Sunday, July 31, 2005

One of the Troupe

The Treverè

He sings a bit -- often out of tune.
See him juggle there quickly falling balls,
and try a dance with missing step or two.
His sonnets loose their fine metered beat,
and his riddles mystify even him.
Conjuring and long practiced slight of hand
dissolve midst fumbled coins and colored silk.
Yet, he is a most true friend and bard,
for he knows well the song of my heart,
and can sing it back to me when I have
forgotten the simple whispered words.



This very day
rare moments have gathered
closely around me
like the heat wave.

Too shocked to observe them
in their activity
I now comtemplate
their aftermath.

But who am I to say
what follows startling moments
I have not created
to make my hours anxious?

(c)--Christina Cowling

The invitation

I entered the Abby fully intending to meditate on the sound of my name being called on the breeze but in Lemuria nothing can be planned. On entering the courtyard I encountered a band of troubadours performing and got lost in their dialogues. It was well worth the evening of listening. I could always meditate the next morning. It was a grand evening.
I slept peacefully and awoke ready to settle down and explore the spiritual calls I had been hearing when I heard a commotion in the courtyard. Looking out my window I could see Winnie just coming into the courtyard with her arms overflowing with pictures and stories and all the inhabitants were welcoming her home. I threw on my jeans and tee shirt and ran for the courtyard to join in.
Once settled down for one more night in the Abbey I received an invitation to join my fellow elders, and an invitation in my visual world to make a spontaneous trip down to Boise… so once more my next adventure is put on hold…But my mind feels somehow I shall be traveling back through the centuries. Somehow it is tied up with Alexandria and the fabulous library. Lemurian Mysteries here I come.


This particular week of the year would usually find me at a residential theatre workshop course. I have participated in these for the last ten years or so. This year I was unable to participate and so jumped at the opportunity offered by Heather to do something creative instead in the Enchanteur blog.

Earlier this week, I went to visit some of my friends who are doing this year's workshop and was reminded of a song we learned last year which, I think, goes well with these images.

Days of hope

If I can dance with you one hour longer, the world woudn’t matter at all;
Dancing to tunes generations have danced to before.
If we pretend that the music won’t finish we won’t have to wake up all:
Sleeping a long careless sleep in these arms I adore.

We’ve nothing to lose we’ve nothing to fear
we may not be saved from all troubles here
But while there are songs of love,
while there dreams of peace,
while there are nights like this there will be days of hope, there will be days of hope

(music and lyrics by Howard Goodall, from the musical he wrote called "days of hope", which contains some fabulous music)

Saturday, July 30, 2005

The Selchie's Stars

My mother loved the ocean. The house of my childhood was in a dune-wreathed neighborhood, all color muted, the clips and clops of the horses muffled, the whispering hiss of waves and foghorn songs unrelenting; with a salty little patch of a garden that grew only iceplant and orange nasturtiums. My mother walked the strand every morning, and my father never allowed her to go alone, as if he were afraid she might swim away; he took his heavy pole and his great gleaming hooks and his lead surfweights, and my mother cooked sand dabs in breadcrumbs and butter for supper.

At six years old, it was only because i turned my myself resolutely eastward and walked forever toward the rising sun that i learned that the rest of the town lay sparkling in a harsh, dazzling light, as confident and content as a sun-soused cat. My father found me and took me home, to face my mother's hurt silence.

My mother thought the hard light away from the seamists vulgar, if not dangerous; and as i grew, so did she: ever more disapproving and disappointed as i turned away from the sea, wandering an inner wilderness of forests and deserts and snowy mountains, far away from her beloved waters.

As time passed we barely spoke to one another, old misunderstandings and small woundings and abandonments sufficing. Then, at twelve, away from home at summer camp in the valley, i made a discovery i thought would break us apart forever: stars.

At home the fog crept in every evening, piling grey counterpanes on the sandy cobbles until not even the moon could burn through, but there i lay on my blanket under a vast sky, stars uncountable, distant and grand and mysterious. i blamed my mother for keeping me from this wild beauty that made my breath catch in my chest, but i tucked that away in a secret place in my heart.

At fifteen, as if it weren't enough that we lived in this gloomy little place, where i tipped sand from my shoes, and kicked at the kelp, and tossed broken cockleshells back into the surf, my mother decided the family vacation was to be at yet another beach, miles north up the coast.

The dunes sucked at my feet, making every step a struggle; i lost my key among the driftwood stacks, and all i could think was: away, away, i want to be away from here, away from my mother who always looks sad, away from this soggy, starless place. In my mother's house by the sea, i shouted and stomped off and slammed my door, then slammed out again to shout some more, until my father put a stop to it, by saying merely, but in his quiet-and-dangerous voice: That Is Quite Enough. And so it was.

We followed the river through a cool mossy wood to the sea, and the holiday beach was brilliantly sunny, and i nursed a small hope. The waves tossed droplets that caught the sun's fire, and my brothers built a mighty sand fortress with a channelled moat, though the water, salty as tears, only disappeared between tiny wet pebbles. We ate a sand-crunchy picnic of oysters roasted over a smoky driftwood fire, and drank lemonade, and i forgot to scowl. But as the sun set, the fog tumbled in, and i pointedly made my bed as far from my family as i dared.

In the deepest dark of that night, my mother woke me from a dream and said, Come, Look; and i saw that the fog had fled, and the stars burned more fiercely than ever before, or since. We sat there in silence, my mother and i, as a harbor seal, spotted silver and slate, crept out of the lapping water to nurse her fuzzy pup asleep on the cool sand, and i knew then that my mother loved me, and i her, but i tucked that, too, away in a secret place in my heart.

And soon enough, i found a young man, exactly like my father: kind, but watching me always, as if i might disappear like seawater into the sand. i told myself it was love, and he took me away, to a house in the mountains, half a continent away from any shore. i walked the riverbank every morning, and he never allowed me to go alone; he took his bamboo pole and his flies and his floats, and i cooked brown trout with pine nuts for supper.

But the longer i lived there, the sadder i became, until i was as empty and ethereal as the mists i had escaped, and he watched me still, eyes troubled; and i began to think: away, away...

One night i dreamed i was walking along a beach under a starry sky, and a seal looked at me with her great, dark, lonely eyes, and spoke to me in my mother's voice. i packed in a panic that very morning, and flew away from my bewildered husband, but i arrived home too late; my mother had died, and there was nothing for me to do but take her ashes to scatter on the holiday beach.

Among her things i found a folded skin, spotted silver and slate, with a note in her elegant hand: This was mine, but I never had the courage. Now it is yours: use it; for life is short, but the sea is eternal.

So i carry it, too, to this coastal resting place; where the river rushes forever into the arms of the sea, and i pour out my heart's secrets, onto the sand.

(for faucon)

In Honour of Pioneer Women

In the Botanic Gardens this morning we came upon, once again, the hedged Women's Pioneer Garden. In a slight valley, surrounded by other trees and gardens, this garden was still in its morning dew. The protection of the hedge and the early morning, my friend said, created a still moment where the freshness of the dawn still lay. Breathing in the air was like a tonic, cool, light and befitting the character of "woman", that some men envy, cool in the shade. Dedicated as a shrine to women in 1934, this peaceful place has a blue tiled grotto, with a bronze statue of a woman in her natural beauty. Above her is a bronze lion's mouth, spouting water into the pool that surrounds her. She luxuriates among the ferns on her little island. Someone had placed a tea candle in her upreaching hand, no doubt for a dare, as she is in the middle of a rectangular pond, that comes into a circle around the grotto where she is sheltered. New flowers had been planted in preparation for Spring. The earth smelled good, and a bird came to have a morning bath in the four petal shaped white fountain. This is a solid place, paying tribute to the many women who faced the unknown in building a city, with respectable paths to walk and green lawns, old cypress pines and a sundial monument. The many women who applied their skills to charity, community, hospitality, struggles, and pushed for social change, had been recognized for their works. The early settlers had faced many hardships and had to make what they could out of the foreign land they had called home. It was interesting to note the woman was young in the bronze casting, ever-young, and I think this pays tribute to the spirit behind these works. A young spirit can do things, even in a body that feels old. Seeing the garden, caught in the morning dew, reminded me that time can stand still, and the moments can be caught, if we remain young enough at heart to experience them. (For my Mum who is currently becoming young again.)

