Beating the Bullies to Become a Mentor

Joe Roses says martial arts has given him

Joe Roses says martial arts has given him “so much”. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong from the Canberra Times.

I’ve been a bit of a passenger for the We Are The World Blogfest WATWB in recent months. But, we are back again. Our co-hosts for this month are:

Shilpa Garg,
Simon Falk,
Damyanti Biswas
Lizbeth Hartz
Eric Lahti

Please hop on over to visit their sites and any others tagged with WATWB.

I bring you the story of Jose “Joe” Roses. Joe came to Canberra, Australia, from Spain. He is a bus mechanic. As a migrant he was bullied at school. At 18 years of age he learnt Karate. But he uses it more as self-defense than anything.

What a great way to respond. Stop the cycle of retaliation by learning an alternative and learning to discipline your anger and other passions.


Since then, Joe has taught others to discipline themselves. They learn karate more to avoid fights than to start them.  As we read from The Canberra Times:


The 63-year-old black belt has been an instructor in Goju-ryu karate for more than 40 years.

His gentle demeanour and calm voice reflect his philosophy that martial arts is about avoiding a fight, not seeking a confrontation.

Now, Mr Roses has been recognised for his contribution, awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his services to karate.


Joe’s story is a wonderful tale of learning from experience and helping to make those after us the better for us being here. Joe, take a bow.  Well done.


If you want more stories like this, follow the #WATWB.  For more information go to



Coming Of Age

Coming Of Age

When an infant small

I could not feed

Myself at all.

My food came from

Your hand.


In brokenness

Of a fall

To our distress

You are fed

But from my hand.

In this maturing of

Coming of age

We are both nourished

For a different stage.

Simon C.J. Falk 19 July 2019

A Neighbour Passed By


A Neighbour Passed By…


I sat


Bereft from the beating

Wasn’t they raised with

“You don’t hit girls!”

Or, do I not look

Like a girl?

Whatever that means.

But I wasn’t letting them off

Easily, with the ‘Big Issue’ cash

Not for their stash

Towards their double-dealt slavery

To their cravings and fealty

To the faceless dealers.

Suit-clad women and men

With important looking papers in their grasp

Tapped a rapid rhythm

As their fashionable footwear

Bore them away

To offices of the clones.


The odd Christian and Muslim cleric

Passed by

Looking furtively from me to there

And where others

May be observing them

From the courtroom of current conventions.


Before they all passed

Another left me lying.

It was I.

I passed me by

Passed me off

Passed on.

I could have called

“Help! I’ve been beaten!”

“I’ve been robbed

By broken people

And a broken society

And my own broken spirit!”

I was not a neighbour

To myself.


From where

Would come the help?



Simon C.J. Falk 13 July 2019

#WATWB June – Man with no hands sells sketches in bid to raise money for homeless

As soon as I pick that pencil up I feel like I’m healed.

Robert Drew



Picture from ABC News: : Former homeless artist and recovering drug addict Robert Drew has been selling his sketches to get by on the streets. (ABC News: Anna Hartley)


Robert Drew was born without fingers. What’s more he has been in the grip of drug addiction.  He tried ice, pot, and alcohol. But his drawing has drafted – pun intended – a new perspective.  Clearly he has a talent. Please check out the article on ABC News Australia.

What a great way to utilize our talents for a better life.

Robert’s story is my (late arrival) focus for this month’s We Are The World Blogfest #WATWB post for June 2019.

Our co-hosts this month are:
Sylvia McGrath,
Susan Scott,
Shilpa Garg,
Eric Lahti,
and Belinda Witzenhausen.  Please head over to their pages and all using the #WATWB.

Robert Drew reminded me of an earlier poem of mine called “We Are More”. There is an excerpt below.

We Are More


He takes his “Please help” sign,

Turns it round,

And with

A texta he found,


To sketch,

Feebly at first,


With gusto,

A portrait

Of her,

That Toulouse-Lautrec

Would be proud of.


We are more

Than the symptoms seem.

More good news on the #WATWB tag


When Life Feels Like a Garbage Tip

When Life Feels Like a Garbage Tip


When life feels like

A garbage tip

And debris around you

Makes you trip

You fall among it

And your clothes do rip

You sit amidst your garbage tip.

As you sit amidst debris

You begin to feel

A little more free

Pausing from adrenaline pace

You set about to embrace

The place.

Some order suggests itself

Before your gaze

Then meaning emerges

From the malaise.

You sit and learn

As you rummage around

And find some treasure

In the garbage ground.

Simon C.J. Falk 28 June 2019

Want some good news?  Check out #WATWB stories


Remembering Les Murray

A good number of people in Australia, and across the seas, have encountered the poetry and person of Les Murray, 17 October 1938 – 29 April 2019. I have been meaning to pay my feeble tribute to him, and, since inspiration has not been forthcoming in my own works of late, I dedicate this post to Les.

As his website tells, he was born in the village of Nabiac, in New South Wales.  His family’s dairy farm was where his childhood and youth matured. After studying modern languages at Sydney University, he became a translator at the Australian National University in Canberra for a time.

He is well remembered for his many collections of poems, like On Bunyah.

Here is an excerpt from one of his poems


I starred that night, I shone:
I was footwork and firework in one,
a rocket that wriggled up and shot
darkness with a parasol of brilliants….

There are more on his website and at the Poetry Foundation.

Les also struggled, at times, with depression,  ‘The Black Dog’, as described in his book Killing the Black Dog.

We remain in his debt for many things. May Les rest in peace and his words remain in our bookshelves and in our hearts.


For Les Murray


You are at rest,

Worthy wordsmith,

From your years

Turning, turning

Words and pages


To us.


Your words visit

Us still

Through the leaves

Of pages of poems,

And autumnal falling leaves,

That mark a new season

And invite our gaze

Like yours

To see the lyrical lines

Of life.

May we see

The beauty

In the messy

And the mundane

As did you.

May we hear

The hurting heart

Of battler’s tales

As did you.

And learn to

Look at the

Underside of things

To help free

Their voice.



Simon C.J. Falk 9 June 2019


You can find some good news stories on the tag #WATWB



#WATWB May – From a Person of Hate to a New Person

We’re back! #WATWB is here for another month of good news stories.  Our co-hosts in this line-up are:

Damyanti Biswas,
Simon Falk,
Shilpa Garg,
Mary J. Giese ,
and Dan Antion.

Please hop on over to their pages and check out their posts.

On a recent cold day I was putting away some clothes that had been drying by the heater. Listening to a TEDTalk podcast I was stopped by the story. A skinhead who had changed. Although the story was not new, this TEDTalk bundle was. And…. it was, is, good news.

You can view Christian Picciolini’s TEDTalk ‘Mile High’ here 

A look at Christian’s website reveals:

 After leaving the hate movement he helped create during his youth in the 1980s and 90s, he began the painstaking process of making amends and rebuilding his life. Christian went on to earn a degree in international relations from DePaul University and launched Goldmill Group, a counter‑extremism consulting and digital media firm. In 2016, he won an Emmy Award for producing an anti‑hate advertising campaign aimed at helping people disengage from extremism.

You can check it out for yourselves.

In times where we hear that trolling online, and ‘hate speech’ online or offline, can grow to worse measures, a story like Christian Picciolini’s is a heartening one.




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