New Me

I tell you, it’s really weird! I found myself looking into the little camping fridge that we’ve been using while we wait to get a proper one, thinking, ‘What did I like to eat?’ It’s like I have forgotten the most basic things about who I used to be before All This. I mean I know the essential me hasn’t changed, but the one that creates a life for the essential me has no idea how to go about it. 

I don’t know if this feeling of disjointedness is common after trauma. I wouldn’t be surprised. 

It feels like I have crossed a threshold, something like a rite of passage. Things I’ve read over the years tell that, during such a rite, one is stripped from everything that makes the person; the ego is dissolved; often the body is mutilated in some way, (sometimes metaphorically), so that the person can not forget that he or she is not the same as before. In many traditions across the world (read Joseph Campbell) this same complete disassociation, from the known self and from the everyday norms of the culture, is emphasised. The result is a clear person who can remake herself in anyway she wants.

So I’m going to become a megalomaniac. Kidding! I certainly hope this will make me a better and healthier person, more useful to my community of earth, nature and humanity.

In the meantime, the new fridge has arrived and I will have to go off and work out what to put in it.

tattered wings tremble
in bitter wind

The complete stranger at the coffee counter


Her hard-luck story about her son’s dog destroying her Christmas lights. I decide not to tell her my hard luck story.

It’s strange being in the midst of a trauma. It’s like you are in some sort of weird bubble. You carry this darkness and no one else can see it. They go about their lives doing their ordinary things, worrying about their ordinary things like whether Chloe needs a second present because Crystal has two. And you look at them from your strange bubble and it just feels weird. They look as if they are not awake. Or as if they are so bound up in themselves that have no connection to the outside world. You also know that was you three days ago.

It is surreal. I remember this from every trauma I have ever experienced. After a while the feelings dissipate; already they are less strong. But then you meet some random person in a cafe who needs to tell you trivial problems and you see them, all the details about them, the colour of their clothes, the resonance of their voice and it doesn’t, in any way, touch you. You nod and wait for your coffee. 

her painted toenails 
appear to have as much meaning 
as the floor

scent of coffee 
a man turns the page 
of his newspaper


Belinda and Ervin’s Phoenix Fund

Odds (Haibun)

Torn between science
and magical thinking
I wish with all my might
for world peace, my health,
the health of my loved ones,
rain, the cessation of rain,
a favorable fall of the dice.
Statistics stops me betting,
magical thinking gives me hope
dashed again and again, but, still …

against all odds
here comes the rain
drought summer


Buttons (with haiku)

Buttons are like treasures aren’t they? For example, the buttons you find at the bottom of your mother’s sewing drawer, cut from some worn-out piece of clothing and, waste not want not, kept for some future use.

in the button collection
a cool smoothness

shuffling through
Mum’s button collection
there’s my old green coat

Perhaps this a time-specific memory, uncommon these days? People don’t wear out clothes any more, and mothers often have nothing more in their sewing kits than a needle, thread, safety pins, and scissors. The other day my daughter said to me, ‘We don’t have Sunday-best clothes any more. We only have good clothes.’ True as it is, it could be a metaphor for the ecological problems of the planet.

between arthritic fingers
the awkwardness
of a button

on the child’s palm
the opalescent sea-scape
of a button


‘The button on the top of a baseball cap’ is the prompt for Nahaiwrimo today. Rather specific, isn’t it? It made me want to write something existential about a gnat on the button on a baseball cap. But that would be subject for an essay, not a haiku, so as usual when I don’t relate to a prompt, I picked part of the prompt. How rich is the subject of buttons? The above is a condensed; actually I very nearly wrote an essay.