Bluff's Powder

From my work in process "Soulground For Women"

Manufactured by Bluff
she covers her face
with a thick powder
but in a magnified mirror
the cracks
can always be seen.

(c)--Christina Cowling

The Midnight Sun

Haiku From The Top Of Deck Ten

Dome of day-lit blue
Horizon laced with scarlet fire
Comes the Midnight Sun

Sky burns with sunset
Three hours waiting for midnight
A wet moon rises

The sky at midnight
Is lit with coral and pearls
The roof of the world

I hear them calling
Through time and the deep Northern sky
Great Gods of the past

She rises shadowed
In veils of amber and pearl
Wet moon from the sea

Incandescent West
The Midnight Sun still paints they sky
Sea gives birth to moon

Alabaster moon
Scattering a trail of stars
In the midnight sea

Woven in the West
Sun still simmers the midnight sky
Wet moon rises East

Midnight Western sun
The nightwalking moon rises full
a gift from the sea

West blazes midnight
East gifts the sky with marble moon
Silence sings between

Haiku From the Edge of Exhaustion

The last time I slept . . .
I cannot even remember
The last time I slept

From the East, far North
Today I have chased the swift sun
Half way ‘round the world

Study in pastels
Sunset over the Great Salt Lake
Sink me in the sun

West into fire
Coming home from the Midnight Sun
On wings of white light

All the world’s beauty
Is wrapped in this final soft light
The green hills of home

Mount Ashland, Oregon - Looking toward Mount Shasta

Ingunn Ådland: Pianist At Troldhaugen

Her dancers hands
Elate and rise
Singing spellbound with his breath
Shaping his lovely, lyric dreams
Into sweet, soaring sound

Ascended from this altar
Of ivory and ebony
She strikes with the strength of sun on stone
Crashing like crystal cascades
Melting like the midnight mist
From her flying, fluent fingers
Norway comes

As the music ends . . .
Her hands lift full
Holding secret silence

©Edwina Peterson Cross

Piano Concert at Troldhaugen

Don’t count to quickly who will be gone
Who should be fated, or lost
Deep are the darkening Skandic seas
Loath to be patterned or crossed
What calls from the depth of darkness
Is not always fragile or fault
These bones are formed out of mountains
This blood is anointed with salt
Assume what is there unspoken
Suppose that feeling means frail
But that which will bend won’t be broken
And a flower can drive in a nail

©Edwina Peterson Cross

Waterfall at Geiranger

Sailing from Geiranger


It is true
The Midnight Sun
Twilight spun of cloud and pearl
A silence of light

Below the fjord slips away
Dark liquid jewels
Hushed and glistening
Black blood sprung from
Norway’s bones
Vast bones risen massive from the mist
Grey with time
Green with forever
Wreathed with whispers of white wind
Breathing a mystery


Down from the path of eagles
Where the seven sisters fall
Thin white veils on the mountains
Great green and granite wall
Down from the cusps of heaven
Down a threading rock stair
Down past diamond falls dancing
Down through the whipping white air
Down to dark dreaming water
Bay carved of winter’s ice art
We sailed on a breath of wonder
Straight out of Norway’s heart

And here in the midnight twilight
Here where the mists rise and fall
Laced through these mountains of magic
I hear their echoing call
I hear their names on the white wind
Their songs in the bright crystal falls
I feel the power of their mystery
Throbbing from towering green walls
Back in the deepening shadows
Of transcendent towering rills
The ancient Gods of the Northland
Still walk these enchanted green hills


When the midnight sun has finally set
Just before the dawn
I throw a glimmering libation
To Gods who are hushed, not gone
An entire bottle of sparkling champagne
Into the dark crashing waves
To the memory of names of power
That echo through green mountain caves
Odin! I cry to the white wind
Into the dark, glacial sky
This for your knowledge and wisdom
What you see with your piercing blind eye
My ancestors spilled wine and called you
From longboats skimming these waters
Catch one more cry on the ice wind
From the last of the Vikings daughters
Come from a young land of promise
To the ancient land of my blood
I call once more and leave this gift
Here in the primordial flood

(And there in the tops of the mountains
Where the white falling waters flow
I whispered the name of Skadi
Into the deep Skandic snow)

Sailing From Geiranger

Valley -- green, with ashes and chistled stone

In an earlier life I embraced a marriage of 36 years,
mother of my children, ever friend before and now.
She had been a very psychologically abused child,
and escaped into me and my protection.
This was not realized until both of her estranged parents
passed within months of each other -- and she flew free at last.
Suddenly, I was part of the cage too --
somehow woven into all of the sad memories
while the good ones flew away.

I wrote this for her the day I realized
I must let her go.



In this valley there are no rolling hills
or quiet, grassy meadows.
Find no laz’ly wandering streams
nor verdant tended fields.

Nowhere an orchard, covered bridge or wall of layered stone.
Search not for a smoky finger twisting up to the pillowed sky.

If these could be found,
except in past,
there I might find you.

No, not such a valley!

“Down in the valley, the valley so low,
I lost my true lover, for a courtin’ too slow!”

My lost heart can be found in hidden glades
and gaily laughing brook.
In mossy glens and pinnacles
and heathered sandy copse.

Let me search again in flickering light and ever shifting shadows.
New hope in each softly filtered sunbeam and misty morning glow;

Hope of finding you,
on wooded lane,
braiding flower chains.

Oh, come to my valley!

“I’m so lost, so gol’ darn lost,
not even God can find me”

From a towering ascent above this
fountainhead of dewy thoughts,
flows tinkling dreams of the waterfall
in cascade far below.

As the water’s steady flow gathers strength in the narrowing cleft,
So must my lost courage and desire swell to a refocused will.

I see there a path,
a starting place,
I must reach today.

Now, down to the valley.

“You’ll not be happy until you bring it home,
home to the green fields ...”

At the far distant end of my valley
there is a fierce, barren knoll.
The mystery of what lies beyond
draws slightly on my - mind.

‘round the base of this silent peak is a stretch of flowering wood.
I must fashion there a cross to bear, but know not its form or shape.

So I will dream still,
toil here instead,
seek a way to pass.

Be here in this valley.

“Oh, sweet mystery of life at last I’ve found you.
It is you and you alone ...”

I don’t have to search for my lost love on
old paths we traveled by.
I’ll look for whispered hints of love
in soft, caressing breeze.

I’ll gather secret baby kisses in the brush of drifting leaf,
and flutter by with the butterflies to a place of golden song.

I’ll find you where I
can never search,
land of longing hope.

Come down in the valley.

“I believe for every drop of rain that falls,
a flower grows.”

For years we walked on a measured path,
in a rocky brambled course.
I led the way, that was the right;
you followed just behind.

But what of your desire, your search, and need to build a self?
I scarcely heard your muted cry that drifted into yesterday.

We had to stop and
now I walk this
branch strewn past alone.

Help, help for the valley.

“I’ll walk with you,
from this day on.”

There is fear and doubt in my longing heart
that still echoes to and fro.
It stills the trill of morning bird
and sigh of forest pine.

On this trembling course, I cannot know, but must reach in loving hope.
For the handholds are still a bit too far to grasp without your hand.

Skill and needs are
nothing now to
want for help and care.

