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Dreams, storms and boyhood

28 September 2015 | David Ishaya Osu

ThunderstormA family of four: an ex secret, a doll to share new moons with, a sky-blue diary and a door — nobody does the sign of the cross during sex; a braid of moonlight and shadow directs your head to a pillow, and next to your window hangs a raindrop ready to touch your heart; even a rat cannot feast on a field of vows; can i go outside of this life, you ask.

Ode to the demise of hard rubbish

22 September 2015 | Sally Cloke

Hard rubbishOur local council has announced the end of hard rubbish. As an adult, my enthusiasm for what the council calls 'scavenging' has become the source of many beautiful and useful items. But my objections are philosophical as well as practical. Ugliness has its place, and at clean out time, we literally bring to our doorsteps what we would rather put of sight and mind. Hard rubbish symbolises the costs of our throw-away consumer society while going a small way towards recouping some of them.

The children of Aleppo

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21 September 2015 | Graham Kershaw

Pines in SyriaI dreamt of a family escaping through pines, over the crest of a forest, young and old struggling down to the shore of a great cold lake, their only hope of escape; no boat was there, but the strong might try to carry the old, at least, if they cared enough. And it made me want to simply run away, to escape the brain-ache of not doing what we are best made to do.

I was a teenage Cold War Russophile

17 September 2015 | Brian Matthews

Josef StalinWhen Josef Stalin died on 5 March 1953, a couple of months into my Matriculation year, my Russophile leanings seemed about to be intensified. Research in those days was a matter of consulting encyclopaedias, or, if possible, going to the Public Library, but in Stalin's case the newspapers were full of reports, history, anecdote, judgement and various degrees of relief, so there was suddenly plenty of information.

Broken porcelain illuminates destructive Dutch colonial legacy

15 September 2015 | Bernard Appassamy

Admiral Pieter Both400 years ago, when Mauritius was still uninhabited, a cyclone thrust three tall ships of the Dutch East India Company against the coral reef. As the ships were ripped apart and thousands of Ming porcelain pieces on board smashed, the crew fought for their lives, but 75 men including the fleet commander Admiral Pieter Both, drowned. I picture that Sunday afternoon in the 1980s when my mother and I were wading in the water close to a familiar beach and found washed up shards of the porcelain. 

The aquarium's tapestry of colour and light

14 September 2015 | Edith Speers

AquariumThe jelly fish are fringed silk shawls ... the anemones are embroidery samplers ... the coral is not calcified not brittle hard as bone ... the prettiest fish are fabric for blouses made of silk.

Flowers react to Spring

07 September 2015 | Chris Wallace-Crabbe and Les Wicks

CyclamensBig daisies bulge on their bush, the lurid cyclamens are crouched in squeals of shocking pink, but raggedy scarlet geraniums have been out all winter and don’t give a stuff.

Redesign my soul

31 August 2015 | Rodney Wetherell

Todd SampsonMy soul's antennae are TV-tested for searching power, speed, vibrations — sluggishness is found, and some corrosion, but not a power of deep delusion. I pass, but barely — could do better. Empathy is down, the next test finds, neighbours more passed by than loved. And do I love myself?

The girl who stole her brothers' honour

24 August 2015 | Moya Pacey

Muslim womanIn the dark cage of the village ... They shaved her black curls, closed her green eyes, scooped the body into a sack - threw it into the cold river.

Real estate agents and the crime of locality theft

20 August 2015 | Brian Matthews

Sydney City of Villages signWe set off towards the beach and the esplanade that meanders towards what the better class of resident likes to call the 'village'. 'I prefer "township" – it's more Australian,' I said. Roy scoffed at what he called 'this "village" nonsense.' Referring to electronic theft of credit card numbers, online personal details, he said: 'I reckon there's also a phenomenon you could call locality theft.'

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