Poetry 2019 onwards

Nature gets bad press
Deadly, cruel, unforgiving, no less
No respecter of life, but take a step back
Are we being a bit harsh, what does our perception lack
When does nature unleash its destructive might
When humanity has to cower, unable to fight
Our fragility and insignificance bared
Left only with hope and prayers to be spared
Isn’t it when we treat nature with disrespect
When humans’ self-centred notions of power and intellect
Blind them to the fact that nature’s in strife
They think they’ll control nature like they control earth life
Treat nature with respect and it will respond in kind
An old shrine in Hokkaido I happened to find
Returned to the forest which gifted the wood
With kindness and generosity, Nature stood
Sentinel to keep the path clear
Allowing people to approach, draw near
Be woven into a tapestry
In which all life is accorded the dignity
of sharing as equals this marvellous planet.

We are now forced to spend most of our time
For some of us, all our time
With people whose love and support
We do nothing consciously to earn
We don’t take time out to appreciate
We take for granted
In other words
Family, which covers a broad spectrum of human configurations
We have never had a better opportunity
To turn our attention
To the people who provide all those things
Without which we will have trouble
Taking our place in the world
And asserting our individuality
Learn something about our family we didn’t know before
Learn something new about ourselves
I can see the horizon
Still far away
Still elusive
Sometimes I wonder if it is a mirage
But at least I see something
Mirage or not, I know what it is
Clouded by my constant self-recrimination and despair
The horizon was invisible, obscured, undefined
But the clouds are lifting
Now that I see it
I can move towards it
As I draw closer
On clear days I can even see what lies beyond it
A life without irrational fear
Without the fear of asserting myself
Without the fear of displeasing people
Without the fear of rejection and abandonment
Protect our elderly
Some are being tempted
Some have even floated a notion
To allow Covid-19 to solve the problem of our ageing populations
Decrease the burden on the public purse
Not to mention healthcare and nursing homes
But pause for a second or two
Respect for elders is a bridge linking cultures and eras
For good reason
Great grandparents of a fortunate few
Great uncles and aunts
Old teachers and neighbours
All bestow on the young priceless gifts
The possession of only those who have lived long and learned hard lessons
The largest collective contributor to the ‘sapiens’ that distinguishes our species
Humanity will not survive without their wisdom
They are indispensable
Protect them.
Lesson from. Nature
Nature is showing us that our foundations are shaky
Our affluence, our affiliations, our acquisitions, our inner circles
Are no longer able to support our strengths, our self-esteem, our confidence
Now, regardless of how we see ourselves
Our vulnerability is being laid bare
Nature is shattering our illusions
About our place on the ladder of humanity, on the ladder of life
Forcing us to take a fresh look at ourselves
A realistic look
We are resisting
Asserting ourselves by our hoardings
But quietly, inexorably, we are retreating into the pack that represents all of humanity
Soon, we will be confronted by the simple reality that
Regardless of how we consider ourselves, in terms of race or religion or colour of our skin
We are no different to everyone else
It is taking a virus released by nature to show us
That the uncontrollable forces that dominate our lives are no respecters of human fabrications
It is not a bad realisation
It could jiggle our better selves
The selves that derive strength and comfort
From commonalities rather than differences
I feel I’m turning a corner, making progress
Getting deeper into the things I do
Picking up a detail
Unearthing a snippet of knowledge
A sudden flicker of insight
Unshackled from the norm
Unafraid to change my approach
Liberated from fantasies of great achievements
Now happy to learn for learning’s sake
Revelling in increments
I don’t know where it will take me
I may scale only the foothills, for now
Leaving the soaring peaks to more ambitious others, for now
Ambition and purpose are my daily companions
Instilling fulfilment and satisfaction by the hour
Tomorrow I’ll be driven by a fresh set
One day I’ll lift my eyes to the higher peaks
Without judgement
Observe without judgement
Easier said than done
We reimagine the outside
Adapting and fashioning
To fit our view of the world
To agree with our view of ourselves
How do we see what is
Through no prism
Without the trickery of distorting thoughts
I know what I need
I can find words to describe it
I can even imagine myself putting it into practice
That’s the easy part
When I’m immersed in the reality
Sometimes caught unawares
Sometimes threatened by emotion
Mine or someone else’s
Can I throw that magic switch
And simply observe
Absorb unsullied what my senses are bringing in
I know how to get there
