Week 5: My Thoughts so Far

I cannot count how many times I have encountered a poem during my literature study that at first glance read like;

The eagle flies south

With the skull of the broken horse

Trees with umbrellas

Weep whimsically

The monkey goes east

On a pumpkin

Flowers eat beans

With a banjo

Fire burns warm

In the water…


“What the hell is this person on about!” the class seems to exclaim in unison. Slowly but surely we uncover the hidden meaning like a fisherman untangling his line. Blake has definitely not disappointed in laying out these mythical treasure maps for us to traverse. I really enjoy this process and look forward to undertaking it with Brett Whitley’s art.

The unending layers concealed in literature and visual art offer endless possibilities for discovery and I find such joy in sharing our various interpretations on these gems. Exploring literature and art can be fun solo, but it is wonderfully enhanced when it is shared with others.


My Clemente Journey: A short film to say thank you to so many people!

I made this short film for my HUMA247 unit. Peter Howard suggested I make a documentary about my journey through the Clemente program into university. It quickly became apparent that I would have to tell my back story if the film was going to work. Although it shows parts of my life that are certainly not good, I hope that it may help someone who watches it to realise that they are not alone in their struggles. We all stumble at some point in our lives and if we are fortunate enough to have wonderful people like the ones I encountered during my toughest moments, we can not only survive, but we can flourish.

I will be eternally grateful to the people of Clemente for helping me realise a dream that, at one point, I was certain I would never fulfil.



Peer Review 2

You certainly have literary talent! You write with such a depth of feeling and rich use of language. I love those “aha!” moments, but they are so fleeting; like trying to grasp sublime smoke. You see so clearly for a second and then it evaporates. It’s as if Blake’s “doors of perception” open for one instant and you get a glimpse of something so much more than our everyday experience. It can fade as quickly as it appears and you are left wondering if it actually happened; although the tingling may last for days. I guess that is the awesomeness of reading another person’s description of IT; the joy of knowing that IT is not some isolated event in one’s own psyche, but a fascinating mystery of the human condition.

I can offer no improvement, but I spotted a repeated word in the final paragraph; “into”.




Week 4: Building on Blake’s “The Human Abstract”

I cheated and took two lines. I also decided not to ruin my poem with my hopeless drawing skills. The above photo seemed to fit perfectly with the opening lines of Blake’s poem and triggered me to write in the tone I have.


Pity would be no more,

If we did not make somebody poor,

To give a little and keep a lot,

Makes a person pious not.


Peering down from high above,

Is not the way to show your love.

One must understand when seeing thee,

But for the grace of God there goes me.


The whims of fortune can be strange,

Without warning lives may change.

Hard work brought undone by luck.

It may be you down in the muck.


In a world with such harsh disparity

We must truly embrace this thing charity

It is not just cash we should bestow

But dignity to and empathy show


We are not as separate as we may assume,

But of the same tree just a single bloom.

We are all mixed up in this ego stew,

You give to him, you give to you!

Week 3: A Life-Changing Experience


I felt it! I never considered myself a spiritual person and I certainly was not religious; but I felt it! A workmate suggested that I give these support groups a go and I was so low I thought “what have I got to lose?” I was hanging on by the thinnest of threads and was willing to grab onto anything that resembled hope.

Listening to the various people tell their stories I felt my isolation melt away. I was not the only person who felt this way. I was not a lone freak! One on one therapy is a wonderful thing, but it can leave the sufferer feeling that they are alone in their distress. For the first time I felt that I was not a broken individual; I was just a human being who was struggling and needed support, care and love!

What did I feel? I am not really sure, but when the meeting concluded and we joined hands for the Serenity Prayer I felt an energy flow through me. There were at least thirty people in that circle and they were all asking for help in battling their demons. Yet I did not feel self-pity, angst or sadness; I felt hope, love and joy. I was all out of optimism and wishful thinking was a thing of the past. This positive vibe was injected into me through the calloused husk of my despair. It only lasted a few seconds, but it provided me with the flicker of faith I needed to go another day. Sometimes that’s all you need.



I dug out another one of my old clunkers to accompany this;



These broken people.

A collection of lost souls.

I love them dearly.

This motley crew of misfits.

They are my people.

My tribe.


I entered, a shattered man.

A miserable and fearful wretch.

They accepted me,

Embraced me.

They offered me hope.

They showed me a path.


The road was rough.

The medicine was hard to take.

The truth can be terrifying.

Almost impossible to face.

But slowly the magic happened.

The imaginary monsters lost their power.


I drink the wisdom from these rooms.

Knowledge from the horse’s mouth.

Tales from the trenches.

Laughter, tears, guidance.

This is my classroom.

Learning to live.


We’re all in this together.

We all share the struggle.

We lean on each other.

Many think we are strange.

Is honesty so strange?

These flawed people.


They saved my life!