Personal story


“Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.”  Shakespeare Macbeth

On a sunny afternoon I visit my mother in her residential aged care home. She has had a minor stroke. Speech and memory are difficult now. She struggles to complete sentences. Only a last desperate look from the whirlpool of memory reminds me of her love. Now all the pain, the madness of her days, the grief, the regrets, the loss, they are all imprisoned inside. There will be no final understanding, except in meeting her glance. Now habit and the simplest acts of caring, to wheel her through the aching sun, are all that we have left together.

Mr Cogito’s monster

lacks all dimensions


it’s hard to describe

it eludes definitions


it’s like a vast depression

hanging over the country


it can’t be pierced

by a pen


an argument

a spear


if not for its stifling weight

and the death it sends

you might conclude

that it was a phantom

a disease of the imagination


but it’s there

it’s there all right


it fills crannies of houses

temples bazaars like gas


it poisons the wells

destroys a mind’s constructs

covers the bread with mold


proof the monster exists

is offered by its victims


indirect proof

but sufficient

from Zbigniew Herbert, “Mr Cogito’s Monster”

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