Labyrinth at St. Clement’s Retreat and Conference Centre Galong NSW.  A place where one can walk when one has questions.

There is often debate about violent activities and the relationship between violence and the weapons used. The poem below was written this week and explores how on both an individual and societal level we have some questions to ask about self-discipline.  Spiritual writer, Jean Vanier, in many of his books, reminds us that we all can be angry or violent within.  Vanier’s writings and this poem are far from being the only answer. But it does ask some of the questions.  One point it does seek to affirm is this: that if you and I are attempting to be self-aware, self-disciplined and peaceable, we are creating our own little sphere of influence where we are.   The poem is written in memory of all families affected by acts of violence.





Whence does this come?

This foment within,

That leads to destruction,

wreck, ruin and sin.


Whence does this hatred

come forth and arise?

That curdles the blood

And narrows the eyes.


What makes a person

Callously premeditate to kill?

To take down another

What kind of will?


What kind of will

Courses their veins?

Making meek to maniac,

Who holds the reins?


Any debate on the gun

Or the bow

Will only sort out

Some of this hatred below.


It’s not just the weapon

That’s held in their hands,

It’s the set in the heart

That governs their plans.


How can ‘civilised’ nations

Repeat this offence?

It’s happened too often,

What is their defence?


It may be the gun

It may be the knife,

But is it really the weapon

That delivers the strife?


Who is responsible?

Where goes the blame?

The pain wanders the nations

To bed down its shame.


Each person must fasten

Self-control as their shield

No matter what weapon

No real threat will they wield.


Two questions remain

And encircle my mind:

How may we untangle

This terrible bind?


Firstly, each one of us

Needs hold guard of our heart,

To each search our desires

We’ll be playing our part.


And another question

Sits upon our fair lands,

What culture are we breeding

That produces these stands?


These moments of road rage

Of bullying and killing,

This anger and violence,

What are we instilling?




Eden Rain


Snug Cove in Eden, NSW (pictured above) provides a bountiful vista in any weather.  The following free verse was written after I’d walked in fine rain along Eden’s Aslings beach during the last drought.



in the moment

of Eden rain.


The drops fell;


through the dryness

of the dusty air.


it brought;

People took notice;

perplexed, disbelieving at first,


delightfully convinced

of the steady wetness

falling upon them.

Gift from the sky,

Salve in our chapped land.

The wetness

on the lips,

and the damp-dust aroma

filled nostrils and lungs

with not only

the wetness

but with vitality.


in the moment

of Eden rain;

I walked through

like a fish in a pond

enfolded in bounty.



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