Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Today I went to the Holland House, which is a bit of a tourist land of Dutch things but is also exciting for me. At the back they always have a basket of 'Free books--please give them wings', and there I found two volumes each of Sprookjes van Grimm and Sprookjes van Anderson. I'm trying to learn some Dutch, so I was a little pleased with this :)

We've just started planning the specifics of our week in Germany, too! It's starting to feel real...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

response to an otherwise insignificant thing.

The great discord is rising, and there is joy.
Harmonies collide and night is filled by inky light.
Wait until you see them there.
Wait until the sounds sift out your mind:
not the expected.

This song is still the same one we've sung for years,
and this little place is more familiar than myself.
Even so, it all has changed.
Even so, we witness something new,
just like you said.

In between the ideas,
this is the thing we were trying to say.
The answer is loud and we are glad.

We have built our worlds atop our moments,
and the people and the places there inside of them;
we are hollow without them.
We are wondering how it could have been
without those things.

Finally it falls and we are open,
now leaving the old and tentative steps behind us.
It is so good to be here.
From them sunlight comes, like an encore
in new mornings.

Underneath the spoken,
there is a place we are longing to go.
Till we find it we hold on to this.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

new things.

The exciting news: I probably get to go to Europe in February! A really cheap airfare deal, the fact that Dad is going anyway to see his family and the way I've been wanting to go for ages all worked together into such a wonderful event, and I'm so excited! I've never done anything like this. It's for just over three weeks, most of which we'll spend in Holland, but we'll probably also get a train pass for a week and stay places with friends of friends if we can in other countries. And we'll see about others. I can't wait to see places, since Europe has so much history and culture that I've never seen here, and I'll finally get to spend time with my family too. Happy.

So in January we're going to the south coast and then I'm going to see April in Darwin for a week, and then this in February... Crazy. I can't believe it. Temperature extremes will be interesting too.

And I was distracted enough before, and now I simply can't possibly study for these exams! But I have to. The countdown to the best holidays ever is five days :D

Monday, November 3, 2008


The last few days I've had this playing on my mind. I really want to listen and hear what God actually, personally has to say. But I don't feel responsible at all right now. Just tired, unsure of where he's at and what is him and what actually isn't; trying to divide between things driven by grace and those that aren't when it takes an effort. Even when things are all really good, even with the best intentions, you feel it so much when you forget how to come close, and closer, into him. You realise you can't possibly go on for much longer like that.

What wouldn't I give to see and hear more clearly?! But I guess that's just the thing.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

still on my mind.

Yesterday was the final lunch for this year of AIME--Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience, for Year Ten kids from schools near my uni. It was good fun. I'm so impressed at how effective the programme is--the students are great people, and they've changed and grown heaps this year. A lot of them told me yesterday that they're planning to stay on to the HSC and hopefully go to uni, neither of which they ever thought they'd do. It's so encouraging to see them equipped like this, and it's inspiring that they're so determined to respect their teachers and influence younger Indigenous students at their schools--some of which are pretty tough places to be. I've had a great time, and learnt heaps too about what it takes to make something like this work. It's great. I feel like I owe so much more than I can imagine for the chance to live in this country, and I want to understand better and be there if I can where there's such huge need.

Speaking of owing, today a girl from my Modern tutorial thanked me for something I helped her with and was like "I owe you..."--I felt like replying that I totally owe her, so it's no big deal. Then I felt like that's an interesting feeling to have, that idea of love that knows that it belongs not one bit to itself, and wants more than anything to see people met by the love it's known. I'm very aware of it. Why is that such a rich and deeply happy awareness, one of the greatest things we have?

This is cool too... On the train on the way home, a little German girl called Rochelle was sitting with her Papa a behind me; when the cleaning lady came through the carriage, the girl took the flowers she must have picked during the day and gave them all to the lady, which pretty much made her day. I thought it was lovely :)

Monday, October 13, 2008


The only time I've felt like this before is the last day of 2005. Tomorrow is my nineteenth birthday, and I feel like I've been eighteen for way too long. Without real reason I'm somehow feeling so ready, just hankering, for a fresh year with new things in it. So although things were incredibly different a few years (but long ones) ago, the feeling of waiting for a year to close, the quiet relief and excitement, is just the same. It's been a good year and an interesting one, nothing like any of the ones before it and in some ways a million times easier and clearer, but it's good to move on when a time is old.

I was talking with a friend yesterday, and I decided that nineteen is the best age to be right now: it's in a kind of hazy half-zone between teenager and adult, so I can pick and choose at leisure but partially have both for another year :) I also sense that the tone of this year will set the course for the start of my adult life probably more than many of my previous years, and I'm thinking a bit about this.

