Weary from the crowds,
he slipped across the border for a break.
A holiday with a few close friends,
up north among the foreigners.
Different people, culture, food.
Best of all, no one knows him here.
The woman’s love
has grown achingly to despair;
such is her daughter’s illness.
Her dormant hopes quicken
when she learns the identity
of the stranger from the south.
Disregarding his request for privacy,
she intrudes, insisting that he intervene
to heal her child.
His response disappoints.
Wrong race, wrong religion.
The man offers a domestic metaphor to justify
his lack of compassion.
Sorry, I can’t help;
the food is for the children, not the dogs.
It takes our breath away.
Suddenly we hear the shrill, cheering voices
of the xenophobes, islamophobes, flag wearers,
shock jocks and opportunistic politicians.
But the story continues;
this foreign woman does not know her place.
She accepts the racial calumny,
but, with impertinence,
throws the image back at the teacher:
Yes, but even the dogs . . .
Even the dogs.
The woman, he concedes, is correct.
There are no boundaries to love
except the ones we fashion from our fears.
The man accepts his lesson with grace,
and setting aside his weariness,
offers her the crumb.
© Ken Rookes 2017
Even then dogs.
Linocut 30 x 30 cm
I took part in the Bendigo Easter Festival Paint out where a number of artists were invited to paint aspects of the festival. This is my painting of children in Rosalind Park. The paintings are on display for another week at the Information Centre.
It becomes a companion piece to my painting of the children’s petting farm last year.
Lino cut 31 x 47 cm
The third in my series of lino-cuts of the children of Willowra. I printed a proof in 2015, but only recently produced an edition.
We left Willowra late last year, after three years, and we deeply miss the children. They are beautiful.
Over the Easter weekend I took part in the Bendigo Easter Festival Paint Out, where ten local artists were tasked with painting festival action. We were expected to paint for at least three hours on each of two days.
I accepted the challenge of moving beyond the proverbial comfort zone, and found it an enriching experience engaging with the public as I worked. Some children told me I was a good artist, despite evidence to the contrary in the early stages of the painting.
I produced this acrylic painting, entirely from life, of the children’s animal farm in Rosalind Park. I think it works quite well.