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Monkey Comfort

Lyrics:
 

Disc One: Natural World

1.  How Good It Is
2.  Lionhearts
3.  Natural World
4.  The Raven and the Pheonix
5.  Tell Me Now
6.  Limestone
7.  Grevillea
8.  Spit a Rat
9.  Monkey Comfort

Disc Two: Physical World

1.  King Monkey
2.  Margaret's Century
3.  Farewell Margaret
4.  Antarctica
5.  20 Summers (Over You By Tuesday)
6.  Physical World
7.  Safe home
8.  Once More into Flower


 
 

How Good It Is
© Penelope Swales

How good it is  to walk away! To free myself from all that pain. How good it was to finally hear you say what it was about me that got in your way. You spent so much time trying to be so nice. But sometimes itís better just to spill your guts. To be real Ďbout how you really feel - even if it comes out sounding a little rough. 

You were so full of brave ideals about the things that we could be. But you canít impose these things from above. The tree doesnít grow from the leaf. And itís a fine thing to wanna lift your game, but when things get tough itís the part of us thatís lame, that decides what will be and what canít be. 

I spent so much time, time in my life, trying to be something that I wasnít quite. So much time, time and energy, trying to tell other people what they could be. Yeah, well I still try, I try to get it right - but I know thereíll always be a discrepancy Ďtween how we wanna be and how weíre gonna be, and in the end you just gotta work with whatís real. 

Thereís a love in my life who understands these things. And Iíve so much yet to learn from that gentle heart Ďbout the relief that acceptance brings. I tried so hard to do right by you, but if you wonít talk to me thereís only so much that I can do. Coz Iím the kind who needs to understand what you need from me and what I need from you. And itís all very well to huff up and say that grown-ups shouldnít feel this way. But the point is that we do, we do. 

How good it is to walk away! To free myself from all that pain. How good it was to finally hear you say what it was about me that got in your face. I spat the dummy and you spat chips. Your opinion finally passed your lips. We were both wrong about a lot of things, but at least I finally know what you really think - and thatís something that I can work with. 

Knowledge isnít kindness and theories are not wisdom.Itís good to have ideals, but the human heart, itís a messy thing. It learns like a dog, like a beaten child. It donít always listen to your mind. You can try and tell it itíll be alright. But that might just take a little time. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Lionhearts
© Dale Jones

Though these days one power reigns. Thereís you who will find what the truth is. To you so brave, we give you the name Lionhearts.

Theyíre heavy days, these - without the chance to find out what is real. And these illusions appear before us, being all we see. Thereís voices in the distance, but itís getting hard to hear them through the smokescreens. The sounds are the pleading of those with lives in bondage, wrongly suffering. 

Though these days one power reigns, thereís you who will find what the truth is. To you so brave we give you the name Lionhearts. 

A noble cause, yes - defenders of a system true and just. To keep the white world rich the third world fight for freedom must be crushed. Now if the tales were told what secrets would unfold? No-one can know - no-one but those who live for knowing, knowing. 

Though these days one power reigns, thereís you who will find what the truth is. To you so brave we give you the name Lionhearts. AahhÖ

What finer way than TV screens for keeping people deaf and blind? A shadow world lies between the trivia, the news headlines. Now if the tales were told what secrets would unfold? No-one can know - no-one but those who live for knowing, knowing. 

Though these days one power reigns, thereís you who will find what the truth is. To you so brave we give you the name Lionhearts. To you so brave, we give you the name Lionhearts.

 

Natural World
© Penelope Swales

 

People, It seems to me that the myths we love the most can be the most dangerous, the most insidious. We talk as if we just strayed from the Garden of Eden! Everything would be okay if we could just find our way back again. But our forebears had their reasons. Oh, now people Iím not saying we did anything right, the right way. We are products of a beautiful but brutal world. The world was wild so we tamed it. To help us survive, yeah we boxed up and trained it And those whoíve never known danger scorn it was done. 

