Not the Time for Making

In this new house of solid sand,
it is not the time for making.
Now is the time for mending,
gathering all the little shards
and gluing them together.
Perhaps the bindings will be gold
(a precious metal,
desirable and malleable)
but more likely everyday glue
or double sided sticky tape.

These thoughts are disparate.
They are messy like the fragments
of a former life, shattered and scattered.
Did you know that when crystals
– amethyst, carnelian, quartz –
go through fire, they shatter?
It’s all so much sand actually, but sharp.
It will take some time for the world
to wear them smooth,
and that’s why
this is not the time for making.

This is the time for mending.


Strange the things that survived the fires. This shell that our son wore on the Camino Trail, you’ve got to be asking, how? The little paper figure is something I fashioned in a moment of idleness. It decided to perch there with the shell. It reminds me of him because he was always making little sculptures from various bits of rubbish. Usually he would animate them by giving them voices. He was a seriously funny person, that one.

People grief is much worse than possessions grief. But sometimes possessions hold the memories of people we love, so finding this shell was like holding him. It’s all love, in the end.

This knife, in its days of use, was called THE Knife. It was the best knife to use, but in recent years had become too short. When we came back to the house after it burnt, where the kitchen had been, amid the melted glasses and broken crockery, all of the knives were standing to attention in the ash, the knife block had burnt from around them and left them standing there. No handles of course, and completely useless, but we had to bring away THE Knife.

The fan belonged to my mother. It just happened to be in the car when we ran. She never used it, but it’s nice to have something of hers.

And the little blue star is from Ervin. It is a block from a woodblock print, done since the fire, that I snaffled.

The light switch is a light switch.

Oscar and Charlie escape with their lives

Charlie and Oscar

I accidentally made a story on messenger with this photo, so my phone is now going ding ding ding.

For those of you who don’t know Ervin, he is 81 and carries Charlie everywhere. Consequently Charlie is grubby. He even had to go up to see the devastation of our place and so is even grottier.

Now, Oscar, he never goes anywhere but he jumped into the bag when we evacuated. I should have known then that our place would cop it. I think my deep psych did.


Ervin and Belinda and Oscar and Charlie’s Phoenix Fund.

Small joys and silliness

In my daughter’s house, standing in front of one of those cupboards in which one stuffs useful things, we dare open it to look for something and Hana says, “The cupboard of doom.” 

I say, “Everyone has a cupboard of doom.”

“You don’t,” she says and it sets me to, singing, “I’ve got no cupboard of Doom! I’ve got no cupboard of doom!” and dancing a silly jig in faux excitement. 

Something that is no longer in my Cupboard of Doom



Belinda and Ervin’s Phoenix Fund 


This was a few years ago now. He’s probably forgotten what ‘me-me’ is by now. I wonder if there is a deep longing, the source of which he’s forgotten.

I’ve got one of those unexplained longings. It’s strongest after sun down. I doubt it has anything to do with my mother, but who knows? What I want, what we all want, is a deep abiding connection. To each other. To the world. Maybe the last time we felt a connection like that was at our mother’s breast.


in the dream
you pushed our rickety house
how shall we live
now that we grow old?

I stopped reading
and began to gaze
out the window
and that’s why he
reached over and touched me

open Heart, open
to the world of beauty
its cruelty
and your warm husband’s breath
and his limited sleeping breath

the young plum tree
in the first autumn fog
already bare
my loving heart
will take what comes


About Dad (poem)

My father studied clouds
but for months at a time
there were none.

At sundown he hung up his hat
and took off his boots.
He washed his face and hands.

Mum moved the hose and chopped the vegetables.
I fed the chooks and closed the gate
behind the last stupid bum.

Night rose from the east,
easing its purple cloth over the sky, in increments.
Later I lay on the lawn with my father.

He studied stars too—not their meanings or placement,
rather that they were there at all
like so many glittering grains of dust.

Rain came eventually
and the grass grew taller than men.
The cattle were sent to market and the bills paid.

All the children grew up, left home
and there were no more worries.
Perhaps that’s why

he didn’t wait long after that to die.
He’d finished his studies.
He’d paid his dues.


where he isn’t

There’s a space
where he isn’t.
It’s enormous and keeps
following me around
now here, now here.

The space used to be
full of laughter
and fun, compassion
and encouragement.

With him I could
be my self.
When I lost him
I lost a true friend

Ervin Janek Mother and Son

The photo is by my husband Ervin Janek. It is called ‘Mother and Son’. I find it very touching, especially in the context of this poem. It was done a long time before our son died, but it seems perfect.

The poem reminds me of some of the old Chinese poets, Li Po etc. What do you think?

If you want to see more of Ervin’s images here is his shop and here is his amazing changing facebook collection.

wrapping sunlight

mother folds the sheet
wraps sunlight
in cloth
she shakes it out
over the bed
smooths it with her ….
The rest here...

Sorry about the recurring plugs for my blog, it ain’t likely to get better any time soon!