For the last few months, being in a totally different environment and also being on the other side of a few big things I've had to learn, a lot of the old anchors I've held have been taken away; I've had to be careful as I've explored life in the light of knowing God. That's been an important process and in the end it has strengthened what I value and the way I chase it, but now I just want to rekindle a heart that is always warm towards God, totally swept away by the assumption of his truth as it has been proven to me time and again--even though I realise too well how caught up I am in my culture and the not-yet-clarity of what I trust in. I am really willing to let him lead me through this ever-changing world that I could never grasp or be equipped for on my own. I'm so ready to re-route back onto a plane of simplicity, even within intricacy, and just start being more responsible in the little things that are clear to me at this point. That's what I hope will characterise this year, and I know that it's a fertile place for growing, learning, being challenged and vulnerable and being made soft and strong, more and more aware of dependence on his forever trustworthy closeness.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

the sounds.

I reverently listen
to the clamouring symphony running through our blood.
You come and sit beside me as we look towards your face.

Where is the word that will silence when it speaks?
Astounded, we gaze here at a library of faces,
your heart like the sky, the colliding seas.
Where between these covers is the pen to draw the lines
of a face, of a name, of the road to your home?
All have heard the speaking word, but who has understood it?

We turn from this tower with a world of tongues in our mouths
and drift across the earth, though we chase a single sun.
We have walked together on a thousand roads at once
and it troubles me.

We are all sleeping, hushed with hoping.
Each heart is caught in many dreams of morning.
Still, we wait side by side, and I know we will wake together
like those who wake to sing for the sun when it rises.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

ich spreche viele Sprachen.

The fourth of October, already? This is madness. Years just fly, and things keep happening and changing, just so fast.

I've been waking up early now that it's warmer, and I like that. Today it was raining; it still is, on and off. I'm working on finishing my Bonhoeffer essay today, so the rain is really nice.

Hey, it's my birthday in ten days :)

Friday, October 3, 2008


I really want to go and visit my family in Holland, and spend some time there. It's rather expensive though, so I'm thinking not any time soon. Yesterday I non-seriously asked my dad when he would take Joel and me, since Steven got to go last time; he said, more seriously, that since I went with him to Adelaide last year and Joel has never travelled with him, he'll probably just take Joel next time he goes.

Adelaide. Not fair!

Still, the Arts units for next year have happily come out now :) The History topics are pretty limited in range, but I like what I've chosen. I get two each for English and History (plus four Education ones): I think in first semester I'll do the one on early medieval Anglo-Saxon/Scandinavian myths and literature, and one on ancient Greek and Roman literary history and how they recorded, invented, valued and exploited it; in second semester, the twentieth century Modernist literature subject, and one exploring urban tradition in Italy from ancient to medieval and Renaissance to modern times. Should be good fun :D

Monday, September 29, 2008

the old sails sing their song.

In days long gone I was someone else.
We spent our days always together.
She taught me a rhyme, but it had no tune;
I forget what once it meant.

She gave me a doll, but it had no name.
She built us a town, but it had no bridge.
She made a doll’s house, and it had no fire
but the smoke of the towers in the night.

Here in the darkness we try to remember.
Even the shadows on the wall
have faded out of reach,

and here are the echoed sounds that surround us,
opening their mouths for the audience of mountains.
On backs of mountains old, rivers climb down
and mingle with the salt of the ocean.

Here there are sounds, but there is no light.
Gazing at the formless song, we know
that day is passed—and also night is passed,
but morning is forgotten.
Gone with songs,
our years of songs,
and days devoured, those weary whispered words.

Quiet. Close your eyes.
She sang to me, in the soft hum of the stillest night.
In my mind I ran,
on the sand of the song.

Touch the rocks, or feel the sky. I stand atop
the sea cliff. All the open blue, sails as I sit
beneath the sun, and birds above.
Bright waves crashing, winged throats calling,
circling song: memory steals
my old wild eyes.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

as long as a piece of string.

My cat is an inside cat, and isn't supposed to go outside--but she does, when she's too fast at the door or when my family feels sorry for her. Today I caught her pouncing on a brown mouse (actually, my little dog Kailye told on her and made me come and see, as she did with the bird and the lizards: I think hunting distresses her!), and I told Josana off, let the mouse go and made the cat come inside. My parents and my brother are not very happy with me for punishing the cat for doing what she's 'supposed to do', and maybe they have a point about mice who get into the house. Fair enough. But it's not like she goes hungry; and I suppose the little mouse and his family, if they heard our conversation, would be relieved to hear his plight at least considered. I think that makes all the difference :P

Anyway. Today I'm working with my HSC English notes, as one of my Year Twelve friends is coming over to study. It's making me anxious, just reading them again! Haha. I should have done it last night, but instead I went out to Thai with Vic's family to celebrate her finally finishing, and then we went back and watched bits and pieces of films--finally settling on V for Vendetta, which I hadn't watched before, and consequently getting to sleep at about two a.m. Such a good night.