Ah, but people, it seems to me this was done out of love originally. An attempt to protect our community so not so many of us would die or grieve. ĎCoz people act best in adversity, when we help each other and give and receive. When weíre faced with danger, we pull together. But when we get the numbers we start pushing and shoving. And having fought so savagely to make the world our sanctuary, these outdated instincts remain unchecked and free. 

And we have the powers of gods in the hands of children. Genetic engineering, reinventing the atom. We unleash disasters that may well become the creation myths of the next millennium. 

People like to idolise the natural world. I love the natural world - even though itís such a dangerous place. People like to have the right to be safe, but what animal has ever been safe? Safety is an illusion that belongs to the top of the food chain. And thatís what it means to be human - is, we create a new chain. On the streets or in the corporate game weíre preying on each other just the same. And you and I are the plankton that the multinationals graze upon. You and I at the bottom, Bill Gates at the top. 

People like to idolise the natural world, but the natural world is just as savage as the human race. Males do get aggressive, females have been known to get submissive. Chimpanzees practice incest, infanticide, rape. Packs of dogs devour their own weakest, grazing animals cut down by the sleekest predators Ė maybe we were just trying to escape. Itís survival of the fittest and nothing is safe. Sweetheart, the world is a dangerous place. It may be miraculous but letís just get that straight. 

And we have the powers of gods in the hands of children. Genetic engineering, reinventing the atom. We unleash disasters that may well become the creation myths of the next millennium. 

Too much perspective can be a bad thing. Observe my cynicism and take warning. Protect your passion and your motivation - coz itís the most precious thing you own. We must consciously take control of our own evolution Ha! Now thatís going to take some idealism! We thought weíd be safe if we tamed the world, but the real task is to tame ourselves. ĎCoz all the things that worked for us in the wild are now working against us, honeychild. All that aggression, all that competition. 

And we have the powers of gods in the hands of children. Genetic engineering, reinventing the atom. We unleash disasters that may well become the creation myths of the next millennium. In my opinion the big bang was sparked by some celestial child. Some precocious brat whoíd been playing with matches while the science teacher had turned her back. 

People like to idolise the natural world but the natural world is just as savage as the human race. People idolise the natural world while forgetting why we tried to tame it in the first place. People imitate the natural world, create a new jungle, become predators, become prey. Weíre terrified about the state of the world, but itís inevitable, coz itís in our DNA. People like to idolise the natural world. I love the natural world myself


 

The Raven and the Pheonix
© Penelope Swales

The Raven and the Phoenix lived together side by side. One lived inside the other till the birthing of the child. One curled around the other and the tiny phoenix grew to become the fiery child we all knew. 

The Raven and the Phoenix travelled together here and there festivals and parties desert lands and mountain air. Phoenix learned to walk and totter, eat and drink from many hands. Charmed the hearts of many souls in many lands. La-da-da-daÖ

 The Raven and the Phoenix lived together on the hill. In the sunshine and the moonlight, in the windy and the still. One fine day it happened, Raven heard the cries and came to find her pretty Phoenix running towards her all in flames. Life was forever changed. 

When life changes suddenly, an amputation or a death. An accident, an injury, in the spacing of a breath - you stand on the other side of a line you canít recross. You look across at your life as it was. Like a severed end inside you, you canít join it up again. You canít slip that familiar life on again, like the coat that still bears the warmth, the imprint of your body - colder now, you must travel on. 

The Raven and the Phoenix lived together in the ward. Realisation in the corridor, crying together on the floor. The anguish of the mother, late at night her demons come. The anguish of the daughter ďMummy where did this pain come from?Ē 

We anticipate the scarring; we shake our heads and sigh. But maybe thereís more dangerous scars hidden in behind many eyes. Many worse things can mar childhood, unwelcome hands can pry. Bruises fade and hidden tearings are not noticed by and by. 

