You are on page 1of 78

In my shadows you lurk:

The Collected poems of


At the insistence of my wife Seesee, I have finally decided to present this
collection of poems to be published. I have written down what has presented
itself to be written in the moment. I guess this makes it a little ‘raw’. If the
moment that the poem demanded that it be written was one where I was
grieving or angry, then that is what I wrote. I resist the demand to ‘tidy up’
my poetry. This would to myself at least lessen the value of it. Life is an
unsanitary activity and a life lived as fully as mine has been, is going to have
moments that are hard for the reader to accept and understand. I want to be
able to speak to those for whom the Dhamma isn’t a place of endless bliss.
There are in the West at least people for whom practising Dhamma is
difficult and challenging. In reading my poetry I want to be able to give these
people hope that they can win. I want to give them knowledge that they and
their struggle are real. In hearing my screams, in seeing my tears, in
touching my peace I want them to be able to feel that much less alone. A
little inspiration goes a long way. Welcome to my life, my fight and
ultimately my radiant future.

Dedication: Tam & Lily-Beth.

The fight,
The fight,
Was worth it.
Where else could I have dared so much?
Been so frightened?
And at the end found so much peace?
Hectic was the fight,
The endless surfing of highs & lows,
The smashing victories and woeful retreats.
Inside my head was the fight,
Yet everywhere else too.

One of my brothers has had it a lot tougher than I have, there has been
life long problems with benzodiazepine addiction. The frustrating thing
for me was his unwillingness to engage in the sort of struggle that I was
in at that time. In my anger at him I desperately sought to rouse in him
the same blood thirsty resolve as I had.

A lost brother(early 1992)

I look at you,
Timeless in the photograph.
So at peace,
So guileless.
Can this be the man I call brother?
I remember you so different,
So young,
It must be another!
So much you have lost.
There is so much that you might have been.
A world awaited you.
On the edge of unlimited possibilities you stood.
What was it that intrigued you so much as to lead
you away,
From what might have been?
A broken heart?
Could it simply be that you never cared for
The questions are endless,
For I cannot conceive,
That the last person in which you’d choose to believe
Would be yourself.
No absolute certainty entered your night,
Nothing encouraged you to challenge the gods,
And all their apparent might.
Some of us can never leave well enough alone,
Striving to make everything known.
Yet you stumbled almost accidentally,
Into a far greater unknown,
One I’d never call home.
For what did you search?
An easy way in a world that only knows hardship.
If I could, gladly I would give you the strength,
To challenge the gods,
And all their apparent might.
To cry out loud and really make a fight.

To shame them, to call their bluff.
To show at last that you have the right stuff.
You know I would Mark.
If only I could….
If only I could….

Much of my adult life has been characterised by the presence of
Depression. It has also been characterised by a consistent meditation
practice. At times it is difficult to separate the poems sourced in
Depression from those sourced in Dhamma. This is one such poem.

In my shadows you lurk,
My duplicate.
You know me better than,
My closest friend.
A constant companion,
Patiently waiting a chance,
To undo a Lifetimes work.
It is against you,
The one I cannot placate,
That I struggle,
Turning night
Into day.

In my shadows you lurk

Because I live in an urban environment I often hear the cars in my street,
especially when for some reason or the other I’m meditating in the mid to
late morning.
Rainy days
Whoosh go the cars in the rain,
Says the Mind.
Says the rain drop,
goes the breath.
Silent sits the Rupa,
And the world turns.

Rainy days

Serene it abides.
As patient as the stars in their orbits,
It awaits the future.
Challenging me it abides,
Laying at my feet,
Something I cannot ignore.
Abide as I do it says to me.
Unattached, patient, immortal.
Caught by the audacity,
The magnitude of this the ultimate of challenges,
Joyously I take it up.

Serene it abides

My parents were getting divorced and my father was threatening my mother
with a legal Armageddon. I thought this was pretty unfair to say the least.
This poem represents my vote in sympathy with her.

Silent stand the strong

Baying their emasculated bravery come the
Silent stand the Strong.
With every grievance in full banner come the
Silent stand the Strong.
Intimidated by the fortress of Non-reaction stand the
Silent stand the Strong.
Shrieking their simian insecurities mill the cowards,
Silent stand the Strong.
Full of their inflated stupidities go the Cowards,
Silent stand the Strong.
Upon the field of Victory
Silent stand the Strong.

When you are emotionally ill, there can be a strong sense of isolation &
disconnection, also I have for a very long time been aware that I have in
my meditation been poking my nose into places in the mind that precious
few non-meditators ever go.

To my sister Leanne
On the edge of your universe I wander,
Glimpsed only occasionally.
Vainly you try to draw me back,
To the known,
The warm,
The safe.
A comet can no more walk the Earth,
Than I inhabit your world.
For we are both meant to wander,
The Ether.
Sailing these Endless Skies I go,
Dropping pearls of wonder and wisdom.
Beckoning you to come join me,
To gaze upon the Endless,
To run amidst the riotous Autumn leaves,
To abide in the certainty of my love.
Come see what moves me,
Come see what causes me,

To on the edge of your Universe wander,
To be glimpsed only occasionally.

Because I had begun the fight to get well I felt very close to death. I was at
this point recognisably ‘close to the edge’. For a good part of 1996 I was not
in a good place. Though it is when you are close to ‘the edge’ that the
Dhamma is often at its most visible. So although emotionally I was in the
very thick of the fight & this was to most people ‘bad’, the Dhamma practice
was very good.

