Monday, May 28, 2012

POEM #15

For Ted Hughes (if he was still around and could give two hoots - or even three hoots - about a small poem from an emerging Aussie poet)

A pre-midnight fox
consumed by bone-lust,
padding where memory is lost,
hurls wheezes and wails
at Morton National Park's tides.

Along Lower Gullies Road
all our bored boxed-foxes
tear themselves from stale
fireside mats, chats and pats,
to shriek by frozen front doors.

We refuse to open up outside,
let them join that One Real Dog,
set fern, fence and field aflame,
out-laugh the loon, fang the moon,
scream until ambulances howl.

LJ, May 28 2012

POEM #14


amanita muscaria,
Fly Agaric -

ball for fresh sport,
evil strawberry,
dragon eyeball,

a distant
all fire

after God tired
of our staring.

LJ, May 28 2012

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

POEM #13


Great Poet
told me writing
verse was like

LJ, May 24 2012

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

POEM #12


10am sunlight
          spilling all
around me,
turning carpet
     into a few
        bright stanzas.

Open texts
          and Macs
stare at four
         silent students
craving pools,

The moon-faced clock's
           lethargic orbit;
Rio weather
       shimmying outside,
   taunting us.

On the shining oval,
             and shrieking
from a PE class,
then a hurtling
            Vortex Mega Howler
with the voice
       of a dying firework.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


I just found out Maurice Sendak died last night. And I read Where The Wild Things Are to over one hundred Yr 12 students just before he died. Bizarre. Poignant.

Apparently Sendak was a surly old bugger. Oh well.

LJ, May

Monday, May 7, 2012

A + B = ?

There's so much talk about education at the moment (there always has been and there always will be). What's the best school? How much is too much when it comes to 'quality' education? What is 'quality' education? Is the school obsessed with HSC results at the expense of developing my child? Will my kid's talents be lost in a huge school of 1500 pupils? Are teachers just in it for the holidays? Are teachers keeping themselves versed in new teaching trends? So many questions. So much discussion. A lot of frustration from parents who pay big bucks for big name independent schools and don't get what they dreamed of. Students dazed and confused. Teachers doing everything they can to keep up with demands from all angles.

A hell of a lot goes into a child's education. This isn't just the responsibility of teachers. Parents and family members have a huge role to play. It's not up to teachers to save a young man/woman from instability and insecurity (though they do everything they can). Education is more than just reading a poem, completing algebra homework and colouring in a map of South America (apologies to any geography teachers reading this - I know you give your kids more than colouring exercises!).

When it comes to selecting a school for your son or daughter's future, I feel the discipline policy of the school is paramount. You need to know your child will be in a safe learning environment and that matters of bullying etc. will be dealt with speedily. All schools say they will look after your kid's welfare through the mind and body (the education of the 'whole' person), all of them have mottos that run along the lines of 'creating a better future'... you need to know the discipline policy will be adhered to and teachers will follow up on problems not long after they surface. Whether you're spending over $20 000 a year on your child's education, or less than $10 000, it's the discipline policy that makes a difference. Who cares if there's a new rowing shed or basketball stadium or umpteen laptops or cool projectors? If Teddy's still smacking Marcus and causing his life to be miserable, no money into new infrastructure or technology is going to help.
This is my eighteenth year in full-time teaching, so I feel I can give an insider's POV here. I'm an English specialist, although I've taught History, Drama and General Studies (now defunct) over the years. I've taught in several secondary schools in Sydney and the Southern Highlands of NSW. Most were Catholic schools run by religious orders. The humour and energy of students, as well as the stimulation of literature, has kept me in the job for such a long time. I enjoy each day of my job. I feel lucky to be a teacher. You do feel like you can make a difference in the lives of young people. So many people in so many jobs feel they are insignificant.

This morning I read Where The Wild Things Are to all of Yr 12 (with appropriate voices) as some sort of parable - the message was tame your inner wild things (fear, doubt, insecurity etc). I also led three Yr 10 girls on a fifteen minute birding trip within school grounds. I tried to get reluctant students interested in print media with patience and thorough explanation. I deconstructed character relationships in Louis Nowra's Cosi. After lunch, a Yr 12 student told me I was a 'fun' teacher.

That one remark keeps you going.

LJ, May 8 2012.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

POEM #11


An ABC radio interviewee
with an educated tongue
told us the universe
is expanding
and accelerating;
you thought you might
stay up tonight,
drink a few Stellas,
stare up at all that
grand confusion,
see if he's right
or prove him wrong.

LJ, May 3 2012.