It is what is left when I have peeled away the things that stop it from happening
My non-existent problem
What is my problem
Do I want from my life things I don’t have
Or do I want more of the things I have
Or do I flit from one to the other
Like a hummingbird in search of nectar
I am up to my waist in nectar
Do I want to be up to my neck
And then what
Do I want to drown in nectar
I already have much more than I need
I can afford to give some away
My problem, if I have one,
Is that I have not yet realised
That I am much better off
Searching for the wisdom of contentment
I don’t have far to look
I don’t have to dig deep
All I need to do is change my focus
And when I do
When I see how much I already have
I change
My energies take a sharp turn
I become a different person
Retirement musings
I dreamed of a life of freedom
Freedom to indulge my passions
Freedom to wake up to a blank canvas every day
Freedom to fill it with whatever I wished
The imperative of work kept my dream at bay
Only a lottery win would make it an instant reality
The days passed
They became months and seasons and AFL premierships
And elections with associated exultation or grief
And Olympics and World Cups (soccer, cricket, rugby union)
I entered new decades
I traversed a millennium
And work continued to underpin my life
I became used to it
A rug under my feet
A monthly sum on money turning up in my bank account
Providing the roof over my head
The car in my garage
The overseas holidays
Too many clothes and shoes
I wanted these things too
My dream life could not be lived without financial security
I wanted to indulge my passions in comfort
And so I had to wait until retirement
What do I find now?
I don’t have to worry about money
I pay all my bills and have enough left over
For most of the things I could afford when I worked
But the comfort is stifling
My life is missing an edge
My passions are being pursued as indulgences
Do I need to impoverish myself to acquire the edge I seek
Or am I complaining about nothing
Do I need to embrace the opportunities my privileged life gives me
Do I need to appreciate the certainty and security of the nest egg I built during my working life
Ha ha. I can hear some of you, perhaps many of you, bemoaning my ingratitude.
Taking stock
I have two shelves
On one is stacked the things I hold in tight embrace
On the other are all those things I hold loosely
Ready to be discarded if proven to my satisfaction that they are wrong
The shelves encapsulate my way to live
My way to learn
My way to be receptive to the expertise and scholarship of others
My way to avoid embracing ideologies and religions
The second shelf is crowded
A snapshot of what I subscribe to and believe in today
The first shelf is sparse
It holds my values
The things I will not let go
As they enshrine my purpose for living
I suspect we all have the same two shelves
It’s a good time of the year to take stock
Happy New Year
At the beginning of every year
I resolve to become a better person
But what does it mean to be a good person
Beyond being kind and compassionate to the people he knows
A good person has dreams and aspirations
That benefit those he doesn’t know
It can be people close by, like those in a local hospital or a home for the elderly
Or people suffering in the wake of a recent natural disaster
Or people beyond our shores whose lives lack the needs we take for granted
Or future generations
Think small, it makes it easier to do something tangible
Like a contribution to the public discourse about the type of society we need
Or a donation of time or possessions or money that might improve the lives of a few, even one
Added to the efforts of others it can become a big thing
That will be noticed by politicians and force them to respond
That will eventually make the world a better place
Happy New year everyone
The climate deniers’ place in the sun must come to an end
As the motley collection of politicians, shock jocks, columnists, magnates and others
Are reduced to silent, open-mouthed gawking
At the fires raging out of control along our eastern coast
Why take the PM to task for fiddling in Hawaii while Australia burns
It is but a distraction
He needs to face a firestorm of our collective rage
For his criminal neglect of this country
We the people elected this contemptible government
We voted to turn our backs on fairness
To spurn knowledge
To reject scholarship and expertise
And instead embrace a wretched self-serving ideology
That worships only greed
We empowered a bunch of irresponsible, right-wing populists
To make hay in fierce, unrelenting sunshine and drought
While large tracts of this country were tinderboxes awaiting their turn to explode into gigantic conflagrations
This is the country we are
This is our reputation in the world
This is the country we are bequeathing to the next generation
First world preoccupations
Why are Australians so easily spooked
What is it that makes them easy targets
For politicians seeking to arouse community fear
By sowing seeds
Of racial and religious bigotry
Is it the fear of difference
A wilful fear that gravitates willingly to fearmongers
