Poetry in orbit: posts from the southwest pacific

Poetic responses to a sailing journey through the Southwest Pacific

Welcome to my sailing journey brought to you through poetry which I have written throughout the six months we sailed through the islands of Fiji and New Caledonia in 2022.

Even though most of the time we were remote from major towns and internet, I was able to post my poetic responses via satellite onto a weather app, PredictWind, which geo-spatially mapped them to where I wrote them.

While responding to my encounters in new cultures and lands, these poems are also a reflection of an inner journey, a poetic dialogue with my father, during a time when he was dying. Layered with memories of my infancy when he cradled me under palms, seeing with the eyes and heart he raised, he taught me every person I met was a poet or a prophet, every path I trod a potential pilgrimage.

In Fiji I met prophets and pastors…I witnessed the sheer tenacity for life when year after year their homes and villages were annihilated by storms, replaced with gratitude for the simplest of things: relationship to each other, devotion, reverence for life, their land, their seas, their fishes. In the beginning of my journey, I wanted to understand how Pacific Islanders live fully faced with the constant existential threat of climate change. During the journey I faced my own challenges seeing my father, who meant so much to me, decline. In the end I wondered whether the very big questions are not really answerable. In the gentle and clear waters of the islands, as I painted, wrote and played with the islanders, I reflected that we cannot always see the grand narrative, and perhaps life is approached most fully by being present, by living fully, as a series of vivid moments.

You can trace our journey and view my poems on this satellite map here.

and leave your comments below…

I hand printed these poems in sketchbooks, along with plein air drawings and films, which will be exhibited in Lane Cove Gallery (Guringai Country) April 2023 (more details here).

One thought on “Poetry in orbit: posts from the southwest pacific

  1. Cheryl Phelan says:

    You take me from a winters day, to dreaming of a warm tropical paradise. Your poems are thoughtful and again, paint a picture of your life..fascinating.

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