These paper boats of mine are meant to dance on the ripples of hours, and not reach any destination... Rabindranath Tagore

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past...F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby

We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.
On the way to the river are the old dormitories, used for something else now, with their fairy-tale turrets, painted white and gold and blue. When we think of the past it's the beautiful things we pick out. We want to believe it was all like that.
--from Margaret Atwood - The Handmaid's Tale

Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another's skin, another's voice, another's soul.
- Joyce Carol Oates

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

No Thoroughfare...

No Thoroughfare is a mystery story written by Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens.
 It was originally published in the Extra Christmas Number of All the Year Round, 12 December 1867 and in Every Saturday, Boston, December 1867.
 Written with a stage adaptation in mind, the story is divided into an 'Overture' and three 'Acts'.
 The dramatisation followed publication almost immediately,
opening at the Adelphi Theatre on 26 December 1867.
The edition I read was a Project Gutenberg e-book - released April 4, 2005

in the beginning was a clock
St Paul's iconic clock
marking the time for
a great journey
to begin

a foundling
a little nameles
synchronises with good fortune

but the wine is not yet 
quite ready

there are masks and mysteries
truths and deceits
the usual rubble of circumstance

and then
far away
is a mountain to climb
inclement weather to face
and survive

good wine
needs to mature
but surely

in the end was a clock
a clock-lock
marking the time for
a great journey
to go on

No ThoroughfareNo Thoroughfare by Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Deep in the shades of 1835 London unfolds a story, a mystery. Walter Wilding is a foundling with enigmatic connections. A developing wine business, inherited by Wilding, slowly unmasks the seedy character of Obenreizer, a man keen to further his own fortune, even if it means bartering the life of his fair niece Marguerite and her love for George Vendale, Wilding's partner. It takes a hazardous trip to Switzerland before all the threatening, mysterious shades can be laid to rest. The clock-lock affair (and a secret room) spins a wonderful, tense climax.

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Saturday, October 3, 2015

The October Game...

Hello October

The October Game (1948) - Ray Bradbury

He had never liked October
when winds release the annual 
sad season

those autumn leaves
so disconnected
and the trees
so empty

especially tonight
he could be just another autumn leaf
but then
he could also be
the tree

THE tree

at last
he could drag her
into the dark webby roots of hell
his hell

and then
walk into the dark light of 

and at least

secretly smile

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Wreck of the Golden Mary...

The Wreck of the Golden Mary (1857) - Charles Dickens
Kindle edition
It was written in partnership with Wilkie Collins
I am the Captain of the Golden Mary, Mr. Collins is the Mate 
- Dickens told Angela Burdett-Coutts (Letters 8: 231)
Angela Burdett-Coutts was a 19th century philanthropist.
With Charles Dickens, she co-founded a home for young women prone to theft and prostitution.
The home was known as Urania Cottage.
Further, Dickens dedicated his novel Martin Chuzzlewit to her and many other friends.

it's nigh on Christmas

aging Captain Ravender
more living
on the high seas
on the Golden Mary

I am so tired of darkness

but his living
a shared shipwreck
a shared survival

to friendly
and not so friendly
inner strengths

too soon
a ghastly white moon
the darkness

for some

and a little child
keeps her doll


she made a doll of the Golden Mary

Linking to;
Poetry Pantry #260

 Wreck of the Golden MaryWreck of the Golden Mary by Charles Dickens
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Very brief and very scintillating. This fast-paced narrative could be a Canterbury Tale on the high seas. After all, stories are told and songs sung to pass the time. This could be a parable... all that glistens is not gold, but some golds are priceless. A shipwreck allows time to magnify loose threads in characters who are cast outside the usual regime of society. And, like a Pied Piper, Captain Ravender encourages the passengers to find courage and hope within. So interesting that the Golden Mary was headed for the Californian goldfields and the child with shining fair hair is nicknamed Golden Lucy. So many metaphors tantalise this tale. A small treasure.

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sea drama...
This tale of the sea dives quickly into action. There are thoughts of being lured to the 19th century discovery of gold in California, but ultimately, the story is all about how personalities react to the challenge of a shipwrecked Golden Mary. And then there is the strange obsession of one passenger for a child that is not his. The narrative is very brief, but still it whisks the reader into a breathless climax... There's a feeling that there could have been far more to the story. An unexpected tale from the 19th century master of writing novels which usually are grounded in cities and explore the social colours of levels of society. Perhaps this narrative suggests a particular, pervading enthusiasm for adventure in worlds beyond English society. I have given this fragment a 5 star rating mainly because it represents a refreshing, alternative perspective of the Charles Dickens that we think we know.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Journal of an Expedition...

Journal of an Expedition into the Interior of Tropical Australia (1848) 
by Sir Thomas Mitchell (1792-1855) - Surveyor-General of New South Wales
Kindle edition

there must be a river to the Gulf

the Darling tribes may be hostile
unlike tribes near the coastal colony

but there must be a river to the Gulf

convicts strengthen my numbers
and drays carry our loads

there must be a river
there must be a river
there must be a river to the Gulf

acacias and
for beauty
melons and

this tropical realm
sultry airs by day
to frosts by night

there is a river
there is a river
falling far and far north west

I verily believed that THIS river would run to Carpentaria, and I called it the Nive...

but he didn't know
couldn't know
the river flows west to Tambo
and then

flows south

The Nive River is a tributary of the Warrego River (south-west Queensland)
which in turn, flows into the Darling River at Bourke in western New South Wales..
The Warrego is the northernmost tributary of the Darling.

