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10 November 2016 |
One minute you're escorting your five-year-old daughter to the school gate, the next you're popping a bottle of Veuve Cliquot and wondering where the last 17 years went. My grandmother told me children age you. I thought she meant they wore you down, put grey hairs on your head. But I understood after I'd become a parent myself. Children are hour glasses that cannot be laid on their sides for even a moment, but must be turned over as soon as the last grain of sand has fallen through the flue.
08 November 2016 |
'Pull the levers, scoop the coffee, flatten it, steam fragrant liquid into white cups. My lever-pulling right arm has huge muscles from my coffee ballet. Around me: the buzz of conversations about people's plans for their day. No one knows I am lonely.' Short story by former Eureka Street editorial assistant Mary Manning, who died on Tuesday 8 November 2016.
06 November 2016 |
Have you ever noticed the way that book and reality sometimes entwine and become essentially one? It's happening here and now as we contemplate these few hot days in Hawker and the Flinders. Anita Desai's The Zigzag Way creates a context for living here at this particular ephemeral moment. Altiplano Mexico in all it's barren frugality integrates with these hot and marginal plains hemmed in by the cragginess of surrounding scarplands with their many strong stories
23 October 2016 |
This is what I saw at a funeral, on a bright brilliant crystal spring day which the late lamented would most surely have called a great day for golf: His grandson, age smallish, dandling the deceased's favourite club on the lawn outside the church, as all the mourners stood around chatting. The boy whirled it like a baton, and balanced it on a finger, and finally leaned insouciantly on the club, exactly as his grandfather had so very many times before. It seemed very much to be a prayer, somehow.
16 October 2016 |
When I was a kid, I certainly knew, that a cassowary in Tinbuctoo, was able to eat a missionary, cassock, bands and hymn-book, too. Because it rhymed, it had to be true. But what on earth were those bands doing? Nothing musical, I'll be bound, And a cassock, what sort of jigger was that?
12 October 2016 |
I attempted at one stage to lodge snippets of William Blake's Songs of Innocence and of Experience into the minds of our children. Emily complained that 'symmetry' didn't really rhyme with 'hand or eye'; Ben was and is more into dragons than tigers. The question later pondered of Blake's tiger 'Did He smile His work to see? Did He who made the lamb make thee?' regularly confronts me, as my wife semi-mourns and I embrace the maturing process that is taking our children towards adulthood.
09 October 2016 |
'You'd be on the beach with me, dearest, and your favourite birds nearby as if making gifts of themselves to you. Sharing was what we were doing, and there seemed no end to it, though there would be, darkness coming on, no knowing when but not yet, not quite yet.' Poetry by Max Richards, who died after sustaining head injuries in a car accident in Seattle on 21 September.
02 October 2016 |
I read it somewhere in a journal of cardiology. Sometimes I mention it at dinner parties. The use of time, the clenching of the heart that can be no stranger to the beats of a clock, and all that accompanies the emptying and filling of chambers where silence must be an unknown but still love sluices and cleans and restarts as the surgeons did in the old Middlesex.
25 September 2016 |
Across the black hole of my solitude, the self-indulgent pit where I lick self-inflicted wounds, lightly step returning refugees. They know why they trek through forest, crossing rivers, day by day, on bruised and lacerated feet, in rain, on clay, on sharp-edged stones. For them there is no other way, and they are going home ... They have no doubt where they belong, the dying and the newly-born, no time to squander on regrets: they are going home ...
21 September 2016 |
Being unique has its pros. It has made me a compassionate person able to see past the differences in people. And although I am a dwarf by birth I don't identify as that. Being the creative free-spirit that I am I have come to reject any labels put on me. I haven't let my medical condition define me; instead I have created my own identity. As the writer Helen Keller once said, 'Face your deficiencies and acknowledge them; but do not let them master you. Let them teach you patience, sweetness, insight.'
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