If one thing the Phoenix saw, we loved her and we came. So many stood around her bed wishing we could bear that pain. Hardship testing friendship is such a telling time. Raven, I wish I could do more to prove the strength of mine. 

The Raven and the Phoenix went back home to the hill. Life is forever different yet maybe theyíll be stronger still. Many long months yet to pass to heal the impact of the flame. And yet the finest steel passes through the fire again and again and again. 

Ooh, the circle of seasons, ooh, this time next year. Ooh, the circle of seasons, ooh, this time next year - weíll still be here. La-da-da-daÖ..

 

Tell Me Now
© Melanie Shanahan

 

Tell me now, whoís that knocking at my door? Tell me now, whoís that knocking at my door? 

I hear a voice calling me Ė from far away, buried in our history.Trying to pick up the pieces of lives that are scattered. But it gets no answer coz it just doesnít seem to matter to us. I hear a voice calling me. Itís the voice of the people of this country. Living in the remains of a land weíve failed to understand. Can you hear it? 

Or is it only a White manís dreaming that youíre listening to? Is it only a White manís dreaming getting through to you? Is it only a White manís dreaming that youíre listening to? Coz itís a Black dreaming that surrounds you. 

I hear a voice calling me. Itís the voice of the spirit of this country. Living in the remains of a land weíve failed to understand. Can you hear it? Or is it only a White manís dreamingÖÖ..Ohh 

 Listen to the voices Ė theyíre the ones that are calling me. Theyíre calling, theyíre calling. Can you hear them, can you hear them? Or is it only a white manís dreaming that youíre listening to?ÖÖ Coz itís a Black dreaming that surrounds you. 

Tell me now, whoís that knocking at my door? Tell me now, whoís that knocking at my door?

 

Limestone
© Penelope Swales

Once I would have said my love for you was solid. Like a rock? - Like a ridge. Immovable and permanent. But these days of silence one by one, like drops of water on a stone, have made their mark on me. Depressions deep, and cavities. 

Do you recall that limestone ridge out the back of weird New England? We could have lost ourselves in its labyrinth, but were loath to disturb its occupants. The tears running through my heart have leached away all that was soluble. Leaving me honeycombed. And in the dark, bizarre formations twist and curl. 

Stalactites and cavities take the shape of words and melodies. People crowd around to see what suffering has done for me. What strange thoughts like bats emerge. Crevices hide the mud-nests of birds, but I would rather be happy. 

Water in my soul and earth in yours, once brought an abundant garden forth. But you flew between those clouds - and I became earthbound. And like some ancient legend once told round the fire, I have sunk into the ground. See that limestone ridge? She once was a woman Struck down.

 

 

Grevillea
© Penelope Swales

For several years Iíve known there is no chance, and itís been a long painstaking task to lay it down. To contain this contamination, rein in my unruly heart, seize this stubborn, buoyant love and weigh it down. 

Then I look up to see your eyes matching exactly the foliage of the native tree, you are framed in its spiky embrace. Your spiky embrace is well known to me I never know if you are going to be sweet or distant, show your smooth or prickly face.

 Green and brown and brown and green and green and brown and brown and green and brown. Green and brown and brown and green and brown. 

And no-one ever no-one ever no-one ever has a change of heart. That only happens in movies they tap into our saddest fantasies. You canít make somebody want you, the more you try the more you fail. Once theyíve decided against you, thatís the end of the tale, green and brown. 

And Iíve seen you drip nectar, like a ripe grevillea. Sweet warm creatures are drawn to your promise. You scratch and spike those who might be bold enough to reach out for the prize. Iíve felt those spines, their sharpness I must grudgingly admire. It would be easy for me to feel you had no talent for intimacy Ė but how would I know? Youíve never chosen to show that side to me. 

Sometimes I give you something, something too well chosen. That belies how closely Iíve observed. Uncomfortable beneath my steady gaze, you never know if I am going to say something invasively astute, or just absurd. 

