posted on December 30, 2008 at 7:45 pm

odysseus awakes in the remarkable stillness of dawn
calypso is gone from the bed
he has never seen the nymph sleep
all is so quiet
lost track of the days
lost track of the love
lost track of the sea
lost track of…
he gets up from her soft bed
where she has loved gods
where she has loved heroes from ages past
her bed where she never sleeps only loves
odysseus looks in her mirror
his tanned battered intelligent face
his straight nose
his frowning eyes
his planes and angles
he’s seen better days
moving slowly as if in a dream
dreams of struggling
never fulfilling the task
never getting it done
never never never
let that word echo round her cave
things in the mirror flicker
things in the mirror change
odysseus sees himself an old old man
his strong limbs withered
his robust body weakened
his unswerving gaze now rheumy and faltering
calypso appears behind him, the old man
unchanged for all the years
she steps out of her robe
the old odysseus watched her in the mirror
she goes to her bed and lays down
she beckons to him
she lies on her side and beckons to him
come yes come she says and he hears her only in his mind
as the old man watches in the mirror
his younger self goes to the immortal nymph
through tears and years the old man sees them
lovely lady of the sea and shore
calypso so soft and hard
she moans just like a mortal woman
the mirror changes as if filled with vapour
the mirror reveals an empty bed
voices all around whisper in odysseus’ ear
words he cannot understand
he reaches out but the caves walls seem to move
in the mirror he goes out into her wonderful garden
he looks at her flowers
that pulsate in strange colours and vibrancy
the flowers move in unison to the first breezes of the day
everything has changed
odysseus feels open
everything is coming in
this wondrous bower
the grapes which grow on trellises
her sheep and goats graze for the wool
that the lady spins upon her loom
her birds
for the lady must have song
but when she sings all else is silent in the world
and her voice shames the nightingales
2 tiny rivers run through her garden from a spring
” my garden is an inclosed spring, my love” she had said
holding his hand to her
odysseus remembered this and smiled
he watched the nymphs minnows dart in her silver streams
he put his head down to the waters and
he drank from her crystal spring deeply
as he lifted his head
in the rippling reflections
he saw her form once again
move like a dream
across his life
calypso weaving
calypso singing
calypso brushing her dark hair in the mirror
calypso walking with her goats
calypso at midday as she swam in the sea
calypso in the long afternoons of her endless summer
calypso telling him of times long ago
of jason of theseus of perseus
all she had known
the isle was alive
and everything there did its mistress’ bidding
the fruit grew and was sustained by her powers
the elementals obeyed her
the rain fell only when she desired
odysseus went down to the shore
as he did every day
as he had done for thousands of days
the sea stretched away
away away away
he could not even remember
why he had wanted to leave

36 Responses to “on the isle of marvels”

  1. avatar
    fantasticandy | 30 December 2008 at 8:49 pm #

    fine writing my friend…..
    wish i had such skill with words.
    envy, envy, envy…..
    must..fight..the… urge to………………….

  2. avatar
    CSTCoach | 30 December 2008 at 10:07 pm #

    absolutely beautiful. you’re back in full form. mesmerising. mesmer rising. odysseus certainly rising. wouldn’t you be, with a nymph like that?

  3. avatar
    Abel Tasker | 30 December 2008 at 10:35 pm #

    nice blog.

    oh yeah, with all the talk of whale sounds, I thought I’d mention that “not what you say” is one of my favorite SK tracks ever. I’ve been waiting a long time for this one– I love the repetitive guitar and the melody of the first two parts. The whale sounds and rain are a perfect send off and, at least for me, complete a sort of bridge from music listening/playing to mindfulness practice.

    It’s righteous.

  4. avatar
    Freddie | 30 December 2008 at 10:45 pm #

    Ah, and here again yet more!
    With all this will Odysseus recall?

    just don’t go anon and start causing trouble 😐

  5. avatar
    heather | 30 December 2008 at 11:02 pm #

    The Killer transforms the world – this seems like your bondi; inside your dream-life, surrounded by the rabble and crass, this is what you make it, this is what you create…

    so don’t leave

    you know what makes me go grr, andy, is that this beautiful work is going unnoticed by the literatie, the glitterati, the arty smarty

    this man should be speaking these words at the art gallery every sunday; and being paid handsomely for it; he should be flown to bucolic workshops and urban oases; his books should be on the essential reading list at dymocks; his work should be excerpted on the pages of coporate reports and strategies; and this nation should claim him as a national treasure and give him a blank cheque and free everything


    Happy New Year everyone!

  6. avatar
    veleska1970 | 30 December 2008 at 11:25 pm #

    the killer’s mighty pen strikes again!! sultry and strangely romantic one today.

    lotza love…..