And is it also the unwillingness to share this country’s largesse
Do selfishness and greed define this country
Do those who already have far in excess of their needs want even more
We live in a country that is not being spared
By the consequences of the excesses of affluence
And still the majority seem to focus on ‘first world’ problems
I am a muddle in my head
A convenient muddle
Preventing me from seeing myself as I truly am
I don’t want clarity
What will confront me when the haze lifts
Will embarrassment and shame overwhelm me
I am fooling only one person
Many see me as I truly am
They like what they see
They are attracted to the qualities I trivialise
They warm to the vulnerabilities
he very things I am inclined to call weakness and ineptitude
The very things that cause me shame
The very things that cast me as unworthy in my own eyes
I have just reached a milestone
I was browbeaten about preparing for it
I was urged to see advisors and counsellors
I was warned about ill health, inactivity, loneliness, poverty
Beside the milestone is a chisel
I am invited to carve a word
Or accept the default and move on
I won’t accept the default
Retirement is an alien concept
I need to come up with a word
That signifies a convergence of passion and energy
That implies excitement and optimism
That is replete with contentment and happiness
That encapsulates the next phase of my life
I cannot think of a better word than fulfilment.
The Statement from the Heart
The Statement from the Heart
Invites a response from the heart
It is a plea to put aside suspicion and prejudice
And join hearts to right a great wrong
To acknowledge the torment of powerlessness
That resulted from wrenching a land
From its human inhabitants of sixty thousand years
And banishing them beyond the outskirts of the human family
No greater crime has humanity suffered
Our First Nation’s people
Need a different, optimistic legacy to hand to their children
One that points to more than words, more than expressions of regret
One that points to tangible institutions and enshrinement
In the very heart of this country
To prove beyond a shadow of doubt
That our First Nation’s people are truly beloved
That their nationhood, their legacy, their connection to country
Are inextricably woven into Australia’s future.
Some minds struggle with what most of us take for granted
We take the world in our stride
We function, we conform to standards and norms, but not them
Agony and anguish accompany their every step
They need help, they need treatment
But most of all they need love and inclusion
They will thrive in the joy of recognition and acceptance
But the shame of stigma
Chains them, shuts them away, out of sight, out of mind
When their families are ashamed of them
It enables others to express sympathy and move on
It lets society off the hook
They become the forgotten people
Humanity’s discards, look at them
Etched into their faces, behind the distress and struggle
Surrender, acceptance of a fate
They did nothing to deserve
 A sixteen-year-old has dared
To raise the ire of the privileged
By pointing squarely at their moral nakedness
It is comical to witness the backlash
From a bunch of mostly white men
On whom we have bestowed a public voice
Remember, every rant is a personal disclosure
What the comical choir of motley males is shrieking
Is nothing but an ode to their internal ugliness
All their eloquence and creativity are being used
To hurl invective at a child
Government of bullies
We have a bullying, hectoring, lecturing
Government and why not
When we have a bullying, hectoring, lecturing
Prime minister who trots out
Marketing slogans like
The quiet Australians
Compassionate conservatism
Duping devices to cloak a nasty right-wing ideology
Targeted at asylum seekers, welfare recipients
And others inadequately empowered to fight back
In the meantime the things that matter like
The economy
Responses to climate change
Widening inequality
Slip and slide
As the government generates noise
To distract from the paucity of ideas
To hide its incompetence
Minister for slogans
The prime minister
Also minister for slogans
Is into “compassionate conservatism”
Another palatable slogan
Another duping device
To mask policies that are anything but palatable
It is exploitation of the headline mentality
Read the headline and know what lies underneath
Hear the slogan and know the detail
Political twins
Morrison has poisoned the term ‘Quiet Australians’
Who are these people he purports to govern for
Are they the same people whose thoughts Pauline Hanson claims to speak
The people who fear that their privilege and entitlement will be under threat
If compassion and empowerment are extended to minorities and the disenfranchised and the disadvantaged
If the health of our planet it given the priority it urgently needs
Morrison and Hanson, birds of feather
Scraping the bottom of the political barrel
Defiling themselves with rank populism
Trump wannabes championing an ugly agenda
That will drag this country into the gutter
Our shameful government
What has the electorate unleashed on this country?
