The Temple Spirit

A few years ago I visited Aphrodisias, a ruined Greek temple in Turkey. Dedicated to the goddess Aphrodite, the temple is situated in the ancient fertile crescent of Mesopotamia. Before the Greeks arrived to built their temple city an even older temple dedicated to the Goddess Ishtar stood upon the site.

As I walked around the broken pillars of the temple I stumbled slightly:-

In spring scented air
time spirals.
No longer bound in linearity
eras become parallel.
The Goddess as a living presence
is etched into the tumbled stones.
Encoded messages echo across the years.

Stored away,
carried within me,
it is only now the meanings emerge.
Look for beauty.
Art, music and poetry can inspire
even in the darkest times.

Some photos from Aphrodisias:-

I wrote this in response to this week’s Earthweal prompt but when I went to link it I realised my response wasn’t what was asked for at all. I’ll post it anyway and may write something more in line with the Earthweal prompt later this week.

Reflections on the bubble

Here in Victoria, Australia all singles have been placed in an isolation bubble by the Government. We are allowed one visitor to our home but it must always be the same person. We can meet with 5 people outside the home but we must all be in masks and social distance. Being a capitalist country we can, of course, shop and go to cafes but only if we wear a mask.

Life is such that the people in my bubble are often busy. Mostly I am alone in my bubble.

deep inside my bubble
I clean house
– physically, metaphorically.

Everything I no longer need
is going now.
One way or another,
slowly and steadily,
my bubble grows cleaner

Outside I hear the tumult,
the mounting chaos.
Last night in a dream
as I ate chicken soup in a cafe
I heard a voice say
‘We’ve crossed a line now,
there is no going back.’

Inside my bubble
I feel myself changing.
Artifice dissolves,
I am becoming something other
than who I thought I was/
something wilder,

linked to –


Going bush (away from conformist suburban eyes) the woman slips between the trees. She finds the secret paths where few go –

Owl hoots
The veil thins.
The woman removes the sterile
mask of compliance she wears
to get by
– mandatory now in her State –
Snake hisses.

Silvan and silver flashes.

In the green world time moves differently
– elliptically.
Meanings coalesce.
Spider webs glitter with dew.
Portals open.
The future and the deep, deep past
collide in effervescent nowness.
Anything is possible at this cusp of the ages.

Enslaved minds will never see the pathways to the new.

Break free.

prompt:  - take up a mask and start singing.

Ghosts of the Past

An extinct animal that haunts the Australian psyche is the thylacine or Tasmanian Tiger. The animal once roamed freely across eastern Australia on both the mainland and the island of Tasmania. Although the last known thylacine died in a Tasmanian zoo in 1937 sightings are reported from time to time.

‘The Thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus: dog-headed pouched-dog) is a large carnivorous marsupial now believed to be extinct. It was the only member of the family Thylacinidae to survive into modern times. It is also known as the Tasmanian Tiger or Tasmanian Wolf.’

Here is an edited version of a haibun I wrote the thylacine in 2014:-

It was mid winter when I thought I saw a Thylacine. At the time I lived by the shores of wild and wooded estuary. It was a cold winter’s morning and a thick white mist had barrelled in from the water and surrounded my house.

I was gazing into this nothingness drinking my coffee when a strange animal slunk along the narrow road at the bottom of my garden. Stripes ran across its sloping elongated back and it loped past on heavy padded feet.

No sooner had I rushed to the window for a closer look than it was gone –
disappearing back into the mists from which it came –leaving me with a vision of possibilities and a wild, soaring hope.

Creature of legend
loping out of the mist
into the mythic

A journal page I made in 2013

The notes I have jotted on the side of the page must have come from internet site on the metaphysical meaning of the thylacine. They read: ‘Thylacine symbolizes the desire to seek a deeper reality. Thylacine represents withdrawing from the mainstream – going within – following your instincts. Going deep into nature’s hidden places.’

I did an internet search for the source of this information but couldn’t find it. Instead I found this:-

‘The thylacine is a strong symbol of the unknown and the unknowable, making peace with the fact some questions in our lives may never be answered. Thylacine can teach us to step back from the public eye and live our lives along our own paths, protected from the pressures of outside influence.’

Looked at in that light the thylacine becomes the perfect symbol for me during this strange and difficult time.

prompt: For this challenge, write of haunted wilderness. What is the resonance of those lost relations? What has grown more significant in absence? What evidence of their passing lingers in co-dependent species? What would an ecosystems composed of myriad hauntings look and sound like? How is the magnitude of that changing in the Sixth Extinction? (Can a single whale’s song now be heard around the world?) How is human culture absorbing this magnified absence? Can seeds of renewal to be found, planted in cold moonlight? What new possibilities and futures might arise from such wild dearth and death?

Waiting on the Vatic Voice

I read Lisa’s poem and then I read her prompt. Intrigued I went from there to world music then to online articles about the vatic voice. I read Donald Hall’s essay

At the end of his essay he wrote that if you can’t hear the voice – wait – it will come when it will.

