Seaside Path

Sea, Beach, Coast, Vacations, Water, Landscape
Seaq68 at Pixabay

Seaside path by nature surrounded

Views numinous at every hand

Where a solitary walk can lead

To the very face of God

His presence felt with every step

Ocean soundtrack to fill your ears

And in the presence inspiring – divine

It can sweep away cares and fears

Seaside path by nature framed

Where souls are lifted and troubles tamed


To Bill Shakestick Indebted: A Challenge

Public Domain

Thee(s) and thou(s) no longer a thing

They have for most an archaic ring

As teachers imbue knowledge

Of some Danish prince

The unfamiliar phrases

Make our brains wince

We sit in class – quite subdued

“To be or not” leaves us confused

And yet for some – the enlightened few

The rhythms sink-in and spark something new

Rhymes fill your imagination and there they stew

You start writing poetry – what else can you do?

If something like this has happened to you

Then share a verse on how it is true

Now with no more gilding the lily

No further ado 

I leave the next verse – up to you





Please do give it a try and share.



Inspiration: Musings on Muses (Part 1)

Terrifying Explosion in Beirut Wasn't Nuclear, Experts Say, And ...

image: ScienceAlert

Why do I write?  In one sense it is to express myself.  In yet another, it is a deeper art in which I express possibilities.  The idea of ideas – possibilities beyond expressions of myself, but of things not experienced (at least) by me.  These inspired thoughts are the subject of this rambling musing on muses and musings.

Inspired is a simple word – “to breath in,” “to receive spirit.”  But what is the muse?  Love poems come easy to me when I am in love.  My lover is the best muse possible for such poetry.

But what of my darker works?

It is amazing how diverse prompts from daily life can come together to take-on lives of their own.  It is evident in the writing process of my poem Saving Face.  This poem was virtually spontaneous at about midnight after a long day.   The night before, I had watched a film which informed it.  The day was ending with news of a huge explosion in Beirut.   Deja vu was my initial reaction, alongside with a cold shudder having had friends killed in the 1983 bombings there.  This began a series of free associations which culminated in the poem.

So what was that process?  The shock of an explosion in Beirut brought about memories of the young men killed there in the 80s.  This in turn led to the patriotism they (we) felt about service.  It made the loss seem greater.  Then the realisation, that in 2020 we send our young women to war and its horrors, as well as our “boys.”  Memories of my own service, and of the iconic image from Apocalypse Now of a camouflage-painted face became an image of the “face of war.”  The idea of war as a political agenda, and of politicians needing to “save face,” brought to mind Saving Private Ryan.  Who then would save these young faces of today – this new generation of “camouflage faces?”

But the process does not end with the dual meaning of “saving face.”  The structure itself had its muse.  That inspiration was the aforementioned film watched the day before –  Blade Runner 2049,  Face, Face, Face.

So why do I write?  I write to sort the bombardment of ideas into something tangible, something less chaotic.  I write to give the struggling ideas dome rest and peace.




I will revisit the Muse musings soon, and how love and loss, and new love inspire me.



Home Philosophy Kit

The Thinker, Rodin, Rodin Museum


I was trying to come up with a suitable gift for a truly amazing young woman.  I first met this lady over a decade ago when she was a struggling single mum with little or no support system.  My wife, Dianne took her under her wing and the friendship followed.  Far from being a stereotype, this young lady has not only entered and graduated from university, but is presently enrolled in a postgraduate course in philosophy, and is considering a career in education.  If this is not impressive enough on its own, I need to add that she has suffered from a chronic illness since she was about fourteen.  I am always impressed by her positive attitude, and willingness to go the step beyond to make her life, and that of her daughter better.

As I said, I was trying to come up with a suitable Christmas present and the idea of a novelty “Home Philosophy Kit,” struck me.