Or you might say something, behind my back, about me that comes back to me, distorted, magnified. I wouldnít mind, but then I find myself standing behind you, youíre saying the same thing, youíre saying the same kind of thing. And Iím reminded 

That no-one ever, no-one ever, no-one ever has a change of heart, that only happens in movies, they feed into our saddest fantasies. You canít win somebody over, the more you try, the more you fail. Once theyíve diss-sided against you, thatís the end of the tale, green and brown. 

And Iíve seen jealousy reign in those self-contained veins, Iíve seen you become a prisoner of your own dazzling display. We all show everyone a different face, but what they see is beyond our control. Weíre just isolated little semaphores waving wildly while we study each otherís pores. I know every line, every pore. Every line surrounding your green and brown. 

And petulantly you have fished to be told what it is you mean to me Iím stunned that you donít know, Iím very glad you donít. ĎCause when I look up to see your eyes matching exactly the foliage of the grevillea, I know, I know, I know. 

That Iíve succeeded in hiding it, Iíve failed in neutralising it, succeeded in hiding, it, Iíve failed in neutralizing it. You canít make somebody want you the more you try the more you fail. Once theyíve decided against you, thatís the end of the tale


 

Spit a Rat
© Penelope Swales
 

Trust is a mixture of respect and grace. It canít be forced and it canít be faked. But you donít need to trust someone to love them. Love gets mistaken for desire and need. Gets confused with lust and confused with greed but you donít need to need someone to want them. 

And you cried ďWhy oh why didnít you crave me the way I crave to be craved. The way I ache to be longed for?Ē You didnít want your tried and true companion. You wanted a new obsession. Something exciting, heart-racing. But thatís not what you said to me at the time. You said you wanted to stick with me. 

Betrayalsí mute, like a stone in the heart. You can talk all day and never put your finger on the part that really, really, really cut you. But grief is noisy. Man, itís loud! You can be stoic and you can be proud. You can shut your mouth, but it still roars all around you.

Itís not always easy to tell the difference between irrational fear and a gut feeling. But darling, there ainít no doubt in my guts now. And you cried ďWhy oh why donít you trust me?Ē You were so indignant so angry. Implying there was something wrong with me. But now it all seems so clear to me. I must have known that you werenít trustworthy. 

Honesty is a leap of faith. Did you bend the truth? Did the truth break? Did you find some way to save your face in your own mind, anyhow? Maybe itís more important to admit the facts than to score the points. To be on the level, than to have that moral high ground. 

A broken heartís like a broken bone. It might get better on itís own. But if it donít heal straight, might have to break again to be set right. And your counsellor whom you pay to hear you bitch about your day - well did you find some way to restore her faith. Like you never restored mine? 

Courage is the acid test - are you brave enough to confess all those things that eat you up quietly? And if you really doní t have the guts to spit it out, are you such a klutz as to blame your partner for your chicken-hearted silence? 

Faint heart never won no lady. Not that Iíd call myself a lady, but hell! I ainít chopped liver either! So much mess could have been avoided If youíd just got to the point instead of trying to make your feelings fit your fiction - are you hearing me? Iím trying to tell you that you should have told me. 

Trust is a mixture of respect and grace. Canít be forced, canít be faked. And Iím not gonna tell ya that I trust you - are you hearing that? Not as far as I could spit a rat.

Monkey Comfort
© Penelope Swales
 

Some people seek comfort in religion. Some use money. Some like power. Others prefer intoxication, adrenalin, oblivion - a whisky sour. But the analgesic of my preference would have to be my own insignifigance - and Iíll tell you how. 

My world is magnified. Iím wrapped around you in the night. And Iím terrified, terrified of losing you. Your bones so breakable, your flesh so bruiseable. Your skull so crushable, your precious fingers so losable. The mysterious, curious workings of your interior, all the things that could go wrong in there, devour you from within, yeah. Your old age so unstoppable. Each day trickliní away. 

