More found items…

Go back twenty years…

andrew (1)

Me and Andrew, a Chinese friend, around 1991

mp1 (1)

M in Sydney’s Chinese Garden – around 1991

Atakan

Atakan, whom I never met in person.

ATAKAN ALI 11/30/00 8:08 AM : “Be so tolerant that your bosom becomes wide like the ocean. Become inspired with faith and love of human beings. Let there be no troubled souls to whom you do not offer a hand, and about whom you remain unconcerned.”
ninglun 11/30/00 4:41 PM: That’s very beautiful. Thanks.

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Found — a poem and much more from my pre-blog blog!

Diary for December 2000

Saturday, December 2, 2000: Yesterday was World AIDS Day.
My little circle of friends has displayed over the past week an amazing range of emotions. We’ve had love gone wrong, love gone right…and so on. Quite dramatic really. Perhaps the dominant note, one way or another, has been love.:-)
I have, I must say, found December rewarding so far.
One of my circle has an anniversary coming up of one of life’s turning-points. There are mixed emotions involved, which I, perhaps, understand better than most. The person involved may read this, and he knows my thoughts are with him.

Sunday, December 3, 2000
I hope to dedicate December, one way or another, to love and understanding. Today it is the turn of my ICQ friend Atakan, a young (not gay) teacher in Turkey. He is quite a devout follower of Islam, but not a fundamentalist; indeed he found some elements of this site a bit shocking, but still talks to me 🙂 Given that here the popular image of Islam is coloured by media reports of extremism and violence, it is as well to reflect on the fact that this is a distortion. Here, for example, is what Atakan recently messaged me:
ATAKAN ALI 11/30/00 8:08 AM : “Be so tolerant that your bosom becomes wide like the ocean. Become inspired with faith and love of human beings. Let there be no troubled souls to whom you do not offer a hand, and about whom you remain unconcerned.”
ninglun 11/30/00 4:41 PM: That’s very beautiful. Thanks.

Monday, December 4, 2000
I have almost finished David Leavitt’s Martin Bauman (2000), which has some sections where my attention wandered, I’m afraid; but it is a very mature work. Leavitt is still under 40—just! Since I said “love and understanding” (sounds a bit 60s?) would be my theme this month, this novel fits well. Many aspects of love and gay life emerge in its pages, done with delicacy rather than sensationalism; if you want erotica, look elsewhere. Many things struck me as I read: as a teacher, I savoured his accounts of cheating in tests, and of the idiocy of SAT’s and other standardized tests. Worth thinking about on “gayness” is this:
Perhaps it really was simpler for men, I sometimes reflected; a matter, as Liza had once joked, of which pictures one liked to jerk off to–except that neither Eli nor Ricky liked to jerk off to pictures at all, while Eli claimed to enjoy sex with women more. (This did not stop him from declaring himself, with genuine militancy, to be ‘gay’, and later ‘queer.’) No, in the end all I could conclude was that the fault lay with categorization itself, that crude and elementary tool the inadequacy of which becomes more evident the deeper one probes. For homosexuality is a discipline the advanced study of which necessitates, as it were, its own transcendence, which is why all serious students finally dispense with terminology altogether, and focus their attentions solely on the particulars of human lives.

Tuesday, December 5, 2000
Continuing this month’s theme, here is a little-known poem written by a man for a man. The poet, J. Griffith Fairfax (1886-1976) served in World War I, where he was three times mentioned in dispatches. He practised law in Sydney after the war, returned to England, and become a Conservative Member of Parliament (1924-1929). My source is Lads: An Anthology of Comradeship, ed. Martin Taylor, 1989.

FRIENDSHIP
When I would summon words to sing for you,
The tenderness that draws us each to each
Seems over-wise and delicate for speech,
And what are words, a feeble folk and few!
Your hand in mine; enough that this be true;
Your heart to mine, and why should I beseech
The tongues of men and angels? They could teach
Little to Love, and nothing strange or new.
The silence; let the sound of all men’s feet,
And all the fret of voices touch us not.
Then Peace, in which these others have no lot,
And Time folds up his wings that were so fleet:
Your hand in mine; only the pulse should beat,
Your heart to mine, and all the world forgot.

Written of course during World War I. I thought to take it from obscurity, not that it is the greatest poem I have read, but the last two lines seem to chime with me somehow. What do you think?
And now to be really daring: this one is my own 🙂 Be kind!

In the coffee shop: 8 am.
They know him now–
The cute waiter with the biceps,
The slightly feral girl:
“Flat white?”
“Thanks.”
The old queen in the corner
Reading. Looks up
And smiles
At an empty chair.
He’s harmless
After all–
No madder than anyone else
In Surry Hills.
The regulars in bicycle shorts,
The professional man
Entangling eyes with his mistress.
Not bad places
Coffee shops.

Continue reading

Looking back on a spring day

I have found my “blog” for September 2001.

05 Sep 2001

poetry..challenge and consolation

Poetry has been a passion and a sustenance in my often impractical and prodigal life, in dark phases and in times of joy. I wish I could write it better. Here’s someone who could; but is the title true? In some ways, maybe…

W.B. Yeats (1865–1939). from The Wild Swans at Coole. 1919.

Men improve with the Years
I AM worn out with dreams;
A weather-worn, marble triton
Among the streams;
And all day long I look
Upon this lady’s beauty
As though I had found in book
A pictured beauty,
Pleased to have filled the eyes
Or the discerning ears,
Delighted to be but wise,
For men improve with the years;
And yet and yet
Is this my dream, or the truth?
O would that we had met
When I had my burning youth;
But I grow old among dreams,
A weather-worn, marble triton
Among the streams.
Offered for your pleasure.

06 Sep 2001

Around the pool table…you

I have my share of problems, and I am neither young nor cute.
The last is not necessarily a disqualification for what I am about to say. And that is, that every now and again in life you meet someone who is like a second self: but be careful, as that metaphor can take you down the road of possessiveness which can ruin everything. One must always respect the otherness of other people.
But there are such people, such soulmates (for want of a better word) whose smile can light up your life, and with whom one feels one is at home, with whom one feels so right it is almost scary.
I was with such a person this afternoon.
I thank him and look forward to many more such times 🙂

Perhaps you can see where this is going…

Here at The Bates Motel I see new growth.

P9060619a

P9060621b

Here is the whole poem.

Thomas Henry Kendall was born at Ulladulla, New South Wales, on 18 April 1839. He received basic schooling from his parents, Basil and Melinda Kendall, but his early life was difficult, as the family struggled to earn a living. The Kendalls were living on the Clarence River, near Grafton—a backdrop that would later provide a steady source of inspiration for Kendall’s poetry – when Basil Kendall died in 1852. In the late 1850s family moved to Sydney, and from 1859 Kendall began contributing poems to literary journals and newspapers, with his first published collection,Poems and Songs, appearing in 1862…