Death: the one constant

You are the one constant in my life.
More immediate, more personal than my own
You accompany my every deed and all my gestures.
Friends may come and go, you alone will never
desert me.
Not the Destroyer of all great achievements,
You are more correctly their Originator.
For if men lived forever,
Then what need to create and destroy Empires,
Were it not for you.
Though wrongly accused you do not mind,
Eternally patient, you await your accusers.
Creation is such an idiot,
Loud, brash and full of her own importance,
And awesomely ignorant of who is really powerful,
Proclaims herself “The Greatest”.
Keeping your own counsel,
You await her as well.
Patiently you await,

I used to go walking in my local cemetery. An awareness of death was
something that I was consciously cultivating. In seeking to bring my
struggle to an end I was practising Maranasati (Mindfulness of Death) in
order to motivate myself. Not a morbid exercise, rather one of throwing
myself into the struggle with a totality that was in hindsight quite breath
As still as death.
Lines of stone marking nothing more permanent,
Than Impermanence.
A tale in every marker,
Someone loved, hated, forgotten.
A lifetimes ambition come to naught.
Only a verse from a Holy Book reminds us that to
someone, somewhere,
You mattered.
Decades pass.
Still the grief of parents who had wished to see their
Grow to maturity,
Is razor sharp.
Autumn leaves a potent reminder,
That one day I will return for more,
Than a visit.

As still as death

I meditate in the morning when I’m at home.

Everything washed with grey.
Incense smoke curls undisturbed by the rush about
to begin.
My breath follows suit.
The Mind chatters unceasingly,
It only wants the trivial,
The Buddha Rupa wants only the serious,
Perhaps the incense knows precisely what it wants to
The Mind makes a decision,
It listens to the breath.
And as the Sun chases away the night,
I become calm.

Purple, russet, silver

For & about my wife Seesee. In the very thick of the fight against
depression & abuse the one person for whom the fight made sense was
her. I was fighting because the depression threatened to take away my
future with Seesee. Unable to fight for my own survival, I was fighting for
just one more day with her.

As patient as all Eternity are the planets in their
My Love will outlast them.
Joyous is Creation,
Rapturous am I when near you.
Lifetimes together we have spent,
Lifetimes together we will spend.
I am happy to forego Nibbana,
For nothing surpasses the pleasure/pain,
Of these Lifetimes with you.

Aware of the disconnection and difference I rejoiced in it. I could either

be overwhelmed by my feelings or I could accept that I was going to
places that my more pedestrian friends were not and revel in them.

Once out of the nest,
No eagle ever returns home.
The Sky an intriguing thing,
It invites us into itself.
An endless blue sky is an endless blue challenge.
Come! It says.
Come those of you possessed of vigour,
Come those of you unable,
Unwilling to blend in.
Come those of you possessed of steel,
Of independence,
Roam me!
It demands.
Never telling us that once a roam,
We will never go home.
For how can you return to the Earth having roamed
the sky?
Horizons unlimited are a dish,

Of which one never tires.
Horizons bounded by walls,
Are akin to starvation,
Of which there is no dearth.
Call me down to the earth,
Clip my wings,
And I will surely die.
For you will have taken away,
My Endless Blue Sky.

Written for a friends child who was I remember, quite young.

Years await us,
In decades yet to be born,
I will teach you things,
I have yet to learn.
Not of my loins,
Are you.
Yet of my heart,
You are the heir to my goodness,
Not my genes.
Your Mind an open field,
Waiting only the seeds of wisdom,
To be sown.
Together we will nurture this crop,
Child of my heart.

I must have spent time away from Seesee. Though for the life of me I
cannot remember who had done the travelling.
Golden is the sunrise,
Clear is the sky.
Far away are you,
Yet still living in my heart.

An attempt at articulating ‘the fight’. A lot of these poems were written
as much to pump up my willingness to continue the struggle as anything

The battle rages, coruscating through the spectrum,
A storm rages, I am at its’ vortex.
Outside the gates of Mindfulness, Nivarana wait to
kill me.
Quick as lightening are they.
Sharp is my discernment,
Equanimity is my armour,
Mindfulness my fortress,
Buddha my general,
Dhamma my battle plan,
Sangha my captains,
I am the infantry.

The same subject matter as the previous effort, but to my taste at least,
a better poem.

Into the fires of my heart,
I have descended.
Into the storm.
Around me in furious chaos,
Flies the debris of a lifetime.
Nightmares ,
All the souvenirs of a life,
Travelled to its’ utmost.
Strengthened am I,
By this journey,
At home amidst,
The fires of my heart.

That sense of disconnection. I feel privileged in a way to be able to
explore this life. Aware of my own spookiness.

The edge of reality

At the very edge of your reality,
I skate.
Curious as ever,
Turning ideas & ideals,
Upon their heads.
Unable to live anywhere else,
I can only skate,
On the edge of your reality.

A long time pen-pal wrote suffering of being more than a little depressed.

What I would wish for you?

I would wish that you take the time & delve into your
So that you may listen to the stars sing & the planets
I would wish that you make your dreams large
enough to believe in,
And wonderful enough to be worth fulfilling.
I would wish that your skies be so endless,
That they beg you to grow wings and take flight.
I would wish that even the humble dandelion,
Be as precious to you as all your thoughts of me.

Had my first walk in the Tasmanian wilderness. Very early 1995 or ’96.

I went into the Wilderness

I went into the Wilderness,
The Wilderness came into me.
Endless skies,
Forcing open my Mind.
A place so ancient,
Its’ Presence,
Touching me deeply,
Touching me intimately.
Leaving me joyous,
Leaving me eager to return.

Must have had a lull in the fight. Every war has its lulls & quiet times and my
war was clearly no exception. At any rate as the following poem proves I was
soon back in the thick of it.