  7. avatar
    princey | 31 December 2008 at 12:21 am #

    A beautiful "blog of love" to end 2008…..sighhhh

    Thanks sk for another year of writing and sharing your ups'n'downs, poetry, romance stories(fact&fiction!), rants'n'raves, and just everything! Thanks for all the music too, you mean so much to me and really put the fire in my fireworks!!(look up to the skies tonight!) I can't wait to see you here in Melby, in the flesh, in 2009 and hear all the new stuff coming up, I'm so excited!!!:)

    Have a fab New Years Eve Steve, and everyone out there in Fiendsville, catch you here next year!!!
    Love always, Amanda

    P.S. Kittykat, I agree TOTALLy with you, sk's a hidden treasure!! (but I have to disagree about the "not leaving Sydney" topic heehee)

  8. avatar
    MEM | 31 December 2008 at 12:31 am #

    “and next caught a glimpse
    of old Heracles…

    as on he came like night…”

  9. avatar
    Richard | 31 December 2008 at 3:36 am #

    been lurking for a while and enjoying SK and other of the more intelligent thoughtful posters here in downtown NYC about a stone’s throw from whore street, i mean wall street where the greed, avarice and carnal actions of this place make beauty, higher ideals and positive self-reflection seem a universe away. like others have said thanks for the continual dedication and sharing of your creative mind and to you and your family a healthy, prosperous and fullfilling 2009.

  10. avatar
    Anonymous | 31 December 2008 at 4:04 am #

    The last few lines seem to be your sub-conscience telling you not to leave bondi beach.

  11. avatar
    melissa | 31 December 2008 at 6:02 am #

    the last couple of blogs have just been such beautiful reading ~ thanks so much SK!

    wishing everyone a beautiful new year 🙂 xxx

  12. avatar
    Hellbound Heart | 31 December 2008 at 6:04 am #

    oh dear, double edged sword of being totally consumed by another….stunning work, steve, i agree more people should be reading and enjoying your poetry and writing….
    bought cd’s of heyday and the blurred crusade today (only had them in vinyl until now)….will have to reaquaint myself with the pleasures of these particular albums…
    wishing you and your loved ones a happy and prosperous 2009, steve, and also to all the ttbers out there….
    love always…..

  13. avatar
    eek | 31 December 2008 at 10:54 am #

    A lovely final blog of 2008. It’s been a good year for the TTB blog. Looking back over the various entries I’m struck by what a remarkable body of work it is. You should be very proud of it and yourself.

    Wishing you and your family a wonderful 2009. Hope you all enjoyed the fireworks!

    Best wishes to all for the coming year.

  14. avatar
    Freddie | 31 December 2008 at 12:07 pm #

    Oh yeah I forgot.
    Most people on here are living in the future
    or I’m living in the past.
    To Steve and all fiends:
    May we make it a good one!

  15. avatar
    Anonymous | 31 December 2008 at 12:30 pm #

    Ancient Greece is long long gone…why not move on???

  16. avatar
    Anonymous | 31 December 2008 at 12:37 pm #

    On guard !! You have never known me , seen me , yah you might have heard….I did not betray myself- alone, that is…all helped…including you, ,my overblown hero/// What flatterers you have! But we shant revisit that…ANY WAY, THIS STEPPE DON’T RUN WITH THE PACK…happy NY

  17. avatar
    davem | 31 December 2008 at 12:53 pm #

    A lovely end to the year.
    Have a good one all.
    Here's to 2009. More TTB, Church album and ep?, K&K, PK2?

  18. avatar
    Anonymous | 31 December 2008 at 1:38 pm #

    lovely, brilliant piece today steve.
    i believe are due a book, olde beane.


  19. avatar
    restaurant mark | 31 December 2008 at 1:54 pm #

    lovely one sir…

    happy new year everyone…take care if your out and about tonight


  20. avatar
    triantelope | 31 December 2008 at 2:22 pm #

    exquisite… swimming between peninsula lips indeed… listening to mimesis as i read… but why does pirates of the caribbean spring to mind..?

  21. avatar
    fantasticandy | 31 December 2008 at 2:40 pm #

    a totally fabulous new year to you all!
    luck ‘n light to the lot of yer!
    andy L.

  22. avatar
    Anonymous | 31 December 2008 at 3:13 pm #

    Love .xo

  23. avatar
    matthew | 31 December 2008 at 4:00 pm #

    Best & even better to you Steve & family, for the new year.

  24. avatar
    ScaughtFive | 31 December 2008 at 4:28 pm #

    My Calypso is a place on 45th and Wallingford called Al’s. Harpy New Year!

    Sick Clark

  25. avatar
    veleska1970 | 31 December 2008 at 4:33 pm #

    happy new year steve and all of my fellow fiendss!!

    lotza love…..

  26. avatar
    A.M. | 31 December 2008 at 4:49 pm #

    Your Calypso gave me a laugh, Mr. Scaughty. Good un.

    Happy New Year to SK and everyone.

