I’m the one behind the boulder: you can’t see me. Always the advantage belongs to me. On my console: you the white blip on a green screen. Pull the trigger: you explode light unseen. Close up too close: I can smell your breath and sweet sweat. Gamer convention: was that where we met? I feel you weight as we begin our last dance. Breathe in my ear that’s the end of romance. We fumble together, it’s a surprise attack. You lead me, step by step, I can’t lead back. We find each other’s knife, both strike together. Last time a soldier was this close, I died to her.
You said you could only finger one chord, I (poet that I am) could only find one word. You never had an attentive audience before. Nor me as we listen as one for each other’s encore. You lift, heft and settle the guitar. Pluck one note that echoes then journeys afar. You play chords and melodies I know you never knew. As I hear our heart’s words and sing them back to you.
I knew not love, Until it was called from me, And named so by another. I asked of love, If love was called from me, Then was I always a lover? Love said to me Living still and solitary Is nothing without another And you who knew love, Now called out from you by another Can now name love to your lover. Did you ask love? Did love call to you? Or were you always a lover?
I always choose my words carefully Even more so as you listen to me But somehow silently now suddenly I see my secrets have drifted out to sea. I’m a witness as my thoughts unfurl My secret privacies untangle and uncurl Confidences once kept in fear by me Now freed soar high above the sea. And because you listened to me My silent secrets once solitary Are calling and beckoning to me As they climb beyond the sky and sea. So dimly I discern Perhaps there might be A sanctuary of safety For me and my secrets by the sea.
I had to laugh (out loud on the train)! For My Dad, Kevin Whalan’s latest blog,opens with the same words as the following speech, written and delivered in 2001, while I was going through…
“Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage “
Well, you don’t see that any more do you?
Do I mean horse and carriage or love and marriage?
There is a hidden pandemic of loneliness occurring right now.
It’s called second and third marriage or permanent singlehood.
Actually it’s really divorce.
Most marriages fail. Most second or third marriages fail. Most divorces fail too!
What is the triumph of hope over experience? A second marriage!
But all is not lost! Like flowers in the desert after a rain shower, a new industry has sprouted to upend this trend.
Books, radio shows, tapes, videos, courses, even laws and of course marriage counsellors are lining up to help you and your loved one out of your marriage! I have checked out some of these resources. Unfortunately, few have been helpful.
But I did find something. To paraphrase Sherlock Holmes, when you take away what’s left, whatever remains, no matter how strange it is, is the answer.
Or what I might call Whalan’s law of failure, success is the path you take when all else has failed!
My neighbour loaned me a book. The basic idea of that book was that the man is the problem. And if he helped around the house a little bit more: let’s just set the scene…
The wife has gone out somewhere or is working and has come home late. The husband has just finished washing up and is putting away the dishes. He’s a bit bald, maybe a bit of a paunch, but tonight to the wife, he has never looked more attractive. When she comes home, she is so glad to see him… scene cuts to the flames burning fiercely in the fireplace.
So you men, if you wash up marital bliss waits. Maybe even a second honeymoon. I wonder what do I get for doing the washing and my own ironing too?
One other book, which I bought and attracts dust, also says the man is the problem. If the man stopped going to the footy or cricket, stopped watching TV, didn’t go out with his friends, gave up his favourite hobbies then marital bliss awaits. Just spend more time with your wife and family.
But I ask you, what man has enough time to do all of this and the housework as well?
And suppose women are the problem.
Yet another book says the above. Laura Doyle’s “The Surrendered Wife: A Practical guide to finding intimacy, passion and peace with a man”. Luckily for me I haven’t read it even silently or aloud to my wife or coloured in the pictures.
For instance her advice is for the woman to stop nagging the man, even covering her mouth with duct tape to do so. She should say, “Whatever you say, dear? “ Talk about the inaudible language of love!
The woman should always say “Yes” and be available for the man. What does this mean? Maybe I should get the book…
The woman should never ever tell the man he is wrong. Does this mean that I’m always right! I can’t remember that time!
Or as I saw in a leaflet which prided itself as a prescription for marital bliss. It suggested that when the husband came home from work, the wife should have all the children lined up to greet him all squeaky clean and neatly dressed. The wife should be perfumed and also neatly dressed, made up etc. She should do all the cooking and housework and hang on every word the husband says.
Obviously, the wife does not work and the children are robotic. Not even in the Brady Bunch, could they make this happen. Even with Alice and Carol Brady slaving away…
It seems ridiculous that Ms Doyle can write a book saying the way to marital bliss is to let the husband do as he pleases. Please no cheering men, for if what she says is true, men are Neanderthals with a no thickening veneer of civilisation and have to be appeased.
It always seems to me that its either the man is the Conqueror and the wife Surrendered. The women’s liberationists hate that and rightly so!
Or the other way around. The man is submissive and the woman a conqueror.
Maybe there’s a market for a book called the Surrendered Man. It would probably sell to the sensitive new age guys (you know, the ones with boyfriends) and I would have the other copy.
Maybe we should live like accountants, counting up and valuing every task and redeeming them for prizes. Like a game show.
Is there no common ground between men and women except mutual selfishness? Its that the answer?
