If Not This, Then What?

It’s not the Masses, not the torments, not the nightmares of our longing
Not the grasslands, not the homelands, not the roads to our belonging
Not the mortgage, not the storage where our things are kept for later
Not the governed, not the owners, not a Priest to set us straighter

One Day Closer Every Day

Sheep droop jaw and hooves split in the stumble for the hay,
eager teeth picking at the stubble and the crust
Knees buckle their hollow humble eyes stare down and absorb
what was mud is now unsullied deep red dust

The Sweet Sweet Sound

There’s a sweet sweet sound moving across the settled ground
it whispers in my ear in the morning
like a solitary breeze that whistles through the trees
and summons all the birds to cease their yawning

What Are We Made Of?

What are we made of? asks the child who cries
who just wants a toy she can play with
or to ask most politely before she dies
“is there someone out there I can stay with.”

A Place to Breathe

My, what a lovely place you have, you must be very proud
I love your modern furniture and the space that you’ve allowed
the kitchen is so stylish, are these appliances new?
I’d love one of those in our place, I bet it cost a few

The Lifestyle you Ordered

The lifestyle you ordered is currently out of stock
our warehouse has been stripped of supplies
our people are working around the clock
to ensure you get your hands on the prize

I Remembered Yesterday

I remembered yesterday the times that I have with you
And visions of the grateful days and all that I have wished for you
I’d stand out in the wind and cold and meet you in the rain
and offer no patronising words to beat us up or take away our pain

One Day

There’s a ghost selling memories down by the shore
as a jury decides its fate
there’s a man of religion knocking at my door
I need to lie down, he can wait.

My Leaning Frame

I have no room on my leaning frame
The seed that’s planted, in the ground
I have no mind for what lays behind
I put no weight on what others find

"It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see."

-Henry David Thoreau

For those who do not feel the need to make sense of the world, it serves them well. For others, the poets, the writers, the artists, they tell their stories in an attempt to make some sense of the world they live in, if only for themselves. This, in small part, explains how art is born.

Find a quiet dark spot and listen to Beethoven’s 14th, the Moonlight Sonata, Dylan’s A Hard Rain’s a Gonna Fall, or, if ever you’re in Madrid, take a trip to the Museo Reina Sofia and look at Picasso’s Guernica, or pick up a copy of Camus’ The Stranger or Hans Fallada’s The Drinker, any poem by Les Murray, or take in a Leunig sketch to get an idea. They were all composed as the artist was attempting to make sense of the world.

The writer may have come to their craft because they’ve realised that, at heart, they are outsiders, their immediate world is alien to them and they therefore need a method of expressing that alienation. Other endeavours act merely as weigh stations until the realisation hits, too late, that the time has come for them to try and talk themselves out of it.

For although everyone has a story to tell, not everyone has the facility. Sometimes it’s given to others, knowing that the stories must be told, because we need them, subconsciously we know we need them, to sustain us.

What is certain is that while some are busy making the most of the world, there are others trying to make sense of it. What is also certain is that the talent being applied to this effort can overcome almost anything, even encouragement.

Some Poems Worth Reading
If Not This, Then What?

If Not This, Then What?

It’s not the Masses, not the torments, not the nightmares of our longing
Not the grasslands, not the homelands, not the roads to our belonging
Not the mortgage, not the storage where our things are kept for later
Not the governed, not the owners, not a Priest to set us straighter

read more
One Day Closer Every Day

One Day Closer Every Day

Sheep droop jaw and hooves split in the stumble for the hay,
eager teeth picking at the stubble and the crust
Knees buckle their hollow humble eyes stare down and absorb
what was mud is now unsullied deep red dust

read more
The Sweet Sweet Sound

The Sweet Sweet Sound

There’s a sweet sweet sound moving across the settled ground
it whispers in my ear in the morning
like a solitary breeze that whistles through the trees
and summons all the birds to cease their yawning

read more

Some Stories Worth Telling

The Patient’s Wife

The Patient’s Wife

It commanded my attention searing its way through my chest, its steady rhythm building to an ominous crescendo, the reverberation ricocheting between my ears as it clutched my throat in a vice like grip.

read more

Some Songs Worth Singing

Letter You Wrote

by Stephen Newman | The Lifestyle You Ordered

Great Australian Dream

by Stephen Newman | The Lifestyle You Ordered

Guess I'm Doing Fine

by Stephen Newman | The Lifestyle You Ordered

Some Journies Worth Taking

When the Brain Tumour Screams

When the Brain Tumour Screams

There are times, when viewed in the rear view mirror, when those moments of temporary crisis are upon us, when thought strings are tangled, when things spiral, when all we want is some small semblance of control.

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Some Places Worth Visiting

Giftland

Giftland

It should be pointed out, before the story of Giftland, Lokta paper and the generosity of my Nepali hosts is mentioned, that some things are done differently in Nepal. We in the West could learn a thing or two from them.

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Kathmandu Orphanage

Kathmandu Orphanage

My final day of visiting people affected by the April 25th earthquake made for an uneasy embrace of what it means to be denied a Western middle class upbringing. I had one, these delightful children have an upbringing only in the sense that they are not living on the street.

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Barahbise (Nepal)

Barahbise (Nepal)

The village of Barabesie, in the region of Sindapowlchuk, north east of the capital Kathmandu, was at the epicentre of the April 2015 earthquake. The village was flattened, almost destroyed. It’s people are resilient, they are rebuilding.

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