.

Have you been struck by the magnetic muse? I’d love to hear how you went.

xx Rowena

Accidents, Blessings &Tibetan Monks at our Australian Beach.

It’s no wonder I “over-think” things. Strange things keep happening and I’m trying to work out whether it’s chance, coincidence or destiny. That’s why I like the word serendipity because it seems to covers that ambiguity. It was “meant to be”, and yet it was also brought about by chance.

Moreover, I should also add that it’s up to you whether you grasp that serendipitous moment (that is, if there is such a word) and run with it or let it slip through your hands into the wind where it could well be grasped by someone more daring.

Before I get to the audaciousness of the woman with the long camera lens (I tell you I’ve lost count of how many doors a long lens has opened for me over the years but it’s certainly been more influential than the sword!!)

As I said, before I get to the audaciousness of the woman with the long lens, let me just tell you that before I was strutting my stuff down at the beach and flashing my lens around, yours truly had a nasty fall. Not of the figurative kind but of the real, painful and ouchy kind. I’d ducked down to get my daughter a loaf of bread and for no reason whatsoever, my ankle flipped over, gave way and I landed smack onto the concrete.

As I’m lying there, pain receptors all over my body are flashing red and my  brain is doing this desperate mantra: “Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!” Meanwhile, inside I feel this desperate, crushing sadness. It’s almost been 2 years since my last fall where I broke my foot in equally pathetic circumstances and yes, I was feeling sorry for myself. I was wanting someone to rescue me and give me a hand up. I might have been at our local shops and I know a lot of people around here, but there was no one in sight. As much as it’s embarrassing to have a fall, it’s also a relief to have help getting up and some loving, caring stranger ask if you’re okay and bless you with the touch of human kindness.

However, as I said, there was no one in sight.

So, I picked myself off the ground and hobbled with my sprained ankle on one leg and my grazed knee on the other, looking like a mutant John Wayne. Bought my bread. Said hello to a friend (without mentioning my accident) and drove home.

Life as a parent…there is no off switch.

The kids were going to their first surf lesson this morning. I’d been really been looking forward to watching them, but now I was wondering how I was going to walk along the beach. I was angry with my foot. Angry with life.

By the way, as far as I’m concerned, it’s alright to ask: “Why me?” at these times.  It’s just not good to dwell on it.

dsc_3816

The kids learning to surf.

Anyway, I made it onto the sand and was taking a few photos of the kids and listening to their surf instructor, when I noticed a group of Tibetan monks wearing flowing robes on the beach. Immediately, instinctively even, my photographic eyes were starting to switch.

Obviously, a group of Tibetan monks in robes stood out on an Australian beach. We’re about 90 minutes  North of Sydney and not what you’d call a multi-cultural area. It’s bikinis, board shorts and surf board territory around here.

Now, I have seen some interesting sights on the beach, and more often, I’ve been an “interesting” sight myself (what with taking photos of things at the beach…tea cups, Eeyore, kids etc ). However, Tibetan monks on an Australian beach is a first.

DSC_3911.JPG

Our son taking to the waves.

So being the helicopter parent that I am, I totally switched off from my kids’ surf lesson and started chasing these poor monks up and down the beach with my camera instead. Actually, unlike my kids they were there to be photographed, were only too happy to meet and greet and they also did a meditation to bless our beach.

However, these monks weren’t just there to look at the waves. Apparently, they’re going surfing. They’ll be having a surf lesson and I later saw them wearing wet suits and life jackets, although we left before they had a go. The TV station was there and an official photographer with a much bigger lens than mine. They were conducting interviews, filming and taking photos. However, I was able to mention  1000 Voices for Compassion  and my blog. I also found out that they’re coming back in November for a series of talks in Gosford. I’ll be there!

dsc_3916

The Monks have changed into beach gear and life vests ready for a surf.

It was remarkable timing running into these Gyutan monks from Tibet after my disheartening fall this morning. It gave me such a such a sense of yin and yang. There was the physical pain, shock and disappointment of the fall followed by the excitement of seeing the monks but also feeling touched by meeting them and being reminded about peace and the goodness of God and the need to look up instead of down.