I then read an article about the vatic voice and psycho analysis After quoting Judith Butler –

“Let’s face it. We’re all undone by each otber. And if not, we’re missing something.”

the author wrote “So I sit down to write, solitary but not alone.” At that point I also picked up my pen and began to write.

I used to see an analyst.
Years ago
when my husband died.
After a time he said
I wasn’t to come back.

Am I cured? I asked.

As cured as any of us are, he replied.
What you suffer from is the human condition.
There is no cure for that.

I’ve kept on experiencing the human condition ever since. Forever being bought undone by others and with no way out but through then Covid 19.
A full stop.
With no others to bring me undone I perfect the art of doing so for myself, solitary but not alone. My human condition taking centre stage until

Music, meditation and the violet flame
quivering on the edge of consciousness
pure light dissolving all that is not light

as I wait to hear the vatic voice


Write a poem, any form, about the vatic voice. It could be speaking as a God to a poet. It could be a poet receiving a message.  It could be a poem of prophesy.  It could be about one others regard as mad by their words. It could be you invoking the vatic voice. After you’ve chosen your perspective and completed your poem, I would like you to say a few words about the process you went through and how it felt.

2020 Vision

My photo from 2012 of The Skelligs off the west coast of Ireland. Skellig Michael is the taller rocky pinnacle.

Standing on the shore,
an aging tourist from a foreign land,
I saw Skellig Michael
floating on the horizon,
ethereal upon the azure sea.
Celtic Christians had once
perched on those craggy spires
meditating on the sacred word
their brethren at Iona
inscribed in the Book of Kells.

I had gazed upon an open page
in the library at Dublin University
the day after, or maybe
the day before
I saw the studio of Francis Bacon
preserved as it was when he died,
all dripping paint cans and stained chaotic intensities
– the birthplace of the screaming popes

Twelve hundred years apart,
Skellig Michael
mystic and inaccessible,
the screaming popes
so last century now,
yet both foreshadowing
this 2020 vision
that expose all our darknesses
even as the light and beauty of nature
hovers on the threshold
of some mystical, sacred union
where the scream becomes the prayer
and the world is birthed anew.

Study after Velázquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X - Wikipedia
Study after Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent XFrancis Bacon, 1953. Oil on canvas, 153cm x 118cm. Des Moines Art CenterDes MoinesIowa
(image found on Wikipedia)


As the global year’s tide now turns—toward winter in the Northern Hemisphere, and summer in the South—I wonder what Michaelmas festival poems of the Anthropocene look like. Can we sing to the elements, sing to the depths, sing to the animals, sing to the change and its ghosts, and sing to our fellows? There’s no going back to pre-Christian 400 AD, much less the suburbs of the 1950s: We must comfit ourselves to this turning page. Maybe the music can only sound ironic and dreadful; maybe not. It is up to us to find out.

— Brendan

Ancient voices

When General Weirdness seized control
chaos was unleashed upon the world.

The denizens of Olympus held counsel.
Jolly Jupiter bounced about shining a light.
“Well said,” he cheered when anyone spoke.

The old heavies Saturn and Pluto
faced off, called each other out.
An archetypal battle ensued.
The forces of the establishment,
the status quo, pushed hard.
The urges for transformation,
rebirth and regeneration gathered strength
as the old clashed with the forces for change.

Headstrong Mars was unusually reflective.
All this fighting, he mused,
it’s perpetuating the trouble.
The real enemy is the self.

Exactly, Chiron groaned.
His unhealed wound had flared
and his patience was stretched.
True healing starts within,
I’ve said that all along.

Pallas Athene parleyed.
We need a strategy, she said,
clear eyed and level headed.

Far off in the distance
an ancient voice was heard.
Unseen for millennia
a half forgotten apparition drew closer,
Sedna. the Inuit Queen of the Sea,
the protector of whales and fish.
My home has been despoiled, she wailed.
Plastic waste pollutes the depths.
I will wreak vengeance.
The humans will suffer.

They already are, quiet Ceres murmured.
The bees are dying.
Drought and fire lay waste the land.
Her gentle voice silenced all.
Ultimately she held the power.
Without her nothing grew.
All life died.

Sedna spoke again.
Far older than the Olympians
her indigenous awareness came in a wave –
Restore the balance.
Forget your grievances against each other.
Overcome your victim consciousness.
Beyond all that is unity.
An ecological wholeness.

There’s the strategy,
Athena cried in triumph.
The healing comes in finding common ground.
Beyond egoic separatist desires,
all personal greed and selfishness,
the protection of the biosphere
becomes the greater purpose.

prompt: “What are the figures, from myth and mystery, from the animal world and our dead, from prehistoric depths and personal history, who can tell us something important about going forward?”

This poem was inspired by Archetypal Astrology and the movement of the celestial bodies in 2020