Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Here re couple of resources for anyone who wants to know more about the Romanyi and their way of life:
The Patrin Web is one of the best, set up and maintined by Romany people, but this resource, lthough for role playing games, is also very well done.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

A Fire Story

not so long ago -- about 1248AD

from my book "Songs of the Gusari"

The Fire

Aldon had a restless night -- one of many during this period of fasting. He had hardened himself against the solitude and separation from the outside world, but questioned his calling once more. Even the close fellowship of his loving companions did not sustain his faltering spirit. Part of him accepted and embraced the quiet contemplation that paced the surrender of his will. Part rebelled against the harsh confinement -- the cold, the narrow cot, the meager food. Yet, he felt the Presence here, and whispered coachings from every darkened hall. Only yesterday he had come across Brother Paul lying prostrate on the stone slabs for more than twelve hours. Rolling him over, fearing him dead, had provided surprise. For the look in his eyes was worth a life's torment.

"But is it for me?"

His thought drifted away from the ordained prayers to his new friend of the forest. "Kiyan, is that your real name?" he thought. "I am surrounded here by people of faith and practiced piety," he mused. "But I have never met a Holy person outside the Church before!" He shuddered at the blasphemy.

The whisperings of the villagers had told him of the Gusari's return. Aldon felt ashamed over the revelation that a few moments with the traveler affected him more than the teachings of his Abba. His calling to the path of the Order was strong, but the song of the Gusari drew from deep in his chest. "Is that where the soul resides?" He gather his simple garments and sneaked down the hall.

Father Stephan was his mentor and confessor. More than that, he was large and blocked the door! Even closed, the hinged planks could not prevent the scents of life from invading the cloistered stench. "Out, out", his spirit called in unvoiced rebellion.

His friend had already turned the key!

"Would you accept a blessing for your mission?"

"Do you know then where I go?'

"Yes, we all Know. We have heard the pulse and chant and cry of that tortured self. We send out prayers, but he calls to you."

"Do you know him then?"

"Once long ago, I traveled with an entourage of the Duke. We were set upon by six bandits who killed our guard, and I feared for my life. The Gusari appeared and quickly dispatched two and the others fled. I would have thanked him, but he knelt there in the dust weeping over his foe. They drew me away with shrugs and palatable fear. The rest is legend."

"I must know of this if I am to learn from him -- or should I not go?"

"You are blessed, my son, to feel the song of his heart, and if you can be a source of peace for him, then go - go. Our Lord speaks to us in voices we cannot always understand. I do not understand this Gusari friend of yours, but I also know that I must not bar your way."

"Tell me what little you know then, please."

"He was raised and trained to be a shaman of his people, an anointed one by markings and prophecy. While on a journey of "joining", I know not what that means, his entire tribe was slaughtered by raiders -- Huns some say. It is said that he dug 80 graves with his own hands and refused any aid. He walks now with the weight of those souls in his rucksack and his strength is immense. I sense that his tears are a more powerful prayer than any I mumble on bended knee."

Aldon wandered through a section of forest new to him but was not lost. The yearning of his soul and scent of smoldering ash drew him on. When he discovered the mystic, the man was not alone, and the monk felt strangely surprised that others were drawn there. "Stupid! What vanity for me to want to possess his spirit. My brother, glad am I to find you well!"

"I am not sure you will be pleased when your willful pride drags you into these fallen leaves. Why should I wish to spend any time with a confounded spirit?

"I said nothing, which turned out to be the best answer."

"Did you bring bread? I have some nuts, here, and raison cakes and radishes! I have been waiting."

"Bread yes -- but mostly I bring myself. My spirit is prepared for a feast."

"Dine then with me. I will draw from the strength of your youth and faith. I will sing to your spirit"

The droning strum of the Gusli easily blended with the mystery of the night.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Thoughts on campfires...

When I was a child in Ireland, my mother usually struggled to cook on a temperamental little Primus burner, that had to be primed and pumped with determination before it would fire up - when it defeated her, my father would laugh and put it away and light a campfire. He'd let it form glowing ashes, then tuck potatoes in around the edge and cook some fish or bacon in a frypan. While we ate, he and his brothers would sing and play old Irish songs. These were the best meals I remember.

