Pythian Games

put on your track shoes and write the miles

Archive for the ‘Gumbootspearlz’ Category

Leaf for the Past

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leaf girl

Leaf for the past

Leaf for the future


Living on the branch

Falling to the ground

Learning and growing

From seed to sapling

Leaf girl

Girl of leaves

Grow strong.

(c)  June Perkins, images and words all rights reserved

More work on   World Citizen Dreaming

Written by June

August 16, 2009 at 10:19 am

Posted in A Poem a Day, Gumbootspearlz

Tagged with


with 4 comments

water studies 1


We dive deep into the

Blue swirl

Looking for a dew drop

Our hands

Swirl through the salt

Renunciation at our finger tips

Blue Swirl

Blue dew drop

To sprinkle like

Soul fragments becoming

Like glitters from glow worms

We light

Up the dark

With the

Blue swirl

End up seeking more pearls

Our hands

Reach out to turn the page

Swirl through the power of words

That come from some

Other world

We light up the dark

With the pearls

Hung around the borders

Of our soul

Renunciation not just on our lips

But deep in the soul swirl.

Inspired by 2 Ruhi section 1.

(c) June Perkins, all rights reserved on images and words

umbrella girl walks 2

For more poetry Unity’s Garden

Written by June

August 12, 2009 at 3:53 am

Posted in Gumbootspearlz

Tagged with

The Red Typewriter

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Ocean girl dives for poetry dreams.
She looks for words out windows.


Her red typewriter tapped away in her imagination. It was an old typewriter, like one you see in those mystery movies when the secretary is typing and then her boss enters with a request for a file, or a phone call she must make. Her fingers pressed the keys hard to get each one to mark the page.

As a young girl she would lie flat on her stomach on her bed to write in her diary. It was thick blank paged book, light blue in colour with a dark blue binding. She spent so many hours filling it with words: words of frustration about her mother, vivid description of foods as she was always hungry due to their relative poverty, and sometimes words from the news. She spilled them out, and changed her pen colours every now and then to make the page look more interesting. The pages if you could have eaten them would have tasted of rainbows. Sometimes she even had those scented pens and the pages reeked of the perfume of letters. She saved her pocket money and went to a special store to buy them.

There were words of secret loves and calculations of how many times a certain boy had looked at her, and what colour his eyes really were if you looked closely enough. Hazel eyes, green eyes, blue eyes? Sometimes she wrote about stories her friends told her, especially a girl named Leesa.

Leesa was the storyteller legend she followed around and asked again and again to tell her stories. Lessa was from Mornington Island, and her skin was a wonderful scorched brown just like her Papua New Guinean Mum’s. Leesa was her first Aboriginal Friend.


Ah there were many diaries and many words. She had boxes of them by the time she left home. It may surprise you that she burnt all the words when she left home. Or maybe it won’t. She worried that some of her words might hurt someone somewhere, most especially her mother. She didn’t want her secret diaries to ever make it into print after all they were the immature words of a teenager trying to find her way. She wanted her words to only be somewhere inside her ready for her to retrieve but no one else. She had not really considered the limitations of memory to retrieve those words. The words could not sit in the red typewriter. Or could they?

She read The Diary of Ann Frank and was amazed at Anne’s openness within her diary. She cried when she read that diary and thought of Anne locked up in a cupboard, dreaming, frustrated and wanting to make it out into the bright world where the rainbows waited. She felt her own efforts were nothing compared to this girl who poured even more than she could ever imagine onto a page. Did she know that her fate would be to be that series of precious moments of life seized and lived and written of and that she would be a powerful testimony to catastrophe? What was Ann’s significance when she began to write the diary and what was her own significance when her diary outlived her fate and she too became part of history- ‘Oh the power of voice.’ She wondered about the power of voice. She imagined herself in conversation with Anne Frank, like many other girls across the world. “I am no Anne Frank, history like that will not be repeated. Although watching the news one couldn’t be sure.”


