August, Again

The weird energy of August abounds
Plagued by troubling dreams
Of past and petulant ghosts
Uncertainty and ugliness
Betrayal and bungling
Of illusory lions and loss
And out-dated obsessions
Of abuse and anger
Sadness and shame
Images of horror
Malformed from memories

Nights haunt her awake
Thoughts twined tight and tense
This lioness now can sense
All the power it will take
But with claws ripped away
Long ago from her paw
Will she now bare her teeth?
Is she ready to roar?
Protect herself ?
As she couldn’t or wouldn’t before

With eclipse swift on its way
Transmissions amplify with days
If she can only hold the line
Stand brave, build bold, stay kind
With gentleness, with strength
With truth, with upright intent
The energy doesn’t have to blaze
If she can harness it, own it, form it
With mindful care, for the greater good
This is her time for ‘Should’
If but she would


Copyright © 2017 · Forty and Everything After

What Would It Take To Be Humbled By Stars?

There is our very own stuff
And that may feel huge on any given day
In our hearts we feel the leaden weights
Of all that troubles
Of all that saddens
Whilst occasional sun infiltrates and warms

And then there is the big stuff
The too big for us to wrap our arms around stuff
The too scary to come out from behind our fingers for stuff
But some people do
And thank God for those people

And then there are the stars
And then there is the moon
And all of our stuff is just so utterly irrelevant
Beneath those stars, who have seen it all
What must they think of our earthly lunacy?
They must shake their sparkly heads in despair

I despair
Some days I just can’t believe what I see through my fingers
Most days I truly give thanks for my stuff
My own tiny, little leaden weights
That make more sense than the enormity of things I cannot bear to peek at
Why must we invent new and dangerous and heartbreaking stuff to fill the void?
When the void was always, and will always be filled with those beautiful stars

They were our beginning, and may well prove our end
What will it take to be humbled by the stars?


Copyright © 2017 · Forty and Everything After

Build To Build Up, Don’t Build To Keep Down

Denied or destroyed for those who need them most
Created by those who should learn to look beyond
Not all walls contain within welcoming host
No safe haven given, no warmth in their bond

Built high as a punishment for those of misdeed
Built in vain if you think they’ll curb evil’s intent
Invented for security, not brutality, not greed
Barriers to freedom and compassion not meant

Tricked into our own versions, in our minds, in our hearts
But fake mortar surely crumbles witnessing tragedy’s parade
To shore us up, not break others down, or keep the world apart
Safety from passing storms, from nature’s thorns, is why they should be made

Those built with hatred between their stones will in their structure fail
Strength temporary, but fatally flawed, will crack under love’s weight
Those built with heart, with open doors, to ease our human trail
Will build the world up, will keep our heads up. This is how we will prevail

Build them up gently for our comrades who most need them
Dismantle them gently for our kin trapped in their square
Their falling is a gift for brothers and sisters seeking freedom
We will step beyond our own and find peace with you all there.


Copyright © 2017 · Words & Images · Forty and Everything After


Should be sleeping, should be sleeping, should be sleeping
Mindful calm, mindful calm, mindful calm
Noisy rain
Skylight drumming
No dreaming tonight
Sit in dark
Room is ghostly
Only choice to write

Curtains missing
Blanket on
Toes tucked in at least
Sky pale grey
A while till day
No bird, nor bee, nor beast

Garden shapes loom live and large
As if they would come in
Planes asleep
No sound from street
Fat rain the only din

Roofs look slick
I tap, I click
Eyes tired, but not my head
I hear the world
Not yet uncurled
The sense to rest in bed

A peaceful start
No heavy heart
But heavy lids for sure
Long day ahead
Far from my bed
Where I’ll try and sleep once more



Copyright © 2017 · Words & Images · Forty and Everything After

Mind Weather

I open my eyes and there he is
My black cloud
Looking down on me
Glaring disappointment from his …..
well whatever clouds have
“So, here we have another bloody day!”
“Are you just going to lie there?” He snarks
“Or are we going to deal with this sodding encumbrance?”

Oh hell. This is not a good start
I just want to stay here
And if I hide my head under the covers
He won’t be able to see me
And I can pretend I am sick
Am I pretending?
I am sick of him anyway
That I know for sure

But I have so much to do!
And there was so much I didn’t get done last week
Mind weather rained off play then too
Come on, let us at least try?
Lead limbs emerge from safety
Cloud glowers
“So, you are going to wash and everything are you?”
“Humph. Well, it won’t change anything!”

