Friday, 5 June 1998

Italian business


it's all become so pointless
the reasons all so vague
the "why"s have all just faded
even "why not"s are a plague

another dingy hotel room
a long way from my home
another foreign boring meal
eaten on my own

another day with driven youths
all stary eye'd and keen
another faded afternoon
the morning quite unseen

and watching old and ugly men
wash down their pasta meals
with cheap and nasty hotel wine
i wonder how that feels

and soon i'll trudge up to my bed
alone with CNN
it's all that i can understand
though it drives me round the bend

at least the French have BBC
and cheap and goodly wine
but what-the-hell i'll read and sleep
and dream my dreams divine

Beggars on a Train


She can't have been more than seven
an "almost" accordion
tunelessly, noisily but not loud
clutched in her little hands

she came to each of us
her eyes looking, seeing, knowing
- to me she held out her hand
and maybe 30 francs i gave
she ran back to the old women
old before their time

she showed them the riches in her hand
looking to me with a smile
they all looked

soon, the oldest woman was sitting,
staring, pleading
across from me
i did not know her words
but her meaning was clear
3 children, i have 3 children to feed

again i gave
more she pleaded
until i was without change
enough only to escape
still the guilt of my meager wealth i felt

she had eyes still quite beautiful
quite beautiful

Where do we Go?


where do we go to Lord?
on our wings of steel
an ever increasing flock of folk
building need on action
Babel towers
cities beyond the dreams of our fathers
and our birds beyond belief
fly from each to each
and i only one

So many Lord


So many
so very very many
we fulfilled the Clause Lord
we went forth and multiplied
what now Your plan
for us?
or do You scratch Your Head
like me?

(i know that You do not scratch
but do You itch a little?)

If only i could paint


the morning light in Paris
inspires me
even ugly ticky-tacky
has beauty in this light
soft and gentle
clean, defining
ah, if only i could paint

to a poet


i grew up with your songs
i sang them too (and played)
your Donna made me cry
and still, at times
the wind you sought to catch
is the very same that blows
through the corridors of my life

and then i met you - hale and hearty still
and though i tried
to say how much you meant
i could not find the way
my commitments took me
and you are gone

a moment treasured
and another moment lost
be well my friend
be well and sing your poems
for such as you
come only time to time

I was working in Rome - i'd been flown there from Melbourne after having only had one day to recover from having returned from France. I was pretty tired. The company i was working for had put me up at a hotel near to where i had to work for the whole weekend. It was pretty nice. It was there that i first experienced one of the most divine dishes i have every had - "three cheeses" pasta. Words can not do justice to that meal. I remember taking some from the buffet expecting it would be like some pasta i had had in Australia - just so so. But when i got back to my table and forked a little into my mouth my whole life changed. It was just so totally overwhelming. Delicious does not describe it. It was literally life changing.

The next evening i went back for more - that was i think the Friday. The hotel restaurant was almost empty. I sat alone with a book and took a sip of my wine while i looked around. There was another man, bearded, sitting alone at a nearby table - i lifted my glass in greeting to him and he beckoned me over to join him.

We sat and ate and drank wine and talked for hours about life after having introduced each other by first name. He was really quite delightful - very interested in everything i was doing and what i had done. The talk drifted to how i had played music for years before i had started my IT business. He asked me a lot about music and it was not long before i was telling him about those musicians who had most influenced me. At one stage i even sang him one of my favorite songs "Donna" by Donovan.

He smiled at that and said that i had sung the song really well. There was something about that smile. Donovan. That was the name he had given me when we introduced ourselves.

THAT Donovan!

I was embarrassed to have not recognized him but he was so much older than the very young man i had only known from  record covers. He laughed it off.

He asked me if i could still play the mandolin. I told him yes indeed, it's been one of my greatest loves. Then he asked me if i would like to come and join him on stage for his concert the next night. He would provide me with a mandolin.

Me? On stage with Donovan? Are you kidding? Yes oh yes yes please.

Oh what a total fool am i. You know, the following day i had to work on a sale that required a lot of technical input at Italy's biggest telecommunications company - and they had supplied me with a whole team of technical people to work with. All through the time i was there i knew but would not admit to myself that the sale would go nowhere - that these conniving Italians were just bleeding me of all i knew of the technology so they could build their own version of what i had done. I knew it yet i kept at it even when on Saturday the work dragged on and on and as the deadline for me to leave to go to the concert drew near and passed i became more and more depressed.

I never got to go and play the mandolin for Donovan. I never even got to see him again because the next day i had to fly out again to go to France.

So sorry Donovan - if you ever read this i hope you know that i have regretted missing that opportunity ever since.

But thanks so much for what you did give me because that was a great night and not because you are "Donovan" but because it was the only time in all my travels that i enjoyed dining with someone so gracious and friendly.


New Idolatry


We squabble for the pennies of the poor
our towers of glass and steel?
cathedrals - nothing more
our hymns? - commercial jingles
our "priests" are CEO's
and all of us bow down to growth
who are we?
heaven knows.

Lord i blunder


Lord i Blunder
    do you wonder why i fail?
i am less than perfect Lord
my skill with people is as war
for i fear all and myself most

Lord i fail
    to make each moment wonderful
i have given hurt and insult
i am so often neglectful
of the feelings and needs of others

Lord i cry
    and why when all your work astounds?
for myself yes - and for others, for all my kind
their pain and loss and their fear
i feel it all Lord and stagger from the weight

Lord i die
    and who am i to hope for otherwise?
i feel it coming, each second, minute, hour
the end is not far away and what have i done?
what good have i been?

what tasks for me Lord?
   that will make what little is left of value?

Oh Sleep


Oh Sleep
escape from all my pain
come, let us walk together
i can not stand
or sit
in peace

Crowded Airport


sadness and wonder build up inside me
sitting, watching, listening
amid thousands of moving faces
worlds each, as mine

how can i feel anything but alone
amid so many?

I've looked for a familiar face
but all are
and none at all

i've searched the eyes of others
a flicker of companionship
but each world focuses on itself
and i am alone with mine
and it feels empty
and hollow

who will be my star?


they see me as i try to be
full of life, positive, supportive
i give and give
for they are children lost as i
and every little helps
but alone, after
this me, the one alone
despairs and trembles
for who will guide me
who will be my star?

"I have a dream"


"I have a dream" he said
i thought "big deal"
but he was serious
and sought again to share his dream
i walked away
he stood and watched me go
for i looked back
suddenly angry at the troubled look
in his eyes

Another offered me his dream to share
and he too i denied
and looking back i wonder why
for he is now a mighty name

others came and went
and all i declined
for i was not a man to share
what another freely offered from his heart

and now?

i walk amid my fellow man
"i have a dream" i say
but their eyes lack faith
and i watch them go
sadness in my heart
for now i know