I can't believe it's only been a year since I left school. It feels like so much longer.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Yay... Finally finished! And from today I have a reading week in which to happily stay home, write two more essays that are due the next week, spend time with a few friends, and do all the other things that take my fancy :)

Speaking of holidays, I really want to find more work for the summer break. Where will I work? That is the question.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Duloc is a perfect place.

So for this essay I have to hand in tomorrow, I've been looking at a number of early modern Christian texts and ideas. It's thought-provoking. On the one hand, many of the writers and people of that time are incredibly inspiring: I feel like their seriousness about things that matter, their delight in things that truly are wonderful, their utter humble awe and deep devotion for God and their carefulness with private and social obedience leave me with a lot to match. On the other hand, some of the prevailing attitudes (seen in their own writings and actions, not the caricatures, which I know are largely false) of the heroes of those centuries seem not to be necessary or helpful--even if really sincere--or to be things that we would want to take up in our living and our culture. And some things are just unbelievable.

But I always feel wary of how influenced we are by our culture. If such godly people (many really seem genuine and admirable in many ways) in different times are so sure, then how much of that feeling comes from my context? How much from the Bible? The issue of interpretation can be difficult, with something that's intended as such a blessing of absolute truth and authority for us. I guess it's just important to know how to live as real people in a real world, and not to use the concept of the 'spiritual' as our weapon and shield when we should be relying instead on God himself, who makes so many good things free and safe (how much I've had to learn this!); but we also need to really be a lot more careful and deliberate than we often are, and sometimes make some harder calls than we do, now so afraid as we are of losing the liberty we feel we've recently reclaimed.

It all comes down to an awareness of real grace; it's also a cultural thing. I love that I know so many people within my culture who do life pretty well with God and people. But realistically, there are still so many areas now that seem grey--and you can make decisions about what's helpful or not so for yourself, but then when others call you to make a standard for them (or to decide you shouldn't, with all the implications of that), and also to justify why what you value and do is important, it becomes much more complicated. Then you can think you have it right, but look again and realise you're missing things in your blind spots. I love what I've already seen of grace in community, but I also don't think we can ignore the helpful mirror in the lessons and values of our heritage. You certainly can't just discard it, or read it through a modern glass without really making sure.

I'm going to need to keep thinking about this one.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


I usually find myself having just nothing to say in reply.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

mama says he's bona fide.

I've been thinking that I want to become very, very honest. Even though I do try to be a deliberate truth-teller, and in my relationships, while I still have much to learn, I've been led to be much more real and open--still, I know there's a place of courageous security and costly valuing of genuineness, complete allegiance to the goodness of simple truth, that it's easy to slip from if you're not careful. I've felt this recently, especially when I've walked away from conversations with people I don't know too well: I've been literally honest, but have I been real or misleading? Even if you're being careful until people build trust with you, I think there's a large degree of raw honesty that is safe and shouldn't be lost to insecurity.

And even in simple truthfulness, I think you find the lines become easily blurred when you feel vulnerable and aren't rooted in a deeper level of careful integrity. It can be easy to be shyly evasive, let people keep their assumptions, protect ourselves from trouble or seeming weakness, and try to give an impression that keeps the doors of interest and relationship open with people. But if only I realised how safe I am--and how a lot of the time truthfulness is attractive anyway, or at least allows the freedom of taking responsibility for parts of who you are, what you value and what you do. Imagine living with the realness, security and wisdom of the life that is offered to us, no strings attached. I feel challenged in this right now, and am going to try to catch myself on it and make sure my heart hears and learns :)

Monday, September 8, 2008

of hope.

On the train today I read the first few months of Bonhoeffer's 'Letters and Papers From Prison', with his essay 'After Ten Years' at the start. It's making me think. I'm reading it for my Twentieth Century Politics and Culture essay, on the effect of Nazism on Protestant Christianity in Germany. Was excited to find this question on the list.

I'm being challenged by his letters. Some of his ideas take some thinking through; but the thing that is striking me is the challenge of maturity that hopes, trusts, and actively freely chooses obedience that rests completely on dependence. Sometimes we can have such an ideal view of how life and goodness should be, but we forget to be truly, deeply established in the essential goodness of what life in God always is--so there's weariness, disillusionment and weakened resolve where the world groans in its fallenness. Sometimes we obsessively shelter ourselves from discomfort, or engage with it only out of fear. I want to live more full of joy and awareness of the unfailing, unconditional affirmation of God's love and support of me in all I need, of his understanding and compassionate sovereignty over the things I'll face, so that I can choose to embrace his call in each moment with resources that I need not worry are my own, and with courage that knows both reality and promise very well. Sometimes I feel fretful or discouraged, but this is a habit with no real basis, and one that it will be safe to learn to discard. I love how close a companion our God is when we walk with him.