What we have governing this country are not leaders
But the willing mouthpieces
Of everything that is shameful about Australia
Whipped up and exploited
For political gain
Don’t they care about the dishonour they bring
To the country, to themselves
By shedding crocodile tears over asylum-seeker deaths at sea
By beating a jingoistic drum about a surge in boats from Sri Lanka
All to demonise a humble Tamil family
Desperate to avoid assured persecution in their homeland
Who are these monsters?
Why do they parade their callousness with such impunity?
What does this say about Australia?
Would it allow a white family to be treated this way?
What's the use of religion?
What is the use of religion
If it doesn’t make one a better person
Singing, chanting, praying
Become no more than hypocritical noise
If they don’t open hearts
If they don’t bring out innate goodness
Disparate voices are in unison urging the government
To allow Nades, Priya, Kopika and Thirunicaa
To live in Australia
The government is proudly professed Christian at the helm
But words mean nothing if they are not backed up by actions
That express fundamental Christian values
Of compassion and inclusion
Will Mr Morrison use the discretion at his disposal
To make a compassionate exception
And take a step towards making this country a better place
The religious freedom legislation at its heart
Is the freedom to discriminate
The freedom to flout the law of marriage equality
On the grounds of religious beliefs
How about changing those beliefs
To keep up with the times
To respect irrefutable evidence
It has been done before
Remember slavery
In accordance with religious beliefs
But discarded under pressure from changing norms
Religious beliefs are not truth
Why are they being protected
Make no mistake about what this legislation sanctions
You can dress it up, drape it, upholster it
But you cannot disguise the ugly shape of homophobia
This government
Dutton should feel so proud
He is protecting us yet again
From whom this time?
Ah yes, a family of desperadoes
Especially the two little girls
The family tick many boxes  
They are hard working
They are happy to live in a little country town
They have been embraced by the community
The girls, born here, know no other home
The boxes they don’t tick are of little consequence
Contained in a rule book which set the limits of jurisdiction
Of the courts that found against them
Beyond the rule book, where it counts
Is ample evidence of their worthiness
To call this country home
Resetting the paradigm
Are we torch bearers
What is the light we are shining
Raising the torches
Raising torches
Keep the torches burning
Keeping the torch alight 
When a situation builds up and congests my life
Threatening to set like concrete around me
Locking my arms, clamping my feet
Fixing me in a place I don’t want to be
A place where I am intimidated into being a lesser person
What do I do
How do I empty it out and start again
How do I reset the paradigm
My heart is me
Like it or not
I heed the dictates of my heart
I am that sort of person
My heart occupies the driver’s seat
My head is a backseat driver
Navigating, advising, reasoning, compelling
But never the ultimate authority
My heart always has the final say
I cannot be ashamed of what my heart says
Because it is the same as being ashamed of myself
And shame makes we want to go away
And hide from the world
Give the world power over me
Make me nothing in my own eyes
So I try to be proud of what my heart says
Even when it defies reason and logic
My heart holds my values
And everyone and everything that is precious
My heart is me
Engage yourself
Don’t live your life on the surface
Don’t engage your senses lazily
Get in touch with what lies under, above and behind
Discover the things you are missing
When you merely touch
When you only dabble
When your focus is the obvious, the conventional, the mainstream
They contain only a part of the truth and beauty of your life
A small part, sometimes misleading, often unfulfilling
Find the rest when you reach out and within
When you stop being driven by what you want to see
When you challenge the barriers that you have set up
When you defy the limitations that you have imposed on yourself
Obscene affluence
It is easy to lose heart
When we let slip through our fingers
The opportunity to be better
We sometimes fail to realise
That to many people being better means
Ascending the ladder of material success
Especially in affluent societies