She knew that she had always wanted to be a writer. She had gone through an over use of adjective phase. She had searched for her identity voice and spoken of cultural issues of being a second generation migrant. She had been TS Eliot with her smoky alleyways of thought poem and had searched for a lost albatross like Coleridge.

The red typewriter was from her European grandparents. They had lived in Geneva. Every year her grandmother sent her two cards. The letters were always rather formal. Sometimes though she made homemade cards, and pictured on the front were bunny rabbits with purple aprons and winged seeds that made their ears. There was a sense of fun to the covers that was at odds with the inner formal tone. Maybe her grandmother did care for her in her own way.

Her European grandparents were remote figures who she met only three times in her life that she could remember. Her father was particularly distant from them because they had not accepted his Papua New Guinean “coloured” wife. Nor for that matter had they accepted her uncle’s first wife, a Jewish Lady. Yet, it was these same grandparents who were pleased to hear she wanted to write, and who when she visited them a few years later gave her the red typewriter.

She wondered what they expected her to write of them. She remembered breakfast at their beach house. It was a boiled egg with runny insides that you dipped finger toast into, followed by some hot Milo. She remembered her uncle taking a big boxer dog for a walk and feeling kind of strange to be the child chosen to be the visiting grandchild. Perhaps though it was because she had become the family scribe and dutifully wrote her grandmother letters. She could not remember for the life of her what she specifically wrote about- maybe school, the weather, what her brothers were up to, at least what was okay to put in a letter as one brother in particular was getting himself regularly into strife.

However their red typewriter had some competition. It was the songs of her bubu, her Papua New Guinean grandmother who she heard might be coming to live with them. She was always on her way but never with them. She was a song rising from a village many miles away. She was a chant on a tape deck and there was no photograph, nothing to picture her but to imagine maybe she looked like her mother.

Her European grandmother although remote was more tangible to her. She was not highly educated. Her Dad said she spoke French with a gutter accent, and her grandfather by contrast spoke it at university level.

Her bubu (grandfather) was a carver excommunicated from the church for his heathen art- all these stories, all these words they were not hers but her parents. Their memories were singing out from the memory of the red typewriter asking to be written. They wanted to have their own voice.
She looked for her own story ‘is my story their story.’ Sometimes there were experiences that came straight out of books, like meeting an anthropologist who had studied her bubu’s village and who had actually met her grandfather, old Malolo. It felt so strange to her to finally see a photograph of a relative and to see an image of an Aunty just like her mother! She would have known. She would have run to her and hugged her.

She remembered her European grandfather learning Maori every week, and taking her to meet his teacher. Why, as her Dad’s stories had it, did they not accept her mother? Why did they now accept her? She remembered looking at the carvings with him but she did not think of her other bubu for she had never met him. She was the discarded wife. He was so far away and would be dead before she would ever meet him.

None of this was in those diaries she burnt, because all this knowledge and experience came later. She wished she could say to that young girl and her red typewriter, notice everything, plants, people, food, colour, aromas, tastes, everything that happens as you travel. Remember because this is your story, your testimony.

She pressed the keys harder and harder and stories began to flow. Once she began to get them down it was impossible to stop.

Extract from Island Rock Girl
(c) June Perkins, all rights reserved

Written by June

July 20, 2009 at 5:26 am

It begins with ….

with 10 comments

believe in the possibility - dream

It starts with the lap top, the voice of a girl and the rain. It begins with no distraction, a desk, a window, and ends up following the distraction of imagination. It beats down like the water from the boats travelling in the sky and cuts up the clouds.

The memory rains down and says, ‘they will give you a red typewriter and you will never stop writing. You are the girl with the red smiley stories.’ It says ‘Your life was a fairytale,’ to which you say, ‘I don’t know what you mean. How can that be so?’

Yet, looking back you see, the witches, the fairies, the birth of a dragon from the rainforest and you know there is a fairytale to be told. You still resist and in contempt fire back: ‘I haven’t done anything heroic, I haven’t survived a tragedy, climbed a super tall mountain, become a movie star, who would want to read my stories.’

