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Archive for June, 2009

When talking recently to a school parent group I was asked ‘How do you make your child resilient?’. I had no immediate answer. After some thought I did stumble on an answer, of sorts. If your child is to become resilient then you must be a resilient parent. You cannot solve all of their problems.  Sometimes, they have to deal with their biggest problems by themselves. You can offer support but you cannot live their lives for them. My daughter had to face her inner monsters herself. She did. And she does today. The next two posts offer insights into the heart-crushing challenge of becoming a resilient parent. 

When my daughter was 12 years old

she slipped silently, imperceptibly at first, into anorexia.

‘The Days are Forgetting me’ she scribbled on a note pad.

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And each day she slipped further away from me.

I felt I was watching her walk slowly, deeper and deeper into the still waters of a lonely lake, while I was sealed off from her behind a wall of Perspex, banging, yelling, pressing my face against the glass,

unable to get through to her.

Fear electrified my every thought.

I was her mother. I had to feed her.


Meanwhile, psychologists, psychiatrists and doctors could name the condition.

They could pop her into a diagnostic box.

None could open the lid.

My turning point in understanding this affliction

– this chameleon viper that disappears and returns

to strike in different forms –

was realising I could not control this carnivorous monster consuming my daughter alive.

I could not eat for her. 


It was her monster.

She had to take the stand, she had to turn on it and fight.

Who else could?

Kerry Cue

This is an edited extract from Forgotten Wisdom by Kerry Cue   #mce_temp_url#

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Ivy lives next door to Poempig. She had leukemia. She came to our house one day while she was undergoing chemo ahead of a bone marrow transplant for Leukemia. She had bald patches. She was bloated. She had the chemo plugs hanging out her back. She had shingles. Her medicine made her feel sick. She was 4 years old.

We wanted to do something for Ivy  but what? Poempig is a writer and my daughter, Georgina, is an artist. So we made this book for Ivy.

If you know any kid who is under going chemo please download this book and give it to them. Kids think it is funny. And let parents know today Ivy is a bright and giggly fairy hopping all around the house.
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Poempig finds this poem fascinating.Rodney Williams_photo_resized-3 It appears, at first, to be a simple poem.

It captures one moment in the poet’s life. This poem describes beautifully a flaw of our human condition. We are social animals yet too often our memory is rich on one level and faulty on another leaving us socially inept. We are immobilized by dithering or stuck in a state of indecision. 

On another level the poem tells, in quick snap shots, the very complicated story of another life. 

was that you, by god, after thirty years

outside a roadhouse where I bought

flowers for mother’s day?

she’s passed on since, but your old girl

she was gold, paying me to mow her lawn

a chore that you refused


hell, that must have been you, the kid who held

the biggest parties of boyhood

with ice-cream soft-drink spiders fizzing

and a slot-car set that filled a room –

once you rolled our billy-cart down our hill

right beneath a reversing truck

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by jesus, that was you for sure

my drinking buddy of underage teens

in our fathers’ footsteps

staggering arm in arm down the milky way-

when first busted for dope, you employed no counsel

expecting a bond, amazed by conviction


That was you, by christ, still with pixie-point ears

sizing me up with a squint

you’d learnt doing time inside-

your nephew told me years and beers ago

how he’d gone to a brothel on a footy trip

only to find your wife, his aunt


for god’s sake, that was you, off to your car

and I hate myself now for not calling your name

Rodney Williams

Rodney Williams is a widely published Victorian poet and literature teacher. This poem appeared in The Paradise Anthology 02 available at Readings Bookshop. #mce_temp_url#

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This is a poem about grief and loss. But there is a gentleness to this grief that is both warm and reassuring. There is a joy in the recollection.

A grey path runs beside the metal lake

past empty winter trees. You are there,

a tiny figure with your back to me,

walking away, your red jacket bright,

and the only coloured thing. This photographby lake

one of the last I have of you. We walked

together on that path so many times

to where it curves away, and out of sight.

Michael Thorley

Michael Thorley is an Australian poet who writes in both traditional and free-verse forms. His book Sleeping Alone can be purchased at Ginninderra Press, ACT #mce_temp_url#

Clip Pic: Okaiuz’s Photostream: #mce_temp_url#

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Poempig lives in the epicentre of Australian Swine Flu hysteria…. duly catching one of the lesser bugs. Going to the doctor suffering from flu-potential was a new experience. I was met out the front by a receptionist and given a mask and then escorted into a back room. Tamiflu was prescribed by a masked doctor. Being isolated in a back room had its advantages. I was, of course, saved form the germ fest in the waiting room. Nevertheless, the achy, breaky flu-like symptoms put me into a poetic if-dulled state of mind.


There is a certain age

When the doctor – still shuffling his notes –

Looks up at you and says

You have the -tism.

And, ah, some -itis too.


To deal with the -tism

You must forgo youthful indifference, late night indulgence and chaotic inattention

Embrace a more monastic, ordered liferocking chair

And eat green vegetables

(Grown, out back, in the monastic garden, no doubt!)

The -itis also demands a rigid, rule-based existence

With different coloured pills.

Pink this time.


Keeping company with the -tism

Is like living with a crack-cocaine addict

It flares up and attacks you

For no reason and with no warning.

The -itis hangs around your life 

Like a depressed house mate

Moping and moaning and turning every  simple chore

– like getting out of bed – into an epic quest.


At some point the realisation dawns

The crack addict and the depressive

Are now your companions for life.

It is not how you imagined it

Sitting on the porch

(Note to self: Get a porch)

The three odd amigos

You, the -itis and the -tism.

Kerry Cue

Clip Pic comes from the tragically appropriate Lie_inourgraves Photostream: #mce_temp_url#

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