Bloganuary poses “What was your dream job as a child?”

The railway line to Grange ran past the end of our street
Each time I heard the whistle, my heart did skip a beat
No matter steam or diesel as the changes went ahead
Engine Driver was the job of how I would make my bread.

Then there was the time the circus came and pitched its tent
The canvas and the sawdust wafted its exotic scent
The excitement and the bands that brought it all to town
Convinced me that my calling was to go and be a Clown.

Some years went by and I pondered while in my early youth
What my drawings, lines, and squiggles could yield in terms of truth
I wrestled with the dawning of a fledgling intellect
And thought I might cut the mustard to become an Architect.

These dreams of long ago seeded what came to be
Factory Clerk and Retail Help – first jobs that set me free
Then on the day I was ordained, ready to embrace my mission
They said, mindful of the Clown*, “I see you’ve achieved your ambition!”

* We are fools for the sake of Christ… (1 Corinthians 4:10)

A Dickens of a time

Bloganuary queries “Who is your favourite author and why?”

I have many favourites, but I’m going to land on one that set the path to becoming a bibliophile – Charles Dickens.

Great Expectations was the text our Year 8 English Teacher had set. I quickly found myself engaged with the dark and menacing opening, the eerie Victorian atmosphere and the weird behaviour of Miss Haversham. As the plot unfolded I found myself in the grip of the storyline right to the end.

Dickens’s devotion to fully detailed characterisation and attention to minute setting descriptions transported me to 19th-century English cities and countryside – both the bucolic and the bleak. As soon as I was earning money I subscribed to a complete set of Dickens works, noting my particular attraction to David Copperfield and Oliver Twist. In some unaccountable way, I must have been identifying with the main protagonists of these stories – each of them negotiating the circumstances of their youth to address the circumstances of their narrative line.

Perhaps I saw myself as one of Dickens’s characters, seeking to address social inequities, confronting and outsmarting my antagonists (real and imagined), and carving out my life’s path. Perhaps Charles Dicken’s had a lot to do with me becoming a pastor.

He certainly opened the door to engaging with many more authors.

No itch to scratch here

Bloganuary asks “What irritates you about the home you live in?”

Let me echo a known politician:
“I reject the premise of your question.”
Our home is bathed in gratitude
And to say such carries no platitude.

Homelessness is on the rise in our city
Due to rent-stress and evictions sans pity
Friends and neighbours have suffered
And remain under this crisis un-buffered

Survivor guilt looms on the horizon
This, the only irritation uprising;
So we can only show gratefulness
For a roof of sheer thankfulness.


Bloganuary now asks “What colour describes your personality and why?”

Once upon a time ’twas beige
Hiding back, not seeking a stage
As time went on some colour emerged
And life was released, no longer submerged.

I now cultivate white – but not for purity’s sake;
Rather seeking balance as a prism might make
When blending all colours into a single beam
“All things to all people” seems a strive-worthy dream.

So beige that withdrew into camouflage bland
Became an urge to develop one’s own unique brand
Of technicolour hues of myriad array
Described as white when put forth on display.

Eat like a King!

Bloganuary challenge: “What’s your favorite [sic] meal to cook and/or eat?”

“For brekky, eat like a king,” they say.
“But I eat to live, not live to eat,” I bray!
So my favourite meal is simple fare
Nevertheless, it has some flare!

Muesli as a foundation akin to manna
Bodies sing with a bit of banana
Blueberries strewn for the health believer
Pineapple histamines against hay fever

All topped off with a bit of milk
Down the hatch like a bolt of silk
Chase it along with Italian Espresso
And face the day with a mood allegro!

The Day I was Born

Bloganuary invites us to describe the happiest day of our life.

‘Tis the day I can’t remember
I believe ’twas in November
The day I was born!

The seagulls squarked and whirled
As I opened my eyes upon this world
The day I was born!

My pages were new and clean
Future stories yet unseen
The day I was born!

Schooldays and growing up
And family showing up
Began the day I was born.

Learning to ponder deep
So many friendships ready to reap
Began the day I was born

So many happy days
Made possible through history’s haze
Due to the day I was born!


Bloganuary asks “Do you have a memory that’s linked to a smell?”

Aromas, bouquets, smells, scents and odours
All jockey for attention in my memory-like modus
Which one is strongest? Which to the fore?
I travel a labyrinth to track down a spore.

Suddenly it hits me with unmistakable sensation
A soothing pale fluid of strongest olfaction
On lobster-red sunburn from time down by the ocean
Dabbed all over, it’s the Calamine Lotion!

Image via Creative Commons:

Existential dissonance!

“What fear have you conquered?” the Bloganuary prompt teases.

Some remain unconquered. A childhood incident triggers aquaphobia. As a result, I’ve gotten through life without learning to swim. For an Ozzie, this is an anomaly! I have concluded that my other bête noir, acrophobia, is just plain vertigo. Air travel is a breeze, even though I get dizzy standing on a step to change a light globe.

My temperament is one that seems naturally tuned into threats, real and imagined. The radar is constantly scanning the horizon, ready to react whenever an unwelcome blip appears. In counterphobic fashion, I am the zebra that protectively circles the herd, keeping an eye on the long pampas grass that conceals stalking predators.

Some commentators describe this persistent low static state of fear as existential dissonance. It is an inherent inability to trust the wellness of things. The antidote seems to be courage cultivated by awareness and paying attention.

The Apostle Thomas is my patron saint. He had the courage to name his doubts and ask his questions. Even though he feared the worst, he was the first to urge his peers to accompany their teacher back to Lazarus’ deathbed, where danger and mortal threat loomed.

I don’t know that one really conquers fear. One becomes aware of it, studies it, and reflects on it. In the process, its grip weakens and it almost becomes like an old friend. It’s no longer fear – it’s something else.

Shanks’s Pony

What is your preferred mode of travel?
I was a youngster when introduced to Shanks’s Pony.
“How are we going to get there?” I had asked.
“Shanks’s Pony” was the dry reply that totally escaped the scope of an innocent six-year-old who, nevertheless, quickly discovered that this was the cheapest and easiest means of transport.
Ever since then, Shanks’s Pony has served me well. Of necessity, I often use car, bus, train and, occasionally, plane, but Shanks’s Pony offers me the most leisurely ride.
This slow mode of transport is helpful when orienting to a new place of abode, whether shifting house or visiting an unfamiliar area. There is something about claiming the way one is treading to make it one’s own, even if it’s experiencing being there.
The shanks still get a good workout after almost seven decades and still remain a favourite mode of travel.

How to spend $US1 billion

I resort to pedantry in order to avoid or stall a direct answer to this albeit common question, which I, along with many, must have mulled over many a time. I note the direct USA reference and how I am not sure now which countries use the short scale (10 to the power of 9 ie 1,000,000,000) or the long scale (10 to the power of 12 ie 1,000,000,000,000). It makes quite a big difference, thus discombobulating thoughts on how such a large sum might be distributed.

I would find it such a headache that, whether short or long, I would employ some trusted administrator to set the moolah up as a philanthropic trust for health and education where most needed.