And Iím knowing that you will die and take your place in eternity. Just one more monkey that lived on a rock where 10 billion monkeys lived. No more important, no less essential than any other bat, bird, sea-lion or bacteria. And when you go, oh, itíll be just a handful of us monkeys that grieve - aaah. 

And so what if more noticed? What if the death of you or I was lamented with the same hue and cry as Elvis, or Lennon or Princess Di? Just a few more eddies and swirls in a race intent on destroying itself on the third rock from some star in some infinite universe. 

Can you see, my friends, why I donít find my insignifigance frightening? Oh, no! I find it comforting. It steadies me. When Iím hounded by fear, grief or loss, frightened by my death or yours it grants me some serenity. 

Coz Iím knowing that I will die and take my place in eternity. Ah, just one more monkey that lived on a rock where 10 trillion monkeys lived. No more important, nor less essential than any other snake, bear, insect or monsterea, and when I go, itíll be a compliment to me if some other monkeys grieve Ė ohhhhh. 

Some people seek comfort in religion. Some use money. Some like power. Others prefer intoxication, adrenalin, oblivion - a whisky sour. So if to dwell on my own insignifigance might seem like a strange preference - well it donít seem any stranger to me than the other monkeys around here. Other monkeys around here, other monkeys around here. 

Pretty strange monkeys around here.

 King Monkey 
© Penelope Swales

Iím rolling in a world I canít put into words. Iím lost beyond where language runs out. Iím tangled in these grim, busy morning streets, I wanna wind down my window and shout - Hey you grumpy, stressed-out suckers! Youíre all on your way to work! More fool you! You should turn it right around - and go make love to whoever loves you! 

Iím reeling from a revelation - itís a religious experience! Delight beyond all anticipation has just redefined all lifeís limits. Hey you little laughing Buddha - You know, you just rocked my world! Hey King Monkey, fruit and flowers, whose nature was irrepressible. 

May you never lose that magic. Itís all in knowing when to act. May you never be afraid to seize the day like you seized last night - yeah, just like that. May you never lose the ability to throw your head back and say yes. May you ever keep that spontaneity as the main flame in your chest. 

And Iím la-la-la-la-la-la lolly ga-ga, Iím shoo-dup-a-wadda-wadda, hey yeah. Iím struggliní to express the extent to which Iíve been impressed. Can I get a witness? Youíre da-da-da-da-da-la-ba-da-dun-da-da something, something ooh---aahhh. Something good. Mmm! Something whole. 

Curiosityís my ruling passion. Lick, sip, suck, taste and see. Iím always poking my nose where it probably shouldnít go just to see what might be waiting for me. Hey King Monkey, fruit and flowers - did I mention you rock my world? More power to you! I should turn this right around and go back there just to grin at you.


 

Margaret's Century/ Farewell Margaret 
© Penelope Swales

(Margaret's Century is a air I wrote for Margaret's funeral)

When someone has died they are so suddenly and completely gone, while everything that they have left behind is so pressingly and overwhelmingly there. What can be sadder, stranger, or more poignant than the rooms in which someone has lived? What can be harder, more arrogant or more necessary than to clean those rooms out to make way for other lives? 

You have to say to the memories- You cannot take up this much space. You are no longer entitled to take up this much space, we cannot live with a grief that takes up so much space. And everything that we deem irrelevant will be discarded. And everything that we deem valuable will be divided amongst us. And your presence will be swept from these rooms - they will stand empty and bare. And some other person who is, after all, only temporarily alive, will come and fill them with their own treasures and their own trifles. 

People like to have things to remember each other by, but looking at these sad, sweet, cluttered, empty rooms I might wish to leave nothing behind me when I die. So that secrets big and small may not fall into the hands of those who would not, could not, ever interpret them right. 

And for the first time I understand the privacy of the dead. Why it is that in old age we destroy what might seem like precious mementoes. Burning letters, tearing up poems, throwing out journals, discarding photos - itís because we become aware that people related or unrelated who bear us love, indifference or even hatred will come to own everything we own. And thereís not the slightest chance that they will discover the truth, because their truth is rendered in younger colours. 

