Self Portrait

It doesn’t interest me if there is one God
or many gods.
I want to know if you belong or feel
If you know despair or can see it in others.
I want to know
if you are prepared to live in the world
with its harsh need
to change you. If you can look back
with firm eyes
saying this is where I stand. I want to know
if you know
how to melt into that fierce heat of living
falling toward
the center of your longing. I want to know
if you are willing
to live, day by day, with the consequence of love
and the bitter
unwanted passion of your sure defeat.

I have heard, in that fierce embrace,  even
the gods speak of God.

– David Whyte


a perfect planet – small and blue

2011-MotoGP-01-Qatar_Saturday-0047-sharpScott Jones Photography is part of what makes MottoMatters THE best site for motogp information on the planet.

This Wednesday’s image is of the rear end of Hector Barbera’s, Ducati Desmosedici motogp bike. It was taken at the night race in Qatar in 2011.

The blue flame is only visible for an infinitesimal fraction of a second. It’s the byproduct of unburnt gases that escape the combustion chamber and are then ignited in the super hot environment of the exhaust system.

Purty, Aint it!

If you skip across to you’ll find more background on the shot.

Ludwig Van Beethoven’s Return to Vienna

Oh you men who think or say that I am malevolent, stubborn,
or misanthropic, how greatly do you wrong me….
– The Heiligenstadt Testament

Three miles from my adopted city
lies a village where I came to peace.
The world there was a calm place,
even the great Danube no more
than a pale ribbon tossed onto the landscape
by a girl’s careless hand. Into this stillness

I had been ordered to recover.
The hills were gold with late summer;
my rooms were two, plus a small kitchen,
situated upstairs in the back of a cottage
at the end of the Herrengasse.
From my window I could see onto the courtyard
where a linden tree twined skyward —
leafy umbilicus canted toward light,
warped in the very act of yearning —
and I would feed on the sun as if that alone
would dismantle the silence around me.

At first I raged. Then music raged in me,
rising so swiftly I could not write quickly enough
to ease the roiling. I would stop
to light a lamp, and whatever I’d missed —
larks flying to nest, church bells, the shepherd’s
home-toward-evening song — rushed in, and I
would rage again.

I am by nature a conflagration;
I would rather leap
than sit and be looked at.
So when my proud city spread
her gypsy skirts, I reentered,
burning towards her greater, constant light.

Call me rough, ill-tempered, slovenly — I tell you,
every tenderness I have ever known
has been nothing
but thwarted violence, an ache
so permanent and deep, the lightest touch
awakens it. . . . It is impossible

to care enough. I have returned
with a second Symphony
and 15 Piano Variations
which I’ve named Prometheus,
after the rogue Titan, the half-a-god
who knew the worst sin is to take
what cannot be given back.

I smile and bow, and the world is loud.
And though I dare not lean in to shout
Can’t you see that I’m deaf? —
I also cannot stop listening.

– Rita Dove


Wednesday Photos.
Default settings.
Whose crazy idea was that?


Tonights photo is from a lovely little vignette on the ABC’s Landline program.

It’s about two young lads who took a pair of Motorbikes around Australia when it was a whole lot harder to do that.

Sixty years later, two older blokes recreated that trip and here is their take on that story Transmatilda revisited.

It’s probably easiest just to take the jump and look at the landline program, it’s only 10 or so minutes.

If I had an old Triumph I’d call her Matilda or maybe Mathilda.

Anyway if you’ve been following for a while you’ll know how I love connections.

Alt-J are favoured sons at the moment. My middle boy saw them play just last week and a song of theirs called Matilda, is pretty much my favorite thing at the moment.

It’s very peaceful, hope you like it.


I used to think the land
had something to say to us,
back when wildflowers
would come right up to your hand
as if they were tame.
Sooner or later, I thought,
the wind would begin to make sense
if I listened hard
and took notes religiously.
That was spring.
Now I’m not so sure:
the cloudless sky has a flat affect
and the fields plowed down after harvest
seem so expressionless,
keeping their own counsel.
This afternoon, nut tree leaves
blow across them
as if autumn had written us a long letter,
changed its mind,
and tore it into little scraps.

– Don Thompson

Ham Fisted

I should never be allowed to pick up a spanner.
My garage is full of parts of motorbikes. The detritus left over from long gone failures. Cast-offs, junk, scrap picked up from the side of the road. This Honda was the last to run and at the moment is the only one with all its bits still connected together, the obvious place to start right? About 12 months ago it blew off its side-stand on a particularly windy day (lifting a 210 kg VFR back up is a good reminder never to turn the front wheel back to center when parking it). Then the Registration lapsed and as there are three cars and other bikes competing for that small bucket of money, it was parked and left to stew on its miscreant behavior. However the Phillip Island Motogp is only a few months away so time to get it running again.
The front fairing stay was bent so I grabbed the lump hammer to straighten it out. Nestled in between there is a fairly expensive circuit board for the electronic dash. ‘Better be careful not to smack that’ I thought when I should have been thinking, ‘Better you take that off Brett’. I managed not to hit it but belting the bejesus out of the stays that it was attached too did just as good a job of buggering it up.

vfr instruments (2)I’m hoping that a little plastic welding and some rubber washers (to help isolate any vibration) will get it fitted back on the bike. Whether I’ve done more lasting damage will have to wait till I can power it up again. It’s surprisingly difficult to straighten thin steel tubing like this; it just wants to spring back with each blow. Heat however is a wonderful thing for persuading metal and this MAPP gas I’m using is pretty much as hot as you can get in a portable container before having to go to the big rigs. Of course the lovely advertised figures of 3200 degrees F mean diddly squat in use; It’s the heat that’s getting into the metal that’s important and out in the open air that is a lot less than you’d think. Anyway it was hot enough to make the bracket a little more malleable. Apparently one trick if you want to use it for brazing or something that requires higher temperatures is to make a little cocoon out of insulation wool but I didn’t need to for this job. Anyway the stay is more or less straight, I just need to fix the instrument console now (sigh!).

vfr repair (1)