Be here in my valley.

“I want you, I need you, please be there.”








White Mitre

(Inspired by the film "Ladyhawke")
Eleven hundred
and counting,
white mitre,
be still.
Go to the valley
where the green
grass grows,
and learn to play your
Intriguing your way
around corridors,
you have no life,
and not the courage to
say so.
So do what
you will,
only now leave
me in peace.
copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Desolation Alley

Inspired by works I read in Abbey and Poetry today:
Wind Woman soars high above
Desolation Alley.
She knows,
she sees,
she weeps,
she wails.
Her works with
Wind Man,
when they were together,
are there,
but only in part.
Her heart yearns for
the sensitive use of the
gargoyle - handsomely chiselled in
stone, the fleur-de-lis,
the breath of stone,
the relief of hand worked marble,
cool and human veined.
A knife edged
partnership of
hard, glittering, practical
glass and metal,
predominates -
not ugly in all,
but his geometry
wasn't always like that.
Morph and shape,
whatever the
case may be to
on modern ground.
Wind Man flew
briefly to her, busily
looking at his watch.
"You never used to be
like this. What happened?"
she said quickly,
so as not to waste his time.
He kissed her hurriedly
and blew off,
to a meeting of
the satellites and
virtual reality.
Alas, she breathed,
knowing a lost pause when
she saw it, and hovered
to mourn and think, over the cities
of the world.
Where was the frog?
There are too many spiders.
They're not happy either,
not enough wood for them.
Where is the bird? The
one that's meant to keep
the spiders in check?
Where is the river
that used to run through it?
"Wind Man is too busy,
to work with me,"
she moaned,
"so I shall have to
suffer my own questions, now,
until he regains his
copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

From the Forest of Dreams

After we found ourselves alone, my donkey, who insisted she knew where she was going, turned us onto a path that lead under a rustic wooden arch that bore the legend: Welcome to the Forest of Dreams.

"Wait," i said, looking at what lay ahead: a meandering path through an arcade of twisted trees, rooted in deep shade. Some of them had offerings strung from their branches, small tightly-wrapped bundles hanging motionless, or spinning slowly as in the wake of a unseen presence.

"Don't be afraid," replied Annabel the donkey. "You've been here before, many times. You've only forgotten."

"i think i'd remember, Annabel," i protested. "i can't see very well since i lost my glasses back there when we were running, but i'm sure i've never been in this place, and not at all sure i want to go this way."

"Put on the glasses Heather gave you," she answered, walking us resolutely into the gloom. "It is in the nature of this place that you are fated to forget all about it, no matter how many times you visit. Those who spend a lot of time here forget almost everything, even their own names. Sometimes all they have to hang their suffering on is a skeletal branch, by the narrative thread of betrayal."

We were well into the pooling shadows now, and i had to feel for the spectacles in my little pouch. Putting them on, i was astounded to find us standing at the edge of a two-lane interstate under a moonless desert night sky, before a ramshackle motel with an empty parking lot and a buzzing neon vacancy sign.

"Little Redz Inn," i read aloud. "Looks like a concrete-mattress, snack-machine-dinner, tepid-shower-tiny-towel sort of place, but i'll guess your hooves are tired..."

Inside at the counter we rang the bell amongst brochures advertising local attractions - "Visit the Teku Meteorite Crater!", and "See the World's Largest Ball of String!" and, further down the road, "House of the Serpent - Live Rattlers and Pit Vipers!!!" - and styrofoam coffee cups with little packets of instant, non-dairy powder, and artifical sweetener, along with a pot of lukewarm rusty water. After several rings a woman with her hair wrapped in a damp red towel shuffled out in fuzzy slippers, clutching her bathrobe closed with one hand and dangling a cigarette between the fingers of the other.

In silence she slapped the registry and a ballpoint on the counter, and studied my donkey-driver's license. After what seemed an unreasonably long pause, she finally cleared her throat and spoke in a smoky whisper.

"Phoenix, that's an unusual name."

"Yes, well, i sort of made it up for myself after coming out of a bad time in my life," i explained.

"Made it up, huh? That's a good idea. Maybe I'll make up a name for myself, move away from this wasteland. I can't remember the name my mother gave me to save my life." She stared past me, out into the warm night, lapsing again into silence. i heard cicadas singing and the thunk of the ice machine behind me.

"Why don't you ask your mother? i'm certain she'd remember."

She met my eyes briefly, measuring, and then returned her gaze to the night, as if the words carried on her husky, ruined voice were directed to the desert itself.

"A scant teaspoon of bone ash in a small white ceramic box are that is left of my mother, but it is enough.

'Release me,' she pleads. I am unmoved.

I have my good days, of course, when I am the very soul of wise compassion, and I think: I understand, I empathize, I forgive - of course I do.

Yet always, before I can make the pilgrimage to the cliffs where I would give her remains to the sun and wind, even before I can tip her dust into the toilet, always the rage and despair rise up from deep in my belly, filling my throat, threatening to seep out from behind my clenched teeth - bitter, choking.

I replace the box on the shelf.

'Release me,' she whispers, but I turn away.

Don't misunderstand: an apology is not what I'm after. No explanation would satisfy. No justice is sought.

After all, I took no trophy from the wolf; our accounts are, as far as I'm concerned, settled. A wolf is only a wolf, but what sort of mother would dress her child in enticing crimson, give her a basket of seductive treats to carry, and send her into the woods, alone?

'Don't stray from the path,' she said, and then, extricating herself from my clinging five year old embrace, 'Release me, girl, and be on your way now.'

Before he showed me great gleaming teeth and the dark passage beyond, the wolf revealed the truth underneath her words, shapeshifting into eery mockery:

Release me...
you are a burden I
don't wish
to carry, not
protecting; be

And then I was devoured by darkness.

Perhaps you wonder why I keep her spirit captive, if no apology, explanation, nor justice will placate?

On good days I have a clear answer: I want only her love; to be cherished, to be comforted and reassured that it was not my fault; and time and her passing have not diminished my wanting.

But today as every day all she says is 'Release me,' and so I open the box, touch a wet fingertip to the grey-white ash, and bring a few gritty particles to my lips.

Maybe a seed of bone will take root in my womb, and I will birth a new mother; a better mother, one who will finally love me and keep me safe.

Until then, I drift through my days like a ghost, caressed by her sighs and whispers, captive of my captive, prisoner of my prisoner."

Again the innkeeper met my eyes, and held them; then without another word she took a room key from a numbered hook, and dropped it into my hand before stepping around me and walking out, into the waiting starlight.

And I Create

I pick up my feathered pen and think succulent thoughts, not stopping to vision form but line. I render not to the norm of a mini tale but purposely paint poetry with wispy clarification and and prose with vivid colour while I write prose poetry.

(c)--Christina Cowling

While You'all Travel


It is known that some things are seen more clearly by lantern flame than searing sun; to perceive life more by view of heart than squinting eye, perhaps. As shadows soften and mask harshness, so do they also conceal –
allowing dreams to defuse yesterday’s pain and confusion. They also hide me.

I have taken to sitting in that slight depression by the gate, the crumbled alcove where once a daunting statue stood, or so I can imagine. My honored tasks of lantern care and singing up the dawn still tingle in my soul, and I rest a bit – not from weariness, but that I may blend with ancient stone, and trill of birds and eternal sinewed wrestling between oak and vine.

Within me too there comes a balance of forces new and old, birth and death, with growth rings added to the core of my being. As I am then of dappled shapes of tawny, muted passions; I merge with the stones and earth – and by this ritual become invisible, my presence touching all who pass; and from their lighter step I know that all is well.