‘Look again,’ says the memory rain. Now you see it, the mother who lets go of her children to send them out into the world with a shell song, the sister who hears messages from the soul garden as the Willy Wagtail comes to visit, the mother who must make sense of death and recover from an attempted home invasion, and a woman who has left the South to live in the North and in her attempt to leave is haunted by ghosts from the north who hide in her boot.

You can hear story ghosts singing out in the cane, smell pumpkin pie, transform rusty tin into gold coins- because you are a storyteller’s Godmother, you are memory and imagination dancing hand, in hand with constant change.

People can change, can transform, can write everyday just like breathing and they can change what they understand the past as I cannot cry for what I cannot predict, rather I hope for what I dream into being.
Is this your real life, or your past re-imagined- is it fiction, faction, myth or fantasy? Is this a dream from which the story is woken? Now you are off to be a ‘story catcher’ as Christina Baldwin describes.
It ends with the lap top, the woman, the rain and the opening of tub after tub of honey full of story.

believe in the possibility - dream

Image: believe in the possibility dream – by gumbootspearlz
(c) June Perkins all rights reserved —Excerpt from Work in progress Island Rock Girl

More of June’s work is at Unity’s garden

Written by June

July 16, 2009 at 1:59 am

Moon and Fire

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meditation on fire2

Look into the flame
What do you see?
Do you see stories
Of how the fire came to be?

Look up to the moon
What do you imagine?
The bush lemon
Looks so much bigger
From this angle
It could roll away the moon.

Dad has put some bush lemons
Into the fire
The moon has had the final laugh.

(c) Words and Images June Perkins

More of June’s work can be found at Unity’s Garden

Written by June

July 9, 2009 at 4:02 am

Keep on Riding Horseback

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For Heather and others in the soulfood writing networks.

Keep on riding bareback until you are free
through the wilderness
all around you and me.

Keep on riding bareback until you can write
and writing is no longer
a fight or your only light.

Keep on riding bareback until you reach the sea
and see the journey was your liberty.

Keep on riding bareback through your first draft
realise when it’s time to polish your craft.

Keep on riding bareback like those of the past
like those of the future,
like those of the present
you won’t be the last…

(c) June Perkins

painting a sunny day

This was posted elsewhere in the Soul Food network of blogs, maybe the Rose and Swan Theatre.

More of my work can be found at

(c) June Perkins, words and images.

Written by June

May 28, 2009 at 1:31 am

Posted in Gumbootspearlz

5-6 word memoirs – a Haiku life…

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Someone in my writing group suggested doing summaries of your life in 6 words-

seems like a haiku life almost, anyway did a few in 5/6 words- here they are.


Ocean girl dives for poetry dreams.

I look for words out windows.

Rain is my memory eulogy.

Dry plants beat my brother’s coffin.

Mother dreams big daughter banker.

Father dreams big daughter academic.

Daughter dreams big great parent.

Brother dreams sister stops hopeless dancing.

Sister dreams brother stops hopeless attitude.

Yellow are my feathers to fly.

Blue are my weaknesses denied.

(c) june perkins- words and images all rights reserved.

More of June’s Work can be found at World Citizen Dreaming

another year another flower

Written by June

May 7, 2009 at 11:45 pm

Childhood to Youth – chocolate box

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Childhood to Youth

In response to a prompt from the Chocolate Box in the Soul Food network of creativity

What I see…

I look at these photos and see friends and a brother passed on, in accidents that I heard about in some cases second hand.

I see highschool friends some I still know and some I don’t. Some are mothers and some will be soon.

I see the promise of childhood in my daughter’s hand brushing the weeds, or are they flowers?

I see a pinecone that will be in my future. I see my daughter wearing the grass skirt I never did. It took that many years for my mother to come into her own with culture.

I see my parents full of anticipation for their children’s future, not realising time will pass so quickly, so quickly these photos will fall like still life memories of their lost son.