Where personal wealth is the holy grail
The panacea for everything that ails
Unhappiness, they say, is easier to bear
Surrounded by the trappings of wealth
Even religion has been beaten into a shape
That glorifies material wealth as a reward for virtue
That exempts greed from moral judgement
Welcome to right wing Christianity
Practised selectively on the chosen
Excluded are homosexuals, refugees
Some go further and lock out blacks and coloureds
Hi-jacked by the west, Jesus, blonde-locked with steely blue eyes
Came to save the master races
Destined to dominate heaven
An entitlement they strive to preserve on earth
Narrow Conservatives
In the wake of conservative victory
Complaints about religious freedom have surfaced again
What are they complaining about
Are they being denied the right to live in the true spirit of their religion
Are they being prevented from reaching out to all of humanity
With love, compassion and acceptance
Or do they want the right to discriminate
On the grounds of bigotry and hatred
Masquerading as religious beliefs
Supported by cherry-picked scripture
I wish they’d step out of their narrow worlds
Befriend those who are different
Enjoy warmth and generosity in different hues and flavours
Expand their participation in our diverse society
And benefit from the compelling power of lived experience
He turns seventy today
A life richly deserving of this milestone
A life that would have enriched us all
Had it not been ruined by illness
He is forever in my heart
Happy Birthday Seymour
The returns of greed are superficial and short-term
Whenever has a legacy founded on greed ever been remembered or lauded
Except by the few who benefited
A legacy motivated by compassion and a desire for fairness
Endures because everyone knows instinctively
That what is good helps those who are disadvantaged
The greatest impediment to human fulfilment
Is the lack of opportunity
The denial of opportunity to an individual
Deprives humanity of a potentially vital resource
The solutions offered by the wealthy and the privileged
Serve to entrench their wealth and privilege
The people have spoken
We may not like what they said
But we have to move on
For the time being unshackle ourselves
From personal investment in the big picture
Of where we want to see this country headed
Return to our small causes, the day-to-day projects
That inspire us, that give us joy
That strengthen and validate our beliefs
That also define us and make us who we are
Disappointments like Election 2019
Are part and parcel of our journey, any journey
Forward and backward steps
Let us find healing with the people we love
Whose happiness is as important to us as our own
The election
I hoped we’d grasp with enthusiasm
A vital opportunity to make Australia a better place
But enough voters had other ideas
In our democracy it can take a few
To destroy the hopes and aspirations of many
The fate of the marginalised
Rests on the fears and desires in the marginals
This then is democracy
The worst form of government, it has been said,
Except for all the other forms that have been tried
In affluent societies such as ours
The power of greed is ignored at one’s peril
Exploitable by unscrupulous politicians
Seeking power for ends that serve only themselves
And the elites to whom they kowtow
We cannot give up hope
We have to strengthen our efforts
In the face of grim realities
We may have to override our better selves
To protect people, sometimes from themselves
Vote Labor
Australia is a better place
When greed, racism and xenophobia give ground to inclusiveness
When the government reaches out to lend a helping hand
The people reach out too
When the government is seen to have a heart
The people respond
There is so much happiness for ourselves
In the happiness and success of others
In the knowledge that we live in a fair society
A society that uses its extraordinary wealth
To lift the lives of everyone within it
When Labor is in power
Australia is a better place
Please vote Labor
But cursed with religious beliefs
That seem to be grounded in tyranny, hatred and damnation
His post doesn’t affect me and most people I know
But what are the limits of my responsibility
Do I not have a duty of care
To speak out for the young Islander
Struggling with his or her sexuality
Who idolises elite sportspeople like Folau
What about Folau’s duty of care
Not only to his fans
But also to his religion
I so wish he is able to see