We moved to England in the 50s and my mum got a portable gas stove which did everything well, even cooked Christmas dinner. But we often joined the gypsies, who always made my father welcome, around their camfires and relived old times, frying fish in butter and hacking off thick slices of local bread.

When we first came to Australia we were delighted to find that the travelling showmen had a campfire tradition as well. The best campfires of all were those set up by the Maori Troubadors, a group of singers and dancers whose show attracted huge crowds during showtime. During the day, they would bury half a pig in a fire pit, and at night, they would light the fire and invite their friends to join them. They too would sing and play under the stars, not the country and western and romantic ballads they presented in the show, but beautiful stirring Moari music that soared into the night.

My dear brother in law Sonny Neville was a musician and a master guitar player. he loved our camp fires and we knew whenever he came to visit us after we settled down, that we would have to light the fire and bake the potatoes. Sonny would sing and play for us from his amazing pepertoire of rock, ballads and spanish love songs. When he died, the music ended for a while, but now our son Chris is learning to play the guitar, so we will have music again.

We continue with the campfires - they are mostly in the backyard now, but ocacasionally at the beach. I guess this is one tradition that will never be forgotten in our family.

Quiet Story

It is quiet about the campfire,
couples huddled close – no strangers here.
The frenetic dancing done,
communal dishes relished – gone;
wine changing to a drifting brandy flask.

“tell us a story, papa” whispered command.

I ponder on the quiet …
Easter past and Lenten lessens
easily forgotten. I reflect on Jeshua’s
quit times also – those missing 20 years,
now subject of pulp fiction.

a story then,


"Mother, do you have a scrap of cloth that I can use as a bandage wrap?"

"Let me see -- oh, a rather nasty scrape! But see there -- some bits of grass and sand. Go and wash well in the stream and I will prepare. I still have some salve that Aunt Martha sent. She had it blessed. Go quickly. ---- No, do not run! The neighbor's animals need not be disturbed because of your clumsiness. Walking the path deliberately and carefully will bring you back directly. Please your mother, now!"

"That was truly pleasant. I washed downstream from the others, too. And there I found some newly budding flowers of a type I have not known. I will return in summer and gather some for your table. I wondered why you did not have me cleans the wound here, with water from the well. But you are wise, as always, dearest mistress."

"You, safely at my table, Jeshua, is all I desire. What was it this time? Rescuing a bird or swinging from a tree with those shepherd boys?

"I was helping young Timothy into that tall tree by the southern gate to climb with the older boys. It proved more difficult than I supposed. "Anyway, he was not injured."

"He is the one with only one foot from the cart accident last fall?"

"Yes, but he is strong and is learning to laugh again! He must exercise his pain."

"That too is why I sent you to the stream. You must take care that the scab does not stiffen and become inflexible. You will need your knee when we go to prayer."

"Inflexible? You mean like Rabbi Elam -- with teachings like stone. My Father is vibrantly alive, and we can pray as well seated here on Joseph's bench as in the synagogue."

"None the less, we will go -- to be with the others and support them in their prayers, if nothing else. Often the gift of companionship is the greatest sacrifice of all."

"Yes, Mother. -- Are there any dates left?"

"You can wait! We will dine before the reddening hours as Joseph needs your help to deliver the new table to the Roman home on the hill."

"Last time they gave me a pomegranate. I will bring it to you. It is like a little world inside, so much work just to get a simple prize."

"You make me laugh my son, and it cheers the hidden corners of my heart. But I have been musing here. Now, our magnificent Father above lifts the tiny wren into the wind and gives it shelter under a leaf in a storm. Why then did you fall?"

"Dearest Mother, if I had called up to Father to have Timothy float gently to the ground, he would not learn, but would try to climb again. When I caught and broke his fall as a friend, and gained this scrape by reward, I became a better man and so did he.

Look, the sun has touched the hill."