Indian Cotton

over under …
lost in the fibres
of an indian cotton shirt

in its muslin
the rhythm of the shuttle
indian cotton scarf

so threadbare it’s hardly modest
my favourite indian cotton shirt

Usually I try to avoid trade miles by buying locally produced products, but because of water theft by cotton growers in the upper Murray Darling Basin, I prefer to buy Indian cotton. But who do the growers sell their cotton to? Probably India. Oh well, if we each do our best…

Only one of these cloths is indian cotton actually. And, oh dear, there are a lot of trade miles depicted in this photo. One is from the middle east, one from South America, one from India, not sure about the other, but you can bet your boots it’s not Australian.

Hygiene or sterility?

Apparently it is desirable to shower twice a day, wash your hair daily, use soap or, preferably, disinfectant on every part of you body, drench yourself in various lotions to replace some of the oils you just washed away, and apply various forms of deodorant and or perfume until you smell like a freshly cleaned toilet.

Sometimes when I leave a lift, I smell like the last person to use that lift. Seriously I think we are insane. We have such a horror that we may smell like humans. Granted, physical hard work (especially when teamed with unnatural fibers) and or not washing the nether regions, can have a deleterious effect upon the olfactory receptors. But I really do not want to smell your perfume, and I certainly do not want to smell OF your perfume.

into my political tirade
the faint scent
of parrot feathers


I thought ‘Dry showering’ was the prompt for Nahaiwrimo. It isn’t, so I don’t know where I got that idea.

Anyway, I looked up ‘dry showering’. There are some weird folks out there, folks. But once you’re past the weird stuff, it’s all about (shock horror) missing one of your two showers a day and covering up the fact!

Mum’s embroidered tablecloth
a fly washes his face


morning ablutions
spotted pardalotes
dip their beaks

Pardalotes are THE most gorgeous small bird. When all the other small birds (honey eaters, fan tails, wrens and finches are all bathing, the pardalotes come also. They drink but don’t seem to bath. Goodness knows how they keep clean. Haven’t they heard of disinfectant?

See him here photographed by Richard Hall

The Royal Flying Doctor Service

A crackle of static from the transceiver and somehow old Vern at the base station always knew whose crackle it was, would transmit a telegram or receive one, reading it back to make sure he had it right, sometimes quite private stuff.

Eight in the mornings was the weather. People would call in with their rainfall and we would know what to expect at our end of the river.

falling straight down
monsoon season

Once a day I sat at the desk and pushed the little button for School of the Air, a chaos of static and small voices as eager as puppies, a teacher miles away asking and answering questions, speaking to one child at a time because if two people spoke at once all you heard was garble.

Some times emergencies would interrupt School of the Air. Conversations with the Flying Doctor that, of course, everyone would listen to: snake bites, goring by bulls, broken limbs, gastroenteritis, premature births. If needed, an ambulance plane would land on your local road or your bush airstrip if it was safe.

a dust trail
the aircraft
dips its wings

Jimmy Jackson went by plane. We heard his mother explain, ‘Timmy’s cut Jimmy’s finger orf.’ With an axe apparently. The doctor told her to wash the finger in milk, if it was dirty, 
and to put it back on Jimmy’s hand. ‘Will powdered milk do?’ she asked. Don’t know what happened to Timmy, but Jimmy lost his finger.

And when I was grown and far away, I sent this: BABY GIRL HANA BORN MIDDAY SIX POUNDS THREE STOP ALL WELL STOP my message across all those lonely miles, travelling on air, down the receiver aerial and out of a transceiver with its little glowing lights.
‘Received that Vern, over,’ said my mother.

at dusk
waiting with the dog
good news

Sharing this today for Nahaiwrimo. The prompt for day 5 is: ‘listening to the radio’. The radio (or more correctly called the transceiver) was our sole means of communication when I was a child growing up in remote North Queensland.


Sand in the Works (haibun)

It was a fishing tournament (prizes for the biggest catch) and people came from miles around and set up camp in the dunes. Then they drove their shiny four-wheel drives down to the beach to fish.

The organisers assured everyone that they’d assured everyone there would be a king tide, but…

the rest here