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How Pope Francis took the world by surprise

25 November 2014 | Peter Kirkwood

Pope Francis is one of the most prominent international leaders at present. In our Skype conversation, US born Vatican watcher Robert Mickens shares his frank views on the relatively brief but highly significant, surprising and unsettling pontificate of Pope Francis, who has declared that almost anything is open for discussion.

The wind blew through us

11 August 2014 | Kevin Gillam

Girl on windy beachWe were song that day, free on the stave, note then note, spume and a whiff and dried weed, lick and boom of waves, nudge of groyne. The wind blew through. We were sand that day, sand and salt and shell and curled.

He taught me how to somersault

14 July 2014 | Susan Fealy

SomersaultShamed me with his arithmetic, built me a balance beam... Let me practise, practise, practise:My body weighted all its edges, open to his eyes, the air, the sun.

Old men playing bocce

19 May 2014 | Shane McCauley

BocceMuffled exclamations send Italian syllables into the far pale blue... the small cannon balls bounce across the peaceful green... the men huddle convene for a verdict.

Human justice barometer

05 November 2013 | Peter Kirkwood

Blake PrizeIn the years after it began in 1951, the Blake religious art prize was dominated by conventional Christian themes and symbols. More recently its inclusion of images associated with human justice has reflected the increasing multifaith character of religion in Australia together with religious believers' concern for human peace and justice.

My brother's hat mourns his death

18 June 2013 | Brian Doyle

Old Irish capIf you were a familiar Irish cap, and had waited all night every night for 30 years for the blessing of the morning when he'd reach for you, knead you and fold you gently over his ungovernable hair, wouldn't you wonder where he was the first few days after he vanished, and feel something like a silent sadness?

Haiku for JNB

10 June 2013 | Joan Grant

Basho Sigh, white text on dark green backgroundYou planted gum trees / For every family member / Some grew, some faltered. You shuddered at crows / Their cawings a foretolling / Of endings to come. You smiled and whispered / 'I may be gone for some time' / Skin like polar ice ...

Human rights viewed from a Swiss mountaintop

04 June 2013 | Pat Walsh

Niesen International Committee of the Red Cross, GenevaThe weather seemed to express the mood of this city of international public servants paid to resolve the world's problem. Over dinner we discussed health and human rights for remote rural communities in the poorest corners of the world. That's Geneva: clean, ordered, pretty, earnest, and struggling to make the world in its image.

The seams of the earth start to bulge

03 June 2013 | Jena Woodhouse

Bulge & Strain, white text on burnt red backgroundSometimes 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.

Asylum seeker sonnet

27 May 2013 | Brendan Doyle, Ben Walter and Rob Wallis

Smaller Islands, white text on aqua backgroundWith every boat that sinks our grief's untold; the smugglers just don't care they're overfull; So join the queue, no need to bribe with gold; and get a proper visa in Kabul.

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