I spent a little bit of time constructing it, but it includes a 3D model of The Thinker (“The Philosopher’s Stone”), a small set of balancing scales (“The Balance of Probability”), a double headed coin (“The Ethical Dilemma Coin”), an inflatable set of antlers set up as a ring toss  (“The Horns of a Dilemma”), and a disposable razor (“Occam’s Razor”).  The set was boxed up and the following instruction sheet attached:

Home Philosophy Kit

Say welcome to your new home philosophy kit.  Once it is completed you will have everything you need to become the most profound thinker on your street.  So let’s begin.


Your kit contains:

  • Philosopher’s Stone (some assembly required)


  • Ethical Determinate Coin


  • Set of Horns of a Dilemma


  • Balance of Probability (with easy to follow Mandarin instructions)




  • Occam’s Razor


Step one is to assembly your Philosopher’s Stone.  If you have difficulty, weigh the possible pieces on your Balance of Probability.  If still uncertain go for the best two out of three with your Horns of a Dilemma.  If it all becomes too much for you, you can consider applying Occam’s Razor, but before you do you must get two tails flip results on your Ethical Determinant Coin.   Once assembled, use the items in the kit to solve all of life’s big questions, like “What are we going to have for dinner?” and “Is reality over-rated?”

I was pleased that she appreciated the gift, and I hope it gives her a little bit of a diversion from her studies. As a side note, this lady is not only the inspiration for this kit, but inspired the character Maya in my Dunes Wars novels.



When Enough is Enough


Paul wrote to Timothy that All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3: 18-17).” God through His prophets has provided us with a wonderful collection containing history, laws, moral, ethics, spiritual guidance, and more.  It reads in the style of prose, and poetry; it has inspired song, and volumes upon volumes of teaching.

There have also been countless philosophers, moral “sages,” and social commentators that has tried to provide us with all of the same categories as are provided by scripture. They have at times denied the accuracy of the biblical accounts, or sought to replace them with “up to date,” or “socially progressive” alternatives.  These attempts have been augmented by the “new priesthood” of the 21st Century West: the scientists. Gone today for many is any faith in the words and pronouncements of men in black, wearing backwards white collars. But, if a person in a white lab coat, and carrying a clipboard makes a statement, “it must be true.”

Whether scientific pronouncement, existential philosophy, or new spiritual guidance; if it departs from the word of God, it must be tested by the Word. Galatians 1:8 reads, “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!” Even angels’ words fall short!

Let us rest in the words of Proverbs 30, “Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar (vs 5 -6).”

Does this mean we cannot make commentary on the scriptures? No. But we are to use scripture to interpret scripture, not social convention. And we are to never try to pass off our words for God’s.

As we look at the world around us today, let us remember the true road map, the real Route 66, the Bible.


Learning from Sir Ian McKellen


Ian McKellen as Gandalf in Lord of the Rings/Hobbit franchise

Sir Ian came to the college to speak to our students today. His presentation was excellent, and provided a wonderful example of the speaker’s art.

He began with rapport building.  This was accomplished in two ways.  First as the student body was divided into two venues with him addressing the larger audience directly, and the others watching on live feed in the other hall, he made a point of going and seeing the smaller group in person before starting his main speech.  Secondly, he began his presentation with a purposeful scanning of his speaking space (which doubles as our exams venue), and then admonished study and revision, before stepping forward to the mic and announcing in his best Gandalf voice “Or You Shall Not Pass.”

Rapport built, he laid out his main message (human dignity and anti-bullying), making clear references to his theme, while interlacing it with personal anecdotes (which each had emotional appeal); and with rhetorical but direct questioning of his auditors’ own experiences.  As each point for consideration was made, he suggested how the audience both individually and collectively could make a difference if they applied the message.

This reinforcement of the theme with the personalised appeal strengthened his message as the audience was given a sense of responsibility and ownership.  He made the message their (our) own.

So what can we learn from Sir Ian?  Number one connect with your audience.  Secondly, make your message clear, and present it in a step by step developmental manner.  Thirdly, make the audience feel a responsibility or ownership of the message.
It was truly a treat, as both an educator and as a public speaker to see a master craftsman at work.