Rosemary Nissen-Wade: Aussie poet and teacher of metaphysics – a personal view
My bestie nicknamed me SnakyPoet on her blog, and I liked it. (It began as
'the poet of the serpentine Northern Rivers' and became more and more abbreviated.)

Monday, November 09, 2020

Starting a New Journey

I have a friend who walked the Camino Trail; an acquaintance who climbed Mount Everest; an online friend living on the edge of a high-altitude wilderness she frequently hikes. 

I’m not physically adventurous, but I’m about to start my own journey. It will take a year. I expect to be altered by the time I finish.

Life itself will alter me, of course, during that time, but I believe this will go deeper. Today I begin reading and working with the late Dr. Wayne Dyer’s book,  Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao.

I’ve read several versions of the Tao Te Ching. The most recent was a ‘rendition’ (her word) by the late Ursula Le Guin. Knowing no Chinese, she studied numerous translations and, with some scholarly help, arrived at a poetic version: my instant favourite.

Wayne Dyer similarly studied various translations to arrive at his version, then spent a year living it, verse by verse – 81 verses; four days each. He wrote this book to help others do so. I found it in my Kindle collection, almost forgotten (I tend to buy now, read later) and just finished the Preface.

I’m in! I’m ready for a new spiritual exploration, and the Tao is calling me lately. Though I’ve read it a number of times before, that’s been an intellectual interest – armchair travelling, if you like. Today I’m pulling on my boots, strapping on my pack, and setting out.

I shouldn’t talk about it, Dyer suggests – unless I find someone already on the path, with whom to share the joy.

‘If you are known as a follower of Tao,’ he says, ‘people may seek you out, but they are seldom the ones who will truly understand Tao. They are people who would exploit Tao as a crutch. To speak to them of the wonders you have seen is often to engage in a futile bout of miscommunication. That is why it is said that those who know do not speak.’

OK, but I write. I intend to write something on the fourth day of exploring each verse. I won’t claim to ‘know’ – to have arrived at my destination – only to record my journey.




1. I'm not reading ahead, but I find Dyer's version of Verse 1 very poetic too.

2. For writings arising from this journey, look for the tag 'exploring the Tao' at my Enheduanna's Daughter blog.

3. I'll be sharing this post – all 369 words of it (excluding title and notes) – with Writers' Pantry #46 at Poets and Storytellers United.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Review: Frank Watson's 'In the Dark, Soft Earth'

In the Dark, Soft Earth: Poetry of Love, Nature, Spirituality, and Dreams. 
By Frank Watson. 
(USA, Plum White Press, ©2020)

This is intriguing poetry, usually sparse and often reminiscent of Chinese and Japanese forms, but also full of a lyricism that can bring to mind the Romantics, and at times the old English/Scottish ballads.

The poems are almost entirely metaphorical.  This is as close as he gets to something that could be taken literally:

she gazed at me 
unable to speak 
of her nightmare 

I gazed back
unable to speak
as I woke from mine 

Usually they are much more mysterious and dream-like – yet they are so successful in creating mood, and the metaphors are so understandable, that we feel we know what he’s telling us, in emotional terms at least, even if we couldn’t provide specific, concrete details.

The subtitle is accurate: all those themes are present – the universal themes which make it easy for a reader to identify with what he says, whilst at the same time expressing Watson’s personal experience of them.  

This volume is in 10 sections or ‘books’, prefaced by beautiful reproductions of famous paintings, each of which inspires poems in that section. One of the sections is illustrated/inspired instead by a piece of Japanese calligraphy. Another has 22 poems each headed by a Tarot card of the Major Arcana (the ‘destiny’ cards). Some pictures are from the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, most from the Visconti—Sforza.

It happens that I’m a professional Tarot reader and teacher, so of course was very interested in this section. It quickly became clear he was using these images in the same way as the others in the book, as triggers for his own ideas, rather than trying for interpretations consistent with the usual Tarot attributions. Which is fine, and perfectly valid for a book of poetry, especially this book. But I was fascinated to note that, while most were wide of the mark, as one might expect, a few poems were quite close to the meanings I would assign those particular cards. (That probably says something about the nature of archetypes, rather than indicating any prescience on the poet’s part.)

He’s very good at evoking the beauty and mystery of the natural work, with a delicate touch which, again, is reminiscent of haiku etc. Most of the poems are also strongly dream-like. For all the ethereal and fantastical qualities, and for all the metaphorical uses of nature, those descriptions are grounds din accurate observation. His natural world is very real and true – even if it’s also, simultaneously, standing in for a feeling, a mood, an event in a relationship, a search for God.

I was offered a review copy, and I'm so glad I accepted. (Which I did having already some acquaintance with this poet's work and admiration for it.) This book is not only a keeper but one to re-read – for its beauty, and because that beauty creates a kind of solace even when the mood is melancholy. 

The book will be released and available from Amazon on July 7.

Cross-posted from Goodreads.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Halfway through April Poem A Day – yet again

... and this is what I wrote about it today, in a comment at 'imaginary garden with real toads' whose prompts I have been using. (The garden closed at the end of 2019, but has re-opened just for April.)

O yes, I remember – it's mid-month, my Muse is flagging, everything I write seems to me both prosey and banal, I make vows that this is the very last time I'll do a poem a day in April.... And then I remember, too, that this happens every year!

If only I could remember how I have managed to get myself out of it in the past! I think it might have to do with keeping on writing, eventually writing myself out of it. Meanwhile I plod on, longing for the wings to unfold.

Sunday, March 29, 2020


I'm a Scorpio – I go to extremes. So I have many blogs. Perhaps it will make it easier for people to find the ones I want if I join Bloglovin'. Anyway, this is the experiment in doing so. Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Monday, January 13, 2020

Video of me reading 'Destruction'

(My poem about the unprecedented Australian bushfires presently blazing)

To read the text as well, see the post at my poetry blog Enheduanna's Daughter.