There was a time that I might have jumped down and out, to join the simple jests and banter of the throng. There is a vitality to that – to know life is to life, after all. Yet learning comes from listening and wisdom from embracing silence – all in a variegated braid with doing – frantic churning of imagined needs. I have enough of that, the ‘doing what no other will’. Now ‘tis time to ‘be what no other can’, and I will. I finger the Cross of Jerusalem suspended from the thong about my neck – a reminder of a path and wounds and universality. I grasp sure my seasoned staff that bonds me with Mother Earth and prepare to leap into …
I will have faith!

I will sit here in blessed solitude and gather in the whispers of the dew. The hush will carry to me the shy smiles of maidens and awkward pretensions of eager swains. Each traveler here holds a secret that they would share, if they dare, and not so concerned with bustling through the gate. But I know! And of these, and the dancing faerie pollen pulsing with the breeze, and the laughter of the sunlight and ancient footprints in the dust will my cloak be ready. Ever ready in a gossamer tapestry of song and will and knowing – I can cast it out to settle over, ever gentle, the petty squabbles and fractious pains of inattention.

I fancy myself a guardian, you see. Those who may enter the Abbey here, those willing to rise as the lotus opens in the pond, will leave some of their tear stained rags, and broken sandals and remnants of needless fears and grief. I need only be present. I will watch over this refuse – until it too blends with the moldering leaves and drifting feathers and soot from evening fires – until I can move on... be visible again …

until tomorrow’s circled song.


Old Traveller Woman

My mother and me outside our caravan, Ireland 1949


Through songs and stories, the Traveler People of Ireland keep their heritage alive.

Old traveler woman,
Where are your kin?
Where is your wagon,
And what do you sing
As you hang out the washing
On a backyard line,
With a fence all around you
And more houses behind.

My aunt sent me a photo. She sits in the garden of her retirement home, at ease in a deck chair, but her eyes are looking far away. I wonder if she is thinking of the old days, when her husband was still alive, and they lived in a leaky wagon. She was always on at him to fix that leak. When the weather was fine, she told him it was a good time to do it.
``Sure, woman, the sun is shining. There’s no need to fix it.”
When it rained, she shoved a bucket under the leak and berated him.
``Sure, woman, it’s raining, I can’t get up on the roof in this weather.”
Her complaints wore him down, but instead of fixing the leak, he bought a new wagon. He gave the old one to my father to store canvas.
``To be sure,” he said as he walked away, ``you’ll have to fix that leak in the roof before it rains.”

When you were a chavvie
You never wore shoes,
You never read schoolbooks
Or watched the day’s news.
The world rattled past you
Like a runaway tram,
But you took no notice
In your old caravan.

I was born a traveler, or as the Irish say, `born on the straw’. As a chavvie (child), my life was a series of campgrounds and crossroads. I never attended a school, but the whole of Ireland was my classroom.
My mother was one of the Settled People until she married my father, and she taught me to read and write. None of the other travelers saw the point in that. Stories and information were saved in the head, and passed on round the campfire.
Did they ever tell a story about me? I wondered. Like the time I was running down the road and cut my foot on a piece of broken glass. I left a trail of blood all the way back to the campground, where the traveler women washed my foot in a bucket of water and poured vinegar over the wound to `kill the gerrems (germs).’ Then the women held the edges of the wound together and smeared honey on it before bandaging it with a strip of linen. I hobbled about for a bit, but it healed perfectly without stitches.
My father demanded to know what I had done with the boots he had bought for me. I didn’t tell him I had hidden them under a hedge. I couldn’t wear shoes at all. I still prefer to go barefoot.

You were a young dona,
and a mother and wife,
Thinking you’d be a traveler
For the rest of your life.
But the fences, old woman,
Were closing you in -
You’ve a house and a yard now,
Like the rest of your kin.

My mother recalls her first glimpse of the traveler’s campground after she married my father. Raised in a village, she married my father against her own mother’s wishes. Coming into the traveling life as an adult was a shock, she admitted. Women had to do without the refinements and comforts of the Settled Life. She did the laundry with a tin washtub and a rubbing board.
Then there was the strangeness of the Irish culture – my mother was English, and here she was, surrounded by people who believed in fairies and ghosts.
One night she gathered in the washing from the makeshift line and was walking back to the wagon draped in white sheets when she heard an unearthly shriek. A man was running away from the campground as fast as his legs could carry him.
My aunt looked out of the door of her wagon.
``Oh, Maire, it’s you,” she said. ``You gave me a turn. I thought you were a ghost.”
So did the fleeing farmworker, who had popped down to see if anyone wanted milk.

Old traveler woman,
I know what you sing,
You sing of the old days,
On the road with your kin.
You peg out your washing
And dream of the day,
When you leave this fine prison,
And go traveling away.

My aunt’s picture was sent to Australia, where I now live. I have traveled far from Ireland. Like her, as I look out on a suburban backyard, I dream of the old days. And though I can read and write, I keep the stories and songs in my head, and pass them round by the fire’s glow.


Thursday, July 28, 2005

Morning Dew

of the Dawn,
does her own
aware of many
colours - each day.
copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

For Heather

a little unpolished --
I fumbled it out last night
during slow periods at work


The Raven of Duuran

Come tomorrow’s Princess on the wings of Raven dawn,
And choose with sole right the new ruler of Duuran.
Be thee only simple maid or wizened aging crone,
By the Calling were you gifted powers scarcely known.

Fly before the winds of now and evade the pirate’s greed,
And embrace the people’s ask and will – all you’ll ever need;
For you are the Elector – the Raven of Duuran,
And no man may touch and live, by magic you command.

The brigands carried sails more – she but a lateen scarf,
And the shores of the Abbey Isle would be safe enough;
But they were a hundred strong and she but lonely waif,
With naught but three cages of birds to keep her ever safe.

The first released a starling that fluttered to her aid,
And asked what it might do – what magic could be made.
“Be thee rain of sorrow and I’ll make you Peregrine,
and gift your children speed and courage as you win.”

A thousand darting starlings became falcons to the call
And plunged like arrows of steel to pierce the sails and all,
And in their endless ocean splash rose a shielding mist
That the Raven could escape quick capture at its worst.

But the pirates took to oar and pulled against the tide,
While the maid alone sought freedom soon to be denied,
So she took the pair of doves and made them kestrels white –
One to steer and one to watch as partners ever right.

Then she brought forth the snowbird – the changling of the wings,
And released it from limits that nature only brings.
Behold the Myrddin falcon with power never seen
As now able to be anything – dreamed or ever been.

Feathers gave way to sinew on arms of warrior pride
And the bark flew through the waves in endless churning ride,
‘till the Princess could dance upon the shore in safety
and the scoundrels left in the wake of myth and memory.

So know you of the falcon and gifts from raven hand,
The swiftest thing upon the sky, and mates that ever bond;
And the only creature that hunts through stealth and mimic skill,
To be seen as any bird in flight – a wizard by goddess will.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


Weave your music -
drawn down love,
Move the stones...
copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

Cotton Candy

Before Dawn

Churning images of carousels,
misty barges and masked intent
have me away from tostled bed
to sheets of blank invitation.

Now before the flickering light
of soon needless lantern glow
I whisper to the shadows ...


Within the swaying balance of dilution --
by which we judge our attention to presence
in this manifest Agreement and Covenant,
we may choose to heed our mind, soul or spirit.

Yet our mind is embroiled in sorting drivel,
our soul effected by compassion and heart song,
while spirit plays with memories of escape.

Do not despair this dissipation of purpose,
nor bemoan or decry the ‘human condition’;
for this actually is the answer not the question!

Why else would free-wheeling sparks of EverLight
Choose to pay fine attention to this vibration
Except to embrace chaos, loneliness and fear?

As Source is of every thought and by thought birthed,
the contemplation of confused non-order
Is enough to engender here and now profoundly.