Dragging myself to some place to try and work
Cloud lumbers behind, on his string
Grudgingly following my every step
“Well, if you must go out and try and do stuff,
Don’t think I’m not coming with you”
“And don’t think I’m gonna help you”
“This is such foolishness anyway”
“What can you possibly achieve today!?”

With heavy head and saddened heart
I find a spot and make a start
Cloud mocks
“It is all taking you ages isn’t it?!”
“You are never going to get all of this done!”
“What is the point in trying anyway?”
To add insult to injury, the sun gleams outside
Cloud scowls
“Sod off you happy yellow biscuit!”
“What do you know about anything?!”

But what Cloud doesn’t know, that I do
Is that, though always attached to me
The piece of string is not a conductor
He can bob along there as much as he wants
And I will let him be there
Because it seems that is where he lives
But he is made out of cloud
Clouds are not heavy
Unless you strain against them
And they have silver linings
Cloud hates that!

So, come with me, my little personal weather system
And rain on my head if you must
But you are merely mind weather
Some days you will be joined by friends
And I will be paralysed by your storm-cloud party
But some days you will be outshone
The stupid yellow biscuit, whom you so despise
Will warm my limbs and evaporate your edges
That is just how it goes

Come with me Cloud
I know that you must
But all weather is temporary
And in this truth I trust


Copyright © 2017 · Forty and Everything After

Gratefully Imperfect

I was an organisation freak
So structured
So rigid
So uncreative
Stifling my own and others’ flow
With an eight sided To-Do List
And a review of the To-Dos every day
And no chance of ever getting it all To-Done

And then I broke
And then I got help

The lady said ….
“You seem to be a perfectionist?”
My head said ….
“That’s a good thing right?”
“That kinda sounds like a compliment in my ears?”

It wasn’t
It was a curse
It meant, when depressed
If I couldn’t do everything
I wouldn’t be able to do anything

It meant that ….

It meant I never created
It meant I put my work, and finishing that exact thing, exactly right
above everything else in my world
Above my own health
Above the health of my relationships
Above any fun whatsoever

And then in time ….

I am gradually fixing
Not fixed, but improved
Embracing imperfection
My quirks, my ‘Ducks-Don’t-Stand-In-Rows’ story, my pet peccadilloes
The cracks in my walls where the interesting plants grow

I now create
I am able to move, even just a little
To colour outside of the lines
Or even (God forbid!) draw new lines
Lines I just feel on the day
Whatever squiggle takes my fancy
No measuring or anything
Guided by what my heart says
When my head’s filter is not watching
What a bloody relief

No longer an eight sided To-Do List
Don’t get me wrong – I haven’t lost my mind completely!
I keep reminders. I stick hopeful intentions in a calendar
But if on any given day a To-Do doesn’t get done
I do not flay myself
I say “Yey me!” For the things I was able to do
The days I manage not to spend under a blanket
The days I do something, anything that moves me forward
Even if just for a few small hours
It is a few hours where I’m living not hiding

My name is Gratefully Imperfect
And I am a recovering perfectionist


Copyright © 2017 · Forty and Everything After


Australia On My Shoes

Open the cupboard in search of some such
And there they are, those walking shoes
With a film of light red wanderlust
I have Australia on my shoes
And I have powerful pangs
And I have itchy, naked feet
I have ‘Missing Melbourne’ melancholy
I have ‘Not In Australia’ blues

My mind once again in Federation Square
With coffee so strong it makes me drunk
Laptop turned away from the light
A brief sojourn, to watch, to write
Slightly too hot, slightly too tired
Food planning. Next stage of trip scanning
Absorbing the hubbub and bright effervescence
Contemplating smashed avocado
Soaking up our many blessings

A powerful urge to be by the sea
Gliding on bicycle
Shaded by tree
Ice-cream, more coffee
Bronzing limbs swinging free
Breeze sloughs weight from shoulders
Kite flight hair, flaps with glee

Careful footprints
Anticipating creatures
Unique features
Palette up to ten
Red rock and rainforest
Wild surf and storm
Crazy rain and scorched earth
I must be there again

In my cupboard upstairs
Hides a dust of a magical hue
Your energy shimmers inside me still
And I will come back to you


Copyright © 2017 · Words & Images · Forty and Everything After