I see my childhood, my daughter’s childhood, my mother’s motherhood, and the anticipation that things can change- we can paint a new canvas.

That is what I see. This is what I hope. Do I really see? Do I really understand?

(C) June Perkins all rights reserved collage and words.

More of June’s Work can be found at World Citizen Dreaming

Written by June

February 19, 2009 at 8:06 am

Chocolates and a Patrol Box Story

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Image: from Indigenous Identities

As I ate the chocolates from the box I had a story sensation go through my imagination buds. It was unlike anything I had ever felt before. The story seemed to deliciously unfold around me as if it was my story. I seemed to dance it, taste it, and sing it, and write it all at the same time.

Patrol Officer Box

The solid rectangular metal box belonged to her father. It was strong, a boring silver and dented. It was, she had heard, full of old photographs and a billum. He was Australian and went to Papua New Guinea to find adventure. He would later be spoken about as the white-man who became lost in the bush coming out to see his in-laws. He used to ride a motorbike, and collect Bob Dylan records in a record club. She could hear his motorbike zoooooming away.

He didn’t understand the customs for a long time, although he spoke the local language, a gift from his own father a linguist and Esperanto lover, and respected the people. How was he to know he would become legend.

His wife, her mother was a tiny bush mekeo lady with a large bush knife. She was a trainee nurse whose father was a medicine man. She was raised by Missionaries but with the soul of her mother always guarding her she was a formidable person. No priest was going to really tell her exactly how to act. She likes to sing the Greatest hits of The Eagles and change them – “Welcome to the Hotel Port Moresby.”

Her father, also a crocodile hunter was a complicated man, so much to admire and yet so much to fear. She too was complicated, in Australia, for a time, she was meek and mild and quiet, the roast cooking stay at home Mum, whose husband worked in the mountains. Later she was ferocious protector of her sons. No crocodile or snake was going to come near them.

Mother and Father, both one day became something of legend to their daughter who, opening the patrol box, found all the memories came rushing out as if Pandora herself had opened up that box. She found out about “the native women protection act” and men who left their Papua New Guinea loves behind. Her parents were different. She saw her mother’s sisters dying from snake bite. She felt the sadness as photographs were never taken to her mother’s village and much, much more.

They were “Hope”, well hope mixed with a little bit of chaos.

The pen stopped flowing as if the chocolate had hit my imagination and then zoomed out again. Should I take another, hmm I knew me and chocolates this could end up with a stomach ache. What would happen if I had perhaps just one more….

© June Perkins images and words

©Soul Food, Prompt Trunk in the attic of wonderment

Written by June

February 5, 2009 at 11:43 pm

Posted in Gumbootspearlz

Cicada Hands

with 6 comments

This was written for a friend on flickr and is in response to his photo of his Dad’s hands.

Dad & the Cicadas 2004, originally uploaded by Mr. TRONA.

For Mr Trona and family

Father has changed now
But always I shall see his
Cicada hands
The gentle bend of their fingers
As beseeching time beckons.

His memory is not the sum of him
Nor is his skin
Not even the words that gurgle out of the
Brook of his mouth.

Father is here now as he was
Back then time beckoned him
To where he is now.

Outside of time is mother’s love
A Wife’s love,
My love, his love
Nestled in cicada hands.

((c) Image Mr Trona, (c) Words Gumbootspearlz

More of June’s Work can be found at World Citizen Dreaming

Written by June

September 7, 2008 at 3:39 am

Let it Breathe …

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Let the story breathe. Take out all its clutter and carve its meaning into a single sentence. Then build that into a paragraph. From there a chapter and then another, another and another. Let your reader stop along the way to ponder, move them along with excitement and emotion, but always let them breathe.

I am back in a yoga class and I am pondering the breath. My son has come to the class with me and he too is pondering his rhythm. My son likes to pace, up and down, up and down. He is never still. “Can’t you be still and breathe in and out,” I ask. Perhaps though I need to let him pace. Pacing is a movement where he finds himself, ponders things, unlocks doors I can never really comprehend. He is like a clock ticking and tocking. I have always found a ticking tocking clock difficult to listen to when I am trying to find stillness.