So do we fear revelation more, or misinterpretation more? As survivors we regret how little we know, how little we find. How little we leave behind. 

Farewell Margaret. Godspeed. Yeah, whatever that means. 

A turn-of-the-century child became a millennial grandmother. Almost a great-grandmother. ďHow did this happen?Ē she might have cried. Time flies as you get older. A day is an eternity to a toddler. But in old age it all slows down again.

 Too long, these last few painful years, each one so much the harder. The isolation of her failing ears, the frustration of a world growing smaller. And how hard to go from strength and capability to that? So small and frail in her small flat. Like a withered leaf pressed between the pages of a book. 

Waiting patiently for company, unable even to make them a cup of tea. When once she had laughed, danced, cooked meals, borne children suffered, loved, fought.

 Farewell Margaret. Godspeed. Yeah, whatever that means.

 ďNever live to be ninety-eight.Ē She told me when I first met her. ďItís not worth it! Never was - old age is such a fetter.Ē ďHow are you, Granny?Ē we lean and shout, a whole long slow year later. ďGetting a little old now, dear.Ē She said with her characteristic humour. 

I didnít get to hear your thoughts on turning 100 because you could no longer speak But I think I know what you would have said to me. ďOne hundred years!Ē You would have said ďI must be a lunatic!Ē and shaken your head. 

Farewell Margaret. Godspeed. Yeah, whatever that means
 

Antarctica 
© Penelope Swales & Dale Jones
 

A sleeping giant, dreaming in the winter of a million years. A land with a long memory. Hiding in your layers all the lost secrets of a world, confirming all our dreams and all our fears. 

Oh, a place of always, a silent catalogue describing weatherland forevermore. All our pasts and futures laid down one by one by one. Life teeming on a frozen shore. 

Oh, will we ever learn to leave you lonely, when  every inch and every acreís treated as frontier? jJust one footprint in the snow enough to change the course of historyÖ..

Oh, Antarctica, a frozen sea, a land untamed. Impregnable, so vulnerable, a treasure gazed upon by greedy eyes that have no shame. Oh, AntarcticaÖ.

What could our crazy minds learn from your white solitude? Could we ever face that truth? Oh, No! We fear to find ourselves so mean so paltry, reflected at our true size in you majesty. No Ė tear it down, tear it up! Strip it of its mystery. Rob it of its power to expose us in all our bankruptcy. Oh, AntarcticaÖÖ

 

20 Summers (Over you By Tuesday)
© Penelope Swales 


 

A big boy, big and sweet and dark. From another race, another place, another countryís heart. You hadnít slept for 40 hours, youíd been playing the arcades, but with only 20 summers, you can take it at that age. 

You danced along the bar for me all night. You quite upstaged the people on the stage, beneath the lights. You knew that I was watching, yeah - you kept checking to see as you spun and smiled and served drinks and took money. 

With 20 summers to my 33 I canít help but be flattered that youíd consider me. Would I be doing the right thing? Am I irresponsible? But at your age, I always needed to be treated as an adult. 

All the same I think I took you by surprise by saying yes, by saying ďLetís!Ē By being so sure-footed and so wise. Well, what did you expect? In the taxi to your home you sat as stiff and still as stone, and I thought ďOh Hello! Letís hope this is just shyness!Ē 

Well we arrived, walked in, we said hello to the guys Ė it turned out that you didnít own a bed. You had a room  - but nothing in it. Youíd been sleeping on the lounge room couch instead. Well, I waited patiently amid the male share-house debris ĎTil youíre housemates went to bed and we were left. 

And then a moment of breathtaking embrace. At first you seemed a little nervous, perhaps afraid of losing face. But in the dance of consummation, there was no sign of hesitation, and I was shot through with your beauty and your grace. 

