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Monday, 6 March 2017

The universe found me this...

The World as Clockface is an impressive Australian
historical fantasy, but so far it has remained ignored.
Maybe that’s because Van Rijswijk’s style owes more to
Garcia Marquez and Borges than to English-speaking
writers. Maybe it’s because her story is ethereal, quirky
and complex. Maybe it’s because Philomena van Rijswijk
doesn’t realise she has to press the flesh at conventions
to become well known. If you find this handsome
Penguin Australia paperback in secondhand stores, buy

Favourite novels read for the first time in 2005
1 Life by Gwyneth Jones
(2004; Aqueduct Press; 370 pp.)
2 The Plot Against America by Philip Roth
(2004; Jonathan Cape; 301 pp.)...
3 Resurrection by Leo Tolstoy
(1901; Penguin; 568 pp.)
4 Winter on the Plain of Ghosts: A Novel of Mohenjo-
Daro by Eileen Kernaghan
(2004; Flying Monkey; 254 pp.)
5 The World as a Clockface
by Philomena van Rijswijk
(2001; Penguin; 406 pp.)
6 Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
(2005; Faber & Faber; 263 pp.)
7 Flicker by Theodore Roszak
(1991; No Exit; 688 pp.)
8 Replay by Ken Grimwood
(1986; Grafton; 366 pp.)
9 The Limits of Enchantment by Graham Joyce
(2005; Gollancz; 250 pp.)
10 Longleg by Glenda Adams
(1990; Angus & Robertson; 339 pp.)

Friday, 6 January 2017

Rest here, Heart

This poem is my Tennyson at daybreak and my St. John of the Cross at nightfall...(- Gerardt Gedartus )

Rest here, Heart, in these cupped hands
that make a cradle filled with air-
only air- sweet and gentle.
O! rest here, my Heart!
Gather yourself up and sleep here,
in the bowl made by these
careful hands-
your sister and your brother,
both worn and wise.
Rest here! O, Heart! sleep a little while-
sleep just a while-
for a month or a day,
while the turmoil carries on
without you.
Feel the warmth and the safety,
where you sleep, cradled,
swaddled in safe dreams,
wrapped in chaste murmurings,
cushioned in a perfect bower of solitude.
O! sleep away the bruises, dear Heart!
let the tears slide away in your sleep;
let love's yearnings gently pulse
like a muffled clock in the night-
a quiet beat, a kind rhythm
draining away passion's purple wounds
and stains.
O! Heart, rest here,
in these two careful hands-
your brother and your sister,
both worn and wise.

(A photo taken on Refugee Day when I worked in a nursing home at Kingston, Tasmania.  Unfortunately, I don't remember the name of the Ethiopian boy who came to help us celebrate.  The other hands are mine.  We painted everybody's nails rainbow-coloured. - Philomena van Rijswijk)