Finding My Way

Finding My Way - July 18 2016


I found myself in times gone by,
Sinking low then rising high,
Riding waves, some low, some steep,
Floating tides, experiences deep,
Taken to the fullest seen,
My life’s perspective, clear and clean,
Then clouded by bright thoughts around,
Of others perceptions, circling sounds,
Losing grip on my own path,
Led astray by thoughts and tasks,
Other people’s sense, idea,
Of my perception, why I’m here.

Taking breath and holding course,
Now finding my way back to source.



Burning Days

For NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo 2016 – Day 26 (Not to prompt)


Dark days filled with warm collusion
Took my blood and boiled it
Stripped my skin and framed it
Left it out to dry
Displayed for all to see
And judge

I watched from afar
As children danced around a fire that was me
Undaunted by the tainted smell
By the touch
Of death
And the putrid satisfaction
Of those who wish to
Have more
See more
Die more

Chance took me afoot
Flying near the edge
Wings crisped by burning sunlight
Thrown out across the heavens to
Want more
Show more
Be more

Only one way left now


© Copyright 2016 Robin McShane

My Kingdom For A Crystal Ball

crystal ball-dec 2 2015-morguefile

I wondered why I left that day,
Worried about right and wrong,
Plagued for years to come
By dreams,

Troubled by potential consequences,
Concerned with possible damage,
The hurt,
And pain.

All to no avail.

Choices made by all,
Action taken by all,
Results undreamt of,
Unplanned for,
Unheard of,

Not one of us has control,
No-one knows the outcome
Of choices made.

What seems best
At the time
Is for that time.

As time moves,
Thoughts differ,
People change,
Needs change,
‘Best’ changes.

Crystal balls are in short supply…


© Copyright 2015 Robin McShane

A Nursing Moment – Dying

There are times when watching life expire
Becomes an experience to behold,
Opening the portal to another world
So different from ours, I am told.

Through this feeling of utter peace,
From a place beyond our knowing,
We are drawn a little away from here,
Maybe tasting the moment of our going?

A short distance down the path we’ll walk,
With our patient in the bed,
Standing by for whatever their need,
As soon as their name is read.

Then their life leaves, sometimes a smile or a grin,
Sometimes a fight and a kick,
Either way, the final’s not long,
As the soul uses carrot or stick.

And we are released back to the world,
A sigh, a slow outflow of breath,
Tears start to fall from the loved ones behind,
Who stayed watching, now suddenly bereft.

We quietly withdraw for a time,
Respecting the need for solitude,
Each to their own way to grieve.

Depending on the person’s faith,
Family requests,
Hospital protocol,
(deep breath),
We return to lay out the body,
Just the body,
The soul is gone,
You can feel the shell is empty.

With gentle respect, we remove the tubes
That were helping to sustain the life,
Wash the body,
Wrap it ready for the undertakers,
Or the keepers.

A bell rings,
Both a toll for the departed
And a call to action,
Mr Smith, in room 4 is calling,
Probably needs a bottle again,
Ah well, back to work…


Copyright 2015 Robin McShane

Are We Already Past The Event Horizon?

On Wuji Seshat’s blog a really interesting discussion started with his post on Social Media (a MUST READ) and developed into the effects of this digital age – especially on the youth.

How do they find a balance between digital life and actually living?

Is there a difference for them?

Are we experiencing such a paradigm shift in human evolution that the physiological and psychological processes going on inside the young human brain are radically different to those of us a few years (cough, cough 🙂 ) older?

Have we already evolved beyond the Event Horizon and are rapidly descending down the vortex to the Singularity without our awareness of the jump?

I have a sneaking suspicion we may have.

What do you think/feel?…..

Morning Mist

Fiery wisps of impish mist
Cross the early morning vale
Throwing fist at dawn’s first light
Holding tight as night’s last veil

Loitering through reeds and trees
Lingering in dark recess
Longing to be longer there
Lounging, laying, night’s long tress

Sun ascending warms the air
Mist recedes, resents assail
Night’s reminder, growing thin
Accedes and breathes its last exhale


© Copyright 2015 Robin McShane
As per this blog’s copyright

Africa – Winters Running Dry


Summer rain skips along,
Vibrant leaf to leaf,
Plays ping pong on the tiles,
Finds pathways of relief.

Soaking earth, feeding life,
Abundant verdant rules,
Creatures great and small,
Splashing in the pools.

Would it were still so,
As autumn pulls the moat,
Swallowing last droplets,
Echoing down it’s throat.

Leaving land now dry,
Verdant life no more,
Brown becomes the colour,
As pastures die to spore.

Winter here in Africa,
A dry, dry place to be,
Blue skies from horizons far
To horizons eyes can’t see.

No clouds now in sight,
Skies, they stand alone,
Life, it begs for moisture past,
Moisture long since gone.

A cycle growing shorter,
Dry summers becoming norm,
Green tubs lie all over,
Waiting for a storm,

Now collecting air,
Pouring from dead gutters,
As pumps lie still and quiet,
Not even drawing sputter.