With 20 summers to my 33, I canít help but take my hat off at the way you made love to me. Well it felt like the right thing - it felt unmistakable. But these things can be misleading. This you learn as an adult. 

All the same you know you left me in the air. You hadnít slept for 40 hours - okay, fairís fair. You crashed out  - no room on that couch for two people side by side, and I shivered on the floor beneath my coat for the remainder of the night. 

I left early  - couldnít sleep, and when I saw you at the bar. You didnít seem to want to look me in the eye. Oh, well, I took it just for shyness, that in front of other guy-ness, and called you later to see how the land might lie. 

Ah, but perhaps that was the wrong thing to do. Maybe I was pushing my luck  - maybe I embarrassed you. I said ďLetís do it justice this time! Iíll rent a room, you buy some wine.Ē I should have known that would be way too much for you. 

With 20 summers to my 33, I donít hold it against you, you donít know what to do with me. To inhabit such strong flesh and yet still be so young inside, is difficult. That much I can see. 

With 20 summers to my 33 Iím not surprised you ran a mile, you didnít know what to do with me. Iím stung by the rejection - I guess I feel a little lame. But with 33 summers, I can take it at my age. 

Youíd think that Iíd know better, that Iíd know how to play the game. But lifeís too short, I like to be sure, and I can take it at my age. 

Iím stung by the rejection, I guess I feel a little lame - but rest assured, Iíll be over you by Tuesday all the same. A big boy, big and sweet and dark, mmmm. With 20 summers to my 33. Ahhhhh! Well, what did you expect?

 

Physical World
© Penelope Swales 

Silk and cream. And the memory of every shudder passed between this jaded flesh and your fresh velvet screen. How can anything so wholesome spring from a diet of coca-cola mac cheese, cookies and frozen pizza supreme? 

Living suede. The fur upon your belly speaks my name. Iím not squeamish and I have no time for shame. 

Iíll sing with you inside me when you fill this throat with pleasure. Iíll drink that kiss as deeply as if my mouth was made to measure -just how far I could take you  - Iíll take you to the stars that line the inside of your eyelid-shuttered dark. This is the gateway to the realms inside your heart. 

Such savage grace! All I care íboutís seeing that look upon your face. Nothing could have prepared me for the joy of that embrace. 

Iíll take you to a place I can embrace but not inhabit. Lead your mind back to your body, hereís the moment, you can grab it. This is the swirl that leads you round and back into the world. Back to all thatís sweet and good about the physical world. 

Gadget Boy turns towards me brandishing his latest toy. Shuttered images of the methods we employ if your digi-cam could only catch the precise way you feel - your skin, your scent, your sweet movement, the heat from your body. 

Odyssey - the time is nearing when youíll swing away from me into that orbit of experience I know you need. If the paths that lead you from me only lead you back again. Linked across the entire world, this web that weíve woven. 

This is our world. The path from you to me runs through the world. Through all thatís real and true about the world. Through all thatís sweet and good about the physical world.

 

Safe Home
© Penelope Swales 

Tired but excited, and happily complaining, about such a long flight and our aches and pains. Some of us at the start, some at the ending. Some of us safe home, some at journeyĎs beginning. 

ďPlease remain in your seats.Ē The Captain said. We rolled our eyes and we shook our heads. The he told us the news and somewhere at the baggage carousel it begins to sink in  - and weíd just left LA when it happened. 

The rush to the phones,the rush to the screens. The footage, the carnage, the horror, the screams. To rush into your arms in Sydneyís innocent sunshine. To realise just what safe home means. Just what safe home means. 

And here comes the anguish, here come the pain. Here comes the firefighters losing their lives in vain. Despair wrestles hope as the death toll grows for who knows how many families who just forgot what safe home means. 

So unbearably lucky, lying here in your arms. Surrounded by warmth, surrounded by calm. Having brushed so close, rubbed shoulders with those, who are now grieving. And it starts me realizingÖ. 

