Tag Archives: inspiration

Take a look: Poetry reading and Cello music in Brett Whiteley’s Studio. (with a footnote on alchemy and purity)

On Sunday this week, I attended a poetry reading “Take a Look” at the Brett Whiteley Studios. The poet was Peter Boyle, who has  books of poetry published, has won numerous awards for his poetry and has translated poetry works from Spanish and French. 20191103_141151[1]

Many of the poems resonated with the love he felt for his late wife, Deborah Bird Rose, who passed late last year. It was obvious to all present just how in love this man was… or is. Others spoke of his experiences in the world of art, literature and travel.

Accompanying Peter was a solo Cellist Christina Christensen, who with her cello managed to convey emotions only found when one is in meditative quiet. I remember she played a piece which she wrote called Lost Dreams, I think. Deep deep notes echoed regret, sorrow and sad contemplation. But just when you would have let out a sigh of empathic understanding, the last few notes were higher, faster, and finished with a flurry which left me feeling that the dreams had not been lost forever, that there was indeed hope.20191103_141739[1]

Lost Dreams touched me deeply and inspired me to write a poetry piece of my own.

The Death of Dreams

Too late.

Why did we wait

Life caught us up in the trap

of want more, need more

until at last

we are now time poor

We could have done

so much more.

Too late.

You grieving already,

Me being at deaths door.

The dreams are gone

But memories can live forever.

 

Contemplating death, and those dying, who have given up hope, I believe you can tell. The glimmer leaves the eyes. The love for a partner, once so intense, while still there speaks from an apologetic place. Sorry I am so much trouble. Sorry I will be leaving you alone, that I am causing you sorrow. Related image

Having cancer now has made me confront my own mortality. While having a full life, I can’t echo Frank Sinatra when he says, “Regrets, I have a few, but then again too few to mention.” My regrets are many. There are things in my life that I am certainly not proud of, and if I could have my life over, it would be so much different.

But I don’t live in the land of “shoulda, woulda, coulda”. I can only ensure that the future is different from the past.

Oskar Schindler:
“I could have gotten one more person… and I didn’t! And I… I didn’t!”

I live my life now as I should. I think it was the apostle Paul who said: “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands” 1 Thessalonians 4:11. And that’s how I shall live till I pass.

sorry its morbid.

Dave

footnote: I again looked at Brett Whiteley’s Alchemy now in a new light. Alchemy. Typical Alchemists would take a mineral and hope to turn it into gold, for one example. To take something ordinary, worth little, and to make it into something priceless. Brett Whiteley’s Alchemy starts with birth, the act of conceiving, then becoming born. through the panels we can track life’s experiences. Brett’s explorations of science, religion, drugs and art, literature. He ends it on a background of pure white, with gold representing, as I have written before the ultimate sacrifice for art, for purity. It was this purity that Brett Whiteley considered most valuable of all. Thank you Brett for continually speaking to us, even though you have been dead for decades.

Dave

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Deng Adut

The other evening, I was asked to photograph the New Members Ceremony for the Golden Key Honours Society from Western Sydney University Campus. Areas of Western Sydney are areas of welfare and poverty, and it was inspirational to hear stories of people who have managed to achieve high marks in their studies so far. Only the top 15% of students are offered a place in this society which prides itself on 3 pillars, Academia, Leadership and Service.IMG_2147

I have been a member of Golden Key now for about 8 months, having first been invited when I was doing my degree at ACU. It was because of my involvement with that chapter, that I was invited to take the photos at the ceremony for new members.

One of the highlights of the evening for me, was hearing a young man named Deng Adut give the keynote speech, and receive his honorary membership to the society. Deng was born in Sudan. At 6 years of age, he was taken by an army from his war torn village. he was made into a child soldier. Deng has written a book of his harrowing ordeals called “Songs of a War Boy”. you can purchase a copy here. http://dengadut.com/dengs-book/IMG_2220 (2)

Deng was shot a number of times and carried schrapnel around in his body. As a result of one of his injuries, he was unsure whether he would be able to father a child. On Friday evening, he told us a miracle had occurred and he became a father 3 weeks previous.

Deng arrived with his brothers, still a wounded child. When he arrived, he could not speak much English, and he could not read or write. He taught himself and did anything he could to drag himself through school and later University, graduating in Accountancy and then Masters of Law. He is now a partner in his own law firm, and a greatly sought after public speaker. Deng gave the Australian of the Year speech in 2016 and became NSW Australian of the year in 2017.

It was an honour to hear him speak, inspiring the high acheiving students in the room to keep going.

The older brother who helped Deng escape into Kenya, to later be granted refugee status in Australia, returned to South Sudan as an Aid worker. Unfortunately he lost his life while saving others. deng has started a foundation in his honour. It is called the John Mac Foundation. It is “a charity working to educate and empower refugees and people whose lives have been interrupted by war.” Donations to the charity, and to find out more about it, you can go to http://johnmacfoundation.org/

I hope you find inspiration in the life of Deng Adut. If a wounded Child Soldier, who cant speak English, work to achieve a Masters of Law, become a father, and help so many others, what can someone who grew up in a privileged western society do.