Rationing the rational,
Choice of last resort,
Rivers running dry,
Life moves out, deserts.

Wonder not the future
For it has now arrived,
Sun burning brighter,
Water running dry.


© Copyright 2015 Robin McShane
As per this blog’s copyright
© Photo Copyright Micelle Coetsee



Sparked by
The Light of the Universe,
Enraptured by
The Love of Being,
Captured by
The Lure of Life,
Earth fulfils her purpose,

In silent sways and circles,
She pursues purpose,
Immune to attempted intervention,
Indifferent to proposed diversions,
Impartial to destructive intention,
Impassive to flagrant whims,


She simply carries on.


© Copyright 2015 Robin McShane
As per this blog’s copyright statement
Thank you

Dawn – NaPoWriMo 2015 – Day 2

Sunrise brings the sense of dawn
We step into the light
Would it were the light of life
Not just the day’s first bright


Copyright 2015 Robin McShane

The Piano and Life – A Wayward Rambling


“If music be the food of love, play on,” Shakespeare wrote for the opening line of the play ‘Twelfth Night’, a classic line with deep meaning which I have spent many hours of my life trying to fulfill. In many ways I have often felt as Duke Orsino must have felt – pining for the unobtainable and falling fowl of my own choices!

I was 5 years old when I first started to produce music, playing the recorder at school. I learnt to read music at the same time as I learnt to read words! At 9, I started piano lessons. What a joy to sit at this amazing instrument with its array of keys, strings stretched and hidden behind beautiful wood panels, and the two strange pedals (what were they for, I wondered, as my feet stretched to touch them? Imagine my joy, and a little confusion, when I found some pianos have three!). I still love to sit and press a key or a succession of keys, hear and feel the music enter the room and bounce around the walls; freed from the box; released from the tension of taut and tightly pegged strings.

What continues to fascinate me is that no matter how infrequently I now get to press the keys, music waits in anticipation. It seems to always be there. Like a racehorse at the starting line ready to run, all energy being restrained by its jockey; or a dam wall with a full dam of water behind it ready to burst; a never ending stream of sounds lie waiting to leap, to pounce, to break their bonds of slavery and let loose on the world. Sounds of love; sounds of anger; sounds of playfulness; sounds of pain; any and all emotions can spring into being, freed from their coil, just by pressing a few levers of wood (albeit some covered with ivory!). What an awesome experience!

In my early days, the more I played, the more expansive the sound grew and, of course, the more I practiced, the better the sound became… plus, I have to say it, the more difficult I grew for my teachers!

As I learnt to understand and feel the music, to feel with my soul what this wondrous instrument could do, I would often disagree with the way I was told to do it – the interpretation placed upon me by those trying to teach me. After all, I argued, most of the classical music I played then had been written many, many years before. It had been printed and reprinted; edited and re-edited until, surely, the composer’s original intent couldn’t be so easily interpreted? Even the instrument was different – most of this music having been written on a fortepiano!

Was the fortissimo (ff) indicated placed there by the composer or an editor? Was the rallentando meant to be in this place, or later, or not at all?

I vexed my teachers, testing their resolve and their patience and my own acceptance of discipline as the intensity and focus required bled itself into my young personality.

As I look back now, who was I, a young and inexperienced teenager, to question these indicators of feeling, sound, of music? On the other hand – who was I not? After all, I was responsible for the sound being produced wasn’t I? My brain interpreted the written notes and directed my fingers to press on the correct keys; in the correct order; at the correct speed; using, together with wrists and arms, the correct weight – the ‘discipline’ mentioned above. The only question remaining was the interpretation of ‘correct’!

Like life, my interpretation (my perspective if you will) and, therefore, my performance created the results: the sounds produced and the effect on the listener.

With the piano, no matter who told me to do what; who influenced my interpretation; who wanted it their way; it was my fingers playing the keys and my soul touching the listener. In spite of all the input, teaching and coaching, the choice of how to play was, in the end, mine. The sounds coming from the instrument were coaxed out of their restrained resting place by my touch. The strings vibrated and the air resonated according to how I placed my fingers and feet. There was no-one else to shoulder the responsibility; just me.

Again, like life, the choices I made led to the results. A ‘good’ piece; a ‘well-played piece’; a ‘technically correct’ piece; or a piece that moved emotions, feelings and souls; all depended on my preparation, my practice, my interpretation and my choices.

Fingers may fly across keys to make heaven on Earth and feed the love-starved (as Shakespeare would have us believe maybe) or stumble around on blocks of wood creating disharmony, disrupting peace, destroying sound, taking the ‘food of love’ from hungry mouths and the hope of love from those who seek it’s solace. I would like to think that in both life and music, I chose, and choose, the former and produced the ‘food of love’. In reality, I know this has not always been so and, although influenced by mentors and those around me, I have to take the responsibility for my choices and the results.

A tragedy? A comedy? – I often ask myself. Well, when it’s over maybe I’ll be able to tell you. For now, I only wish music could ensure healthy life choices as well as love-laden lunches – would it were that easy!