Quotes, Stories & Art


This page records our favourite quotes that have meaning in connection with Wordwood. It also includes our own stories and art inspired by Wordwood.
Other quotes, stories and art are sprinkled throughout this blog.


The Peace of Wild Things

Wendell Berry

When despair grows in me
and I wake in the middle of the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Eventide at the Bend unframed(Watercolour: Margie)

How Myths Begin


From the porch on The Nook you can see in the distance an old, dead gum tree. It looks like a giant stick insect. This is the story of his love. Long ago, that dead gum was a fine young man and truly loved a fair young woman. She returned his love in full measure, but her father would not accept the young man as her suitor. No man was fine enough for his girl. The father made a mistake that could only be made by one with no memory of true love – he believed that it would ease his girl’s pain at being denied her love if her love was lost. He was mighty in magic and turned the young man into a gum tree.

Unknown to her father, the young woman had power herself. She had spent too much time assisting her father not to learn many secrets. She planted herself as a gum tree next to the young man gum tree so they could sway together.

In angry grief, the father blasted the young man gum tree. His body died and became the old, dead gum tree that looks like a stick insect. The blast could not kill his soul, protected as it was by love. His soul split into thousands of pieces and became the first stick insects. The young woman gum tree called the stick insects to her and they took shelter in her branches. Just as today, stick insects shelter in the gums. The burden of care for the stick insects made the young woman gum tree scraggly. Just as today, gum trees grow scraggly.

The love of that young man and young woman is recalled in the gentle buzz, tangy scent and hazy beauty of gum forests.


Photo: Pete


Sunlit Stars


Gum leaves quivering
under night rain’s droplets

Sunlit stars

A universe in the morning


Our Neighbour is a Witch


Our neighbour is a witch. I can tell because she matches the description from stories. She is a rounded-down woman, with dishevelled grey hair and poor clothes in night shades, even a wide-brimmed purple hat. Mostly I can tell by her eyes. Pale and watery blue, they look like there is more behind them.

I saw no cat, but she has a dog. More akin to a wolf. He is a big Alsatian in all white, thick fur. He has the hesitancy of wildness. His crossed-eyed intensity communicates the warning – ‘she is my witch’.  She refers to him as wolf-like and calls him Wolfgang.

She wears her old age and Germanic heritage with tradition. I recognise tradition as another story book sign to be respected.

Witches too must earn a living in modern times. How appropriate that she is a naturopath. Though I have only just met her, she leads the conversation to the plants she uses to manufacture her medicines. She says ‘manufactures’ and means ‘brews’. She trusts no other sources. After we speak of her garden work and pressing need for horse chestnuts she has little conversation. I don’t feel that she wants me gone, just that she wishes me more interesting.

Our other neighbour arrives to collect I find out not what. She brings the witch a token – a pewter bowl engraved with dragons that the witch has admired.



It’s a fairy tale ending.

My character (the pallid office worker) and my partner’s character (the woodsman) make their dream of living in the bush come true. They shoulder swags (they’ve bought in readiness) and move to their Land for Wildlife property near Crow’s Nest. They build a little house, sitting lightly on the earth. On the nights the stars are out and the moon is bright, they sleep out.

My character finally gets her herd of goats. There is a loft in the barn, so when the goats need her she sleeps with them. The woodsman looks after the wild plants and animals.

When the grandchildren come, they climb trees and play in creeks. They smell horse, tumble with dogs, and learn about nature’s curiosities. For afternoon tea, they eat baked goodies cooked from recipes of four generations.

There’s travel. That means boots and backpacks and wonder.  But, for when backs get too bad, there’s still time.

Magnetic Poetry

not hand of god
heavenly arrow
angel kiss
make paradise
time will name your passion
your essence call
come through crazy
strong passionate
mad cupid dance on
for we lovers
play music
while forever stops
blissful heart song
delicious night air
beautiful moonlight
wonderful day over
consume evening
ignite a star
faithful fire
good wine
sleep entwined
him tell of
she monster fight
then magic woman plot
fang through eye
people live good
he was a difficult hero
dog eared
heart crackly
of strange imaginings
and short
soul’s dream
voiced by story
always given over too soon
an epic whisper
curl up on a chair
beneath the cover
with a book
and be happy
here wander there
a world in a day
my favourite volume is life I think therefore I sigh


Alison unframed(Linocut: Margie)

accumulating nothing but age

trying to atone for choices unmade
whilst surviving on the collective approval
and hush money

hiding precarious mental health
among the tatters of my mother’s dementing mind
in what was to have been only his and his and my house

inevitably dependent on his goodwill –
a fine but mortal man doing the right thing ‘though he doesn’t like it
and might cease

it is not what he signed on for
his and mine and mine house, my false starts and never ends as I fail to flatten and fit in the world
at least he never signed on

a leper to his one true love
despite the science, the fairy tale is insidious and as regards her I can only do wrong
can only be wrong, all wrong

at the end I am the smiling CWA-er
I have little to offer but a valueless wish to give no offence
and I accumulate nothing but age


The waterfall I wish  



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