My Mum used to be like a series of ticks and I wondered when she would tock. She was out of rhythm with me. She was a constant beating percussive instrument that I couldn’t find out how to relate to. Maybe it was the distance between us, generations, and cultures (she is Papua New Guinea, Bush Mekeo raised). I tried to understand her, and as time passed it became easier. I found though I had to move away and find a space to breathe. Maybe it was the clutter of three brothers and our Dad and the constant noise and hustle and bustle that is family that made it so hard.

Our instructor tells us its time to move into a cat pose. I move as gently as I can into the shape required. Yet I am waiting for my favourite part of the class. The cool down, the gentle breathe in and out and arms raise and head rolls. I am a relaxation princess. When we arrive at that time of the class I am so proud of myself, my inner karma is realigned. I have to shake my son awake and tell him it is time to go and wait for our lift. He has found a way to settle, and he doesn’t need to pace. He is a relaxation prince.

That was many years ago and my son has begun to pace again. Maybe we both need to go and find a local yoga class or maybe what we need is more space to breathe. More space to find ourselves. Yet also there were times I remember when my Mum gave me just a little too much space and all I wanted was for her to say she cared. I can still hear my mother ticking without tocking and I wonder if that is my problem too. Finally I really breathe out. I have found my stillness.

the thinker

More of June’s Work can be found at Unity’s Garden

Written by June

July 15, 2008 at 2:25 am

Medicine bag

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identity boots 2- self portrait flag and feet

My healing bag is made of thin strands of synthetic plastic that are dyed in the traditional colours of my mother’s village in Papua New Guinea.

It is lined with silk from the kimono of a Japanese Princess. Persian Paisley Patterns adorn the silk and soften that synthetic plastic when I place my hands inside to feel what’s there. It is a healing bag that says remember Mother Theresa, Remember Tahirih, Remember all those soul women who wandered through the soul garden almost every step of their lives.

It is full of the choicest tiny strawberries to eat and smell. Another time my fingers are covered with the scent of the apricot coloured roses at my wedding. Things to remember, to savour fill the bag and in moderation they are healing.

Words waft out of the prayer book I have placed there, chants of Persian Poetess Tahirih, run through my veins and I feel the sisterhood of Faith and creativity and sacrifice. Love is a verb, prayers want to lift me to action.

The ocean cools me and now I swim with the dolphins and mermaids my girl students seem to love so much. But these mermaid girls can drive monster trucks under the sea, and the monster truck boys can learn to care for the ocean. The healing bag says humanity needs two wings, and both must be strong.

Both countries of mother and father… surround me with their love and give me gifts to tell my stories, to heal my soul, and to find that identity is what you store in your healing bag not just what you are born with.

Medicine bag prompt

I enjoyed the medicine bag prompt, My grandfather on the PNG side was a traditional healer.

More of June’s Work can be found at World Citizen Dreaming

Written by June

June 16, 2008 at 3:44 am


with 4 comments


“Shake, shake, shake!”

It feels like our house belongs to the Giant that Jack killed when we stomp stomp stomp. The house gets almost as upset as Mum because we’re moving too quickly down the hallway.

Poor Jack set off to seek his fortune and all he was given was a magic bean. Now how can you buy a house with that? Come to think of it in many fairytales they are off to seek their fortune! They chance upon luck, magic and tasks that will bring them their fortune, and sometimes a magic creature or two. My Mum says “My fortune is you children.” Maybe we will grow up and bring her home a golden goose.

“On your marks- get set- go” and we run. It’s a cool afternoon and we decide it’s time to run around the track. It saves us running in the house on our rocky floorboards house.

Mum remembers that she used to love to run as a teenager. She would take off after an argument with Nana, to a running track across the road. She crossed a swamp and field to get there. She would run past the talking trees and mugwamp in the swamp. She’d will herself not to be afraid. She was always running away from Nana who used to have a rotten temper – so she learnt to run up the hill and sit behind the “big rock” where it was safe.

