Remy Sebastian

My son is overseas at the moment – nineteen and “living the life”. Two years ago I wrote a poem about his history, his path, if you will. At that time he was on a collision course with Truth, though he wasn’t aware of it; nor was I aware as I wrote it, that it would only be a short time – less than a year – before that collision. I am eternally grateful that it shunted him onto the path of light and life, as is he.

The poems go together because they tell a story, but to tell too much would remove some of the mystery and open the door for preconceptions……

In the Perspective: Two Photos

By the age of ten, you had made

An artform of nonchalant formality.

In the National Gallery in DC, you stood

Smiling, Mrs Monet beside you,

Blurring her joy from the top of a hill.

Thrilled, you caressed each daub

And stroke with your unique view

Before moving on to

The Seine at Giverny, its depth

And distance drawing you in quiet

Awe to that bank, beneath that tree.


Strange, the distance that time

Creates when ingredients are recast:

Musée de L’Orangerie seven years on,

Before a wall of Water Lilies

Nonchalant, yes, formal, yes but

Singularly without awe, the child

Assimilated into the leather, smirk

And testosterone, your unique view

Homogenised into a culture that you

Do not fit: Like a dish with a missing

Ingredient – nonchalant, formal, making

The uncertain do for displaced joy.


Ahead, does Claude fade under a graffiti-

Scrawled hoarding and you, unfocussed,

See past to the allusion of your pain?

Or do I glimpse the moment where,

Unfashionably, hope capers across your face

Surprising none more than you.


In the Perspective: Part 2


When you said that you had never felt anything,

Of course, your words were true,

Yet, less subtle shades had drawn you,

Painting scenes of Gratification Now,

And play-actor friends.


My ache was that you would feel,

Taste and touch the real, would

Know the dawn of truth upon your ravaged soul,

Its warming radiance, lighting, exposing, healing;

And the energising call of life, within its glory and sway.


Then you left, packed up nothing

But layers of self, thrown haphazardly

In shopping bags, unsure of if they were needed

Or even if they were yours. And it became

A show and tell, though what you showed and told

Blurred into a quiet pain, an invisible scene,

A silent conversation on board a ship adrift.


How often the momentous appears in an otherwise

Unremarkable day, without portent;

So you, suddenly challenged by the universe

You had shunned,

Yielded, stepped through and found yourself,

Chrysalis-like, beyond.


Cracking, twisting, stretching into the atmosphere

That once was oppression’s air, you felt

The buoyancy and effortless lift that liberty of spirit

Alone manifests; and though it surprised none

More than you, the feeling, intense and impassioned,

Was of coming home.


It was very warm in Sydney today – almost a February day – of high humidity and temperature. A blast of hot air from the north-west as I walked back to my car, reminded me of summers as a child. Following is a poem of the summer journeys we would take as a family. Obvious is the story of the travels themselves, but in the looking back, associations are made in memories of the years in between which, like life itself, weaves persistently through memory, revealing new shoots from old roots…..


The Road Up North


Before the freeway’s mindless blur

It was mile after mile of two-lane

Black bitumen – fourteen hours of vinyl

Seats sticking to the back of your legs

In the sweltering, short-straw

Confines in the front

Between Mum and Dad.

The highway mile markers were

A watched pot counting down

To Taree, Kempsey, Coffs, Ballina

Then the border and, like a promise

That never pays,

The interminable hours through

The Gold Coast and on

To Auntie Myrtle’s place in Brisbane.


(There’ve been a few such promises, like

The loved-one who trampled trust

One too many times but asked once more;

Once more proved to be higher pain.)


Once or twice we’d go the inland route

But pre air-con and with all

The windows down, it was a day

In the tumble dryer.

Joy brought a cold drink

And a toilet break, the car slewing

Off the road, scything through

The loose gravel like an icebreaker

Then up onto the silent concrete

Pad of the servo.

When the engine turned off, your

Mind went searching for sound

To find the hum-roar-hum

Of cars passing on the highway.


(Sometimes, silence is the most faithful

Friend, whose presence requires nothing,

Whose love, though forceless, yields

Unaccusing rest and constancy.)


We all stared, like it was our first

Waking until, slowly, memory

Stirred, the girls shuffled

To the toilet, Dad popped the bonnet

And the boys slipped through

The plastic-strip curtain to hunt

For simple pleasures.


2 poems about coffee – always a good start




As a child, arms straining for leverage

Amid the jerk and imbalance

Of metal arm and timber box, round

And around, with trenched brow,

I struggled for consistency,

For the keen grain that would release

Character hidden. Periodically

I inspected the tiny, wooden drawer which

Never filled commensurately with effort,

The process long and arduous but rewarded

When he pinched the salt-sized powder

And winked me towards the percolator.


Saturday mornings at the merchant were

About exotic places held in glass boxes

On the wall: Kenya, Colombia, Brazil,

New Guinea, Sumatra, Ethiopia

And the slow, effortless toil and aroma

Around the ancient roaster: beans,

Like ground ploughed, rolled and folded,

Their sound like air through clenched teeth,

Their oily skins glistening in the heat.


He is long gone, but I had made it for him:

The blend that effused memory yet imbued

Quality, had found the tools that produced

The perfect grind, tamped

To a perfect press, extracted a flawless shot.

And I wondered as he drew in its careful

Disposition; did he stand again

Exploring distant lands, the boy beside him,

Steeping in the moment of decision –

Single origin, old blend, something new –

Both glad for this one thing that united them?

I stand there still.


Coffee Shop


At this hour, there is peace; even the sputter

And hiss from steam-wand in milk

Is a glissando on the morning’s theme.


It is a time to float and all who come

Find a table at which to anchor and ride

The gentle wash of the passing day.


Then comes one who motors to a stop:

A party-barge of a woman with hair

Like a judge’s wig dipped in tar,

Her face, a dragon boat of colour,

Her mouth, a foghorn of four-letter words

Refracted by her vacant cackling companion

(A sad, bobbing tender).


The swell, irregular now, slaps our hulls and

One-by-one, anchors are weighed

In pursuit of safe harbour.



While I get this blog thing worked out, I thought I would use it mainly for poetry. I have called it “From the Wings” because it can mean a number of different things. Someone in the wings can be preparing to go onstage, observing what’s happening onstage from a different perspective to the audience, or even ready to prompt a player; there is also the interpretation of being high above (birds). Probably the bottom line is though, that I had to come up with a name that no one else had, and I kind of liked it.

I will pop some poetry up as soon as I work out the spacing issues that I’m struggling with at the moment.