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No wonder the warrior-dead still weep

1 Comment
26 April 2016 | Peter Gebhardt

Military hat and poppiesThe children are in the park today, running, skipping and laughing. They slide down the cannon, polishing the past with freshly-pressed pants, a mother's delight. 'Always tell the truth,' the mother says, 'If you lie, you'll burn.' ... The day is closing, patient and gentle in its suffering, but the great lies will not lie down. Lies breed lies like flies on dead sheep and the masquerade of maggots makes its creep.

When parents play favourites

21 April 2016 | Jen Vuk

Jen and childrenAs a parent you learn to shore yourself against those uncomfortable questions from your offspring, but not all uncomfortable questions are created equally, and right up there with 'Mummy, where did I come from?' is the question: 'Am I your favourite?' Last week, US research published in the Journal of Family Psychology found that 70 per cent of mothers admitted to favouring one child over another. Whatever my usual protestations, do I do this too? Unfortunately, sometimes, I think I do.

Making a meal of the body politic

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19 April 2016 | Barry Gittins

Man in suit salts soupWhen you make a meal of body politic you've got to crack the whole thing open, season to taste with bestrewn flakes of policy offal and prejudged bakes ... serve offshore detention? Just add water, salt to taste and erase border. Grind those grubby unions, peel any sign of party donations and extractions from sorbeted cosseted carapaces. Stop the gloats, straighten up and get flyers Right ... Serve pre-heated post May's entree of budget salad.

The tyranny of the clock

12 April 2016 | Darby Hudson

Spiral clockThinking my jadedness of the nine-to-five was vindicated, I crossed the road at lunchtime where this tow-truck was waiting its turn at the lights. The trucker had 'Born on the Bayou' by Credence blasting through open windows. Thought he had an amazing sound system. Then realised he had a drum-kit set up on his dash and was going for it with his sticks in time to the tune. He made his day job look easy — and all of a sudden I felt like a small little angry man. He made my week.

Death and resurrection on Christmas Rock

1 Comment
04 April 2016 | Deanne Davies

xxxxxThe breeze spills, engulfing gorges, ruffling trees. The leaves whisper ancestral stories, signalling from hill to hill creation mysteries. The track wends past abandoned tennis courts, their turf is crushed, compacted anthills that salmon gums reclaim. The creek is waterless but when seeded with rain froglets bleat like lambs. Once trees flaming orange were common ... the granite, grey with age, once barren, yet when Earth trembled, it crevassed and soil collected, water funnelled, plants sowed.

Death and peach pies

03 April 2016 | Brian Doyle

Peach pieHis mum was the kind who baked more than one pie at a time and gave the extra pies away easily and casually. All I knew about her was the pies, because my friend brought in pies for birthdays and teachers' anniversaries and raffles and such at school. My friend said she was too cheerful, a remark I didn't understand. He said she was a different person after his dad died, but who wouldn't be after your spouse died at the kitchen table and got coffee all over the business section of the newspaper?

Lazarus at our gate (Easter poems)

21 March 2016 | Bill Rush, Marlene Marburg, Maureen O'Brien, John Cranmer

xxxxxTo be fair, he wasn't a leaner, he was one of the lifters. Helped to keep the country running, so to speak, and speak he did often, on many topics. He was a leader, and felt justified when others, in the region, followed his lead. It wasn't that he didn't see Lazarus, but more that he saw him differently. Break the rules, help one starving beggar and before you know it there will be a flood of them on your door step. That's how he argued and plenty agreed. Judgement day was a long way off.

The Tale of Meddling Mama Daniel

20 March 2016 | David Ishaya Osu

OkraMy elder sister was negotiating with a mobile seller of wears, and a neighbour, fondly called Mama Daniel, interfered, asking the seller not to sell to my sister, Elizabeth. And my sister pounced on the 40-something-year-old woman. They exchanged blows on their bodies. And my sister, who was more muscular and raging, grabbed the woman's wrapper and opened her secret. This is where everything ended and began, simple and complicated. Elizabeth has been a psychiatric patient since 2006.

The epic life of the real Iphigenia

15 March 2016 | Gillian Bouras

IphigeniaIt was a bright winter's day when we visited Iphigenia. Long widowed, she was meticulously turned out in black traditional outfit. Iphigenia is not sure how old she is; she thinks she is 86. Anglophones regularly make a hash of this beautiful name, the correct pronunciation of which is Ifeeyainya. But the ones I know are intrigued by the mythological character, who was ill-fated, to say the least. I soon learned that there had also been ample sorrow and trauma in the life of the modern Iphigenia, too.

Homeless truths from an agent against poverty

08 March 2016 | Brian Doyle

Gertrude StreetThe tall man had worked for the Brotherhood of Saint Laurence for years, and long ago had lost any illusions about the overarching nobility of people who were hammered and lost and helpless against addictions, diseases, crisis and tragedy. I asked him about the most wonderful people he'd met, and he told me some amazing stories, and then I asked him about the worst, and he told me some horrifying stories, and then his face twisted and he told me about the worst of the worst.

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