Author Archives: Betty Davies

Vale, Mungo MacCallum.

Mungo MacCullum

“I never thought I’d say it, but I can no longer go on working. It takes all my effort to breathe and I’m not managing that too well. And now my mind is getting wobbly – hard to think, let alone concentrate,” he wrote.

“So I am afraid there is not much point in continuing to push the rock up the hill. I shall retire to my Lazy Boy recliner, and doze over the television watching (or not) old sporting replays, propped up by drugs, oxygen and the occasional iced coffee. I am rapidly winding down.

“I am sorry to cut and run – it has sometimes been a hairy career, but I hope a productive one and always fun. My gratitude for all your participation.”

Mungo MacCallum.

Journalist Karen Middleton said of him that he was “the last true larrikin”.

And he truly was. Our much loved larrikin.

Posted in New Paintings

November 2021

Going to the edge of the world

is something I don’t plan for.

I don’t measure my strength

or plot out the journey.

I just sometimes find myself there,

and hold on tight to the hand that brought me,

lest I fall off.

The view is breathtaking.

I breathe deep.

All I can tell you is

there is no better place to be.

Carol Bialock.

Posted in New Paintings

July 2021

For Claire.

At ninety nine you are ageless,

you have moved into no-time,

older than the moon,

younger than sunshine.

Agelessness has set in like a halo,

You are, even now, a relic

from the sea of life,

You ready yourself for exploration of a longed for land

and cast an anchor on a shore

the young no nothing of.

Carol Bialock.

Is That So?

Posted in New Paintings

David Gulpilil.

Through tears, I watched what I thought was to be the very last public appearance by David Guliplil, as he had difficulty in speaking, such had the illness taken over. In spite of this, and for one second only, I thought I had caught a glimpse of the determination and the spirit that we have all come to love in this man…and sure enough, the re run of the video revealed that I was not mistaken! And in spite of the fact that the medicos had given him only months to live, he is still with us, two and a half years later. And he has produced another movie. This time to document the history of his awe inspiring life.

As Outback Dreaming recently wrote:- “Watching the winners at the Film Awards on TV, gushing about how unexpected their award was, thanking the whole world, talking endlessly about themselves. The winner of Lead Actor in ‘The Tracker’ was announced. Gulpilil walked on the stage, looked at the award, looked at the audience and said…‘I deserve this’. Loved him ever since.Happiest when he’s home on Country.”

David Gulpilil
Posted in New Paintings

June 2021.

O cold the black-frost night.

The walls draw in to the warmth

and the old roof cracks its joints;

the slung kettle

hisses a leak on the fire.

Hardly to be believed that summer will turn up again some day

in a wave of rambler-roses,

thrust it’s hot face in here to tell another yarn-

a story old Dan can spin into a blanket against the winter.

Seventy years of stories he clutches round his bones.

Seventy years are hived in him like old honey. Judith Wright

Beyond The Seen.
Posted in New Paintings

May, 2021.

Run my dear,

from anything that may not strengthen your precious budding wings.

Run like hell my dear,

from anyone likely to put a sharp knife into the sacred,

tender vision of your beautiful heart. – Hafiz

Posted in New Paintings

April 2021.

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately,

to front only the essential facts of life,

and see if I could not learn what it had to teach,

and not, when I came to die,

discover that I had not lived ~ Henry David Thoreau.

Posted in New Paintings

Seaside Musings

The title of a book that a friend had recently mentioned had, for several days, been repeating itself inside of my head, like some sort of mantra. Surprised By Joy, by C S Lewis.

Surprised By Joy….. And by chance I had also been reading another little book on the subject of ‘addiction to awe’, the suggestion being that it might serve the reader well to give it a go.
I confess to being one such addict myself, and in addition to that, I am a serial daydreamer, possibly as a way of extracting myself, albeit partially, from the starkness of our man made ‘reality’.

Most recently I had come reeling out of our holiday apartment and onto the beach, deeply disturbed by the morning’s barrage of ugly media news that had lodged itself deep inside of me.
And on that beach I came upon a tiny rock pool, teeming with countless tiny creatures living in peace with the world and with each other, and calling me to Awe. And it distressed me to find myself unable to reconcile the two starkly contrasting realities……and so I confess to shedding the odd tear into that little pool of Awe.

I have discovered that I cannot do outrage for very long at all now. Perhaps it is a second stage of life thing, because otherwise, where now the warrior/activist spirit of former years???
And I am left to ponder whether the better thing is to be at peace with my most recent state of being, and leave my baton for the next generation…..or perhaps to accept the probability that mine is no longer of relevance, as the batons of this generation seem to me to be so foreign to that one that I have mislaid somewhere along the way….

Posted in New Paintings

February 2021

I found this lovely man fascinating, not because he was religious, but because he was a seeker who wished to ‘go beyond and into’ as one might say. Fr Bede Williams, a Benedictine monk, who spent the last 38 years of his life in India, in attempt to integrate his Catholic training with the Eastern philosophy.

He was a man in search of that which is fundamental to all religions: the search for the absolute and that which transcends all human limitations. It is said of him that he was a mystic in touch with absolute love and beauty.

He was a fan of Wordsworth, mainly due to the fact that Wordsworth saw God in nature.

