May 22, 2016 - To Bullying

Poem by Shane Koyczan.  See the Interview on ABC.

March 2, 2016 - My Place

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My Place .

Truth is my sanctuary.  A place I enter by trusting there is another place I can be.

It’s slow.  A little reclusive.

Painful and confronting because I’m keeping company with emotions I’ve spent my life trying to escape.

Vulnerable, because I’m sitting in my insecurities.  Pursuing what I deeply care about.

Disturbing, because life, through the eyes of truth, reveals both the beauty and the beast of it.

Overwhelming, due to the acceptance of personal responsibility to create a life that soothes the pain of truth – nurtures new growth.

Lonely, from conceding that ultimately it is self-reliance that will create and secure my destiny.

Sad, from accepting my past is over.

Compassionate, from the realisation that I cannot effortlessly accept myself.  And acknowledging the degree of consciousness it’s going to take to be content with who I am.

Liberated, because the time has come to move – and from having the freedom to explore what awaits.

A stillness, from reaching a place where I feel more comfortable being different than fitting in.  Where I feel a calm but intensely emotional sense of coming home.


Written pre-2006.  Showed a friend this poem many years ago.  She said she was sorry this was how I felt and hoped one day I’d find peace and happiness.  For me, the poem wasn’t a downer – more a revelation.   Liberating.  When you’ve lived a life hiding and surpressing emotion and truth it’s such a breakthrough when you sit with it, allow yourself to ‘feel’ again, and emerge in a better, stronger place.  I’m not sure you find real peace and joy by constantly hanging out with happiness.  But when you break the constraints of keeping secrets and pretending to be okay – that’s when the light comes on.

See previous posts/poems on this theme.  The Crossing  Illuminate the Darkness.  Dancer and The Following Dark.   Hold On (being there for someone who is feeling intensely).  Being a Heroic FriendThe New BraveBoy Oh Boy.  Robin Small is comfortable being vulnerable and wearing his hurts.  This Rose is curious about feelings.  This Army of Ink is protesting about smiley faces.   The Black Dog Story.  Pass it on …

Poem from book, ‘In My Room’.   Artwork Ash Browne.  Design Harley Manifold. 

September 9, 2015 - The Good Man

all the light we cannot see

(Reading this book at time of poem)


The Good Man .

Where are all the good men,

Who see us, hear us, feel us   /   Touch us with a gentle hand.   /   Who can button our cardigan   /   Tie our bow  /  Kiss us dryly on the cheek  /  And love us in our strength.

Who mind us in our fragile state  /  Cradle us as you would a broken bird  /  Not to satisfy a need within themselves  /  Nor to forever stroke our weakness  /  But to strengthen the flight they wish for us to take.

Where are all the good men,

Who can accept without threat  /  All we invite and excite over  /  Remain seated throughout the pleasure  /  Of each unbridled offering  / And protect the innocence of the gift.   /   Who safe keep precious pieces we discard  /  Hear our strange and distant song  /  Follow notes beyond the noise  /  And return knowingly without taking.

Where are all the good men,

Who keep light and air in windows high  /  Flowers on the stairs  /  Who hold a mirror quietly to the side  /  So we can recognise the newness  /  And the goodness in ourselves  /  Comprehend the whole of who we are  /  And fear no more the stage.

Who wait well outside our hiding place  /  Offer not hand but time  /  A refuge where within we tend neglected hurts  /  Slow to a halt from our exhaustive run  /  And bring to life our dreams.

Where is the good man,

So sure and steady in stride  /  He invites us into our own  /  Where we unite in all our consciousness  /  With the good man in ourselves.

Where we fill with the fearlessness  /  Of taking our very first step  /  And release ourselves from an endless edge.

(Written August, 2015.  In appreciation of a particularly good man, my therapist, Andrew Relph)

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March 9, 2015 - Army of Ink Once Upon A Dark Time

Army of Ink Once upon a time

Once Upon A Dark Time …

…in a land of smiles, bad things happened.  Children were broken into.  Nothing said.  Nothing done.  And so the innocent grew, not up, but small.  But this was not to be the end.  In the darkness little helpers gathered spilling rich black into soft white sheets.  Tailoring picture books to fill empty spaces.  Telling truth that grew much taller than a world too big to fit.  Until size no longer mattered and little souls were reawakened by the rhythms and rhymes of songs that carried them all the way home – ensuring they’d never be beaten again.

Footnote:  On almost a daily basis we’re hearing stories on the news of the most terrible kind – children being harmed and abused.  This piece speaks to that very issue and the Army of Ink are empowering friends to have alongside in the process of mending from such potentially self destructive experiences.  ‘Children broken into’ also speaks of the way mass media violates our children’s innocence and chance for a healthy sense of self. Her oversize bow may suggest a shield of sorts – and/or a sense of preciousness.  A… ‘You’re worth it.  You’re valuable. Make sure you give to yourself – despite what’s been taken from you’.  You’ll find this ink in Rock The Boat book (not in ‘Bedtime Stories’ edition).  For the inspiring story about the ‘tailoring of picture books’ go here.  Another poem that captures the spirit of The Black Dog Project and guides its way, ‘The Black Dog Story‘.   Escape in sweet dreaming with Amelia Bloom.  Please pass this on because you never know who’s had something taken from them….


army of ink once upon a dark time


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January 7, 2015 - Illuminate The Darkness

in my room page

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Illuminate The Darkness .

It is the simple act of storytelling that illuminates the darkness.   An image, a string of words that accesses places beyond consciousness.   It is truth spoken from a damaged soul that warms the heart.  The expression of another’s pain that has the power to heal.

Footnote:  This poem, among others, captures the essence of The Black Dog Project.  Pictured is three page spread from my first book  ‘In My Room’ (art and design by Harley Manifold).  Book available in website shop.   Pass it on and share something beautiful with a friend ….

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November 4, 2014 - The Black Dog Story

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It began with a Black Dog who, much like the fabled little black duck – was different.


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Unaccepted for his difference he sought refuge in dark places.


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In time, the darkness revealed others sheltering in the shadows that drew reflections of himself.


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In the belonging, he gained the strength to raise a hand above the nodding and question why suffering souls too often go unheard.


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Burdened by the silence and neglect, he began to bark loudly despite those troubled by the noise.


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And when backs were turned to bury all that had been found – Black Dog continued digging for all that had been lost.


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Hope grew from every hand that gave purely for the giving.  And so, despite colour and size and the absence of wealth, and with the friends that followed…


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…Black Dog claimed a space for those who may never fit, in a world too big for most.  Those who seek to move beyond minds too small.

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Those who seek freedom from the relentless pace of a world spinning way too fast to catch.


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Now, as the world continues to turn away from the darkness in favour of, “Have a nice days”‘ and all that’s shiny and new…


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…Black Dog continues to hold a place for all that’s lost and found .


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Footnote:  This story reflects and guides The Black Dog Project.  Find in Clunk & Jam book.

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