So it is time to enjoy the carnival rides –
to experience doubt and thrills – awe and panic,
and to choose to be what has never been before.

Risk your fortune on the arcade – or test your skill,
play cotton-candy dreams and fortune teller schemes,
or view contorted selfs in the hall of mirrors.

Just remember that it is all a game called life,
which has nothing to do with divinity or truth;
nothing gained by looking behind the curtain.

For there is a safety net made of loving strands
That allows that you will return to innocence
With no judged measure of what may happen here.

The only effect of your brief passing here –
is in the range of choices you may make in turn,
as your universe expands by this Attention.

Each fellow trav’ler in this irksome, bustling crowd
Is not a competitor for some splendid prize,
But a wealth of wonder you may never have.

Do it all your self and suffer every pain –
perhaps choose to comeback every now and then;
knowing that there is a simpler way to know of life.

That stranger you ignore there may have climbed your hill,
And know of secret springs and hidden berry vines,
And will readily give a hand across the shaky bridge.

Oops, that analogy was from my last journey here
and all you have to do is help a teary child
climb aboard a swing and fore-give a push or two.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

My Italiano

You stressed and strained
against them,
- male or female -
you stressed and strained.
Your beauty and your art,
was razed by gravity -
to flit about with paint and toy with words? -
get thee to the marketplace and into
the arenas of politics! Go!
But your art and beauty is
held in safe reserve, my Italiano, mine.
You saw, you admired, you breathed,
You know the secret heart.
You mourned, and that was so.
Appropriate, indeed.
But heed the current time of day,
and unlace the bridles of old.
The things of soul grow richer
still, my noble Italiano, with age,
and reveal the integrity of your
copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

twilight messenger

her skin the blue of twilight
she slips between
the hours
ferrying messages
between above and below
I saw her today
and gave her a note
it said: I am coming


Triumphant I awaken
from a cherished sleep
to light weighted
on my eyes.

(c)--Christina Cowling

Wandering Spirit

I am called by a voice of olde,
a wandering Gusari spirit,
brought to the present by
Gypsi thoughts and such.
He walked the Varengian River routes
in the wake of the Golden Horde,
alone but never lonely --
and he would have found the Abbey,
might be just over tomorrow's hill.


Kiyan appeared lost in deep meditation. His corpulent frame crested the grassy hummock beneath his folded legs and his open hands rested upon his knees. His eyes were closed, but that may have been to shield from the glint of morning rays off the still waters of the marsh. His lips were parted as if in a sigh, the better to draw in the blend of sweet blossom perfume and the fetid waft of decay. His ears reached out to the cacophony of birdcalls, insect hum and scurried scratching of the small. But part of his yearning senses were wary of the possible approach of strangers. Not that they would not be welcome. After all, he had added damp wood chips to his cooking fire such that even now smoke rose finger- like to the low clouds. His sword, staff and fresh sapling now stood in a lashed tripod of welcome in the way of his ancestors. The partially drawn blade warned of preparedness, but also bade strangers to lay their own weapons within the stance and enter unafraid.
No one came.

This did not surprise the Gusari, as most preferred the longer road to Thuringia that avoided the unpredictable marshlands. Such a chosen passage across the barren steppes was quite and safe, but somehow devoid of life and awareness. This damp arena teamed with life, but danger too of snake and hidden bog. Also here were hidden areas of delight! “I would prefer to be alone here in adventure than in dreary companionship in the dust,” mused the aging knight. He marveled again how the Sanok River found birth in the high snows of the Alps to the west, tumbled in anger down impassable crevasse, slowed to pleasant feeding of small peasant worked fields, to die here in the marsh only 60 miles complete. But even here was found life anew. Succulent frog legs would provide a uniquely anticipated repast.

Kiyan was in no haste to arrive early for his meeting with the Landgrave. His time was better spent in prayerful appreciation here than in the squalling marketplace. True, the need was greater there, but occasionally he fed his own internal calling instead. “I do not have to pray alone,” he whispered aloud. "I will call upon the spirits of the wind.”

Near the camp grew a stretch of stiffened reed. Red reed they were called in response to varied rusty hues that hinted of unseen minerals in the earth. The strands seemed identical to the casual eye, but experience told that each was special in girth, wall thickness and flexibility. With practiced hand, Kiyan cut across the vertical grain with an angled slash of scramasax blade. The severed ends were quickly bound into a switch of spiny points. The afternoon breeze breathed warm in anticipation and growing intensity.

Each hollow reed became a flute that sang in pitch from moan to whistle, dependent on its special nature and drift of the wind. The switch beat and swished against shield, mailed mantle and buckskin thigh in mimicked rhyme. “Wee-oh-tick-whomp. Shish-woo-plock-ooh. Sheenickmooree.”

His is soul began to sing.

Banquet at the Abbey

Traveller Rose
The caravan

It was so good to be at the Abbey again - I went down to the shore to check on my caravan and found all is well - my old horse Tinker has made himself at home here, f ound the apple grove and a rich store of windfalls - I don't think he will want to leave. I left my beautiful Fallada with him for company while I went back to the banqueting hall for the performance. Fallada seems happy to be reunited with me - I wonder where his wise, wild nature took him all those years we were apart? Into the imagination of a child, the inspiration of an artist, or into the landscape of dreams? He hasn't changed at all, he is still the same beautiful dapple grey arab who was my constant companion in childhood.
Back at the banqueting hall I was beset by nerves - my throat dries up completely when I have to speak in public. Then I remembered I had called on my old friend Traveller Rose for help. She had made a special blend of herbal oils to give me courage. I dabbed it on - lavender, rosemary, the sharp scent of cloves - Rose is an artist with herbs. I thought of her in her green skirt and old brown boots, her black shawl tied tight around her shoulders, as I stepped onto the stage and into her persona as my mask for the evening. She had lent me her brightly coloured peasant blouse and her green skirt, and I wore boots like hers, but not as worn with tramping the roads.
What a wonderful night it was - I managed to get through my performance without embarrassing myself (or Rose) and watched the rest with joy - as I expected, Karen took my breath away - Anita, Lisa, Megan, Barbara were all so good that I almost changed my mind about going onstage. But everyone was so wonderful that I actuallyenjoyed it. Still, it was with relief that I was able to sit backand watch Lois - when she danced and whirled around the stage I saw a girl of 18. Audrey conjured up wonderful pictures in the air, Leonie created wondrous shapes from words and Alex recited a poem I had long known and loved. Soon we will be back at Duwamish - I shall meet up with the carnival people again. It was the first place I headed for - drew me like a magnet - and for a time I felt as if I were a child again, surrounded by people whose natural way of life is travelling.
But I shall gather all those impressions together when we return. Right now I want to slip away and tell Fallada and Tinker about the banquet, and take them some of the delicious oatcakes from the Abbeykitchen.

Monday, July 25, 2005

When Can We Say Something?

How many mouths
were silenced,
in the days,
the weeks,
the months,
those tender years?
The Ages.
Can we speak?
Is there anybody out
there, in there, by there?
When can we speak?
Is it appropriate
to say something,
These are the
sentences that
have fallen on deaf ears
over the years,
for there is no blame.
No Blame.
The time
it takes for something
to be heard,
is precious.
Each repetition,
the asking,
is gold.
But the time
when all ears
are open,
through patience,
the ebb and flow -
then we will know
we have been
copyright Monika Roleff 2005.

Two Poems

Two poems from the book I'm working on--"Soulground For Women."


A reputable man's daughter
finds comfort in her skin
and rallies around her brothers
in the battlefields.

A hooligan's daughter
punishes her femininity
and believes she is less
than her brothers
dressed in bombs.

Second poem inspired by Lisa's

Older Hearts

She nurses her desire
to return to him
not a frightened woman-child
but to offer him an older heart
only if his
has matured too.

