From a Home to a Home

Migrants in Melbourne:

‘The search for home unites human and winged travellers in a unique exhibition involving sixteen artists from seven countries…’

Friday 25 November – Thursday 8 December
Opening: Friday 25 November , 6.00–9.00pm
BSG, 322 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
Gallery hours: Tues–Fri 10am–8pm; Sat–Sun 10–6pm

More information at

Immigration Nation:

English lessons at Bathurst Migrant Camp 1951. Courtesy National Archives of Australia

English lessons at Bathurst Migrant Camp 1951. Courtesy National Archives of Australia


More at

See also

I’ll tell you why.
To survive

the onslaught of religion.
To outlive

the ghosts of martyrs.
To recover

from the world’s longest war
since WWII. To live

beyond the hatreds
of patriotism. To see

the kinder face of humanity.
To think

free of the Faith’s manacles.
To believe

without the obligation
of forming belief.

To discover
the basic joys of being.

The price? I’ll tell you.

Marginalised to the point
of disappearance.

Barred for nothing
more profound than a shade

of skin, a tone
of speech, a taste

of lifestyle. Alienated
beyond the word.

Ignored by the mighty.
Detested by the commoner.

Worth it? Doubtless.
To finally grasp

humanity’s fraudulent truth.
To dream

the sweetness of equality.
To see past

the façade of brotherhood.
To be touched

you might say, by the rays
of a luminous discovery.

To abandon
all faith, and come to cherish

the immense solitude
of non-believing.

To desire. To know
the power of desire. To wait

joyfully amid unpalatable sadness.
Recommend it?

Only to loathsome enemies
and to my dearest friends.

by Iranian-born Australian-based writer Ali Alizadeh

More at


Ali Alizadeh


Home from home

From a home to a home:

A new project from the artists and makers of the wonderful Flyway Print Exchange seeks ‘to create compassion and understanding for both the human travellers who come to our country in the hope of finding a safe haven and for the shorebirds that rely on our coastal wetlands’.



More information and image at

‘No-one leaves home, unless home is the mouth of a shark’:

Young British poets speak out for the flightpaths and arrivals of refugees at

Leap Year Love Birds

29 February 2016

Love nest:

On an Edwardian postcard

Love Birds

‘In Leap Year, longing for a cosy nest/I ask you, will you be my very best’

Image at

Love net:

By tradition, in 19th century Britain and Ireland, women could propose marriage to men on leap year’s day…

PostcardLeapYearBeCarefulClara1908Image at

Leap Year Poem:

Thirty days hath September,

April, June and November.

All the rest have thirty-one,

Excepting February alone,

And that has twenty-eight days clear

And twenty-nine in each leap year.

by Mother Goose


Image at


Set all the birds free

Quirky birds

Rediscover (and reappropriate) the spirit of Christmas, courtesy of UA Fanthorpe and the Quaker Tapestry

From the 'Ecology' panel

From the ‘Ecology’ panel


Dear True Love

Leaping and dancing

Means to-ing and fro-ing;

Drummers and pipers –

Loud banging and blowing;

Even a pear-tree

Needs space to grow in.


Goose eggs and gold top

When I’m trying to slim?

And seven swans swimming?

Just where could they swim?


Mine is a small house,

Your gifts are grand;

One ring at a time

Is enough for this hand.


Hens, colly birds, doves –

A gastronome’s treat.

But love, did I tell you,

I’ve given up meat.


Your fairy-tale presents

Are wasted on me.

Just send me your love

And set all the birds free.

by UA Fanthorpe, 1929-2009

One of an annual series of poems illustrated by Nick Wadley, published as Christmas Poems, Enitharmon Press 2002.

Set to music by Australian Quaker Tony Noakes see

Flying south in (Southern Hemisphere) spring

Love in springtime

In the Spring a fuller crimson comes upon the robin’s breast;

In the Spring the wanton lapwing gets himself another crest;

In the Spring a livelier iris changes on the burnish’d dove

In the Spring a young [bird’s] fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.

 from Locksley Hall by Alfred Tennyson (with apologies to AT for the edit)

 locksley hall

This edition WB Conkey & Co, 1900

 Image at

Returning birds

It’s springtime on the south coast of Western Australia. Birds that headed to the warm north of the state for winter are coming home to Denmark to breed; this week spotted pardalotes, fan-tailed cuckoos and tree martins were back in the garden. Dusky swallows should be next: the grand old karri – a eucalypt where they’ve nested for years – is waiting.

Spotted-Pardalote birdlifeSpotted pardalote Pardalotus punctatus

Image at

Listen to the spotted pardalote:

An etymology of pardalotes

Imagine that one day

̶ perhaps a fine spring day like this –

a leopard changed its spots.

Fur smoothed into feathers,

flew continents; that rumbling purr raised

into some other lighter, higher note.

Look where the leaves are moving:

there it is, something spotted,

hidden in the trees.

from Things Turned Upside Down, Picaro Press, 2011

Calling for attention

Recordings of and more information about the spotted pardalote, fan-tailed cuckoo and dusky woodswallow at

 Fan-tailed cuckoo Cacomantis flabelliformis

Image at

Dusky-WoodswallowsDusky woodswallows Artamus cyanopterus

Image at

At home overhead

Watch tree martins nesting:


Lost (and found) in space

Flying into the unknown:

‘During a circuitous ten-year trek across the Solar System, Rosetta will cross the asteroid belt and travel into deep space, more than five times Earth’s distance from the Sun. Its destination will be a periodic comet known as Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko..’

Rosetta approaching comet

Rosetta approaching comet

More info and images at the European Space Agency’s website

Philae phones home:

Philae, the lander deployed by the Rosetta mission, became the first spacecraft to land on a comet in November last year. It promptly went into hibernation, but ‘woke up’ and phoned home for the first time seven months on Saturday 13 June.

philae wakes up

Image at

ET Phones Home:

See the original movie clip at

Space Odyssey becomes Space Oddity:

Watch and hear David Bowie perform the original version of Space Oddity in 1969 at



image at

Journey of the Magi

“A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The was deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.”
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires gong out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty, and charging high prices.:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we lead all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I have seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

 by TS Eliot, publisher Faber and Gwyer, 1927

TS Eliot reads Journey of the Magi