Category Archives: SOFTLY, SOFTLY

My smoking might be bothering you, but it’s killing me.

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“A pipe is to the troubled soul what caresses of a mother are for her suffering child.”
-Indian Proverb

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“[Lighting a cigarette] Well, I’m not here to impinge on anybody else’s lifestyle. If I’m in a place where I know I’m going to harm somebody’s health or somebody asks me to please not smoke, I just go outside and smoke. But I do resent the way the nonsmoking mentality has been imposed on the smoking minority. Because, first of all, in a democracy, minorities do have rights. And, second, the whole pitch about smoking has gone from being a health issue to a moral issue, and when they reduce something to a moral issue, it has no place in any kind of legislation, as far as I’m concerned.”

― Frank Zappa

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“If you see the lion’s teeth Do not think the lion is smiling” – Arabian



“إذا رأيت نيوب الليث بارزة       فلا تظن أن الليث يبتسم”.

1 1 1 1 1 C2hronicle (Adelaide, SA 1895 - 1954), Thursday 3 April 1930

Brisbane at Nightfall

As dusk approaches, gulls have gathered here
behind a fishing boat, their bodies white
and shining as they glide before the sheer
metallic-coloured river banks. Tonight
they’ll rest upon the quiet waters, drift
in silence like the Lady of Shallot.
The city holds its breath. Now there’s a shift
of light: the sky is palest apricot…
and there against the backdrop of the sky
the flying foxes lift upon the air.
The pulsing of their wings as they go by
has quickened every heart-beat. Everywhere
above us sooty shapes whirl ever higher,
like bits of blackened paper from a fire.

© Copyright Kathy Earsman

1 1 1 1 1 C3hronicle (Adelaide, SA 1895 - 1954), Thursday 3 April 1930

“Anyone who has a continuous smile on his face conceals a toughness that is almost frightening.”
― Greta Garbo

1 1 1 1 1 Ch5ronicle (Adelaide, SA 1895 - 1954), Thursday 3 April 1930

The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), Saturday 20 June 1942

1 1 1 1 1 The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW - 1842 - 1954), Saturday 20 June 1942

1 1 1 1 1 Chronicle (Adelaide, SA 1895 - 1954), Thursday 3 April 1930

Motherhood dragging a doll by the foot. Alan Beck


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Emma Jones

The Doll Who Died

A Fairytale

It had been forgotten in a world of fantastic moons.
That doll I saw, nub of a head with its life peeling off
like a caul or a bandage, lay between rivers that dirtied and danced. The legs beside it were like cloudbank, and the doll
didn’t dangle like a marionette would but slid like a mermaid
stunned by a rudder down a red rock that cried on Sundays.

It wasn’t an original doll. I had seen a similar one, years before,
floating in the China Sea. Face-up and plastic, it blew among the coral as our boat made wings under water. Both dolls were hairless and eyeless with no knowledge of numbers.
The doll that died came from a land whose signpost said “here is the beginning of bones”. The other swam to the Bay of Bengal.

No, those are two lies. There were no destinations. When I was a kid
I liked to sit on the landings of staircases. No top, no bottom,
just movement and steps like the rickety ladders in stockings.
I preferred things that way. Beginnings and ends unnerve me. Getting up,
and the blank wait for sleep. I think of Alpha and Omega, two untwisted yings and yangs torn from their womb, like the doll who died.

Two petulant children hatching strings and secrets between them!
Ladies walk on that tightrope with their wombs full of calendars.
Who puts those two to bed and wipes their faces? Not history, who is dirty
and tired like a man in a raincoat, and forgets things, and likes
the movies. The doll who died lived in a secret room papered
with pink tumuli, overblown roses and organs that swelled and waned

like the moon, or chords that rise from cathedral pipes. History put it there and forgot it. But it cleaved like a glove
and never forgot itself, because it had never remembered itself,
because it never knew itself. It had its own little brackish red sea for paddling, and in the end I fancied it small and biblical,
because one day those seas would part and it could cross.

Could it happen? A date was found and written somewhere.
The doll, although it never knew it, kept arranging itself.
In its small sea-garden it had grown a heart. They measured
its morse code with delicate instruments and made calculations.
I wished a mermaid would adopt it, or that it could live off dithyrambs. As it was, the doll who died, like its big Bengalese

cousin, had no fingers to feel the Braille of its skin’s calligraphy.
It had no liver, so left off the wine at its last supper.
The absent latch to its eyelids meant that it couldn’t see its stem
frail as a jonquils’ in thawed soil, or the blue balloon
on a viscous string that nourished its maritime
sleep. When the world flew out, the doll who died

folded its birthday and its death-day into the one pill-box of its heartbeat and followed its metronome steps out of the building.
It left a gap. It had no grave to haunt or horrors to
Instead it sat square in the slat of afternoon sun
that slid around the cab, and wasn’t there, and was, and said
“I am small as your thumb” and “I saw you do that”.

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If men could see us as we really are, they would be a little amazed; but the cleverest, the acutest men are often under an illusion about women: they do not read them in a true light: they misapprehend them, both for good and evil: their good woman is a queer thing, half doll, half angel; their bad woman almost always a fiend.

Charlotte Brontë, Shirley

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Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.

~ West African


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“The Gods did not count time spent fishing in the hours of a man’s life.”
― Neil Gaiman, The Sandman: Endless Nights

The source of a true smile is an awakened mind. Smiling helps you approach the day with gentleness and understanding.