  27. avatar
    CSTCoach | 31 December 2008 at 4:59 pm #

    Happy New Year Time Being, and to all feindss 🙂

  28. avatar
    Scott | 31 December 2008 at 5:03 pm #

    Hey man, you are a brilliant wordsmith. I look forward to reading more great stuff in 2009. Happy New year to you and yours.


  29. avatar
    Anakki Mayhem | 31 December 2008 at 6:17 pm #

    may 2009 be full of all the good things in life 4 u!

  30. avatar
    John | 31 December 2008 at 6:18 pm #

    Amazing writing yesterday and today SK, truly. I am in awe that you can bip that out in a morning what might take others a lifetime.

    Speaking of amazing, I received Painkiller in the mail on Christmas Eve and what a gift! I have been ‘plugged in’ ever since. I know I’m behind everyone else but I’d like to offer a few comments about some of my favorite moments if no one minds:

    Outbound: I love the gritty edge to this song, teeth clinched and all that, it has the same bulding, aggressive feel as Block.

    Wolfe: a great little song, what a perfect single if such things really still existed.

    Celestial: Both sad AND inspiring. If one were to capture the image of celestial things in a song this surely is it.

    Crystalline Rush: I especially love the vocals. A-maz-ing.

    Song for the Masking, I am addicted to this song. When I listen in the car it rattles the rims, figuratively and literally. The vocals that soar and seemingly turn into a violin(?), or some sort of stringed instrument are an incredible touch, and then when followed after one chorus by SK’s raw, melodic cries, it’s AMAZING. Who would think to do this in a song but SK? The chorus just sticks in my head, I wake up at night hearing this song. Please, get it out of my head, I need sleep!

    File Under Travel: Wow. Like being strapped to the front of a bullet train. The climbing bass is amazing. I love the piano work toward the end and the dark path it travels into…spooky territory. Magnificient. Only truly appreciated at full volume, in pitch dark, in a haunted house.

    Look Homeward Angel. You know, this is a sweet song that didn’t catch on with me right away, but I have to say I keep hearing that little (sorry, sounds like a female voice) backing vocal in my head when not listening to this song. Makes me want to hear it again, so after this I shall partake.

    Oenone: Strong, driving song. Would it be offensive of me to say, a very ‘American’ song? Speaking as an American I think a song like this would be very tasty to the American palette.

    Spirit in Flame: Kind of reminds me of Refo:mation work (which is a good thing). A dark, brooding song. I love how the chorus vocals delay just a split second behind the instruments, like they are trying to catch up. Great effect, again something only SK would think of doing.

    Forever Lasts for Nothing: OK, but could you make this song last forever? Sounds like a throwback song, one of the best ever written.

    Not What You Say: What a mesmerizing, hypnotic song from beginning to end. The guitar work reminds a bit of of Genesis’ “Musical Box” or “Entangled”. It’s amazing how the song transitions from the human song form to the earth’s own natural song form. It transports me.

    Oh, sorry, I said just some of my favorite moments but I guess that’s all the songs then. Look, I’m as big a Church music nut as the next person, but to be honest, I’m looking forward to more PK than anything else. It captures something different for me, something new. I just love it!


  31. avatar
    Brien Comerford | 31 December 2008 at 8:22 pm #

    Plaudits for a comprehensive and great review John.

  32. avatar
    isolde | 31 December 2008 at 9:35 pm #

    sleep? being an ocean goddess is a 24 hour 50 minute a day job believe me

  33. avatar
    Anonymous | 31 December 2008 at 10:26 pm #

    m hoping n praying that this year will be a better one.xo 🙂

  34. avatar
    ticktockclarice | 31 December 2008 at 10:45 pm #

    Hey there Steve and fiendss. Hope everyone is enjoying/has enjoyed this magical night of warm nostalgia for the year past, fresh new hope for the year to come, strengthened resolve to become better people and leave this wonderful little blue planet of ours in better shape than we found her and to be completely shallow, pretty fireworks!
    John, at 5:18AM, completely agree with your review of PK, especially Song For The Masking, such a beautiful, haunting song, still makes me cry sometimes when i hear it and i think that is the greatest gift a song or any piece of art can do for us.The Awful Ache and Radiance still have that effect on me today.
    Steve Kilbey for Australian Poet Laureate/ National Treasure? Absolutely! Where do i sign THAT petition. This blog has been a true godsend to me this year through some challenging times. It is a touchstone for me to the things that are most important in life – love of family, art and creativity, social conscience and caring for others and the earth, integrity. Ok, realize i’m raving on again. So Happy 2009 everyone and just thank you, thank you and a thousand times thank you SK for being such a beautiful, honest, positive force in all our lives.
    Cheers xx

  35. avatar
    PAGEY | 1 January 2009 at 9:15 am #

    it is hot

  36. avatar
    PAGEY | 1 January 2009 at 9:16 am #

    fuck the nostalgia! get on with it!!

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