The damage he does to Christianity
By cherry-picking the nasty stuff
When he could as easily choose love and compassion
As the basis for his beliefs
Why does the power of goodness remain under the surface
Why doesn’t it rise to the top
And become the dominant force in the world
What keeps it suppressed
Are the forces of evil so strong
That goodness is allowed to raise its head
Only in the aftermath of tragedy or catastrophe
Why is the evil of a few
Allowed to overpower the goodness of many
Let’s harness our collective goodness
Let it influence the world
But what is goodness
Everyone is good to someone in their lives
Goodness is an aversion to the suffering of others
Goodness is instinctive morality and wisdom
Goodness is a commitment to truth
Goodness is radiating, indiscriminate compassion
Goodness is the recognition that we are all equal
But, most importantly, goodness is not selective
Easter 2019
Torn by grief and despair
A wounded country looks around
Helpless and bewildered
Good, decent people have once again been dealt a body blow
By corrupt evil forces
That value human life cheaply
Expendable to realise their self-serving ends
Not only those who detonated the bombs
But also those who were warned about it
Who had the power and resources and time to prevent it
But chose to let it happen
Ever prepared to sanction intolerance towards religious and ethnic minorities
In the interests of political opportunism
Altruism abounds in Sri Lanka
It needs to raise its head much higher
And address entrenched poverty
Because the plight and hopes of the wretched are so easily exploitable
By the scapegoating and empty promises of corrupt politicians
To someone
To my friend with love
Out of your large trusting eyes
Shines the beauty behind them
And the goodness that attracts people to you
That lights up the faces of those around you
As you pursue a profession
That enables you to spread your compassion
And your love of humanity
I wish for you with all my heart
The personal happiness you so richly deserve
The voice of reason
The voice of reason is quiet
A rational, sensible hum hard-wired to our DNA
Underpinning the daily lives of peaceful communities
Nourishing and protecting and progressing precious human lives
Good governments widen and diversify the pool of beneficiaries
To include one and all
Principled, courageous leadership dispels counterproductive forces
Grounded in bigotry and xenophobia
The lone voices of division are always loud
Shouting their bigoted, xenophobic, self-serving messages
Purporting to represent many
When in fact they only speak for a few
An already privileged few
Who think they are entitled to more
I want to tell you what I think about courage
Can I tell you what it is not
It is not bravado
It is not a penchant for high physical risk
It is not egotistic, callous straightforwardness
Courage is disregarding your unhelpful thoughts
Recognising your worth
Acknowledging that most people are on your side
Even the ones who disagree with you
Knowing that those who are not on your side are mostly products of your imagination
Believing that you have a contribution to make to the world
Making it
What I know can fill a single book
Not an especially large book
What I don’t know can fill a dozen libraries
Large ones, crowded ones
I must sever the link between my self-esteem and what I know
Because it takes a hit each time I encounter something I don’t know
Several times a day
What I have achieved is modest
Far surpassed by the achievements of many
I must sever the link between my self-esteem and what I have achieved
Because it takes a hit each time I encounter someone whose achievements are better than mine
Several times a day
To what do I link my self-esteem
When my knowledge and achievements let me down
What if I link it to who I am instead of what I know or what I have achieved
But do I know who I am, does it matter if I’m unsure
Can I hold my head high
Can I like myself
Regardless of who I think I am
Regardless of who I want to be
Regardless of anything
Make self-esteem unconditional
Like yourself
Like yourself, and you will be liked for yourself
They go together, one follows the other
Work on the first one
The second one happens
You don’t need to change a thing
Apart from being kinder to yourself
Give it a go, it sounds easy
What’s there not to like about yourself
If I were you, I’d have no problem liking myself
Place at the front of your mind
All those things about yourself that are worthy of being liked