Joy of living
Into Hell I have wandered,
Across the sky I have soared.
Privileged to see my worst,
Privileged to see my best.
Reality turned on its’ head,
Just to look for its’ battery.
Wandering as far from Home,
As I could go,
Only to find I had never left it.
Into what I already was.
Just in time to breathe.
Just in time to open my Mind.
Taking the time to Live,
Without war.

I cannot have children. Finding this out broke my heart. This is my eulogy for
the children who never were.
The Third Jar
Just an average brown jar,
Just an extraordinary jar.
Empty of all significance,
Before I filled you with so many,
Of my hopes and dreams.
Failure fills you,
Evolution fills you,
The many ghosts of my lifetime,
Fill you.
You are at once,
An exorcism of my heart,
An exaltation of my future.
Let me lay blame here,
For if blame must be handed out,
Then let The Third Jar have it.
A past has died in you.
You are pregnant with my future.
Let my grief live in you,
For I have cried a million tears.
Go my endless thoughts of,
What should have been,
What could have been,
Go and live in The Third Jar.
Come moon rise,
Come sun rise,
Enter my future.
Come walk with me Inspiration,
Come walk with me Laughter.
Come what shall be,
Come what can be,
Let us leave The Third Jar.
Let us go.

Just an average brown jar.

The depression returned and was giving my attempts at fighting it a real
I have left.
Left so totally,
Not even my memory remains.
At the quiet edges of your mind,
Only my absence,
Tells of my passing.
My body led the way,
Then my Mind,
Lastly my love.
Only the husk of me,
You mourn,
For the soaring, loving, inquisitive butterfly,
Left so long ago.
No grave for me.
No tears either.
Only relief that I have left,
Left so totally,
Not even my memory remains.

There were fleeting moments where I felt that I did connect with family.

When I call you Sister.

When I call you Sister,
You abide in my heart.
When I call you my Friend,
You abide in my every moment.
Sharing my Sunrises,
My Sunsets.
A joy to me your every breath,
A sadness to me your every breath,
Each breath one less,
We will share together,
My Family.

The early morning meditator must have gone for a walk to ease painful

A Sunrise
A Sunrise,
A Sunset,
Eternity is before us,
Endless is eternity.
God is such a spoil sport,
Simplifying the wonderful.
Mystery inhabits our Sunrise,
Mystery inhabits our Sunset.
Inhabiting both,
We are uplifted.

A sunrise, a sunset

Curiously I rate this as a love poem to Seesee. I may not have connected
with my family, but I most certainly connected with my wife. Often the
only thing keeping me in the fight was the love I saw in her eyes. There
were plenty of times when I felt like quitting and she would look at me
and although weary beyond words, I would charge off to the fight, just
because she looked at me with such total love.

Every minute dies,
Each Sunrise one less,
That I will have.
My children are dead,
Gone before they were born.
Alone I go,
No more than a little boy,
Looking for a place of safety,
A place to lay my grief.
Makes the death of every minute,
A little easier.
Makes every Sunrise,
More beautiful.
For someday the Sunrise,
Will fall through trees,
And onto my grave.
Only my Memory will remain,
Only your Love for me will linger,
Yet weep not.
A life well lived,
A death fearlessly encountered,
Is a joy.
For you have made both possible.

Clearly a foggy morning in Melbourne. By memory the fog lifted not long
after sunrise.
Hiding things,
No better at times,
Than my own mind.
Fog gives way to sun,
Secrets to wisdom,
My Mind to Peace.

Hiding things

A wet Saturday morning. Bored silly and restless.

The dull day

A lazy wind wanders its’ way,
Down my driveway.
The drizzle so bored,
It seems to take twice as long,
As normal rain to fall.
The world a black and white photo.
My mind wants to wander,
Wants to soar.
As impatient as a child,
Grizzling because I keep it in,
The dull day.
I tell it.
Sunshine will come,
Books will be opened,
Shrieks my mind.
I reply.
Now go away,
I tell my grizzling mind.
I have poetry to write!

I completed a horticultural course in 1997. I found this very Buddhist
because I learnt that all these trees and shrubs were interconnected.

A Home Coming
The tree is no longer,
A tree.
A Birch is born.
The red flowering gum,
My friend.
The Cycad,
My Ancestor.
The bamboo waving in the breeze,
Wants a chat.
The Oleander,
Brooding poisonous,
To me of her enchantments.
The awareness,
Of my new friends,
Comes easily,
Comes early in the morning,
Arriving gently in my meditation.

A tree is no longer a tree.

The biting edge of grief. I thought for a long time that a girlfriend had
had an abortion. I dreamt often of the children I so desperately wanted
and a song or a movie was often enough to trigger a period of grieving.

Out they come,
The Ghosts.
On the edge of my mind,
They sit.
Not old,
Not young.
Echoes really,
Ghosts of the endless possibility.
One a Ghost of my loins,
The others my Heart.
Children come to visit,
Their Dad.
They whisper,
My Heart aches,
My unseen companions,
My Babies,
When will the day come,
When you will no longer hurt?
Ghosts go to a life of your own!
Visit me not!
Leave your Dad,
Let the edge of the light,
Be populated by my Dreams.

Children come to visit,

Proof that even in the midst of a war that we can have moments where
pure silliness strikes.

A mischievous child,
A practical joke,
A lyrical Sunrise.
Storms prowl the land,
A babies chuckle,
Planets in orbit,
Humming as they go.
Betelgeuse sings an opera,
Sirius is.
As clear as silence,
Profound as Sunrise.
As sweet as custard,
Riotous as spring.
Deadly boring.
High brow,
Low brow,
Kenny G,
All these mean ,
Happiness to me.
If my race ,
Must have one saving grace,
Let it be, music.