“—And I have felt

A presence that disturbs me with the joy

Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime

Of something far more deeply interfused,

Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,

And the round ocean and the living air,

And the blue sky, and in the mind of man:

A motion and a spirit, that impels

All thinking things, all objects of all thought,

And rolls through all things.

Therefore am I still

A lover of the meadows and the woods

And mountains; and of all that we behold

From this green earth; of all the mighty world

Of eye, and ear,—both what they half create,

And what perceive; well pleased to recognise

In nature and the language of the sense

The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,

The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul

Of all my moral being.” ~ Wordsworth.

Fr Bede Williams
Father Bede Williams
Posted in New Paintings

January 2021

How was it

when a queen walked between courtiers

toward her throne?

The rustle of satin and silk,

the dignity of it,

her head held high

while her subjects’ eyes scarcely dared look up

to gaze upon her majesty.

And what of this day in July

walking between wildflowers,

yellow, heads high,

making a path for me by the sea?

The radiant summer light,

the surf’s applause,

the lizard and rabbit escorting me down the path.

Am I more or less of a queen?

My heart knows,

and I will never tell the secret.

Carol Bialock.

Posted in New Paintings

Praying.

Praying

It doesn’t have to be

the blue iris, it could be

weeds in a vacant lot, or a few

small stones; just

pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try

to make them elaborate, this isn’t

a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which

another voice may speak

Mary Oliver 

Posted in New Paintings

November 2020.

I built my house by the sea.
Not on the sands, mind you,
not on the shifting sand.
And I built it of rock.
A strong house
by a strong sea.
And we got well acquainted, the sea and I.
Good neighbours.
Not that we spoke much.
We met in silences,
respectful, keeping our distance
but looking our thoughts across the fence of sand.
Always the fence of sand our barrier,
always the sand between.

And then one day
(and I still don’t know how it happened)
The sea came.
Without warning.
Without welcome even.
Not sudden and swift, but a shifting across the sand like wine,
less like the flow of water than the flow of blood.
Slow, but flowing like an open wound.
And I thought of flight, and I thought of drowning, and I thought of death.
But while I thought, the sea crept higher till it reached my door.
And I knew that there was neither flight nor death nor drowning.
That when the sea comes calling you stop being good neighbours,
Well acquainted, friendly from a distance neighbours.
And you give your house for a coral castle
And you learn to breathe under water.


Carol Bialock.

Posted in New Paintings

Timothy Spall.

I haven’t told Stan yet, but I think I have fallen in love with Timothy Spall.

The man, that is as distinct from the actor. Two different people, of course, and the difference never ceases to fascinate me.

Timothy Spall says about himself, as Actor….“My job as a character actor is the make me fit the character, to serve the character. To present this human being who turns up in a piece of film or entertainment that’s going, you know, exist as if it might exist after the film is finished and it existed before the film has started.It’s my job to manipulate feelings”.

And about Timothy Spall, the man….“I was always insecure about the way I looked”. Why would that be, I wonder? To me, he is drop dead gorgeous!

Timothy Spall ~ the Actor
Posted in New Paintings

August 2020

Thou’ much is taken, much abides; and thou’

We are not now that strength which in old days

Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are.

One equal

Temper of heroic hearts,

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will

To strive to seek, to find, and not to yield. ~ Alfred Tennyson.

Douglas Goodall
Posted in New Paintings

July 2020

Don’t ask what the world needs, ask what makes you come alive.

Because what the world needs most, is more people who come alive. – Howard Thurman

Posted in New Paintings

July 2020

Did you tackle that trouble that came your way

With a resolute heart and cheerful?

Or did you hide your face from the light of day

With a craven soul and fearful.

Oh, a trouble’s a ton, or trouble’s an ounce’

Or trouble is what you make it,

And it isn’t the fact that you’re hurt that counts,

But only how did you take it?

You are beaten to earth?  Well, well, what’s that!

Come up with a smiling face,

It’s nothing against you to fall down flat,

But to lie there ~ that’s disgrace.

The harder you’re thrown, why the higher you bounce

Be proud of your blackened eye!

It isn’t the fact that you’re licked that counts;

It’s how did you fight ~ and why?

And though you be done to death, what then?

If you battled the best you could,

If you played your part in the world of men,

Why, the Critic will call it good.

Death comes with a crawl, or comes with a pounce,

And whether he’s slow or spry,

It isn’t the fact that you’re dead that counts,

But only how did you die? ~ Edmund Vance Cooke.

Posted in New Paintings

For a Friend

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky way,

They stretched in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:

I gazed—and gazed—but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils. ~ Wordsworth

Orson Welles

Posted in New Paintings

On Trees


A poem about trees by Herman Hesse

‘For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farm boy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.

Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.

A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.

When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts… Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.

A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.

So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.‘

Posted in New Paintings

May 2020

I have been acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain and back in rain.
I have out-walked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away in interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street.

But not to call me back or say goodbye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
One luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right
I have been acquainted with the night. ~ Robert Frost

Posted in New Paintings

May 2020

Under the anger, under the fear, under the despair, under the broken heartedness, there is a radiance that has never been harmed, that has never been lost, that is the truth of who one is.

Gangaji

Posted in New Paintings