Perhaps, I was meant to learn to trust God. That even when I fall and feel incredibly alone, that God is still there with me and carrying me forward to something better. And I know that if we didn’t have the rain, we’d never appreciate the sun and the plants would never grow.

That said, getting hurt still hurts.

“Happiness is as a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but which if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.”

— Nathaniel Hawthorne

As you may recall, I’ve mentioned  in various posts before, about how I see better when I’m looking through my camera lens. That I see things I miss with my own eyes.  Well, photographing and meeting these monks was confirmation and I really appreciated these added insights.

dsc_3860

The Monks blessing the Beach as their feet get wet.

It turns out the monks haven’t had much, if any, exposure to the beach and, for example, didn’t know that the water would be salty. I noticed that they flinched as the waves rolled over these feet. Perhaps, the water was cold but I saw this as an unfamiliarity with the waves.

However, while they were meditating and the very same water whooshed over their feet, they stood completely still. They didn’t flinch.

That touched me. That gave me an insight into the depths of their meditation and its power. That it’s something deep and very real. Not only that, I would love to reach that level of peace in myself…especially in stressful situation. It was such a powerful testimony.

“We must begin our search for meaning when things are going well. A tree with strong roots can withstand the most violent storm, but the tree can’t grow roots just as the storm appears on the horizon.”

Dr Howard Cutler: “The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living” (which was co-written by the Dalai Lama.) […]

So, after photographing and meeting these inspirational monks, I was back to Parenthood 2.0. Watching the end of their surf lesson and taking them to Maccas for lunch on the way home…a special holiday treat.

Just like Rome wasn’t built in a day, we have a way to go too!

dsc_3914

By the way, you may be interested in a previous post I wrote where I reviewed The Pursuit of Happiness by the Dalai Lama and Howard Carter. You can check it out here: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/08/31/the-dalai-lama-and-the-psychiatrist-converse/

xx Rowena

PS Tonight my husband was catching the train home from work when he spotted our dear neighbours returning prematurely from the trip. They’re in their mid-80s and the wife had had a nasty fall and had spent the night in hospital. I received a phone call on my “death bed” and the next thing I was driving to the station picking them up and helping her back into the house… past their tribe of about 8 duckling and a single parent who were missing them terribly along with their “pet” magpie. It felt nice to be useful and to be able to help them and be part of community instead of sitting on the edge! This couple have been a bit like grandparents to our family and today it was our turn to look out for them instead.

Poet for Peace.

A small voice called out

in the wilderness:

“Why must you throw

your sticks and stones?

Why grow anger,

instead of love?

Or, do you even know?

 

But then,

the great wind came,

blowing the small voice

from pole to pole.

Yet, its whisperings spread.

Amelia footprints in sand

Footprints in the sand.

 

“Why must you throw

your sticks and stones?

Why grow anger,

instead of love?
Or, do you even know?

 

Brother asked sister.

Sister asked brother.

Husbands and wives,

partners…

questioned why.

The neighbours wondered

whether a cup of sugar

would be better instead.

 

Slowly but surely,

the people started looking in,

instead of blaming out.

After all, peace in our world

begins in our hearts.

amelia heart painting

My daughter’s painting

 

And so,

after  scattering the seed,

the small voice called on

the sun, rain and soil,

waiting for love to grow.

 

Rowena Curtin

26th August, 2016

This is my contribution for Poets for Peace, a collaboration of poets right around the world urging for peace. It is being hosted by Forgotten Meadows Deadline for Contributions is 31st August, 2016.

“In response to the recent unceasing, and, in fact escalating global violence, we have seen and felt a corresponding surge in poetry about it.

We would like to take this opportunity to invite you to share your thoughts and feelings, a piece of yourself, to add to other Poets from around the world. We are hopeful that the combined weight of our collective spirit and wisdom will be felt worldwide as well.

The only restriction is that absolutely no hate is expressed other than the hate of violence. Any and all words will be appended to the running poem. This is not about ego, so you retain the rights to your creation, we are only interested in doing what we can to stop the violence.

