I thank goodness

I thank goodness
for goodness
being here in this world

I thank goodness
for the goodness
I perceive in so many
people & creatures
& inventions & poems
& art works & sights seen
& experiences & givings
I thank goodness
for all the goodnesses
I’ve received in my living

I thank goodness
that in the midst of the horrors,
the cruelties, the injuries, the damage
that humans moved by their own
&/or their manipulative leaders’ greeds
or primal fears, imagined needs or exclusivist creeds
still inflict on other people & creatures
& on our planet of (still potential) plenty,
goodness still persists in the hearts & deeds
of so many, still alive & still evident
in protests & petitions & actions
of kindness & gestures of solidarity

I thank goodness I feel I’m part
of an evolution of a more humane humanity
I thank goodness I feel I’m part
of a revolution of conscience

I thank goodness for the goodness
in my family’s love, my love for my life-
partner, our sons & our grandchildren
& their love for me, for the goodness
I see in families around me, in people
who gladly help people & share many
blessings. I thank goodness for teachers,
for doctors, for nurses, for sanitary workers,
providers of goods & services
& all kinds of toilers & helpers
who make life easier for others;
for science, technology, & of course
always for nature, even if it too
brings us disasters (for no life is for ever
& this too I accept)

I thank goodness, not a God
I cannot believe in, for far too many evils
have been & still are being perpetrated
in the names of all gods & goddesses
or the name of the One God of whichever
religion has sprung from the invention
of the Judaic Jehovah, though I can find
both beauty & horror in the tales & laws
of the Scriptures, & wisdom as well
in some of the psalms & the prophets

I thank goodness I still have the word goodness
to  express what I feel when I want to thank goodness
for a good thing that’s happened to me
or a good thing I’ve seen happen

& although I don’t know why it is so but feel sure that it is
I thank goodness for goodness being innate in us all
even tho in so many it’s so often repressed
by circumstances beyond the young experiencer’s control

I thank goodness
for goodness
being here in this world

Moja Mamusia, My Mum, Henia (Henryka) (Hermelin) Flantz

dzisiaj crop1Heniadzisiaj crop2dzisaij crop3



henia hk1











i jeszce kilka słów, tylko w angielsku

& a few more words, that I won’t try to write in Polish, which no longer comes easily to me, nor in Hebrew,
which I speak & read & write almost as much as English…


W Hong Kongu z Mamusią, tak jeszcze nazywałem jej tam, i ona mnie nazywała Rysio
In Hong Kong with Mamusia, as I still called my mother then, and she called me Rysio

Not long afterwards I’d start & continue calling her Mum, & she’d call me Richard, because after we reached Australia I spoke to her only in English. The pics below were taken outside the Peninsula Hotel in Kowloon, where we, together with a few hundred other Jewish refugees from Shanghai, almost all of them like us also refugees from Holocaust Europe who had found some sort of haven in that then Japanese-occupied  yet, also somehow “international” city, one of the few places in the world one could enter then without a visa were enabled to stay through the endeavors of the “Joint” (JDC) & the philanthropic generosity 0f the hotel’s owners, Lawrence & Horace Kadoorie, who made the entire sixth (top) floor, which in normal times was the hotel’s ballroom, available to us as sleeping quarters  (sheets were hung from a long rope extending from he entrance to the rear of the hall, men slept on the left & women & children — including pre- & almost adolescent boys like myself — on the right), & provided three full meals a day to all in two “sittings” in the hotel’s dining room, & a synagogue room for the religious among the refugees…
Our six or so months in Hong Kong, waiting for a ship that would take us to our new home country was for me at 10, and also for her at 41, both a difficult & a wonderful period (her memoirings of this period can be read in the chapter Via Hong Kong to Melbourne of My Mother’s Memoirs that I published some time ago on this blog. I think in a way we were closer to one another at this time than at any other time in my life that I can remember…But other stories (& pics ) I’ve since found  from then will have to wait for other times…
henia r hk1

henia r hk2









henia hk2

“I Wish You Enough”

i wish you enough

I found these inspiring lines at the end of a post by Nicole Daedone (whom I don’t know), that had been shared on Facebook by my fb friend, the artist Dali Bahat, & felt they should also be highlighted and published for their intrinsic wisdom, love & value even before the moving story that they conclude in that post. & I have no hesitation about also calling them poetry. Here is the link to my sharing of the post:


shanatova title

שנה טובה


To my loved ones & those close to me & my friends in particular, but also this whole beautiful world of ours, which is heating up at unbridled speed & is fatally/humanly ill with physical and psychical personal, national, religious, racial & other epidemics, I wish a year of recuperation/healing, a year of creative beginnings to amend distortions, a year of blessing, reconciliation, and advance towards something resembling peace, and post here a “Good Year” card created by Moshe Mirsky, designer of publications for the Mishkan [Museum of Art, Ein Harod, an institution I have had the privilege of working with as a translator for many years & feel very close to. The card was sent to me by Galia Bar Or, the museum’s director & curator , & I’m sharing it here as greeting to you all with her & the designer’s permission.(The drawing of course alludes to the prophecy of Isaiah (11.6), “& the wolf shall dwell with the lamb”, & the handwritten scribble says shana tova – a good year…
& an additional thought: the Hebrew new year that begins is 5775 (in the Arabic numerals, a symmetrical palindrome!).
According to Jewish tradition, this count is from the beginning of the creation of the world, and according to another, “the world was created in/through a word”. I’d like to suggest there’s nothing necessarily “unscientific” about either claim, tho I’m not implying the Genesis story’s true. The dating might not be precise, but after all, it may well have been around that time that humans first conceived the concept “world” (in whatever language) & surely it was only at that moment that the “world” was created….  Have a good year, folks. 