(c)--Christina Cowling

For the Travelers

"a stroll through a camp at dusk
will tell you all you need to know,
from how travelers use their cloaks.

the warrior pitches a simple tent,
cramped so that he must sleep
curled as if in fear alone

companions construct a shelter faire
that each may respect the other
and still have room to spare

two lovers construct a pavilion
and huddle close in laughter
for there is space for three

yet know the one who slumbers best
is the one without a cloak
given gladly to a friend"

the Scrolls of Eskiyalı

Travelling Trevere' leave for Duwamish

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After happy hours spent within the walls of the Abbey the Travelling Trevere' have left for Duwamish where they are going to spend a couple of days before returning to the Cave of the Enchantress. While in Duwamish they will take a ferry across the Duwamish River to the Isle of the Ancestors.

Heather left me with this sketch, as a small gift for the Abbey archives. She said that she spent a relaxing hour down by the bridge, not far from the Golden Seed Grove.

With quiet descending I am sure that residents will be happy to go about their daily routine.

The Abbess

Sunday, July 24, 2005

The Cave of the Enchantress

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Tonight I am proud to present 'The Cave of the Enchantress'. This is our first official function in the Abbey and I know you will all make this group of minstrals welcome.

It is hard to believe that the artists presenting here tonight have only been working with 'The Enchantress', in the Grotto de Sibyl for little over a week. After a hurried introduction to the cave, where they will be living and working for the next three months, they were whisked away on horse back and have been staying at Duwamish Bay, not far from here, rehearsing for tonight's performance.

I imagine everyone in the Abbey heard the hoof beats as the party rode into the Abbey entrance late last night. Their arrival most certainly created a commotion as they unpacked and took over the Great Banquet Hall. The Enchantress has been waving her hands a lot and running back and forth as she directs our first official function.

So put your hands together and give these 'Travelling Troubadours' a warm welcome.

Please! No posts during the performance! There are ten acts to watch and commment on. They will follow this post

The Abbess
Lemurian Abbey

Maria Tortilla by Karen Roberts

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Every day like clockwork, Jesus comes by.
Cousins and aunts drop their tortillas. They make the sign of the cross,
rush to her bedside, stir death and flour into the air.
Her son and husband stand nearby clutching prayer cards,
While the women surround the bed, clucking and patting.
She reaches out to her Savior.
“Dios mio! Dos mio!” The rosaries click.
“Go on, take his hand, hermana. It’s all right.”
Jesus walks away empty-handed every day.

The women become disgruntled with Jesus.
There is muttering, dissatisfaction.
He is beloved but he is just a son, like their sons.
It is the Virgin Mother that they trust.
To her they gossip, make their petitions, one mother to another.
But the Virgin cannot persuade her son to take the woman.
And so, like all mothers of obstinate sons, the Holy Mother suffers too.
She joins the aunts and cousins at the counter, elbow to elbow,
patting the tortillas into pleasing pale circles that call to mind
the moon, a pregnant belly. The fullness of life.

The women become bitter.
“Here comes the drive-by Jesus! Oh, there he goes…”
They jostle La Virgen a little more at the counter,
returning to the work of the living,
rolling and folding the tortillas, recipe the same as always
but fortified with prayers, enriched with blessings.
“Take her, Jesus, she has suffered enough. Talk to him, La Virgen!”
The moon fills her cup and drains away two times.
Tortillas fill the house, the freezer, the side tables.

Jesus comes by the next evening.
He is tired of the grumbling, as tired as the woman is of living.
He has had his fill of tortillas.
In the quiet of the empty room, he takes her hand. They walk away.
The table is full: aunts, cousins, son, husband.
The eldest aunt passes a platter of tortillas;
the Virgin nudges her. The tortillas fall to the ground
and the plate shatters.
They run to her room. She is gone.
Her son and husband sob, “Thank you, Jesus, thank you.”
The aunts and cousins make the sign of the cross and murmur, “Maria, Maria.”

by Karen Roberts

Dialogue with Imaginary Friend - Anita Marie Moscoso

" Here " Kincross says from behind my right shoulder, " let me take a look at what you're writing. Is it about me? "

Kincross is quiet for a second, which surprises me because my Werewolf has never been the quiet type. This can't be a good sign, especially when the second turns into a minute and I hear her growl " an imaginary friend? Write a dialog with an imaginary friend? "

" That's what it says Kincross " I tell her.

" I'm not imaginary and I'm not part of your subconscious either " she says quickly.

" If only." I snap " You're TOO pushy and noisy to be imaginary. Go on, go howl at the moon or something, I have work to do "

" I want my story told. " she says darkly.

" I want to be six inches taller and fifty pounds lighter but it ain't gonna happen in the next half hour.So get lost, go kill a Vampire or something I have to get this exercise done right now. "

" Okay. I'm sorry Anita. " she says with feeling.

" That's alright. "

I can hear her talking to my cat, and then I can hear the chair at my husband's work desk, the one on wheels, coasting from one end of the room to the other. I can hear Darwin my cat chasing something around and I'm guessing Kincross and Darwin are racing each other.

" Anita? " she stage whispers. I use the word whispers very lightly. You could probably hear her over the end of the world right now but she IS whispering. And she won't stop she sounds like some weird primitive cave woman chanting my name AnitaAnitaAnitaAnitaAniiiiittttAnittta "


" The phone is ringing. "

" OUT! Get out NOW! " I yell.

" You shouldn't talk out loud like that, people are going to start thinking your mental or something. " Kincross says, her voice dripping with concern and honey. Neither of which is in her nature.

" Is so in my nature...hey, what the heck are you saying about me there? "

" Are you watching? " I ask.

I look back and her eyes are narrowing, " Yes. "

" Once upon a time a self absorbed Werewolf got hit by a bus loaded with silver bullets and she died and never bothered her Author again. The end. "

" Oh very funny. "

I turn back to my keyboard and start to write and two seconds go by. Then a minute. No Kincross. I look out my door, under my desk. It's quiet it's actually...

" Go on, you missed me " my Werewolf says as she jumps down from the top of my bookshelf. She looks very pleased with herself and she sounds pleased as well.

" I really want to finish this. " I tell her.

" Oh, alright, but I'm not going know that right? "

I sure do.

Kincross is whistling, something I wish I could do and she looks over my shoulder again.

" I'd end there if I were you. "

" I look back and she actually pulls away. " FINE I'll just go sit until her Majesty is ready. "

And as I type away we both start snickering, " imaginary friend " we both say at the same time.

" Hey that's fun " Kincross says " let's do another one of these exercise things. "


And she actually does...for about two minutes.

What a record.

Phoenix Song 11 by Lisa Phoenix

I Name as Invocation

shapeshifter; dappled
daughter of ash, luminous
sister of fire; story-

stalker, wordtwirler
tumbling from a nightshade sky:
star-hearted poet

II Name as Promise

unpaid bills,coffee
cups, appointments, flat tires...
at the grocery

choice of vegetables
for a cheap month's-end supper:
voluptous bell

peppers glow like lamps;
bloodveined curly chard, white carrots -
ordinary grace

Skeleton Woman by Megan Warren

amulet bag Posted by Picasa

I have partaken of the chocolates that the Enchantress so kindly left for me. While I was bathing my guide returned in her mysterious nature, she advised she was delivering a parcel that was left for me. I thanked her, telling her that I would attend to it after my bath. And then she was gone.

I quickly got out of the bath, wrapping myself in the luxurious robe that had been left for me. The parcel, a small box lay on the table next to the chocolate box.It contained the following items: yarn, thread, beads and charms of the sea.

It was then that I noticed the note on the inside of the chocolate wrapper Reclaim a RitualI held each of the items, a spiral bead, a seahorse, fish and turtle.