Thich Nhat Hanh

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“The day wore on, and all these bright colours subsided, and assumed a quieter tint, like young hopes softened down by time, or youthful features by degrees resolving into the calm and serenity of age. But they were scarcely less beautiful in their slow decline, than they had been in their prime; for nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own; and from morning to night, as from the cradle to the grave, is but a succession of changes so gentle and easy, that we can scarcely mark their progress.”

― Charles Dickens

Do not let Sunday be taken from you. If your soul has no Sunday, it becomes an orphan.

– Albert Schweitzer

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“The same sun that rises over castles and welcomes the day
Spills over buildings into the streets where orphans play
And only You can see the good in broken things
You took my heart of stone, and You made it home
And set this prisoner free”

― Bethany Dillon

The perfect journey is never finished, the goal is always just across the next river, round the shoulder of the next mountain. There is always one more track to follow, one more mirage to explore.”

― Rosita Forbes

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“Whether you teach or live in the cloister or nurse the sick, whether you are in religion or out of it, married or single, no matter who you are or what you are, you are called to the summit of perfection: you are called to a deep interior life perhaps even to mystical prayer, and to pass the fruits of your contemplation on to others. And if you cannot do so by word, then by example.
Yet if this sublime fire of infused love burns in your soul, it will inevitably send forth throughout the Church and the world an influence more tremendous than could be estimated by the radius reached by words or by example.”
― Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain

Judge tenderly of me.

― Emily Dickinson

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“If someone told me that I could live my life again free of depression provided I was willing to give up the gifts depression has given me–the depth of awareness, the expanded consciousness, the increased sensitivity, the awareness of limitation, the tenderness of love, the meaning of friendship, the appreciation of life, the joy of a passionate heart–I would say, ‘This is a Faustian bargain! Give me my depressions. Let the darkness descend. But do not take away the gifts that depression, with the help of some unseen hand, has dredged up from the deep ocean of my soul and strewn along the shores of my life. I can endure darkness if I must; but I cannot lie without these gifts. I cannot live without my soul.

― David Elkins, Beyond Religion: A Personal Program for Building a Spiritual Life Outside the Walls of Traditional Religion

An ant will not die beneath her feet.

One who walks slowly and softly.

"Marathi proverbs"


If work and leisure are soon to be subordinated to this one utopian principle — absolute busyness — then utopia and melancholy will come to coincide: an age without conflict will dawn, perpetually busy — and without consciousness.
Gunther Grass.

wind batters the weatherboards

like fists and boots thudding.
shoulders the door
again, again. Grasps the metal roof
like fingers buried in hair, yanking
it wants scalp.

Dael Allison


Like a top that has done spinning.

Said of one who has been humbled.

" His heart went into his boots"

"A classified collection of Tamil proverbs"

BULGARIAN FOLK-SONGS Dig me the grave with your noble swords, Over my head, O comrades, place a fountain, Over my feet plant a shady tree, That an aged wanderer may have rest beneath it, That he may rest and think awhile of me. That a young traveller coming to the fountain May refresh his horse with the sparkling water, That he too may rest and think awhile of me. Whispering my name and my sorry fate.

"The shade of the Balkans: being a collection of Bulgarian folksongs and proverbs"

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"Be Silent yourself, that will induce Silence in others. Do not fall into the habit of shouting, talking long and loud. Reduce contacts to the minimum. Carry with you an atmosphere of quiet contemplation, wherever you happen to be. The less you talk, the more will become your mental power. With the increase in your mental capacity, there will be increase in your power of discrimination too. Consequently, you will give up individual discrimination . Because of this, you will begin to consider the good of the world at large rather than your own individual welfare. You must cultivate such broad feelings from this young age itself."


There never was a heart truly great and generous that was not also tender and compassionate. South.

"Proverbs, Maxims and Phrases of All Ages: Classified Subjectively and Arranged Alphabetically"


For me music is a vehicle to bring our pain to the surface, getting it back to that humble and tender spot where, with luck, it can lose its anger and become compassion again.
Paula Cole

foto – new kitten at raleigh

A book tightly shut is but a block of paper. Chinese.


when grey skies clear
then listen here
in quiet heavens
doth now appear
a rainbow

William Thomas Dodd, Germany


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foto – storm over ulmarra bookshop dec 09

"As Time Goes By" You must remember this, a kiss is still a kiss, A sigh is just a sigh; The fundamental things apply, As time goes by. Herman Hupfeld

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To know what we know, and know what we do not know, is wisdom.



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foto – repton caravan park xmas 2009

It should not discourage us if our kindness is unacknowledged; it has its influence still.

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"She who waits to do a great deal of good at once will never do any.”

"Treasury of Wisdom, Wit and Humor, Odd Comparisons and Proverbs: Authors, 931; Subjects, 1391 …"

foto – dumaresq dam armidale 2008

The desire of power in excess caused the angels to fall ; the desire of knowledge in excess caused man to fall; but in charity there is no excess, neither can angel or man come in danger by it.


Be always displeased at what thou art, if thou desire to attain to what thou art not; for where thou hast pleased thyself, there thou abidest.

"The Cyclopaedia of Practical Quotations, English and Latin: With an Appendix Containing Proverbs …"

foto – clarence river 2008

Though ever so compassionate, we feel within I know not what tart, sweet, malicious pleasure in seeing others suffer.

The antiquity of proverbs


How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong.  Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.  George Washington Carver

foto – goanna by susan pomroy 2009