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Human justice barometer

05 November 2013 | Peter Kirkwood

Blake PrizeIn the years after it began in 1951, the Blake religious art prize was dominated by conventional Christian themes and symbols. More recently its inclusion of images associated with human justice has reflected the increasing multifaith character of religion in Australia together with religious believers' concern for human peace and justice.

My brother's hat mourns his death

18 June 2013 | Brian Doyle

Old Irish capIf you were a familiar Irish cap, and had waited all night every night for 30 years for the blessing of the morning when he'd reach for you, knead you and fold you gently over his ungovernable hair, wouldn't you wonder where he was the first few days after he vanished, and feel something like a silent sadness?

Haiku for JNB

10 June 2013 | Joan Grant

Basho Sigh, white text on dark green backgroundYou planted gum trees / For every family member / Some grew, some faltered. You shuddered at crows / Their cawings a foretolling / Of endings to come. You smiled and whispered / 'I may be gone for some time' / Skin like polar ice ...

Human rights viewed from a Swiss mountaintop

04 June 2013 | Pat Walsh

Niesen International Committee of the Red Cross, GenevaThe weather seemed to express the mood of this city of international public servants paid to resolve the world's problem. Over dinner we discussed health and human rights for remote rural communities in the poorest corners of the world. That's Geneva: clean, ordered, pretty, earnest, and struggling to make the world in its image.

The seams of the earth start to bulge

03 June 2013 | Jena Woodhouse

Bulge & Strain, white text on burnt red backgroundSometimes the dark bird of discord is loosed, to circle massif and savannah, inciting acts of mayhem, orgies of slaughter. But sometimes the white bird of hope is released and the tears it weeps restore something like order.

Asylum seeker sonnet

27 May 2013 | Brendan Doyle, Ben Walter and Rob Wallis

Smaller Islands, white text on aqua backgroundWith every boat that sinks our grief's untold; the smugglers just don't care they're overfull; So join the queue, no need to bribe with gold; and get a proper visa in Kabul.

My father's memorial service gets edgy

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20 May 2013 | Ian C. Smith

Crafty Pious, white text on purple backgroundSmoke pours from a meter box outside. Firemen scurry like comic extras, unable to locate the smoke's source. Spaced apart in orderly rows we swivel, casting sideways glances through tall windows. Organist and minister struggle with focus.

Pablo Neruda's prophecy in poetry

14 May 2013 | Philip Harvey

Dove in flightOn the eve of the violent overthrow of the elected government of Chile 40 years ago, Pablo Neruda wrote a cycle of cantos that came to be called The Book of Questions. Twelve days after the coups the poet was dead. It is hard to miss the military and political connotations of some of Neruda's 'questions'.

Cronies of the nudge and wink

13 May 2013 | Grant Fraser

Sacred VWhen ibis move, they do so in rosters of fastidious steps, each bird as polite as a grandad who is looking for the salt ... Stooped in twos or threes like patient skittles, they whisper quiet inventories of silvered figments and storied frogs.

The imperfect mother

07 May 2013 | Gillian Bouras

Sad mother and daughterMy mother came to stay for a week after my eldest was born. She cooked, cleaned, showed me how to manage the basic baby-care routines. I felt utterly desolated when the time came for her to leave. 'Do not worry. You are perfectly capable of looking after this baby,' she said. I didn't believe her. 

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