Now Mum says “On your marks, get, set go” and we run. We don’t like to go to little Athletics. For us running is trying to pass each other on school oval that we live next to. Running is a way to feel free, laugh, and just be ourselves.

I am never still. I tap in the kitchen, tapdetaptaptap. Mum says “You move in a flamenco butterfly movement.” I flutter around the oval.

My big brother paces up and down like he is in a hospital waiting room, but when we get out to the oval his footsteps and hands make an air guitar riff. He’s kinda cool.

My little brother scoots around. Out here it doesn’t bother anyone. He is ahead of us, behind us, ahead of us again.

Mum says “the running spaces in our lives feel like pools of light. They are a moving spotlight that we dance in.”

So we dance, dance, dance.



I’ve been playing around with ideas from fairytales combined with experience and experiments in perspective.  This is part of a longer series I am gradually polishing. 


Written by June

June 9, 2008 at 1:34 am

Posted in Gumbootspearlz

Bird Song – Human Song

with 11 comments


Image: A totem pole at Mission Beach.

This is my first post here as I am new to your creative community..  I think this was in part inspired by some of the soul food café links on dealing with grief and writing as therapy. I have been enjoying reading all your posts the last week and thought I’d contribute something.  I’ve posted an intro into the yahoo group.  In brief I love writing, songwriting, and creative arts in general and this year started work teaching writing to primary school children.




Bird Song – Human Song

Willy Wagtail tried very hard to make Kathy hear the song of her brother.  She had come into her garden to warm up as the house was like an icebox.  Willy perched on the silver tarpaulin that her husband had draped all over the yard while his pond, bonsai mountain project was in progress. Willy gave his most coy head cocked to one side, glinty bird eye gaze challenge.  He chirped, changed position and chirped again.  She didn’t seem to understand what he was trying to say, but then she nodded her head and began to talk to him. 

“I know he’s okay, much safer.  He’s playing Jimi Hendrix in his soul.  He’s really doing better and says sorry for chucking stones on the way to school that time.”

 Willy was impressed – this was indeed one of those who had listened to the old stories.  He wasn’t sure that there were many of the Eagle souls left but her brother had said she was one and had insisted Willy make the journey from the soul garden.  He nodded to her, and flew back to the soul garden in a blink, so that when she turned to continue their conversation he was no longer there.  She wondered when the messenger would arrive again. 

She preferred the wagtail of her brother’s soul bird to those curlews.  Curlews carried the songs of disaster victim and they had piercing cry that pulled her heart apart.  The 5 million Chinese earthquake victims had caused an awful weeping the last few nights.  They conjured up the images of the news as nothing else could for her Eagle soul.

 The problem with being an Eagle soul was that often you could hear the birds whether they were near or far.  Still this had meant that she had found the Nightingale very early in life.  Just thinking of that song made her feel warm.  She thought of the words of the Nightengale- “You are always free if your soul song hums away as involuntarily as a heart beat.  Then you walk with one foot here and one in the soul garden.”

She had strived to remember this when he mother had raised the curlew cry at the funeral of her brother.   She knew she did not want to outlive her children in this way and could have some understanding for her mother’s tears.  Still mourning was long and complicated for those whose soul song had an irregular heart beat.  Her mother really needed a bypass of some sort. 

 Willy Wagtail was wrong though, she did not know just of the old ways of the Eagle soul, she also knew of the new Nightingale song.  She could hear the birds of the soul garden through the Nightingale and knew her brother was but a heartbeat away.

 The clouds came over and she had to leave her garden.  She grabbed a few clothes and made her way back into the icebox, just a little bit warmer.




awesome ripples

this image was taken naturally – no photoshopping

and came out like this…

Some of my blogs

Unity’s Garden
Pearlz Dreaming

Written by June

June 4, 2008 at 12:24 am

Posted in Gumbootspearlz

Tagged with