Author: Jena Woodhouse

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Now that you're 12 I can't keep up

    • Jena Woodhouse
    • 18 February 2018
    1 Comment

    Fondly I remember Evie, aged approximately one, pumping her short, sturdy legs along the shore at Watson's Bay ... Now that you're 12 you lope on long, lithe legs, bronzed by the northern sun; you leap across the ballet stage in grands jetes, you dive and swim; on sports days, fleet as Atalanta, yours is the athletics track ...

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The maestro and the war-scarred boy

    • Jena Woodhouse
    • 27 August 2017
    5 Comments

    He takes his flawless artistry to children traumatised by war, and plays for them this old violin, his oracle of everything. One lad has improvised an instrument: two strings, a stick as bow; and thrown away the rifle he was issued with to maim, destroy. Together they make music ...

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Poems for Anzac Day

    • Jena Woodhouse and Ian C. Smith
    • 23 April 2017
    2 Comments

    Now, the forces of annihilation once again cohere, as if this were a valve in history's cardiac arrhythmia that faltered and unleashed a haemorrhage of horror, trauma, fear. The damask roses bloom unharvested in devastated fields. Their perfume cannot mask the stench that permeates the air, the atmosphere of dread, of mute despair. But when the juggernaut of war is redeployed elsewhere, the fragrant fields will come into their own, if there are hands to care.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Refugees returning home

    • Jena Woodhouse
    • 25 September 2016
    5 Comments

    Across the black hole of my solitude, the self-indulgent pit where I lick self-inflicted wounds, lightly step returning refugees. They know why they trek through forest, crossing rivers, day by day, on bruised and lacerated feet, in rain, on clay, on sharp-edged stones. For them there is no other way, and they are going home ... They have no doubt where they belong, the dying and the newly-born, no time to squander on regrets: they are going home ...

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Homeless, Paris

    • Jena Woodhouse
    • 16 November 2015
    3 Comments

    Lone men stand at street corners, look on with apathetic eyes, shabby men from everywhere and nowhere, and beyond. Their tattered, mud-stained tents are massed beneath the overpass, misshapen globes the varicose, bruised colour of unhealthy veins. They make me think of tulip bulbs, caught between the seasons' change - too late for summer's plenitude, too early for the spring.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Greece's lonely season

    • Jena Woodhouse
    • 03 August 2015
    5 Comments

    A tarnished pomegranate warms the chill niche of the windowsill, mottled like a faded kilim, mellow rose, dull gold; the island in the autumn thrums to lyres of the bourini, the pagan tongues of log fires in the chimneys; ancient ferries plying the Aegean in the winter run the gauntlet of the gales like emissaries of reason. It is the lonely season.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Suitcase crammed with affluence

    • Jena Woodhouse
    • 24 November 2014
    8 Comments

    What they thought could not be read in faces pinched with need. They plodded on, a ragged band of hungry, thirsty refugees, hoping for a crust of bread ... Perhaps tomorrow, there'd be grapes and oranges awaiting them; farmers who would pay in kind for harvesting.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The seams of the earth start to bulge

    • Jena Woodhouse
    • 03 June 2013
    7 Comments

    Sometimes the dark bird of discord is loosed, to circle massif and savannah, inciting acts of mayhem, orgies of slaughter. But sometimes the white bird of hope is released and the tears it weeps restore something like order.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Scene from an Athens newspaper office

    • Jena Woodhouse
    • 15 October 2012
    6 Comments

    The pagemakers wear masks of chronic weariness, and stubbled cheeks: stoics conditioned by a heartless press ... Smoke rises from untidy desks as from a ship that's sinking fast, taking all hands on its burning deck ...

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