Tell me, how many people in the Middle East have tasted this terror, have felt this grief? How much ďCollateral DamageĒ have these leaders condoned who now talk so righteously? Do you know what safe home means? 

And here comes the media, beating up the story. Here come the attacks on ethnic minorities. The same old hype, the same old hypocrisy. No mention of lives lost because of US foreign policy. Do you know what safe home means? 

World-wide, politicians cry "cowardice!" So why are American lives so much more precious? The same pain, the same incomprehension is felt by Iraqi, Afghani, Palestinian civilians. Do you know what "civilian" means? Do you know what "civilian" means? 

And the US bombs with impunity, in their high-tech planes, suffer no casualties. So why is that so much less cowardly than this so bold, so cunning and so deadly? Can you remind me what safe home means? 

So the West gets a taste of it's own medicine. Does it bring comprehension, will it breed compassion? Could we resist the payback compulsion? Could we remember what safe home means? Remember what safe home means? 

And here comes the anger, what revenge will we see? Here comes the cry ďAn attack on Democracy!Ē Here comes the man who didn't even get a majority in his much-touted Land of the Free. Can you remind me what democracy means? 

Yeah, here comes Bush, bashing on the bible quoting the 23rd psalm, behold. He'd be better off to read from David and Goliath or that bit about how you reap what you sow. Can you remind me what safe home means? 

The rush for the phones, the rush to the screens. The footage, the carnage, the horror, the screams. To rush into your arms in Sydneyís innocent sunshine. To realise just what safe home means. Just what safe home means 

I'm just trying to say  - bear it in mind. This is how all people feel when bombs fall from the sky. Send your thoughts out, out on the seas

To the crowded boats of refugees who only want what safe home means. Who only want what safe home means. They only want what safe home means. They only want what safe home means - Oohhh--------

 

Once More Into Flower
© Penelope Swales 
 
 I wouldnít know how to express this bubble rising in my chest. All the myriad clichťs of loveís beleaguered history could not find a way to gracefully say that I wouldnít swap this moment for any pleasure fine. Wouldnít choose to be born at any other time. And I would go again through all my pain, just to be lying with you here in this old house. Just to be lying with you, lying with you here. 

For all the sorry state the world is in, its apocalyptic clime, I wouldnít choose to be born at any other time. I wouldnít take the opportunity to be anybody else. Not happier, not healthier not wiser, not wealthier. And I would willingly return to every place that Iíve been burned just to be lying with you here in this old house. Just to be lying with you, lying with you here. 

You make everything seem justified by the simple kindness of your words. This tenderness you show me that sooths all my moldy old hurts. You reflect to me what Iíve achieved when I can only see inadequacies. Modesty, You never seem to see just how much this has to do with who you are. That itís you, with your kindness. your gentle forbearance, that has brought me once more into flower. You remove the choking weeds, bed down the sleeping seeds, and you smile on me like warm summer rain. You smile on me, you smile on me. 

And you, you use your body like a song. You sing to me, almost silently, so eloquent and so strong. When your mouth mumbles harmonies, sweet mumbled inconsistencies - what should I do but sing along? I sing oh--------- 

And itĎs not enough that you should be a saint, you have to be beautiful, too. The lines on your face your awkward grace, the spicy smell of you. Your long clean limbs, your sunburnt skin. The way you sink in sleep when youíve poured you passion in and youíre drowsy and replete. And youíre drowsy and replete. And weíre drowsyÖ.. 

Who taught you? How did you ever learn to say the right things in the right way so unerringly discerning? Who told you? How did you ever find such foolproof ways to ease this troubled mind? They way you chase my blues away - yeah, you sure got winning ways. 

For all the grief and chaos of this world, the wars, the destruction - weíre still blessed to live in an age where love is not a sin. Where I can love you without dooming myself to an undesired birth. Without suffering slights upon my worth. Others are free to criticize, and I am free to roam. And itís true that the world is dangerous. But the world has always been dangerous. Itís always been dangerous, but as long as youíre here, the worldís my home.