 Journal of an Expedition into the Interior of Tropical AustraliaJournal of an Expedition into the Interior of Tropical Australia by Thomas Mitchell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the mid 19th century, Thomas Mitchell set out on his 4th expedition in Australia. He wanted to find a river that flowed from the inland to the Gulf of Carpentaria in the north; he wanted to find a sound, overland route from Sydney in the south to the Gulf; he wanted a closer connection with shipping and Singapore. Mitchell recorded his experiences from Parramatta in New South Wales to inland Queensland in a journal. He included meticulous details of plants found and changing weather patterns. This is not an exciting read of adventures. It is more an intimate insight into living out a dream day to day. Mesmerising.

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going west...
A journal that details plants, terrain and weather... And shows just how treacherous trying to stay connected with water can be... How valiantly exploring surveyors toiled, with a passion, to open up our knowledge of the unknown. Here too are interesting comments on native people... Their wisdom is highly respected... Convicts find a purpose and a measure of self-worth when they team up with the exploring party. The journal represents an opportunity to see through someone else's eyes and to walk in their shoes.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Erasmus James...

Erasmus James, King of Kid's Paradise (2008) by D.C. Green

I was modelled on weirdness

Dad gave me the gift of Zapp World
and I flew

Inside every head swirls a galaxy of zapp stars and
planets formed with the big bang of being born.

like a helipad

Every living person possesses their
own unique zapp universe, filled with worlds created
from the same subconscious cauldron that generates
dreams in bubbles of hope and fear.

like  the universe beyond Neverland
that Peter Pan 

Erasmus James, King of Kid’s Paradise (ZAPP, #2)Erasmus James, King of Kid’s Paradise by D.C. Green
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It was one of those bleary, wet winter days when I had my fill of reading and writing mind challenging words. I felt like a good dose of crazy. And I found it in this book. OK! I grant it is for young ones wanting a young hero in a fast wild adventure. But then, it does the older one good to venture into a young 'no man's land' for awhile.
Raz's dad declares that '...the Zapp Principle sucks our legs into our ears in a hyper-paced spinning loop that shrinks us to the perfect size to materialise on a zapp world inside the cortex vortex of your fiendish boy brain.’ Yes! It's out there...
Raz becomes king of of his own paradise, but even paradise has its this land, Grats. And Raz loathes rats.
Grats are essential to the running of Kid’s Paradise, King E,’ said Zara. ‘They clean, cook and perform other chores, plus various religious–’
Raz's paradise teaches him a thing or two that even a fun paradise needs appreciation of all living things, appreciating what they have to offer and learning that he too must give a little.
Perhaps I have been a little harsh in the rating. But then, I'm not a kid anymore looking for a kid's world. I've grown up...I think...

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Kindle edition

there is
no railway to Cloisterham
the city 
of lost souls

Travellers Twopenny
is warped
like the morals
of the travellers

stonemason Durdles leads
a hazy gyspy life

is a huntress with
the presence of a gypsy
her brother is
a hunter

Mr Tartar is
a roving sailor

knows of 
no relation in the world

but Jasper
her thoughts

there is no railway to Cloisterham

and Mr Sapsea says
there never should be

Linking to;
The Tuesday Platform - Real Toads

The Mystery of Edwin DroodThe Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The ancient cathedral town of Cloisterham shivers on the brink of yesterday's darkness with little impulse to move out into the light of a future. Crypts and monuments seem to set this town's people in some Druidic ring of judgment. Edwin Drood's imminent arranged marriage to Rosebud dissolves into his strange disappearance and possible, but never confirmed, murder. Brother and sister Neville and Helen Landless seem to be burdened with some shady tragic pressures from past lives in Ceylon and John Jasper, the choirmaster seems to be burying pain - physical or mental? - in opium time. Even the small characters seem to carry seedy secrets. The Deputy is a wild young boy a drunken Jasper pays to stone him home. And then there are the caricatures - an immovable waiter and a flying waiter??? Dickens' mystery probes unsettling extracts of humanity. The narrative is incomplete, but then, do we ever know all there is to know about the crevasses of humanity? This must be an example of a dark and timeless drama.

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Mysteries Within Mysteries
The old cathedral town of Cloisterham stages many covert dramas. Edwin Drood's possible murder may be the drive of Dickens' last narrative, but there are other parallel mysteries. Mr Honeythunder is the guardian of brother and sister, Helena and Neville. They come from Ceylon, but are not Ceylonese? Neville claims that he knows little of his guardian? Mr John Jasper, guardian of Edwin Drood is "a dark man"? And why does Jasper, as choirmaster, need to depend so heavily on opium? Why is Mr Sapsea, the auctioneer, described as a jackass? At times, even the names and brief descriptions of the characters seem to suggest some extra, unexplained elements. Dickens' Drood mystery may not be resolved, but it seems that many other threads in this narrative have not been developed and resolved either. An intriguing piece of writing, cut short by Dickens' death. The incompleteness is all part of the dramatic charm.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Roger Ascham...

flaming torches
grizzly spikes
a dark dungeon
in an old castle
for university

I love to know the inner workings of things

for personal

I love to know the inner workings of things

Roger Ascham and the King's Lost GirlRoger Ascham and the King's Lost Girl by Matthew Reilly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A flash of nightmare from the wells of the 16th century.
Sulphurous dirt leads Roger Ascham on a trail of murderous intrigue. Strangely, Henry VIII selected his daughter Elizabeth's teacher for this mission. But then, Henry claims that Roger has a logic in his madness and sees beyond the normal. Who would believe how so much tense, tantalising drama could be packed into so few pages.

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Almost Gothic 
The future Queen Elizabeth and Henry VIII are characters in this narrative, but the spotlight is on professor Roger Ascham. In detective mode, he seeks Isabella, the love interest of the king. In an old castle dungeon area, Roger crosses paths with spikes, hanging cages and a scythe blade - all courtesy of the Earl of Cumberland's bastard son. A dark, fast dive into a seamy side of 16th century court life.
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