Blessings

Dave

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Patrick White and Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Ok, I am going to be a bit cheeky here and include this post under both Reading Australia, and American Literature. Why? Because I feel it belongs in both. I believe we can see Emerson, Thoreau and other transcendentalists in Patrick White’s writings. Patrick White was a man who was obsessed with the need for spiritual connection. It is evident in his books and in his life. Is my lecturer going to allow my marrying the two subjects? Paraphrasing Thoreau and Emerson… I am doing it because I believe its the right thing to do, therefore I have confidence in myself and will go on a path that is not often traveled.

In The Tree of Man, Stan Parker is in essence a Christian with ties to a conservative kind of church. He grew up believing in God and the institution of the church, he baptises his kids into the church, he prays and seems to be the spiritual rock of the family; even though he is a man of few words, his conviction is strong. At the end of his life in the book, he has a revelation. He has been striving his whole life for a connection with God, in church, praying and at times cursing a silent God. All that time, God was revealing himself through nature. He is the God in the storm and on the gentle breeze. He is there in good times and bad, even if we cant see it at the time.

Image result for footprints in the sand poem

Patrick White had an epiphany, or a revelation when feeding his dogs one night, and slipping in the mud, that God is everywhere. Before this point, he was searching for a church that was uncompromising in its message, but liberal in its acceptance of people. He was seeking a church that was fervent in sticking to points of scripture that White considered important, while relaxing on the things that didn’t really matter.

I just had an epiphany myself. I have been doing the same thing. As a Gay man, I felt totally rejected by the Christian Church when I came out. Before coming out, I was denying who I was, while in church. I have been striving ever since to find a church that will compromise on the issue of homosexuality, or being accepting of gay people but conservative on other areas of teaching. I can stop searching. I will never find a perfect church, because while it may be perfect for me, it will be imperfect for others, or visa versa.

I believe in the Kingdom Come
Then all the colours will bleed into one
Bleed into one.
But yes, I’m still running.

You broke the bonds
And you loosed the chains
Carried the cross of my shame
Oh my shame, you know I believe it.

But I still haven’t found
What I’m looking for.
But I still haven’t found
What I’m looking for.

 

In the words of U2, I still haven’t found what I am looking for. But you know what, it doesn’t matter. I don’t need a church to justify my belief in God. The church says “follow the leader, follow the rules of those who have gone before. Thoreau says to travel the road less worn, to make your own way. Emerson says to be self – reliant, trusting your gut instinct, your intuition.

For those who are getting caught up in Gay Marriage debates around the world, I say, do not listen to the voices or politics to sway you into voting one way or another. Rely on your gut, and vote your own way no matter how the crowd is swayed. ( sorry to get political).

I hope this post has been informative, and insightful to you, Please leave a comment.

Dave

Each man must walk his own journey. One must not look merely at the teachings of the elders of before but be a leader of our own spiritual journey.

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Filed under American Writing, critical posts, critical posts, Reading Australia

“Greed has poisoned mens souls”

Write a brief response to Charlie Chaplin’s plea for peace in world gone mad.

The speech written and made by Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator, is an incredibly insightful speech that was relevant then, and is relevant today.

“Greed has poisoned men’s souls…”. CC

Isn’t this so true. Those who have, want more, while those who have not only desire enough. It is because of this greed that men want to possess other lands. Wars are started because countries want the resources that another country possesses, and it doesn’t want to pay a fair price for it.

“In this world there is room for everyone, and this good earth can provide for everyone”. CC

in a similar train of thought; Mahatma Gandhi said “The world provides enough to satisfy every man’s need not every man’s greed”.

“…has barricaded the world with hate…” CC.  Is it greed that is now the catalyst for war, or is it hate? Hate that has been stirred in the hearts of religious people by fanatics and extremists.

It is greed that keeps up from accepting so many asylum seekers and allows them to be locked up in detention centres. We want to keep our way of life, with its abundance while we turn our backs on the persecuted, hungry and pleading people. We in Australia complain about our 2000 people arriving by boat every year, while Italy received over 2000 people by boat today! IN ONE DAY!

We do need to stop the bloodshed in Syria at the hands of the extremist group who is taking over land and driving peace loving people out. We need to be in alliance with countries who want to return the homeland to the people who have been exiled from it by these war loving, hate filled blood thirsty people.

There is talk now of Australia joining with USA and others in a legal airstrike against the forces of evil. As long as the motivations of the alliance are pure, I have to agree with such a move.

“Soldiers, don’t fight for slavery, fight for liberty… let us fight for a new world, a decent world… to do away with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason… where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness… in the name of democracy, let us all unite!” CC

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What a powerful and motivating speech. It needs to be played in parliaments around the world every couple of years just to make sure we are on track, united for the common good of the whole world.

  • CC = direct quote from the speech in The great Dictator by Charlie Chaplin.

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