A mug that I still have, that is one of the few surviving possessions from
before I met Seesee.
The Old Cup
Ten years you have known me,
Or is it more?
At times my only friend,
Back when times were lonely.
Old friends,
You knew the young man,
That my Wife,
Did not.

The Old Cup

One of my better attempts at describing the events taking place in my
head. Often people will simply not understand what you are going
through. I’m not certain who the Stranger is. It may simply be a
metaphor for someone showing up to talk after I had won. I honestly like
this poem, it captures many aspects of the battle.

He Came At Dawn.
He came at Dawn,
The Stranger.
To ask about,
The night.
It was long my friend,
And full of many a strange light.
It was hard my friend,
And uplifting too.
Yet what of it,
Can my night interest you?
To lead you into the day,
Is why I ask about the night.
Was what the Stranger did say.
He came at Peace,
The Stranger,
To ask about,
The War.
It is over my friend,
Do you want me to tell you more?
He came to see a boy cry,
The Stranger.
Inside a burning need,
To ask why?
Demanded the boy,
I will tell you of the War,
Painfully I will tell you more.
Demanded the boy,
I will tell you of the night,
And how happy I was,
To see the Dawn,
So bright.
Yet what could the boy do?
Yet what could the boy tell?
He let his scars talk.
Of endless nightmares they spoke,
Of a War so grim,
Even Hope had left.
The scars spoke of a Will so strong,

Only it remained.
The scars spoke of a Grief so deep,
That words could not plumb it.
This is what the scars spoke of.
At long last the Questions of the Stranger,
Were answered.

Death again.
A Friend.
I see you!
The Patient one.
You have never left me.
You are at the end of every exhalation,
You are the dividing line from one moment to the
So few people wish to be your friend,
So few are willing to consider that you alone can
make every moment,
Every day so precious and meaningful,
For you alone can make them our last.
You are my friend.
In knowing you I must treat every day as my last,
In knowing you I can give my love freely.
For you alone can make me like Autumn leaves.
Thank-you Death,
My Friend.

I will leave one day,
How I will return,
No one knows.
A dawn will come,
And I will not witness it.
Millions will not mourn me,
Few of you will care.
My Love,
My laughter,
Will ring in only a few memories.
The Companion constantly at my side,
Will lead me only to my own creation.
Every day a treasure to behold,
Every moment reminding me,
Hey you will die!!
Shattering is the Sunrise,
Unspeakably lonely the Sunset.
When I am gone.

I have a long time love for Japanese verse. An attempt at haiku.

Island shima
Sea umi
Tranquillity shizukana

In the thick of a serious fight you get a real feel for mortality.
I Do Not Know When
Someday there will be a Sunrise,
I do not know when.
Someday a child will laugh & I will not see it,
I do not know when.
Someday someone will grieve for me,
I do not know when.
Someday death will throw the door open & come to
I do not know when.

More haiku

Snow yuki
Silence chimmoku
White world sekai shiroi

Snow, silence

The beginnings of a poem that went nowhere, but I couldn’t bring myself
to delete it.

Easier by far,
To see the glorious moment,
Than the helpless observer.

I had been arguing with Seesee.

It is my mortality
It is my mortality,
That frightens me,
So terribly.
One day I will be without you,
You without me.
Both of us so lonely.
It is my mortality,
That so frightens me,
So frightens me,
To open my heart,
To see that nothing,
Sets us apart.

Although this is about death yet again, I feel that there is real Dhamma
here. Not a morbid meditation by any means.

Hello My Friend
Hello my friend,
How are you going?
Do I dare call you friend,
When the whole world,
Doesn’t want you to exist?
Their loss.
Come, take my hand,
Come, let us talk,
Of so many lives wasted,
Of so few who even want to be,
Your friend.
Let us talk of a race so misled,
Let us talk of a race so scared,
They cannot bare to even think of you.
They cling so ferociously to their wasted lives,
Never understanding that you & life,
Are one & the same.
Never understanding that you invigorate life,
You make it so precious,
Never understanding that in embracing you,
They embrace the very practicality of their goodness.
Never understanding that your implacability,

Pours worth & urgency
Into being me.

Dhamma poem again.

There is no doubt
There is no doubt that “tomorrow” is an illusion.
We are gifted with only “today”.
“Tomorrow” we invent,
to save the confusion,
of saying “I will see you today”,
when we really mean I may never see you again.

Written about the daughter of someone who I did my work experience to

get my Advanced Certificate of Horticulture.
With hair of fire,
With eyes’ of endless possibilities,
You glide through life.
You will see much of the things,
That others ignore.
You must remember,
That tomorrow is our creation,
That is what it is there for.
You must remember,
We make our lives,
We can make them as large as we dare,
Or we can make them pale echoes of what could
have been.
Abide in love my dear, and remember each moment
is a priceless miracle,
As indeed are you.

For a Christmas cards to friends.

It has been years,

Since you began to blur,
Inside my head.
The one thing that is crystal clear,
That I long ago realised,
That all these are bound by love.

Another year my friend,
Another bond a little stronger my friend.
Wisdom offered is wisdom absorbed.
The joy of company,
The expectation of more.
Love that is happily given,
From us to you.

A meditation on Impermanence.

We are so fleeting
We are so fleeting ,
You & I .
Absorbed in our instant,
We never look away,
Never accepting that we could be gone,
Before we knew it.
Are we so different from the fly,
Who lives a week,
Yet thinks of himself as old?

A dialogue with depression. I must have begun to figure that I could win.

I have seen your face

I have seen your face,
So many times,

Lurking in my shadows.
Visiting again,
You splash in & out of
My consciousness.
Will this be our final confrontation,
Or just one more?
You know I will win,
So why do you bother?

Another argument with Seesee.

