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There used to be dozens, if not hundreds. People were always thinking they knew me, or saying I reminded them of someone. But that stopped decades ago; they must have all died out by now - or maybe they all lived further south of here, where I USED to live.
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Cat Levi: monarch. Cat Freya: bed tester and gourmet food sampler.
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She was my Grade 3 teacher. She'd be well and truly dead by now, but perhaps I'd show her ghost this poem I wrote some years ago:


MISS WINTER

Winter morning ice.
Ice that burns and steams.
The vapour of cold breath.
Hands raw with cold.
“Take off your mittens.”

We stand in a circle
in the small wooden room.
Pale sun whitens the windows.
Our teacher is called Miss Winter.
Her voice cracks like ice
and her eyes gleam.

I have an excuse.
I say, as Mummy told me:
“Please, Miss Winter,
may I be excused?
I didn’t do my homework because . . .”

“Nay!” she says, waiting no further.
The eyes narrow. She lifts her arm.
The cane slices, whistling,
stinging my eight-year-old hand,
then all the others around the circle.
Now they ache with heat.

We are not allowed to rub.
We are not allowed to cry.
“Go back to your places.”
We stumble, freezing and blazing.
I grow up hating Winter.
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Never mind temperate; sub-tropical meself.

I HATE the cold, regard it as a hostile environment, refuse to live in it, visit only for the most inescapable of reasons (such as son's wedding or stepson's 40th birthday) and think it seriously weird that anyone is prepared to tolerate it, let alone that some people actually LIKE it. Ugh!
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Hellooo, Pagan here.

My Beloved hankered for a tree this year — until I shrieked, 'You want to CUT DOWN A TREE???' and added, 'It's not even our festival.' In the Northern Hemisphere you can at least say it's Yule, which got coopted. Here, it's Midsummer actually. (Though it's a bit hard to tell this year, with all the rain and storms.)

For a few years I had a nice glittery 5-pointed star in a circle, which I hung on the front door so we didn't look too Grinchy. Whoever cared to could interpret it as a xmas star. WE knew it was a pentacle! Sadly, it finally went the way of all flesh and I haven't been able to find another. I settled for a big silver star and a big gold one, hanging in front and back windows respectively. (6-pointed; only bought 'em cos I thought they were 5, but I was mistaken.)

This small town has a great mix of religions — Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian, 7th Day Adventist, Jehovah's Witness, Sikh, Buddhist, Hare Krishna, Sai Baba.... We don't have a synagogue or a mosque, but all the aforementioned have churches/temples. And then of course there's us Pagans, whose temple is the whole outdoors. Though many of us are out of the broom closet, very few people seem to notice that we exist. Funnily enough, most of them others look normal too!

My point is that there is some degree of tolerance, because there simply has to be. Even on this street, no-one much would care what we did or didn't have up by way of decoration. The stars are to mollify Hubby. He wanted streamers and all, but I pointed out that we have no grandchildren visiting this year, and asked if he was going to be the one to climb up and do them, reminding him we are both somewhat elderly and arhritic these days. End of conversation.

We have received a few xmas cards, and they are up on the mantelpiece. We aren't sending any, but will send 'Season's Greetings' or Happy Holy Days' by email and social networks. (The grandkids got pressies, because I won't inflict my views on them, and in any case I like an excuse to give them things. I cannot persuade Spouse that I don't want anything myself, so we have figured out an exchange of gifts — no surprises, things we wanted anyway.)

We'll get to go out to meals a bit, to kind (non-Christian) friends who invited us. And Youngest Stepson is visiting for a few days. But for the most part we are taking as little notice as possible of the occasion.

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Yes indeed. I haven't found an upper limit yet, but after the second go I do need a fair bit of time between readings/viewings: years, or at least months.

Movies I could see over and over: Gone with the Wind, the first Star Wars movie (now Episode IV), Hero, Empire of the Sun, The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus ... just for starters. I'd like to see Raintree County again, but it's not around so I suppose the print hasn't survived.

Books I never tire of — oh, far too many to list titles. Authors whose books I re-read and re-read: Alexandre Dumas, Pamela Frankau, Elizabeth Goudge, Rumer Godden, Charlotte Bronte, lots and lots of poets, various magickal tomes ...

A couple of titles I must mention: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery and Illusions by Richard Bach. Oh, and of course the Conversations with God books by Neale Donald Walsch.
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It's not an Australian holiday. Remembering gratitude is always a good idea, I think, and I do it by writing down things I'm grateful for, every so often.
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Freshly mown grass = family weekends.
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I met and fell in love with one much later than the other, but didn't fall out of love with the first (to whom I am married).

It worked out well, partly because I was only in close proximity to number 2 for a short time. Even so, I felt torn for a long time afterwards. I believe it was difficult for him too, although he accepted my situation. Eventually he also fell in love with someone else and they have been together ever since. To all intents and purposes we have become friends. We know it's rather more than that, and so do our partners, but we are all mature people and all these loves are true loves of the soul, so there is no jealousy, and we have got over the longing.