Wallaby Freedom (Gavin Playfair, Henry Lawson &c…)

First, copy/pastes of a status+comments of an fb post by Tony Convey:
wallaby playfair

tc postcoms 1
tc postcoms 2
A wallaby (one of about 30 Australian macropod species) is smaller than a kangaroo, a nomadic herbivore (or vegan) that wanders or explores through its typical kind of habitat (there are swamp wallabies, brush wallabies, and rock wallabies). In the (Anglo)Australian culture it has long been associated (tho perhaps not too many remember this today) with the idea of freedom (perhaps ever since the great Australian poet Henry Lawson published his poem “Freedom on the Wallaby” in 1891, & has often meant something like wandering and exploring freely (usually physically, in more remote areas of Australia such as the bush and the outback, but surely also symbolically of more than only physical free wandering and exploring.) So, next: Henry Lawson’s “Freedom on the Wallaby” (1891) , with some explanations of Australian vernacular words of the time that appear in the poem & some allusions to its current relevance.
Freedom on the Wallaby crop

Henry Lawson (1867-1922)

Henry Lawson (1867-1922)








In 19th- & early 20th-century Australian slang, “humping bluey” meant carrying a “swag”, a roll of blankets used for sleeping outdoors. Itinerant wanderers, seekers of work, etc., were often called “swagmen”.

“On the wallaby” (or “on the wallaby track”) meant to be on the move.

“Cooey” was a loud call used to get attention out in the bush, or outback. find missing people, or indicate one’s own location. The word originates from the Dharuk language of the original inhabitants of the Sydney area. It means “come here” and has now become widely used in Australia as a call over distances.

A “billy” was a tin can used for boiling water on a camp fire.

The wattle is Australia’s “national” flower.

& as for contemporary relevance: the budget & other practices & policies of the present government of (does this it word still meant have its original & fundamental semantic meaning?) “Commonwealth of Australia” (& of so many governments elsewhere where corporate power rules) should be enough to show what’s still happening even more (& let’s hope the rebel flag does rise, but with more creative & humane ways than those that have already stained & are still staining so much more than tbe wattle).


(Annotations adapted from http://mike-servethepeople.blogspot.com.au/2006/12/freedom-on-wallaby.html & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooee)

& now, some lines & 3 pics from an album I posted on fb on 140914:

A Wallaby Visit We Old’uns Disturbed…

N said, Hey, there’s a wallaby out front,
& i left my PC to see, & yes, it was closer to our home
than any I’ve seen. She brought her camera, I grabbed my ipad,
& advanced o-so-slowly, step-stop-click-step-stop-click
to pic & not disturb, like in that kids’ game where you advance
when the seeker’s not looking. The wallaby didn’t seem flustered,
checking me out from time time & bending back to her feeding,
turning this way or that way, & back down to the patch
that had something s/he liked there, & N said she wished
it was in the sunny part, & I wished i had a zoom lens.
i took 39 pics before s/he decided i might be a danger
& i was sorry s/he did, but not that I’d had this experience
& hope s/he’ll come back some time & feed & feel safe here…
& here are two of my pics, & one N took of me taking them.
wallaby 13wallaby 7croopwallaby 8

testing (2): embedding links to this morning’s+ news&oped items

With my breakfast I generally skim The Sydney Morning Herald & the guardian australia on my iPad (& please don’t tell me it might be healthier etc for me to simply enjoy every breath & every mouth motion etc; been there, done that….), & bookmark items I read & feel about & think I may want to respond to, or even just share with others who may feel about or respond to in one way or another. & today I thought, hey, why not also share those links here, with or without any immediate comment from me. So here goes my first testing of this:

First struck (again) by the latest Ebola news (terrible things to be thinking of, but hey, this is happening now too:
& later found another on this topic:


pic from today's guardian australia homepage

pic from today’s guardian australia homepage

Next, by the latest positive developments towards the legalization of medical cannabis in Australia:
http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/tony-abbott-backs-legalisation-of-medical-cannabis-20140917-10i6eb.html (& thinking: well, well, Mr A, at least at last you’ve got something (almost) right! (I’ll leave explaining my ‘almost’ for another time, & just drop a hint-proverb here: “Prevention is better than cure”). This news by way, is a follow-up to 2 items I bookmarked earlier:

Then this, about the so called “Islamic State”:
which reminds me of an item I recently shared on Facebook:

& an important one about climate change:

& some items about culture, art, & entertainment:




http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/tvandradioblog/2014/sep/17/bryan-cranston-funny-side-best-comedic-moments  (he was amazing in Breaking Bad!)

& & last but not least (for a good reason), this one from a couple of days ago:

The Border (1961)

Between October 1959 and mid-1962 I was a member of Kibbutz Nirim, a collective settlement in the Western Negev that has been in the news lately because of how it was (& is still being) impacted by the recent warfare between the State of Israel and the Gaza Strip. I’d come there as one of a group of members of the Socialist-Zionist youth movement Hashomer Hatzair in Melbourne who settled in Nirim, some of whom are still living there.

While looking this week thru an album of photos and texts that I sent to my mother in Australia a couple of years after I’d left the kibbutz & was living in Tel Aviv, I found a page with a poem & this photo I took while working in the fields in Nirim, near the border (marked there at that time only by a plowed furrow) between the Egyptian-occupied Gaza Strip & the territory included in the State of Israel – and here, between the fields of Kibbutz Nirim and those of Khan Younis. Along this border UN forces were stationed in small booths several kilometers apart, generally not effectively enough to prevent Fedayeen or other infiltrators from occasionally crossing for various purposes that could endanger the lives of kibbutz members or the property of settlements in this region. I wrote the poem soon after taking the photo. Here they are together in one picture (you can click on it enlarge it).