It is insane for us to be apart!
Together we take wing,
And soar into our endless possibilities,
Our greatest highs,
Soar into the wonderful becoming,
Of us.

I had begun to get moments of peace and could actually feel the child who
was emotionally damaged by his father. I had begun Forgiveness Meditation.

I met a child
I met a child recently,
It was me.
I looked into a persons eyes,
Surprised to see,
The hurt so deep.
Tenderly I held a gentle hand,
To calm the many storms,
It was so nervous,
I could weep.

In forgiving my father I had been able to see that he at one point must have
been a lot like myself. There was the possibility that he was damaged by his

I had never thought

I had never thought of you,
So much like me.

So big,
So strong,
So violent,
Not at all like me.
Such a surprise,
To find you were,
And frightened,
So terribly much like me.

I was engaged in a dialogue with the Anglican Church concerning sexual


Somewhere beyond victim

Somewhere beyond victim,
Lies me.
Somewhere beyond the Seen,
Lies the hurt.
Somewhere very close,
Sits a little boy.
Somewhere I learn to love him,

Written in quite literally 10 minutes in the back of a book.

I must.
I must step up to the possible again,
To see if I can fly.
I must rearrange me again,
If only to find out why.
I must Dare again,
If only remember I can do it.
I must smile, laugh & fly again,
‘Cause for me that’s all there is to it.

Meditation begins to produce pleasant results. Also the beginnings to

chapters in a book I was writing.
The Mind (1).
The Mind,
So clear,
So bright.
The Breath,

So calm,
So happy.
The World,
So still,
You could hardly guess it was there.

The mind so clear, so bright

The Mind (2).
The Mind.

Still, clear, bright

The Past
The Mind unburdened by the past.

Another result of sore knees.
Like blood splashed across the horizon,
Like the quietness between thoughts.
Quivering in expectation the whole world awaits,
What will you bring?

Like the quietness between thoughts

Them & Us
Are you so very different from us?,
Same eyes,
Same hair,
Same light in the eyes,
Same need to succeed.

Same eyes


The Body
To someone else you belong,
Not mine really.
To be mine,
The hair would not be grey.
To be mine,
The eyes would not dim.
To be mine,
Death would not come.

An acceptance that there was something I could do about the damage &
blaming my father wasn’t a workable option.
How can I blame you?,
You did the best you could.
Not being the child of gods,
I must accept fallibility,
In you,
In me.

How could I blame you.

It is all your fault,
Yes it must be your fault.
I would not climb these hills,
Sweat these rivers,
Breath so hard.
Had you not been the most beautiful of

Depression whilst a long way from being beaten had at least begun to
lose more fights than it was winning.

Picking a fight each day.

Put that down,
I have won.
I have won.
Why don’t you realise this,
And find someone else to lie to?
I have won.
An interest in pushing the envelope and extreme

The Envelope & the Comfort Zone.

The Sun so bright,
The arm so heavy,
The mouth so dry,
The heart so light.

6 Impossible things.
To like myself,
To see the good in me,
To find the ugly,
To find the horrible in me,
All too possible.
Lying to myself,

Oh, the burden!,
Oh, the weight in my heart!
Stooped under this,
I go.
To let this all go,
A moment,
To let this all go,
My choice.

Loving ourselves
The face in the mirror,

Are they not worthy,
Of the love,
I give so freely to everyone else.

A response to my father being his usual inclusive self concerning Seesee.

You were not there!
At the beginning of the sorrow,
You were not there!
At the beginning of the rage,
You were not there!
At the beginning of the pain,
You were not there!
At the start of the long night,
You were not there!
At the beginning of the sorrow,
She was there!
At the beginning of the rage,
She was there!
At the beginning of the pain,
She was there!
At the beginning of the long night,
She was there!
At the end of the sorrow,
You were not there.
At the end of the rage,
You were not there.
At the end of the pain,
You were not there.
At the end of the long night,
You were not there.
At the end of the sorrow,
She was there.
At the end of the rage,
She was there.
At the end of the pain,
She was there!
At the end of the long night,
She was there.
So how can you judge her so harshly?
And condemn the one who has loved me all along.

After working with labour hire agencies for a year or so I felt very much
in a dead end.
The frustration
Close are the horizons,
Getting closer all the time.
Dark is the future,

Getting darker by the moment.
Burning is the frustration,
Searing is the anger,
Numbing is the despair.
How could I have tried so hard,
And ended up here?
In a world with so little light,
And so much pain.
This is not where I intended to be,
When I was young.
Where did my future vanish?
Where the endless horizons go?
Who took my stars away?
Who convinced me I had failed?
Is my future so close?,
Are my horizons still there?,
Are the stars waiting for me to open my eyes?
Success is me with my eyes open,
Failure is me with my eyes shut.

An early morning meditation with the tap dripping in the bathroom.

The breath glides into my body on wings of velvet,
The breath glides back out leaving a calm mind
Somewhere nearby a rooster crows his delight at the
day that is arriving shortly.
A breeze steals into the room through the open
The candle gutters in reply.

Reluctantly the mind leaves the breath,
To tighten the tap in the shower.
Plop !

Stillness, plop!

A love poem.
Jet hair,
Bubbling laugh,
Smell of spices,
Ink well eyes,
Common sense,
Things I’m certain I will never entirely learn to live

Jet hair, ink well eyes

No prizes for guessing what compelled this little effort.

Writing Poetry
I do not do this.
How do you make something that is already there?

These are not mine.
How do you own something that orders you about?
It chooses me,
Not I it.
Who ever understood the Muses anyway?

I do not do this.

Leafing through some old photo’s.

