Archive for the ‘finding meaning in life’ Category

A good poem for me has to slip under my skin and inhabit my being. Here is a poltergeist poem that has set up residence in my conscious mind and keeps rustling through and disturbing my thoughts when least expected.  Its range from statistics to thermodynamics is broad. But such matters are inconsequential compared with the theme of this poem, which stretches beyond the universe and outside of time.

This extract from the book Generosity by Richard Powers is an embedded poem of polestar brilliance. (As quoted in The Australian 19/12/09 Book Review Geordie Williamson)

Art is a way of saying what it means to be alive,

and the most salient feature of existence

are the unthinkable odds against it.

For every way there is of being here,

there are an infinity of ways of not being here.

Historical accident snuffs out whole universes

with every clock tick.

Statistics declare us ridiculous.

Thermodynamics prohibits us.

Life, by any reasonable measure, is impossible,

and my life – this, here now –

infinitely more so.

Art is a way of saying,

in the face of all that impossibility,

just how worth celebrating it is

to be able to say anything at all.

Richard Powers

Richard Powers is the author of ten novels, including Galatea 2.2 and The Echo Maker , Generosity. His writing often combines fiction with the themes of historical events or, as with his latest book, scientific developments. He has received numerous honors and awards including a MacArthur Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, and the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for Historical Fiction. He lives in Illinois. (Photo credit:Lorenzo Ciniglio. Books can be purchased through Richard Powers website.)

Generosity (Atlantic 2009)

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The following is a quote/poem, which you will find embedded in My Colombian Death, the latest book by author Matthew Thompson. The quote is about running with ‘ bulls and murderers’ but 

the impact of this self-contained poem emerges from how it challenges each of us to stop and reflect on our own life.

‘I know it in my bones now colombian-death

that the raw shocks of life 

-even as they wound, or threaten to –

shake existence into its essence.

It’s lack of impacts that undoes a man.’

by Matthew Thompson

                                                                             My Colombian Death (Picador) #mce_temp_url#

Quote from p40 Review  The Australian Running with the Wild Bulls Imre Salusinszky (Feb 7-8, 2009)

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Trying to wipe a protesting chocolate-smeared face with one preloved tissuefifties-mom

Listening for the sound of the front door latch.

1am. 2am. Where are they? Sleep banished to the drumming of your heart.

Stop bouncing that bloody ball!


Darling, you’re a goat in The Three Billy Goats Gruff. You have to be a goat.

Not a princess. Put on some glitter. You can be a goat princess.

The cry, the gasp….pushing new life into the world

How could you cut his hair? Look at him. He looks like an 8-year-old monk!

Yes. I am his mother. What hospital? How bad?

The others? Thank God. (Strong words for an almost atheist.)


You can’t wear that t-shirt. I don’t care if everyone’s wearing them

and you are a PORN STAR. No. That’s not what I meant.

Clever boy! Wee wee in the potty. Bring on the brass band!

I can’t just go to the hole in the wall and get money. It doesn’t work like that.

But you can’t be a vegetarian! You don’t like vegetables.


The small fey-like fist clasping your little finger

You’ve made some honeycomb. Greeeat! And what tornado hit the kitchen?

Your father and I do know one or two things about sex! Don’t look so shocked!!!!!

STOOOOP! You WERE going to hit that car. I am not panicking.

I’m the licensed driver. You’re the learner. Remember.

Sorry Luke. She’s at Under 14 swimming. Perhaps you could ring back in 2 years time!


You will call us from your bohemian hovel, occasionally. Won’t you?

Oh Look! Mummy’s wallets in the toilet! How DO you wash $20 bills?

Knock. Knock. Who’s there. Bumface. Bumface Who? Bumface you!!

The tears. Someone will love you. Sometime. I promise. (I do. I love you.)


Motherhood: cont…..


Between these moments, maybe because of them

Into your psyche sweeps the image of the Mythical Mom

In her chariot of goodliness. All gleam and glow!

No oil dripping on your thoughts from her chariot hubs.


She is, for me, the Fifties TV cup-cake making mom.

A pert Harriet Nelson. Frilly in her stereotype apron.

School lunches packed. Kitchen clean.

Serving me – by reason of certain inadequacies- lashings of cup-cake guilt.

Every so often, I try and fit myself

Into her smooth cup cake mould

But I’m all rough edges and jutting bits


I want to warn you about her! The Mythical Mom!

She is a chameleon. She becomes the perfect hue and shade 

Of everything you aren’t!

And she’ll turn up, uninvited on the doorstep of your unease

All knowing, mixing bowl in hand

To marble the shadows of guilt into your motherhood.


But those moments (of motherhood)

Are yours. Not hers.

They form the language and texture of your motherhood

They make you into the mother only you can be!        

Kerry Cue                          


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