It undoubtedly helps that we live in different countries and all concerned know there is no intention of wrecking our primary relationships. Nevertheless it's an important connection and we are in each other's lives to stay, even though we don't expect to meet in person again.

I'm sure it has been difficult for our partners too, but they have come to terms with it in great generosity of spirit and we all regard each other as dear friends, though some of us are closer than others.

From the first, I made a decision that it wasn't going to be about suffering!
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I'm a bit over Blog Action Day, particularly as this year the organiser does not respond to emails and the widget for one's blog is a petition which can only be signed by USA people (although the one you can sign at the BAD website is global). Also it is impossible for one person to register more than one of their blogs.

I was enthusiastic the last coupla years, and it was all working much better then, too. However I have come to the conclusion it doesn't do much actual good anyway. A lot of noise but no real action. At least this year there is the petition, which allows for some kind of action. But it's a very non-specific petition. There is also the possibility of fund-raising to build wells, which might be more effective.

But anyway, I've been out all day and now the date is over.

Later: I did after all do some late posts at other blogs. Wot-the-heck, water matters!
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 Buffy forever! I'd be one of Willow's witchy friends.
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D'Artagnan. He's my animus. (I'd pick the Gene Kelly version.)
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Carlina

‘Yes, Rod Craig,’ I said,
ripping off my mask —
‘I AM Carlina!’
and I smiled: a wicked smirk
of curling crimson lips.

My little brother
and his friend,
the kid from next door,
got a bit scared.
They knew I was quoting, but,
 ‘You really changed!’
they said later.

My slanty green eyes flashed.
I tilted my hips
in the black sheath dress
and casually sharpened my nails —
my long, red, pointed nails —
on the slim dagger
I kept in my boot.

I met Carlina in a comic book:
the evil beauty,
a seductress who killed.
I was not repelled.

Her hair was black and sleek,
rippling down her back.
No mere gangster’s moll,
she was the brains of  the gang.
She schemed. She gave orders.

Always, I was the one
who scripted our games.
The day Carlina entered in,
the script went wild;
I followed where she led.

Dangerous battles happened.
We fought with improvised guns.
(Guns were forbidden; we didn’t care.)
We scaled high back yard fences
or writhed like snakes through scrub.

I got to know a lot about her
that wasn’t in the book.

Once she’d been a pirate,
captain of her own fleet.
She began as a dancer, a gypsy.
She could pass for an aristocrat.

When our mothers called us indoors,
Carlina disappeared smartly.
I knew she had to be secret.
She threatened the little boys
so they wouldn’t tell.
They never did.

The mask melds with my flesh.
For years I live inside
its comfortable normality.
I raise my kids ... I go to work ...

Suddenly in late middle age
I dye my hair wild magenta,
wear low cut gowns,
and a bold pendant
shaped like a sword.
My lips are painted purple.

Yes, Rod Craig,
I AM Carlina!


© 2006

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No need for designing.  Nothing wrong with the Enterprise! With original crew, of course. Though, thinking it over, I reckon I'll take the even more adventurous Millennium Falcon, complete with scrumptious Han Solo as pilot.
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Well, let's see. First great love nine years older than me. Three husbands respectively six, three, and ten and a half years older. Most important other loves eleven years older; then nine, eighteen and twenty-three years younger. (Yes, all concerned were consenting adults.)

It isn't age that matters, it's character.
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Oh, really - surely everyone knows the answer? It's 42.
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(I think it was Einstein who said,) 'In a choice of two evils, choose neither.'
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I'm a Scorpio. Need I say more?  (I'm also a writer, so I shall.)

I have experienced the fact that hatred and unforgivenes are poisons to oneself. But I like Ron Smothermon's definition of forgiveness (in the book Winning Through Enlightenment): 'giving up all claim to revenge'. (You might get revenge, but you can't be righteous about it ... and there will be consequences.) Forgiving the person frees up one's own energy to get on with life.

What forgiveness does NOT mean is condoning the behaviour, failing to hold the person accountable, going on as if nothing had happened, or keeping them in your life. You might choose to do any or all of those things, but then know it's a choice; it's not an inherent part of forgiveness, doesn't have to come with the territory.

I find it harder to forgive those who have wounded people dear to me than those who have done it directly to me. However, I know it is necessary for my own health, and in any case is not helpful to the people I care about. So I manage it.

In the few cases of serious betrayal I've experienced, my attitude to such persons is most certainly changed, and I have chosen to exclude them, implacably, from my life forevermore. Why would I keep people around me whom I disliked and distrusted?

If someone did something I considered despicable in a general kind of way, rather than personally to me or mine, and it was clear they meant it, yes my attitude to them would change: I would despise them for it, obviously. It might depend on the circumstances whether I called them on it or ignored it. I would probably say something rather than appear to condone it. I might continue to be polite thereafter, but they would not be numbered amongst my nearest and dearest.

Leopards can change their spots — but it's rare, and I'd take a lot of convincing.

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