The young man
Almost forgotten,
The face seems familiar.
The eyes hold something,
Is it promise?,
Is it pain?,

How many versions of me have passed,
Since I was you?
There are memories of an anticipation.
The present is not the future that was anticipated.
By the young man.
No doubt this is repeating itself now.

After having my own funeral for the children I so desperately wanted, I

was able to talk to the Third Jar without the tearing sensation of deep
Leaving the Third Jar.
The pain has dimmed a little,
The fierce wetness of the tears is gone.
Other dreams take the place,
Of the ones I gave to you.
Blame found no place to stay,
I could not give it to you,
Or to another.
Soon I will leave The Third Jar,
Soon I will let it slip away down the stream of time.
Did I ever tell you of the war I fought,
Just to let you go?
Now the time has come.
I feel the grief once again,
It aches in my throat,
It fills my eyes,
It tears at my composure.
I know tomorrow I will rise,
I know I will not die from this.
Finally the scar is healing.
Good-bye my children,
It is time I stopped stabbing myself,
With sharp regrets.
Loving myself means letting go of you.
Good-bye Third Jar.

I had a fight with Seesee over depression. She felt that I wasn’t quite
putting in the effort I should be. My complaint in response.
Has it ever arrived without a fight?
Has it ever left unscarred?
The war on the inside,
Is more desperate,
Is more stubbornly fought,
Than you would ever guess.
It takes no prisoners,
Holds no negotiations,

Will only ever have a winner or a loser.
A draw is impossible.
So as the light in my face dims a little,
Love the warrior.

I spent time in 1998 at Bodhinyana Forest Monastery in Western Australia.

Much to my surprise,
I found that I could skate across the sky.
Much to my surprise,
I found that I could laugh and win.
Much to everyone’s surprise,
I found that I could not give in.
Not to everyone’s surprise,
The man who left was different to the one who arrived.
Not to my surprise,
Part of me stayed.

A protest about my family not understanding that the fight against

depression took no prisoners. Winning this fight was becoming more & more
possible. For once the light at the end of the tunnel wasn’t an oncoming
train. I had begun to win sizable ground from depression.

To see me
You should see past the past,
You should see me dare the depression to come out
& fight.
You should be there as the light comes into my eyes,
You should see me never walk away from the fight.
You should see the tears,

You should see the laughter,
You should see the love.
You should have seen gentleness arrive,
You should have seen the war end,
You should have seen me grasp the future,
You should have seen these things.
You have seen so very little.

I was visiting my nieces. Feeling the spookiness.

Why I can’t have children
Rummaging through reality,
Turning everything on its’ head.
Running out of answers,
Before the questions really begin.
In ways no bed or drink will ever quench.
Catching glimpses of things,
Wanting to soar into the endless skies of my
Not yet convinced that this me,
Is all that there is.
Knowing that I will one day have to say goodbye.
Leaving in a heart beat means travelling light.
Wanting to leave as little as possible behind.
All these are the reasons why I cannot have children.

Why I was found in the pumpkin patch.

Oh, it drags me along,
Oh, it tortures me,
Oh, the endless questions.
This mind is curious beyond belief,
Never for a moment has it let up,
Unable to tolerate anything but total freedom,
It laughed at the rules,
Beat the trauma,
Turned reality on its’ head.
Still it questions,
Still it itches with restlessness,

Still it has not exclaimed “Ah ha!, this is it at last”.
Out of the corner of my eye it catches sight of
Accepting that I must go with it,
I pack my bags,
And kiss good-bye to peace for the time being.

My Brothers Children
When they are old enough I will tell them,
Of the dreadful restlessness that inhabits me.
When they are old enough I will tell them,
Of the highs I have climbed,
The lows I have plumbed.
When they are old enough I will tell them,
That Reality is fragile,
That Heaven & Hell are our choice,
That Joy is found in sunny days,
That Heartbreak lives in babies smiles,
That it is when we truly dare that we are at our best,
That the very first person we must make peace with is
That it is only when we lose the wonder of questioning that
we die,
That pixies are a delight to chat with,
That to hold a sense of ourselves is the beginning of the
When they are old enough I will tell them
When they are old enough I will hold them and
just be.

When meditation works it can be like this. These poems were written at a
time when my meditation and my fight against depression were going very
The Journey.
The Mind,
Still & at Peace,
The breath,
The fear,
In my throat.

The Universe,
Just behind my eyes.
The beauty,
Beyond words.

To have come back

The journey was to no where,
No where at all.
Yet somehow along the way,
I managed to see it all.
It is all there jumbled up inside,
The laughter,
The tears,
The Joy.
On this journey to no where,
I managed to become a man.
On this journey to no where,
I managed to dare.
On this journey to no where,
I learnt to share.
On this journey to no where,
I found me.

You can appreciate that after 12 years or more of a war that was pretty relentless
I was beginning to feel more than a little worn. I was also perhaps seeing the
Dhamma with uncommon clarity.
We have to laugh
Taking all the wrong things so seriously,
We muddle our way through lifetimes.
Busy, busy,
Faster, faster,
The endless demands to do,
The endless demands to be.
When the very thing we need to do,

When the very thing we should do,
Is stop.
We have to laugh,
At the weirdness of it all,
The sane are treated as if mad,
The mad treated as if sane.
We have to laugh,
In the search for truth,
We look everywhere except under our own noses.
In the search for happiness ,
We go outside,
When all we need is to go within.

The sense of disconnection.

Be content with your reality,
Be happy with your ordinariness.
Not being content,
Not being happy,
Not accepting of what I’m told,
Endlessly curious.
I envy you,
Yet not for a moment would I have it any other way.