The yarn became a knitted amulet bag with a spiral bead closure. As I worked I thought of Clarissa Pinkola Estes (Women Who Run with the Wolves) story of The Skeleton Woman.

The Skeleton Woman

Cast out
into the sea
tossing and
washed in
washed out
bones lay

casting out
reeling in
fright fear
tangled line
pile of bones.

piecing together
her form
quenching thirst
taking heart
beating drum
fleshing her
building her

wounded souls
entwined together
nourishment from
the sea
feeding off
one another.

© Megan Warren 21/7/2005

A Tale of Duwamish by Barbara Banta

How Henry Became a Muse--of Sorts--A Tale for Duwamish--or not

He had lived in the abandoned theater along with a variety of other street people for what had seemed like years. Then again it might have been forever, it was frequently difficult for Henry to remember. He'd been to a nearby clinic once or twice where a doctor had given him pills and told him to come back when they were finished but he'd forgotten what the pills were for, so he'd never returned.

Henry was a slight, small man with thinning gray hair who tended to stammer when he felt intimidated, which was most of the time. On the day that turned his life around, he was sweeping the barroom floor behind the curtain when he heard a noise out front. He peeked through one of the holes actors use to count the house and saw a woman sitting alone in the second row. She had a notebook on her lap and was scribbling furiously. Henry nearly passed out.

Where'd she come from! Street people stayed in the building all the time, Henry invited most of them, knew them well and the reasons they'd come but, not only was this woman not from the streets, she was bare foot and wearing pajamas, as if she were in her own bedroom!

Henry had lived in the theater so long, it was in fact, or at least in his mind home and, despite his natural timidity, he intended to find out what she was doing in there.

"You there, behind the curtain, come out and show yourself," a shrill voice demanded, breaking Henry's resolve and nearly tumbling him backwards. He grabbed at the curtain to keep from falling and she asked again, "Who are you, and why are you hiding back there?"

Struck mute, Henry felt the floor buckling beneath him, but then the woman spoke again, and in her voice he heard uncertainty and the beginning of fear. "I don't do plays," she admitted and I don't understand why I'm here. Will you please tell me who you are and what you want of me?"

He cleared his throat and prayed he wouldn't stammer. "Henry," was all he could manage.

"Henry, please come out so I can see you."

Henry peeked out and realized the woman was on the verge of tears. He parted the curtain a few inches and watched as she self-consciously lifted the notebook in front of her breasts. He squared his shoulders, drawing himself up to his full five foot seven inch height and strode out with as much confidence as he could muster.

"My name is Barbara," she told him, "Are you an actor?"

"Oh, no, no, not an actor!" Henry said vehemently, struggling not to dive back under the curtain .

"Please don't go. I mean you no harm. I'm a writer, but all I can write lately is blah, blah, blah, and then suddenly I saw the curtain move--and I thought someone had come to inspire me--to be my muse."

Henry blinked, struggling to keep up. He remembered the empty pill container in his pocket. He really should go back and get it refilled. He'd missed something--the woman was babbling on--what was she saying?

". . . . . . but if you wanted the job, I'm sure we could work something out."


"Anything you could do, I'd be grateful." She wiped away a tear. It's very hard. I come up with plots, I'm quite good at that, but I have problems finding the right characters."

And that was how it began. Henry told her to come back in the evening and when he opened the curtain at last, he introduced her to Phil, the bartender, who pointed out the lovers seated at a table for two and the kid down the end with his uncle who'd just bought him his first drink, while Henry brought over Mrs. Flynn, who knew all the local gossip and would gladly get back to her after she tracked down Mr. Flynn, then a frazzled blond with purple eye shadow who said she'd love to play the girl-next-door or a prostitute with a heart of gold, whichever was needed, and a middle-aged history teacher who painted houses to make ends meet over the summer.

Both Henry and the bartender apologized that the place was so empty and warned the woman not to approach the solitary figure drinking alone in the shadows. After musing it over, Henry added that if she was working on a crime novel, for a few dollars more, he'd consider asking the man about his friends.

The Dookerer (Fortune Teller) by Gail Kavanagh


``Do you want to know the future, lady?”

She has ten gold teeth and five gold rings,
Her tent is dark and cool inside.
From behind the beaded curtain
Comes her wheedling voice and
Gold encrusted claw. Beckoning

``Do you want to hear your fortune, master?”

Her father was a seventh son. When he died,
Embraced in flame and hoarded riches,
She tore her silken scarves and wailed.
Then searched the ground for golden coins
Scattered from her broken bracelets.

``Do you want to learn the dookerin, child?”

Hidden in her musty tent I hear
This one and her burning for a man,
That one and his hunger for a quid.
``Pity the fools, their beds are cold,
Their purses slim. See lovers, wealth,
Sudden windfalls – telling fortunes
Is only telling them what they want to hear.”

The Journey Began - Audrey Larkin

I'm so excited to be coming my head it spinning making it nearly impossible for me to figure out what I need to bring. Being one of the worlds worst packers (trust me this is da truth). Just came back
from a cruise of which the day I left I swear to you I was still throwing things into my suitcase when the car service pulled up. Lord I need to get over my fear of packing.

So, taking a deep breathe, with a bottle of water by my side I'll pick a bag to bring. (Hey, is there a list I could follow of what clothing and how much of each item?) Sorry about this, I did say I
had a tough time packing. Perhaps it's more of a phobia... I'm begining to wonder. I'm starting to sweat as times awaisting and everyone seems to have gone on ahead. I'll grab this duffle bag on
wheels that I have. In it I'll throw in a light purple and white back pack I brought for my last trip. I'll bring a pair of walking sneakers and socks that keep your feet cool and dry. A few pairs of
shorts and pants along with some tops and a light jacket should do
it as well.

I hope I'm not getting carried away here. Enchanter Heather is bringing an empty suite case and others are traveling light as well. In go some toiletries, tissues, a flashlignt with extra batteries, a
book to read, should there be time for that, two journals with a couple of my favorite pens and a couple of throw away cameras. Got to take some pictures, it is allowed now, isn't it? Oh, I need to
make sure I bring my cochlear implant battery charger and the adapter that fits the plugs that are in Italy. They are different than here in New York. For those of you who've never heard of a
cochlear implant. It is like a hearing aid, only better. It requires surgery and is very, very helpful. I can explain and show you, if you are interested and/or don't know, at a later time. Better throw in some suntan lotion as well and some kind of bug off spray...

I think I'm ready to go now. I hope so. if I've forgotten anything important, I'll either make due without it or if really necessary, I'll buy it over there.


Standing outside I admire the doorway I've claimed, and peek inside. Due to the brightness outside of the door, it is quite dark in comparison. Reaching into my bag I grab my trusty flashlight and ready it for the journey I'm about to begin. Turning around for one last look at the greenery and flowers I've recently trudged through, I start to feel a bit anxious and feel butterflies fluttering around in my midsection. I hate that feeling and decide to get to it and enter the cave.

Shining my light around in front of me, I am able to see that there is something or is it someone in front of me just a few feet away? The butterflies which started to quiet down just a bit, now increase their activity, which I don't appreciate as I'd much prefer calmness right about now. Feeling a soft hand on my shoulder, I nearly jump out of my skin. Looking up I see a hooded figure, completely covered from head to toe in a shiny flowing jet black hooded cape. A feeling of calmness washes over me, ridding me of those annoying butterflies and I begin to relax (at least temporarily.) Smiling I say "hello" to which she nodded "hello," back to me. "You do have a face under that hood now, don't you," I ask? I received no response but did get the impression that a smile surfaced under the hood. Turning away from where I first entered the cave, the figure starts walking deeper into the cave and I follow.

