I wish you were here, dear, I wish you were here.
I wish you sat on the sofa
and I sat near.
the handkerchief could be yours,
the tear could be mine, chin-bound.
Though it could be, of course,
the other way around.

I wish you were here, dear,
I wish you were here.
I wish we were in my car,
and you’d shift the gear.
we’d find ourselves elsewhere,
on an unknown shore.
Or else we’d repair
To where we’ve been before.

I wish you were here, dear,
I wish you were here.
I wish I knew no astronomy
when stars appear,
when the moon skims the water
that sighs and shifts in its slumber.
I wish it were still a quarter
to dial your number.

I wish you were here, dear,
in this hemisphere,
as I sit on the porch
sipping a beer.
It’s evening, the sun is setting;
boys shout and gulls are crying.
What’s the point of forgetting
If it’s followed by dying?

~ Joseph Brodsky




This matters


When thou comest by thyself,
think not before what thou shalt do after,
but forsake as well good thoughts as evil thoughts,
and pray not with thy mouth
but list[en] thee right well.


And then if thou aught shalt say,
look not how much nor how little that it be,
nor weigh not what it is nor what it bemeaneth …
and look that nothing live in thy working mind
but a naked intent stretching into God,
not clothed in any special thought of God in Himself … .


This naked intent freely fastened and grounded in very belief
shall be nought else to thy thought and to thy feeling
but a naked thought and a blind feeling of thine own being:
as if thou saidest thus unto God, within in thy meaning,
“That what I am, Lord, I offer unto Thee,
without any looking to any quality of Thy Being,
but only that Thou art as Thou art, without any more.”


That meek darkness be thy mirror, and thy whole remembrance.
Think no further of thyself than I bid thee do of thy God,
so that thou be one with Him in spirit,
as thus without departing and scattering,
for He is thy being, and in Him thou art that thou art;
not only by cause and by being, but also,
He is in thee both thy cause and thy being.

— Anonymous, Epistle of Privy Counsel.


For silence is not God, nor speaking is not God;
fasting is not God, nor eating is not God;
loneliness is not God, nor company is not God;
nor yet any of all the other two such contraries.
He is hid between them, and may not be found
by any work of thy soul,
but all only by love of thine heart.

He may not be known by reason,
He may not be gotten by thought,
nor concluded by understanding;
but He may be loved and chosen
with the true lovely will of thine heart … .

— Anonymous, Epistle of Discretion.


On the art of contemplative prayer; that is, of love meeting love.

Motorcycles, Mysticism

Naked stretching


“Good luck with your ministry”

Around 2 hours and 180km into my first experience of motorcycle touring, I broke free from my Thunderheader-inspired reverie just long enough to become aware that the air flowing through my perforated leathers was making me decidedly chilly.

And that Nature was calling.

Beneath overcast skies I pulled into a highway-side rest area near Douglas Park, gently rumbled past the rows of fellow travellers, before pulling over parallel the curb, right down the end just before the exit road; a lovely and slightly elevated spot, overlooking a modest dam on the left, and, most importantly, only a short walk from a door marked with the symbol of a man on the right:

Hume Highway NSW, Douglas Park rest area

Hume Highway NSW, Douglas Park rest area, southbound (-34.157157,150.73903)

I briefly contemplated leaving my helmet and gloves behind, perched nonchalantly atop the sissy bar.

Too many folks about.

A few minutes later, as I rummaged through my new leather sissy bar bag — US$59.95 at Jafrum.com — for my 100% pure merino wool long sleeve motorcycle undergarment — $30 at Aldi — a rather tall and slender older gentleman of somewhat distinguished silver-bearded appearance and dignified carriage walked over from a large 4WD that had pulled up immediately behind, and engaged me in conversation.

It’s a 1995 model.

Yes, these old Evolution engines are better than the new Twin Cams.

No, the ape hangers are actually very comfortable.

Et cetera.

As we talked amiably together, perhaps, I confess, somewhat discourteously — or so it seems to me on reflection — I continued with donning my slim woollen jumper, re-packing my bag, re-fastening the small cargo net over top my packed bike cover, and re-zipping my leather jacket.

Although not my conscious intention — although, perhaps, subconscious, given I had over 400km further to travel that day — the friendly stranger identified a hint in my actions, and neatly segued our conversation towards a conclusion.

Then came his parting words.

“Good luck with your ministry”.

I guess he noticed the licence plate.


Presumably he was unaware that the Carlini Design handlebars — with which I change direction — bear the moniker “Evil Ape”.


And perhaps he had failed to notice the words “Bad Boy” — my chosen steed’s model name — clearly inscribed on the air cleaner.


Screen shot 2013-12-25 at 11.25.06 PM

But I digress.

Setting aside my affinity for incongruity and the coincidentia oppositorum, thank you, kind Sir.

I had not thought of it that way.