Perhaps the single reason why I never gave up the fight was that I knew that
I would win. This was the certainty that entered my night.
It is true
It is true you know,
That I have never stepped away from the fight.
Always looking for a way out of the apparently
endless night,
It is true you know,
That I never stopped laughing.
Even in the middle of the fight.
It is true you know,
That I knew all along,
That I would win.

The knowing was never tangible,
It waved at me,
Just out of the corner of my eye.
Often just wanting to say “Hi”.
Just stopped by to let you know,
That at the end of this,
You will know,
And contentment.

In late February of 02 I had the nervous breakdown I had to have. I had been
dealing at long last with the sexual abuse and had been working way too
hard in setting up a business. This is when I can honestly say that I came
perilously close to losing the fight. I had slammed into the wall and bounced
back. This then is how it is when you feel that you actually have a choice.
Pushing the Envelope
At the edge,
I sit.
Angels beckon me back,
To safety,
To light,
To reason.
Demons sing,
Syrens of sweet oblivion.
I see them,
The cowardly one’s,

They dart in & out of the light.
Easy to let go of reason,
To swim in the endless tears.
Hard to have Angels as friends,
Hard to believe that Joy,
That Wisdom will grow out of this.
I will rest a while,
The Angels look interesting.

I bolted overseas. Things began to get a little better inside me.

I laugh
Because I have won Peace.
I laugh,
Because I have soared into the endless possibilities.
I laugh,
Because the sun shines.
I laugh,
Because the Mind sees the goodness in all things.
I laugh,
Because I know I am not alone in these things.

All the hallmarks of a meditation on the merits of those who just find fault. Most
likely composed after a conversation with my father.
Having wandered far enough,
To put things into perspective.
Having seen enough,
To put things into perspective.
Having cried the tears,
To put things into perspective.
Can I believe the imaginings,
Of those who have not,
Wandered far enough,
To put things into perspective.
Seen enough,
To put things into perspective,
Cried enough,
To put things into perspective?

Watching the mind first thing in the morning.
The Mind turns to the days endless possibilities.
It alone is busy this early,
Like a mother it organises,
My days,
My nights,
My future,
My past.
If only it would be like the morning,

Made it to Cambodia on my trip.

The Bus Trip
The dust,
The dust!
Another bridge!
The sweat,
It works it way,
Into my eyes,
The small of my back.
The abiding half way to sleep,
Swaying to the rhythm of the pot holes,
The dust more intimate than a lover.
The alternative is to cry,
To shout “Enough!!”
Let me off this damn Cambodian bus.

The Killing Fields

Yet they look at me,
So clearly,
So full of reproach.
Who are you to complain?
I cannot hold their gaze,
I cannot look into their eyes,
Full of guilt,

I turn away.
Compelling honesty,
Compelling re-assessment,
Calling me to go home
The eyes of the dead.

Why I changed
The dead are tactless,
Baldly asking the most intimate of questions.
The dead are truthful,
They speak only of the real,
They speak of something more.
They know our nonsense,
And when we dare look into their eyes tell us so.
The prostitutes are so small,
Barely more than babies.
Can I look at the children back home,
And not cry,
And not tremble?
The landmines are so ordinary,
They should look….
They should look….
And yet they do not.
The Khmer laugh,
The Khmer are normal,
In their place I would cry.
Who is the normal one?
Unable to answer this,
I changed.

Seesee & I had a series of fights as she struggled to deal with the changes
that going to Cambodia caused in me.
The Truth About Us
The truth about us,
Is quite simple.
Would I have soared so high,
Dared so much,
Struggled so hard,
If not for us?
Would you,
Have looked in the corners,
Of Reality,
Climbed the hills,
Held as fast as you did,

If not for us?
The truth about us,
Is together we soar,
Is together we dare,
Is together we look into Reality’s corners,
Is together we hold fast,
Is together we climb hills,
Is together we are complete.
This is the simple truth about us.

The arguments continued as I struggled to map the ‘new Russell’. This poem
was written in the context of me actually moving in the direction of victory,
despite the tone of it.

The Sky
The sky is mine,
Mine to soar in.
The wind is mine,
Mine to spill my laughter in.
The mystic is mine,
Mine to wander in.
The moon is mine,
Mine to set my dreams by.
The endless is mine,
Mine to make possibilities in.
Take them away,
If you dare.
Take them away,
If you can.
Laughing at you,
I soar,
find ever more possibilities for myself.

The sky is mine.

I developed an interest in indoor rock climbing.

The pleasure.
The pain.
Back pushing,
The Envelope again.
Written for the Anglican counsellor helping me with the
sexual abuse.

You will see Hope,
Where most see only despair.
You will laugh,
When all around you cry.
You will Love,
In the midst of Hate.
You will be calm,
In the heart of turmoil.
You will live,
When most abide as if already dead

You will see hope.

What else apart from victory. September 02 was a truly magical month. War
At long last
You are gone,
You left so quickly,
Not even waving goodbye.
It is weird without you,
We were so close,
You & I.
Twins in so many ways.
As I fumble my way,
Fumble my way into peace,
Fumble my way into gentleness,
Fumble my way into heaven knows where.
I like this me,
Without you.
I’m so glad you’re gone

Like the brain damaged they stand,
Off to one side.
Hunched in on themselves,
Deprived of light,
They mutter.
Odd that I should have to lean close,
Just to listen,
When once they shouted in my face.
Odd that I should have to seek them out,
When once they harassed me endlessly.
I have to remind myself about who they are,
I have to remind myself,
That these were once the causes for,
I have to remind myself,
Remind myself that these shadows,
Were once all too real and animate.
Hard now to take them seriously,
Hard now to bother even listening.

Hunched in on themselves.

