Monday, February 21, 2011

Poem Of The Week - Christopher Morley

I don't know if it is obvious from the commentaries on the poems I run here but for me one of the things makes a poem for me is the context; it's relationship to my life. Sometimes I read a poem that doesn't move me right then but I know that what's missing is not with the poem, it's the context. I have the right poem but not at the right time. I first encountered this poem many years ago whilst doing John Bradshaw family of origin work. I was moved by it at the time but more so now that I am a parent myself, the changed context has emphasised every line of this poem. Our little Miss is coming up to three years old in April and I can tell you that every line of this poem is truth.

To A Child

The greatest poem ever known
Is one all poets have outgrown:
The poetry, innate, untold,
Of being only four years old.

Still young enough to be a part
Of Nature's great impulsive heart,
Born comrade of bird, beast, and tree
And unselfconscious as the bee--

And yet with lovely reason skilled
Each day new paradise to build;
Elate explorer of each sense,
Without dismay, without pretense!

In your unstained transparent eyes
There is no conscience, no surprise:
Life's queer conundrums you accept,
Your strange divinity still kept.

Being, that now absorbs you, all
Harmonious, unit, integral,
Will shred into perplexing bits,--
Oh, contradictions of the wits!

And Life, that sets all things in rhyme,
may make you poet, too, in time--
But there were days, O tender elf,
When you were Poetry itself!

Christopher Morley

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Fferyllt

In the story of Taliesin, Ceridwen is said to boil a cauldron of "Inspiration and Science", according to "the arts of the books of the Fferyllt". She wishes to bestow knowledge of the mysteries on her son, to compensate for his ugliness. The cauldron has to boil for a year and a day and she appoints the blind Morda and a youth, Gwion Bach, to tend it. Her plans fall astray when three drops from the cauldron splash onto the thumb of Gwion Bach. As he sucks the hot liquid from his thumb he realises his danger from Ceridwen and flees. Ceridwen pursues him and they both undergo a series of transformations or shape-shiftings until as a grain of wheat Gwion is eaten by Ceridwen as a hen. Ceridwen becomes pregnant with him and when he is (re)born she sews him into a leather bag and throws it into a river because he is so beautiful she could not bear to kill him. He is rescued by Elphin who proclaims "Behold the radiant brow" on seeing his forehead. Thus he is named Taliesin. He goes on to become an important Bard and magician in the court of Elphin and through-out the land.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

An Open Letter To Greg Combet

I received the letter below from the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency and to be honest I was somewhat underwhelmed. Here is my response.

Dear Mr Combet,
thanks for your email dated February 10th whilst I appreciate you taking the time to write to me I hope you can forgive me for being less than enthusiastic about your response. We are already experiencing climate change related extreme weather and it is only expected to get worse- large storms more likely in future. And yet according to your own climate change advisor, Ross Garnaut "Australia needs to catch up to the rest of the world in it's effort to address climate change" and  describes Australia as "a drag on climate change action". This shouldn't be a surprise to you Mr Combet, Government figures show that Carbon emissions are on track to soar. If that is how you intend to "continue to play a strong role in international climate change negotiations" then frankly we'd rather you didn't. The time for talking has long passed, it's time for action and yet as far as I can tell the only thing your Government has actually done with respect to climate change is to slash $1.3 billion in clean energy incentives. My inner cynic has a few explanations as to why that might be so but nothing that speaks to what the Australian people elected you and your Government to do. Kevin Rudd described climate change as  "the greatest moral challenge of our time" it's time to rise to that challenge, the Australian people, our children and grand children deserve no less.

Yours Sincerely
Murray Barton

Thank you for your correspondence on land sector accounting rules in the international climate change negotiations.
The Australian Government recognises the need for improved international treatment of human-caused emissions from the land sector.  As the current international accounting rules do not encourage countries to take up carbon pollution reduction opportunities from this sector, Australia - like other countries - is seeking changes to improve the environmental effectiveness of the rules. Improving the rules could provide greater incentives for countries to include emissions from a broader range of land management activities including forestry in their carbon pollution reduction commitments. This would promote greater action to reduce emissions and increase uptake of carbon dioxide (known as sequestration).
Good progress was made at the United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Cancun, Mexico in December last year, with agreement that countries should finalise the land sector accounting rules during 2011.  As part of this, countries need to agree on the approach for establishing a baseline which countries can use to measure changes in carbon pollution levels from their forests. Importantly, and in line with Australia’s preferred outcome, the decision also establishes a review process, to ensure that the proposed baselines are robust and set in an open and transparent manner.  The findings of the review process will be open to all countries, as well as interested stakeholders.
Thank you for bringing your concerns to my attention. I can assure you that Australia will continue to play a strong role in the international climate change negotiations.

Regards,Greg Combet
Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Murray's authentic Asian style salad

So we've been eating a lot of salad lately and I've been experimenting a bit using a tin of beans as a basis. Tonights was particularly good so I thought I'd share. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did. Caveat lector: I can claim many to be things but a chef I absolutely am not.


2 cups of wholemeal pasta cooked firm and allowed to cool
1 600g large tin 4 bean mix
1 handful of pistachio's, shelled
6 spring onions sliced thinly
1 white onion chopped finely
2 handfuls of English spinach, rinsed
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tablespoon virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon of sesame oil
1/2 tablespoon of Tamari sauce

Mix all ingredients. Serve. Enjoy. Feeds 4.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Bring Out Your Dead Week

Our suburb recently went through it's 6 monthly cycle of verge-side bulk refuse collection, I call it  "bring out your dead week".  I have to admit to enjoying a bit of verge shopping but I don't make too many "purchases" (this time I did pick up a wrought iron coffee table frame which with a bit of TLC and a new top is going to look fantastic).  Herewith a few observations, move along if you don't find junk interesting.

Aside from the green waste there are some things which are consistent throw away items; chipboard furniture, exercise equipment & push bikes. All items you may want to reconsider your purchase of. Chipboard furniture doesn't last, the exercise equipment I'm guessing gets used for a while and given up on. I have no idea why people throw away perfectly serviceable push-bikes. One thing I didn't see this time which has usually made a regular appearance was futon style beds, maybe there was a fad for them some time ago and they've all reached end of life?

The last few collections every second house was throwing away one or more CRT computer monitors, they must have been all replaced with LCD's now because I didn't see any this time.  What I did see was a lot of very very large CRT TV's, obviously being replaced by thin screen technology. I suspect a good proportion of these CRT's are in perfect working order, they just aren't the latest thing any-more, surely they have to have some value?

Lisa and I have been out to minimalise our household (we're making progress... sporadically) and also we inheritted a lot of stuff when we brought this place so the last couple of collection times we have had a lot of stuff out. I am always pleased when our stuff gets picked up- it's nice to know we have "good junk" :)