Please share your poetry and your platform to spread the word for Poets everywhere to unite in this effort we are calling, “Poets for Peace.”

Google +1 it, Tweet & share it on Facebook, wherever you are able. Hashtag #PoetsForPeace

 

L-John Lennon: Letters to Dead Poets.

Dear John,

How are you?

You are at peace and perhaps I should apologise for so rudely interrupting your thoughts, your dreams and even mentioning the past. Yet, how could I not say something? Say what I want to say, without acknowledging what happened. How your life came to such an abrupt and violent end, when you were peace. I have been reminded of your quest so many, many times as more and more lives are swallowed up by war and hate and wish you were here. That you could’ve spoken out about what’s been happening in Paris and throughout our world.

Still, not knowing what to say, I’ll keep my words uncharacteristically simple:

Sorry!

………

After a pause and a few deep breaths, I apologise if I am moving forward too quick but I am writing to you as part of a series of Letters to Dead Poets. Each of these poets has touched my being in some way and I’m extending these moments into something of a journey, a conversation and even a difference of opinion. It turns out, that in so many instances, we don’t see quite eye-to-eye after all and I’ve been seriously challenged by what I am finding out along the way.

Anyway, although there are so many, many questions I could ask, I have a relatively simple request.

Could I please borrow your glasses?

I’d like to see the world through your eyes. See your vision. I know it wouldn’t be the same but I wish I could see better. Have your x-ray vision straight through the surface and into the soul.

Indeed, isn’t it ironic that someone short-sighted had such remarkable insight? Could view things unseen, hidden deep inside the soul and somehow unravel them. Explain those intangible inner mysteries the rest of us can’t even begin to perceive.

How did you do it? What made you who you are? Why weren’t you just like any other John?

Do I really want to know?

Or, would seeing through your eyes ultimately have me walking in your shoes and indeed paying the ultimate price?

Can I really afford to take that chance?

Or, would I be better off simply driving Mum’s taxi and sticking to the local roads and not venturing beyond the comfort zone?

These are not simple choices for me, especially as something tells me that I already left the main road a long, long time ago. That once you have know the road less travelled, there is no turning back.

Beatles Ticket

Thank you so much for being there. Not only now, but throughout my life. I still remember my Dad playing The Beatles on our recorder player as a child. Both of my parents were among the screaming crowds at Sydney Stadium when The Beatles famously toured Sydney back in 1964. They didn’t know each other then but they were there.

Beatles Aust tour

There are so many, many memories shared along the long and winding road cut painfully short.

I know it is no exaggeration to say, that all the world also wishes you were here, especially your beloved.

 

213573-yoko-ono-john-lennon-glasses

John Lennon’s bloodstained glasses, tweeted by Yoko Ono on what would have been their 44th anniversary. (Pic: Twitter @yokoono)

Indeed, Yoko Ono tweeted a photo of your blood-splattered glasses on what would have been your 44th Wedding Anniversary along with these very grim statistics about gun deaths in USA:

Over 1,057,000 people have been killed by guns in the USA since John Lennon was shot and killed on 8 Dec 1980. twitter.com/yokoono/status…

31,537 people are killed by guns in the USA every year. We are turning this beautiful country into war zone. twitter.com/yokoono/status…

— Yoko Ono (@yokoono) March 20, 2013

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that your glasses bore the scars of your death, although I didn’t know. Perhaps, I should retract my request and yet your glasses were but a symbol. A way of my expressing my desire to be a better person and a more compassionate and empathetic human being.

That’s all.

Love and best wishes,

Rowena

PS:  I apologise for viewing you through my own rather rosy-coloured glasses and perhaps forgetting your humanity, your faults and mistakes along the road. It’s just that you could express things so succinctly, that it’s easy to forget the realities of living and how difficult it truly is to for anyone to truly walk the talk.

Indeed, my kids are currently on school holidays and I’m busy talking to you when i should be entertaining them. Yet, I’ve fallen into the reflections of my reflections and am struggling to connect with the world I’m in. I’ve somehow wondered into Wonderland but am wanting to explore as much as I can and write it all down before I return to the real world. Before the door is locked and there is no return. You can not ignore the muse.