After what seemed like a winding, twisting maze that lasted all of five minutes we arrive at a room. It looks similar to the ones we past on the way. My guide points and says "enjoy your visit" gives me a slight bow and leaves. Looking around I see the room is of a fairly decent size with a bed that looks comfy enough, a dresser next to the bed with a lamp on it, a few interesting pictures and a comfortable cushy chair that appears to me to be an antique.

The most interesting thing I've found is that there is a window. It is a fairly small one that is closed with a curtain on it. The curtain, which is sheer yellow, is closed and I'm not feeling brave enough to open it. I mean, we are in a cave and as far as I know, there are no windows in a cave. At least none that I've ever heard of. The window is above the desk which is on the wall opposite the dresser near the foot of the bed. "That," I think to myself, will have to wait for another time to be checked out. Right now I just want to take a quick shower in the bathroom that is located on the left of the dresser and opposite the bed. That all this fits into a room of this size is amazing. It actually is a very nice, comfortable and rustic alcove that, for the time being, is mine to enjoy.

The Journey - by Lois Daley

I have tidied up my beautiful cave...I like the word Grotto which means a small picturesque cave...and that's just what is was so warm,inviting,magical and mysterious..when one thinks they can at last meet someone who they have thought about many many times,my Grandmother Sophie.

Time to leave ,alone I walked down the mountain to the road where the little old man with the horse and cart had dropped me the day before...but how far was it to Duwarnish Bay ...only one way to find out, get going Lois.

I walked for about an hour or so it seemed and it was mostly uphill...bushwalking is not one of my strong points......I had just sat under a tree in the shade for a rest ,and at the moment around the corner coming in the opposite direction was a young man on a black horse,cantering along with the main and tail blowing in the wind...He pulled the horse up slowly and alighted ,walking over to me holding the reins he said "Good Morning to you"

"Good morning to you too I replied" "It is unusual to see someone walking up the mountain unless they are a trader or a beggar..."I am neither I said I am on my way to Duwarnish Bay and then on to The Lemurian Abbey".

"You have a long walk ahead of you mostly up hill" said the young man...Oh well as today is Sunday I have the time to give you a much needed ride to your destination"..He beckoned me to the left side of the black horse ,putting my foot into the stirrup ,instructing me to throw my right leg high in the air ,and through the I sailed....Having only been on a horse as a young teenager I must have some idea left in my head because he commented that I looked like a professional rider.....

Oh how men kid us women along knowing just the right thing to say at the right time....Enough nonsense Lois ....

The young man was up on the horse before I had a chance to say what do I owe you for this kindness,and off we set up the Mountain of Umbria.

I wrapped my arms around his waist and was transported back to when I was a girl of 18, walzing around the dance floor at the St Kilda town hall so many many years ago....Then I had a tiny 18 inch waist.

We spoke very little, he did most of the talking describing the countryside and the stories of the myths of the mountain....We rode into town with many a person in the street quite surprised to see the young man with me..Who was she they were thinking........We stopped outside a small inn ,the horse stopping as if it knew where we were.....This was a creature of habit ....I eased myself down very gently from this wonderful black horse.

We had not exchanged names the young man and I but it did not seem necessary,he accepted me as just someone he had helped find their way to Duwarnish Bay ...He beckoned me into the inn ,where we were greeted by a tall man with a rather long black beard ..."That was a quick journey my son " he said...It was then I knew he was the inn keepers son.

After explaining the what's and why's and how's I was shown to a small room where I was to spend the night ...and after a meal that was brought to my room I was ready for sleep......Its not every day you half climb a mountain and ride on a horse for miles on a country road with a handsome young man (did I mention he was handsome) ........So this was the stop off point on the way to the Lemurian Abbey I would ask my landlord in the morning when I set off once again on another part of my journey.


I slept well that Sunday evening ,it must be the country air ,I know I could not smell the sea and this worried me a bit....I like being close to the breeze that smells of the salt and brine from the ocean or bay.

I washed,combed my hair put on my black track-suit pants and top then my heavy boots,I wasn't sure how far I had to walk and also there may not be a young handsome man on a black horse this time.

Throwing my small cotton backpack over my right shoulder I descended the old timber staircase ,and into the front area of the Duwarnish Inn.

I could hear chattering and laughing over to my left and as I opened the door to one of the large front rooms there seated either side of a long table were I think 9 women and me made 10.

They beckoned me (I like that word beckoned) to come join them for breakfast...I was hungry ,this mountain air is not for those on a diet.

We chatted as old friends ,names shared experiences told ,all very different on how we had come to the Duwarnish Inn ....All spoke of a cave/grotto where they had been greeted by a stranger who took their hand and settled them down for the night ...some told of caves that had beautiful lace/satin curtains and big mirrors on the walls,hand woven mats on the floor and night clothing laid out on the bed ready for a restfull nights sleep.

But...........We women had one story to tell that was common to us .....not about how we got to the cave,not about what we had in our backpacks ,not about who we met at the cave entrance ..But ..The chocolates that awaited us ,4 beautiful dark chocolates ,chocolates not seen before so rich and tasty....I then reached into my pocket ,Oh damm I have left my chocolates on the bedside table ,I excused myself ,rushed up the old stairway and into my room to retrieve the 2 chocolates I had left there on Sunday night..........

They were gone and in their place was a small flute ,only about 5 inches long made from the most delicate timber and on it a small card that said......This is for you to sing yourself to happiness".

Well over the years I have done much to give myself happiness ,and have learnt that it comes from within not without .

o now I have this special gift from whom I know not, but something tells me it is very very special,as I wrap it on my small handkerchief and put it at the bottom of my backpack I know that I will play it one day soon......I now join the girls in the front parlour of the Duwarnish.


As I sat around the table with my female friends I listened intently to what they would be wearing for the performance at Lemuria in the Great Banquet Hall.

In the corner of the large front parlour at the inn were boxes filled with bright coloured robes,scarves,hats,ribbons,wigs etc etc ....I was told to help myself to what I need ...Now I am not fond of clothes at the best of times and only get dressed up when pressed to do so......but dressing up for a performance brought back memories of my days when working in Aged care ,no money supplied by the nursing home owners,so we staff improvised ..

I remember over the years being....a Hula dancer, Cinderella, Sweet Sixteen and never been kissed,one of the 3 little girls in BlueLand, a maid,a child going to the football with her Mother.....No rehearsels,we went on cold but it was a joy and such fun for the staff and residents as well.

So as I rumaged through the box I found a long brightly coloured cotton skirt and an off the shoulder white cotton this would go with walking boots I hated to think.

Now as I belong to a choir where we sing a lot of folk songs from other countries also lullabys and protest songs etc etc I was thinking I might like to sing something from Portugal .......The CD it comes from is called CRISTINA BRANCO corpo iluminado.....This music is guitar predominately ,but I think a few notes on my small flute might go well..What do you think ?is there anyone in my group that could give me a few quick lessons on the flute.?
Any offers most welcome ,but I am a slow learner.

Now this is the song I have chosen to sing
ll Faudra que Tu m 'Arrives
In English it is
Because life happens to me
I myself am forced to happen,
as the day that fades away
turns unhurriedly into night

What magic draws a curve
Inside this deep circle
Who draws a wave on the ocean
how many in the world did he draw

And whoever knows love
as I percieve it in you
Because life happens to me
you must happen to me too.

I will think of the young handsome man on the black horse, as sing this beautiful song,and I will think of a man I loved way back in 1956...I was young and unromantic I think,but now I would be much more romantic ,age does bring wisdom,I am feeling sentimental ,but not sad, just thinking about the song.

I am off to practice my beautiful song and later join the others hoping to find that elusive flute teacher.

Whirling ,spinning, floating ,my skirt is the finest of cotton and settles easily around my feet ,it feels cool against the sunbunt skin on my legs from my horseriding experience ...Oh to be young, to be young again,we should be able to come back to earth again with all our learned knowledge.