Your intelligence
Your sincerity
Your sense of responsibility
Your goodwill towards the world
Put them on guard against unhelpful thoughts
Yes, it’s all you and your thoughts
Your worst enemies
Attacking you for no good reason
It is a habit, a first response
To doubt yourself
Make no mistake
We are all contradictions
We don’t cleanly fit into society’s pigeon-holes
We might shoe-horn ourselves into one or more
To show society we deserve its stamp of approval
But in the lamp-light of our private moments
We know otherwise
Our thoughts and desires take us to faraway places
Some, maybe many, maybe all
Forbidden by the strictures of conformity
The failure of psychoanalysis proves
The fact of our complexity
The fact of our innate character of contradiction
Let’s not criticise our contradictions
Let’s not feel ashamed of them
Let’s not stifle them or kick against them
Let’s instead revel in our unique ability
To be many things all at once
In music I find myself
In strains and lyrics
Harmonies and melodies
Drama and pauses
Textures thick and translucent
A single melodic line
Or a mighty orchestral climax
The inevitability of honest human expression
Forces out a helpless reaction
That silently screams
Exhorting me to peer into the mirror
Music holds up to my soul
Warranted shame
Be ashamed
Only when you know you ought to be
When your actions have caused harm
Be afraid
Only when genuine danger lurks
For you or someone you care for
Never be ashamed
Of what you believe in
Of what you know to be true
Regardless of the beliefs and judgements of others
Never be afraid
Of ridicule or condemnation or pity
By those who think they have a monopoly on the truth
Or those who wish to hold you back or put you down
You are bursting with potential
You have so much to give the world
Don’t let unwarranted shame and fear stop you
Trust your heart
Freedom is an open channel
Between your heart and the world
Unblocked by impositions and conformity
Unrestricted by the risk of appearing foolish
Unintimidated by criticism and put downs
Let people see what’s in your heart
Don’t hold back, don’t sugar coat, don’t back pedal
Believe what your heart says
Back your heart
Trust what’s in it
Your hidden heart is a repository of goodness
Bring it out in the open
Enjoy the freedom
Let it propagate its goodness
Let it bring out the best in people
Let it bring out the best in you
Nazis among us
On St Kilda beach last week
By a motley collection of misfits
At the behest of an individual saturated with racial hatred
Fascism reared its hideous head
Adorned by Nazi salutes
Legitimised by representative presence
Targeting so-called African gangs
To proclaim a hateful message
Of racist violence and division
Let’s not sanitise the behaviour and attitudes of its participants
With considered, fair-minded analysis
Call them what they are
With brutal unambiguity
Depict their reprehensible ugliness
For all to see and be repulsed
Give them the publicity decent societies need to give them
Not the publicity they seek for themselves
Why wallow in victimhood
Blaming others for my predicament or my attitudes
Why blame the baggage I carry from childhood for my travails
Instead of letting it slip off my shoulders, jettisoned once and for all
My turning point is accepting that I and only I
Am responsible for my beliefs, my attitudes, my successes, my failures
It opens a pathway to addressing the inequities I foist on others
And the inequities I foist on myself
Accountability unleashes power and freedom
An irresistible combination to help me
Learn equally from success and failure
Deal with unhelpful thoughts that strive to hold me back
And be aware at all times
That there is so much I do not know

The world I want to live in
A world in which a person’s entitlement
Is not determined by colour or gender or race or religion or family or ancestors
Where a person’s borders and boundaries dissolve
And the mass of surrounding humanity is regarded as one
One bunch of individuals to get to know, to befriend, to share a meal with, to invite home
What stops me from regarding the humanity around me as one
Who is responsible for my negative assumptions, my fears, my suspicions,
Let me find that person, look him in the eye
And declare that I can change, that I will change
Because I firmly believe the world I want to live in
Is the sort of world in which humanity will prosper.

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