Or is there not another way?
Maybe there’s a market for a book, video series, etc, called the Surrendered Spouse where both husband and wife promise to live for each other alone.
Maybe they could commit to mutual respect and work together and find that two people can do more together than each alone!
Maybe instead of trying to change each other for selfish gain, they could just change themselves one day at a time.
My point is that the only person you can change in your marriage or any part of your life is yourself. How is up to you !
That takes more courage than slavishly following a reverse tit for tat marriage manual.
Perhaps then marriage (And Life Itself) be an unfinished symphony!
Safe between the cold clouds and their rain How can I ever want for heat again? This warmth will always be enough for me No longer tepid and lukewarm I'll be. And to hold one breath and another That is yours as our spirit melds together Who would want ever to speak to be heard When all is listening already and always? Yet how can I ever be silent When in you there is all that is yet to be said? Yet when I speak from you I hear another The voice one of a third infinite lover. But not one that would rend us asunder No that's earths unjust storm and thunder It's a soft whisper louder than breath Louder even than that last drawn before death But this soft trill is no harbinger of hate No this quiet voice heralds love's true fate Which is to salve and heal the solitary one And weave together untorn two once alone And much more like the quiet gardener still Plant unkillable seeds, water, wait and till And reap fully a love once merely finitely That embraces all enjoined in an everlasting trinity.
I vouchsafed a secret Held my breath for a time Perhaps our hearts would meet And she would tell me mine She made me promise Her word she would keep She said she'd be silent Even whilst asleep She waited for a moment And told all in all to all To friends to children Strangers she would call Once I knew I closed all up Thought it better that way Sip salt from a broken cup With the handle turned away
Nowadays I say almost nothing And think it too much But even that little something Does have its touch Secret still secret until...
I still don’t know how that motorcyclist didn’t hit her. And me too I suppose. Every so often I stop and wonder why. Considering what happened to her later. I just shake my head and muse upon the two memories I have of her.
We were standing at a bus stop. Near the Old Treasury Building in Brisbane. Waiting for the one solitary service that took us to Jimboomba and then Beaudesert. The time was about ten to five. I was early for a change. We were both standing near the edge of the footpath. She was on my right. That was both safe and dangerous.
As I looked to my right, I saw him. The glint of the sun on his helmet. White helmet, black rider, grey bike. He was going way too fast. His intent was to turn the corner to my left. But too late he realised his way was blocked. A car had stopped there. With nowhere to go, he jumped the footpath. And headed straight for us. And before I could reach out to grab her, he was past. He had turned back off the footpath. Back on the road to take the corner.
We just looked at each other. I mumbled something to the effect that I’m sorry I couldn’t get you out of the way. I completely forgot that I would’ve been hit first or been hit trying to save her. Besides I only knew her vaguely. She had just started taking the bus. As we had mutual acquaintances on the bus, I knew her name. I’d say hello. I had found out that she had finished school and had started her first job. That’s all I knew about her until that day or the next day, or another day, when she sat next to me.
There was something about her that day. A certain light in her eye. The way she held her smile lightly. How her dark brown hair circled her light face. How her pale skin seemed to shine with a quiet light. Yes she seemed more attractive than ever. Eighteen or nineteen? I wasn’t sure. But I knew it wasn’t me.
Normally, she sat with her friends, but not today. She sat herself down next to me and immediately began or resumed the conversation. She talked about her new job. I heard her enthusiasm and dedication. I thought it’s pleasing to hear someone telling me they loved their job. Just about everyone else I knew complained. But I heard another reason. One that brought it all together.
She told me. The two men in the seat behind me stopped talking. And started to listen too. But they thought she was talking about something else. During our conversation, I could hear the remarks they were making. It has nothing to do with me, I thought. And resisted the temptation to drape my arm over the seat, lean over and set them straight.
For here sitting next to me was a girl in love. For the very first time I thought. And she was in love with everything now. So it didn’t matter who she told. Or how she told it. For to her it was the real thing. For she was telling me about both sides of this love : the joy and the difficulties too. Behind me I knew the two watchers could see her moving around as she spoke to me. They thought something else was happening. But they could not have been more wrong. Here was someone jumping out of her skin with an ultimate joy.
She was infatuated that was true. She spoke extraordinarily highly of her boyfriend. But mentioned how it wasn’t easy to see each other. And how they stayed in touch despite the distance. For this was before smartphones, social media and apps. Call me or don’t call me. Write me or don’t. And they were doing both! I mused to myself, she knows the way ahead isn’t easy but doesn’t care.
And she was in love now with the world. And that is what my backseat companions didn’t realise. Once in love with love, now all was love. And that brought me joy and comfort in my situation.
And then the light went out. For I never saw her again. And then I heard what happened to her. But she had seen, heard and felt that love of loves.
I heard those words spoken
From a pure and gentle heart
Once riven almost torn apart
And now complete, healed and unbroken.
I heard not how your heart was broken
I only heard that heart’s intent
To be a comfort in every extent
To those lost : healing with words unspoken.
The gentle heart seeks comfort and surety for all those who are lost
The gentle heart in its silent moments knows peace for itself is not enough.