Walking home just now, the afternoon was absolutely beautiful. I'd forgotten this half of the year, and have fallen completely in love with it all over again.
When April’s sweet showers drench March’s dry roots,
And bathe every vine in the power
Of the rainy liqueur that brings forth as its fruit
The blossom and bloom of the flower;
When the West Wind as well, with his fragrant bouquet,
Breathes life through the woodlands and heather
Into budding green leaves, and the young sun’s halfway
Through the Ram, bringing warmth to the weather;
And small songbirds twitter melodious tunes
(For so nature pricks them to revel)
And sleep open-eyed by the light of the moon,
Then folks feel a longing to travel...

Monday, August 25, 2008

you whisper to their souls.

Fallen you lie: feathers barely ruffled
but you do not move.
This is not the habit of your kind.

It rises, it rises.
I sit before you on the grass and you watch me.
Motion is shattered in your wings;
in mine too, for I would move
to see reclaimed what seems not real,
not true above truth, but a dream,
distant as the countless stars.

I watch you till the end.
You in your fevered stillness,
given to this new dream that has pounced
to consume you. Wound tightly in reality
and buried in the soil we tread daily.

When you are gone (too soon, too slow)
in the afternoon, I remember. Yours is the story, seen,
carefully chosen and closely known,
of the promise in those hands unseen.
There we have found all that is taken
and all that is given in its place.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

under the branches there are shadows.

Under the branches there are shadows
as the light is cast in torrents
through their fingers like nets. All interwoven, all around.
And the moments, they all wait for your return
when I will wake upon your shoulder.

There are many questions in my mind. Many questions,
but there is no word. Only your silence, your word of silence,
your word of the waiting day. So I lie down, silent.

Once there was a dream, quietly but near.
In this dream there was a voice.
In the voice of the dream there was a sign.
Hungry hours collide as silence.

We sat together by the cold water
in the early morning: in my dream, I had woken.
That cup is made for wine, he said. Come
away from this stream,
you with the dusty feet. I will show you
a table of gold, and streams of wine,
and crystal streets.

So it seems, after all, there is a table,
in the world inside the world.

We sailed together on the high tide.
Any time now my anchor will settle
and I will be still.
Every hour, now, your footsteps sound across the waves
and I am listening.

I am listening to the rain on the sea,
to the roar of its songs,
to the young wind crying.
Only the step after step has faded.
Here we sit together in the old way
listening to the oceans;
but you have not spoken, like once you have spoken.

(Or if I were listening:
After all this time,
we are going to the place from which we came.)

As I woke the light was fading, among the branches.
It fades, but it rekindles every morning.
I fade as well, but I will wake upon your dawning,
and know that you are listening.
So I lie down, silent.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

please turn on the light.

Whistling at the window is a small bird.
Would you like to travel to the wide fields? chirps he
in his small song, till I say I
think I'd like to run across those far fields.
Quickly, find your feet, then, and be coming!
Chirrup chirrah chirree,
follow me, twitters he.

I saw you on the sidewalk, and we stopped to ask the way.
Those seas of green we cannot find: we ask you
where to go, if you know.

If you incline your tall ears over here,
you reply,
and throw a coin or two towards my feet,
so you say,
I'll fill those ears with songs and tales
to lead you on the road; the rhythms are
the way to what you seek.

We spin into the dance, twirling
once, twice,
and again—
here we are where we began.

And so with flit of wing and pound of foot
we go on,
with a particular aversion for the sing-song.
We attribute our aversion to your sing-song.

If you take a box of pencils
you must write us something new:
we are searching for the new!
When you stumble on a story
you are plucking on the strings,
Ho, hum,
sing along.
Heard it all before.

We are caught in restless dreams:
swim through land,
walk on sea,
searching for the missing thing, and

stop just for a moment! See,
though we sleep we are not still, and
when we wake we cannot move.
Look again. There is something left.
Surely there is something left.
Lying by the pavement, we are
waiting; watching
the direction that it might have gone,
when it fled.
Maybe it will come again.

Sitting by my bedside, now, I see
something there, in the dark, and I
listen to the silence till our breathing,
like my blanket, covers me. I open
up my wide mouth and I sing a song or two
(just the same I sang to you,
then I lift my voice in stories of the great
far and wide, till the frenzy and the wonder
almost send my soul to sleep.
Put a stamp on quickly. The address is to my dreams.

But the shadow over yonder takes my story
to the shelf and leaves it there. It takes its own
and starts to read, here and now, over me.
Threads of green rush over me,
glistening like the wind.
Maybe I will listen to a word or two;
probably I'll close my eyes.
Would you like to listen, if I
take you there?
Maybe it will put to bed your tired feet.

Maybe it is time to sleep.