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Farewell, dear fellow traveller

Leonie, you will be sorely missed, and the candle lit to remember you by will never be extinguished in my heart, where the flame of those who touched my life burns in perpetuity. Lead the way my friend, travel with carefree abandon and in peace, where all of us will one day rejoin you.

image aletta mes 2006

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Forward - a thought poem

painting aletta mes 2006
transcendent life
through birth
toil, grief,
all the colours
of passion
each moment
for the reaping
youth hesitates

death provides transport
to the other side
of a stony wall
the reaper
back and forth
of friends
enemies alike
to the other side
fear wonders
what if I?

more fellow
since passed
generations removed
from life newly made
taking spent mortal remains,
most sadly too
those with lives
far to short
grief will
painting aletta mes 2006
not so
far from here
stands a wall
a wall not there
when I was young
of cold dark stone
evoking fear
and nostrils
sensing the sweetly acrid
stench of death
I have learned the limits
of mortality

the wall of
stoney perception
what was
set in motion
is not mortal
but eternal
so I too shall pass
delivered by
my new confidant
the dark gowned
through stones of
not stone
but ether
as we are grieved
we are also joyfully
painting aletta mes 2006
as days pass
fear grows
the reaper now stand closer
rarely am I out
of the dark figure's gaze
time moves
only forward
and the stones of the wall
again reveal
they are but ether
after all

in the reapers gaze
I stand and now look back
without fear
he now is
a familiar
a companion
encouraging acceptance
now as age advances
all senses
and all colour
mindfully yet
painting aletta mes 2006
the wall while marking a line
between the mortal and
spirits of
familiar souls
to continue in eternity
here in the mortal world
the legacies
of lives lived
continue in ripples
eternity offers
no here or there
only forever

without fear
all senses
all colour
each moment
a small piece of
the eternal
in body or ether
I am
painting aletta mes 2006

For Leonie, till we meet again.

Silky Comes to Dance With Us

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Leonie love the Magic Faraway Tree. She told me it was one of her favourite childhood books. All of us who loved the Faraway Tree loved sweet, gentle Silky. Silky has come up from the tree especially to be here and dance within the magic circle that is filled with love.

Goodbye Leonie

Lotus Moon

Come dance by the Gypsy fire,” she said;
where the Sage speaks of forgotten words,
and candles play with mimsy shadows,
‘neath the Lotus Moon and your tears.

I finger ruby shoes round my throat –
a talisman of time’s tapestry;
extending my arms in expectation,
and clutch at her mem’ried melody.

Guitars purr in gossamer moonlight,
and my feet prance in driven dream –
and she glides with me in the glomming
while soft petals swirl in the night.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Circle dance


time to go…
they say the journey is a long one:
change of robes


Dedicated to Leonie - by Megan Warren

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work of Megan Warren 2006

For Leonie - From Karen Roberts

We were born before the wind
Also younger than the sun
Ere the bonnie boat was won as we sailed into the mystic
Hark, now hear the sailors cry
Smell the sea and feel the sky
Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic
And when that fog horn blows I will be coming home
And when that fog horn blows I want to hear it
I don't have to fear it
I want to rock your gypsy soul
Just like way back in the days of old
Then magnificently we will float into the mystic
And when that fog horn blows you know I will be coming home
And when that fog horn whistle blows I got to hear it
I don't have to fear it
I want to rock your gypsy soul
Just like way back in the days of old
And together we will float into the mystic...
Van Morrison
Much love to her wonderful soul on the next phase of her journey...Karen Roberts

The Last Dance With Me

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We had laughed and cried and said
we would dance for many more years Leonie
But... the fates intervened
with their scissors
snipping the thread of life so suddenly

So, I'm dancing for you now, as I have never danced before
Leading the celebration of your life
Here in the Gypsy Camp.

Form a circle everyone
And dance the last dance with us.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Leonie's own memory

I am often at a loss for words
at times like this ...
Too few words from her,
to know her well,
yet a search found this
from a year ago ...

The Portrait Of This Passage

New dawn
Dances silently
Upon the gardens
Of the dew doused
Morning lawn
It draws
The portrait
Of this passage
To which we are drawn
For it is loves celestial sight
The timeless wisdom
That is never

Candles for Leonie from Fran Sbrocchi

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For Leonie