To my fundamentalist and evangelising Christian sister.
Bless me
I would rather that you bless me,
Than some distant unknown god.
I would rather your blessings,
Than the blessings of someone whose existence I
Bless me,
Bless me with your smile,
Bless me with your hug,
Bless me with your love,
Bless me with all these things.
Bless me with what I know to be real,
Than something which is the source of endless
So bless me happily,
And let us both rejoice.

Having won I could now talk about things in a somewhat familiar manner.
Easy for me to say things like this
Your Demons
Play cards with your demons,
They may not be that frightening,
Once you know them.
Engage your demons as friends,
There is much that they can teach.
Stay near your demons,
For running from them is pointless.
Look your demons carefully in the eye,
For they might not be as real as you think.
Let your demons shout their vilest,
And know should you wish it that that is the worst
they can do.
Laugh at your demons
And take their power away.

I was asked why meditation.
Perhaps it is some vow,
Some vow from a previous life,
That keeps me coming back.
Perhaps it is the calm,
That keeps me coming back.
Perhaps it is when the Mind glows,
These moments when I am at my happiest,
That keeps me coming back.
Perhaps it is simply because I am me,
That I keep coming back.

World weariness.
Bumping into people
Lifetime comes,
Lifetime goes.
We wander as far as we are able to,
Yet how very few of us ever get anywhere.
We keep bumping into the same things,
The same people,
The same habits,
The same crises.
Our passports fill up,
Our hearts remain empty

A very good description of meditation.

It was here
It was here,
That I cut and ran.
It was here,
That I stood & fought.
It was here,
That beauty unfolded.
It was here,
That I cried a thousand tears.
It was here,
That I was a hero.
It was here that I was a coward.
It was here,
In the space between breaths,
That I was everything and nothing.

Not surprisingly my meditation began to produce a steady flow of results and
the world weariness deepened.
Numbly they go about their lifetimes,
Mired in their habits,
Mired in their endless becomings.
Mired in their senseless, meaningless lives,
Mired in their even more senseless and meaningless
Never aware of just how short changed they are.
Sickened by and deeply weary of all this,
I dream.
Sickened by and deeply weary of all this,
I struggle.
Sickened by and deeply weary of all this,
I plan to soar.

Not surprisingly after the 14 year fight I am interested in finding an end to all
Meditation 2
The stillness,
The silence,
As intimate as a lover would wish to be.
The thirst to just stop.
The weariness of the merry-go-rounds.
Thinking we move forward,
We run into the same things,
I want only the endings

Seesee & I went through a prolonged period of unhappiness.
Surviving the war.
The peace is not what I thought it would be,
Or is it that I am forever the warrior?
Could it be that my war,
And the war I thought I fought were two different
Thinking the war over I rejoiced,
Not realising that this was but a lull.
I sharpen my resolve once again.
The sparring started,
We dance once more.
Nice to be back home.
Tell me,
Will I feel the sparkling,
Cascades of grief,
This time?
Tell me,
Will I see my world
Fall apart again?
Tell me,
At the end of this,
Will I at last know peace?

Having had a successful visit to Mackay I corresponded with a niece. The

sense of spookiness.
Reasons Why you should be careful
Be careful near the man,
Who has laughed at his demons and survived.
Be careful near the man,
Who has walked up to the edge of the abyss,
And found the view interesting enough,
To want to sit down.
Be careful near the man,
Who stripped naked by life,
Found something worth laughing about.
Be careful near the man,
Who can look into your eyes,
Who can see all your pain & struggles,
Who can see all your hidden darkness’s,
And honestly say “Is that all?”

Light & dark,
Living & dying,
Winning & losing.
Only breaths apart,
Only worlds apart,
Only choices apart.
Watching them splash in my mind I wait,
Responsibility & blame,
Health & trauma,
Wisdom & ignorance.
Not much of a choice really.

The fight
The fight,
The fight,
Was worth it.
Where else could I have dared so much?
Been so frightened?
And at the end found so much peace?
Hectic was the fight,
The endless surfing of highs & lows,
The smashing victories and woeful retreats.
Inside nowhere was the fight,
Yet everywhere too.
Flickering and dancing across my heart was the fight,
Slipping in and out of my awareness,
Yet ever present too.
Over is the fight,
Living in my heart is the fight,
My gift to you,
This fight.

The Scars
My scars you have seen,
The souvenirs of a life fully lived.
Touching these souvenirs,

Do you not tremble a little?
Hearing echoes of the war.
Touching these souvenirs
Do you begin to understand the pricelessness
Of the ordinary,
Of the sane,
Of stillness?
Can you feel that it is because I have these echoes of
That I can laugh as much as I do,
That I can be at peace,
That in the priceless present I can simply be.
That this is simply me?

My relationship with my birth mother ended

A Lost Mother
When did the distance open between us?
Where in my wanderings did I lose you?
At which point did I cross a threshold that you could
not follow?
When did we lose the laughter?

When did we lose the space to simply be?
How I long to show you the stillness,
The joy,
The endless peace.
So much was done,
So many fights you heard the echoes of,
Why can you not embrace the peace,
So long in coming,
The peace so desperately fought for,
The victory so unexpected?
Why when I became whole did you turn away?
Why when I have so much to share,
Do you not want to know?
Be your son I would,
If only I could…..
If only I could….

A lost mother.

A Dying Father
You were never there,

When it mattered.
When you were around,
God, how I wanted you gone.
For one so reluctant a parent,
Why did you begin something,
And then do it so badly?
How can you have gotten it so wrong,
And then plead for compassion?.

Why I tell jokes about my family

If you don’t laugh,
You cry.
If you can’t see the light,
There’s only darkness.
If you can’t stand on the edge of normal,
And laugh.
You sit in the abyss & cry.
To laugh,
Is to be whole.


Related Interests