Monday, April 18, 2016

Beneath (Poem)

I had such strange and melancholy dreams last night.
I was keening at my parent's now-sold house, the floor tilted on the acute
eyes fixated on the old wallpaper that was ripped away when I was three

then, lurching, on board a plane that did not fly but floated, silent, silvered,
a grave phoenix under a heat-lamp sun
knowing all the while that this dragon's fire was out, and crashing inevitable

running from the unseen monster, of course.
no dream-dystopia complete without it

seeing, with horrified clarity, my daughter's face, calm, closed
translucent under the thin skin of bathwater
my heart exploding in my sleeping chest

all the while, a voice was saying this, beneath the changing scenes:
everything dies.
lover and beloved pass away, the new grows old.
visions fade and flicker out.
all is recalled from whence it came.
gentle or fierce, the night arrives for every living day:

soon enough.

soon enough.

- Kathy, 18/4/16

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Taking kids out of school for family holidays

I've been pondering the question of taking kids out of school for family holidays, as I've heard of a couple of people being told off for it by their kids' schools.

Circumstances vary, of course, and unless it's for unavoidable reasons (eg family funerals, illnesses) I would never advocate taking older students out of school in the lead-up to, or during, exam times. That's just not common sense.

However, the reality is that travelling out of school hols is *much* cheaper and for some working parents, getting time off in school hols may be difficult or impossible. (Not for freelancers or people who work in education, OK, but for others). Not to mention that if you are doing a big overseas trip, most families will want to make the most of it by going for longer than the standard 2-week break, given that it may be something you can only afford to do once or twice in the course of your kids' childhoods.

I think our primary and high schools have a sensible policy on this - we are required to write a letter 4 weeks in advance (for planned holidays) notifying the school of the absence, and accept, and ensure that it is done, any school tasks assigned for the kids to do during holidays.

When we took the girls out of school for a week in 2013 to go to Warrnambool off-season, their teachers asked each child to keep a holiday diary, and the elder two were also given maths sheets to do while away. The past three years we have vacationed in school holiday time - to Port Douglas in 2014, Phillip Island and Daylesford / Bendigo last year, and Canberra this year - so it hasn't been an issue.

In 2018 we are hoping and planning to take the kids to Europe. To make the flights worthwhile, we are planning to go for 4-5 weeks in April-May, which will encompass two weeks of school hols and 2-3 weeks of term. I would not be receptive to being told that we *can't* do this because of some hard and fast school rule that makers no allowance for cases.

What do you think?

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Borderland (Poem)

the cicadas are ringing in the changes as the sun weakens
the blue of the sky a pale translucent cup, streaked creamy with cumulus

the house pulsates with the scents of ironed linen, baked goods and tangy onion salt:
on the doorstep, the determined cat who doesn't live here mewls her discontent

tomorrow, we must all hang with the world again.
the rhythms of learning and of labour upon us and over us
not without their satisfactions, yes, and yet -

tonight, we hover in the limen
made quiet by this crossing
watching the dreaming moon awaken.

- Kathy, 10/4/16