Winter time ::

[The following is a short story I wrote for the National Portrait Gallery’s The Big Chill: Fireside Tales short story and poetry competition. The prompt was the photo below, which was taken in Sydney by Dr Julian Smith some time in the 1940s. Nothing is known about the subject, so entrants were asked to use her as their inspiration.] Her father’s arm is around her … Continue reading Winter time ::

Marcus Clarke (1846-1881), on the Ocean ::

When the sea hisses, it speaks, and speech breaks the spell of terror; when it is inert, heaving noiselessly, it is dumb, and seems to brood over mischief. The ocean in a calm is like a sulky giant; one dreads that it may be meditating evil. Moreover, an angry sea looks less vast in extent than a calm one. Its mounting waves bring the horizon … Continue reading Marcus Clarke (1846-1881), on the Ocean ::

Anzac Day: forgetting lest and going undercover ::

My grandfather served in the Second World War as an engineer. I thought, all my young life, that he observed the passage of Anzac Day with some solemnity. Turns out he didn’t observe it at all. Abhorred the thing, actually. His chief critique was similar to one Wilfred Owen leveled at war propaganda in his most famous First World War poem: ‘The old Lie: Dulce … Continue reading Anzac Day: forgetting lest and going undercover ::