Saturday, June 22, 2013

Poem Of The Week - Alexander Gray

My sister Mairi has started a blog, you should go read her because she writes really well. One of her posts "Farewell Scotland, Hola Spain" had a snippet of poetry by Alexander Gray which if she hadn't told me was by a Scottish poet I might easily have sworn it was Australian so much it took me to my own experiences of Western Australia. It reminds me of a favourite quote by Henry Lawson

I'm Australian, I know no other land. -Henry Lawson

I've highlighted the snippet, below but the whole poem is worth reading and re-reading.


Here in the Uplands
The soil is ungrateful;
The fields, red with sorrel,
Are stony and bare.
A few trees, wind-twisted –
Or are they but bushes? –
Stand stubbornly guarding
A home here and there.

Scooped out like a saucer,
The land lies before me;
The waters, once scattered,
Flow orderly now
Through fields where the ghosts
Of the marsh and the moorland
Still ride the old marches,
Despising the plough.

The marsh and the moorland
Are not to be banished;
The bracken and heather,
The glory of broom,
Usurp all the balks
And the fields’ broken fringes,
And claim from the sower
Their portion of room.

This is my country,
The land that begat me.
These windy spaces
Are surely my own.
And those who here toil
In the sweat of their faces
Are flesh of my flesh,
And bone of my bone.

Hard is the day’s task –
Scotland, stern Mother –
Wherewith at all times
Thy sons have been faced:
Labour by day,
And scant rest in the gloaming,
With Want an attendant,
Not lightly outpaced.

Yet do thy children
Honour and love thee.
Harsh is thy schooling,
Yet great is the gain:
True hearts and strong limbs,
The beauty of faces,
Kissed by the wind
And caressed by the rain.

Sir Alexander Gray

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Book Review- Six Frames For Thinking Abut Information

Edward de Bono provides tools for thinking outside of ones habitual ruts. In Six Frames For Thinking about Information he describes 6 "frames" or perspectives for analysing information to assist with effectively locating, assessing and drawing value from it.

  • Triangle Frame- what's our purpose for the information?
  • Circle Frame- how accurate is the information?
  • Square Frame- what are the alternate points of view?
  • Heart Frame- what are the points of interest? what can be read "between the lines"?
  • Diamond Frame- what are the values of the information?
  • Slab (Rectangle) Frame- what are the conclusions and/or outcomes?

I can recognise my use of some of these frames when I am searching the internet, the volume and diversity of information available necessitates some skill in filtering through it. de Bono's 6 Frames offers a more structured approach.

Whilst this isn't de Bono's best work given the volume of information we are exposed to daily any tools that aid us in dealing with it all is a valuable addition. It's a short read but worth the investment.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Cerberus the Red Eyed Hellhound

After getting all sentimental about the not-an-apocalypse I thought I'd balance things out with an apocolyptic Christmas carol.

Cerberus the Red Eyed Hellhound

Cerberus the red eyed hellhound
had two very hellish eyes
and if you ever saw him
you would probably even die

All of the other demons
feared him and cast him into chains
They made that mad-dog Cerberus
guardian of their underworld games

Then one smoky Apocolyptic Eve
Satan came to say
Cerberus with your eyes so bright
won't you lead my hoards tonight

Then all the other demons followed him
and they rended souls with glee
Cerberus the red-eyed hellhound
began the end of history!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Poem For The End Of The World

Just in case...

Poem For The End Of The World

According to some interpreters
of Mayan lore and calendars.
marks the last day of the world.

And just in case,
those soothsayers and doom-mongers
are right this time.
I thought it best
I straighten a few things out.

Firstly let me say,
I'm sorry.

For all the stupid-idiot, thoughtless
and plain boneheaded things,
I said and did, and didn't do.
I'm sorry.

I forgive you.
If this is our last day,
go knowing
between us
the slate is clean.
Even of the things
you've been certain
I could never forgive.

I also want to say,

For all the things you did.
For all the things that made me smile.
For all the laughter and tears
and the multitude flavours
of emotional angst
we shared along the way.
For making life beautiful.

And lastly I want to say,
I love you.

Yes you specifically,
Mum, Dad, Wife, Sibling, Child.
But also,
you and you and you.
All of you.
Without condition, without exception.
I love you.

If this really is
the end of the world.
Then this poem,
is irrefutably,
a grand and pointless gesture.
But if it really is
the end of the world.
So was everything else too.
I'm still glad
I had the opportunity.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Rules

Little Miss 3 (nearly 4!) came up with these herself. Not bad rules to live by really.

  • No crossing the road without a grown up.
  • No climbing trees without a ladder.
  • No going up in the sky without wings.
  • No going faster than you think you can.
  • No saying hello when it is nearly bed time.